Simplified 7-Step Roadmap to Success

In an organizational sense…

Here is a 7 step roadmap to success for a team:

Have a big God-given dream…

Get a clear vision of what success would look like…

Organize a great team…

Formulate a strategic plan of action steps to create a win…

Assign specific tasks to everyone on the team…

Keep pushing forward, even during difficult days, encouraging one another…

Celebrate along the way…

Have you served on a successful team? 

Storm Calmer: Jesus in the Boat – A Sermon

One of my favorite stories of Jesus’ miracles is the calming of the storm found in Mark 4. This Summer we are walking through the book of Mark with Grace Community Church in a series called Defiance.

Recently I was able to preach on this familiar and powerful passage. Do you need some encouragement in your faith these days? I hope this helps.

What is your favorite miracle story of Jesus?

7 Ways to Get the Most out of a Church Experience

This is a note to the church shopper, especially those who can’t seem to find a place to call home. You want to have a church family, but nothing seems to connect with you. You’ve tried every flavor of church, but none match your taste.

My desire would be that you learn to love your church experience. No church is perfect, but if you will follow a few tips, you may find exactly the right fit for your family. This is my best advice and the advice I would give you if we were meeting in person. Don’t give up looking for the right church until you’ve tried all of this process, because each step is necessary to achieve the best results:

If you are looking to connect with a church:

Attend - You have to make a decision that this church is part of your weekly routine. It needs to become a habit. I personally believe you should support the services the church offers in order to get the most benefit from the church. If the church meets on Sunday or Wednesday night you should support those services too as much as you can. Many of the inner workings of the church will most likely happen then. Our church limits the number of services per week, but attending regularly is the first step in connecting with a body of believers.

Commit - Decide this is your choice for a season. Stick with it long enough to form a habit of attending. You can break the habit easy if necessary…people do it everyday…but for now, unless you know the first week the church is not a fit for your family, if you’ve been a couple times and are still interested, try to stay committed for a long enough period to give the church a fair chance. Many churches experiences get “better” as you begin to see the church as your church.

Serve – Find a place to serve within the church. You’ll get to know the people involved and feel that you are a genuine part of the church. You’ll love a church more when you serve within that church.

Give - Become a financial investor in the church. If you believe in the mission, then be a part of funding it. You’ll grow to love the places where you invest your money.

Listen - Pay attention to the message then follow up with personal study or reflection. I suggest this regardless of whether you enjoy the style of the preacher or not. You chose the church and he or she worked to prepare a message. If you can’t be present in person listen online or by tape if that’s an option. Keep up with the teaching and know where the pastor is leading the church at the time.

Pray - Decide to pray regularly for the staff and church. God may surprise you with a deep love and appreciation for this church as you learn to pray for it.

Invite – Bring some friends along with you next time you attend. Invite your neighbors and family to join you. You’ll feel proud when someone you care about joins you at church and your love for the church will grow.

Have you ever had to look for a new church? How did you handle the process?

Bonus question: What is the first few things you look for in a church? What brings you back?

That Sacred Place…for a Sacred Moment

There is a special moment of worship that happens occasionally where I sense so strongly the presence of God that all the troubles of the world disappear. I don’t have a care in the world except the glory of God. I call it a sacred place…for a sacred moment… It doesn’t last long, but it lasts long enough that it changes me in that moment! It certainly renews my faith and strengthens me for the journey of life. I find myself filled with tears of joy, resolved that God is more real than I imagined, and determined to serve Him more faithfully. I’ve also learned, through experience, that when these times are more frequent, it often leads to God doing something new in my life, challenging me in a new area, giving me a new passion, even bringing me through a time of testing. (Wow, that’s scary to type, but it’s true.)

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t happen often, but it happened several times this week.

It doesn’t seem to be something I can plan. If it were, I’d stay in that place and moment, but I’ve discovered there are a few things that might trigger such a time:

  • Listening to a special song that was meaningful…
  • Studying a favorite passage of Scripture that has impacted my life…
  • Disciplining myself to be totally removed from the chaos of life…
  • Meditating on one thought…of grace…of His love…of His provisions…
  • When I’m sitting at the beach…or looking at a sunset…or the stars…

Have you ever been in that sacred place and sacred moment as I describe? Have you been there lately?

What triggers those moments for you?

Friday Discussion: Eternal Security

A recent college graduate from our church sent me an email recently. She’s struggled with her spiritual past. She became a believer early in life, got off track for a while, and now she’s on fire for God, Her dilemma is whether she lost her salvation during that time. She wonders what would have happened to her eternally had she died during her time of wandering. She wanted to know why I believe in eternal security.

I realize I’m stepping in dangerous territory with this discussion question. This issue divides people theologically as much as any other. Some of my closest believing friends would disagree with me here, believing that one can lose their salvation, but I believe in eternal security. I am not a theologian so I look for simple answers.

Here is my quick answer to my friend:

Dear _______,

These are standard questions most people wrestle with at some point in life. Great questions.

Here’s a short answer. I believe in eternal security, because:

  • The Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you SHALL be saved”…not you might be saved…

  • The Bible says “Do not worry”…How could you not worry if you were constantly wondering if you’ve gone too far…if you had lost your salvation?

  • It takes grace to be saved, why would it take works to remain saved?

  • Works are the result of salvation, not to earn or keep salvation…

  • Was there ever a time when you were “living in sin” when you didn’t “believe”? I’d say probably not…you may not have looked like a believer…but Jesus looks at the heart, not the outward appearance…

  • If we start drawing lines of how to lose salvation, where does the line stop? Could we ever remain saved? It’s just like the law…Jesus even added higher standards…one bad thought…one lust…one hatred…one dishonoring of parents…one idol placed in front of God…and we’re doomed…who then could be saved? Read the rich young ruler story…”What’s impossible for man is possible with God”…

The bottom line though is what difference does it make about what could have happened then? The bottom line is, are you saved now? Which, from watching your heart and life, I believe you are indeed.

Rejoice in your salvation!

Love your heart!

Hope this helps!

God bless,

Ron

There is so much more to this issue, but I suspect many others, including me, have wrestled with this same issue.

How would you have answered?

What questions do you have about eternal security?

Does this testimony resemble your own?

Share your thoughts!

Helping Tornado Victims in Alabama

My friend Casey Graham is a game changer. When he is passionate about something, he doesn’t just talk about it, he does something. This past week, Casey’s home state of Alabama was devastated by one of the worst tornado disasters in history.  Casey knew that in any disaster, the greatest need is always money, because money allows the team on the ground to do what is necessary to address the greatest needs. Casey went to work. In just 24 hours, this effort has raised over $75,000.   You can read more about it HERE. Casey is working through Cross Point Church in Decatur, Alabama.

Casey has set up a leadership team to oversee this process. He’s asked me to be a part of that team. You can read about that HERE.

He’s challenging churches and others to be a part. Read the latest challenge HERE.

There are many great efforts out there. Americans show their generosity during times like this. Casey is attempting to assist people without insurance or under insured. If you’d like to help, click HERE.

What other ways are people helping? Feel free to point people to those ways to support by leaving a comment.

10 Commandments: Significance for Today

Have you ever been curious about the 10 Commandments, specifically how we can implement them into our life today? A couple years ago, I wrote a series about each one. I’m a grace guy…if you read this blog much you know that. We are not under the law, but under grace. There are great Biblical principles, however, that these commandments have for us to live better lives today.

Here’s a repost of all of them together…just click on the link:

Ten Commandment Number One

Ten Commandment Number Two

Ten Commandment Number Three

Ten Commandment Number Four

Ten Commandment Number Five

Ten Commandment Number Six

Ten Commandment Number Seven

Ten Commandment Number Eight

Ten Commandment Number Nine

Ten Commandment Number Ten

Questions:

Which is the hardest for you to keep? Be honest!

What would you add as ways we violate these commandments today or how they have meaning for us still, even in the days of grace?

Easter Reminder: Look for the Living among the Dead

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you Luke 24: 5-6

Easter reminds me that I often make the mistake of those who were seeking the crucified Christ.

I look for the living among the dead…

I look at my past mistakes and think I can’t do better…

I look at my failures and think I’m defeated…

I look at those who cast doubt upon me and think they speak truth…

I look at my inadequacies and think I’m limited…

I look at my problems and forget that His mercies are new every morning…

I look for the living among the dead…

Are you looking for the living among the dead?

Let Easter remind you we serve a RISEN Savior!

The tomb is empty!

Live that way!