Apr 192007

As a pastor, leader, and one of the founding pastors of an incredible church, I am supposed to be fearless and have it all together.  As I write this, I am reminded of the primary reason it took me so long to take the plunge and start a church; I was simply afraid!  I was scared to death of failure and the lack of financial security associated with starting a church from scratch. 

Among the blogs that I like to read regularly is pastor Steven Furtick’s.  He is pastor of Elevation Church, an explosive and growing church in Charlotte, NC that is a couple of years ahead of Church at the Grove.

PLEASE READ HIS BLOG POST addressing the fears of a church planting pastor. 

If you don’t mind, please pray for Craig, David and myself as we follow God’s leadership! 

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Apr 182007

I finally, absolutely have to say something about this!  What does it mean to go deep? 

It has become common in our church culture to make reference to “going deep” spiritually and in Bible study and “going deep” often is a prerequisite for choosing where one attends worship.  Our choice of church should be less about what I want and more about where God is leading me to partner with others to accomplish the GREAT COMMISSION.  Its not about ME.  It is about OTHERS.  Is it possible that our idea and definition of what “going deep” is has been imposed upon us by a “church culture” bent on gaining knowledge and a “new” biblical insight over and above APPLYING biblical principles to our daily life? 

Many people define “going deep” according to the “wow” factor created by someone whose primary purpose is to teach the Bible to people in such a way to increase their biblical base of knowledge.  Many people in this category will define their church experience according to what new insight they learned that they haven’t thought of before.  Many define their church experience according to the number of new greek or hebrew words they learned from the bible teacher. 

Here is the danger of defining “going deep” according to these characterizations: 

The Apostle Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians 8 of the fact that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”. 

I believe that going deep is less about confusing hearers with an incredible “insight” and more about leading people to apply biblical principles to their daily life.  That is deep!  Leading and teaching people principles from God’s word that lead, teach, motivate and inspire them to love others is deep!

Jesus taught us that deep is “loving your enemy and praying for them”, “turning the other cheek”, “going the extra mile” and “loving your neighbor as yourself”.  Now, that is DEEP!

Pastor Shawn Lovejoy of Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, GA gives some additional insight into this dilemma of “going deep” in one of his posts.  I promise it is worth the read.  After reading it, shut down the computer, go outside and find someone you can love! 


 Posted by at 9:26 am
Apr 172007

This past Sunday I asked people who may be exploring faith in Christ to begin their day over the next two weeks with a simple prayer, “God, if you are there, please reveal yourself to me.”  What was revealed to us early Monday morning, but a news flash of a gunman going on a killing spree on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

People are asking question like Why did this happen? How was this allowed to happen? What could have prevented this? 

Around the country and even around the world, theologians, spiritual shepherds, and religious leaders are offering answers to these and many more questions like them. 

Being a professional Christian, (I am a pastor) I feel as if I am obligated to offer some answers but I simply do not feel like I can give adequate answers.  I know there is scripture that we can quote or refer to that should give us comfort and insight, but sometimes this doesn’t even seem to be enough. 

I was talking with a friend today that has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and we simply concluded that sometimes life just SUCKS!  (I normally would not use this word, but it was the preferred choice of my friend so I will blame it on him.) 

I am reminded of what my former pastor, Ike Reighard, would often say related to tragedy or personal suffering, “When we can’t trace His (God) hand, we can trust His heart.”

Another pastor of Church at the Grove, Craig Story, has a cousin that was supposed to be in a classroom on the same floor where so many were shot.  He had been at a wedding over the weekend and was coming back into the campus late and didn’t make it to class early Monday morning.  Check out Craig’s post concerning the events. 

I am reminded of the importance of our theological beliefs (Our beliefs about God and spiritual things) during times like this.  What we believe about God is absolutely vital!

I believe God is Holy!  I believe God is good!

I know this may not comfort those who are grieving and those that have questions, but over time what we believe about God does make a difference.

Our prayers and hearts go out to the students and families of the Virginia Tech community!

 Posted by at 9:47 pm
Apr 162007

I am guilty!

I am guilty of placing limits on God.  I am guilty of having a perspective of God that is too small and limited.  God is BIG and our view and perspective of him should be BIG.  God knew we would struggle with this.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I am currently reading Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.  Mark is pastor of the National Community Church  in Washington, D.C.  It is a fun, easy and extremely motivational read regarding how to survive and thrive when opportunity ROARS!

He is challenging the ‘stink’ out of me to face my fears and look at them as opportunities to thrive.  He emphasizes that when we run from fear rather than face up to it, we forfeit opportunities to see God show up in a BIG way.  He challenges us to consider our view of God.

“Astronomers have spied galaxies 12.3 billion light-years from earth.  To put that distance into perspective, consider the fact that light traveling 186,000 miles per second only takes eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles between the sun and planet earth.  Sunlight is only eight minutes old.  But light from the furthest galaxy takes 12.3 billion years to get here.  That distance is virtually incomprehensible!  And God says that is about the distance between His thoughts and our thoughts.  Your best thought about God on your best day falls 12.3 billion light-years short of how great and how good God really is.” (pg. 28) 

I am in the midst of expanding my perspective and view of God.  I invite you to join me on the journey!

 Posted by at 7:45 am