Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Good is Good Enough? Part 3

While I always thought I knew and had a relationship with God, I never really knew Him. I confessed with my mouth that I know God, I know who Jesus is, but there is still much more time for me to get right with Him. I used to only do my body harm and not affect anyone else’s. That is good right? I would drink a lot and also experiment in other things. Until I truly realized that my life needed to change. I needed to change. Ever felt that way?

I always thought that if I did good things and still told people I was a Christian but did not exactly do what the Bible said, I would for sure go to Heaven. But where there is a tree there will be fruit right? My greatest fear would be to die and not go to Heaven. Now my greatest fear is for Jesus to say He never knew me.

Matthew 7:21-23 says,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers!”

Sometimes we might think to ourselves, well we did good deeds, but Jesus said even if you prophesy, drive out demons and perform miracles but does not do His will, then you will not be able to enter into His kingdom.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Good is Good Enough? Part 2

This week I will be discussing the question How Good is Good Enough? Basically answering the question when I die will my deeds be enough to get me to Heaven?
Basically you have to be dead to go to heaven therein lies the problem. If God appeared to you and asked, “Why should I let you into heaven” How would you answer?

If you are like most people you probably said;

“I always tried to…”

“I never…”

“I do my best…”

Many years ago before I had a relationship with God, I always said to myself those exact words and thought that I would go to Heaven based on the good works that I did. I even struggled developing a relationship with God because I thought he would want me to put my wife and family first. I struggled with the fact that God wants me to put Him first and then my family. I said, “How could God create me and my wonderful children and be so selfish to want me to put him first.” This bothered me for years.

Until I finally developed a relationship with Him and He healed my marriage, healed my finances, healed my worries and anxiety and my family. There are still some times that these areas might suffer but I know that if I put my faith in God then He gives me the strength and direction.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Good is Good Enough? Part 1

Have you ever wondered will I make it to heaven? Will I make it? I heard songs recently by Coldplay Here are the lyrics:

“Those who are dead are not dead
They’re just living in my head
And since I fell for that spell
I am living there as well

Time is so short and I’m sure
There must be something more

You thought you might be a ghost
You thought you might be a ghost
You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close
You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close”

This week I will be discussing how good is good enough.

Let me know your thoughts about what does it take to make it to heaven.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rosa Mexicano Anyone?

First of all I want to say that I am completely honored and humbled to lead such an awesome welcome team at our church. So each Sunday morning I will lead a VIP (Vision Information and Prayer) meeting to get out team inspired and motivated to welcome in our remarkable members and visitors into Turning Point Church.

Today this is what I shared:

My wife, her family, my kids and myself all went down to Atlantic Station this past week. My wife, mother in law and grandmother in law loved it. My grandfather in law, the kids and I were not so loving it, but we still went and enjoyed ourselves.
We all were getting hungry for dinner so we decided to go into Rosa Mexicano where we were impressed by first walking in the doors. I had 8 in our party with our kids and the hostess kindly walks up to us and asks how many are in our party and lets my son know that they ask all gentleman to kindly remove their hats before sitting. She corrected him but did it is such a graceful way that we were not offended in anyway. My son was a little embarrassed but after we explained it to him he understood. I felt a little underdressed after that comment with my camo shorts and flip flops but I did not seem to stick out.

As soon as we sat down our waitress was extremely polite and went over the menu with us, made recommendations, brought out samples for my grandfather in law and promptly served us in every fashion. The service there was amazing. I asked the waitress what the process was when getting hired there and she said they go through a 2 week process before getting in the restaurant.

So I compared that experience to us as the church, we should be overwhelmingly welcoming to our guests and make sure we are coming off extremely polite and warming to make everyone feel welcomed.

Today and every Sunday our Welcome Team does just that!!

Keep up the great work Turning Point Welcome Team!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Tonight we had our annual Low Country Shrimp Boil at Turning Point Church where we had a big group of men show up. As I sat there and looked around I was immediately humbled by the amazing group of men God has surrounded me with. I could not imagine not having this group of men in my life. We do life together, we crack jokes at each other, we pray for each other and we are there for each other.

Way too many times in my past I have tried to separate myself from people and not allow people to actually know the real me. I think if they really knew what I have done and been through would they still be my friend. So for a long time I was afraid to open up to other men. But after going to this church and God delivering me from the wrong mind sets I am completely filled with joy with the people God has placed around me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That's Just The Way I Am

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well that’s just the way I am.” They refuse to change. I don’t really believe that because God can change anyone. I have been able to spend time with my 81 year old grandfather in law and he said he is still learning and still changing and improving on things. I spent so time with him today and he gave me some great quotes:

“Time flies when you are getting old. Slow this baby down!!”

He has been married for 58 years and has 3 kids, 12 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren with more on the way.

“When you grow up you can call the shots.”

We had a great time visiting today while the women shopped and we patiently waited on the benches outside. He taught me some patience today.

“You can lead a man to the gates of hell, but you can’t drive him across the street.”

After spending a lot of time with him this week we continually grow closer as friends. Even though he is 81 he still believes that he is not just the way he is but he is continually growing and changing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Morning VIP

I heard a great quote from Andy Stanley about church growth. He said that if people come to your church based on a marketing campaign they are looking for relationships, but if they are coming because they were invited by a friend then they are looking for information. We as the church need to be able to offer both of these things. We have recently really fine tuned our vision at Turning Point Church to become a God given force to spread the news of Jesus Christ.

We call it Reach people with the message of Jesus Chris, Restore them to the body of Christ in the local church, Raise people to be fully devoted followers of Christ, and Release them into their God given purpose and destiny.

We reach people with our weekend service, we restore people with our life groups, we raise people with our growth track and we release people with our dream team.
Today our welcome team encouraged each other with a hands in and I got a picture of it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reading In Between The Lines

I am going to be completely transparent in my writing to you today. My wife and I had an argument or as I would rather call it a disagreement the other night. I have to admit that I do a very poor job at reading the signs up to the disagreement. Looking back at it, the short answers to my questions, the cold shoulder, and the distance we had should have thrown up some flags for me. But I am a man and I see things for what they are literally, rather than in between the lines. My wife would admit that she does not do the best job at communicating when she is upset with me. So we both are working at our insufficiencies.

Let me give the men three points of advice:

1) Listen to her words

2) Listen to her actions

3) Listen to her hints

I do a poor job sometimes at listening, my mind is always racing on other things, ministry, God, children, business ideas, blogs, facebook, and what am I going to twitter next? And my wife quickly pointed out that I am pretty selfish and I have a few things out of order in my life. I will admit that in the past few months my order of priorities were God, Ministry, Family and then my Wife. I ask forgiveness right now for this and repent today of this. My priorities need to be GOD, My Wife, Family and then My Ministry.

So going forward on the things I have learned in the past few days is that I have to set boundaries for myself. There are times when I am going dark (offline), not going to answer my phone, not going to check my emails and make sure that I can focus strictly on my priorities.

We have to remember to communicate and be better with our words. Remember to watch body language and small silences. They actually speak a lot louder than the words.
So in this I ask you to pray for me to be first a follower of Christ, second a husband to my wife, third a father to my children and lastly a minister of His Gospel.

I appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Turning Point Part 4

We had recently watched the movie The Passion by Mel Gibson, so we stopped at a Bible outlet in Mobile Alabama to purchase us some new Bibles. Stacey was driving and I started reading the books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about the last 12 hours of Christ to see how the movie compared. I got to Luke and started to weep. I could not understand how someone could go through all of that just for me. Why would He not just call forth his angels and show those Romans who He really was? And with His last words prior to His resurrection..It is finished. I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and never turned back.

I continued to serve at my local church until in Gods timing I got promoted and moved up to South Atlanta. We visited several churches in the area but could not find our match. We visited Turning Point Church and instantly knew we were home. I started serving on the praise team playing guitar until I was asked to do some other things in the ministry.

Four years later God took a huge directional change in my life and I decided to go full time into the ministry. With a 70% pay cut, I definitely took a step out on faith, but God has taken care of my needs and far exceeding my expectations. I truly love what I do for a living now and have dedicated my life to serving Christ.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Turning Point Part 3

At this point I have no way to possibly go with Stacey to Dallas, not financially that is. I decided to totally surrender my finances to God because it was going to take a miracle to make this happen. I was in need of a miracle. I sit down to look at the check book and for the first time in my life I look up to God and say have your way.

I write my first tithe check and give it to the church from my heart.
I gave the check on Sunday and in the mail on Monday was a completely unexpected check for over $700 dollars from some type of escrow account we had no idea about? PRAISE GOD!!!! He answered my prayers that quickly. I obviously go and buy a one way plane ticket from Dallas to Tampa and get prepared to drive with Stacey to Dallas.

She had bought some praise and worship CD’s to listen to on the way and slowly my heart was opening up to receive what God had for me next.
Stay tuned tomorrow to hear the rest of the story.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Turning Point Part 2

After we sell our home in Tulsa we leave to move to Tampa. As we are driving there we find out that the company I work for is being bought out and my new position I just got promoted too; this new company does not have. I am at a loss and don’t know where to turn except for God. My faith starts increasing in God after moving there and attending Cypress Point Community Church in New Tampa. Even though my faith increases I am still going through the motions of depending on a God who can handle the things I can’t. I am attending church but not really having a relationship with the Lord.

Also I got a pretty big increase in pay, but we had made some bad decisions in our finances and had some debt we had accrued. We were living paycheck to paycheck. Stacey is handling the finances and keeps telling me that we don’t have any extra money, so I do the man thing and audit the checkbook. And I say well here it is this 10% that is going to the church we need to cut out. She insisted on us continuing and would not let in.

Well she has a trip planned back to Dallas to meet some family and she is going to have to drive with our two kids and I did not feel comfortable with them driving that far. I could not take off work so the only way I could go is if I drove there and flew back.

Stay Tuned for Part 3 on the gift/miracle from God that happens next.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Turning Point Part 1

I felt led this week to share with you my story. What happened to me, why I do what I do. Well it started back in the day with me, drugs and rock and roll. I played guitar and bass so it was kind of easy to get into the entire drug thing, especially the music I was listening too. I wanted to take these drugs so I could be more creative, forget about my problems, ease my own insecurities and just have some fun. I never got too deep into the drugs mainly smoked pot and experimented with shrooms and acid. Strictly for music purposes, right?

I grew up in church however never had a relationship with God. I spent the entire church time wondering what I was going to order for lunch and wishing Mazzios had an all you could eat buffet on Sundays. However my mother kept insisting I go. There was always one scripture that stood out to me though. It said, do not judge others lest you too will be judged. So I always had that in my spirit and never tried to judge anyone based on their ethnic background, color, financial status or personalities. I just wanted to get along with everyone.

I got married, had some kids and worked in the corporate world to try to make a living for my family. God gave me success in the business field and I quickly realized that I was talented at sales, organization, and motivating people to do what I was doing. So I used my skills to sell loans, the high interest loans. I moved up with the company, promoted to a branch manager within two years with employees who were older than me. God gave me more success; I turned a low income, low growth office into a high income and high growth office.

But I felt I had more to offer, so I applied for a position in Tampa, FL. My next goal was to become the CEO of this company. I actually got the job in Tampa and moved my family from Tulsa to Tampa or half way across the United States a very long 22 hour drive.

Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what happened to me in Tampa.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Human Participation

This was inspired by a note I received earlier this week that said:

A woman with a hemorrhage struggled through the press of the crowd in order to touch His garment; four men opened a hole in the ceiling of a crowded house and let their paralyzed friend down in front of Jesus; a centurion soldier asked that Jesus only speak a word so his servant would be healed. A blind man went and washed the clay and the darkness from his eyes; a little boy offered his lunch to feed a multitude.

Even the miracles of Jesus involved Human Participation

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Please Give Me a Sign

Have you ever asked God to “please give me a sign?” Well I want to share with you one day when we took the kids to the library here in McDonough. If you have ever been to a library the general rule is to be quiet, right? Well we of course took all 3 of our kids and our 2 year old was running kind of wild and my wife and I were having a hard time keeping up with him. So we kind of let him do his thing by going down the different aisles since he was not making any noise.

Then I saw it… You know the time when you ask God to give you a sign. There it was “the sign” just sitting on top of the librarian’s desk. It said;

“If you leave your child unattended they will be given a shot of espresso and a free puppy”

Have you ever gotten a sign like that? What is the funniest sign you have ever seen? Please share.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Something to show you that God loves you

While traveling to Tulsa we had stopped at a gas station to fill up and use the bathroom, which takes place often with 3 kids. I took my son to the bathroom and came back out to the car to fill up while Stacey went in to pick us out some snacks and pay for our gas….the entire cash thing for those Dave Ramsey fans out there. After I filled up Stacey walks out and hears God say to her, “you need to give that man $20.” He kind of looked rough so Stacey questioned herself…”is that just me or is that really You God?” Well He said it again, “give that man $20.” So she gets in the car and says, God told me to give that man $20. So I said, “ok, then go give it to him.” I know that when God speaks to us to obey right away. She says, “You go give it to him.” So I of course being the wonderful husband I am say, “God told you to give it to him not me.”

She ends up making me do it, so I walk up to him with one of our compassion cards that say “Something to show you that God loves you,” we have from our church. I say I wanted to just bless you with this and handed him the card and the $20 bill. I start to walk away and he said, “wait thank you so much I was just on the pay phone trying to get my relatives to western union me some money for gas because I don’t have any.” WOW. Isn’t it amazing how God works. I really think that man called me back there for God to increase my faith.

After we tell our kids what we did, my youngest son confirms the story about him being on the phone, he said, “I heard him on the phone in there trying to get some money.”

I tell you this story not to brag or to come off arrogant in anyway, but to share with you the power of obeying when God asks you to do something. Today I want you to do something nice to someone who does not expect it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Technology Rocks

I wanted to share with you a divine moment from our recent quick trip back to Tulsa. We were driving there and it is a 14 hour drive one way, so we woke up early in order to get there that night at a decent time and still be able to visit. We were making some great time, the kids wanted to eat Lunchables in the car and we drove through Subway for lunch for Stacey and I. We only made stops to use the restroom and get gas. So in mid Arkansas (which seems like such a huge state when you have been driving through it for 4 hours) we decided to stop, we noticed a sign that said Braums (a ice cream fast food restaurant) and I look up at the exit sign and see Alma, Arkansas. I quickly remember that one of my friends who I met through blogging, twitter and facebook lived in Alma. We spoke on the phone the week before and follow each other through twitter updates, facebook, blogs, and we speak on the phone, but we have never met in person. Speaking with him on the phone a week earlier I knew he was going to be traveling so I did not think he would be in town, but as soon as I pull off the exit I text him, he immediately calls and said he will be up to the Braums in 2 minutes.

So my friend Vince who I met through technology shows up and we sit and eat ice cream and visit. My family and myself feel like we have known him for years and only meeting him for a few minutes. Technology is such an amazing too to get to know people.

Now a day’s people don’t talk much on the phone, with use of email, facebook, myspace, and other technology. It can be a great tool in order to get to know people. I am a connections pastor and my job is getting people to connect to our church and by my updates, blogs, pictures, people who might not talk to me get to know who I am, with date nights, pedicures etc.

So my encouragement it to allow people to get to know you and who you are and then some day you will get an awesome opportunity to make new friends who you feel like you have been friends all along just like Vince and I.