Nov 262008

Good routines become bad routines if we don’t change the routine! 

In his new book, Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson warns against one of the greatest dangers we face spiritually.  It is learning how, but forgetting why!

One of the keys to spiritual growth is developing healthy spiritual disciplines, but one of the dangers to our spiritual growth is going through the familiar motions but forgetting why we do it.  Batterson calls it “familiarization, habituation, and routinization. 

Batterson teaches that we tend to think and act in patterned ways and states that “the tendency to think the way we’ve always thought or do it the way we’ve always done it is called Heuristic bias.  It is an incredibly complex cognitive process, but the end result is mindlessness.” (pg. 59) 

We end up doing things without thinking about them. 

With Thanksgiving being a national holiday where we gather with family and friends and eat, is it possible that we do this routine without literally thinking about what we are thankful for?  I hope not! 

As we enter this holiday season, do something differentChange the routine in a way that will help you think about what we celebrate and who we worship. 

Don’t be guilty of heuristic bias or simply “going through the motions”!

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Nov 242008

Big Idea: 
God takes Full Responsibility for a life fully yielded to Him.  
We must resist the drift to become part of the religious establishment that Jesus spoke against.

Memory Verse:
Matthew 8:3 (NIV)
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

Action Step:
Invite someone to attend a gathering with you at Church at the Grove that you have previously thought would never attend church.

Random Thoughts:

  • Yesterday was an incredible day!  Our regular offering was almost $6000.00 AND our STRETCH offering was a little over $8000.00! 
  • I am so thankful and proud of our generous people. 
  • Ric, Jordan and James did an incredible job. How is it that they can get that much sound out of 3 guys.  Part of it is having a top notch guy like Jimmy Spears running sound yesterday. 
  • I am thankful for Jimmy, James, Shane and Gabe that run our sound.  Those guys are servants.
  • I am also thankful for Billy and Tom that run our Media Shout presentation software so we can have words on the screen.  Those guys do a great job as well.
  • Man!!!!!  Wasn’t it great not to have to break down yesterday. I am thankful for a Thanksgiving school holiday!
  • I had to do a funeral yesterday for an old friend of my Dads.  My dad past away in August of ’97 and “Buttermilk” Gibbs was in attendance when Butch (my brother) and I preached my Dads funeral.  He told his family that he wanted one of those “Butcher boys” to preach his funeral.  I hope I was able to give them some encouragement from God’s Word.  It was a joy to serve “Buttermilk’s” family.
  • This week is Thanksgiving.  I will head down south for a day and a half to spend some time with Jill’s family and then we will be back Friday for Thanksgiving dinner with our family.
  • I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and remember to “pay it forward” since we have so much to be thankful for.  Jesus gives us some to be thankful for everyday!

 Posted by at 7:03 pm
Nov 222008

Most churches, denominations or revivals began as movements orchestrated by the Spirit of God, but many succumb to “DRIFT” and turn into institutions that continue forward without consistent leadership by the Spirit of God.

Here are some comparisons and characteristics of “institutions” vs. “movements”:

Movements                                                Institutions
Spirit Leadership                                       Person’s leadership
Aggressive                                                  Conservative
Love                                                            Fear
Active                                                         Passive
Outward                                                     Inward
Future                                                        Past
Influencing                                                Influenced
Crosses Boundaries                                 Guards Boundaries

I want to be a leader of a Movement rather than a keeper of an institution!  I pray that as Church at the Grove moves forward we continue in a spirit of a movement and we resist the DRIFT of institutions!

 Posted by at 8:33 am
Nov 212008

This Sunday concludes our STRETCH series regarding what the Bible says about our finances, our wealth and our stuff.  There are two exciting and important elements that impact our church and community LONG after this series is over.

90 day giving Challenge:
We are asking everyone to began an exciting journey of surrendering and trusting God with our finances like never before.  We are asking our people to commit to 90 days of “tithing” our income, trusting God to meet our needs as we are faithful to give.  This is for everyone who is already giving and those that have yet to take this step of faith. 
Malachi 3:8-10 (NIV)
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
9 You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

I have complete confidence that God will meet everyone of your needs if you respond to this exciting challenge.

I cannot wait to hear the stories!

We are taking up a “one time” STRETCH offering that is over and above your regular giving that will STRETCH your faith, will result in STRETCHING God’s Kingdom through STRETCHING a dollar. 

What should you give?  That is a great question, but I believe it should be a STRETCH of faith, meaning it should not be easy.  It should be a sacrifice for you. 

I suggest that you simply pray individually and pray and talk about it as a couple. God will lead you.

We will be using this STRETCH offering for a few things:

  • We will first give to mission work in our community and beyond. 
  • We will set aside a portion as reserve just as we would counsel a faith to have reserves for an emergency.
  • We will fund our “Shop With A Hero” ministry to children and families on December 6.
  • Depending on the amount of the offering, we have several “capital” type needs to address for the church.

Please pray that God will use this series in the lives of our families and for the mission of Church at the Grove as we seek to impact the surrounding community.

 Posted by at 3:11 pm