Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunday Preview

I guess the preview word for this Sunday is "might", as in we might have worship at GHS or we might not. Right now the weather report looks pretty nasty, but as I stated yesterday, I will believe it when I see it. Here's what you need to know as far as how to find out if the service has been cancelled or not. Sometime tomorrow, Donny, John Cessarich, Jim Cantore, and myself will make a decision on whether or not the service will be cancelled. After that decision is made there will be an announcement on the church website, on WYFF 4, and I along with several others will begin spreading the word through facebook.

If the service happens as usual we will continue our "House" series by talking about the Bedroom. The music will feature selections from Barry White and Marvin Gaye. Just kidding about the music, but we will talk about the bedroom. Two passages of scripture you can read to be prepared ahead of time are: Genesis 2:18-25 and
1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you then! I'm praying for clear roads so we don't miss an opportunity to worship together!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scattered Thoughts

I was out of the office on Monday and Tuesday, so that means message prep got pushed back to Wednesday and today. As a result, this is the first chance I've had to think about blogging. That's probably o.k. since most of the stuff I'm wanting to write about is silly and/or irrelevant. Here's the silly stuff I'm thinking about today:

- Avatar will win Best Picture Oscar this year, and it shouldn't. Yes, I know that what I just typed is heresy to some people, after all this is a movie that recently had a mountain named after it! Avatar winning all of these awards is proof that style wins out over substance all too often. Visually Avatar is the best movie I have ever seen, but I don't judge a film just on what it looked like. The story was a rip-off of Dances With Wolves, and the large majority of the characters are very one dimensional. The main villain (ripped marine with scar on head) is a character I've been seen in tons of action films over the years. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Avatar was a bad movie. It was visually stunning and very entertaining, and I left feeling that I got my money's worth. I'm just saying it's not Best Picture worthy.

- I saw a dude on Wade Hampton today who was dressed like the Statue of Liberty. I'm sure you have seen these folks. They are advertising for Liberty Tax service. The thing that made this guy different was that he was talking junk to a man stopped at a red light. I'm no expert, but I bet the folks who are paying him to stand by the road and wave would frown on this behavior. I can't say that I blame the guy too much. Roadside Statue of Liberty has got to be one the worst jobs in America, plus being a male dressed as the Statue of Liberty would make it worse.

- I hope some of the folks who are hosting Super Bowl parties at Freedom have invited you to join them at their home. I got lots of good reports on Sunday from some of the newer families at Freedom that have already been invited. The whole reason we promote these parties is so folks will take the opportunity to get to know one another better. I hope you will take advantage of it.

- People are looking forward to snow here in the next couple of days. My official snow policy is that I don't believe it will snow until I see it on the ground.

- I'm seriously considering an internet fast. Well not the entire internet, more like Facebook and Twitter. I couldn't go completely internet free since we use gmail and google calendar at the office. I haven't thought too much about what that would mean for this wildly popular blog. I purposely did not look at Facebook and Twitter until 3:30 today, and I was more productive. Plus, I just felt better. If I decide to fast from these sites for a period of time I will let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sunday preview

This Sunday we will continue the "House" series, and we will focus on the kitchen. Here's some scripture you can read before you arrive: Hebrews 5:11-14.

Also, remember to come prepared to give to the special offering for relief in Haiti. The envelopes will be on the regular giving table. You can put the Haiti envelope in the black box with your regular offering envelope.

By the way, it has been brought to my attention that I have been pronouncing the word Haiti like a redneck. I have been saying, Haytee with the emphasis on the last syllable. I'm pretty sure the correct pronunciation is Haydee, with the emphasis on the first syllable. I can't help it that I am 100% southern, and it really comes out in my speech. Just know that this Sunday as I am talking about the offering I will be making an effort to pronounce Haiti correctly. Let's hope I can do it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti needs your help

By now, you know of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti. As I announced last Sunday, we will have envelopes available this week for you to give to the relief work being done there. We will be giving this money through Samaritan's Purse because, we know they are a reputable charity with a proven system of getting aid in the hands of the people that need it. Pray about what you should give to this need. Notice I didn't say for you to pray about if you should give. I believe that all of us have the ability to give some amount.

The envelopes for Haiti relief will have a label on them that simply reads, "Haiti", and 100% of the cash or checks placed in them will be sent to Samaritan's Purse. Remember to give your regular offering in one of the normal envelopes available on the giving tables this Sunday as well. As the situation in Haiti begins to become a little less chaotic there may be other things we can do (such as collect shoes, school supplies, etc.) but for the time being it seems that giving money is the best way to help. Give this week and you will be glad you did!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pants on the Ground

Funniest thing I've seen on TV in awhile. Just what we need for a Monday. Maybe we can get this guy to come do a live performance at Freedom one week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunday preview

I am really looking forward to this Sunday's worship service. If you haven't already planned to be there, make that plan now. (Greer High School 10:30 a.m.) We will continue the "House" series of messages, and this week we will be talking about one of the most frightening parts of the house (no, not the bathroom) the closet. I want to encourage you to go ahead and begin praying now for what God might want to deal with you about as we worship together Sunday. Also, I will take a few minutes at the beginning of the message to address Pat Robertson's comment concerning the earthquake in Haiti, as well as let you know about a way you can help with the recovery. If you would like to preview some of the scripture we will be reading on Sunday check out Joshua 6 & 7.

The first round of the NFL playoffs are over. I was glad to see the Patriots lose (if you're reading this Bruce I'm sorry), and disappointed that the Cowboys won. I actually like Tony Romo, but I can't ever pull for a team owned by Jerry Jones. The team I want to see win it all are the Saints. Sherry and I lived in New Orleans from Jan of 1992 - August of 1994 while I was in seminary, and I'm telling you from experience that there's not much that the folks of that city love more than their Saints. If they win it all it will be bedlam down there. Other than the Saints I can't really get excited over any of the teams left. It would be cool for Favre to win with the Vikings, and if the Jets won with a rookie QB that might be fun as well, but the team to get behind this year plays in New Orleans! Go Saints!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A few thoughts...

I am enjoying the heat wave we are experiencing today. If we keep having highs in the 40's I might have to turn on the AC. Here's a few quick bullet points for you to look at. Some are important, some are not. I'll let you be the judge of which is which.

- Botswana t-shirts are still on sale each Sunday in the atrium. It's a cool design, and all of the profit from the $15 cost per shirt goes directly to help our brothers and sisters in Africa.

- Does the Slap Chop commercial get on your nerves as bad as it gets on mine? "Linguine, fettuccine, martini, bikini"? What does a martini and bikini have to do with grating cheese? Never mind. Don't answer that last question. I really don't need to know.

- I hope you shared the post about last year's stats with your Freedom connections. One other thing I thought about after I typed that was this: a 9% increase in giving over 2008 was particularly amazing with the state of the economy in 09. Just further proof that God will provide for His church.

- Last night was weird without any Monday Night Football on the air. We are now only weeks away from February, the absolute worst sports month of the year. This year however, the Winter Olympics will air in February. Other than the figure skating, I love the Winter Olympics.

- I've gotten tons of positive feedback from folks about the current series of messages. It seems like we all have some part of our spiritual house that could use a little refurbishing. This week we'll talk about The Closet.

- Mark McGwire finally admits that his cartoon sized arms were the result of steroids. In my mind the single season HR record is 61, and it's still held by Roger Maris. The career mark is Hammerin' Hank's 755. I don't care what the record book says.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009: A Year of Growth

This past year at Freedom has been an interesting one. Without a doubt 2009 was the most challenging year I have experienced in my short time as a pastor. Last week Donny spent some time looking over the numbers for 2009. This is always helpful when evaluating where things are heading and what possible changes need to be made. I was encouraged by what he shared with me, and I thought you might find them encouraging as well.

In 2009 attendance increased 7% and giving increased 9% from 2008. Since our first month of worshipping together back in 2005 attendance has increased by 78%. Also, as we broke the 2009 attendance numbers down we found that weekly average attendance from January-May was 350, while the weekly average attendance from June - December was 359.

What does this mean? Freedom is attracting new folks each and every week to worship with us. In fact, attendance increased by a larger percentage in 2009 than it did in 2008. We are seeing a growing trend that we need to be ready to embrace. Now more than ever we need to be inviting our un-churched friends to join us each week. Now more than ever we need to build relationships with new people that we meet at worship. Now more than ever we need to focus on the positive things God is doing in our midst, and of course we also need to pray daily for Freedom to make an earth shattering impact on the Greer-Taylors community.

Now if you are a partner or regular attender at Freedom I want to ask you to do me a favor concerning this blog. Notify everyone you know who is connected with Freedom and ask them to read this. You can send them an e-mail with a linc, put it on your Facebook page, tweet about it on Twitter, but do something to let them know they need to read this. Each and every week God is sending new people through the doors at Greer High School to worship, and we need to be focused on that opportunity. Spread the word!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I am second

Tomorrow night Texas and Alabama will square off to determine who will win the national championship of college football. I watch the national championship game every year despite the fact that my favorite team never even gets within shouting distance of playing in it, and tomorrow night will be no different. In the media there has been much made off the fact that Tim Tebow (quarterback for Florida) is a follower of Jesus. As you will see in the video below Colt McCoy, who is the quarterback for Texas, is very vocal about his faith in Christ as well. I don't really care who wins the game tomorrow night, but after watching this I do hope Colt has a great game. Thanks to David Pollock for sending me a linc to this video earlier today on Facebook. I love the way the video ends, with a simple proclamation about where we stand in relation to who Jesus is. Very cool.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sunday Follow-up

After the service on Sunday I talked with several you who said that the topic of the message was something you really needed to hear. It seems that lots of us struggle with being possessed by our possessions. At the end of the message I asked a few questions designed to make us think about our own situations. Here they are again for you to read and think about. Perhaps as you answer these you will get an understanding of whether or not you have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with possessions.

- Have you already picked out the next thing you will purchase?
(not including groceries, gas for the car, etc.)

- When you get extra money that you weren't expecting what is your first inclination of how to use it.

- In the past what have you been willing to go into debt for?

- Do you have storage issues at your home?

- Do your plans for the future revolve around what you can buy or what you can do for the Kingdom of God?

Sunday's message and the questions above were both based on two passages of scripture: 1 Timothy 6:6-10 and Luke 12:22-31
Be sure and read both of those when you get a chance.