Friday, August 26, 2011

Pray for Providence Rhode Island churches

Over a year ago, I became acquainted with the Restoration House Ministries in Manchester NH. It is a church planting organization that is doing amazing things in the Northeast. I love Restoration House because they refused give up on the possibilities of reaching the Northeast for Christ. They have well over a dozen church plants going on, and many of them are doing incredibly well. Their leaders helped us with our Stone Canyon Campus plant as well.

Two of those Northeast church plants are located in Providence Rhode Island. Northpointe Christian Church is just a year and a half old and has blown away the community with their love and care for Providence. Additionally, they are ready to launch a new church in the southern part of the city called Southpointe. Launch date is October 30th. I am a part of the Partnership Team for Southpointe.

I am asking you to pray for both of these churches as Irene approaches this weekend. They are in the bulls-eye of this storm. Pray for their protection. Pray for the opportunities that will present themselves to both of these churches after the storm passes. These churches are all about helping the community and there are going to be some amazing opportunities for them.

I know that Jerry Dusenberry and Tanner Green would appreciate your prayers as well. They are the lead church planters for the these two churches.

Thanks for your prayers. We are invested in these churches and care very much for them. I will give you any updates that I receive as time goes on.

Friday, August 12, 2011


We are at a critical juncture in the history of our church. Does that sound too dramatic for you? Well, there are times when God calls a church to take risks and huge steps of faith, often without all the details filled in, so that He can accomplish His will in a community and in the world.


Our church has always answered the call. Whether it was way back in the beginning in 1907 when a small band of believers started the church, to decisions made in good times and bad, to moving from one building to another, or building on to facilities, we have been a church on the move.

In 2008 we moved from 86th Street to North Garnett. It might have been the time to relax and say, "Well, that is all over, now we can take a break. " But our church did not. In the three plus years since we moved in we have grown nearly 60%. Our fall of 2011 looks like we will be in record territory on so many levels. We have added a second campus at Stone Canyon. We have helped plant two churches in Chicago and New York City. We are heavily invested in missions teams in Honduras, Thailand and India and China. We have sent dozens of people to those mission stations to share the gospel with people. I could go on and on.

One thing about the church you attend is that it is not a status quo church. The vast majority of members and attenders want to fulfill the mission before us.... "To help others to know, love, serve and share Christ."

If you attend services in a beautiful Worship Center, or have your kids in one of the best Next Generation Ministries in the country, or are part of a thriving Senior Adult Ministry, or have been impacted by missionaries, teachers, preachers, worship leaders, small groups, or ministry teams, or are part of a growing campus church at Stone Canyon, then you need to know about the next challenging initiative before us as a Church. It is called "THE RIPPLE EFFECT PROJECT."

THIS SUNDAY- August 14th, We will launch THE RIPPLE EFFECT at all three services. We will celebrate the past, and embrace the future. We will hear about how God has been impacting families in Owasso and the surrounding areas. We will hear about plans for a fantastic and fun journey, bathed in prayer and hope, culminating in a celebration and commitment event in October. You will hear how you can help, and how important that it is that every family or person who calls FCC OWASSO home is involved in some way.

It's not a Sunday you want to miss. There will only be one of these days in our church. Plan to be at FCC OWASSO at North Garnett ( 8;30 0r 11:00 AM) and Stone Canyon ( 10 AM) this Sunday.

We are going to create some ripples which we believe God can turn into waves that change the world.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A day in the life....

What does a Senior Minister do on a Beautiful August Wednesday? Well, he puts on his swim suit and jumps in a van to head to the Illinois river to float with 45 of my closest friends ( all of them 6-8 graders). The day was perfect. Rain over night got the water up. Clouds in the sky kept the temperatures in check.

Alex Hickman and I did the first 1/3 of the race together... fun stuff. then I kyacked the middle third. And then the last third, I rode with a 9th grade girl, who wanted me to be her partner. That was a little rough, because we flipped three times.... hit my head on a log, and got our canoe stuck. But we figured it out after a while and it was all good.

I was really impressed with the kids... They did what they were told, were helpful to others, and in general, had great attitudes.

Sometimes we stereo-type young people... But I will tell you that I will put our kids up against any others out there in terms of respect, caring for one another and honoring Christ.

Great Job JAMES SUMMERS- you are a great leader and it shows in how you communicate with those kids. They respect you and that is 2/3rds of the battle.

Great Fun... probably be sore tomorrow, but it is worth it.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Application, not just information

Today, I got a note from someone who attends our church on a regular basis.He is a leader. He appreciated the "Aaron and Hur" message yesterday. But more than appreciation he applied it. He sent me an email this morning stating that he has reorganized his daily routine to include a time of prayer for me, our church leaders and staff. He acknowledged our influence on him and his life. And then he said something profound in my book. He stated that it was his "responsibility" as a believer to pray for His leaders. He gets it. He is understanding that leaders desperately need someone around them to hold their arms up in the tough times of leadership.

He probably never know what his short note meant to me. Not just the fact that he will pray for us, but that he sees prayer for his leaders as a responsibility.

I also got a note from a mother who shared that she had a sweet time of prayer with her children last night, praying for the leaders in their lives. Once again, she did more than just process information. She put it into action. I was so blessed by her words AND actions, and the fact that she passed it on to her kids. That changes lives!

By the way, the message hit home with me to. As I was walking this morning, I realized that I did not pray for our leaders as much as I should. I also do not pray for our city leader as much as I should as well. So I made a commitment today to use some of that walking time to pray for those people that God has put in my life as leaders.

You see, everyone needs a leader in their life. Everyone needs to follow. It is good for the soul and reminds us that we have a place in the bigger scheme of things. We are to be followers of Christ first. Sometimes I get to leading in arena's of my life and I find myself trying to lead God, rather than follow Him. It also reminds us that we can contribute to other people's leadership by praying for them. I like to contribute in that way, and it is pretty simple to do.

Application of Biblical principles can change your life. It does mine.



Thursday, August 04, 2011

Leaders are developed in relationships

One of the core values we have as a church is "raising up leaders." We don't have an organized plan that someone can travel to "become a leader." Rather, we believe that leaders are developed in relationships. Relationships become a laboratory where men and women can develop spiritually. The Holy Spirit operates in relationships. Think about Jesus. He moved about this earth in relationships. We are quick to site the 12 disciples as the main example. But as I have read through the gospels I see Jesus entering into relationship with people of all walks of life, genders, and spiritual depth.

One example of this relationship is Lazarus. Jesus and Lazarus are friends. He raises him from the dead in John 11. Pretty cool story. But I caught something in John 12. Jesus heads to Bethany and has dinner with some friends... including Lazarus. It's no big deal on the surface, but I like the idea that Jesus had friends and he liked to hang out with them. That is relationship. I like the idea that he just spends time with them. It was kind of costly for Lazarus. John writes that the chief priests put a contract out on Lazarus, because he was a friend of Jesus, who pointed people to Him. That is relationship.

So as a church, we are working hard to raise up leaders in a more organic way. We have leaders at every turn. We have small group leaders, ministry leaders, youth leaders, church leaders, worship leaders and staff leaders and many others. We have leaders in homes, in businesses, and in the community. We have sports leaders, political leaders and personal leaders who influence others.

This Sunday we ordain three men into our Eldership. Some people may think that Bob Buss, Jack Davis and Mark Alred have finally become leaders. But the truth is that they have been leaders for along time. They are moving into a new arena of leadership, but men do not become elders at FCC if they have not been leading for quite some time. All of them have a stake in many relationships as well at FCC, along with a growing relationship with Christ. It is the perfect combination for leadership development.

As I look around, I see a ton of other leaders. I see people who lead without titles. I see leaders who are awesome at serving, making them servant leaders. And I see leaders who have figured out that the best leaders are great followers. I am excited about our leadership "pool" and believe that the future is so bright for FCC OWASSO.

It's awesome to be a part of a church that takes leadership on all levels seriously. We will continue to heat up this value in the coming years. The task before us to reach the community with the gospel is great and it will take great leadership.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sacrificial Forgiveness

I was back in the pulpit Sunday with the story of Hosea. I prayed alot over this message, in part because I knew that it would be a hard story for some to take. The whole idea of sacrificing as a way to show forgiveness is radical. Hosea did it for Gomer, God did it for us, but should we be expected to do it for those who have wounded us so badly?

I think the answer is yes... but I want to say that arriving at that conclusion does not come easy.
It does not come without alot of wrestling. And I believe it takes alot of time. No one arrives at the point of sacrificial forgiveness overnight.

As I preached the message, I looked out over the congregation in both services, knowing that some people have been so hurt by others that it seems impossible that they could take the step of sacrificing for that very person. At one point, I almost broke down and cried right there, because I could see the hurt on a person's face. It is a person that I love and care for deeply. I wanted to call a time out, and just freeze the audience and tell that person, "Listen, you may never see yourself getting to that point, and I understand. But if there is ever a glimpse of you being willing to do that, seize it. Don't let it pass. Take the biggest risk and just see what God does with it."

Well, I could not freeze the audience and I know I needed to move on. But the experience reminded me that I preach to real people, and that I am a real person with real feelings. I read once that if you preach to the pain in the pew, you will always have something to say. That is what happened yesterday.

If you missed it, I would invite you to listen the 7.24 message on Hosea. I think it will challenge you. It is challenging me to think about forgiveness to the depth of God's love for us. What a message to the world we would have if we would forgive as the Lord forgave you. It's not really an option. Colossians 3:13 lays that out. It can be hard, it can take time, and it may be quite awkward. But isn't the same true of what God did for us?

It's a journey....a journey we all travel


PS. Thanks for being the kind of church that is willing to tackle the hard subjects. There are probably more to come....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Can She do that?

Our Governor recently called for people to pray for rain. Most Oklahoman's thought that was a good thing. A few people, apparently spooked by the word, "pray", protested that the elected governor of a state should not have done that.

Here is my perspective on this....




Mother nature is not in charge of the weather. I believe in Mother Nature as much as I believe in Mother Goose, The Easter Bunny or Santa Claus ( Sorry Kids).

So , it makes sense to pray to God about the drought and heat wave which right now is causing some real hardship on our farmers, families, children's and some senior adults. I can stay reasonably cool. I can water my lawn, ( at least for now). But there are alot of people who are struggling with this. So why wouldn't we pray to God for a break in the weather?

The Bible says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, present your requests to God." ( Phil. 4)

It seems to me that God invites prayers like this. So I think I will pray for rain... and then trust Him for the results.

The heartburn about the Governor... well, she is a Christian, so she has the right to ask for prayer. She also has the right to be concerned about the hardship this is putting on the state she leads. I kind of like the idea of a Governor who prays. WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET

It's just like the Devil to get us talking about church and state. That way we might not pray to God, just talk to ourselves. That does no one any good.

Just a thought.... off to pray for rain...