Friday, December 19, 2008

Favorite Moments from 2008

Here are some of my my favorite moments from 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Update, 12/12/08

Good morning y'all. Here are my thoughts on church this week.

1. Sunday was awesome. We had the five baptisms and that was a great way to cap the day! The worship itself was awesome too. the prayer station sat the end were well done and it was a great way to cap off the series on prayer. Cool!

2. I am very thankful for Christy. She put in a lot of extra time and was sick while leading the worship service. God used her in a great way.

3. I've been doing a lot of planning for next year. Do you realize that in 9 months we plan to be at 300 people That's crazy faith! We have to begin acting on that faith and start planning and be ready for an extra 170 people in attendance. our church is really going to change this year. I believe we all will be challenged.

4. Lastly, please pray for the church. Our faith is not in us, but in Jesus. he will provide. He works when we pray. So pray. We are completely dependent on him!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Morning Catch-Up 12/5/08

Sorry I haven't written in the past couple weeks; Thanksgiving and the Holidays, et al..

Here are some thoughts i've been having about Celebration the past couple weeks...

> It seems we've lost a little, stress "little", momentum in the past month concerning attendance. It seems sickness and travel hit our numbers. I'm looking forward to everyone coming back during December and feeling better!

> Seeing Amber leave for Kuwait is tough. I know we'll all be praying for her and Romy. Their three little one's are precious. It is also neat to see how Romy's Life Group is pitching in to help out in incredoble ways.

> I was excited about our budget, expecially in these tough times. our budget for this year was 136,000 and we will bring in about 150,000. That is exciting. For our ministry to increase so will the giving. It will be neat to see how God will provide.

> I've been working ont he state of the church address that I'll give in January. As I worked on it that we plan to double our minisry in 2009. We plan to go from 120 in attendance to 300 by September. We need to be prepared for God's blessing! Little things like chairs, how we do communion, offering, and the like. How will we do that with 300 people? What about space for our children? The Jones home is maxed for youth group. Where could they go if that doubles? These are solutions we need to find now so that we can accomplish our goals.

We have a lot of work cut out for us in 2009!

We've come a long way in 2008. i look for us to go further in 2009!

As God Blesses....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Morning Upload, 11/21/08

Thoughts over this past week...

1. Last night at the YMCA was a lot of fun. It's always fun serving. I was dreaming with Don Handyside that it will be neat on the one day when we'll have our own building feeding the homeless and such ourselves. What a neat vision.

2. I was reminded of Isaiah 58 this week about the heart of God. In this passage God is criticizing the Israelites for how they are worshipping him through fasting. In it God says he wishes the worship of him would motivate his people to honor the sabbath as holy, help loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed fee, provide for the poor, and clothing for the naked. Isaiah says that when we are motivated to do these things fromt he heart of God then he will hear out prayers and say, Here I am.

3. I have learned that in all the talk about the end times we fail to do with it what God intended. He intended the teaching to encourage us. We are to encourage each other about our Lord's return, not argue about it.

4. I appreciate the Men's Life group. That is a bunch of fun. We learn from God's word but we have a lot of fun. I've really learned to appreciate those guys and their thirst for God's word.

5. I also want to give a compliment to our elders. They are really elders. They do the work of thier post with a lot of sincerity, hard work, and faith. I've seen other churches where the minister does the work of the elders and all the leders do is make decisoions. Our elders are not like that. They really care for people. I truly look forward to growing with them.

6. I also came away very excited about Max as the Equipping Minister and the MTR meeting on Sunday. It is so exciting to see people owning their ministries and having the desire to work together. I'm lookig forward to great things taking place in the coming year!

It's been a good week. Looking forward to turkey day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Night Mind Dump, 11.16

Here are some things that I've observed on this Sunday...

1. Have you heard of EGR's? EGR stands fr "Extra grace Required." we all have people that fit that category. What's amazing is we get to learn how the grace of Christ really gets lived out among us.

2. It was neat to see all kinds of people sign up for a Life Group today. I'm excited about the new groups that we are starrting.

3. Please be praying for my Uncle Feed. he is 88 years old and broke his hip this weekend. He is in for a tough recovery period. Also please in prayer for Mac, my step grandfather, he is suffering from a severe stroke.

4. I am so stoked about Max Pino being the Equipping Minister. he did a wonderful job at his first meeting of the MTR's. It was really exciting to see. if you don't know what an MTR is then I'll tell you. MTR stands for "Ministry Team Represenative." They are the people who get ministry accomplished in our church. I'mreally excited about what was accomplished today.

5. I hope a lot of people in our church consider the percentage giving for next year. I know God will bless them.

6. Went and saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit this past Saturday in Norfolk. It was amazing. I find it incredible that God gave us the idea that we can take his stuff and mold it and create with it. It's amazing!

I'll be writing next Sunday night if not before.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Evening Night Dump

Hi! What a weekend. I got bit with the stomach flu, Lisa is sick, and Dietrich won a soccer championship this afternoon. Whew! it was something else! here are some thoughts I took away from today's experience at church.

1. There were a lot of people either sick or out of town this week. I wasn't the only one who was sick! Pray for them.
2. Christy said the copy machines at the Y didn't work again. It's tough when you depend on something and it doesn't come through. Such are the hazards of new church work.
3. I enjoyed worship, but I missed having Lisa at my side. She was at home sick.
4. It was GREAT to preach today. I haven't preached the last couple weeks and it was awesome to share God's word again. When you study, pray, and meditate over a message it really is a fire in your bones to get it out. It was great to get it out today!
5. At the budget meeting it was really neat to hear how the elders came up with the final number for next year. It is great to be serving with men of faith and vision for our church!

That's it for this week...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Morning Upload

This week has been another great week...

> Monday was spent doing a lot of administrative tasks and studying for upcoming messages
> Tuesday was my day off, election day. After I waited three hours to vote I took miriam out to lunch at Golden Corral. Election day wasn't all that eventful. We knew who won by 10-11 PM.
> Wednesday I was at the Virginia Vision meeting in Rochmond. It is always exciting to hear about how other church plants are growing and how they are reaching out in Jesus name. Our church plants are doing really well. I did hear news of another brother in arms who fell to moral failure. Satan has a big gun there and he's firing at will. Pray for me and our staff for protection from the evil one. I also had our Life Group Leader meeting at night. We are going to be starting several new small groups. It was exciting to have all the new leaders there!
> Thursday was spent in in message writing. I call Thursday my Holy Day becasue it's just me, God, his word, and a blank sheet of paper.
> And today is Friday... today will be spent preparing for the delivey of the message, powerpoints, praying about the budget meeting, a wedding rehersal, and small group in the eveining. I'm covering for a preacher in a wedding on Saturday. pray all goes well...!

> What have I learned this week... I learned God is in control... and always will be incontrol... no matter how much O want to be in control. I can fool myself and thinkk I'm in control, but I'm not. I must learn to lean on God all the more.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Night Mind Dump

Here are some thoughts and musings about services today...

* It was great to see Sid and Chris playing on the praise team today. That was awesome.
*I wish I could have seen the video in color. I know the guys worked really hard to fix the problem. Even so, it was good to see it.
* DePAula came up to me today and said they have designs for a rockin' new website. I'm anxious to see it.
* I am thankful for Rick and his leadership of the Missions Team. He is really helping our church not only reach beyond our roles, but beyond the borders of our country to reach in the name of Christ.
* I am thankful for people like the Coopers who are dedicating their lives to get the Word of God to people who do not have it. God is so good!
* We are definitly on the up curve in attendance! More chairs anyone? Keep inviting people to come Celebrate!
* Lisa came home and said youth group tonight was off the chain! That's exciting.
* The ladies who went to Women of Faith had a great time too.
* Lastly, I am really excited about preaching this Sunday. I've had a couple Sunday's off and I'm anxious to share God's word again.

Peace, Kirk

Friday, October 31, 2008

Some things I'm Learning

I heard a minister speaking that had an interesting thought which shed new light on a sector of American Christianity that has always troubled me. He looked at it from the perspective of child psychology.

He noted that as children we are very needy people and we constantly ask our parents for everything. Preschoolers are extremely self-centered creatures. The entire world revolves aroud them and many parents will atest that their world revolves all around them.

But sooner or later we expect that child to grow up. We expect them to walk for themsleves and eventually we start giving chores to them. You have to make the bed, clean your room, wash the dishes, mow the yard. If you have a child that isn't taught that they need to take care of themselves what do we call that child, a spoiled brat. They never grew up.

This is how the minister characterized the health and wealth preaching and teaching you see so much on television and why it is popular. It is infantile in it's appraoch to the Bible. it neglects the fact that we called to leave our spiritual milk and bite on real food. We called to mature in Christ, to made perfect in him. We are called to work out our salvation in Christ.

In the health and wealth camp you don't hear to much about how we, who have been so richly blessed by Christ's grace, are to give to the needy, the poor, the oppressed, the widows, and the poor. Health and wealth teaching just assumes that you are are the poor and the oppressed. It never asks you to look beyond yourself, until it's time to give in the offering. Anyone ready to plant a seed! My thought on that is if I believed that I would be giving my money to you instead of me asking for your money.

Also, be careful of just accepting any kind of teaching you hear. We are called to put the teachings of others to the test to be sure they are from God. How do yo know that it is of God? Test it against God's word. Are they being held accountable by reputable men to the word of God? Any ole guy or gal can attach Bible verses together to make his case. You need to be sure those scriptures are being used correctly!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sticky Churches

What makes a sticky church?


A sticky church is a church where people come and they start developing into disciples of Christ.

So what makes a sticky church? Again people. Environments where new people can have a fun relationship with others.

Our weekend service should be a sticky environment. Small groups are other sticky environments.

What are some other sticky environments? Fun stuff like the church picnic we did last month, bowling, or whatever is fun.

I think another sticky environment is service. Service to the church and to others.

These are some thoughts I've been thinking on as I've gone through my day. If we wnat to reach 10,000 disciples then we need to be a sticky place.

Oh yeah... I drove a golf ball 327 yards the other day... totally awesome! - At least according to the yardage chart...


Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a day today!

Today was an awesome Sunday. It was youth Sunday i really appreciate how y'all came out and supported our youth. They did a great job too. I was really proud of our teens and children displaying their love for God. Way to go! Also, I am thankful for Paeeny's and Scott's leadership. You can see their efforts reflected in our youth.

Also, it was great to see Brittany, Kendall, and Sophia come forward this morning. It truly is awesome to see how God is changing lives. THis is why i preach and why we do church!

I've learned a few things aoong the way today...

> God is unexpected.... He fits all patterns and he fits no patterns. I'm learning in many ways that God can exist as a paradox.

> It is awesome to see people's lives changed by faith in Jesus. There is nothing like it in this world.

What a great Sunday! Give praise to God!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Something I really enjoy is an engaging debate or conversations where people can share ideas, even competing ones, and enrich each other in the process. I am an egghead and I love considering other ideas. Even one's that I disagree with. I like to ask why do they think this view is legitimate? Why do they disagree with me? Is there something I hadn't thought about? How does this fit into my worldview? How does this affect my preaching?

After all preaching has some kind of bias behind it and effective preaching instills a mental conversation between you and me. The purpose of preaching is to persuade you to take action on God's word.

I enjoy conversations where opposing views are thrown around becasue many times they challenge my bias, my understanding of God, or what I think is right or wrong. These kind of conversations sharpen my thinking and really get me to take the time to know where I stand on issues. As someone said to me this week, "As iron sharpens iron..."

I know for some people discussing different ideas just makes them mad. They know what they think and they don't want to change what they think. I appreciate that kind of thinking too.

In one conversation I had this week is I learned the church is a place that demands unity, but not uniformity. The church must unite around the message and ministry of Jesus Christ. On this we must be united. But the church is not to be a place of uniformity. Uniformity is when everyone else is like you. They dress like you, they are the same skin color as you, they all have tattoo's or don't have tattoo's, like the same kind of worship music as you, and so on.

What's amzing about the church is not it's uniformity, but it's diversity. In church you will have CEO's sitting with people on welfare. You'll see the straightlaced praying with the ex-con. You'll see people from many different races worshipping God together, proclaiming his name to all.

Our world in contrast, loves to be uniform. Police have a uniform, doctors have a long white coat, ministers have the collar, sports teams have their colors.

The church is not like that. We have the suits and dudes in T-shirts in the same room. What brings us all together?

Unity in Christ. All is level ground at the foot of the cross.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Church Budgets

Church budgets are tricky animals. On the one hand you want your budget to step out in faith. On the other hand you don't want to go so far out that you it just seems ridiculous to try and acheive it. I for one believe in God-sized goals and God is pretty big!

In order tohelp our church to think big and realize what God can do through us let suggest to you a tool to that with with. Simply add a zero to the church budget. Our budget for 2008 was 136,000. What of we added a zero? 1, 360,000. What kind of ministry would we have if we did that?

You can do that with attendance too. Right now we average about 113 people. Add a zero. 1,130 people. What kind of facilities, staff, volunteers, would we need if we became a church of 11oo people?

This kind of exercising faith helps us prepare for the future. It helps us be ready for the growth God has planned for us.

This is why I appreciate our elders. They are going to be presenting the budget to you soon. When i found out about the budget I was amazed. We have men who are expecting God and us to see this church grow in in it's ministry in an effective way. it really is exciting. I am truly blessed to be serving with them.

I know ecenomic times are down, but our God isn't. We may have two fish and five loaves to offer, but our mighty God can multiply our faith!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Entertaining Week!

This week started out for my by attending the Externally Focused Church Seminar with Don Handyside at Roanoke Bible College. The focus of the seminar was to teach us how our church can get more involved in the community.

One of the biggest statements that was emphasized was we help others becasue it is part of who we are. We help others because we are Christians. The seminar also helped me realize the potential of our church getting involved in the community.

The potential is we will win more people to Christ and we will become a influence of good in this community. Thay explained the process this way. You help some people out. While you help others out you develop relationships. As these relationships grow opportunities will pop up where we can share our faith in Jesus Christ. As we share people begin turning to him.

It's not like we go into the community breathing hellfire and passing out tracts. We build relationships with people and then we simply open the door for Jesus to cross their path.

I left the seminar pretty jazzed by this idea.

Also, I am currently reading a book about how to bring and keep people into our church. In the book the author has some startling numbers. If you want to maintain the current attendance of your church then you need at least 3 new visitors each week per 100 people. If you want to grow moderately then it jumps to 5 new guests per 100 in atendance. For a fast growing church you need 7-10 guests each week.

If our church is going to continue to grow rapidly then I suggest we all begin to pray for 10 new guests a week.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Some Random Thoughts from Kirk

In the Simple Seminar and the last blog I emphasized how structures, how we get things accomplished, is vitally important in how a church makes disciples. Understanding this can lead to a lot of practical talk on how we make connection cards, arrange the chairs on Sunday morning, and the discussing details about the order of the worship service on Sunday morning. To be honest sometimes all this talk doesn't seem all that... spiritual.

So I ask the question, "How does the Holy Spirit fit into our structures?" Or maybe a better question is, "How can we create our structures so the Holy Spirit can be effective?"

Right now two operating thesis are running through my mind. One is what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. He told Nicodemus that the Spirit is like the wind. "You cannot tell where it coming from or where it is going." - Jesus. Now you can get all scientific and say the wind comes from this weather system and all that. If you do that you miss the point. Jesus' point is wind is unpredictable. Wind can be a gentle breeze that is refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. Other times it can so violent that it levels entire towns. Wind is unpredictable and constantly changing.

The other operating thought in my thinking is God works through systems. The universe is a system. So is a baby. Your body works through different systems. You have a nervous system and a pulmonary (sp?) system to name a couple. The law in the Old testament is a system. Governments are a system. Nature is full of all kinds of different systems.

So my thought is how does God take something predictable, like a system, and mix that with the unpredictable Holy Spirit? What systems work with the unpredictable Holy Spirit on a practical level?

This is the question I am seeking to answer. So far I have come up with a couple of answers and it's nothing exotic. First, Jesus said specifically to go pray in your closet, a private place. It seems if you have a system of prayer where you go to the same private place everyday God is apt to reward you. To me, it would be logical to deduce this is a system where we can feel the wind of the Spirit.

Secondly, I see the church as the second structure the Spirit works through. Jesus died for the church and there is something special about Christians gathering as a large group to worship God through spirit and word. God has chosen to work through the system of the church. I have felt the wind blow through the church many times.

And I just thought of one more item, the institutions of the church: Baptism and Communion. In Acts 2 Peter says notes that baptism brings about the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was baptized scripture notes that a dove from heaven descended upon Jesus. It seems there is a deep connection between baptism and the Holy Spirit. Then communion. Whenever we remember our Lord's death and we honstly examine ourselves I would attest that God is there. That is a structure that favors the Holy Spirit blowing through our life as well.

This is what i'm thinking about this morning....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Simple Seminar was great

The Simple Church Seminar this past Saturday was great. Romy did a great job of getting everything together and everyone had a great attitude as well.

During the seminar I discussed how the very structure of our church, how we get things accomplished, is vitally important to making disciples. What I didn't share is there are 8 different structures within the church that need to be lead well. These eight structures are essential to the life of the church. You need all eight running well to gain peak performance in the church.

Here are the eight structures within the church.

1. The Weekend Service System
2. The Evangelism System
3. The Assimilation System
4. The Small Groups System
5. The Ministry System
6. The Stewardship System
7. The Leadership System
8. The Strategic System

All of these systems affect the overall effectiveness of discipling others in Christ. Many times what we think is a people problem is more of a system problem, how things are structured to get stuff accomplished. Think about it.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crazy Week

Most of you know that my son Dietrich has had a rough summer. He has had surgery, stung by jellyfish at least twice, was bitten by close to 200 seed ticks (we counted them), then had 6 teeth pulled, and this week has been home from school for a week with a serious sinus infection and fever. Dietrich has had it rough. Pray for him!

Then this week has been a busy week with several meetings for me in the evenings. it's been one of the weeks when i say hi and bye to the family and roll on. You have weeks like that now and then.

it can wear on you mentally a little bit. That's why I was thankful for the finance seminar tonight. We looked at Romans 8:28 where God says he works together all things for good for thos who love him. I know I love God and I know he loves me (He went first) so i know things are working for good. God doesn't get tired so he is my refreshment and my source of strength. What a great verse of scripture!

I'm also preparing for the Simple Church Seminar on Saturday and God is really impressing me onthe power of systems. a system is how an organization gets things done. For example, McDonald's has a system on delivering you a hamburger. GM has a system for building a car. Your body has a system for walking, breathing, and battling viruses.

The church has a system and like a body it has several systems. I'm just learning about all of this and it really is amazing. I think the knowledge about systems will help our church grow farther.

Every church, I have learned, has eight primary systems of getting things accomplished. Each one needs attention to furtehr the church. I'll expand on those systems in upcoming blogs. It really is exciting.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm excited about our church

I'm excited becasue I see so many people excited, even passionate about ministry. It's really exciting to see so many people involved in seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ expanded. Last year at this time we were setting up 80 chairs. Now we are setting up 149! I believe we've practically doubled the amouont of people involved in some type of minisry inside and outside of the church. Last year we din't have a strong presence in the community. This year we have an incredible presence. Last year we had 2 elders. This year we 4 elders (Was 5 but Paul is moving to TX), 2 Deacons, and 10 ministry teams. It is out of this world exciting. God is blessing us in mighty ways.

The most exciting number is baptisms. We have seen several people come to Jesus as thier personal Lord and Savior.

May God continue to bless us.

We have challenges too. Children's and Youth minstries are overcrowded. They need space! We need a permanent place to worship. More people need to get involved in Life Groups and Service. We need to see the prayer level go up in our church.

I believe though, as we follow God, that all these challenges will be met with God's grace.

God Bless!


No Country for Us Men (and Women)

I went to the men's Small Group Wednesday night and had a great time. It's good to get with other guys. In the midst of this study we looked at Hebrews 11, the great hero chapter of the Bible.

In the midst of the study I read these verses and they really stood out to me. It's Hebrews 11:13-15. "Heb 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. Heb 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. Heb 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Heb 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (NIV)

All these heroes mentioned did not see the promise God gave them come true in thier lifetime. It says they only saw them at a distance. In other words they had a clear vision in their mind of what God promised, but they never saw the reality of that.

The promise God gave them would not come true on earth, in this country, but a country they belong to not on this earth. Thet were longing for the country to come called heaven.

For me that means there is no country on earth for me. The country I long for, I desire for, I want for my children, is not the US, or any oher nation past, present, or future. The country I belong to is still to come and I can see it from a distance.

I long for that country called heaven, and God is building a city in that country that defies description. The country is challenging to live in, but it has complete peace. No more shots. perfect health. No robberies or sex predators. I won't have to worry about being harmed or deal with heartache. He land i see is still in the distence, but i know I'm gettting closer everyday.

What a great scripture!


Friday, September 12, 2008


What a crazy week! it's been very busy this week for me, but a good week.

Tuesday I went to the VEF board meeting. I am now serving as one of the directors. In case you don't know VEF (Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship) planted our church here a little over 6 years ago. VEF is involved in helping ChristianChurch preachers across the state, planting new churches (In fact 3 are being planted in VA this fall), and helping churches that are already existing. VEF is all about "pursuing kingdom growth." Our church supports VEF and through our support we are helping churches be planted all across the state of Virginia.

After I the meeting I came away with some lessons, ideas, or something like that. First, I noticed that I lacked a lot of perspective at how awesome and active the Kingdom of God is (sorry about the prep). We are not alone! We can get so caught up in our little concerns that we forget that we are part of the giant plan of God. Secondly, I came away humbled by these men on the board. Not all of them are preachers. Many are businessman. All seek to pursue kingdom growth. Thirdly, I get to participate. I wasn't treated like the new guy. They wanted to know what I was thinking. They found out real quickly not much! I was honored by theior attitude.

What does that mean for you? You are not alone. You are par of a bigger plan that has been going on for generations. God is bringing all people together.

Awesome! It's neat to see that all over the state.

Chat at cha later... Kirk

Friday, August 29, 2008

God's Angle on Alcohol


Alcohol has always seemed to be a controversial subject in the church. Some say it's okay to drink while many churches condemn any kind of drinking. Most though, don't care about the controversy.if they want to have a drink they have a drink.

Drinking is a huge part of our culture and it's something Christian and non-Christian alike need to look at seriously. Why? Alcohol has the potential to cause a lot of pain and hardship in one's life. Like fire, it needs to be handled properly.

God has some ideas about drinking alcohol. That's what this message and discussion are about.


1. Read Genesis 9:18-27. Drinking alcohol led to Noah being is a state of disgrace. This eventually led to an entire generation of people being condemned by God. How do you see in our culture alcohol's negative consequences?

2. Read Proverbs 31:4-7. Why are leaders held to a higher standard than other people?

3. In this culture they used alcohol for medicine. It was used as a sedative. What does this say about our reasons for drinking today?

4. Read Ephesians 5:18. What is debauchery? Why would Paul associate alcohol with this subject?

5. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How does that feel? How do you do it?

6. Where should our focus be? How much I can drink or how much I can be filled with the Spirit? Why is it important to make a distinction between the two?

Does alcohol consumption help you draw closer to God? Why or why not?

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18

Friday, August 15, 2008

God's Angle on Cussing


George Carlin, a comedian who died recently, was widely known for a bit he did called, "Seven Words You can't Say on Television." Believe it or not, there are people paid by the networks to moniter the language that is used on television.

What most people don't realize is there is no such taboo list of words in the Bible. What you do find are genral warnings about the use of language. Consider Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

This message primarily concentrated on what james wrote about our language in James 3:2-12. Our discussion will focus on these verses.


1. Why does James consider taming the tongue such a hard feat to accomplish?

2. James uses 6 illustrations (a bit, a rudder, spark, organs, animals, and water) to make his point about the use of our language. Of the six pictures explain which one stands out to you the most.

3. In the illustrations on the bit, the rudder, and spark James contrasts the smallness of the object controlling something very large. How can words we consider small or incidental control something much larger, like a marriage, parenting, at work?

4. The last three illustrations point out how inconsistent our words can be with our intentions. We think we have a good heart but harsh words can come out of our mouths. Why are we so comfortable with this hypocrisy?

5. Paul says to replace our nasty language with words that build each other up. What are some words that build others up? How can you practice saying these words?

6. In chapter 1 James says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. How can these three habits improve our language?


How does language used in the media (music, movies, internet, etc.) impact the way you use language?


Jas 3:2 "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. " (NIV)

Friday, August 8, 2008

God's Angle on Money


In photography the angle of the picture is critical in making a good picture or a bad one. The same is true with the issues we face in life. The angle we take on those issues can make all the difference between happiness and pain. We have our own angle on politics, sex, marriage, language, and alcohol. It can seem in our culture we can choose any angle we seem fit. In fact, we change our angle on certain issues depending on the situation we're facing.

Well, if we can have our angle God can have his angle too. The neat thing about God's angle on issues is sees the whole picture, while we just see just the puzzle peice. From his angle God sees all and knows all. With this truth in mind this series looks at God's angle on some straight topics.

This lesson looks at God's angle on money. It seems our angle is first we spend it, then save it if we have any left over, and then if we're lucky we'll have a few pennies left to be generous with others. Is that God's angle?


God's angle on money is we tithe 10% first, save 10%, and then spend 80% wisely.

1. Tithe 10% (Genesis 14:20)

A. Read Malachi 3:10. God says test me in the tithe and see if I don't bless you. Why is this hard for us to believe?

B. What are some of the blessings God gives when we are faithful in our tithing?

2. Save 10% (Proverbs 13:11)

A. What is your plan for saving a little by little over a long period of time?

B. Saving means we put off what we can buy today for a better tommorow. Why is this discipline so hard?

C. What savings goal do you have?

3. Spend 80% wisely. (Proverbs 21:5)

A. Do you know where your money is going? If not, how can you get a handle on understanding where your money is going? (You can start by knowing how much you actually make.)

B. If you make over $32,000 you are considered extremely rich by world's standards. So why don't you feel rich?

C. What plan are you using to reduce your debt? "Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you." PR 22:26-27 (NIV) How is this scripture true in our culture?

Does the way you handle your money demonstrate that you honor God first in your life?

“Why spend money on what does not satisfy?” Isa. 55:2 (NIV)

“If I have put my trust in money, if my happiness depends on wealth... it would mean that I denied the God of heaven.” Job 31:24,28 (LB)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wii Would Like to Play


For this year's volunteer Sunday our theme played off the popular Wii video game. That system is a blast becasue it is immersive, interactive, and simple. This is how we are to experience the church. Many people think the church, or their Christian walk, is just a spiritual activity. Christianity is not just a spiritual activity. In it's correct form it is immersive, interactive, and simple. This past week's message expands on this idea.


1. How is the church, or your Christian experience, immersive (involving all of you), interactive (fellowship), and simple (easy to participate)? If not, then how can the church improve in these areas?

2. The lawyer said to gain eternal life one must love God and love people. This is a simple concept. How could you simplify your Christian life according to these two directives?

3. The lawyer was not satisfied with a general directive from Jesus. He wanted Jesus to define who was his neighbor. We live in a society that likes to be specific (i.e. "It depends on what the term 'is' is.") Why do we have this need and how can it hamper our ability to follow Jesus in serving others?

4. Notice all three passers by "saw" the beaten man on the side of the road. What needs do you see in your community or Celebration and how could you chip in?

5. Jesus said he Samaritan had pity on the victim. When was the last time you felt pity for someone? How did you respond to that feeling?

6. Jesus command to the lawyer was "Go and do likewise." How could you obey that command from Jesus?


Many times we have good intentions at serving others but for one reason or another we fail to follow through. In contrast the Bible mentions Jesus had compassion for people and then took some kind of action (feeding and healing, to name a couple). Could we learn anything from Jesus' example to get beyond good intenions and do something like he did?

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:36-37 (NIV)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I Did On Summer Vacation


I just got back from summer vacation. I visited family, played a little golf, and had the privilege to speak at my former church in Kentucky. It was a great time! It was also good to see many family members and friends.

I preached this message in Kentucky and after some lengthy seat time in the van I decided this message needed to be heard by you as well. Here are some discussion questions based off of this weeks's message.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Read Revelation 1:9-18

1. How would you survive if Jesus' love was not part of this world?

2. Why does God choose to reveal this vision while John and the church are suffering?

3. Read Exodus 25:31-40. How is this revelation of Jesus like the High Priest? What stature does the High priest have in Jewish government?

4. How can the Jesus functioning as the glorified High Priest bring comfort and/or courage to Christians in suffering?

5. A High Priest's role was to be a represenative of the people to God. How does Jesus fulfill this role in this passage?

6. The High Priest was also a visible reminder to the people of Israel of God's righteous requirements. What righteous requirements was Jesus calling John and the 7 churches to adhere?

When John saw the vision he fell down down before Jesus in reverential fear. When was the last time that you said after worship, "I left church in a reverential fear today?" Why not?

"I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!" Revelation 1:17b-18a (NIV)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goals! Goals! Goals!

This week we laid out the 5 year goals of Celebration Church. The goals were based on the example of Nehemiah and his leadership in rebuilding the wall. Nehemiah cast his vision in four parts. One, he gave the problem. Two, he gave them a solution to the problem. Third, he gave them a reason why they needed to address the problem. And then fourthly, he told them why they need to do this act now.

Read Nehemiah 2:17-18.

Sunday we took this paradigm and applied it to the church. In this blog let's address it to you and the pesonal goals you have for your life.


1. What goal are you working towards?

2. What does your goal propose to solve?

3. Specifically, how is your goal a solution to the problem?

4. Why must you see the goal through to the end? What difference will it make? What is there to gain? What is there to lose? What's at stake? Why should you attempt this?

5. Why must it be done now? What do you lose by waiting? What evidence have you seen that God is involved?

6. When am are you to start going after the goal? When do you plan to acheive the goal?

What are you willing to change so you can see the goal become reality?

"They replied, 'Let us start rebuilding.' So theybegan this good work." Nehemiah 2:18b (NIV)

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Standing Tall" Discussion Guide


In this three part series on freedom we have gone with the big idea that you cannot have freedom without courage. In the first message we duly noted this fact. In the second message we talked about a sure source for courage, God's promises. In this last message we ask the question, "How do you gain freedom when courage isn't enough?"


1. What are some circumstances that no amount of courage will change? (i.e. death of loved one)

2. Read Exodus 14:1-5. How did the Israelite's absence motivate Pharoah to go back on his word to let the Hebrews go?"

3. Read Hebrews 14:6-7. Why did the author make note of the size of the Egyptian army? How does this relate to the fear of the Jews trapped by the Red Sea? How does this relate to our fear when courage doesn't seem to be enough?

4. Read Hebrews 14:10-12. Why were the Israelites so willing to go back to what they, at one time, cried relief from? How does this relate to us?

5. Read Hebrews 14:13-14. Does Moses response make sense if you are an Israelite? Why or why not?

6. Why do the Israelites assume God is out of control if they are out of control? Are we the same? Different?


How can you stand firm in your faith when everything in you wants to stand down from your faith?


Ex 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Ex 14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (NIV)

Friday, June 20, 2008

"A Promise to Stand" - Discussion Guide


We celebrate courage in our culture. We have The Incredible Hulk fighting monstrosities in the middle of the streets, Iron Man flying against the bad guys, and soon Batman bravely fights off the joker. Kids this summer even have the great Kung Fu Panda, who saves the local village from the rampages of the enemy.

We celebrated the firefighters of 9/11 for thier courage. We honor the troops who fight in freedom's name. We respect those who find the courage to place others before themselves, like the mother who died covering her baby in a house fire, saving her baby's life.

We celebrate such courage, and rightly so. The truth is we all will need some courage one day, to do the right thing, to speak out, to protect someone else from harm, to make that hard decision no one else can make for you. We will all need courage.

Question: Where do you get it?

Read Joshua 6:1-8:2


1. Who is a hero in your life? What makes them so courageous?

2. Look at Joshua 6:1. We discoverd in the message on Sunday the phrase "Lord said" is the same phrase used when describing how the universe was created. The city of Jericho was going to fall just as sure as the ground Joshua was standing on. Joshua was able to act because God gave him a promise. How can you be sure God's promises are true for you?

3. After the defeat of Jericho Joshua sent the Israelite army to defeat the city of Ai. They failed because Achan kept some of the bounty from Jericho for himself instead of bringing it to the temple as God instructed. How does our behavior affect the promises of God in our life?

4. How can God's promises give you courage?

5. What do yo uthink of this statement, "You gain courage to find freedom from God's promises when you operate under the authority of God."

6. Do you know God's promises? How can you apply these promises to your life? Psalm 27:14; Job 22:29-30; Psalm 113:1, 3; 2 Chronicles 30:9

7. What great thing might you attempt now in your life is you were assured by God of your success?

"Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and fighting men." Joshua 6:2

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chasing Freedom- Part 1

"Gaining Freedom" Discussion Guide


In order to gain freedom you must have courage. We see this illustrated all throughout history. Navy Seals, sailors, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, all gained freedom for countless others and themselves because they displayed courage. Paul wrote, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." This freedom comes when we have the courage to face what oppresses in this life with Jesus Christ.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Read 1 Corinthians 16:13.

1. Of the five oppressors mentioned in the message, which one do you relate to the most?
A. Substance Abuse (Money, Food, Alcohol, etc..)
B. Your Past
C. Circumstances
D. Confusion
E. Your own Stupidity

2. Why is it important to keep alert as a Christian?

3. To "stand firm" means to keep your allegiance with Jesus. How can you do this?

4. Of the three parts of courage; 1. Facing reality; 2. Taking responsibility; and then 3. Taking action; which one is hardest for you to do? Why?

5. How can you grow strong in courage?

6. When you are seeking to overcome what is oppressing you why is it important to keep loving those around you? How can you do this?


Recall the story of David and Goliath. What is your Goliath? How can David's statement to Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45-47) help you defeat your "Goliath?"


"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied!" 1 Samuel 17:45 (NIV)

Friday, May 30, 2008

The #1 One Act You Can Do to Bring Unconditional Love Into Your Marriage Discussion Guide


In this final message in this series on marriage we concentrate on an element of marriage that is essential to experiencing unconditional love. It is forgiveness. You cannot have unconditional love without expressing unconditional love. You don't gain unconditional love by holding conditions on your spouse. This kills unconditional love. In this message we discussed how we can express forgiveness even when we have been hurt. THese questions are designed for you to take the message a little deeper.


1. Do you agree with this quote, "Marriage is not as much as finding the right person as it is being the right person?" Why or why not?

2. How do you handle anger in your marriage realtionship? Inwardly? Outwardly? Do you see it as an ally? Why or why not?

3. How would your attitude change if you got rid of the anger in your marriage relationship?

4. What story could you give to justify your anger instead forgiving your spouse? How does your story keep you from forgiving your mate?

5. How can Christ's forgiveness towards you be expressed towards your spouse?

6. How did God bring uncoditional love into your life? How could you bring that example of love into your marriage?


What does Christ's forgiveness mean to you and your marraige?


"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, JUST AS IN Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Captivating" Discussion Guide


In this week's message we discussed how the wife can demonstrate unconditional love to her husband. The instructions in this message is based on Proverbs 31:10-12, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (NIV)


I. He has a battle to fight- pray for him!

1. How can prayer help your husband fight the battle of good and evil?
2. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Why is it important for you to pray the armor of God on your husband?

II. He has an adventure to live- encourage him!

1. According to Ephesians 3:13 you are to put courage in (encourage) your husband. Why are your words towards your husband so important in that process?
2. Why do you think a man needs to hear from his wife, "I believe in you! Go for it!"? Even if he never actually acts on it?

III. He needs a beauty to rescue- be captivating!

1. React to this statement, "Being capivating to your husband has more to do with how you look at him then him looking at you."
2. How can this verse of scripture help you be captivating to your husband? "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12


How does this viewpoint on demonstrating unconditional love as a wife differ from the marriage your parents modeled (or other marriages you see as ideal)? How is it the same? What needs to be changed?


"Each one of you {husbands} also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Discussion Guide on "How to Unconditionally Love Your Wife."

This message was based on Ephesians 5:25-28a. In this scripture Paul instructs husbands to love thier wives as Christ loved the church. Here is a list of what Jesus does:
1. Gave himslef up for her
2. Cleansed her through the word (scripture)
3. Seeks to make her radiant
4. Seeks to make her holy and blameless.
This is how husbands ought to love thier wives. From this scripture the message Sunday presented 3 ways a husband is to uncoditionally love his wife.


I. She wants to be pursued- fight for her heart.
1. John Elderedge says every woman has a wound in thier heart either through violence or neglect. How can this be true? How can your love acted out towards her help heal that wound?

2. If you are bold ask your wife if she can say about you what Solomon's lover said about him, "I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." (SS 7:10)

II. She desires to share the adventure- hunt for something greater.
1. What were (or are) some of the dreams you have for your relationship?
2. What adventure(s) do you share together? If it's children, what adventure will you share when they are gone? What is something bigger than the two of you can work towards? If you don't have somehting pray about it. Ask God to reveal what you two can work towards.

III. She wishes to be captivating- take delight in her.
1. Husbands, honestly, are your eyes sealed on your wife only?
2. When was the last time you verbalized, or wrote down, how you felt about her? Was this longer than a sentence or two? (Grunts and whistles don't count!)


Scripture teaches men are the leades (not dictators) of the home. Leaders go first. This means you go first in demonstrating unconditional love to your wife. Our model is Jesus, who went first at showing us unconditional love. What can you learn from Jesus' life that can help you demostrate unconditional love?


"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives...." Ephesians 5:25-28a

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"A Hidden Agenda" Discussion Guide

Just a little reminder that this is a discussion guide designed to help you take Sunday's message a little deeper into your life.

This week we began a series of messages that addresses a specific and subtle lie in marriage. The issue is our culture proposes the idea that our spouse is responsible for our happiness. The truth is our spouse could never make us happy all the time. In fact, at some point in the relationship your spouse will fail you in a significant way. The question is how do you treat your spouse when they fail you? Your answer has serious repercussions on the state and future of your marriage.


1. What are some expectations men and women might bring into a marriage? How can these expectations change the dynamic of the marriage from loving each other to testing each other's love? What examples of behaviors and communication patterns are evident in this transition?

2. Expecting your mate to keep you happy usually leads to one of three conditions in a marriage. One, you leave the marriage. You figure out they can't make you happy. Two, the stronger spouse dominates the relationship. Happiness is a one-sided relationship. Or three, you live out a compromised marriage. You both simply pursue your own happiness. The problem is you figure out you can't give yourself happiness either. That's why you got married in the first place!

Of these three results which one do you feel is the most damaging? to yourself? to the family? to others who care about you?

3. React to this statement, "when you put conditions on your spouse the unconditional love in the marriage evaporates."

4. According to 1 Peter 1:13 uncoditional love in a marriage comes from God and not from each other. How could this truth change the dynamic of your marriage?

5. Read 1 Peter 1:14. The evil desire mentioned in this passage in the context of marriage is to expect happiness from our mate. Why does our culture believe in this myth? How can this myth destroy a marriage?

6. Read 1 Peter 1:15-16. God has called us to holiness. How does this calling affect our attitude towards our marrige? How can your husband's / wife's failures help you demonstrate holiness to them?


Am I holding my spouse hostage to my expectations or am I seeking to make him/her more holy through unconditional love?


"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present to himself a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. " Ephesians 5:25-27

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Rebuilding Your Life" Discussion Guide

This past week we had a natural disaster come through right on our church's doorstep. It will be hard work to rebuild the affected neighborhoods. It will be tougher to rebuild the lives affected by this tragedy. How do you rebuild your life when you've lost everything? The Bible gives us seven steps to rebuilding your life.

Below our some discussion questions based on those steps from my message on May 4.


Psalm 62:8b, "Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8b

How do you "feel" comforted by God?

What role does Christ's body, the church, have in helping you feel loved by God?


Respond to this question, "Do I want to be better or bitter?" Why is choosing to be better so important?

"Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you... it causes deep trouble, hurting many others in thier spiritual lives." Hebrews 12:15b

How can bitterness casue deep trouble in your relationships? with God?


Which one of these items would affect you the most today in the event you lost it?
1. Stuff you've accumulated (heirlooms and the like)
2. House or neighborhood
3. Church building
4. God's love

How do you build security in your life?

Respond to this quote, "There is only one way to have real security: Build your life on that which cannot be taken away."


Why do we have this need to take on problems on our own?

"Each of us needs all the others." (Romans 12:5b) Why would the scripture teach that we need each other?


How do you...
...lean on Jesus for peace?
...look to Jesus for hope?
...learn from Jesus to get courage?
...listen to Jesus for wisdom? in Jesus for strength?

How can you practically claim this promise from scripture, "Come back to God almighty and he'll rebuild your life." Job 22:23


Luke 21:19 says, "By standing firm you will gain life." What are you standing on that will give life?
A. Friends
B. Family
C. God's Word
D. Small Group @ Church
E. Prayer

What are some shifting foundations we shouldn't stand firm on? (Example: Guilt, Shame)


The scriptures repeatedly teach the strongest action we can take is persistent prayer. How can prayer be powerful when we we've lost everything?

1 John 3:17 says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

What material needs can you share?

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Scandalous Love" Discussion Guide


God has an incredible love for us. He illustrated this love in scandalous fashion when he had the prophet Hosea marry a prostitute, a woman he knew would be unfaithful to him. As Gomer continues her adultrey God instructs Hosea to take her back time and again, which he does. THis tears his heart apart. Why did God tell Hosea to take this risky behavior? It serves as a metaphor on how God takes us back even when we have committd adultrey against him.


1. Read Hosea 1:2-3. Why does God view our realtionship this way? What actions do we take that God would consider adultrey?

2. Read Hosea 2:2-5. How do these verese describe God's pain when we sin?

3. Read Hosea 2:18-20. Notice the "covenant" language in this text. It uses marriage as a context to understand a covenant relationship. How do you define a covenant relationship? How do you think our culture defines it? How does God define it?

4. Read Hosea 3:1-3. Hosea disciplined Gomer so that she could learn to be a faithful wife. How could God discipline us so owe can learn to be faithful to him?

5. Read Hosea 14:1-4. Why is God eager for us to return to him after our betrayal? What could be the "Assyrias" we chase after in our culture (Where do we take security in our culture instead of God)?

6. Read Hosea 14:5. These are images of refreshment. What images of refreshment exist in our culture that would describe God's refeshment in our life.


How does your realtionship with God reflect Hosea's realtionship with Gomer? How do you respond to a love that respects you enough to let you go your own way but is compassionate enought o take you back every time?


How will you return to God? What guardrails could you put up in your life to keep you from committing adultrey against God?

"Who is wise? he will realize these things. Who is discernng? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous will walk in them, but the rebellious ill stumble in them." Hosea 14:9 (NIV)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Your Biggest Need" Discussion Guide


This week we looked at the final step into embracing a radical relationship with Jesus Christ: forgiveness.

So many times we come to God when a crisis happens with our health, when our comfortable life is disrupted, when our core relationships go haywire, or to ask God to grant us success in life. Many times God allows these events to happen in our life so that we will be driven to him. What's interesting is God's answer to our problems. He forgives us. We often want to bypass forgiveness and get to the real deal of healing our urgent problem. We fail to attach the power of forgiveness to our problem. We also fail to attach our sin to the problems we are facing.


1. Read Mark 2:1-5. What was the urgent need in this story? What urgent needs have you brought before God?

2. How does Jesus forgiving this man relate to his physical need?

3. Read Mark 2:6-7. For the "teachers of the law" Jesus' statement was too simple. Forgiveness to them was a complicated dance down at the temple. Many times we can make forgiveness complicated by thinking we have to be good enough to be forgiven. Why do we think this way?

4. Read Mark 2:8-9. React to this quote, "To experience the personal love of Jesus we have to allow him to forgive us." Why is forgiveness such a big deal to Jesus?

5. Read Mark 2:10-12. How do problems we see today in marriages, children, schools, and work (to name a few) relate to sin? Bonus: Examine the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 and think of the consequences for disobeying them.

6. What are some strategies you could adopt to make the forgiveness of Christ apply to the problems of your life?

Why do you participate in a faith community? Do you go becasue of the experience you have while there or because God has forgiven you through his one and only Son, Jesus?

"Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic,... When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Mark 2:3,5 (NIV)

Friday, April 11, 2008

"He's Personal" Discussion Guide


In our culture we like to put things into categories. We have different categories of food (Mexican, Italian, French, etc.), music (R&B, punk, rap, Christian), and movies (romance, action, sci-fi, etc.) to name a few.

Many times we reject God as a category. Our relationship with him is blocked because we view God as the God who hates homosexuals, or the God of the conservative religous people, or the God of judgement, or the God of blind faith, to name a few.

God is not a category. He is personal. Therefore, God will want us to relate to him personally. When we move from seeing God as a category to someone personal our relationship with him will radically change.


1. Describe a favorite toy or stuffed animal you had as a small child. What made that toy personal to you and not just another toy or stuffed animal?

2. Read Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:5-6. How did God relate to Abraham in these passages? What does this passage teach concerning how God will relate to us?

3. Read Exodus 3:1-15. How did God relate to Moses in this passage? How did Moses relate to God? What does this say about our relationship with God?

4. Read John 15:1-8. What does this passage say about our relationship with God?

5. What would it look like for you to relate to God in a personal way?

6. How would your relationship to God change if you were to do this?

In what categories do you place God? How could these categories jeopardize your relationship with God?

"This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into this world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Something Crazy, Pt 1

April 6, 2008

In part 1 of the "Something Crazy" series (Messages for April) I shared that this month it is my desire for you to embrace Jesus in a passionate, radical relationship. The observation was made that when you read the Bible you don't receive a bunch of arguements why you should believe in God. Don't you find that kind of odd? What you get instead is a God that says he loves you unconditionally. He doesn't list a bunch of reasons or arguments why you should love God. We looked at Jeremiah 31:3 that says God's affection for us is beyond our understanding. The verse says God waits on us patiently to turn towards his love for us.

God's love for us brings up another question. Why? Why would God love us this much? Mercy Me, a Christian rock band, has this line on thier latest CD, "Who are we that you would be mindful of us? What do you see that's worth looking our way? We are free in ways that we never should be. Lord you know our hearts do not deserve your glory. Still you show a love we cannot afford" (God With Us).

The Bible is replete with God's love for us. My challenge to you this week is to put aside whatever raodblocks, arguements, or experiences that may be keeping you from experiencing God's love, and allow God to love you is a significant way this week. Meditate and pray through these scriptues below to help you experience God's love this week.

Ro 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
Eph 2:5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Isa 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

1Co 2:9 However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

Meditate on these verse this week and be sure to memorize Jeremiah 31:3 and let the the Word of God lead you towards the love of God!

Have Yourself Committed!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Videos

Below are the Easter Videos that I discussed on Easter Sunday. Kirk

1. Did Jesus actually die on the cross?

Thanks to for this video. You can more info about Jesus at this site.

In Christ Alone,

Kirk Dice

Friday, March 7, 2008

Points of Clarity

I just finished reading the bookk called THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW by Marcus Buckingham. He is a business writer that looks into how the best organizations and leaders acheive their goals.

He points out great organizations and leaders must have is clarity. The way to confidence is to be clear and vivid about the future. Clarity gives confidence. vagueness births anxiousness. He gives three questions that everyone organization to be clear on. I thought I would apply them to Celebration Church.

Question #1: Who do we serve?

This question gives our church focus. Who do we serve? Some say the church should serve the poor and the needy. After all, James says true religion is helping out the orphan and the widow. Others might say we serve those who are lost; those without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Didn't Jesus say we are to witness to the ends of the earth? I've heard people argue that we are to serve morality. The church is here to be a force of good on earth. I've even heard people say the church is serve each other.

None of these are the answer. We are here to serve God and his glory. The first thing we have to remember is the church is not about us. It's about God. It's about His glory. It's about briging people into his fame and not ours. In all our endeavors and decisions we must serve God.

How do we know is we are serving God? When we are obedient to Him. How do we know how to obey? By reading the Bible. It is God's word on how to serve.

Question #2: What is our core strength?

Our core strength is small groups. We believe that people grow into disciples by being part of a small community of believers. It is in a small group that realtionships are formed where we can spur each other on to serve God.

Churches can be strong in a lot of areas, and are. Some are strong in worship, evangelism, missions, or fellowship. All of these are good to have in a church. We have chosen small groups because our focus is on making disciples.

Question #3: What is our core score?

Our core score is keeping track of how many people are actively involved in a small group. Right now we have 7 small groups and our plan is to keep growing. Our vision is to raise up 10,000 disciples. If we average 10 people in each small group then our goal is to start and nourish 1000 small groups.

When Jesus set up the church he set it up as an institution that will serve God. It is in a small group where we are discipled that we learn how to serve God happily and effecively.

Hope this clarifies what Celebration is all about.

In Christ Alone,


(I apologize about the typo's. I had to type this quickly today.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Kingdom of God

I've been preaching on the parables that Jesus gave in Matthew 13. In most of the parables Jesus begins by saying, "The kingdom of God is like..." All of these parables are here to explain how the kingdom of God is supposed to operate.

Jesus started out his ministry by proclaiming, "The Kingdom of God is near!" Ever wonder what he meant by that?

Take the Jew of that day. Back in the day there were prophets who would proclaim the word of God. They were the advisors to the King. They helped determine military strategy. Sometimes they were unpopular becasue they would tell the people when they were turning thier backs on God. Some were celebrated and others were hated. In the end though, God spoke through these prophets.

A problem arose though. After Nehemiah built the wall of Jerusalem the prophets were no more and God in effect went silent. All the grand miracles that God had performed went silent. All the advice for military battles was gone.

This silence from God lasted 400 years. Imagine that. Our nation is only a little over 200 years old. For the people in Jesus day God had essentially quit speaking directly to them a long, long, long time ago. The prophecies, the incredible events, God intervening on thier behalf, was just a mere history lesson.

Then, out of the blue, this guy from Galilee, not even Jerusalem, starts proclaiming the kingdom of God is near. He goes around the countryside performing these incredible miracles. People start noticing that he fits the description the prophets of old talked about. Could it be God was moving again?

Not only that Jesus gets up in a synagoge one day, reads one of the scriptures about the Messiah, and says I'm what this prophet is talking about. For some people this was to good to be true. God has been silent for 400 years and all of a sudden this guy comes along and says God's back?

Some believed though. Some understood. Some placed their faith in him.

Then this Jesus died and all his claims with him. Has God realy spoken again?

Then Jesus rose from the dead and ushered in a new Kingdom of God. A kingdom that includes you!

So I have a question for you. How do you see the Kingdom of God in your life? Jesus didn't die to be silent.


Friday, February 15, 2008

To Good To Be True

Lisa and I had a great laugh on Valentine's Day. We are looking for a home but we have limited resources. So looking for a home takes patience and catching a break somewhere down the line.

The other night Lisa was looking at homes on the internet and she found a home on 3 acres for $30,000! Can you believe it! It was a nice home too.

Get this. The site said the average home in the area was $400,000! It was being sold at a -93% of the homes around it. Talk about your built in equity! This was too good to be true.

I decided to call the agent and I told him what the internet site said the price was. He said that was nice of them, but the actual price was $305,000! I told him if that was the actual cost I would buy it that night!

It was too good to be true.

Of course that got me to reflecting as I went to bed at night. Jesus said that I have some real estate waiting for me in heaven. He even went on to say I don't even have to pay for it. He already did with his blood. Plus, I know I have a home because he has placed a deposit called the Holy Spirit in my life. It's waiting for me. I thought that is to good to be true- but it is true!

Plus, this weekend is my Son's birthday. He's turning the double digits- 10! I just heard a comedian talk about birthdays. He says when you are a kind you'll say, "I'm 8 and a half" or "I'm 6 and 3/4's old!" You never hear a thirty year old say that, "I'm 36 and a 1/4!"

I would like to highlight Dietrich today since it is his birthday. I rememebr when he was born of course. It's been exciting to have a boy in my home. Never a dull moment. I hope he knows how much I love him. How much I believe in him. I think of the special gift from God that he is. He's a great gift from heaven. He really is too good to be true.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Lisa's Trip to the Surgery

Lisa had her wisdom teeth taken out today. As many of you know this is quite the experience. I was the "escort." That means I get to play nurse to Lisa for the rest of the day.

The most interesting part of the trip was on the way there. The doctor's office was just off Battlefield Blvd. down near the Chesapeake Hospital.

For whatever reason traffic started backing up when we got on I-64 just off I-664. According to the road sign flashing it was backed up all the way to the high rise bridge. We were just sitting on the road and we knew we were going to be late for Lisa's surgery. We called ahead to the doctor.

When we go to the route 13 (painstakingly slow) exit we decided to get off not sure how to reroute the traffic. A lot of these roads are still new to us. We quickly determined we needed some help so we called Don Handyside for instructions. Before he could determine where we were on 13 south we somehow looped around and we found ourselves right back where we started at the I-664 to I-64 exit. Traffic was backed up even further now!

From there Don figured out where we were and gave us OnStar guidance to get around the traffic. He told us make sure you are in this lane and make sure you are headed this direction. He did an excellent job. We arrived at our doctor's office not to far off from our scheduled time.

This little adventure led me to this little spiritual thought. When you get stuck in your life, call up God. He will be the OnStar for your life. He will make your paths straight!

In Christ Alone,


Friday, January 25, 2008

Tiger's Golf Lesson

If you follow professional golf at all, or sports in general, you may have heard about this story. A star host on the Golf Channel, Ms. Tilgham (sp?) said some very racist remarks in jest concerning Tiger Woods. Ms. Tilgham and Tiger are friends and according to Tiger, they discussed the issue, remain good friends, and are moving on.

The media didn't want to leave it at that. A golf magazine decided this was a provocative discussion to pursue and so they wrote an article about it, and on the cover of the magazine they placed a picture of a noose. This picture and the article sparked a great controversy. So much so that the editor who placed the noose on the cover is now reportedly looking for a new job. Ms. Tigham is being disciplined by the golf channel.

Many people have said that Tiger should take a stronger stand on this issue than what he has. He should speak up for his civil rights. Those who had gone before him have done so much just so he could have his current position of influence. That is true. Maybe he should use his influence to take a stronger stance than what he has. Tiger's stance is he cannot take up every cause in the world. He has already chosen which causes to get behind.

In all the fray and talk over this discussion is something I don't see from my "Generation X" eyes. I grew up in a generation where the Civil Rights movement is more of a textbook lesson than a reality I have experienced (I'm speaking of the 60's). One thing I see missing in the Civil Rights movement is forgiveness. Are not the leaders of the movement ministers of the grace of God? One thing I see Tiger demonstrating with Ms. Tilgham is forgiveness. He forgave her and now he is moving on. What is so wrong with that? Why hasn't anyone noticed this? Is our culture so far removed from the message of Jesus?

Now don't get me wrong, I know the Civil Rights movement was needed and is still needed in our country. You have to take action when people are not being treated as Christ values them. Every person in God's eyes is valuable and our culture should demonstrate that fact.

The question I have is this: When it is required to take a stand can we not also offer forgiveness? I'm not saying to be a push over and let people walk all over you. That is not forgiveness. That is stupidity. Forgiveness heals the relationship, it doesn't allow one person or group to dominate over another, or as the Bible says, "Lord it over them."

The Bible says forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. How did Christ forgave you? He gave up his rights on the cross so he could die for your sin. It heals the breach between you and God and that forgiveness we recieved from God is supposed to spill over to others in this world. Where is the forgiveness?

I believe that forgiveness is the most powerful force in the world. It is because of the forgiveness of Christ that we have the hope of heaven when all the races of the earth will live in harmony (RV 7:9). Didn't Jesus teach us to ask in his model prayer to have what is happening in heaven happen down here? (MT 6) In case you don't know he did!

Maybe Tiger, who unfortunatley is Bhuddist, unwittingly took a stand. He took a stand of forgiveness when he forgave Ms' Tilgham and "moved on."

I believe that is only through the power of forgiveness that Martin Luther King's dream will be achieved. Maybe that's the greatest golf lesson of all.

In Christ Alone,


Friday, January 18, 2008

A Money Party

My son's birthday party is coming up in February. He's going to be hitting double digits, 10 years old. The days of him being a little guy are behind him now. He's going to start turning into a man from here on out, at first slowly, in the end all too quickly.

This year Dietrich wants to have a "money party" instead of a birthday party. He wants everyone to give him money. He's hoping to get enough money to buy a Wii or somehting else. At first I reacted negatively to his request. You don't go around demanding people give you money for your birthday. I told him that is rude. You gladly accept whatever anyone gives you. If it happens to be money all the better. If they ask you what to give you for your birthday you can tell him or her. But you don't go around demanding a money party as your birthday party.

As I have been preparing these messages I have considered Dietrich's thoughts concerning the church. I thought it could seem to some that when it comes to money, the church is all about having a "money party." Many people think that is what the church is all about. They think the church is being rude. They think the church is being demanding. They could wonder why the church should have the right to ask for money.

Because of that ideology out there many ministers are scared to talk about money. I had one minister share that he never talks about money. He was shocked when I told him that I spend an entire month talking about it. But I do. I do becasue Jesus had more to say about money then any other subject. If I am going to preach Jesus then I better preach about money.

When you examine what Jesus said about money he never encouraged people to come together and have "money" parties. What he emphasized was our money management needs to be in line with God's vision. It was simple as that. Part of that vision is giving because the character of God is generous by nature.

Last week I shared that for the sake of heaven, we need to be shrewd with our wealth on earth.

Talk about it. What do you think? Have you ever thought that how you spend your money now directly impacts what you will experience in heaven?

A lot of people think heaven will be a communist state with everyone being treated equally. I don't see that in the Bible. What I do see is everyone being treated individually, as God sees fit. Jesus said himself we will be rewarded in heaven according to our deeds. My deeds are different than yours. Therefore you will receive something different than me.

What do you think? How does your spending habits, maney management, affect heaven? How could your spending be any different? How would it impact your lifestyle?

In Christ Alone, Kirk

Friday, January 11, 2008

Home Team Update

Today I wanted to give you all an update on the Home Team and there progress. If you don't know, the Home Team is is a team that will look into and find a permenant home for Celebration. It is being led by Romy Feliciano. There job is to find a peice of land for our home by June of this year. As you can see this team has its work cut out.

So where are they at?

At the beginning of this month the elders gave Romy a job description for the team. I thought I would share with you what was written in the description.

First, it lays out the "win" for the team. It says, "The Home Team has accomplished its goal when they have proposed a piece of land to the leadership of the church to be the new church home. The goal is to have a piece of land purchased or have begun the process of purchasing by June of 2008."

That is pretty straight forward.

The description also states what kind of land they need to seek out. First, it states the new home needs to be located centrally in Suffolk. There area a number of reasons for this. One big reason is our church is already drawing people from Windsor to North Carolina and from Chesapeake to Holland. That is a wide geographical area and our church needs to stay central to those locations.

Secondly, it states that the peice of property needs to be near a major road with easy access. It also states the peice of land needs to be at least 5 acres of land.

The description says they will report to the elders of thier progress. It also states they will give updates to the congregation by giving reports during the service and by writing in the church program from time to time.

We really need a home! We are rapidly outgrowing the YMCA facilities, especially when it comes to the children. The KidMo room is getting to crowded and we are currently looking at options to ease the condition. Also, if we grow to much more we are going to have to radically change our seating arrangement.

We also need a home becasue God has laid out an incredible vision for us! 10,000 disciples, one person at a time.

I'll continue to give you updates as the team progresses.

In Christ Alone,


Friday, January 4, 2008

Faith and Church Budgets

At Celebration we are considering the budget for 2008. I noted in a church e-mail that church budgets are different from a family budget or a business budget. In a family budget you must stay within the boudsaries of your income. In a business budget yoou worry about the bottom line.

In a church budget you have to consider faith. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. If we don't plan a budget with faith then our stewardship will not please God. In that light I want to share with you some basic ideas on faith, ministry, and budgets. I'm going to share with you an article Rick Warreen, minister at Saddleback Church, wrote on faith and ministry. What does it mean to have a faith budget?

1. Believing When I Don't See It.
Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being certain of what we do not see. it is visualizing the future in advance. The world says, "Seeing is believing." God says, "Believing is seeing."

2. Obeying When I Don't See It.
Has god ever told you to do osomehting and it just didn't make any sense? This is the essence of Noah's story. Noah was told to build a boat in a world where people have never heard of a flood. Noah didn't understand it either, but he built the boat anyway. I betcha he was glad he did once the flood began to rise.

3. Giving When I Don't Have It.
(11:4b) “In faith Abel was commended as a righteous man and God spoke well of his offering.”
Isn’t that interesting? Giving and faith go together. God uses money to test our faithfulness. God watches the giving of a Christian. The Bible says if you have not been faithful with unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you with true spiritual riches? There is a direct relationship between how I use my money and how much of God's power I experience in my life. It influences how much God can bless my life. I think God expects leaders to take the lead in giving. You cannot out give God.

How do you develop persistence? How do you develop the kind of persistence that keeps you in a position when God has put you there, when every bone in your body says, “Move or quit the ministry!” Where do you get that kind of persistence?
(v. 27)“It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the king’s anger. He held onto his purpose like a man who could see the invisible.”
Notice the key to persistence is that last phrase – he could see the invisible. Only as we see the invisible can we accomplish the impossible. The key to persistence is to keep your eyes on God. Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Corrie Ten Boom says, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” It all depends on where you’ve got your eyes.

A good illustration for this is Joshua. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. Jericho was the most fortified city in the world at that time. God said, “There’s no way a bunch of slaves are going to take this thing, but here’s what I want you to do: March around the city seven times a day for seven days and then I’ll cause a miracle.”
What were they doing seven times a day for seven days? Thanking God in advance. Praising God in advance. Faith doesn’t mean you believe God can do something. He can do it whether you believe it or not. Faith doesn’t mean believing He will do something. That’s hope. You hope He will. Faith is believing He’s doing it! That He’s already doing it. That the answer is already on the way.
(Mark 11:24) “When you pray believe that you have received it and then you’ll be given what you’ve asked for.”
Don’t beg. Just thank God in advance. Make your request and then be continually thanking. If I were to write out a check for $1000 and give it to you, would you wait until you’ve cashed it to thank me? (You might!) No, you’d thank me the moment you made the request and the check was offered.

Ministering by faith does not exempt you from problems. We all know that from personal experience. (Hebrews 11:39-40) Anybody can trust God in ministry when things are going great. Big deal!
Real faith is developed in the valleys of ministry, when the situation looks impossible, when the people look hopeless, when the tide has turned against you, and when you’re tempted to ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” This is a test!
Faith is trusting that if you don’t get it, God has a better idea -- a far, far better idea. In Abraham’s case, it took God five more years to reveal the better idea, but He did. And don’t you think there were some real questions during those five years?
Faith is trusting even if you don’t get it. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re not pleasing God, and if you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re ministering in sin.

I'm excited about what God is going to do at Celebration in 2008!

Have Yourself Committed!