A Piece of Advice for Church of God MIP Graduates

Today is a special day for a number of my fellow Church of God brothers and sisters in South Carolina who have completed MIP. The Ministerial Internship Program (MIP) is a nine month intensive program for those individuals who have successfully completed and attained the first rank of credentialed ministry in the Church of God. In short, during this nine months the candidate and their spouse will sit under a supervising Pastor, meet each month in a class room setting for instruction, complete book work daily, and be tested each month on material studied.

This is a great step in moving forward in ministry. This program is draining, intensive, and can be intimidating. Having completed MIP in 2011 myself, I can say that I am better for having gone through it. Though it may be the things listed above, it is most importantly worthwhile. Paul instructed Timothy in our Holy Scriptures to “Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed.”

Having completed MIP you are now able to study and prepare for the next rank of Credentials in the Church of God, that of Ordained Minister. Remember, completing MIP should not be seen as an arrival. To complete MIP doesn’t mean we have arrived. It’s simply a fuel stop along the journey of ministry. If I had the opportunity to speak into the life of those completing MIP as well as those starting in ministry here is my one piece of advice. This is that one thing which we should hang on our wall and write on our hearts.

Don’t allow your passion for other things to be more superior than your passion for the Gospel.

It’s easy to get sidetracked in lesser important things than what we are called to. We are called to be about Gods business. His business is His word. Our life must be about sharing his business with others. No matter if you are full time, bi-vocational, or simply working in a field other than “church” work. Your greatest passion must be about the gospel. Share his word that’s what you are called to do.

Having completed MIP, what’s one piece of advice you would give today’s MIP graduates for their next steps in ministry.

Myths I’ve Believed Growing Up In Church

There are many things I’ve always heard growing up in the church. Some aren’t so biblical but take on a biblical tone. Meaning, I’ve never found them in the bible but we regard them as Gospel truth. I am working through a few myths that I plan to present during our midweek worship service on Wednesday nights at North Aiken Church of God. I am calling this Wednesday night series, Myths I’ve Believed Growing Up In Church.

So far here is the schedule…

Wednesday, May 7: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
Wednesday, May 14: God Will Not Allow More On Us Than What We Can Handle
Wednesday, May 21: OPEN
Wednesday, May 28: OPEN

You will notice I have two weeks open. Simply meaning, I haven’t decided which other 2 myths I am going to tackle and I was hoping you could help. Besides the ones listed above, what’s some things you’ve always heard and perceived to be Gospel truth but could never find it in scripture or have found to be not entirely true?

Here’s one I’ve always loved hearing which has never failed to give me a good chuckle…”if the KJV was good enough for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.”

A Christ Follower Loves One Another [Amplified] – Lesson Notes

A Christ Follower Loves One Another [AMPLIFIED]
Wed. August 28, 2013 – North Aiken Church of God

Proverbs 17:9,14,17

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the example of love.

  1. Christ gave a new command, “that we love one another.”
  2. Our love for one another should be the same way in which Jesus loved us
  3. Our love for one another reflects that we are truly followers of Christ.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

In essence, the command to love is not conditional. I don’t get to choose who I love. Jesus has already set the framework – the boundaries – for believers. Your love for one another isn’t based on what they have done to you or how they have treated you. Furthermore it is not even based on how much they may or may not love you.

The goal of this message is to reveal three practical ways in which every believer can love one another from Proverbs 17. A believer exemplifies love for one another when they watch their words, settle disagreements quickly, and are loyal to one another.

I see love being more than just a saying in your life but an action.

What You Need to Know?

  1. Our words are powerful we must watch what we say about one another. (see Proverbs 17:9)
    1. Relationships are built on trust
    2. We have a responsibility to help one another. Not to spread their business.

     

  2. Disagreements will happen. When they do we must settle them quickly. (see Proverbs 17:14)
    1. Contention will last only so long between two individuals until there is a blow up.
    2. When we notice disconnect between one another we must be quick to settle disagreements.

     

  3. Loyalty goes a long way and is a deep connection between believers. (see Proverbs 17:17)
    1. The difference between friends and brothers
      • There is a sense of loyalty among friends, you choose it.
      • There is a sense of duty among brothers, you’re born into it.
      • Believers are both/and.

“Love motivated by mere duty cannot hold out for very long.” – The Love Dare (2008)

What You Need to Do?

Make the decision to follow Christ’s example and love one another.

Authority and Guts

John 16:1-4 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

It’s a great feeling to know you have been empowered in order to accomplish a certain duty. Many times the thought of failing can cripple us and cause us to stop before we ever get started. Our good intentions, our desires, our duty gets placed on the back burner and other things get moved to the front burner of our lives.

Accomplishing any thing requires authority and guts.

In this passage of Scripture I see that Jesus offered his disciples just that, Authority and Guts (confidence). Keep in mind Jesus is dropping a bombshell on his closest followers. In a very short amount of time Jesus will be gone and the disciples will be left to continue on the message of redemption that came through Jesus’ death on the cross. This message wouldn’t be spread on their own but with the help of the Holy Spirit comforting, teaching, and empowering them. Though the power of His words Jesus gave them authority and confidence to keep going and spreading his message even though they would encounter all sorts of peril such as but not limited to; Being thrown out of their place of worship, being killed and those who do the killing will do it thinking they are doing it for God. Ultimately he was saying don’t be surprised when these things happen neither allow it to cause you to fall back.

Authority and Guts go a long way.

Jesus spoke in advance so that when those perilous things began to take place it would not take them by surprise. When you have the Authority to do something and the Guts to see it through your able to keep going forward when others fall back.

Keep Pressing Forward!

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4 Promises for a Troubled Heart

John 14:1-3 (NKJV) – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.

I remember a particular weekend in my first semester of college I was stressed. Honestly, I felt like everything was caving in on me. I felt I had so much to complete with little time to do it. It was a Saturday morning. I was four hours away from home. I had been pacing my small dorm room back and forth for what seemed like hours in order to keep my mind from racing. It didn’t help. Then it hit me, I can call home and get some guidance.

At that moment I picked up the phone and called home. I spoke with my Mom. As I began to express the anxiety and pressure I was feeling, my mother said, “George pack up your books and drive home. You can enjoy the evening here, study, then attend your home Church for Sunday’s service, and head back to school.” Within a matter of minutes I packed up my books and began my 4 hour journey home. With one simple statement,

“I knew there was a place where I can find solitude and rest and I knew how to get there.”

I can’t imagine the anxiety level as the disciples were sitting with their Teacher and more importantly Savior for what would be the last time before his crucifixion. All of a sudden with his words, Jesus pointed them to action. Do not let your heart be troubled. Why, because as they have believed in God they can also believe and place their trust in Him. Jesus then gave four promises.

There’s more than enough room for all
He was going to prepare a place
He is going to come again and bring his own to where He is
He made plain where he was going and how to get there.

Today I would like you to take a few moments and remind yourself. These promises weren’t just for a few select people a few centuries ago. As believers today be encouraged. There is still more than enough room for those who believe in Him. Jesus has prepared a place for you. Jesus is still going to come again and transition you from this earth to where he is. The path is clear, we know where he went and you know how to get there.

Keep Pursuing!

Help, My Pastor Preaches too Long #OurCOG

Have you ever sat through a movie that seemed like it wouldn’t end. Maybe it was a class where after a certain period of time it seemed like you checked out. I am sure that if your a Pastor you imagine each person sitting through your sermon never wanting it to end because it is so engaging and life changing. If I can be so blunt, as a Pastor I feel like I spend too much time on each message. I am sure that many of those who are listening to us feel the same way.

I am looking for some feedback…

  • As a Pastor when your in the congregation listening to another speaker, how long do you want them to speak?
  • As a Pastor how long do you normally spend delivering your message, do you think those your preaching to wishes you would shorten it up a bit?
  • As a church attendee if you could be open an honest with your Pastor, what would be the ideal time for this Sunday’s sermon?
  • As an attendee, how long does your Pastor normally spend on his message, is it too long?
  • Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comments. I look forward to reading your responses.

    My Prayer for the Women of NACOG

    I believe today and tomorrow will be a landmark day in the life of my wife and the other two ladies who are heading to Mauldin for the annual SCCOG Women’s Retreat. Matter of fact, as their Pastor I have a specific prayer I am praying for them this weekend.

    First, that they would connect with God in a way like never before. I believe the speakers have a word from the the Lord and this will be an encounter like never before for each woman attending.

    Second, that God would use this time for them to connect with each other in a way like never before. Each woman has their own set of worries and struggles. Time away like this has a way to encourage and empower one another in their walk with Christ.

    Third, that God would use this time for each of these women to connect with the will that God has for each of their lives. Along with being wives, mothers, employers, employees, etc, sometimes Gods will can have a way of being silenced with all the noise. I believe that this time will prove to be enlightening in regards to the will and desire God has for each of them in all areas of their life.

    Easter’s Past, Now What

    Another Easter weekend is in the rear view mirror. If you are unfamiliar about why we make such a big deal about Easter you can read in the Bible, John chapters 18-20. For all of my ministry friends I hope this past weekend proved to be one of your best weekends of the year. Maybe you didn’t quite reach the goals you set out to reach. Can I give you a word of encouragement? Just because you didn’t hit the number you were reaching for it shouldn’t get you down.

    At the time of this post I have only been at the North Aiken Church of God for about 7 weeks. Sure, we had some expectations but I haven’t let those expectations control me. We plan, we execute, but ultimately the rest is up to God.

    For instance, we were planning for an attendance goal of 75 people. We have been averaging 50. We had a total attendance of 55. Although we didn’t meet our planned goal of 75 there are a few things that we were able to execute by having that goal. If we were going to hit 75 we had to free up space in the sanctuary. So, we created an environment where children ages 2months – 5th grade can learn about Jesus and the purpose of Easter. That freed up close to 20 seats in the sanctuary for the guests that we’ve been inviting. We had a nursery for kids 2 months thru 2 years. A group for kids ages 3 thru 5 and a group for kids in k5 thru 5th grade. In total there were 13 kids present.

    Here’s what I have learned and I hope is an encouragement to you.

  • Don’t allow the fact that you didn’t have the number of people you expected and planned for make you unbearable to be around.
  • Don’t allow the fact that you may have had a record breaking attendance make you unbearable to be around.
  • Don’t forget to put the same amount of prayer and planning into this coming weekend.
  • Don’t forget to reflect on what God did this weekend in spite of us.
  • Don’t forget, it’s not about you it’s all about God and His plan and purpose for those he’s allowed you the opportunity to shepherd.
  • In closing let me add, the most important thing I believe that could have happened did. At least two people recognized that they have been trying to go through this life alone and recognized the need to turn it over to God and trust in Jesus.

    What was the highlight of your weekend?

    If you are a ministry leader what’s some sound advice you would give to other ministry leaders right after a big weekend?

    I am One Proud Pastor

    The closer Christmas Eve gets the more excited I am. On Christmas Eve at 5:30 we will be having our first Christmas Eve service at St George Church of God. Not only am I excited about the service but we are making a difference this weekend in the lives of people throughout our community.

    We’ve seen the church step up and follow after God and we are going to be delivering Christmas Eve Meals to 6 families. Another individual stepped up and followed after God and are making sure that a family gets Christmas by delivering gifts to them. We are also flooding the local nursing home with cards for each patient and worker. That’s right over 200 cards were hand filled out this week and will be delivered the day before Christmas Eve. We have made an attempt to hand deliver 500 postcards to the community over the past two weeks to invite them to our Christmas Eve celebration. We only have about 10 left over.

    Some very dedicated people have been working like crazy to make sure that our community knows that we are a Church for people looking for life and significance this Christmas. We are committed to making sure we saturate our community with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

    This makes me one proud Pastor.

    Check out St George Church of God on Twitter and Facebook.

    Tuesday’s Prayer Meeting Recap

    Do churches do that anymore?

    Last night we had a time of prayer at St George Church of God in which 14 people showed up for (5 were children under 10), not counting those who set that time aside at their home. We are going to embark on a venture to block out the noise around us and pray. As it relates to the Great Commission, prayer must be a high priority. It will help us map out the course in order to fulfill the unique purpose God has called us to do.

    I have a motto about prayer, “If prayer got us here, it’s going to take prayer to get us there.” I believe last night was a landmark event in what God is beginning to do through the local church to reach the St George, South Carolina Community.

    If you read through the Old Testament you will find people like Abraham who often went back to the places where he previously established altars in remembrance of when something significant happened in his life. Abraham led by example and we are to follow. We must build altars which remind us where God brought us from and serve as encouragement for where God can take us to. Some say you can never go forward if you go back. It is wise to go back to those places where God did something extraordinary in order to keep going forward.

    When is the last time you’ve went back? Is there a time where God worked in your life and you vowed never to forget it? That vow is a spritual altar, when is the last time you reflected on it? If prayer is going to be the driving force in the Church and in our personal lives, we must turn the ignition and start it up.

    Developing a healthy prayer life starts with praying. Make time to pray a little and you will find yourself praying often