A Rhetorical Thought for the Day…no response needed.

angryhulkA rhetorical thought for the day…no response needed. I was wondering about something this morning. Why do one or two people become “everyone’s” opinion in a certain population group? If a couple of democrats or republicans feel a certain way about a topic…all of the people in that party “thus” feel that way? Also, why does everyone seek for acceptance instead of tolerance for their beliefs? Does everyone in our country have to believe the same? If so, whose belief is right … who decides this? It is baffling for me to try to wrap my mind around why people are acting so crazy. We read or watch our chosen news outlet and that  becomes canon. People today seem so quick to judge…so quick to make very closed minded decisions with so little information.

Why does this happen? I have one friend that says it is all about money. I hope this isn’t true. A group of people would try to control media and public opinion so they could make money.

Could it be power? Is angst something so desired that it would provide a particular group power or presumed power to make decisions? Is it worth so much hate and anger for this so-called power?

Do people just want to be angry and dislike others? has this become the point of purpose for our lives – get angry? It almost looks like a core value of society is be angry with at least one person. If you live a life like this … it is not much of a life.

I am a very conservative Christian. Just typing that, there are many people who have placed me in a “camp.” I have been judged. As much as I would like everyone to have the same morals as I do, I know that will not happen. But I need to be peacefully and lovingly tolerant of others with different beliefs.

This world in which we live has become a self-made fear box…a thunder dome and octagon of battle for all things different. Let’s work toward changing this lifestyle. My faith in Christ has a basis on love. Other faith systems the same. Even atheists and agnostics have a moral code of respect of others. If all that is true…what in the world are we doing?

I write this not for debate…not for judgement. I want to present a rhetorical thought for our future as earth-ers. May we all respect and tolerate difference. May we treat others as we would like to be treated.

…until the next step…

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Inconceivable!!!

inconceivable

I was leading a study on Spiritual Gifts the other day. A book I read in preparation stated
that 10% of the church have people blessed with the gift of evangelism. As I was teaching, I mentioned what if 30 people of OBC were serving as evangelists (10% of 300). I didn’t plan to say this, but sometimes the Lord brings things to your mind as you teach.
That statement has been on my mind ever since…what if that 30 fulfilled their giftedness??? WOW! The thought got bigger…they say 16% of our county is in worship every Sunday. That is about 20,000 people. That would mean 2,000 evangelists. Granted, this is statistics and there is always a chance of errors…but let’s count that in our calculation…so, let’s say 1,500 evangelists. If we had that many evangelists fulfilling their giftedness, what would this community look like?  WOW…WOW…WOW!!! I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited!
But there is a problem…churches aren’t teaching much on giftedness. Churches are not doing the best job plugging people into a position where they can serve in their giftedness. Churches are also turning into venues of more quick-fix, self-help, entertainment instead of a house of challenging biblical teaching.  I am not saying all churches. But I think all churches would not get a good grade for equipping evangelists.
Do I have the answers? Nope. Do I see a need? Yep. Do I want a change? Yes, please. Let us all start praying now for pastors to step up their equipping game. Let us all pray for those blessed with the gift of evangelism to realize their giftedness. Begin praying for the church to be the church. If all churches did that…can you imagine what would happen?!?!
…until the next step…

Looking Ahead

looking aheadThis past business meeting at OBC, I communicated that when I came on as pastor there were three things I wanted to focus on: get to know the people, learn how the church operates, and pray that God would show me a vision of who OBC is.

It has been a good first year. I have made some great relationships with the people of OBC.  I feel like I understand how the church is governed and operated. I have learned some of the core values of the church are community, family, and the Bible. 

As year two starts, I again am keeping a goal of 3 simple things: Build on the strengths of the church, evaluate areas that need improving and polishing, and seek out more leaders to partner in ministry.

Some examples: Discipleship at OBC is very healthy.  We have a strong Sunday School, mid-week study, and in-depth study on Sunday night. Can we start more Sunday School classes? Could we have other classes focused on specific studies like marriage, finances, etc.? 

When you say improvement, many get scared thinking there will be big change. That is not always true. An area might just need a bit of polish. I think signage is a need at OBC. We are having many people visiting us, and they walk-in and stare at 3 doors wondering which way to go to the sanctuary. We need signs pointing people in the right direction.  We need friendly faces welcoming those who are not as familiar with the church. 

OBC needs to recruit more leaders to be involved with ministries.  Do we have teachers? Yes. Do we have Deacons? Yes. Does it look like from the outside we are good with volunteers? Yes.  But we need more because God has big things in store for OBC. We need current teachers to train-up new teachers.  We need people on committees who have never served to learn from experienced leaders on various matters. If people don’t serve, sadly, they have a danger of being a consumer. Those who give of their time see the Kingdom of God as much more than a pew.

I am very excited for what God has in-store for the next year in ministry!!!

…until the next step…

The Best Partner in Life!

W18320656_10154967036993392_5464892823381050950_o.jpghen the Carlisle’s transitioned to OBC, Mary Beth was concerned about being a lead pastor’s wife. As you know MB is not the normal “cookie cutter” lady.  I lovingly classify her as rustic, yet feminine. She is a beautiful lady, but never shy’s away from work or serving others. So, when we accepted the position at OBC, she started researching (which is what she does best) what it means to be a pastor’s wife.  She literally sent out a survey to pastor’s wives to learn more of what this role meant.

One year into this ministry, MB is rocking it.  She loves the church so much. She visits…hangs out…works…serves…jokes around…plans…and makes many a todo list:) It has been a blessing, seeing her dive into ministry and relationships with those of OBC. Now, I am just the guy who preaches who is married to Mary Beth:) She is such a blessing to the church, family, and me.

I am preaching Proverbs 31 this Sunday for the Mother’s Day message.  Ever time I read it, I am like, “That is Mary Beth.” Anyone who knows Mary Beth is blessed. I love her. I respect her. And I am wow’d by her faith daily. Here is to the best partner!!!

Carlisle: Year One

batman-year-one-522af25e36be9I am a big fan of Batman.  Batman: Year One, is one of the best comics.  It is all about how Batman became the Caped Crusader.  It is his origin story of one of the greatest heroes ever! 

At the end of this week, I will officially complete my first year as a lead pastor, Carlisle: Year One. I cannot tell you how much I have learned.  I’m no “Batman” of the pastorate, but I feel like this first year, I have been blessed.

I would like to use what Batman learned in his year one as an outline of what I learned:

  1.  Have passion for your purpose – Batman knew exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to save his city. That means fight crime. He had a passion for that and would do all he could to fulfill his purpose.  I absolutely love the Bible and equally love teaching it to others. This year I preached 124 times, did a couple funerals, performed a wedding, and did my first revival. It was a lot of work to do all that, but it energized me. I am energized to do another year!
  2. Everyone needs a bat cave. I love when Batman had to figure something out or train to be ready for the next villain…he went to the Bat cave!  I am blessed to have a great cave, office, to work in.  The books, computers, and my guitar when I need some thinking time helps me accomplish my calling.  
  3. Know your gear. The cool thing about Batman for me is the utility belt. You never know what Batman will pull out of there. There is a fix for every problem in that belt. This year I have been more thankful for what Southern Seminary has trained me to do … be a theologian.  I have used every ounce of education this year. 
  4. Take time to rest or your body will take time for you. Bruce Wayne always pushes himself too hard as Batman. In year one, he got hurt a lot. And because of his passion for his purpose, he would push himself to a point of brokenness. OBC is such a good church to work for. They allow me time and a flexible schedule to rest. This blessing will allow me to have health to go the distance.
  5. Have a Jim Gordon in your life. Batman soon learned that having a partner in his passion like Jim Gordon, would help him be the best he could be.  I’ve got lots of partners … my family, my co-workers, my KBC friends, my pastor friends, and a great church family. The best partner I have is God though.  With all these partners, I am able to be a part of some great Kingdom work. 

Year one has been exciting, enlightening, and a bit out of my comfort zone at times.  I look forward to what the Lord has in store for year two:)

…until the next step…

Not Your Grandma’s Church

grandmaThis past week, it was great to finally meet Jake Sanders.  He is an OBC member whom God called to move to Las Vegas to work with a church plant, Verve. It was fascinating hearing about the ministry of which he is a part.  Las Vegas has a high concentration of broken people.  People that are in desperate need of Jesus. 

Our churches have a common link … Jesus. The Bible is taught boldly at both, but there are some differences in worship styles.  Music is loud at Verve and incorporates top 40 radio songs at the beginning.  They have found that many who come in with arms crossed and a dislike for church find a connection with the music that causes them to give the service a chance.  Next, is a light moment to get people laughing and relaxed, and then they transition into worship songs and a sermon.

Jake said that most people that initially come to Verve hate church.  They come to prove their thoughts about church. That it is a building full of fake and bigoted people. 

It is truly a blessing to hear the stories of people coming to know Jesus. Broken sinners running to a saving faith in our Lord! I am glad there are lots of different types of churches. I am glad some are doing church outside of the box. Not saying the box is bad, but if a group of people go outside the box to reach the lost…God has to be pleased.

Please be praying for Verve!

…until the next step…

Christianity and the NCAA Tournament

jesus basketball
Interesting statue:)

March 5-April 3rd is the NCAA tournament. For most people, this is one of the most exciting times of the year.  People will be reading news, watching ESPN for updates, watching many of the games, and using the APP to stay caught-up with all the games. There are two things believers need to keep in mind during this tournament.

One) Use this exciting season to minister to those who are not in church. There are many people in your social circles that will be watching the game. Have a party at your house. Invite some non-churched to come. You already have their trust and friendship, so during an opportune time, ask them to church. 

Two) Don’t give too much of your heart to the tournament.  Like any passion in life, we can get consumed with it.  Our hobbies, kid’s sports, or even work can consume our attentions.  If we are not careful, they can hamper our faith. During this time, keep God in the picture.  Don’t let this special season of basketball block your vision of the Cross and Easter. 

Enjoy the games, keep these points in mind, and live your faith.

…until the next step…