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...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spirit Led Churches....

In "church world" summer time is often known as a "slump" time. But not at FCC OWASSO. I have been thinking about our summer 2011 . It has been amazing. Just a few highlights...

* Sunday AM Attendance has not slumped at either campus....
* Offerings have held firm...
* Decisions for Christ are happening all over the place...
* We have had a huge increase in church camp participation at all ages
* Our High School ministry just sent off 120 people to the mountains in Colorado
* We have had 2 missions trips. One group went to Thailand and we have 18 in China today.
* Teams are working hard on the Fall RIPPLE EFFECT PROJECT....
* Worship Services have been Awesome, the Hero's series that Matt has led out in has been strong!

I believe that is a result of God's favor being poured out this church. God blesses when His people obey Him. God blesses when His people step out in Boldness, attempting things that are really beyond them, but not beyond God.

A year ago we stepped out in faith and launched our Stone Canyon Campus. 75 or so people went to Stone Canyon. 1 year later 150 people call the Stone Canyon Campus their church. Several have been baptized. The #'s of hours given in service in the community have been incredible. The Spirit is great. The Leadership Core is solid. We celebrate the first year anniversary in August!

This was a huge step for our church. But God always empowers the people who hear and obey His calling. After al,l look at the 11 guys that Jesus had to build the church with. On the surface, they were nobodies. On the surface, they had so much to learn. On the surface , no one would have picked those guys to launch the church. But they had one thing in their life that made all the difference. THEY HAD THE HOLY SPIRIT. Read the first few chapters of Acts... It was all Holy Spirit. It was not them.

I believe that churches who are Spirit Led go places and do things. They are never content with the status quo. They never accept the idea that they have arrived. Spirit led churches step out on faith. They live in boldness. They fight through obstacles. They overcome the enemy. They try new things, all the while keeping their eyes on what is foundational... Jesus and His Word.

I was approached by a man visiting our church last week. He shook my hand and then asked me if I was the Pastor. ( Matt was preaching that day.) I said I was... and he looked at me and said, "The Spirit of God is here."

He could not have said a better thing about our church. We have lots of great things going, great people, great worship, great teaching, and a great caring and loving community. But none of that matters if God's Spirit is not there.

The same goes for your live ( and mine). We are to be Spirit filled and Spirit led. It's the best life to live. And it is the best way to "do" matter what season of the year it is.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Summertime! Summertime! I am a big fan!

This summer is off to a great start at FCC... FX was awesome, big crowds of kids going to camp and the prep work for THE RIPPLE EFFECT is in full swing.

Every year we take the summer to study Old Testament scripture. This year's series is HERO'S. We are looking at some of the more obscure OT Hero's in the story of scripture. If you are in town, come to church at NG ( 8:30 and 11:00 ) or at Stone Canyon (10 AM) . If not go to and listen. Matt Thomason will be preaching most of the series, and he is really good! You will get alot of out them.

I am on a break for a while. I will be in and out of town alot over the next several weeks. Some of it involves travel with Pam, North American Christian Convention, and some Leadership development opportunities in the Northeast. I appreciate the opportunity to refocus, rest, and do some different things than I do the rest of the year.

No matter where I am, or who I am with, I will be thinking of my FCC family , praying for you, and looking for the opportunities to influence people for Christ.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

21 inches of snow

21 inches of snow... makes me thankful for the following...

- A warm house...
- online banking....
- wireless internet...
- books and hot chocolate
- a wife that I like and that likes me (insert "love" there too)
-the ability to work from home, with no meetings scheduled
- the beauty of white snow so deep that you can not figure out where the driveway ends and the street begins
- a very quiet evening with no traffic on the roads.

I am sure in another couple days I will get stir crazy... and it know it is a challenge for those of you with 3-4 kids...but enjoy the moments... a snow storm like this only comes around once in a 100 years...

And we got to experience it!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


This afternoon I went up to the church to check out a couple things. As I drove up to the property I saw a full parking lot. I remembered that today was the Pinewood Derby for the Boy Scouts.

I recall participating in the Pinewood Derby as a kid. My Dad and I worked on our cars together and we went to the races. I don't think I won... but I do remember spending time with my dad. Those are always good memories.

So as I watched dads, moms, grandpa's and grandma's helping with cars and cheering on the races, I sure felt good about a couple things.

One, it is good for our culture whenever there are opportunities for parents, grandparents and kids do things together. We believe in this as a church. Our Elementary and Youth Ministries are being built with this in mind. The most effective ways to raise children is with parental involvement. Children are chosen by God to be led by their parents. Parents are chosen by God to lead their children. That is the best way to do it. Organizations like the Scouts, sports teams and academic teams all provide great opportunities for involvement between parents, grandparents and their kids. They are not perfect, but I love seeing parents and kids doing life together. I am proud of our church and our leaders and staff who believe this and work to make it happen.

It comes in small packages too. It's not always big programs. Today I saw a dad and his two sons working on the stage set for church. I know the boys were glad to be with their dad and the dad was genuinely glad to be with the kids... and they were working for God. It's the best way to do it.

Two, I am very proud of a church who opens it's building to groups who facilitate such involvement. Our building is used every single day of the week. There are people coming and going every day. Beside the Pinewood Derby, we have special needs groups that use the building on a monthly basis, a Homeschool group that uses it regularly, moms groups that meet weekly, sports teams, Homeowners Associations, Health Challenge groups, the Local Tri-athalon clubs, and many more that use the building. Our community votes in our building. We have groups that use it for music recitals and much more.

The building we have is a tool to reach people. So imagine my joy last week when I met a woman who had started coming to church because she had been introduced to our facility and our people through the Winter Health Challenge. She had several kids and told me that she like what we were doing through the Health Challenge, and wanted to see what we were about on Sundays.

Why do we do this? Simply put, we just want an opportunity to share the gospel with people. We see the beautiful building as a tool for introducing people to Jesus. It's happening. Will we see everyone who comes through the door come to Christ? Probably not. However, we have a reputation of being a church with Open Doors. People talk in our community in a very positive way because we open our doors.

Here is the result... When people talk about needing a church, even some of our community leaders who do not attend FCC, recommend us to those who are coming to Owasso. I have been told that realtors, doctors, teachers and others have said, "you need to check out FCC." It's because of the reputation we have been able to build by being a church with open doors.

A building is not a monument to any person. It is a message. A message that there is hope and grace for people who live in our community. It is a message that there are people who are willing to go the extra mile to help them connect with their kids, or to find help in a crisis. And most of all it is a message that says, "You are worth the price to me... my Son died for you." It is the message that counts and changes lives.

By the way... you don't even have to have a building to build a reputation of being a church with open doors. Our Stone Canyon Campus has done a great job of getting out to serve people and they are only building on that reputation. I am so proud of them.

I love our church because we believe in OPEN DOORS... and that will make a difference for alot of people.