I'm heading out after worship today to Camp Allegheny nestled in the mountains of Somerset County PA. I am the dean of the week long Counselor Training Camp. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I get the privilege of working with young men and women who love the Lord and who are called to Christian leadership. What a blast. Pray for me as I lead them, and pray for them too!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Thousands of years ago, the Holy Spirit was working on David. God was telling him about the faith of future generations...namely us! Here's what David said about us:
Psslm 145:77 - "They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."
You know what? He's right!!! I am celebrating God's amazing goodness to today. I am almost in tears of joy as I consider the blessings He is bringing our way. He is righteous and faithful and loving and just. And He considers us in the midst of it.
I cannot wait for Sunday...this is one of those weeks where I am so excited to celebrate the Lord and to be His church together. Give Him glory today, and let's join in giving Him glory together this weekend!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
OK, I'm letting you in on a little secret. I'm giving you a heads up about Sunday's message. I'm very excited to be preaching on this. Now first, go HERE and read the passage of Scripture. I have it here in 5 different translations. Go ahead, read it. I'll wait....
Thanks! Cool Scripture, eh? There are different variations in the different translations because different people read and interpret the Hebrew differently. But the bottom line is this: we must look to see what God is up to. We must see where He is going. We must look to His future, not ours. We must have a direction, and it must be His, or we're in trouble.
Can I paraphrase it for you? "If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time!" We need to be people of vision, and that vision needs to be of God and where He is leading.
This is what I'll be sharing in Cornerstone's worship on Sunday. Join us, and be prepared!!!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Well, after a great week of Annual Conference, I'm back in the saddle at Cornerstone. I really missed being here...it was a great week of being reminded of why I am here and why I do what I do. I was blessed to work with the youth this week and wish to celebrate that a little. Out of 100 youth, 35 of them joined an on-the-spot praise team. We had so many that we had to split the vocalists into two groups! They were an amazingly talented and hardworking group of young people. We had practices and led worship in four different places, which meant a whole LOT of setting up, tearing down, and moving equipment. We even had a 5:45 am practice...and they showed up! I saw Jesus a lot this week...He was hanging at Annual Conference, and He was acting like a youth. I'm so thankful to have seen Him!
If you are part of Cornerstone, you need to come this Sunday. Cancel your vacation, take two aspirin, set two alarms! You wanna be here. We have some great things to celebrate, and I can't wait (hey...that rhymed!!!)!!! Happy Tuesday...more tomorrow...
Monday, June 12, 2006
Well, today is my only day in the office at Cornerstone. I am making final preparations for Annual Conference. This is the yearly gathering of equal representation of lay people and clergy to celebrate and make decisions regarding ministry in the Western Pennsylvania region. I am really looking forward to it this year for several reasons. The first of which is my friends. I am developing some really good friendships with some fellow pastors and I will get to spend some time with those guys. Secondly, I am leading the youth praise team and working with the youth pages and delegates at Conference. Working with our youth always reminds me of why I do what I do. And lastly, our Conference is at a crossroads. We will be doing some honest visioning and debating about where the Lord is leading, and how to get there. Please pray for me while I'm away. Please pray that I might have Godly wisdom in decisions that need to be made. Also, pray for me while I share a little snapshot of Cornerstone Church before all of the Conference. I've been asked to celebrate what God is doing here as a way of helping people see the need for starting new churches. I will miss my friends at Cornerstone, but I'll be back refreshed and encouraged, for sure!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
One of those days! I have LOTS going on today. My first reaction is to pipe...you know, fret and worry and panic? But the Lord spoke to me and said "Hey, just more opportunities for you to see me and to make me seen." Cool! OK Lord, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to seek you at every turn today. Thanks for the privilege....
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Matthew 28:19-20...today's devotional passage. Wow, this preach. Check out what Jesus says here:
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The big word is GO! Henry Blackaby said "you cannot stay where you are and go with God at the same time!" How true. Jesus says, get out there. Take the show on the road. Not, if you build it, they will come! So how are we going to go?
Well, maybe one answer is by seeing ourselves as SENT! Tonight in our small group, we're beginning a study of 1 Peter. Check out the very first verse: an apostle of Jesus Christ... An apostle is someone who is sent. Peter realized he was sent by Jesus to get out in the world and salt it with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. And he DID!!! And it made a HUGE difference!
So, are you an apostle, and to whom are you being sent?
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I'm in a group with three other pastors in our Annual Conference. We get together every two weeks to share our lives in ministry together. I am developing some great friendships with these guys, and I am so thankful to the Lord for them. Tomorrow, we meet for breakfast and we're going to ramp it up another notch. We're going to go the next level in our accountability to one another. I have developed a list of three questions that we will each answer. Then we'll keep each other in prayer about those three things, and the next time we meet, we'll ask each other how we're progressed. Here are the questions:
1. What will you do to improve your physical health between now and the next time we meet?
2. What will you do to improve your emotional well-being between now and the next time we meet?
3. What will you do to improve your walk with Jesus between now and the next time we meet.
I'm excited to meet with them, and I am thankful for the accountability, because I don't walk the Christian journey very faithfully by myself!
What about you? Will you put yourself out there to someone for the same things? How about in your small group?
Monday, June 05, 2006
Yesterday, the people called Cornerstone studied just one verse, Matthew 5:13, in which Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. We sorta singled out our graduates and challenged them to go be salty in the world. They have spent these years filling their shakers, and now it is time to go out and make the world a "tastier" place with Jesus amazing love, grace, and plan for the salvation of the world. What a blast it was. If you missed it, you can get the notes and hear the mp3 here.
Today's devotions are taken from Colossians 4:2-6. I guess what hits me the most about these verses of salt is the fact that we're encouraged to pray for one another as we share Jesus with the world. When is the last time you prayed for me to preach effectively to the lost? OK, I'll step on my own toes...when is the last time I prayed for you in the sharing of His message in your own corner of the world?
Sorry for dropping the ball. Today, I'm praying that you can be salt in a clear and effective way...a way that leads people to the Lord! I'm praying for you to be a fully devoted follower of Christ today! And I'm praying for the people with whom you'll rub shoulders. I'm praying that they will be open to be sprinkled with Jesus' amazing love today!
What about you? What hits you the most about today's devotions?
Thursday, June 01, 2006
OK...not much response out there in blogland...I hope you're following along. Today is an attempt to deal with another tough verse, verse 9:
Jesus says in Luke 16:9 "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."
Let me copy what the NIV Study Bible says about this verse: "use worldly wealth. God's people should be alert to make use of what God has given them. to gain friends. By helping those in need, who in the future will show their gratitude when they welcome their benefactors into heaven ("eternal dwellings"). In this way worldly wealth may be wisely used to gain eternal benefit."
So the NIV Study Bible commentators are taking the approach that Jesus is advocating the wise use of worldly wealth to minister to others who will in turn make faith commitments that will have eternal rewards both for the "manager" and the benefactor.
Maybe this is true. Perhaps Jesus is suggesting that we not hoard our earthly wealth, but that we should use it to build the Kingdom. (which goes along well with verse 13) Although His choice of words here is confusing! He says we're to use the wealth to gain friends for ourselves, not for Him!
What do YOU think? How do you come to grips with the difficulties here?
In the end, we need to study the entire parable, and see it in light of the entire Word of God to completely understand it. I think it is fair to say the whole picture is summed up in what we discussed on Sunday: Let's be faithful to manage what God has given us in service to Him...