Sunday’s Text 4/24/16

This Sunday at North Aiken Church of God I will continue to preach through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). I am spending this week working through Matthew 5:33-37.

     “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’
     But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
     Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
          – Matthew 5:33-37 (ESV)

As A Small Church Pastor, 3 Day Weekends Can Be Less than Exciting, Here’s How I’m Preparing For It

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Typically this means attendance is at record lows for a lot of churches. As a small church pastor one of the ways you can combat the emotional low that comes with holiday weekends and low attended weekends is to expect it and find a way to enjoy the weekend with your own family. Here’s a quick tip on how I’m going to deal with it and what it will provide for me and my family.

Go out of town, even if it means staying close so you can get back to Church in order to preach. My families going camping with good friends. We are leaving on Friday. It’s close enough for me to come back and feed our dog daily as well as be back for Sunday morning in order to encourage those who choose to attend service. Here’s what getting away does for us even though much of our schedule, especially the weekends, is dictated by my calling as a Pastor. Getting away allows us to be a normal family. We did this last year also, not camping, but we made it a point to get away and come back for the morning service.

You know, without looking I can’t tell you how many people we had in service or how I was feeling emotionally due to that. However, I can tell you my emotional state on that Sunday because of our family time. We had a blast in TN making memories. We stayed at the Inn at Christmas Place, had cookies with Santa (in May). Not only that but we also stayed in a cabin at the top of a mountain with family, went to Ripley’s aquarium, ate at the Apple Barn…etc.

I will be prepared for service but I won’t be down because it was an off day. I’m expecting the off day by preparing mentally and having a blast building memories with my wife, kids, and good friends.

Hopefully this post will offer some encouragement to a Pastor or ministry leader who is looking at this coming weekend and thinking, “I wish I could get away like everyone else and be a normal family.” You can, you need to, you deserve it.

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.”

We’re Almost There

As of today the those participating in reading the New Testament with along with us at North Aiken Church of God have completed a total of 8 books. Today was our last day in 2 Corinthians. We have a little over a month and a half and we will have read the entire New Testament. Here’s where we stand.

Challenge: Read the Entire New Testament in 6 months. June 2013 – November 2013.
Total Stats: 27 Books, 260 Chapters, 7,958 Verses
Completed to Date: 8 Books, 162 Chapters, 5,913 Verses
Left to Complete: 19 Books, 98 Chapters, 2,45 Verses

I can’t wait to celebrate during the first part of December with those who have been reading along. Here is a little encouragement from today’s reading.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other with Christian love. – 2 Corinthians 13:11, 12 NLT

Sermon Notes Recap from Sun. Oct. 6, 2013

Yesterday in the 11:00AM and 6:00PM service at North Aiken Church of God we continued our series out of Acts 2:41-47. Our point of focus; As a disciple (maturing believer) we are to engage our community/culture Acts 2:46-47. I am posting some recap notes to serve as a reminder for all those who were part of the services or who missed on yesterday.

The early Church (believers) were not hiding out. They were openly and joyfully serving God. Here are a few of their characteristics; They were consistent in meeting together (continued daily), they were unified (one accord), they broke bread (fellowship), they were happy people (gladness), they were not complicated (simplistic). This is not to say that they were unorganized but they didn’t over complicate things. They worshipped (praising God), they had favor from all people, they were growing (the Lord added daily), they were saved people.

If we are to actively engage our culture we must actively live out our faith no matter what context we find ourself in. Practice/live out your faith. If your a business owner, base your business on the principals of scripture. If your an employee, base your work ethic on the principles of scripture.

Engaging our culture is a deliberate action. We aren’t to be passive. It’s at the core of Jesus’ call.
Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. – Jesus | Matthew 4:19.

Engaging our Culture is a Matter of Flavoring and Illuminating
You are the Salt of the Earth, You are the Light of the World. – Jesus | Matthew 5:13-16

Don’t expect the world to shine for you. God calls you to shine for the world. The world is a dark place and God has put us where we are to be lights. That’s the challenge for the whole Church. -Colin Smith

Engaging our culture comes by doing.
We engage our culture by our works (c/r James 1:21-22, 2:14-26)

What we do inside the building, collectively as a body of Christ is in order to propel us outside the church to engage our culture. You are part of the body of Christ for a purpose and I want you to be purposeful in engaging your community.

Call to Action
Find out one practical need we as a church can meet for someone within the body (church) this week and let me know.

Find out one practical need we as a church can meet for someone within our community, not part of the Church and let me know.

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.

Wednesday’s Lesson Notes Aug. 21, 2013

Below is the outline I will be using during tonight’s lesson. I have been working over the last couple of months from an outline template that was passed down from Pastor Kemp. He has posted a helpful post  detailing the process he goes through when preparing a sermon/lesson HERE. This system, when I stick to it, helps my thoughts flow better and also helps me to stay on topic. Another benefit is that it keeps me within a reasonable time frame which shows respect for those who have taken the time to come out and hear the word. Here’s the thing. I have had more positive feedback from those in the congregation about how they were impacted by the message when I have taken the time to present the message in this fashion.

I am posting the basic outline here on the blog as a trial. I will start by giving a brief recap of Sunday’s message and then spend a few moments amplifying it. This method on Wednesday nights impacted me greatly in my journey with Christ while attending Central Church, Hilton Head during MIP. Maybe those who are making plans to attend service at North Aiken Church of God during our Wednesday Worship Service will find it helpful.

Go and Sin No More [Amplified]
Proverbs 16

The essence of this message is Jesus’ death on the cross was the place where he set the example and displayed compassion toward us. For those who believe in Him and commit to following him; we have to make a conscious decision to walk away from the sin he delivered us from.

The goal of this message is to point out 3 things from Proverbs 16 that can help you to continually walk in the freedom of Christ.

I see each of us renewing our commitment to Christ and developing the following habits in our daily life;
Releasing ownership to Jesus Christ,
Removing arrogance from our life, and
Reviewing each path available to us and choosing the one which reflects wholeness in Jesus Christ.

What You Need to know?

Success comes by committing what I do to the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV) – Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

My way is not the best way
Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) – Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

What seems right isn’t always the right way.
Proverbs 16:25 (NKJV) – There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

What You Need to do?

Release Ownership
Remove Arrogance from your life and establish that we are all a mess apart from Jesus.
Review each Path before you; choose only the one that leads you closer to Christ.

Your Personal Declaration:

I will not go back to who I was before Christ.
I will not allow my life to be controlled by the sin that separated me from Christ.

I will release ownership of all to Jesus Christ; Jesus you own all the rights, profits, and I just work for you. I trust you as sole owner to provide all I need.

I will remove all arrogance and will refuse to exalt self or my own works. I will point all things back to Jesus Christ.

I will review each road before me; the course that best reflects the standards (and your will) from your word will be the one I follow.

Weekly Reminder for NACOG Goers, Wed. June 26, 2013

20130625-170742.jpgIt’s Wednesday and I am going to try something new here on my Blog. If you attend or are new to North Aiken Church of God (to be referred to as “NACOG Goers” from here on out) this is going to be a midweek post that will keep you informed with what’s upcoming at the Church. It will also give you a chance to tweet it or share it on your timeline or through whichever social networking tool you use. I will do my best to keep it short and to the point. Don’t forget our Midweek Worship Service tonight at 7:00PM. Visit the NACOG Website for detailed contact info and directions.

Church Work Day this Saturday June 29, 2013; 9:00AM – 12:00PM – There a few items we want to spend some time taking care of on the exterior of the Church building. There will be a light breakfast beginning at 8:00AM with a devotion just prior to starting the work day.

Missions Service this Sunday June 30, 2013 – We are grateful to have guest Missionary Richard Murphy and is wife Elizabeth with us during our 11:00AM worship service. Come prepared to worship and invite someone to join you as we hear about the work they are doing throughout Ecuador. Also, we will be taking up a special missions offering in order to assist them financially as Bro. Murphy gets ready to go back to Ecuador. There will be no kids church this Sunday. All students in k5 and up will be joining their parents in worship in order to hear from the missionaries.

Nursery and PreSchool Age Worker Needed this Sunday – If you are interested please contact me (Pastor George) and let me know what age group you are willing to help with during the missions service on Sunday Morning.

Senior Camp is underway in Mauldin. The students will be returning Friday so if you have a child who went with us please make sure to plan on picking them up at the Church by 12:30PM on Friday.

Junior Camp (ages 12-14) Starts Monday – If your child has already registered for Camp in Mauldin we need a count of how many are going in order to ensure we have proper transportation. Please be sure to have them at the Church no later than 10:30AM on Monday so that we are able to leave by 10:45.

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?