NWCC Pastor and Staff Blogs
Welcome to our church blog! Staff members and elders will be blogging about current events from a Christian perspective, expanding on our weekly message, or just simply talking about interesting items we feel could be relevant to your Christian walk. Check back often and feel free to leave us a comment on each entry! God Bless!
The Music Dude - #1
July 18, 2013
I guess it’s my turn to post a blog here at NWCC. As the “music dude”, the assumption would be that I would go directly to the Psalms and talk about something that was all poetic, flowery, feel-goody (not a word, but oh well), and generally musical.
Not today, friends.
I’m going to take you directly into the wide and weird world known as “my mind.” Watch yourself. It’s not necessarily the prettiest place in the world, and it’s quite dangerous. You may get lost. Keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.
As a friend of mine once said, “You don’t want to go into my head. It’s like the wrong side of the tracks in there.”
I’ve been harping on this with the worship team during our post-rehearsal devotions for the past couple of weeks, so this will be nothing new for them, but for everyone else, this may be a bit of a system shock.. Here’s the vision that I have for Northwest Christian Church as we go forward. I see these things for us in the future:
I see a church that worships our Lord unreservedly, unabashedly, and unashamedly with all of our strength, all of our mind, and all of our spirit.
I see a church that knows Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of all. I see a church that serves that Lord out of the overflow of His Spirit moving and working within. I see a church that doesn’t seek to puff itself up by its good deeds, but simply seeks to obey a God that loves enough to give His all to us.
I see a church gathering on a Sunday morning with no barriers between any one of us. I see teams and ministries united as one in serving and worshiping our Creator, singing with full voices and eyes raised to “the hills…from where [our] help comes from.” (Psalm 121:1)
I see a church that is intensely focused on making disciples of Christ, inviting our unchurched friends, family members, and coworkers to come hear about the Gospel message of a God who saves us from ourselves and our own sins.
I see the Apostle Paul’s vision of a church with no walls between it, no barriers of entry, and nothing stopping us from standing on the promises of Christ’s salvation and eventual return.
Just like Paul says to the churches in Ephesus, we “are no longer strangers and aliens, but [we] are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20) We are ALL fellow citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.
How awesome is that?
This Sunday, as we gather in worship with our friends, family, and church family, let us remember that truth. Let us remember that we are a church that calls out to sinners, “Jesus loves you! Come stand on the cornerstone of His life, death, and resurrection!”
Invite your friends and your co-workers to come celebrate this awesome truth with us this Sunday. And come sing loudly with us!
Out of the Overflow #2 - Pastor Jay
July 11, 2013
A Different Slant on the Good Samaritan
Have you ever had one of those moments while reading a familiar bible story where something jumps out at you that you’ve literally never seen before? Maybe you’ve even done a double take, thinking to yourself, “Wait, when did that get put in there?” I’d bet most of us have had at least one of those experiences before. Many of us have probably had lots of those experiences before. I was talking to one of our staff members today about one such experience I had.
Most people have heard the story of the Good Samaritan. Even if you’re not much of a church person, you’ve at least heard that phrase “Good Samaritan”. It shows up all over the place in our culture and it’s from a famous story Jesus told in Luke 10.
In the short version of the story, there is a man who is traveling and this man gets attacked and beaten up by robbers. Several people walk past the hurting man and don’t stop to help. Then a Samaritan comes along, helps the guy out, and even pays some of his medical bills. It’s a great story.
Having grown up in the church, I’ve heard and read this story hundreds of times but not long ago something jumped out at me that I had never seen before. Here’s the passage that got my attention:
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him." (Luke 10:33)
I know…earth shattering right? You may be wondering what the big deal is? In this story I have generally focused in on the people who failed to help the hurting man. Occasionally I think about how the Samaritan paid for the injured man’s medical bills out of his own pocket. Once I even heard a sermon about how the donkey in the story (See Luke 10:34) is equivalent to a BMW today! All these points are good ones to think about.
Well, maybe not the donkey thing, but they’re all interesting facets to this one particular story.
And every time I hear this story I feel guilty because I’m not doing more to help people. A couple of times I even asked God if I should sell everything I had and move to some 3rd world country so I could be more like the Good Samaritan! Isn’t church guilt great?
Here’s what I noticed in Luke 10:33 that I had never seen before. The Samaritan was going about his regular business when he stopped to help the hurting man.
He wasn’t walking around, searching for someone to help.
He wasn’t on a mission trip or doing a special service project.
The Bible says he helped “as he traveled”. Perhaps he was on a business trip. Maybe he was going to visit family in some distant land. He might have simply been walking home after dinner. It’s not really important where he was going or what he was doing. The thing that stuck out to me was that this guy found a way to make a difference in his every day life…as he traveled.
Sometimes in the church world we get hyper-focused on special projects and big, grand plans to help other people. We organize food drives and walk-a-thons and fundraisers and believe me, those are great (I’m all for food drives!). Unfortunately what can happen is that we can begin to believe that the big, grand plan is the best and only way to help people. We read books or hear stories about people who are doing huge things for God and we feel guilty that we’re not doing anything grand. We think we have to host an event or create a program or plan a special project, otherwise we’re letting God down.
I think most of the time, though, what really makes God happy is when we help people around us in the everyday moments of life…as we travel. Sure, you can do a special project and good things happen.
But when you help your neighbor mow their yard, just because; or you carry a few bags of groceries up to the elderly lady’s apartment because you know they’re heavy; or you go out of your way to give some money to a single mom who you know is hurting; that sort of stuff, in your sphere of life, as you travel, makes an eternal difference.
It probably won’t get noticed by the crowds or get your name in the paper or cause you to write a book someday, but I believe one of the things that makes the good Samaritan so good is that he wasn’t looking for accolades. We don’t even know his name. He simply showed people his heart in the every day world in which he lived…as he traveled. And I believe that kind of stuff makes maybe even a greater difference than all the service projects in the world.
July 03, 2013
What a summer so far!! It has been busy, it has been crazy and it has been fun. But most importantly, it has been a spiritual renewal for me! Why do I share this with you? Well let me begin.
In the month of June, I have been a part of Vacation Bible School, a half-week of camp for First Timers, a full week of camp with high schoolers, and a week of much-needed vacation at the beach. With the month of June behind me, I am now preparing myself for a trip to Indianapolis to serve those in need with the EPIC Student Ministry and a trip with the high
schoolers to CIY Move. I am so excited and, in that excitement, I can get a little tired ,but I know that God will give me the energy I need to make it through.
Some thoughts I would like to share with you came from my week of camp at Woodland Christian Camp in Temple, GA...
I have been the Assistant Program Director of that week for 4 years and to see the impact it has made on teens is awesome. Our week was titled “Multiply” based off the Francis Chan book, Multiply. However, Jesus was the originator of this concept . In Matthew 28:19, Jesus’ famous words in which we call the Great Commission is for us to “Go and make disciples”.
What in the world does that mean? Each person reading this will definitely have a different answer, but there really is only one answer:
Go and make disciples that make disciples that make disciples.
You get the drift.
Four questions/statements to begin your thinking:
First, each of us needs to stop and think, should I multiply? How is my life? What am I doing that I know I need to stop because if you begin to multiply then you are going to multiply that behavior or addiction?
Second, we are commanded to multiply. Usually we think, "Hey I went to church, I gave my tithe, I sat through a Bible class, I went to a small group, and I served at a shelter this week." However, did you speak to the person you work with about Jesus? Did you invite them to come and see what Jesus is doing in “His Church”? We are told to make disciples of Jesus that make disciples of Jesus.
Third, are you equipping yourself to multiply? How do you equip yourself? You sit in Bible classes each week, come together and worship on Sunday mornings, read and study God’s Word daily, and meet in small groups to minister to one another. Bottom line, do life together!
Last, we are to go and multiply. What is stopping you? Don’t let Satan grab a hold of your mind and put in there those subtle words telling you that you can’t do it. You do not know enough. It is ok not to tell others about Jesus because it is not "politically correct." These are lies. Do not believe them. Be spiritually correct!
To wrap up, begin this process with prayer. If you need to be discipled before you reach out to others, ask someone to help you discover who Jesus is and what Jesus’ TRUE purpose is in this world (according to God’s Word). Allow God to place 2 people in your mind and heart who you need to reach out to this month with Jesus’ love. Meet regularly. The book Multiply (click here to check it out) is a step by step book in how to lead in discipling others and yourself. I challenge you to pick up a copy and read it. Read it with someone else to begin the journey of “going and making disciples.”
Out of the Overflow #1 - Pastor Jay
June 27, 2013
I have discovered over the years that I really don’t like moving. For the most part, it’s just one big headache. There are so many little details that require attention. Addresses need to be changed, bank accounts need to be opened and closed, boxes need to be packed, moved and then unpacked. Not to mention the financial strain of living in two places all while trying to sell a house...
Ok, so maybe that one is a little personal to my situation, but all in all moving is difficult. People who study such things rank moving as one of the top three stressors in life, right behind the loss of a family member or close friend.
While moving is tough and creates a lot of stress and tension, I have also noticed throughout my life, and most recently with my family’s move here to Northwest, God loves to teach us a thing or two when we move. Here are just a few of the lessons God is teaching me lately:
- Moving helps us see what is really important. When space is at a premium in the moving truck, you quickly discover what needs to get moved and what can be sold in the yard sale. Going through a move has a way of getting us to critically evaluate the importance of all the “stuff” that gets accumulated over the years. It also helps us see what is most important on a more relational level. It’s easy to say to everyone “we will stay in touch,” but when you move away it becomes pretty clear in a relatively short period of time who really matters most to you relationally.
- Moving helps us see ourselves more clearly. When you move to a new town and you discover that the shampoo is in a different aisle of the grocery store than you are used to, or you realize that the way you used to do things at work is not how they do it at your new job, you catch a glimpse of yourself from a unique perspective. Someone once said that human beings are creatures of habit, and we all know this to be true. When we move, it forces us to confront our typical patterns of behavior head on, and we are able to see ourselves and the way we do things in a whole new light.
- Moving allows us a fresh start. When you move to a new town, you get the opportunity to start over, with a clean slate. You are able to change and behave differently than you did before. You are no longer “that guy” on the team at work. You aren’t known as “that mom” in the neighborhood. You get a chance to start fresh and make the changes that God is calling you to make.
Not all of us will have the luxury of moving to a new town any time soon, but I believe that if we are willing, we can experience some of these same lessons without going through the stress of physically packing up our boxes and driving cross-country. And believe me, having done this very thing 12 days ago, you want to avoid this if at all possible!
Take some time this week to try and see what is really important to you, right where you are. What matters most to you right now or more importantly, what SHOULD matter most to you right now? Are their areas of your life or patterns of behavior that you need to take a closer look at and maybe some thought patterns that need to be adjusted? Do you need to start over with someone or in some area of your life today?
Prayerfully and boldly asking those questions, and a whole host of other questions like them, can help you to experience some of the joys of moving without having to ever leave the house. You can make a move without a single cardboard box in sight. Now that’s a move I’m willing to make any time!