Everyone Invite Someone!

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Easter Sunday, April 20, is approaching soon. Did you know that more than 50% of people say that they would attend church on Easter Sunday if someone just invited them to come. Wow! A simple invite could lead someone to encounter Jesus! It sounds so simple.

I want to challenge EVERYONE TO INVITE SOMEONE to one or more of our Easter events and services. On Saturday, April 12 at 10 a.m., our annual Easter Egg Hunt & Pancake Breakfast is scheduled. (And, it’s going to be great weather!). On Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m., we have a special Good Friday Service planned. And, on Easter Sunday, April 20, there are two worship services from which to choose – one at 9:30 and another at 11 a.m.

Although inviting someone to church is as simple as saying “Hey, would you like to come to church on Easter?”, we’re offering you some tools to make it even easier:

We have two sets of cards you can pick up on Sunday announcing our Easter programming times and events. Both are easy to carry and easy to hand out. Take as many as you want. Hand them to people at work. Hand them to your friends at the ballpark. Leave them for your food server. Give them to your family. Take a walk and give them to your neighbors.

On the Adventure Facebook page you can find easy to copy pictures of our Easter Invitations. Place them on your FB page. Like them. Send them to your friends via email. Tweet them from your Twitter account. Add them to your Linked In page. One simple post and a note from you saying “Come and check out my great church this Easter!” may be all someone needs to decide to visit.

We are sprucing up the building, adding new directional signs, painting, cleaning, etc. so everyone feels comfortable and at ease when they visit. (There is still work to be done btw – our next scheduled work day is Tuesday, April 15 from 9 a.m. until it’s all finished so please plan to come and help paint, do some light carpentry, move furniture, and clean.)

Our website is new and updated. Go to adventureky.org and check it out. Make sure to create a profile and register to receive email updates.

Inviting someone to something at church is just about the easiest thing that we can do as Christians. It costs nothing. It takes very little time and effort. There is no downside. And, it could change someone’s life for eternity. So, who are you planning to invite?

Pastor Buddy <><

3-D Vision

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How we perceive people and situations can be distorted by our own preconceptions and, especially, by the condition of our hearts. What our “starting point” is makes all of the difference in how we see things.  Are you seeing clearly?

How Is Your Vision?

Spiritual Near-Sightedness — It’s all about me.  I’m not focused on others.  What matters to me and to my ministry is what is most important. Others should see it that way too.

Spiritual Far-Sightedness — I can see everyone else’s faults, but never my own. It’s easy to see what others are doing wrong. If they could just see it too, then things would be so much better for all of us, especially for me.

Spiritual Astigmatism –  I see people with a distorted perspective. Instead of seeing people for who they are and where they are, I see them as challengers or as weak or as not useful. I fail to recognize people as wonderful creations of God, instead seeing looks, money, power, etc.  My main thought is often: what can they do for me?

Spiritual Protective Goggles — I’m always afraid to be involved, open, honest and vulnerable.  I play it safe in relationships and in ministry.

3-D Vision — Jesus saw things perfectly.  No one could see things as perfectly as Jesus did and does.  He saw people and situations from a holy perspective. He had that kind of vision because he saw the world through a lens of love.

Faith Expressed Through Love

Love Is a Decision — Jesus chose, intentionally, to love.  In fact, love is the highest goal and the best decision. “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it – because it does!” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Make conscious choices to love people.

Love Is a Demonstration — Don’t just pretend to love people, actually love them!  Love is an action and must be demonstrated.  Isaiah 58 reminds us that the kind of fasting that God desires is not one that is “fake” and all for show.  Instead he says that our sacrifices to Him are to be about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, speaking up against injustice, housing the homeless.  Note that all of those things are the basic NEEDS that we all have (food, clothing, shelter). Isaiah wasn’t just saying those are the only things we should do; he was saying that ALL needs for people should be addressed in a way that is sacrificial and pleasing to God, i..e, in a loving way.

Love Is the Difference — If I am not motivated by love, everything else is just noise, like a clanging symbol or a creaking, rusty door.  (See 1 Corinthians 13).

Credit:  A lot of this post was gleaned from a devotion given by Pastor Mike Breaux at the 2012 NACC Continuation Committee Leadership planning session.  Thanks, Mike!

Soul Detox: Coming Clean

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In Soul Detox: Coming Clean we discuss the importance of recognizing our self-deception and the impact of self-examination in ridding ourselves of the spiritual toxins that invade our souls.  These are my sermons notes from the first in our series Soul Detox, based on the book Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel.  You can listen to my sermon online at the Adventure Church website.

Here are my sermon notes, with some comments:

Spiritual Pollution

Are you (your life) polluted with these toxins:  anger, apathy, laziness, rage, hate, greed, harshness, unforgiveness, bitterness, worry, anxiousness, depression, joylessness, distrust, etc.?  – Those are toxins infecting your soul.

Everything Matters

Proverbs 25:26 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.”

note:  a river does not become muddied and polluted because of just one “trash dump” into it.  Rather, it is a slow and steady combination of pollutions, some right into the river and some washed into it from upstream.  Our souls are muddied because of the slow and steady trash that we allow to be dumped into our souls:  what we watch, what we talk about, who we are around, what we read, who we listen to — all of those add up, and if they are toxic, they dump toxins into us that build up.

Coming Clean

Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

note:  spiritual problems have spiritual solutions!

1.  Recognize Your Self-Deception

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things …”

note:  it is easy to allow ourselves to be deceived because we don’t know what we don’t know.  At least admit that you might be in error about what you believe or don’t believe.

2.  Begin the Process of Self-Examination

(note:  examine your life for toxic behaviors, emotions, consumptions and influences)

You must be willing to call poison, poison

Psalms 36:2 “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”

note:  We can excuse so much and so many things in our lives.  Be careful if you are saying any of these things:

“I don’t have a problem with this”

“It’s really no big deal”

“This is just how I cope”

“I’m not as bad as most people.”

“I can quit anytime I want”

“This is jut how I am.”

note:  if you are saying those things, you may be “excusing” a toxin

Listen to God’s Word

note:  as you read and study the Bible, the Word will “show” you what is toxic for your life.  Is it your speech, unforgiveness, sexual purity, roles in marriage, what it means to love your neighbor, theology?

Listen to God’s People

Proverbs 15:31-21 “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.  He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.”

note:  Christian friends, your pastor and your Bible teachers are ways in which God speaks truth to you about toxins that are influencing you.

Listen to God’s Voice

note: God speaks through His Word and through His people, but if we don’t want to, or refuse to, “hear God” through those ways, we must remember that God also speaks to us through our circumstances.  If your circumstance is “out of control”, “full of drama”, or “always stressed and unhappy”, there is a good chance that God is allowing that circumstance to exist to show you a spiritual toxin in your life that is infecting your soul.  Pay attention to it!

“Life to the Full”  (note:  Jesus wants us to have an abundant life, not just a life where we get by or a life where we struggle carrying a bunch of unnecessary, burdensome baggage.  Removing the spiritual toxins in our lives will allow us to live life to the full!)

Why Men Need Discipline, Part 1 – “What is Discipline?”

Recently I was asked to speak at a Men’s “Advance” (I refuse to acknowledge that we should “retreat”) on the topic of Spiritual Disciplines. Based on the material from that talk, I have developed a several-part series that explores “spiritual disciplines” — what they are, why we need them, how to implement them in our lives, and what the consequences will be if we choose not to develop spiritual disciplines in an ever-increasing measure.

This article is the first in the series and is titled What is Discipline?

Is Discipline the same as Punishment?

When the word “discipline” is mentioned, what images come to your mind?  What do you immediately think about?

If you are like me, one of the first thoughts in my mind when I think of “discipline” is “punishment.”  In fact, when I looked up “discipline” in the dictionary, the third definition was “punishment inflicted by way of correction.”

Growing up, I can remember very well what it meant to be disciplined, at school and at home.  It went something like this:  if you break a rule, there is a consequence, and that consequence always was unpleasant and almost always involved pain.  So, the word discipline for me doesn’t always conjure up the most rewarding of images.   I literally chuckled to myself when I read that definition, thinking about what it must be like for some non-Christians to hear a preacher urge them to “engage in spiritual disciplines.”  (Sometimes, the language we use in the church without enough explanation probably can cause some pretty strange thoughts in people’s minds.)

Discipline in Spiritual Matters is about Relationships

But “discipline” is not, in and of itself, negative.  In fact, when speaking in terms of “spiritual disciplines” it is not negative at all.  Rather, “discipline” as it relates to our spiritual lives means the development of habits relating to the choices that we make regarding what we do with our time and energy.  It involves how we involve our minds and our hearts in our daily activities.  It is about acting a certain way because we have been trained to act that way, even when we don’t feel like acting that way.  It is about our priorities.

Spiritual disciplines lead us to make choices, form habits and develop priorities in our lives that enhance our understanding of who God is, determine God’s purposes for us, and keep us focused on Him even when we don’t feel like it.

Spiritual disciplines help us make wise choices in the moment, change how we speak to and work with others, direct how we love our wives and husbands, and impact how we raise our children.

The Bottom Line is Relationship Building

The bottom line is that spiritual disciplines are about moving us into deeper relationships with God and with others on behalf of God.

What’s Next …

What specifically constitutes a “spiritual discipline” and why we need to develop them in an ever-increasing measure are the topics of my next post. . . .