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!

Something to Celebrate

Hey Connection!

We REALLY need to celebrate the fact that we were able to baptize 38 people this past Sunday!! That still gets me pumped up thinking about it! The best part is that those 38 individuals made a decision to follow Christ and decided to shout it from the rooftop by being baptized. Remember every number represents a person with a soul that matters to God! I never want us to be enamored by numbers rather than Jesus and what He is doing in our midst. Here are some things we need to remember as we grow as a church:

1. Jesus loves the lost. Read Luke 15 and it’s easy to see the heart of God for those who are separated from Him.

2. We can’t change anyone’s heart. People’s hearts change when the Spirit of God takes them from death to life and are given a new heart.

3. As we grow closer to Jesus we’ll be more desperate for others to know Him. Numbers can excite us and even make us more passionate, but a desire for others to know Christ is only sustained through our own relationship with Jesus. The truth is that you cannot love Jesus more and love others less.

4. God wants the church to grow more than we do. God’s desire is that people would come to know Him, grow up in Him, and glorify Him. We don’t have to force it. We just have to be obedient. Obedience happens when we listen to God and do what He says.

5. We have our own identity. God has given us a specific vision that is not to be compromised. I think of it as in terms of a railway. We must realize that God is putting down the “tracks” we are running on in order to reach His destination for us. In church leadership it is tempting to jump on the tracks someone else is running or has already run because it is easier and many times faster. The problem is that you end up in their destination, not your own. We MUST stay true to the vision God has given us.

I truly believe our best days as a church are ahead of us. There is so much more that God wants to do in us and through us!

Heart and Soul!

P.S. – You DO NOT want to miss this Sunday!

When and Why Should I Be Baptized?

Hey Church!

With the baptisms coming up this Sunday I wanted to repost this blog about baptism. If you are unsure of whether or not you should be baptized I hope this will be helpful.

Here are three thoughts about when and why you should be baptized.

1.  Because Jesus said soJesus 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 decisionBaptism comes after YOU make a choice to follow Christ. This is your decision not the decision of your parents or in order to attain church membership. It is your statement that your life has been set apart and wholly devoted to Jesus. It is saying that Jesus has taken MY sins away (the cleansing water) and that I 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 waters don’t 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 was kinda 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 in 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 result of your FAITH in 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. Click here to Sign-up!

It’s going to be a great day!  Heart and Soul!

Some Things We Need To Celebrate

Hey Connection!

Today I wanted to give you 4 things that we REALLY need to be celebrating.

1. There were 5 more Connect Group Sign-ups this week. I get so excited when I see people doing life together. I know from God’s Word and from my own life experience that real life change happens when we do life together.

2. 10 people signed up to be Connectors (That’s what we call our volunteers). I want to tell you again that if you are a follower of Christ YOU are gifted and empowered to change the world for the glory of God. Don’t waste your gift!

3. We are going to baptize people next week (February 24th)! I LOVE it when we do baptisms and we get to celebrate people who are publicly professing faith in Christ. The baptisms (along with a bunch of food) will be at Splash in the Boro immediately after the service. If you are a believer in Christ and have not been baptized as a believer in Christ your next step IS baptism. Sign up by shooting us an email at info@connection-church.com.

4. We had 1 salvation this week. I saved this one until last because I want to emphasize that 1 person went from death to life this week. I think our tendency is to get caught up in how large the number is rather than how large in significance a life altered for eternity is! Let it sink in for a minute…someone’s eternity was altered. Eternity is a long time! We need to CELEBRATE that. The Bible says that Heaven throws a party when one person turns to God! We should too! WOOHOO! I Love It!

Let’s rejoice in all that God is doing! DO NOT let preoccupation with the future rob you of rejoicing in what God is doing today!

I love you guys! I love our church!

Heart and Soul!

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