Month: March 2017

A Week of Baptisms

And what a GREAT week it was!

Pastor Aaron led a team of staff, including Cass Delp, Chris Smith, Ned Keene, Garrett Lowe, and myself, through a week of baptisms for 45 people, with a few hundred family and friends in attendance.

The stories ranged from sweet to astonishing (and many were both).

The ages ranged from 3rd and 4th grade to, well, let’s just say 70ish is the new 50ish.

It was a time of great celebration for the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ and how he is saving, forgiving, and transforming lives.

Our worship arts tech team has everything on video and you will be seeing and hearing their stories in the weeks to come.

People are already asking when we are doing the next baptism. And just so you know, any of these baptisms are open to anyone in the congregation who wants to come and participate in the joy of the new stories God is writing.

YAY GOD! Great things You have done and great things You are doing. Enjoy these pictures as a taste of many more we will be showing.

Pastor Brian

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.14.17 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.15.26 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.21.45 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.25.27 AM

Read More

Love is Attention to the Details

I was just thinking some more about the small stuff (see the post from yesterday). Then this thought hit me:

Love is in the small stuff.
Love is in the details.

March29_bloga

If Becky needed a kidney transplant, I would not hesitate for a minute to say, “Here, have one of mine.”

So why do I procrastinate when she asks me to take out the trash?

Maybe love is much harder in the daily details and duties. Maybe that is where love is most real.

Just thinking and just saying …
What do you think and what do you say?
How will you show your love today?

Pastor Brian

 

 

Read More

Small Stuff Matters

Most of us overestimate the power of big things and we underestimate the power of small things.

Most of us overestimate the power of the EVENT and we underestimate the power of the PROCESS.

It has been said that the devil is in the details. He may well be, but did you ever wonder why? Maybe the devil is in the details because they are so important.

It has also been said that God is in the details. I know that has been said, because I just said it. I don’t recall reading or hearing that before. I know God is in the details because God knows every hair on your head and every bird in the sky. He knows every star in the heavens. He knows every grain of sand on the earth. I know this because God is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time. That is what it means to be ubiquitous–everywhere and all the time.

Small stuff matters because small stuff is where it’s at.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step, and it continues with the next step.

March28_blogbIf …

Read More

They are Contagious, Highly Contagious

Emotions! They are what’s contagious.

Good ones and bad ones. Happiness, excitement, hope, calm, patience … and anger, sadness, frustration, irritation…

You’ve heard the phrase, If momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” I have looked for the origins of this phrase. A 10-minute web search asking the question did not yield much insight. Well, it doesn’t matter where the quote came from–it’s true.

So is this one: If poppa ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.”

And so is this one: A family is only as happy as your least happy child.”

They are all true because emotions are contagious.

inside out movie

Families are ecosystems of emotions. Like the common cold, we pick up and pass on the germs of emotions. Sad fact: The negative emotions are actually more contagious than positive ones. There is brain research that explains why. That is why it takes some work to create happy, healthy ecosystems of emotions.

How healthy is the emotional ecosystem in your family? In your place of work? In your small group? In your church?

If you want it to be healthier, be the change you want. Start to display the emotional energy you want to experience.

Smile more.…

Read More

Revive Us Again: The Flourishing Project

Blog26_b

What do the following words have in common?

Latin – vivet
Spanish – venir
Portuguese – viver
French – vivre

Each one is the word for LIVE. English departs from these other languages in how we spell the word, but you can see the similarity.

“To revive” is to re-live or re-life. It is to live again. It is to renew one’s life. It is to energize life. It is to put the animation back into life.

But notice – you don’t revive yourself! You need an outside Source to revive you.

God is in the revival business. That is why his people, when they realized their lives were draining and diminishing, prayed revive us again.”

That is our prayer, too. Give us life again. More life. Better life. Abundant life. A full and flourishing life. Give us Your Life.

We only find this life in GOD. Nowhere else! Nowhere! Remember, “In him was life” (John 1:4). If you want life, then you must want God. God cannot give you life without giving you himself. God cannot give you joy without giving you himself. God cannot give you love without giving you himself. None of these things exist independently …

Read More

10 Reasons Why Evangelical Churches are (Still) Growing

WARNING: Theology Ahead!

Some Thinking Required!
Truth Matters! Living the Truth Matters Most of All!

This post is a little longer and will take more effort. At the end, there is a worship video of one of those great songs we sing at Living Word.

In 1972, a book on the sociology of religion was republished by Dean Kelley. The book was Why Conservative Churches Are Growing. It was a 10-year update. In 1962, in the original version, Kelley noticed that while theologically liberal churches were in decline, the theologically conservative churches were growing.

The 1972 edition confirmed what Kelley had discovered a decade earlier.

Fifty-five years later, on January 4, 2017, the Washington Post ran an article that used stronger language. Guess what they confirmed one more time? You got it! Liberal churches are not just declining, they are dying, while evangelical churches are not simply growing, they are thriving. You can check out that story HERE. 

Here are 10 Reasons Why Evangelical Churches Are Still Growing (and Thriving). These reasons are not prioritized. They are all important. I could easily add 10 more reasons to this list. I also decided not to include the supporting biblical …

Read More

The 3 Benefits of FOCUS

We are distracted and we are interrupted.

We are busy, hurried, falling behind, and we feel it!

We think we can multitask. We try to multitask. The fact is your brain does not multitask, except when it comes to the lower level behaviors. In other words, you can chew food and talk at the same time. Whether you should multitask on that particular combination is another question.

We are overwhelmed with INPUTS. There is an information explosion in your life every day! Tomorrow it will be the same (or worse).

In a world of distractions, interruptions, too many options, and too many demands, your ability to FOCUS is crucial for success and happiness.

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog who barks.” Winston Churchill

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” (unknown)

There are three big benefits that come from FOCUS.

First: What you focus on expands.Focus 02
It expands in importance, quantity, and quality. What you notice is what you attend to. Attention to something means a greater engagement. You give more energy to your area of focus. That is always a good thing–whether it is filling out your taxes …

Read More

Life…and a Lot of It!

In Him Was Life.

I stared at those words for some time. They are found in John 1:4. The entire verse reads like this: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

I had read them at least 100 times before! This time, they hit me with new power.March22_bloga

I was starting a new season of devotional work in John’s Gospel. I was pretty sure LIFE was going to be a major theme. I was right! John uses the word life 41 times. In the Bible only Proverbs (45) and Psalms (65) use the word life more often than John.

The most important verse is John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

Other translation say have it abundantly. The New Living Translation describes it as “a rich and satisfying life.” The Message says it best of all: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

Real. More. Better. Eternal.
That is life and a lot of it!
Jesus is LIFE.

If you want life, then …

Read More

Helping the People I Love Flourish

The Origins of One Idea That Matters Most to Me

Many (most) of you know I love to help people flourish. That theme gripped my heart and mind many years ago. A friend recently asked me how this idea grabbed hold of me. Good question!

My first answer is that the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit simply leads us to the truth–to the ideas, themes, and experiences we need (John 16:13). Usually they are dropped as seeds that take time to germinate and grow (James 1:21). Occasionally they explode like a Nova with sudden enlightening power and beauty (Ephesians 1:18; Matthew 4:16). Flourishing was a seed that slowly March21_blogbgrew, and then in a short period of time it exploded with energy in my life.

The seed was sown many years ago. By God’s grace, I simply always wanted to help people grow. I wanted to help people learn, mature, and become all they were meant to be.

Remember the idea in the sermon on March 12? We are human becomingsWe are not yet there. I want to help people get there.

That is why I teach, mentor, and provide spiritual direction. That is why I work …

Read More

It All Started in 1975

And it was really quite odd that it did!

As I thought about it, up to that point I had hardly traveled outside York County. I had been to a few different states by then, but not many. Now, a few months after becoming a Christian, I was fascinated by the idea of global missions.

Other countries! Well, I had been to New Jersey–does that count? I had actually made it across the Canadian border on a family vacation once. I got lost and had to be rescued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So much for my world travel adventures.

So, there I was sitting in the student lounge. I was a freshman at Clarion State College in Clarion, Pennsylvania. I had become a Christian my first semester in college. A few months after my conversion, I was reading a book by Elizabeth Eliot called Shadow of the Almighty. It was the story of her husband, Jim, who was killed by the Huaorani Indians of Ecuador.

If you want to watch a movie based on this story of Jim and several of his fellow missionaries, watch End of the Spear. You can read a review of it

Read More