Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is right around the time I start to think about the next five (5) years of ministry at First Goodwill Church. I start to formulate my "State of the Church Address". I prepare our material for our "Church Conference" meeting that will be held this year on December 17th before we black-out for the rest of the year. I meet with ministry leaders to discuss our event calendar, budget, etc. Usually, I start by reviewing the negatives and plan accordingly to strengthen our weaknesses. But in time past that doesn't always work, especially when you have more negatives than positives. However, this year is little different for us as a church. With all of the challenges we faced this year as a church with disgruntled people leaving, close to a church fight, members passing away, so forth and so on. I look forward with great anticipation of what the next five (5) years will bring to our church.
While a lot has changed around us, our goal and purpose as a church still remains the same:
Growing deeper in Christ and reaching wider for Christ for His glory alone (Matthew 28:18-20).
So this year I'm taking a different approach to vision sharing. Instead of taking my normal approach that I have been for the last 2 years, this time I'm taking a more pro-active approach. I've tried many different approaches to get people on board with our purpose and goals as a ministry. But I think using the negatives is a reactive approach to vision sharing.
I want to create an atmosphere of positivity related to our ministry. This past Sunday, I preached a sermon entitled "Be Positive (Philippians 4:8-9)" . It was a part of series I did at the end of last year that I entitled "The Be Attitudes for A Church In Transition". I preached it to re-enforce our need to be positive in all things and about all things.
With help from my blogging ministry partners, what will you do going into next year to cast your goals for the church? Is it possible to ever get 100% membership involvement? How do you handle leaders who fight against the ministries cause? What are some effective ways to communicate vision? How do you communicate throughout the year?
Help me! I'm looking for fresh innovative ideas to communicate our goals for 2009.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I went to my softball game but did not play because the fires we experienced over the weekend caused bad air quality so our game was cancelled, UGH! I ate dinner, brownies, and had some lemonade. I mean I did it up on Sunday. But when Monday came, I felt horrible. Everything I ate on Sunday started coming up or out on Monday. It was the worst feeling I've ever felt in years. I went to work anyway only to go right back home and there I stayed for the rest of day with a fever and stomach pains (I don't know how PMS feels but if it feels anything like what I felt on Monday, well...I leave it at that).
Yesterday, I felt a little better but needed to go to the church to do somethings with the contractor. I got there at about 9 am and was back home by 11 am. I started feeling bad and then I received a call from our sound tech to come back to map out stage area requirements for our sound system. I went back to the church and spent 3 hours there feeling extremely terrible. I prayed, "Lord, give me strength to follow this through these next few weeks."
On the way back to the church, I received a call from Bertollini to inform me that our chairs are ready for pick-up. So I need to schedule pickup of chairs but there is one problem, the stage is being poured today and contractors still have a lot of cleaning to do which will take them through next week as well. So, I'm going to schedule our pickup for next week Friday after Thanksgiving.
They were installing stalls in the bathrooms yesterday and carpeting upstairs above the bathrooms and front lobby area. The color scheme is the bomb! Unique only to First Goodwill.
Ok, I have to get to work now and catch up from two days of being off. Talk to you soon.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have not been writing much about the project not because things are going wrong. As a matter of fact things are going extremely well with the project. If you have noticed the postcard on my blog our grand opening is scheduled for December 7th and it's an all day celebration.
I'm a big bundle of nerves filled with mixed emotions that are unexplainable. The members are extremely excited and our family/friends are even more excited about what God has done with our church. I have to keep reminding myself, and fight against my pride to not be a show boat that this is totally God's doing and not mine.
I'm working on a slide presentation to show during our evening service and tears started to flow. They are tears of joy and relief that it's almost over. Many people don't know the tremendous amount of pressure I went through this year to insure that all goes well. As well as pressure with some members who disagreed with everything I proposed.
As I was working on the slideshow presentation, I started recounting all events that took place this year with my opposition, Sandballot and Tobias church folk. With all the excitement brewing in our church, can you believe there are still some members who are waiting for this project to fail. Yes, we incurred a debt but it was better to incur a debt to fix problems rather than incurring a debt of fines because we did not repair things that were dangerous to our health.
Praise God for opposition because it was, and still is, the opposition that presents opportunities for God to do His thing the only way He knows how to do it. Thank you, Sandballot and Tobias.
Enough of that! I'm EXCITED beyond words. I can't sleep and eager to get back to business.
My new pulpit arrived today, the stage is being formed, the sound technician is installing, office furniture on order, new sign is being worked on, revised church logo is completed, kitchen is completed and looking rather elegant, bathrooms are completed awaiting stalls, educational rooms completed, multi-purpose room completed, recess lighting completed, electrical panel upgrade complete (just need to complete underground work and transformer to be installed by Edison), doors installed, windows installed, and I'm ready to get back in.
At first, I was going to have our ribbon cutting ceremony in the afternoon but I changed that. Our ribbon cutting ceremony will be during our morning worship with communion being served. I'm already working on that sermon now and ready to preach. We're going to combine our service with the Hispanic church and many of our friends and family have committed to being with us on that day. LET THE PRAISE BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!
The afternoon service is going to be a time of fellowship with singing, comedy, praise dancing, and more. And then after that, I plan to take a long vacation to rest and enjoy my family without being so tired for a change.
I plan to create a URL of the slideshow presentation and post it on my blog when it's completed so my blog family can enjoy this moment with us.
Keep us in your prayers!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I asked him to explain what he meant by a SPOOKY Christian? He says a spooky Christian is a person who uses the phrase; "The spirit told me to" for everything that they do. His statement was interesting to me because about two weeks ago, I had a conversation with some of my co-workers about another co-worker who for the last two or three months makes it a point to use the exact same phrase about everything she does. "The spirit told me to..." "The spirit told me to tell you..." It's gotten so bad that she has isolated herself from everybody because in her own words no one in the company is on her spiritual level. As well, she has been isolated because everyone thinks she's lost her mind.
We were on our break out on the benches and she told us a story of how she didn't run a red light because the spirit told her not to. I told her it wasn't the spirit that told you not to run that red light, It was flashing lights that caught the car before you that told you not to run the red light potentially receiving a $300 ticket.
I've noticed that in recent months that there are many Christians (that I've come in contact with) that are looking for a supernatural experience to validate their faith. Or, using re-actions, or the lack thereof, to the spirit to prove and/or discredit a persons spiritual maturity.
One of the verses that was mentioned in our conversation was Ephesians 5:18; "And do not be drunk with wine, in excess, but be filled with the Spirit". I could not let this verse go un-explained to those who heard it. "Be filled with the Spirit" in the text is not speaking of a one time act. Literally, the text means to keep on being filled with the Spirit. The life lesson is this; "It's not about how much of the Spirit we receive but how much of us we yield to the Spirit's control". Yielding to the Spirit's control is not that of being slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, or not being able to have a regular conversation unless the "The spirit told me to say".
Contextually, it's being filled with the Spirit in a day-by-day walk that helps us fight the sin in our lives. The proceeding verses ( v. 1-17) are key to understanding what verse 18 means for proper interpretation. I want to mention two verse that I believe are key to understanding what being filled with the Spirit is about. Verses 15-17 says: "So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life". Then Paul instructs us; "Instead, be filled with the Spirit". Our being filled with Spirit will be evident in a very practical manner. People will know if you're being filled with Spirit based on:
- Our relationship with God (v. 19-20) - "Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ".
- Our relationship with others (v.21) - "And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ".
- The relationship between husband and wife (v. 22-33) - "You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything. And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for herto make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body. As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband".
- Parent/Child Relationship (v. 1-4) - "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. "Honor your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing." And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord".
- Employer/Employee relationships (v. 5-9) - "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. And in the same way, you masters must treat your slaves right. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites".
- I also believe that being filled with Spirit will be evident in how we respond in the midst of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-19).
Our spiritual maturity and/or spirituality is evident in practical application from proper interpretation of Scripture. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to assist us in daily living to become more and more life Christ each day.
My question is what happened to practical Christian living? Why do we need a supernatural experiences to validate our faith? Where is the reality of Christian living of walking with God day-by-day? Can we have casual conversation without waiting, as if we're waiting for a phone call, for the spirit to feed us the words?
What is world saying about us when we prostitute the spirit? My answer, it's SPOOKY!
Monday, November 10, 2008
This passage of scripture summarizes, in my opinion, the heart a person who's grateful for being in ministry. I wanted to express to the church that I am grateful for being the pastor of First Goodwill MBC. I know that there are many other men who is more qualified, educated, gifted, talented, and capable to lead FGMBC but God placed me here for this season of ministry. I've made some bad decisions and I've made some good decisions. I've dropped the ball and I've ran with the ball. But God placed me here and I'm thankful.
I called to our memory some things were dear to me that God has done in our church for the last six years by impacting lives both directly and indirectly through our ministry.
- I remember all the events leading up to my pastorate
- I remember the call I received informing me of FGMBC's pastoral selection while getting a hair cut
- I remember my first meeting with the leadership team of FGMBC when I received the keys to the kingdom
- I remember the first sermon I preached "Lessons from a Grateful Heart" in Luke 17:12-19
- I remember my first sermon series, "Christian Bootcamp - Preparing You for Spiritual Warfare" - Ephesians 6: 10-19
- I remember our installation service with Pastor Payne, Pastor Wilson, Pastor Woodson, and Pastor Labat
- I remember our first youth trip to the San Diego Zoo
- I remember my first baptism when I baptized my son, Myles
- I remember the first family that joined our church, Joseph, Josiphina (I know I mispelled her name, A BIG SORRY), and Mario and baptized all three
- I remember our first church picnic
- I remember our first vacation bible school
- I remember our finanacial struggles and strains yet we overcame them with God's help
- I remember my first funeral of Sis. Mae Jean Smith
And, the list goes on and on.
But, while we have so much to remember, we have so much more to look forward to. I believe, we're going to see some fruit from our labor in the next 6 years. So, "My beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord".
We prayed together, gave together, and went home together with this benediction, Let's Finish What We Started Together".
Saturday, November 8, 2008
We saw the shelving that we wanted with a price tag of $125. It was a self-serve item so we wrote done all the information necessary (we thought) went downstairs after getting other items but could not find the box containing shelving parts. We spent at least 30 minutes trying to locate these shelves only to discover that the pcs were sold separately. That's right sold separately. We had to go back upstairs and write down every piece required to assemble shelves.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But while the contractor will be completed in 2 weeks, we still have a lot of work to do. We have 500 chairs to pick up and position in our sanctuary. We have some major cleaning to do in the secetarie's office and my office (I did not include these two areas in construction process because it was done by my predecessor some 9 years ago). New office furnishings is being delivered, as well as new pulpit. Sound system installation and training has to be done. Decorations with flowers, plants, etc to give additional life to our new sanctuary. And so much more.
We're currently working on our ribbon cutting ceremony that is tentatively scheduled for the first Sunday in December (December 7th to be exact). I will post a flyer on our website and blog as soon as I get a chance. Many of our family and friends will be invited along some sister churches in our area. I want our ribbon cutting ceremony to be a celebration of God's goodness towards First Goodwill Church in an intimate setting. So, my plan is to keep it simple with prayer first, jazz band, gospel artists, slide presentation, words of encouragement by local pastors and a comedian. It's not finalized yet and things may change of course. Our dedication service is scheduled for January 18th, 2009.
Emotionally and physically I'm drained. I've preached 49 out of 52 Sundays this year. And during our construction, I've preached every Sunday. I'm stressed, excited, and eager to get back into our sanctuary to get back to a normal way of doing ministry. I haven't been sleeping well because my mind is racing a mile a minute.
In December the family and I are going to the Congress of Christian Education in Desert Springs, Ca. This will be some rest time for me. I've already planned time off for Thanksgiving week but that time will be spent organizing the church for re-opening. So, I doubt that I'll get much rest then.
Keep us in your prayers.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
So, I took time to remind the members of our church, and I want to remind our Christian community, that GOD IS IN CONTROL!
I went to the mechanic on last Tuesday for a smog check and before I got out the van the first thing that came out of the mechanic's mouth was "Who are you voting for?" Before I could get a word out of my mouth he says; "I'm voting for Obama!" He then goes on to comment that if a black man gets in office there will be a civil war. I said to him that this is the type of thinking we don't need going into this election because if a white man (another republican) gets in office there's going to be a riot of the highest portion and it won't be just the minority (African-American, Mexican, etc) there's going to be some white folks as well.
When I left the shop, I was trouble by his thinking and needless to say there are many others who are thinking the same way he is. However, as a believer of Jesus Christ, we need to be reminded that GOD IS I CONTROL. Not Obama, McClain, Biden, Palin, Prop 8, Prop 9, or Prop 100. GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!!
We may and/or may not like the outcome this coming Tuesday but let's keep in mind that the sovereignty of God reigns no matter what. Here are a few facts about the sovereignty of God we should hold on to going into election day Tuesday:
1. He existed before anything else. Ps. 90:2: “Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God.“ Eternality trumps finiteness every time.
2. He created all things.
John 1:3: “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.”
3. He sustains all things.
Col. 1:17: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Hebrews 1:3 adds that Jesus is the radiance of [God’s] glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.
4. He is above all things.
Isaiah 46:9-10: “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; [I am] God, and no one is like Me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” God is not limited or restrained by anything.
5. He knows all things.
Ps. 139:1-4: “Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.” The knowledge of God is described in Scripture as exhaustive, thorough, covering the details down to the smallest possible levels.
6. He can do whatever He pleases.
Jeremiah 32:27: “Look, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me?”
7. He orchestrates all things.
Eph. 1:11 reminds us that God “works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will.”
8. He rules over all things.
In Daniel 4:34-35, the most powerful man on earth decided to take on God. When God was through with him, here was what he said, “But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”
9. He is in control of all things.
He controls the choices of world leaders--Prov.21:1: “A king’s heart is a water channel in the Lord’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses.”
He controls the course of human events--Ps. 33:9-11 - The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.”
He controls calamity (Amos 3:6 says, "If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” The psalmist is awed by this: He makes the winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants"; "He unleashes His winds, and the waters to flow . . . Lightning and hail, snow and cloud, powerful wind that executes His command." (Psalm 104:4; 147:18; 148:8). Isaac Watts was right, "There's not a plant or flower below but makes your glories known; and clouds arise and tempests blow by order from your throne."
He controls our circumstances (James 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Stonewall Jackson believed that whether he lived to fight another day was completely in the hands of the Lord.
My friends, please keep in the attribute of God before you when you go to the polls and when we leave, GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!! Our response to God's sovereignty is to TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT! We may and will not understand everything God is doing but it's not us to question God but to TRUST GOD. He knows what He's doing.
Be blessed until next time.