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10 Characteristics of Growing Churches

#1 – They have leaders that lead! “For God so loved the world that He did not send a committee!”  Not sure where I heard that…but its true! #2 – A desperation for God’s power! Prayer isn’t a good luck charm that is attached at the beginning or at the end of something…people are legitimately desperate for the power of God.  They pray Habakkuk 3:2 prayers every day and… #3 – They believe that greater things are in store. They don’t just pray big prayers…but they have a sense of anticipation that is contagious!  They don’t read Acts 2 and think “those were the good ‘ole days” but rather they think, “that’s where God STARTED this thing…we should be WAY ahead of this!!!” #4 – They are full of ordinary people. God always uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.  Jesus didn’t choose one scribe or Pharisee when He launched the church…and Acts 4:13 talks about how He used ordinary people to absolutely turn the world upside down.  The staff LOVE the church…so much so that they would actually attend there even if they were not on staff! #5 – They leverage technology. They don’t view technology as of the devil but rather as a tool given by God to reach as many people as possible for Jesus.  (Btw…isn’t it funny that some churches are against the use of technology yet all of them rode to their church in a car and their […]

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Beautiful Place

From my Dad’s blog: Last week my father-in-law died and went to Heaven.  He loved Jesus Christ and knew Him as his Savior.  For sixty some years he served Him faithfully.  Before my father-in-law passed from this life, however, he had an incredible experience where God seemed to draw back the veil from this life, and let him see a glimpse into eternity.  As he was dying, he suddenly lifted his eyes upward and began to exclaim, “It’s a beautiful place!  It’s a beautiful place!  Oh, boy!  Wow!  It’s a beautiful place!  Wow!”  This went on for nearly an hour.  My brother-in-law, Mo Hodge, was present with his father as he was dying and caught these moments on video.  We are all certain that God gave this faithful servant of His ‘dying grace’ as he was preparing to leave this life. By the next morning, my father-in-law’s breathing was very shallow.  Mo would bend over and speak into his ear, but his Dad did not give any indication that he was there with him.  Before my father-in-law passed, he closed his eyes and two big tears rolled down his cheeks.  He then took his final breath and awakened in the arms of Jesus!  This experience was truly a great blessing and comfort to the family.  Jesus promises us, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be […]

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Blogging Workshop

Today I had the privilege of guest speaking at a Blogging Workshop we had at Prairie Lakes Church. Blogging is one of the major ways that we want to communicate with our church community here at Prairie Lakes Church.  Here are the 3 simple things that I hit on today, to become a better blogger: 1. Content Determine what you are going to write about and be confident in it. Find out who your audience is, and write to them, tell them a story, and be yourself. Your readers will appreciate you being you. 2. Consistency Whether you post everyday, once a week, or once a month, do it consistently. If you don’t think you can post every day, maybe pick one day a week that you can post. The more consistent you are with your posts, the more likely it is that people will follow your blog and read it. People will anticipate seeing a new post from you. 3. Interaction One of the best ways to grow your blog readership is to interact with the people who stop by and comment. If someone leaves a comment on your blog, respond back to them. It’s a simple way to start a conversation. Also, if you are reading other blogs, comment on those as well. It’s amazing how something as simple as that, can grow into something large. Thanks to Patti Dykstra for inviting me to be a part of […]

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Way.

One of the books that I’m currently re-reading is Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell), here are some thoughts from some of the reading I did this morning: As a Christian, I am simply trying to orient myself around living a particular kind of way, the kind of way that Jesus taught is possible. And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live. I’m convinced being generous is a better way to live. I’m convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live. I’m convinced having compassion is a better way to live. I’m convinced pursuing peace in every situation is a better way to live. I’m convinced listening to the wisdom of others is a better way to live. I’m convinced being honest with people is a better way to live. Over time when you purposefully try to live the way of Jesus, you start noticing something deeper that is going on. You begin realizing the reason this is the best way to live is that it is rooted in profound truths about how the word is. You find your living more and more in tune with ultimate reality. You are more and more in sync with how the universe is at its deepest levels. Jesus’ intention was, and is, to call people to live in tune with reality. He said at one point that if you had seen Him, […]

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LEAD Worship

Worship leaders, when you’re leading people into worship through music, you’ve got their attention for 20 +/- minutes while you’re up there. I know I don’t have to explain the significance of the responsibility you carry. Or the weight that comes with being given the task of leading people into God’s presence. I know we’re all aware of that. But, what I do want to challenge you with is to make the most of the time you’ve got in front of your people. We can do so much more than to just lead the people to sing the songs we’re playing. So why not really step into leading them? Don’t always be content with just getting on stage and letting the music carry the worship set. Find those strategic moments where you can insert God’s Truth, God’s Word into their hearts. Whether it’s in the middle of a song, or setting up a song, or closing. Whatever. Prepare enough in advance to know what Scriptures you could use at certain points in your set. Think and pray through what you’re going to say before getting up there. The Holy Spirit can move just as much in your preparation as he can on stage in the moment. So why not be prepared on the front end, and then be open to his leading when your up there? We challenge ourselves in this area a lot. We think through every transition we […]

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Nothing Can Separate Us

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: (They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.) None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:31-39 (The Message)

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Are We Married to the Mission or the Methods?

Some great thought’s from Tony. It sure got me thinking… We operate in denominations and congregations, while the rest of the world is open source. We listen to worship music, while the rest of the world listens to rock and pop. We talk about history, while the rest of the world talks about reality. We are local, while the rest of the world is global. We need the church to connect us in groups, while the rest of the world finds their own friends. We share our message at specified times on Sunday morning, while the rest of the world uses video on demand. We use bulletins, while the rest of the world is on Facebook. We are concerned about the structure and the rules, while the rest of the world is focused on the content. We create everything, while the rest of the world lets everyone create. We are centralized, while the rest of the world is organic. We think the web is for sharing information, while the rest of the world thinks it’s for community. We send direct mail, while the rest of the world is using text messages. What do you think? Are we married to the mission or the methods?

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