Friday, December 30, 2011
See You in your Slippers,
Pastor Chris and Pastor Paul
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Christmas is a time for us to remember how much God has given us in his Son, if all we ever had was Jesus Christ, it would be enough, yet he has blessed us so far beyond that. How can you bless someone in that way, how can you introduce them to Jesus.
Take advantage of the moments that this season will bring...
Live Simply, Work Diligently, Give Generously
Monday, October 31, 2011
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey
These challenging words from yesterday speak powerful encouragement to my spirit. It is so easy to get caught up in questioning God, that we forget to worship Him. As the old saying goes, there is a God, and it isn't me. But while we believe that, it is so easy to live as if we do not.
Job said it this way...
Job 42:3 (NLT)
You [God] asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I [Job]—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
The Apostle Paul said it this way...
Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)
33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! 34 For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? 35 And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?
36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
I hear the same message in the scriptures, writing, and song.
It is a message of trusting in God, obeying God,
and putting my own messed up emotions aside!
Take time to reflect and enjoy!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
- Imagine what it might be like if Republicans and Democrats remembered what it was like to play for the “love of the game” and our country instead of their own control over it. Could you imagine the powerful message that would be sent if on election night, the losing team tipped their caps and cheered for their friends…even at their own expense? Now I know comparing the pressure and responsibility of government to little league baseball is naïve. But what about comparing the spirit which drives the “players”?
- Imagine what it might be like if we, the followers of Jesus, remembered what it was like to have just been saved from hell and, in it’s place, redeemed by our loving Savior. Could you imagine the powerful message that would be sent if we walked through the world with a spirit of relief and thanksgiving, celebrating the blessings and favor God may be bestowing on others…even in the midst of our own trials? Now I know that comparing our life circumstances to little league baseball is also naïve. But what about comparing the worldly spirit that drives their attitude to the Holy Spirit that should be driving ours?
Little League World Series 2011 Website
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Psalm 119:33-36 (NIV)
33 Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
I know that in the instances where I thought my way was better, I had to learn the hard way. This scripture is one of my prayers, that we/I would love the decrees of our King. I see this as the same as knowing the rules of a sport or game. If I want to get the most of the event and if I want to run as though to win the prize, I must know the rules, the better I know the rules the better I run the race.
How do you view God's decrees, are they obstacles to be avoided, or guides to live by?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
He [Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner] said he had "absolutely no concern" that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, would stop buying that debt.
"They've been very strong and I'm sure they'll be strong investors in the U.S. going forward as will investors around the world," he said.
Our political leaders at the highest level are faulting Standard and Poor's downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Mr. Geithner is lauding the fact that the world will continue to be hungry for our debt.
Two thoughts come to mind.
1. If you don't like the message, shoot the messenger. Mr. Geithner wants to squabble with S&P over a supposed 2 trillion dollar variance in regards to our debt. The better question is, what about the alleged 50 trillion in unfunded liabilities?
2. The other thought is, why isn't America buying China's debt? It troubles me that Geithner, and others, have made the defense of our ability to sell debt the issue. We should be dealing with the fundamental question... Why are we selling our debt?
When you raise the limit on your Discover card so that you can pay the interest on your Visa card you have a fundamental problem.
When you borrow 4.1 billion dollars per day to meet your expenses, raising your credit limit isn't the issue. The sad truth is that our political leaders are so divided, and I suspect overwhelmed, that they can't even begin to deal with the real issue!
Our leaders need to hear S&P saying that they need to see a 4 trillion dollar reduction in our spending!!!!! The Republicans want to blame President Obama, and the White House wants to blame the Tea Party. S&P wants to see the members of Congress, and the President, cut our deficit by $4,000,000,000,000.
Donald Trump was right on point when he correctly asserted that America is on her way to a $22,000,000,000,000 dollar debt. We currently spend 41 cents of every dollar on our debt service. We are looking forward to a day when 100% of our GDP [Gross Domestic Product] will be needed to service our debt.
Our hospitals will not be funded, our schools will be broke, and our military will be living on a shoestring budget. Compare this to China who has a rising GDP, and a burgeoning military machine.
The simple truth is this. Households, churches, cities, states, and countries can not long survive with a negative cash flow and growing debt load.
Pray for our local, state, and national leaders, that God will give them the wisdom and courage to dig America out of this growing whole! As bad as cutting will be now, it will be infinity worse, or perhaps fatal, later!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Let me encourage all of us to pray for our leaders during these critical budget debates that are taking place in Washington. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents need to put their affiliations aside, put their jobs on the line if needed, and do what is right!
My personal prayer is that they will stop worrying about the debt ceiling---and come to grips with the debt problem!!! Another credit card with a higher limit is not the answer for a family, city, state, or country! The press is making a big deal about how the world will respond if we don't raise the debt ceiling. If we are actually listening to our largest creditors we will hear them expressing concern that we get our budget balanced and our financial house in order for the longer term. That is not to say we don't need to pay our bills in the short term. However, if we end up with national credit interest payments that are greater than our GDP our creditors will have a real and lasting disaster on their hands. And we will cease to exist as the nation we have known and loved. America simply cannot continue to spend billions and trillions more than she takes in!!!
Hard decisions need to be made, and kicking the problem down the road is not the answer. Pushing the debate out past the 2012 elections is a false political ploy. Let's make the debt, budget, and taxes an integral part of the presidential debates leading up to the next election. Don't rush to assemble another critical piece of legislation. Debate it thoroughly, examine it rigorously, and do it properly!
May God bless our leaders and give them His wisdom and grace to work together and do the right thing!
Blessing to you all,
Friday, June 3, 2011
Greetings from Brooklyn, NY.
What an amazing time we have had.
Yesterday we met up with Mr. Z in Manhattan.
We had lunch at his favorite Turkish restaurant!
Jennifer and Jeremy have gone out on visitation,
and watched SideWalk Sunday Schools.
We have been to staff meeting, and talked with interns from around the world.
I have spoken with young people from England, Russia, Switzerland,
Germany, and literally, around the world.
This week we have watched eighteen buses working five days a week with sixteen teams doing three sidewalks per day. This week Metro Ministries visited and taught a lesson to over 19,000 children. These are real numbers, and this is a real ministry. There are 140 staff and 40 of the interns.
Tomorrow the buses will go out three times for the local kids...
they will bring them back for three "indoor Sunday Schools."
They are setting up for 4,000 children!!!
Metro Ministries does not wait for anybody to come!!!
They go out and get them!!!
Last night we had a conversation with a young women from Berlin, Germany named Teresa. She is a white German girl who has spent her four month internship working four highrises in Harlem, yes Harlem!!! She gets the names of the kids and goes to their apartments to visit during the week. Then on their day, the truck pulls up, and they do the "sidewalk Sunday School." Teresa was sharing how she walks alone through the buildings, in Harlem, visiting the kids. I shared how amazed I was by her courage, faith, and conviction. At the end of our talk I asked her how old she was... the answer "17."
I look forward to seeing you all...
Friday, April 29, 2011
to make Easter Sunday such a special day!
To those of you who set up, sung, tore down,
put away, and moved things back and forth!
Thanks to those of you who cooked, cleaned, and put away!
I told Karen that next year we should clean after Easter.
She told me to rent a hall for next year,
because we won't fit in my yard!
Sunday was awesome!
Almost 150 attended.
8 were baptized.
4 accepted Christ.
The sprinkle just made it more memorable,
and the sun even peaked out during lunch!
God loves us
Jesus served us
Christ died for us
He lives for us
And He is coming back for us
Because of these things we should love and serve one another.
We should lay down our lives for one another.
We should pray and be mindful of one another.
And we should tell/warn others that Jesus is coming back!
Thank you again to all of you who worked so hard
to make this Easter so special.
See you soon,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I was standing and worshiping this past Sunday when Karen slipped what appeared to be a letter into my hand. She rarely interrupts our time of worship so I knew it was important.
As I read down the page I soon realized there was a check attached. The check was made out to the church for $402,000. The long awaited check from Reliance had arrived.
Ministry is not about money, but it takes money to maintain a ministry. This check has multiple implications for NorthPoint at this key point in her journey! It was also a tremendous gift after ten years of struggle. Sadly, it is not the full $1,300,000 we are owed. But 30%, with the possibility of another disbursement down the line, is a blessing indeed.
Isn't it interesting that we leased and left our facility, and cut our expenses to the bone, balanced the budget, and then the check arrived? I think it is.
We will be able to repay church members who have covered mortgage payments, pay of the condo, repay a loan incurred to make the final payment to teachers at the school, and bring staff salaries current. Members who generously supported our ministry in faith will be "made whole." Sadly, approx 3/4 of the money will go to repay debt. Joyfully, we will be debt free save for the mortgage on the Sierra Way property, and we will have money in the bank.
This money in the bank will allow us to think pro-actively, rather than re-actively, about where God is leading us! For almost three years our Board has been putting out fires and reacting to problems over which we often had limited control. Our new Board will actually be able to take a breath of fresh air, without panic, and ask God what He wants us to do!
There is a special gift that we have generously received each month that has been helping cover salaries. The Board directed that for the next three months, this money will be used to cover the outstanding payments on my D. Min. at Golden Gate Seminary. The money was directed for that use, but with the donors permission has been helping cover salary. Bringing the payment current will be a significant factor in allowing Paul to re-engage his degree that has been on hold this past year. Stepping out from under the constant financial stress of this past year will be another key component of re-engaging the D. Min. Re-engaging the D. Min. project is going to force me to focus on the next need of our church.
An Important Perspective:
This money can be a great springboard to move forward. It must not become an excuse for maintenance! I would invite the prayers of all our people as we move forward from the powerful event of our Shepherds Retreat, with this very timely financial blessing!
I believe this check is going to send a powerful message to some undecided people. Over the past year we have heard anxious people ponder the future of NorthPoint. People have asked, "Are we going to make it?" The combined message of the Shepherds Retreat and the Reliance Check is.... "OH, YEA!" NorthPoint is going to more than make it! Under God's mighty hand, we are going to be just fine!
Let me speak a sincere thank you to each and every one of you who have supported the NorthPoint ministry with your prayers, finances, and hard work! We have truly turned a corner. And now we are going to see what God has for us in the coming year. I believe it will be very amazing.
We love you,
Paul, Karen, Chris, and Shannon
Saturday, March 19, 2011
What an amazing time we had last weekend with almost all of our Children, Spouses, Interns, Shepherds, Board, and Staff! This was a special and wonderful time of playing, praying, dreaming, and waiting on God.
Our prayer going in was that God would speak to us. I personally wanted to hear from our leaders, and see what they sensed God saying to them! Several leaders shared that they wanted to hear what others were thinking. Many desired a deeper relationship with the brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friday night I spoke about Vision. Saturday morning Chris and Michael spoke about Mentoring. Saturday evening I spoke about Outreach and Chris spoke about Multiplication. Sunday morning I preached about the call of Gideon.
Many important things were said and done over the course of the weekend. I would like to share some key moments, and their significance with you.
On Saturday evening Chris was teaching and God showed up. In the midst of his message he became very focused, anointed, and challenged us to stop thinking of NorthPoint as an 86 year old church. Stop thinking, planing, and evaluating based upon the past. Those of us listening had a strong sense that someone above and beyond Chris had spoken to us!
We are a new beginning.
We are not what we were...
we are a new thing!
Then, on Sunday morning in the middle of worship, the second God moment happened. Doug Jr. shared, "When you begin a church plant you commission your pastors." In the midst of the worship service the congregation took over and laid hands on Karen, Shannon, Chris, and I for a time of prayer and commissioning. The spirit of the moment was very strong, and clear. We are a new work, we are a church plant. This is truly a new beginning. Interestingly, several others in the congregation had a sense that this needed to be done before Doug spoke up! The spirit was speaking to the congregation.
Things that were spoken to us in the past suddenly connected with the present.
First were the words of Pastor Deon Robert spoken in Waco, Texas back in June of 2009. He challenged us to go home and kill our church. He challenged us to go home and die. This was not morbid heresy... it was directly from God's word.
Galatians 2:20 (NASB)
20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
"When Jesus Christ calls a man He bids him come and die."
We can't build a church, but God can! We must be willing to die to our agenda, that Christ's life might flow through! God has taken us down paths that I never would have imagined or planned!
Then, the words of Harold Weitz came ringing back from Waco. This pastor/prophet from South Africa stopped our group in a hallway and said to us, "You are in a nine month pregnancy, and you will deliver!" I have pondered his words since that time but never sensed a fulfillment.
Sunday afternoon Doug Jr. made the observation that it was nine months from the time we left the Sierra Way property until our retreat at Forest Home. We checked the calendar and learned an amazing thing! Our first services at the Elks Lodge took place over the weekend of June 11, 12, and 13. Our Shepherds Retreat took place over the weekend of March 11, 12, and 13. This was exactly nine months to the day!!!
I have spent the past week reflecting upon many things. In October of 1995 I came to Calvary Baptist Church to win souls and make disciples. Over the last 15 years we experienced arson fires, bankrupt insurance companies, the demise of a very selfish toxic church culture, the implosion of a school that was on our property, a financial meltdown, and the transition to a Life Group based ministry model!
It is safe to say that God has killed a church, and this pastor. I no longer see myself as the leader who will "build the Kingdom." I now see myself as fortunate to be a part of a grand experiment. What now excites me is the willingness of our Interns, Shepherds, Coaches, Board, and Staff to submit to one another, and to God. The decades old spirit of "us against them" has been killed! It is dead! It is gone!
Ralph Neighbour has taught me that there is a profound difference between a man formed, and a God formed movement. In many ways Calvary Baptist Church was man made! NorthPoint Christian Fellowship is in the process of being God made! I can feel the difference!
Last Sunday truly was a birthday for NorthPoint! The church born in anger and rebellion 86 years ago is dead! The work that was born Sunday March 13th is alive. We are going to humbly seek God's face, His will, and His plan for His church! I am happy to be dead, and agenda free!
I am ready to join with the NorthPoint family and see what God has for us! My prayers, love and blessings are with each of you whom God has called to take this journey! Only He knows what He has called us to be!
See you Sunday,
Monday, February 28, 2011
I really enjoyed our discussions this past Sunday morning. It is really great when the congregation gets in on the sermon. I loved the questions, answers, confessions, and love. This Sunday also brought up some really important issues. What is your view of sin. Do we really look at sin like Jesus does, like God does, or do we entertain convenient or pleasurable sins in our life. I never have a problem with Christians that struggle with sins, what saddens me deeply is when we stop struggling and just give in to them, excuse them, or justify them. Let us all take seriously the words of Jesus, he takes sin very seriously, and so should we. How far are we willing to go to purge sin from our lives.
Matthew 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire.
(Please understand that Jesus is not encouraging self mutilation but making a point about the seriousness of sin)
10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
"If you love me, you will obey what I command.
19 Therefore 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.”
Let us all be careful not to adopt the attitudes of this world in regard to sin, but to adopt the attitude of God toward sin!!!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Thanks again for all your prayers and support for this past weekend.
Check out pics and video at www.facebook.com/engagelifegroups
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Don't ask, "What can I do?" ask "God, What do you want done?"
What is it that God has been telling you that He wants done, that you just need to trust Him and do?
Friday, February 11, 2011
It has been a while since I have blogged about all that is going on. God has taken us on quite a journey. It is very exciting to see the momentum of Church life begin to build. We have been through much craziness over the last 3 years (really 10 years), and I feel as though the tides are beginning to change. As I speak with different people within the congregation, they are excited about what God is doing in the Church as well as in their own personal lives. Thank you all for your prayers and support through these tumultous times.
Here are a few things that are coming up that we are excited about.
February 18th-21st we are taking over 20 people to Lake Arrowhead for our JH and HS winter retreat. We will be staying at the peck's cabin (thanks pecks) and then going skiing on Sunday. What an amazing way to worship God.
March 11th-13th we are doing our first ever Annual Shepherds Retreat. We are going to forest home for the weekend for a time of Prayer, Fun, Encouragment, Relaxation, and training. We are praying that God will provide the finances for this retreat so that we do not have to charge our ministry leaders for this time of training. I would love to see the church body step up and bless their Shepherds for this weekend. We will be closing out the event with a Sunday Morning All Church Worship Service at Forest home, followed by Lunch in the Forest Home Dining Room. If you would like to donate toward this event just write shepherds retreat on your giving statement, or you can give at www.northpointsb.com and click the donate tab (specify: shepherds retreat).
April 8th-9th we are doing a "15 Hours of Silence" Retreat. This will be a chance to get a way for 1 night, and spend 15 hours of complete silence, focusing on God and listening for his voice. Our world is filled with so much ambient noise, I am excited to get away with you to experience this event. The 15 hours of Silence (some of that time spent sleeping) will be broken with 1 hour of Worship and Prayer, and 1 hour of debrief. We are excited to hear what God will speak to you during that time. Spots for this event are limited. Sign ups will open soon.
As you can see we have some super exciting things happening. On the business front, we are going to be presenting the nominations for 2011 Ministry Board to the Church in the next few weeks, we truly are blessed by the caliber of people that God has called into this position. God has blessed us in our finances and we are running a balanced budget for the first time in years. Thank you to all of you that have been and continue to be faithful givers.
I again thank all of you that have stuck out these crazy times of tilling and weed pulling, and I am looking forward to the harvest that is ahead of us. Feel free to leave comments on this page and share with us what God has been doing in your life.
PS Here is the new web address for our blog ncflife.blogspot.com