Can You Feel It?

Can You Feel It?

If you’ve ever been in the ocean, you’ve likely felt the pull of the tide as a wave is building. The ground beneath your feet begins to move as the water recedes out to sea. Then there comes a point when the water begins to change directions as the wave begins to swell. Your anticipation grows as the wave builds until it finally topples over with a great crash and barrels toward the shore. It’s exhilarating if you can catch the wave at the right time and ride it until it finally fades out and then the cycle starts over again. 

I didn’t want to talk about waves just because I love the ocean. I do love the ocean, but I also wanted to talk about waves because I love what I’m feeling the Lord building in my heart. There’s the usual anticipation for Easter Sunday, but I honestly believe God has been building a greater expectation for what He is going to do this Sunday as we celebrate the fact that the tomb is empty and Jesus has risen! I believe we are going to see people come to faith in Christ, baptized in the name of Jesus, and filled with the power of the living God this Easter Sunday! 

I’m encouraging you to worship and celebrate this Sunday but also to bring someone with you who needs to encounter the reality of our Great God! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us! Statesboro, Vidalia/Lyons, and Millen…GET READY! THE WAVE IS COMING!

With you Heart and Soul!

Brandon

When & Why Should I Be Baptized?

When & Why Should I Be Baptized?

Hey Connection!!

I’m so pumped about Sunday!! Not only are we celebrating Easter, which is like the Superbowl, World Cup, and the World Series all tied into one, we’re also having baptisms after every service at all three campuses! It’s going to be an incredible celebration as we watch people publically profess their faith in Jesus and we celebrate people who have gone from death to life! We are praying that we will see 100 people baptized across all of our campuses in Stateboro, Vidalia, and Millen! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS EASTER SUNDAY!!

With the baptisms coming up I wanted to give you three thoughts about when and why you should be baptized:

  1. Because Jesus said so…Jesus was very clear in Matthew 28:19,20 that WHEN (that’s important) we become a Christian our next step is baptism. In his first sermon the Apostle Peter told those listening, “Repent (turn from sin and turn to Jesus) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) These are pretty clear commands that once we come to belief and trust in Jesus as our savior our next step is baptism! Question…have you been baptized AS A BELIEVER in Jesus Christ?
  2. As YOUR decision…Baptism comes after YOU make a choice to follow Christ. It is your statement that your life has been set apart and wholly devoted to Jesus. It is saying that Jesus has washed our sins away (the cleansing water) and that we have risen from death to life (going under the water and coming back up) with Christ. Baptism is a physical representation of a spiritual reality that doesn’t take place until you have been converted (saved) through faith. Question…have you been baptized as a public profession of YOUR decision to follow Jesus?
  3. As a response to what God has done…Baptism DOES NOT cause our conversion or make us “saved”. The water does not save you, Jesus does! If you are baptized without faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior you are just a wet sinner bound for Hell. (OK…that sounds harsh but it was the only way I could think to say it!) There is no saving power in the water itself. The power of salvation is found in faith for what Jesus did on the cross as He took our sin and God’s judgment on himself so that we can be forgiven! (Ephesians 2:8,9) We cannot save ourselves! When we think of the overwhelming grace of God that He has poured into our lives the question really changes from “Why should I be baptized?” to “Why wouldn’t I be baptized?!” Question…have you been baptized as a RESPONSE to what Jesus has done on the cross?

If your answer to any of these questions is “no” and you are a follower of Christ then your next step IS baptism. There will be plenty of water this Sunday! Click here to sign-up!

With You Heart and Soul!

Brandon

Pre-Game

Pre-Game

Hey Connection!

This Sunday is our big Pre-game service. On Sunday, September 28th we will be tailgaiting before both services and having baptisms after both services. It is going to be a GREAT day! In preparation for this day there are a few things I would like to ask you to do.

1. PrayPray that God will do amazing things on this day as the Gospel is presented. Pray that the Holy Spirit will awaken people’s hearts to the reality of Jesus. AND Pray about who you should invite to be a part of this day.

2. InvestInvest in someone’s life. Invest in those God has called you to share His love with. Invest in those whom God has given you influence with.

3. InviteInvite people you have been investing in to church. Invite people you have been investing in to a relationship with Jesus. (Even better…Do Both!) Invite someone you’ve been investing in to Pre-game on September 28th.

4. PersistPersist in your investment and invitation to those God has put in front of you. Persist with love and grace even when they seem disinterested. Persist with the same persistence that God persisted in His pursuit of you. (Say that sentence 10 times fast!)

There you go, Connection. As a community of believers united by the Holy Spirit we are an unstoppable and powerful force. Let’s leverage the influence God has given us with people to offer them the best news they’ve ever, or maybe have never, heard. Whether it’s the grilled sausage or seeing a friend get baptized, let’s get as many people to church on Sunday, September 28th as we can and let’s see what God does through our obedience!

We will be serving food beginning at 8 AM and 10 AM. Can’t wait!

Heart and Soul,

Brandon

3 Things for Easter Sunday

3 Things for Easter Sunday

If you’ve been around church lately I don’t have to tell you that we are EXCITED about Easter this year. We have seen God orchestrate this service in ways that have blown us away! We really believe God is going to do INCREDIBLE things that day. With that in mind I wanted to encourage you to do three things:

  1. Invite your friends, your family, and your coworkers. We are asking everyone to bring someone! Who is God placing on your heart to bring to church so that they may see, hear, and experience the Gospel this Easter?
  2. Attend one of the three services. We expect to have the largest attendance we’ve ever had on Easter. So if you have been attending Connection, we need you to help us make room at our 11 am service. Each service will be identical but by making room at 11 am, we’ll be able to accommodate everyone who wants to come. If you have kids, make sure you attend the 9 am as our 6 pm won’t have childcare in Konnection Kids.
  3. Pray for people to meet Jesus. We know we don’t have the power to save anyone or change anyone’s heart; only God can do that. But we are asking that you join us in praying for people to encounter the reality of Jesus! It’s going to be an AWESOME day!

For more details about our Easter services and a teaser of what is to come visit http://easteratconnection.com.

We know Easter Sunday is going to be a great day. We have felt God building up to that day since the first of the year and we can’t wait to see what He does!

Remember…INVITE…ATTEND…PRAY!

Two Things Every Christian Leader Must Have: Tough Skin & Tender Hearts

As Christians, Jesus is our example of leadership. I have always been amazed at the way Jesus was so tough and so tender at the same time. He was able to take on the entire religious institution of His day yet weep at the tomb of Lazarus. He attacked Satan and all the power of Hell yet was able to hold little children in His lap and pray for them. He turned over tables in the temple yet was able to give hope to the most downtrodden that He encountered. He is the perfect example of tough and tender.

What I mean by having tough skin and tender hearts is the ability to take criticism and persecution that is part of ministry and continue to actually love those who hate you and have wronged you. This is such a difficult task to live out and, in fact, is impossible in our own strength and ability. The only way this happens is when the Spirit of the Living God is living in us. It happens when are hearts are continually being enlightened by the love that God has for us and has revealed to us through His son, Jesus.

When I look at the example of Jesus I realize that my sin was just as responsible for putting Him on the cross as those who actually committed the murder. Yet, He still pursued me with grace and beckoned me to come to Him in love. How can I not offer that to others, even when they have hurt me deeply? I cannot withhold from others what I did not deserve myself!

Want to be tough skinned and tender hearted enough to lead like Jesus? Then dive into your relationship with Him. Get to know Him more through His Word. Learn more of who you are in Him as you read His Word! Speak to Him in Prayer and then listen for Him to speak to you! Cling to Him as if your life depends on it (After all it does!). Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to change your heart. Ask for courage and boldness. Ask for a spirit of humility and grace. Cry out to God and ask Him to make you like His Son. He will not deny you this great privilege. In fact, our desire to receive this transformation in us will never be as great as His desire to do this transformation for us.

My prayer for us is that God would make us tough skinned and tender hearted so that we may love the broken even when the broken may not love us!

Heart and Soul!

Day 1 of 20 Days of Prayer

Hey Church!

I started our 20 days of Prayer Guide today and I wanted to share my prayer from my journal with you. I am running this race with you and I am so excited to see all that God has in store for His church! Lock and Load!

Lord,

I pray that my motives for ministry would always come from my heart having been touched and changed by you. Jesus, give me your heart for people. Let me see them the way you see them. Holy Spirit, open my eyes to see the greatest reality, the reality of your presence with us. Reveal anything that hinders me from pursuing you and give me the strength to remove it from my life. I want to have more of you in my life. I want my life to be an extension of my relationship with you. Do something great in me so that you can do something great through me that will be for your glory.

Jesus, I ask that you would send your Spirit to unite our church, your Church, as one body moving in our direction. I pray that we will lay aside our agendas and our plans so that we can be about your plans and your business. Let us see that the best story for our lives is the story that you want to write with our lives. Where we struggle with selfishness let it be replaced with self-sacrifice. Where there is pride let it be replaced by humble hearts that are in awe of your grace! Where there is bitterness let it be replaced with forgiveness as we think about the forgiveness you’ve given us. Where there is apathy let it be replaced by hearts that burn for you and your Good News for the world!

We need more of you, Jesus! Less of us and more of you. Bring revival and let it start in my heart!

Amen

Heart and Soul!

Lock And Load

Hey Connection!

I’m incredibly excited about our next series, Lock And Load! We are kicking it off this Sunday! When a soldier crosses over from a “green” zone to a “red” zone they’re given the instructions to “Lock and Load”. It’s the last instructions before they enter the fight. It is saying, “Get ready! It’s time to battle!” That’s what this next series is all about, getting ready to battle and contend for the hearts of people.

I REALLY believe we are entering into a new phase of our journey together as a church family. I have felt in my heart for a while that God is building toward something big this fall. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had this much anticipation and excitement about what God has in store for us.

Here’s what we’d like to hear from you: What do you want to see God do in people’s hearts and lives during this next series?

Tweet it or post on facebook what you will be praying for with #LockAndLoad. We really want to hear from you so that we can be praying together!

Let’s go church! It’s time to prepare! It’s time to Get Ready! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Heart and Soul!

Hook, Line & Sinker

Hey Church!!

 

I am really looking forward to seeing all that God does through this next series starting Sunday called Hook, Line, and Sinker. We will be looking at what it means to be called by Jesus as “Fishers of men”. Here are a few reasons I am so excited about these services:

1.  It hits the mission of the Church head-on.

It’s easy for the Church to do a lot of things while forsaking the one thing it is called to do…reach the lost!

2.  It shows us our personal mission as a part of the Church. 

When Jesus called Andrew the first thing he did was find his brother Peter and bring him to Jesus.(John 2:35-42) Every person that is found in Jesus is called to find others and bring them to Him.

 3.  We will be equipped to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given us.

We are going to learn throughout the series not only why we should share our faith, but also what motivates us to share our faith and how we are able to share our faith.

4.  It speaks to the fact that NO ONE is beyond the reach of Christ!

That the lost, the wounded, harassed, and bedraggled are the very ones Jesus came to save.

5.  We are going to see that the life that attracts the lost is a life spent enjoying God, by both giving and receiving His grace and love through Jesus!

Those who have labored in the heavy yoke of legalism and rules based religion will hear the good news that Jesus offers us rest in His work for us.

Heart and Soul!

 

5 Reasons I’m EXTREMELY Excited

Hey Connection!!

Here’s 5 reasons I am EXTREMELY excited about Sunday morning:

  1. If I (we) aren’t excited about what God is doing in our church after 37 baptisms this past Sunday we need to check our pulse! I am still in awe of how God is working in people’s hearts. Let’s not forget how much God rejoices with us in all that is taking place!
  2. I haven’t preached in 2 weeks. OMG! (Ok, I really don’t talk like that but it seemed to fit the context.) I cannot wait to get back this week and open God’s Word with you guys. Thank you Billy and Joey for killing it the last 2 Sundays!
  3. I truly believe that God is going to do INCREDIBLE things every Sunday that we gather in His name and for His purposes. I’m going to show up Sunday prayerfully expecting God to do great things to glorify His name. I hope you’ll do the same.
  4. I love you guys! Who wouldn’t be excited about getting together with people they love and people that are working toward the same mission of Connecting Unbelievers to God and Believers to Each Other! God is so powerful through us when we are united around the Gospel!
  5. I can’t wait to worship God together! God truly does inhabit the praises of His people and I can’t wait to sing of His great work and character with several hundred people. (Assuming you guys come back this week!) There’s nothing like it! Heaven is going to be off the chain. (Ok, I don’t talk like that either. Do people still say that?)

Expecting GREAT things! HEART AND SOUL!

3 Things I Love About The 9 O’clock Service

Hey Connection!

It was so cool to kick off our 9 o’clock service this week. I just wanted to briefly share 3 things that I am loving about this new service.

1. The “Ground Floor” dynamic. I love to see things grow and to be a part of building things. That has been one of my favorite aspects of starting the church. I have the same feeling about the new service. It is exciting to be a part of all that God is going to do through it and to see Him grow it.

2. The excitement of our Connectors. One of the highlights for me on Sunday was seeing the excitement of our volunteers as they served at the services. There was a great feeling of anticipation that God is doing something great! I love to see people fired up about Jesus and His church! I love to see our Connectors loving Jesus and loving people.

3. The way people have stepped up and pulled together. I love it when the Body of Christ functions as the body. The beauty of God’s plan is that His Kingdom on flourishes when the Body functions the way it is designed to function. I’m telling you when we are united by the Holy Spirit around the Gospel of Jesus the church is an unstoppable force.

The Best Is Yet To Come!! Heart and Soul!

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