Thoughts from Blind Faith:

I believe our current series BLIND FAITH: (www.faithco.tv) is probably one of the most powerful message series we’ve ever taught here at Faithco.  Over the past three weeks we’ve defined faith and we have taken a look at what it is to walk by faith.  In addition, last week we explored how Noah obeyed by faith. Next week we will discuss one of the most important attributes of faith that is many times over looked.  This entire series has led up to what I will be speaking about this weekend. It will be the final message in this series and I believe it will be the most impacting of all four messages. In fact, several months ago when I decided to teach this series, this message was the one message that gave me the idea to teach on and name this series Blind Faith.  Whatever you do, don’t miss this message.  If you know me, you know that I don’t say this about every message.  I feel strongly that this message will change people.  It has already changed me.

You don’t have to be baptized.

Throughout my years in ministry I’ve had many people ask me if baptism was required for salvation.

From what I’ve read in the bible, I do not believe baptism is a requirement for salvation.  Romans 10 says to believe in one’s heart and to confess with one’s mouth that Christ is Lord brings salvation to the sinner.  One example in the bible could be the thief next to Jesus who was saved because he believed.   Obviously he was not baptized, but Jesus told him “you will be with me”.   No, I do not believe that baptism is a requirement to be saved.

However, I do believe that baptism is a response to being saved.  For years, I’ve been giving invitations for people to come to Christ and many people have raised their hands and prayed to give their lives to Christ.

I’ve found that there is a difference in the commitment level of a person who raises a hand or speaks a prayer, and the commitment level of a person who wades down into a pool of water in front of an audience of friends, family, and some strangers.

Here’s the point:  people who get baptized mean it.

Isn’t this is the point of baptism? To publicly identify a person as a new creation in Christ.  Doesn’t it say to all who are witnessing a person being baptized:  “I am a follower of Christ, I’m new, I belong to God”?  I believe that it does.

So here’s the deal:  Although it might not be a requirement for salvation, it is however the natural response and the next step for the person who has come to Christ.

By the way, I get the privilege of baptizing at least 9 people tonight.

What are your thoughts on baptism?

The Most Celebrated Event in Church History

The biggest, most celebrated event in church history is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This weekend, churches around the world will be observing and celebrating in various ways the phenomenon of the empty tomb of Christ.

If you take a look at the magazine racks, the media, or just about any best-selling book store rack, you will see a plethora of  “experts” who claim Jesus was not resurrected and they also have a theory of what might have happened.

Trying to disprove the resurrection of Christ has been going on for Centuries.  Even on the day when it was discovered that Jesus was missing from the tomb, the Pharisees got together with the guards and bribed them to spread the word that Jesus’ disciples stole his body in the middle of the night(Matthew 28:11). I don’t have time to get into this too deeply but like I said, it’s nothing new.

I choose to believe that he rose from the dead, and I will be celebrating his resurrection this weekend with his church.  From the worship experience to the Easter egg hunt, we are celebrating the most significant event in church history.  I hope you celebrate this event too.

By the way, for all of the faithco family, make sure you check out our Facebook page (Faith Christian) to keep track of all the festivities.  We are doing some extra things, like adding an 8:00am worship.  Also, if you have registered at CCB, look for some reminder emails.  If you haven’t registered at CCB (Church Community Builder), I highly recommend you doing so by going to our website and following the easy steps.  You’ll love it.

Wherever and however you celebrate His resurrection this weekend, I hope you have a great one.

This Past Week at Faithco…

Highlights from last week:

1.  If you haven’t seen what is going on with Faith Kids, try to slip in and check out the awesome curriculum that our team is writing and will soon be publishing.  It is first-rate second to none, creative teaching.  All the props and video are Demita (you go).  All I can say is WOW.

2.  Butch and the rest of the PULSE youth team are taking it up a notch with a new series about young relationships called “THE GAME OF LOVE”.  I noticed that the youth are split into 4 groups, divided by age and gender as they are going deeper into conversations of what they struggle with every day at home and at school.

Authenticity and relevance are critical to reaching teenagers.  I think our leaders in Pulse exhibit both attributes.  Also, we believe the small group setting is key to life change for kids this age.

3.  Sunday was one of the most amazing days we have experienced at Faithco.  I know I use the work amazing too much when I talk about our weekends, but this is truly the way I feel.  God continues to do AMAZING things every weekend in many different ways through our worship experiences.

We had our annual Grandparent’s day and it exceeded any expectation we had imagined.  First, the old school music was a big hit (as always).  We have decided to bring this music to our weekends more often (I’ll keep you posted).  People came to Christ, I believe people were healed in the service, and the overall honor of our grandparents was the key to such a great weekend worship.  What a day….what a day.

This coming weekend, will be just as amazing with our Easter celebration service.  Get ready for something different and invite someone to come with you.

Pay attention to your email and facebook this week as we will be sending out some announcements for this weekends celebration.

That’s it.

This Past Week at Faithco…

Here are a few of my thoughts concerning last week:

  1. It is incredible to see all the Friends Community groups coming together to do some spring cleaning on our facilities.  This place needed some attention.  From painting and repairing the walls, to washing the outside of the building, this place is becoming spic and span (a term my mother used to use).
  2. Pulse not only met Wednesday night, but also went to a concert in down-town Shawnee Sunday night.  I heard there was lots of head-banging.  My kids came home pumped last night.  Kids.
  3. Yesterday was Bring a Friend Sunday and it was the kickoff of our annual Reach One Outreach event.  It is nice to know I pastor a church where people are comfortable bringing their friends.
  4. This is Jesus…The Man.   I think the message stirred some thought on His humanity.  I know it messed me up.
  5. The on-stage interviews of people who are committed to the Building Faith campaign are priceless.  Jim and Kay Doolin are amazing people, and we got to hear their story yesterday.  It was amazing and heart-felt.
  6. Two words: Penny Wars.

Don’t forget, Grandparents day is next Sunday, this will be an unforgettable experience for the whole family so make sure you are there.

 

Whew, we are doing a lot right now.

 

Twittering in Church

Here’s a great post I found about the effects of Twittering during worship:

http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/148823-5-reasons-you-should-twitter-in-church.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily-Update

Agree? Disagree?  I’d like to read your comments on this subject.  Let me know.

 

This Past Week at Faithco…

This past week at Faithco was one of the most exciting weeks we’ve ever experienced.  Lives continue to be saved and changed through every ministry in our church.  I’ve never seen such momentum in our church community. It feels great!

Since the first of the year, Faithco has seen at least 57 people make decisions for Christ.  January isn’t over yet and we are setting salvation records for our church!  This is amazing; I’ve never seen our church this evangelistic.  Coincidentally, this coming weekend I will be ministering on the subject of evangelism.  If you were not here this past weekend, make sure you get a journal ASAP; you will need it.  Also, it is important to watch Sunday’s message to be informed on the direction we will be going for the next 3-5 years.  You can watch it at http://www.faithco.tv.

Also, you can find a three-part series of the message on our Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1501677542

 

Did you know that Demita Winegardner has written her first Faithkids curriculum?  It’s called “WAR GAMES” and it is one of the best and most creative kids curriculum I’ve seen.  We’ve got some talented people using their gifts for God.

We launched our Building Faith capital campaign and it is off and running with the prayer journals and weekly challenge to fast and pray.  Don’t forget to take time to go over our weekly journal question.

It’s time to build….our church has broken the 500 barrier for 2 Sundays in a row.  Incredible!  We are still working on the design that will be displayed in detail at our Celebration Banquet on March 6.

Lot’s of great stuff are on the horizon for Faithco, and I am glad to be together with you on this journey.

Vision Weekend.

This weekend will be one of the biggest weekends ever here at Faithco.

First, we will sum up a few of the significant things/events from 2010, then we will look at what we will be doing in 2011 and future years.

I can’t tell you everything, but I can tell you I’m excited about our plans for the coming years.  It’s going to be big!  It’s going to be bold.

I hope to see you this weekend for Vision Weekend at Faithco.

This Past Week…

Just when I think God is done showing off in our church community, He shows up and shows off again another weekend.  I know that statement sounds a little “preachy” but I am truly blown away by how God exceeds our expectations weekend and week out at Faithco.  Here are a few details:

  • Our youth group Pulse had an a great time as they gathered last Wednesday.  We’ve got some talent coming on with speaking and worship teams.
  • Landon kicked off Newcomers and Discovery this past Wednesday.  We have 8 new members!
  • We have connected with the Shawnee Rescue team to offer our support and service for some of their Wednesday lunches.  If you want to know more about how you can support the community through SRM, contact Landon@faithco.org.
  • I was blown away with our churches response to the message on fasting.  I wasn’t sure how people would react to such a sacrificial subject; however, once again our church stood together in the 7 day challenge to fast.
  • 12 people made decisions for Christ –that’s a total of 25 adults in the last two weekend worship gatherings who have given their lives to Christ!  Only God!
  • Our second worship gathering was max capacity.  It’s time to build.  We are talking about this for the next few weeks.

Finally, if you are participating in the 7 day fast challenge, I will have something to say on this post almost every day to provoke thought.  I hope you visit this blog and comment.

Why Bikes for Kids?

Whether from our community or from churches of other cities, there have been several people who have asked me many times about our Bikes for Kids event.

First question is usually: How did you guys get started doing this event? My answer:

A few years back, we made a decision to be intentional about our generosity.  We decided that we would not wait for an opportunity to be generous; instead, we would seek opportunities to give.

Still, for me this direction wasn’t specific enough.  To keep our motives pure I asked our leadership team this question: “Who are the people we can give to, help, etc… who cannot give back?  Basically, if we were to help them, there would be no return on our efforts .  In other words, if we helped them the church wouldn’t necessarily grow, there would be no financial benefits, and there would be little or no notoriety from the community.

It wouldn’t be a good cost-effective event from a church marketing perspective.  See, as a pastor, I like to do things in the community that help people remember our church.  I like to do events that bring many people to our campus.  I want our church to be a beacon in our community and people notice big events.

However, this would be different.  I wanted us to do something generous just because our Lord taught and told us to, not because we want to grow the church.

We decided the people we would help would be kids  -marginalized kids.  Kids were a great idea because they can’t pay you back or show up at church next weekend unless you pick them up.  I don’t have to explain all the reasons why kids were the best choice for us, you can probably figure that one out.

The point is we chose to help kids.  Now we just needed to figure our “HOW”.

…..more in my next post…..