Tuesday, February 28, 2006

7 Power Statements From The Cross

Have you ever thought about the statements Jesus made from the cross? In His last hours, Jesus made some profound statements that still echo throughout eternity. Those statements are still relevant and practical for us today. It is my opinion that these statements are some of the most powerful things that Jesus ever said. Over the next 6 weeks leading up to Easter, I will be sharing beginning this Sunday, March 5th @ Gathering Place Community & Cafe blog a series "7 Power Statements From The Cross."

This series will be launched initially in a typed format and eventually switching to a podcast and mp3 format.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Feeling Better Today

Thanks for all your prayers. I am feeling great today. My leg is still red, swollen, and hot. :-) That just sounds funny. Anyways, it is time to get myself back into action. I am looking forward to getting out of the house and back to my daily tasks and to what I enjoy doing. Serving.

This week I will also finish up my final course for my requirements to get my license of ministry for the Assemblies of God ( it sounds better when you say it with a deep voice and King James old school style and the emphasis is on GAWD.) Anyways, I have been credentialed through the Assemblies for 5 years. I am about to take that next step, so I need to fill out my application for upgrade, have my oral interview. My next task after that is ordination.

It is so important to continue to be learner and grow not just as a minister or in your career but also in life. I value all these courses I am taking and looking forward to applying some of the stuff I am learning. One of the greatest things I have learned recently not from the courses I am taking but just from great influencers out there is that doing ministry can not be formulated or boxed up especially in the culture we live in. We must be creative, compelling and not do ministry from memory.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cellulitis; Curling; & Saltine Crackers

Nothing worse than feeling deathly ill with tempatures at 102.8. That is right the last three days I have been in the bed with cellulitis (a bacterial infection that begins in my leg). I have gotten it several times before one time I had to be admitted into the hospital, which for me is the worst.

I really covet your prayers as I recover from this stupid thing. I hate being down like this and feeling totally useless. Today, I am doing better with my temps at 99.9 and not as achey. A few things that have gotten me through the last few days, atleast while I have been awake, well first of all my awesome wife, who takes great care of me.

Also, I have caught up on my Olympic watching with my new favorite winter Olympic sport, Curling I just find this game very fascinating, I would like to actually play it sometime. Anyone out there in the blogsphere that could hook me up for a chance to play. I have been watching Curling since I got sick on Sunday.

The other thing that has helped me out over the last few days is a steady intake of saltine crackers I never realized how tasteful these things are, they have been my primary source of nourishment and substance. I am looking forward to a nice juicy steak when I am feeling better though. For not it is saltine crackers, toast, plain pasta, and chicken soup. Oh yeah and my antibiotics...those are very important.

Anyways, I am going to lay down some more, please pray for me.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Awesome Concert Last Night

I went to the Third Day/David Crowder Concert last night. It was simply amazing. It was their first show in the tour @ the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. If you have the opportunity to go to this concert, I would highly recommend it. We didn't get home until 12:30 because Fairfax is about 2 hours from us, needless to say I didn't wake up early or workout this morning :-).

Now I must get ready and teach the high school students. I asked my wife this morning if I could stay home from school, she said no because I am the teacher. :-( Anyways, I need to run and get ready. Also, Evangel Christian School homecoming and senior night is tonight for their last home basketball game, all the students need to be there.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Another Podcast Added and Great Workout Music

I have recently added a new podcast to my rotation for my workouts (when I am riding the exercise bike), Pastor Dino Rizzo form Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, LA. I love his South Carolina/Louisiana accent, for some reason my heartrate stays low when I listen to him which is great for my fat burning workout. The last two morning I listen to the first two part of his Lost series, I love his down to earth practical style preaching, an amazing communicator. I would highly recommend his podcasts be added to your rotation. I want to give a shout out to Dan Ohlerking for the recommendation. Dan, the next time I get down to Louisiana I must stop by and vist Healing Place Church. By the way I went to New Orleans last March and fell in love with the area down there. Most of my love comes from the great food especially Cafe Du Monde and all the great cajun cooking. I am hungry now. :-)

I have also added music to my workout too (lifting and cardio). The reason why I added music for those times is because it is so hard to get your adrenaline pumping listening to sermon unless I started listening to Rod Parsley or TD Jakes. So a part my music rotation for working out is Testify by POD; Collide by David Crowder Band; 12 Stones; and Third Day (Wire; Conspiracy No. 5; & Where You Are) I need something that really rocks. I also throw in some R.E.M., I know they aren't "Christians" but they have great workout music, they are also one of my favorite artists of all time.

Anyways, I need to go. I hope you all have a great day.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Early Mornings; Working out; Podcasts

Since the first week of January I have been getting into a habit of waking up between 5:00a - 5:30a during the week. I find this time to be very valuable in my personal devotions as well as preparing myself for the day ahead of me. I also have been getting some other things done as well. I honestly have never thought that I would be productive waking up early.

Along with waking up early, this past Monday, I joined a gym and making a determination to workout daily. I must and need to get myself into shape, atleast another shape other than round. After doing some lifting yesterday, my arms are hurting. No pain, no gain right? Spiritual and physical discipline are both very important.

Finally, I wanted to share with you some of my personal favorite podcasts, the podcasts are actually getting me through my workouts as well. I enjoy hearing people preach that I wouldn't normally hear preach. These podcasts are awesome, i would highly recommend that you subscribe to them as well.

Mark Batterson and the Theaterchurch podcast from National Community Church in Washington DC - Pastor Mark is a great communicator and very practical. I love Pastor Mark's style of preaching and his genuiness when he preaches.

Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. - Pastor Mark is hilarious and brings a down Earth approach to sharing the Truth of God's Word. He is a great storyteller.

Ed Young from Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX - Great communicator of God's timeless Truths and he has some amazing series as well. I also enjoy his on location messages.

Erwin McManus from Mosaic Church in Los Angelas, CA. - Another great storyteller, his messages are amazing, he deep and yet gives very clear application to the Word of God. He also writes in the way he preaches. I really enjoy his books.

Yesterday, I just downloaded Seacost Church's podcast for the first time, so I have had a chance to listen yet, I am sure Pastor Greg Surratt does an amazing job, so I am looking forward to hearing his message tomorrow or I might even watch the videocast.

It is important to me that I get a steady diet of great speakers/communicators of God's Word. I can't get enough of great preaching. By the way I love Pastor Mark Batterson's take on the three point sermon, he is so right on. Check it out...

Ban On Three-Point Sermons

If I had my way, we'd ban three-point sermons.

As far as I can tell, Jesus didn't preach any three-point sermons. So why do we teach that in homilectics again? I'm being somewhat facetious. We shouldn't ban three-point sermons. As long as they don't alliterate :)

We need lots of different kinds of sermons because there are lots of different kinds of learners. That is educational theory 101. But let me zoom out and make an observation: I think linear sermons worked in the modern era with a left-brain orientation. They don't work as well in the postmodern era that is moving toward a right-brain orientation.

I think preachers need to take their cues from Jesus. Jesus preached in parables. There are fifty-three of them in the gospels. Each one is a masterpiece in how to communicate to the right-brain of listeners. You've got to use metaphors and tell stories that capture the imagination. For what it's worth, I think there are three keys to a great sermon: metaphor, metaphor, metaphor.

Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish filmmaker, said, "Facts go straight to the head; stories go straight to the heart."

Sermons need to be both/and. They have to use facts that inform the left-brain and tell stories that inform the right-brain. But Jesus targeted the right-brain. For what it's worth, most of his parables are less than 200 words! He said so much by saying so little! He didn't make "points." He told stories that made the point. Sometimes he connected the dots for his listeners. But sometimes he refused to connect the dots for people! He made them come to their own conclusions.

Maybe we ought to preach some messages that don't have conclusions?

Leonard Sweet says, "Points no longer make points." I love that. Why? Because there is a shift in the way people are relating to God. I think most people during the modern era had a left-brain relationship with God that was intellectual. Nothing wrong with that. The more we know God the more we can worship Him. We ought to be spiritual intellectuals. But we've neglected the right-brain relationship with God that is experiential, mysterious, and imaginative.

Long story short, we need some more right-brain preachers who are serious about right-brain discipleship.

Well said Pastor Mark.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Music Recommendation Praise and Worship Artists

I want share with you some of my personal favorite praise and worship artists. In my opinions these artists are modern-day psalmists, and they write amazing songs of worship for God, they also write many of the great songs that we sing in our communities of faith today. I personally enjoy worship songs that are intimate and give you a greater understanding of who God is and what He does. Here are my top three praise and worship artists with another three to come later...

1. Chris Tomlin - Hands down one of my favorites especially after seeing him live last weekend. An amazing singer, voice and songwriter. His albums Arriving, Not To Us, The Noise We Make, and his newest which by the way is a live album Live from Austin are all amazing CDs and are regular plays in my iPod.
So of my favorite songs by Chris are Holy Is The Lord; How Great Is Our God; Indescribable; Kindness; and Enough. He is also a really good author, he wrote the book The Way I Was Made, this is must read as well. I encourage to check out any of his Cd's or download his music. Chris has also let worship during the Passion Conferences, I would recomment getting any of the Passion albums from the conferences. Check out his offical blog @ www.ctomlin.blogspot.com/

2. Matt Redman - Matt is Chris Tomlin's tourmate. Matt is a great talent from across the ocean in England. Since he from England, he has to be great right? Not only is Matt Redman an amazing artist, songwriter, singer, his books are some of my favorite books that I have read. He really lives out what it means to be a lead worshipper, you can't but help to go into the throne room of God when he leads. Again, everything Matt has done is great. His best of album is my favorite because if I had to do a compilation of favorite songs they are all there. Blessed Be Your Name The Songs Of Matt Redman Vol. 1 is a must buy. You will listen to this album atleast twice a week and two times on Sundays, after you sing many of his songs in church.
Some of personal favorite songs are Blessed Be Your Name; Holy Moment; Better Is One Day; The Heart Of Worship; and the song I took my blog name from "Facedownworshipper" Facedown. One of my favorite books by Matt is Facedown, this book has given me a greater desire to be a "facedown worshipper." By the way thanks Matt for a great blog name. :-)

3. Jeff Deyo - Jeff who is a solo artist used to be the lead vocalist and songwriter for SonicFlood. I have always been a Jeff Deyo fan from his time with SonicFlood. After seeing him several times lead worship, in my opinion he is one of the passionate worshipper I have seen. I have also had the opportunity to host him and may be hosting him again soon at our youth convention, he is for real. His live album Surrender really brings out what he is like hearing and seeing him in person. His other two solo albums Saturate and Light are great as well, you need to add them to you collection.
A few of my favorite songsfrom Jeff are Bless The Lord; As I Lift You Up; Lose Myself; and Jesus, I Surrender. Check out Jeff Deyo you will be glad that you did.

Brett Cuevas an awesome youth pastor

For those who do not know Brett Cuevas, he is an awesome godly young man that God is doing incredible things through. I am so excited and proud of all of his accomplishments. Today I just found out that Brett will be speaking at George Mason University's combined Christian Fellowship service on Tuesday, February 21st. He will speaking to about 200 student from various Christian fellowship groups on the campus.

I am very proud of him, he has come a long way from being one of my former youth, young adult, and youth leader. This is why it is so important to invest into people as a pastor, as a pastor it is my desire to see people who I have influenced over the years to go beyond what I have ever done in ministry. I know too many pastors who are insecure and hold their staff down and not allowing them to succeed beyond them and their ministry.

In ministry there is absolutly no place for insecurity. Insecurity will cause your ministry to be ineffective and you will not experience long-term growth in the long run.

I am so thankful for my current pastor, Pastor Mike Buckley he is such an encouragement to me and my ministry, he has such a pure desire to see me grow and fulfill everyone of my dreams to be a church planter, even if that means it is in our current area.

He does not see me as someone who will take "his people from him." He considers the people in the church God's, because it is God who paid the price for them with His son Jesus.

With all this said, the first person I am going to hire on staff full-time is going to be Brett and I will pay him well. Afterall, if you pay your staff well they will be loyal, I will also let him minister freely and be all that he needs to be. Brett is an amazing youth pastor with such a great connection to youth. Brett is also a very passionate person with his faith. Brett is also very loyal and trust worthy, a young man with great character, he has great attributes to be an awesome pastor. Again if you cannot tell I am so proud of all that Brett has done, I will be there to support him every step of the way. Keep going Brett!