Oct 242007
 

Jill and I head to the mountains of North Georgia today for a few days.  You may or may not hear from me while I am there.  We are going to lock the kids in the basement and throw some snacks down there while we are gone.  Just kidding!

They will be with our friends the Keslers for a couple of days while we get some good time away. 

 Posted by at 1:21 pm
Oct 242007
 

There are some people in life that you cross paths with that simply change your life forever.  Jill and I crossed paths with Phillip and Marjorie Kesler while serving at Concord Baptist Church in Clermont, GA in the late nineties.  Marjorie’s son Walt was in our youth group and we saw God begin a work that has led him into becoming a missionary.  Marjorie has become “Nana” to our children and she, along with Phillip and her daughter Rebecca treat us more like family than friends. 

I know that Marjorie, Phillip, Walt and Mercy, and Rebecca pray for our family as much or more than anyone else in our lives.  I know that they pray daily for our safety.  This is probably due to the fact that they know if anything happens to me or Jill, they will probably be stuck with our children.  I think they would rather have them for short periods of time and still be able to give them back. 

I am so proud to have this family in our lives.  It has been a true joy to journey with them and see God do amazing things in their lives.  I am thankful especially to see God mature and work through Walt and Rebecca’s life.  This is a testimony to Marjorie and Phillip.

Jill and I are in dire need of a getaway and leave for the North Georgia Mountains today and we couldn’t do it without having this family to help us with our children.

Check out these pics of this part of our family:

Walt and Mercy

Nana and kids

Phillip and kids

Rebecca and Walt

 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Oct 242007
 

I spent Monday evening and Tuesday morning in a church planting practicum with the guys at Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, GA.  They have a church of great influence in their area and it would be easy for them to continue to rock and roll without making themselves available to anyone else.  I appreciate their willingness to share their success with those of us just starting in this journey.  Lead Pastor Shawn Lovejoy, David Putnam and their staff were awesome in sharing practical tips and ideas to facilitate reaching disconnected people.  I really appreciate their transparency and honesty in sharing practical insights about what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them over the years.

Check out their practicums.

Check out their Conference in February.

Check out their Coaching Network.

Check out Louie Lovoy’s blog on Growth groups and Community.  Louie Rocks!

I had the opportunity to meet the famous Chris Elrod at the practicum.  Chris is an awesome guys and has an awesome blog.  Chris shared some health issues with his dad.  Pray for him. 

 Posted by at 11:27 am
Oct 242007
 

Craig did an outstanding job explaining and illustrating how the unseen world impacts our mission of taking Jesus to people.  He shared the negative images that have been created by people and organizations that have simple been mislead by the unseen, evil forces that want to keep people from hearing about Jesus. 

We often create a “fortress” mentality that we have experienced God and now we will be protected from all of “those people” “out there” that could influence in a negative way.  God is our fortress according to scripture.  We don’t need to build another one.

I want to share someone’s perspective from this past Sunday’s gathering and how they have applied it to their life.  Brian Peart is a personal friend and he has a heart for God.  Read through this devotional he sent out to people in his circle of influence.  Brian works in the mortgage industry and really has a desire to be Jesus to people in that world. 

YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has annointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the CAPTIVES and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” Luke 4:18

Most of these messages are just me sharing my walk or something God has taught me through His word.  Rarely do I share things that I learn in Church or hear from other Preachers unless it is really a blow away.  This Sunday I heard a message from my Pastor that I think will change the way I live my life.  And it may bless you as well. He shared about 4 types of Christians and ironically, I see in myself at different times of my life a shift from one type to the next-almost like a transition. I don’t think there has to be a transition, just that there was in my case. Many people come to Christ but the change, the alienation is too painful so they choose to kind of blend in.  They don’t change any of their habits, their friends really don’t see any outward difference in their life.  They keep on doing what they always have done because it is comfortable.  Problem is, since there is no outward difference their testimony is mute with their friends.  The very people they have the
greatest chance to be used to reach never get reached because there is no difference.  I know many young men in this place-I was there my first 3 years of knowing Christ, from 1995-1998.

Or they go another way.  This is probably the main way we see Christianity manifested today in the US.  They DO change, they get involved in their Church, and there is safety there.  Jesus is talked about at church, their friends eventually become all the “church people”, but the thought of being like their old friends, being corrupted or tainted by the world is scary.  Their old friends fall away.  We tell ourselves, in some way, that it is OK because we should not be like the world.  But once again, the people we have the best chance of reaching don’t get reached.  The Monks started this exclusionary culture, I think Baptist churches may have perfected it. We grow the members but the church has it’s own culture.  Oh they are friendly if you want to join them but outreach becomes a project instead of just a manifestation of their love of Christ.  Hence, many in the world are turned off by the hypocrisy-we are one way on Sunday and a different way all week.  The Church does not talk about Jesus much outside the comfort of the church environment-and a world continues to go to Hell.  But the individual is growing-and for many, that is where they spend their lives.  For me, that was my time at Summit from 1999 to 2003/4.

But Jesus never modeled setting up a church and building a wall.Some, however, take the word and catch fire. This is probably where I find myself right now.  I live Christ for all to see in the workplace, every where I go.  Part of a church but the church is just part of my ministry.  The world is my ministry, all the people I meet.  You may say I am in attack mode trying to be open to all the ways God can use me and just saying yes, Lord.  I am quick to call you out if you are not living the right way and am especially hard on other Christians. My sphere of influence grows and many are amazed at my boldness.  If you are getting divorced I am quick with Scripture to tell you where you are wrong(whether you want to hear it or not).  Unafraid of the Gospel, I will take it anywhere.  A hypocrite I am not, and I am against the things that are against God.  But you know what is missing?  Love!

Oh, I will be cordial to the homosexual, to the adulterer, to the liberal atheist.  And I am not afraid to tell them from my perch where they are wrong given the opportunity.  But walk across the room and befriend them, spend time with them, develop a relationship with them-not me.  I am too busy and they are not “like” me.  I don’t see them as enemies intellectually for I am cordial to them but my actions treat them as such.  NOW HERE IS THE BLOW AWAY…..Jesus did not see
these people as enemies-he saw them as CAPTIVES.  THESE ARE THE PEOPLE HE CAME TO SAVE!  These are who He spent his time with. My old friends that faded away are who I NEED to keep the relationships alive with-they are bound!  Satan has succeeded in keeping them in bondage because I did not realize they were captives needing to be set free.  My mission field, so I thought, was “out there”, but God desired for me to grow in full view of my friends.  Not to alienate them with my actions, to separate and build a wall, but to grow in their midst so they can see the change and the love of Jesus could truly be modeled.  This is where we need to be, where I need to be.  Not to conform to their world, not to hide in our “church world”, not to throw rocks at them from a pulpit, but to be transformed in their midst.  Still showing love and respect to them as human’s no worse then me-just in bondage where I have been set free.  If we do that, if we truly model Christ and they truly feel His love manifested in us, this whole country can be saved.  Jesus offers freedom, it is one thing to say it, it is another to live it amongst them.  That is what Jesus did.  Forgive me sweet Jesus for this transgression….and help me to live that way going forward!
Have a blessed week! Brian  

 Posted by at 7:34 am