Monday, December 31, 2007

New Beginnings...New Expectations

According to Kevin Conner, 8 is the number of New Beginnings. He has used scripture to define and convey this truth; and I agree. We are a few hours from 2008; and I am looking forward to a year of new beginnings. I am also seeing that a lot of work will need to be done; to whom much is given much is required. We have made several changes in our congregational leadership paradigm; for instance, we have gone from trying to establish 20 plus ministries; and now we will focus on 6, their formation, and making them the best that they can be--so that God is pleased. We did a sign up several weeks ago and the results were actually the most positive we have had since we've started the ministry. Now it is my responsibility to disciple, train and equip these saints for the work of the ministry. This will be both challenging yet VERY rewarding. In the past, I've done this with one or so people; some things worked-but there were things that fell through for whatever reason. Maybe it was just too much information, I don't know. But at the end of the day--some that I have discipled have recieved it and are doing very well; others have not. Overall, I am praying that God will work through me to do a better job in equipping disciples. I look forward to the Lord granting this request.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

This last Sunday of the year has marked the end of things old and the beginning of things new. Today was a good day; it has also been a difficult day for me personally. Well, difficult may be the incorrect word. Let me simply say--I delivered the State of the Church Address. The reason why it is always difficult for me is because I am talking about our vision. Not that I hate talking about our vision-it is just extremely taxing and takes a lot out of me. Also-because preaching is my element and something I love to do--I have the added pressure and wanting to preach the way I typically preach; and I just can't do that and talk about the vision. My experience has been when talking about our vision--that I have to stand flat-foot and 'talk' to our people, and clearly share with them our direction. It is something I feel that I must do and need to do on a regular basis.

We are between Christmas and New Years-so many of our members and regular attenders were out-for one reason or another. I can't say this was a great surprise; though my expectation was that I would be proven wrong.

The good news is we had in our worship service a committal and burial. We buried and committed to ashes every issue and person that we needed to let go in 2007. 2008 is the Year of New Beginnings. And we are entering the coming year with a new attitude, perspective, and commitment to do things God's way.

This is going to be a challenging yet rewarding time for us; but I am excited about the new possibilities!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007


This is finals week. I have taken one final thus far. I am not pleased with how I have done and plan to contact my professor tomorrow and see if there is ANYTHING that I can do to make up for the horrible job I did today. All I am looking for, at this point, is GRACE. I need it - I really have no excuses. Interestingly--I think we have all been there SPIRITUALLY as well!!! No excuses, should have done better, could have done better--just didn't. We need HIS grace...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday, December 10, 2007

Thank the Lord for a wonderful day in worship today! Attendance was nothing out of the ordinary--still waiting on the increase. Nevertheless--God was present!!! And that is all that really matters. This was one of those mornings where nothing seemed to come together--couldn't find my glasses, left my coat at home, etc. All in all--God moved in our corporate worship experience and He really used the message. Also--Sunday School was fantastic!!! I expect God to do more each and every week at Cornerstone...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Annual Church Survey....

For the second year now, we have conducted a church-wide survey. It is only 'church-wide' insofar as only a selected few take advantage of the survey. I am busy trying to tally up all of the answers, etc. Though I appreciate the obedience of some of our members who took the survey--I am two-sided in my response to the survey. On the one hand, I appreciate those who really gave honest answers, whether they were harsh realities (like my not answering my phone enough) that I already knew the answer to or some great comments and views regarding our church. This will both help and challenge our church as a whole. On the other hand, as a NEW pastor, I see why more churches/congregations DO NOT conduct an annual church survey. Because though there is a desire for everyone to be honest, all are NOT qualified to assess the progress, spirituality, and quality of the church. They just can not!!! I don't want to say NEVER. But I doubt very seriously that we will be doing an annual church survey next year. Though I appreciate and will take advantage of MOST of the surveys, I think that next time it will NOT be 'church-wide'.

I am praying that tomorrow, when the results are reviewed--that the Lord will allow us as a congregation that are few in number--to take legitimate, spiritual concerns and suggestions and implement/integrate them into the life of our great church.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Greek!

Tonight was MORE Greek. We had three weeks off; and it was quite evident!!! Thank God that our professor forgot that he had assigned us a quiz on declensions, etc. that I hadn't studied for--though many remembered and were prepared. He forget because OF ME!!! God is good!!! We discussed some things, mainly one that I DID NOT even know. Southern Baptists take the stand that there are Women Deacons! What? I need to do more research; this may be a Southwestern thing and not a SBC thing. The premise is taken from 1 Timothy 3:11; that, in the original language--the qualifications there do NOT make reference to Deacon's wives, but rather female deacons. I just had a lot of questions about this subject knowing that I never even heard or even considered this point of view. I remember doing a study on some of our culture calling the wives of Deacons a 'Deaconess'. I have not nor do I see now that concept in scripture. A Deacon's wife being a 'Deaconess' by default is no more true than the wife of a Pastor makes her a Pastoress or the wife of a Prophet (in the OT) a Prophetess.

Take note, I haven't done any research on any of this as of yet--that is, on female deacons. Rest assured, I WILL. And in no way, am I placing this in the category of women ministers. Those are 2 separate issues in scripture. I don't want to say anything that is incorrect only to have to correct myself after I have studied and it looks as if I am contradicting myself. I will say, as of now, my BIGGEST surprise is that Southwestern is a proponent of this view. And moreover, I have always 'assumed' that the term 'Deacon' (diakonos) was a masculine term. If the term, in scripture, is gendered neuter--then that changes everything. Atleast for me! If it is gendered masculine--then the term Deacon in my view could NOT possibly mean a female Deacon.

I will study this in depth, as I have with women in ministry--and, will post in a future blog. Bear in mind, this will take some time. I try not to stand for something unless I am 100% certain that I have done research and insight into the the biblical text. Disclaimor: I know this is a sensitive subject. Note: I have NOT attempted, in any way, to express one way or another in this blog which way I am leaning.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Bee Movie!

Yesterday I did something I have NEVER done before--I went to the movies with Kai--just he and I!!!! We have been to the movies as a family, typically he was with the church gathering; or his cousins would take him to a kid movie while Dee and I went to a movie we really wanted to see. D'Ani has been to these 'kid movies' with Kai before. I just don't do the cartoons. I never see the point of spending that kind of money for a movie that I will probably have to purchase in 3 or so months and will be played over and over again. But after church, I really wanted to just BE with Kai--just he and I!!! I wanted to enjoy his presence. The movie was okay; but my major thrill was seeing how excited thid 4-year was to have his 'daddy' all to himself. It really amazed me to see him so excited and thrilled to have me there--with him. I felt so out of place, all of the kids....women (mothers) with shorts, t-shirts and baseball caps....while I sported a dress shirt, slacks and, of course, my Dallas Cowboys cap!!!! (Go Cowboys!) All in all--I had to think about my prayer life; how, at times, I really neglect to give The Father the time He wants and desires. It is my prayer before this year is out to cultivate a heart like that of Kai--I want to simply enjoy being with my Eternal Daddy (Abba!). I was talking to an old friend of mine as we were leaving--they called me on my cell. I told them that I spend time with Kai and I really don't do 'kid movies' but I 'made it through'. He said, 'yes....but it meant the WORLD to him'. I had to repent--may my time with God always continually mean the WORLD to me!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Worship today was both effectual and empowering! I did not preach; I asked one of our ministers, Steven Richardson, to share with us the Word of God. I try to occassionally allow our associate ministers the opportunity to 'minister' and 'preach' the Word not only when I am away but also when I am present. I am told that this can be a definite blessing and example to the entire congregation toward support of those who serve under my leadership in a ministerial capacity. Being that I am not in a present series, and also working toward next year's agenda, etc.--this was the perfect opportunity to have one of our very able and capable ministers to share. He did an awesome job in allowing God to use Him as the Word of God was explained. He shared a passage from Matthew 17:1-5 and spoke from the subject "Spiritual Reconstruction". We were blessed!...I can't put it any other way....

In Sunday school we continued our series 'When God Builds a Church' and today's discussion dealt with 'Excellence'. We were blessed! Interestingly, the teacher not only teached but some stated that he was on the brink of preaching the lesson that he taught. All in all-we were blessed!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Back Home

I'm glad to be back home from the Texas Valley. God really blessed our time there, particularly on women's night (Thursday). The boys, Kai and Kaden, were happy to see me and D'Ani, of course, smiled from ear to ear!!! I love my family!!! I am so blessed to have them in my life. They are the best!