Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whirlwind

I feel like the last few days have been a whirlwind of activity.

On Sunday we celebrated Hub City's 2nd birthday. I'm so thankful for what God has done in my life and in the lives of so many others over the past 2 years. I'm so thankful for friends that we've made as a result of Hub City. And I am expectant and anticipating even greater things.

Yesterday and today I'm helping facilitate an Immersion 1 Conference. If you are a church leader and haven't been a part of an Immersion then you are missing out. It's been so helpful in us figuring out how to make disciples who make disciples. It's an honor passing what we know along to others.

Sometimes the whirlwind is bad. This one's a good one. Now it's off to Easley I go.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just say no

Most of us are too busy. I know, that may be the understatement of the year, but it's like the elephant in the room that nobody talks about.

Well, I'm talking about it. We're too busy.

Now, this wouldn't be that big of a deal if all it led to was greater stress, more heart attacks and less fulfillment out of life. Actually, those do make it a big deal.

But what makes it even worse is that busyness keeps us from God. We're too distracted. We don't have time for God.

I would go so far as to say that I think busyness and distractions that come about because of busyness keep more people from God in our culture than anything else.

So what's the solution. To steal a line from the anti-drug campaign: Just say no. You've got to say no to some things.

The writer of Hebrews says, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

The weights that he's talking about aren't bad things. They are good things. But they aren't the best things.

You need to say no to some good things in order to say yes to the best things. Craig Groeshel says that "Just because you could do something doesn't mean you should do something."

So, what do you need to say no to? You're too busy. You know that. And as a result you're missing out on God. You need to do whatever it takes to make time for God.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life's a journey commercial #3

Life's a journey commercial #2

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tonight at 7 PM the Hub City Church family is starting our first ever 24 hours of fasting and prayer. As we enter what promises to be the most significant ministry season in our short history, we don’t want to take the first step without declaring our full and complete dependence upon Jesus and His power. (Thanks to my friend Jay Hardwick for the inspiration behind this guide.)

As we prepare to fast and pray, I want to share some tips and ideas with you so that you are well-equipped for the fast.

1. Remember why we are fasting. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums it up well:

…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We are fasting and praying as a means of humbling ourselves before the Lord, asking God to forgive us of our sin, and asking for Him to move in power in our church, in our friends’ lives, and in our city.

2. Determine how you will fast. The point of fasting is not just to refrain from eating. The point is to take the energy and longing we would normally have for these physical needs and direct them fully to the Lord.

You may decide to skip a meal or refrain from all foods tomorrow. If you have not fasted before, I would suggest skipping one meal completely and eating lightly for the others. Drink water and juices and avoid caffeine, especially if you will fast from all food tomorrow.

I would also suggest refraining completely from or severely limiting your engagement in television, social media, the internet, etc. as forms of leisure, entertainment, or time fillers. Again, the point is to hunger for God, His Word, and His presence.

Go ahead and plan when your times of prayer and Bible reading will take place. Be sure to dedicate plenty of time to seeking God’s face throughout the day.

For Bible reading, I would suggest reading some in Psalms, the Gospels, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

3. Prepare yourself spiritually. Spend considerable time at the front end of your fast confessing and repenting of sin. Confess your sins of commission and omission to the Lord and receive His grace that covers over those sins. If needed, make restitution or seek forgiveness from a person you may have sinned against. Confessing sin to the Lord is part of humbling yourself and must be done if we are going to truly seek God’s face.

4. Pray boldly and expectantly. Pray bold prayers throughout the day. We pray bold prayers based on the sovereignty of God, the victory of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the gospel.

Pray for the people who are close to you, but far from God. Pray for the people you are inviting to Hub City Church. Pray for the Life's a Journey campaign. Pray for God’s favor. Pray for God to move in power in our city. Pray for other churches. Pray for your personal and family needs. Pray for salvations, baptisms, and spiritual growth at Hub City Church.

Do not pray as if you are praying to a weak and distant being who is incapable of acting. Pray knowing that you are presenting your requests to the one true God, the God “who is able to do abundantly more than all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20-21).”

5. Respond obediently. Throughout the day as you pray and read God’s Word, He may prompt you to make a bold move of obedience. Do not resist or ignore His call! Obey and obey quickly. Remember, praying bold prayers will almost always lead to God calling us to make bold moves.

6. Expect spiritual warfare. Obviously, the enemy is mobilizing his forces to their work of bringing about distraction, doubt, fear, and apathy in our lives tomorrow. Satan does not want our church to fast and pray because he knows that God moves in power when His people fast and pray! Expect his attacks and fight them on your knees.

When you feel the most weak, the most vulnerable, the most frustrated, the most distracted, stop what you are doing to pray and read the scriptures. Do not fight the enemy in your strength, but in the power of God.

I am eager to see how God will move in our lives in the weeks ahead. Take this seriously, humble yourself before the Lord, confess your sin, seek His face, and call on His power.

Prayer Guide, Day 7

ENORMOUS GLORY TO GOD

"
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11 (NIV)

"
There is no power like that of prevailing prayer. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings life. It brings God." Samuel Chadwick

God, who fills the Heaven and earth with his glory, we pray …
  • That our Celebration event will be an incredibly joyful time of testimonies of what you have done in our lives, groups, and marriages during the campaign.
  • For our Campaign Directors and teams to accomplish everything through your power and strength in order that your glory would be magnified.
  • That each person who is touched by your grace during the campaign would remember to give you the praise and glory for what you have done.
  • That the purposeful lives we are going to live will shine bright like the noonday sun in your honor.
  • That when asked for the reason for our changed lives, we will point others to you!

Prayer Guide, Day 6

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:18-19 (NIV)

"Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will understand. You will smile and nod your head as you identify with others who fight long battles and find great joy on their knees." Joni Eareckson Tada

God, our everywhere-present, all-powerful, and infinitely wise King, we pray …
  • That your guidance in this spiritual growth campaign will deepen our church's faith and prayer life.
  • That each participant in the campaign would have a renewed desire to pursue spiritual habits in his or her life.
  • That each person in our church will be challenged to grow spiritually and experience your plan for living a transformed life.
  • That all participants will reflect on your purposes for their lives and act on what the Holy Spirit has revealed to them.
  • That all participants would grow in their love for you - with all their heart, soul, and mind.
  • That the congregational reading of The Purpose Driven Life will be a grace-filled turning point for the maturity of our members.
  • That all participants would surrender fully to doing their part to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in their generation.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prayer Guide, Day 5

OUTPOURING OF GOD'S PROVISIONS

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" Mark 10:27 (NIV)

"
The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God. By prayer we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness, the powers which can capture strongholds and make the impossible possible." O. Hallesby

God, our Abba, Father, unsearchable, eternal, and mighty Lord, we pray …
  • That you will provide the needed volunteers to make each campaign event successful.
  • That you will provide our church with all the resources needed to facilitate this campaign.
  • That you will provide unity among leaders of ministries in our church, as many adjust their schedules to accommodate the campaign.
  • For each person involved in the leadership and details of the campaign, that they will learn to rely on your sufficiency and strength.
  • That our prayers will touch the fuse of your power, and we will see spectacular things happen during and after the campaign.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Prayer Guide, Day 4

PROTECTION

"And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 (NIV)

"Tomorrow I plan to work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." Martin Luther

God, our refuge and our shield, we pray …
  • For divine protection against spiritual warfare for our church leaders and all members of our church family during the Life’s a journey campaign.
  • For physical protection and good health for all leaders and participants.
  • For protection against distractions, worries, problems, and concerns - to enable everyone involved to focus completely on what you have for them during the campaign.
  • For your protection against discouragement for all pastors and leaders, as seemingly impossible tasks and schedules mount prior to and during the campaign.
  • For the mental, physical, and spiritual protection of our pastor and his family.
  • For the strength to face trials and tribulations that may arise at this time, remembering that God can use problems to deepen our trust in him.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How close to the fire can I get without getting burnt?

This is a really good devotional reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Prayer Guide, Day 3

RESULTS

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

The most holy practice, the nearest to daily life, and the most essential for the spiritual life, is the practice of the presence of God, that is to find joy in his divine company and to make it a habit of life, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him at all times, every moment, without rule or restriction, above all at times of temptation, distress, dryness, and revulsion, and even of faithlessness and sin. Brother Lawrence

God, the immortal, loving, and holy One, we pray …
  • That the harvest will be plentiful - that those who are spiritually lost will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • That your involvement in the Life’s a Journey campaign will inspire a stronger commitment by each person to move from a self-focused life to a God-focused life.
  • For lasting, eternal fruit in transformed lives.
  • That the Holy Spirit will confirm in each life that he is present and has the power to change lives.
  • That a deeper desire to worship and magnify you will arise in our church and in the churches of our nation and around the world.
  • That each person's life will be enriched through a new or renewed small group experience.
  • That the Holy Spirit will encourage many to become committed to our church family and be baptized.
  • That every person involved will be refreshed, renewed, and revitalized for the ministry to which you have called him or her.
  • That our members will discover and use their spiritual gifts and abilities for your eternal purposes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Prayer Guide, Day 2

UNDERSTANDING OF PURPOSES

"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." Philemon 6 (NIV)

"If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have." D.L. Moody

God, who gives us meaning and purpose in our lives, we pray …
  • That our praise and worship will rise as a sweet fragrance to you.
  • For you to give insight to each person as to how he or she can help others progress in their faith and grow as a disciple.
  • For the truth to be put into practice that "every ministry is important," whether visible or behind the scenes.
  • That our church will be inspired to work diligently to reach out to our community with the Good News.
  • That the members of our church would be committed to living out your purposes for their lives.

Monday, September 06, 2010

P.U.R.P.O.S.E. Prayer Guide

PREPARATION

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16 (NIV)

"Whenever God determines to do a great work, he first sets his people to pray."
C.H. Spurgeon

God, who enlightens our hearts and minds, we pray ...
  • For the preparation of each person's heart and for what you desire to do in each life during the Life’s a Journey campaign.
  • For the spiritual preparation of our pastors and leaders; for their times of prayer and solitude with you.
  • That the quietness of each person before you would be the most important time of preparation for the campaign.
  • That you will provide the energy, time, and endurance for all tasks to be done in preparation for the campaign.
  • That the campaign work done in Jesus’ name will be a defining moment in the journey of our church.
  • For a spiritual awakening in our church during and after the campaign.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Amazed

I just wanted to say that I am amazed at how Hub City Slickers signed up to pray for each other, the church, the community and the world.

It's an honor to be your pastor. I can't wait to see what God is going to do over the next couple of months in all of us.

Friday, September 03, 2010

What's a campaign?

I bet that the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word campaign is politics. And for most of you, that's not a positive thing.

Well, we're about to change that.

On September 19th, we're starting the Life's a Journey campaign at Hub City Church. It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with God growing you spiritually and transforming Spartanburg and the world.

So, what is a campaign all about?

Well, it's a combination of things. Through a combination of Sunday worship services, individual devotional readings, Bible verse memorization, daily emails of encouragement, small group discussion and weekly commitments, we're going to create a context for God to grow you spiritually and use you to transform the world.

Life's a Journey is MORE than a sermon series. I can't emphasize that enough. That's only one part. This campaign is about developing new habits of time alone with God, prayer and scripture memory. It's about discovering the answer to life's greatest question: Why on earth am I here? It's about reaching out to our lost, unbelieving, and hurting friends with the hope that their life has purpose and meaning. The Sunday sermons are just the icing on the cake.

So here's what you need to do. First, you need to pray. There's a post coming later that talks about that. Second, you need to purchase The Purpose Driven Life. We have copies for $7. If that's too much then just pay what you can. You can pre-order this week. Third, you need to make the commitment to be not miss anything during the seven weeks of the campaign. And fourth, you need to invite people to come.

I believe that this campaign will be the most powerful and transformational thing we have ever done as a church. I have great expectations that God is going to show up and overwhelm us.

I can't wait to start this journey with you!

The opportunity of a lifetime

I want you to do something. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. I want to invite you to join with me on a prayer journey. I want to invite you to be a part of a prayer team for Hub City. Try it out for 2 months, now through the end of October. We're going to use the Life's a Journey Campaign as a guide for our prayers.

Beginning next week I'll be posting a prayer guide for you to use. If you're a part of Hub City you can pick up the guide on Sunday or email me and I'll send you an electronic copy.

But don't wait till then to start praying. Start today. Start now. Stop whatever you're doing and use the following as a guide.

As we look forward to the Life’s a Journey campaign, what are some of the "doors" in your life that need to be opened that you could pray for?
  • The "door of time" opening in your schedule to participate more fully in the campaign.
  • The "door of courage" opening for you to invite a family member, Christian friend, or non-Christian neighbor to a weekend service or to your small group.
  • The "door of trust" opening for you to take a step of faith and host a group.
  • The "door of your heart" opening for you to become passionate about prayer.
  • The "door of humble servanthood" opening for you to be more available to God during this important time
  • Other?
In Colossians 4:5, Paul admonishes us to "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." The word opportunity that Paul uses at the end of that verse comes to us from the word cairos. The Greeks used cairos to describe a decisive moment, a crisis, or a crossroad. It's what we would call a defining moment. Is God wanting you to prepare, through prayer, for a defining moment in your life?

In addition, could it be that all around you, there are people who, for whatever reason, are now open to learning spiritual truths? The Life’s a Journey campaign could be a defining moment in their personal journey. As Paul encourages us, please make the most of this defining moment with them. Pray more than you ever have before. Be spiritually sensitive and ask God to open doors today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Life's a journey commercial

Upcoming Hub City stuff

I’ve got to say, I am more excited about being a part of Hub City Church than I have ever been. God is doing some incredible things in many of your lives. I think this is just the beginning. In light of that, I have a lot to tell you about.

An Opportunity: Charles Spurgeon once said, Whenever God determines to do a great work, he first sets his people to pray. I am convinced that God wants to do a great work in and through us. And in light of that I believe that he’s calling us to pray. There is an opportunity for you to be on the Hub City Prayer team. It’ll be a 2 month commitment. Bryan Scott and Josh Rogers are leading up this prayer team. We’re providing prayer guides so that you’ll know what to pray. All you need to do is sign up. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. It will change your life. It’s already changing mine. Email Bryan or Josh at lifesajourney2010@live.com.

Upcoming important dates and events:

September 5 and 12: Don’t waste your life. This series is the precursor to our Life’s a Journey Campaign.

September 13: Prayer service and kickoff for 24 hours of prayer and fasting.
  • On Monday, September 13, we’ll have a Prayer Service from 7-8 to kick off a 24 hour period of prayer and fasting for the Life’s a Journey Campaign.
  • The prayer service will be held at the offices of All Saints Church, 401 Kennedy St., Spartanburg.
  • Sign up for a specific hour of focused prayer. You can sign up this Sunday for a time slot (we’ll provide a prayer guide to help direct/guide your praying).
  • Fast and pray from 7 PM Monday, September 13 till 7 PM Tuesday, September 14.

September 19: Hub City Church turns 2!!!
  • We’re kicking off the Life’s a Journey Campaign (Campaign: It’s more than a Sunday teaching series. It’ll include Sunday teaching, a daily reading from The Purpose Driven Life, memorizing a scripture a week, Hub Group discussion, and a daily email encouragement.)
  • Birthday party and baptism at Twin Lakes Clubhouse after the Worship Gathering.
  • Start reading The Purpose Driven Life (you can pick up your copy this Sunday for $7.)