Jesus loves me this I know. Debra Wants me this I know. My kids appreciate me this I know. My church encourages me this I know. My Life Group cares for me this I know. Everything else I know, I will share with you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This week Debra and I received some very disturbing news as two couples that are our friends, have split up. This was devastating because it was never expected as both of the couples seemed to be solid Christians as well as solid citizens. One was a pastor and the other a friend. The only real benefit was that it sparked some important conversation between Debra and myself and so this morning I want to share a few things from my heart for all couples.

1. If the Plan is to stay together, Meet each others emotional Needs.
I believe that the emotional needs of a couple are very different and very important.

For a man its that He needs to KNOW that he is Believed in. That the work He is doing is the best He can do and that YOU wife stand behind Him. The bible says in Ephesians that the wife is to Reverence her husband and this is clearly due to the needs of his heart to have at least ONE person in his life who thinks he is the Bomb.

For a woman its that she needs to KNOW that she is the most Valuable thing in his life. If the man talks more about his job or his hobby than he does about his wife, she knows that she is not as important. Again Ephesians says that a man is to Love his wife as himself meaning that her life is as valuable as his. Every woman needs a man to turn off the TV and look at her with the same intensity, leave work at work when he's with her, and listen to her heart as she speaks.

Do these things and your emotional needs will be met.

2. If the Plan is to stay together, Force yourself to go the extra mile.
I can see where after a long day it is so easy to slide into comfort mode. She needs a kiss, but shes OK right? I struggle with this the older I get which means its all the more important to force myself. My body says sit, my bride might need me to get up. My brain says shut down, my wife might need me to listen up. My bike (Harley) might say Start me Up, My Wife might ..........well you know what I mean. Its not that I am forced to go the extra mile by Debra, but I have to force my body to function beyond its own desires because according to 1 Corinthians its hers. (Chap 7)

3. If the Plan is to stay together, Fight for them.
Two things our culture is quick to do.
Divorce and Die.
We abort children by the loads, we accept suicide as a legal alternative, and we divorce over the dumbest things like Irreconcilable differences.
But if your going to stay together you must have a battle plan.
I am going to fight for my physical health so that I will have the energy to meet her needs.
I am going to fight for my financial health so that I will have the ability to meet her needs.
I am going to fight for my emotional health so that I will have the desire to meet her needs.
I don't want to wait until Ive lost her to fight to get her heart back.
I want to fight to keep her so that I NEVER lose her heart.

I don't ever want be that devastating news to others.
What is your plan to keep your marriage together?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Changing Face of Christianity

This morning I was thinking about how Christianity has changed in just my short 49 years. So I want to share three things with you today about this issue.

#1 I remember when Every Christian went to Church on Sunday. Every one of them.
They never claimed to be a Christian and then do something else. They didn't chose a bible study during the week, nor did they play church at home. (home church), nor did they play baseball. Sunday was the Day they Celebrated the Lord of their Life and they did it corporately.

#2 I remember when Every Christian wanted to serve on Sunday. You didn't find many who showed up when they wanted and did what they wanted. It seemed to me that a mature Christian taught a Sunday School, had a bible study in their home during the week, or mowed the church lawn. Now we have professionals doing all of that because its too hard to get people to want to serve.

#3 I remember when Every Christian Worshipped on Sunday. Worship meaning giving God their best because of His WORTH. But to many His stock in their lives has plummeted. He's only value is a Bail Out when life With Out Him fails. Though as a child we sang Hymns, we sang at the Top of our Lungs, Talked about Him as the most important person in our lives, and Loved the Truth of His words.

While some of this is nothing more than reminiscing and there are a lot of things in my Church past that were not so good. I still believe that like Elijah God has some, maybe a smaller group, 7,000 or so, who still believe that Sunday is His day, that Serving is a Honor, and that our Savior is the most important thing in their Lives.

Lets be that Church.

Have a Great Week, P Rob

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can it get any sweeter?

There is something awesome about standing together and singing Surrender All. The voices, the faces, the Savior. Last night was awesome. New life never gets old!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't know why I am writing this today, but here it is.

I really don't like to diss on the Pastoral Role because by itself its hard enough. But sometimes you just have to say it.

Recently I heard of a very popular evangelist who was preaching at a Church whose pastor had an affair with a church member. The Pastor did not repent but instead removed the woman from the church to whom he had the affair with.

This Evangelist would not preach in my church, not because I have kept the integrity of my marriage vows, nor because I am devoted to Jesus, or because of my sincere desire to reach people for Jesus, but because I don't do church the way this evangelist thinks I should. This is true for many Pastors that I have known over the years.

Their biblical angle is the doctrine of Separation which the bible speaks much about. But why is it that Pastors encourage separation from Church methodology yet not encourage separation from immorality. And I am not just talking about Adultery. I believe that Hypocrisy is a major moral failure. One that Jesus fought the most against.

And so this morning I find encouragement in this.

Luke 9:49-50 (KJV) And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
I may not agree with how many churches do church, but if their preaching in Jesus name, teaching salvation by grace through faith, their for us.

And while I choose to separate myself from those who are hypocritical in their faith and immoral in their lives, it is my hope that one day they might be restored unto a relationship with our Lord.

and as a Pastor I do not have to answer to other Pastors, but to my Lord, my family, and my church. and neither do you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't Kill them, they are too cute

Growing up in Church there was a lot that I didn't know about how the work got done.
I just thought that like the rest of us we all just showed up and started church and went back home.
But then as I got involved in the work of God I realized that wasn't true. Behind the platform, beyond the classroom, ran little church mice. Most people didn't even know they existed or at least they ignored them. I mean who wants to know you have mice in your church. But they were there making sure that all the little things that most people take for granted got done.
Today, I want to expose a couple of them. Not to trap them, nor kill them, because they are content being in the shadows. But I think its important that you know that they are there.

 James Jackson
Long before many of you have even crawled out of bed on Sunday Morning James is down at the church. He turns your lights on for you to make you feel welcomed. He starts the coffee pots rolling so that you feel more comfortable. He checks the bathrooms out to make sure that you are cared for. His is the first face I see every Sunday and its always with a smile and the smell of coffee.

 Ron Isom
While most people after a service are thinking about Lunch, Ron is thinking about the next week. Ron is the man who puts things together. He works with the Music ministry, He works with the Video Ministry, He works with the Pastor and He makes us all look good. Ron is the face I seek when I want things to happen as he loves this church as much as I.

Be careful with them. Don't trap them by praising them or patting them on the back. They don't want your cheese, but they deserve your appreciation. So the next time you come to church know that they are there, and maybe send up a little prayer of thanks for the church mice of newLife and God will care for them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Letter to newLife from P Rob

I have to say, yesterday was exciting, not just for the service that we had, but for what was behind it and so today I want to share some things that made yesterday so special.

1. Generations.
I was amazed at how the different generations worked together to make that service amazing.
The children with their Joy, the Teens with their Energy, the Adults with their support and excitement. While we have a varied age difference in our church, yesterday they worked together to worship God!

2. Love.
Do you realize that every one of the teens on that platform have experienced a true love from their mothers? Most of the testimonies came from children whose parents may not have felt true love from their parents, but in spite of that, have shown great love to their children.
Our teens are secure in their mothers Love and they love you for it. GREAT JOB LADIES!

3. Life.
The whole service was infused by it, but don't take this wrong it wasn't just lively, it was alive. Real people, working together to worship the work of a Real God in Real Life.

I love my Life

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This past Monday I met with a couple of Pastor friends for a time of fellowship and encouragement. It is the hope of these meetings that as Pastors we can help each other be better in the work God has called us to. Normally we have a time where we learn from a teaching lesson from a Pastor from outside our group, discuss the lesson, and then pray together, followed by a meal, and a service of some kind.

But you know me, I can't do anything normal and so I put a twist to it.

I opened up to them about our church History, past and present, and asked this question. If you were to come and Pastor this church, what would you do with it. But I didn't get the answers I was hoping for. It wasn't their fault but there were some stumbling blocks they had that kept them from answering correctly.

#1 They didn't want to hurt my Feelings.
These men truly love and care for me and yet they have also felt the pain of truth. So it was hard to be hard when you love someone and know how hard the truth may be. This is especially true for Pastors as every week we are critiqued by people who don't really love us and don't really care about how we feel And so it is hard to be hard when you know its already been hard.

#2 They didn't feel worthy to answer the Questions.
These are not men who Pastor huge churches. They Pastor very similar types and styles of ministries and so they struggled with the fact that they themselves have not figured many of the problems and opportunities that I offered up for their council. Yet what they didn't realize is that I asked them because of their humility and honesty and as very wise men had every ability to really dig deep.

#3 They didn't really know me.
Many of the answers they gave me came with assumptions. They heard what I said but had to answer to what they knew. Not of me, but of themselves and other Pastors who they have dealt with in the past. This was not their fault but it hindered them from answering to my real needs.

Now in the end I gained two HUGE answers from both of them but it took a couple of hours for them to really get into it.

and this made me think. Do all Christians struggle with this? Someone asks us to look into their lives and be honest and we allow stumbling blocks to keep us from truly helping them? I'm not talking about the opinionated idiot who thinks they know the answer to every problem though they themselves are a mess, stay away from this person, but do we hinder each other because of these three things?

If so let me share three things that might help.

If they ask for help, its because their already hurting and they have come to you because they trust you.
If those two men would have told me to do whatever I would have put serious thought into their words and ideas as I desired their honesty even if it hurt me more.

If they ask You its because they see in you something you might not see.
They might see wisdom where you see weakness but they sought you out for a purpose.

If they ask for help and you don't know them well, be careful not to read wrong things into the words of those seeking help. Look beyond your own pain and knowledge of yourself and seek the root of the pain. Most people speak questions from pain not problems as problems are often a result of pain. Ask deeper personal questions so that you get to know them.

If someone has come to you and asked for help, they trust you, believe in you, and need you.
Be honest, humble and get to know them and you will be helpful.

and if your asking, be honest, humble, and helpful by hearing what they say, accepting what you've done or need to do, and that time you spend will be helpful.

It took them awhile but they were, and I am thankful.

Have a Great Day

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Letter to newLife from Pastor Andy

Yesterday was an exciting day for me and I want to share that with you.

During worship rehearsal worship broke out, especially among our teens.
and I learned that they are.......
       Trusting God
       Loving God
       Serving God

.......because they want to, not because they have to.

And all of this without fancy Teen Group Activities and thousands of dollars poured into them. All of this without Teen Camps and Teen Trips. What's the key?


We involve them in the work of God.
We want them to know that this is their church. Not their parents church, but their   church and so we open up opportunities for them to be a part if they so desire.

We engage them in the witnesses of God.
We surround them with MANY of our BEST believers. Not just a few dedicated workers (i.e. teen leaders) but dedicated believers. Parents and Family and Leaders and Lovers of God. We want them exposed to as many solid believers as we can.

We expose them to the ways of God.
We don't do all the work for them but expose them to how God really works by sharing our lives with them. We share our Failures, our Foolishness, and the loss from Faithlessness. In doing so they see God's amazing Grace and identify it with a real face. Ours.

Now I realize that many teens want a church youth group to be filled with activities that are nothing but fun without faith, but the real ones, are looking for something deeper, something less empty. And their finding it at newLife.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Help

I am currently preparing for our Summer Series and was wondering, "what question would you love to hear answered in a sermon?"
I think that would make for an awesome series of messages as we answer questions that people want answers for.

I will wait for your reply.

Have an Awesome day
P Rob

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Something I want you to read today

Seven Common Traits of Breakout Churches

By Thom Rainer
I have been a student of American churches for thirty years. That statement really means two things: I’m old, and I’m a slow learner.
In those thirty years, one of my most fascinating learning ventures has been the discovery of breakout churches. Simply defined, a breakout church is a congregation that has experienced at least five years of decline followed by at least five years of growth. While numerical growth is not the inerrant barometer for church health, we researchers must use numerical gauges for much of our objective data.

The Common Factor
As my research team began sorting and analyzing the data of some 50,000 churches, we found a common factor in many of the breakout churches: the breakout took place when the church got a new pastor. While that finding is helpful from a research perspective, it’s not very helpful to many churches. And it’s certainly not helpful to the pastors of struggling churches.
So our research took a new twist. We only looked at churches that experienced breakouts without changing pastors. I was encouraged by our findings.

The Seven Traits
The breakout churches, almost without exception had seven common characteristics. Though I list them numerically here, for sequential purposes, I am not assigning priority by the rankings.
  1. The pastor had a “wake-up” call. He stopped denying that his church had a challenge. He became determined, in God’s power, to lead the church to growth and greater health. He would no longer be satisfied with mediocrity in God’s church.
  2. The church, under the pastor’s new leadership, developed clarity in its purpose. Most of the churches were previously activity focused. They were busy with the “what” without addressing the “why.”
  3. The pastor began assembling the right team for a new era of leadership. That team would include either paid staff or unpaid laypersons.
  4. The pastor developed a spirit of tenacity. He knew that the turnaround would not take place overnight. He followed a prayerful plan for the long haul.
  5. One of the early moves in these churches was to focus more ministries outwardly. The wake-up call noted above included an awareness that most of the ministries of the church were for the comfort and desires of the members. The leaders began to change that reality.
  6. The pastor and other leaders in the breakout churches had deep biblical faithfulness. They saw their mission emanating from God and written in His Word. That faithfulness was the push that moved them forward even in the midst of challenging times and potential discouragement.
  7. The pastor invested more time in the preaching ministry. He realized the centrality of the preached Word, and gave it more time and emphasis than any point previously.
The Hope Present in These Churches
Our quest to discover breakout churches that did not change pastors became an exercise in hope for our research team. We first saw how many leaders transitioned from a lackadaisical attitude to one of enthusiasm and possibility. Some of the leaders told us that their change was more dramatic. They described it as moving from hopelessness to great hope.

Of course, the other great encouragement in this project was discovering the story of entire congregations moving from a inwardly-focused lethargy to an outwardly-focused Great Commission mindset. By the time our research team saw these churches in the “after” mode, we found it hard to fathom they were once lifeless and discouraged.

If I found a single message in the scope of this research, it is simple but profound lesson for churches and their leaders: Don’t ever assume that your congregation has little or no hope. We found that many of these churches were once in despair, and many members confessed they had no hope. Then the breakout came. Then God showed He was wasn’t done with their church.
That story could very well be the story yet to be told of your church.