May 14, 2018
I want to say thanks to my wife Sandra, and to Susie Chambliss and Cynthia Whatley, for their help in getting the goodies ready. Also, thank you to Jerri Minor for her beautiful arrangements and personal roses honoring our ladies. It was a very special day celebrating God's special gift of you to our faith family. Men, your day is soon coming…… June 17TH.. don’t miss it!
3 CirclesThis Sunday is our 3 Circles training on how to have a gospel conversation with others. This is a great tool to add to what you already do in sharing your story of redemption. We will meet at 5:00 and be done at 6:15! Let Matthew know if you need childcare. I encourage you to watch the 3 Circles presentation and download the app to your smart phone to get familiar with it before Sunday.
The Importance Of givingWe are coming upon summer and vacations, travel ball, lake days/weekends etc. Please be mindful to be faithful in your tithes. We spend much of our student and children’s budget during these three months with VBS, sudent camps and other mission endeavors. If you do travel, please use our online giving portal on the website. Thank you for being faithful to Kingdom work. I like what Art Rainer says, ”Giving to your church is more than transferring money from one bank account to the next. It is an act of war against the world's darkness”.
I love you church,
The Next Generation
April 30, 2018
This past Sunday night was a lot of fun as I had a small part in the Worship Arts for Kids Spring Musical, “I AM”. It was songs and dialogue about God’s attributes and character based on the names of God in Scripture. It was great to hear children voice from memory God’s word. My prayer is that it will be hidden in their hearts to continue to draw strength and encouragement as they can continue to mature.
Faith family, moving forward, this will be what matters: advancing the gospel and God’s glory in the next generation. It must be the priority as we look at the next phase of our church history. One pastor said, “Whoever wants the next generation the most, will get them”. Let me personalize and sharpen that a little… “whoever wants the next generation from Liberty Park and the Cotswolds the most, will get them”. While I was at the NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD we had a saying that permeated all that we did - “Whatever it takes”. That must be our theme moving forward in all that we do. Time is short, eternity is at stake, families are struggling to find answers and hope. Let us be the ones to bring that hope, and do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. More to come on this...
Churchwide Picnic - this Sunday!
I look forward to BBQ and the great fellowship as a faith family as we share a meal, hear children laugh, and celebrate our common bond in Jesus. I want to encourage our deacons to contact your families and connect with them at the picnic. The church will provide everything. Reservations are not necessary - just follow the crowd, right after the 10:30am worship service.
Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13
I love you, church!
3 CirclesWe will have our training for 3 Circles on May 20th. 3 Circles will teach us how to use our own story and relationally share our faith in Christ. God has really used this tool to bring people to Christ. Remember, this is an all-in call of Jesus to share the Gospel. We will start at 5:00 and be done by 6:15. We will feed you and provide childcare. I hope to see you there.
Church PicnicMay 6th is the day! There is no better time to invite someone to church than when we have a fellowship like this. Celebrating the community within the church and inviting those who need the community of Jesus. So.. don’t miss it! Deacons, I encourage you to contact your families and celebrate that fellowship together at the picnic. You don't need to bring a thing - the church is providing all the food and beverages!
Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13Sandra and I love to celebrate not just Mothers on this Day, but every lady, from the youngest to the oldest. We will have a special table of delicious goodies for all of our ladies and look forward to personally greeting you. You will not want to miss this! We love you ladies!
Easter Offering 2018We are soooo close to reaching our goal of $20,000. Let's do it this Sunday! Remember, not a penny goes to overhead; it all goes directly to the missionaries.
May this Sunday find us faithful,
April 9, 2018
Yesterday was a great day as we began the book of Jonah. We saw not only Jonah’s rebellion but a gracious God - a God who goes after those who are ignorant of His grace, i.e., the sailors who were on the boat, and those who have forgotten His grace - Jonah. All this and we haven’t even talked about the fish! The story is not about the fish, but about a great God! We will pick up in Chapter 2 this week. I encourage you to read it and pull out some principles that jump off the page to you.
April 2, 2018
To all the volunteers that made for a smooth Easter weekend, your service did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. So thankful for you!
JonahIt will be good to settle into a book of the Bible to continue to see God’s heart and Jesus in the Old Testament. Remember, Jesus is the Hero in the story of redemption. I encourage you to read the book of Jonah this week and begin to put yourself in the story because our story is there as well. I can’t wait to dig in to see what God has for us!
Multiply 11As you remember from the Vision Sermon on March 4th, I challenged us to meet our budget in 11 months, by November 30th. The purpose is to celebrate an extra blessing to missions locally and globally. To send more out than we keep. Moving forward, we have the potential to be the most generous church to the kingdom. Please do as Sandra and I will do. Put your giving on a “catch up” schedule to meet this goal. We started the Vision two months into the year so let us prove God’s faithfulness in our lives. I promise you will never miss it, never think twice about it. When the Kingdom is the priority in your life, everything else takes care of itself. He is faithful. Let us be faithful.
March 26, 2018
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25-26
See you Sunday!
March 15, 2018
- Pray - Pray that God would prepare our hearts to glorify Him and to receive His message this Easter. Pray that those who need to hear Gospel will be drawn to come to one of our services. And ask God to show you who you can invite to come this Easter.
- Invite - Invite at least one person to worship with us this Easter. Who should you invite? Feel free to invite anyone, but pay special attention to those who are not currently in church, whose lives are not going well, or who are not prepared for what they are facing in life. Invitation cards are available at the church for you to take and use in inviting those to whom God leads you.
- Come to the 9 - If possible, please make plans to attend the 9:00am worship service on Easter Sunday. Many of our guests will choose to attend the 10:30am service. By coming to the 9:00am worship service, you will help us to create space for our guests.
- Sign up to Serve - Two worship services means that we will need twice as many volunteers. We are actively working to recruit volunteers to serve in our Preschool/Children's environments and to serve with our Welcome Team as greeters, ushers, in the parking lot and in the coffee bar. If you have not yet been contacted and would like to sign up to serve in one of these areas, please contact me at 205.969.1236 and I will be glad to connect you with a service opportunity.
The Road To hope
I always look forward to March. It is a time of renewal in the sense that those things that were dormant come alive again. Grass is starting to green up. Lillies and other flowers are starting to bloom…( I will not talk about the pollen that comes with it. I feel your pain. ) The point is while so much is visibly coming to life all around us, hope lies dormant in the lives of those around us. We are four weeks out from Easter and I want you to begin thinking about those in your lane of influence who need life that only Christ can give. Beginning this Sunday, we will have invite cards for you to personally give to those you know need hope. We will be having worship gatherings at 9:00am and 10:30am. Nate will be communicating opportunities for you to worship one hour and serve the other. It’s our biggest day of the year to connect with our community and we need volunteers in all areas. This Sunday we will begin a series of messages called The Road to Hope to prepare us as we celebrate what Paul said “is of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Faith family, the best days are ahead of us. The times are urgent and we must be faithful.
For His Glory,
February 26, 2018
Ninety days into our ministry together and the day has come to share a vision to move forward in 2018. I have met with and had coffee, breakfast and dinner with a lot of folks in our faith family. I WANT TO GIVE PUBLIC PRAISE TO SANDRA FOR ALL HER EFFORTS WITH ME. SHE IS SO KEY TO ALL THAT I DO. Several months ago I read a prayer that caught my attention because of the title:
"Disturb Us, Lord"
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
That’s praying dangerously... but I love it. Lord, do not let us settle. Always disturb us so that we don’t get complacent. Help us to dream boldly so that we attempt something beyond ourselves, that we may celebrate what you have done through you’re people. With that being said, I look forward to sharing with you some practical things, bold things, and boldest things. I hope Sunday changes and challenges us to be all God has called and wants us to be.
February 19, 2018
This past Sunday was the most encouraging since I started almost 90 days ago. To speak on Matthew 6:19-24 is as one member put it “pretty brave” within the first 11 weeks of becoming pastor. I replied “if Jesus says it’s important, the church should know it’s important”.
I encourage all who read this blog to listen to the message if you were not here this past Sunday. If you do not have the time, let me remind all of us of the “Cliffs Notes” version; Jesus tells us there is only one safe place to invest - The Kingdom of God. Most people see no further than the horizons of this world. To correct our shortsightedness, God prescribes a vision correction to see through the lens of eternity. “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven” Jesus says. When you sit down with your financial planner he advises not to think five years ahead but think 30 years down the road. Jesus, the greatest financial adviser says “think in longer terms than that… think eternity.”
In the following passage, Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus links generosity with not worrying. Generous people are not anxious people. Why? Because they know they can never out give God.
Thank you Church. The best is yet to come.
just a vapor
February 12, 2018
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away.” ( James 4:14)
Bill Stegall, one of my mentors, once told me, “Life is short, eternity is long. Live like it”.
Time is precious and we are fragile. Every moment counts. “Teach me to number my days...” Psalm 90:12 says. That simply means consider them and appreciate them. Consider how a day is spent, not wasting a moment but as Ephesians 5:16 says “Redeem the time”….. spend it wisely. On things that matter.
All flesh is like grass and its glory like the flower of grass. “The grass withers and the flower fades but the word of our God abides forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25). Spend your life on things that last. That are eternal. The word of God and the Souls of men.
That’s it. Surely God means for our minutes and days on earth to count for something significant. The Apostle Paul said “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Philippians 2:16)
As I was writing these words early on Monday, I received a call saying that Jean Simmons had passed away. Ninety years, just a vapor. Life is short, eternity long…..She lived like it. I have known the Simmons family for decades and what a blessing they have been to my family. Jean’s faithfulness, forthrightness, investment for generations and impact on God’s church will only be known in eternity. Today she worships, more alive than she has ever been. Her faith has become sight. Hallelujah. Pray for the Simmons family as they adjust to life without this precious saint.
february 5, 2018
As I write these words the staff and I are leaving for a retreat at a member's lake home. We will plan the rest of the year, fill the church calendar and I will drill down into a vision, the moving forward for our church. It’s a vision about ultimate things. I will share this vision on Sunday March 4th. It will be about ultimate things, not just good things.
Can I ask you to pray for me? To walk with me as we press forward? I am excited about the things God is stirring in my heart. I don’t want it just to be a “pastoral vision." I truly want it to be a vision we all own. I am excited about the future, what God is going to do in and through his church at Liberty Park.
I love you, church!
THE GREAT DEMAND
This past Sunday was a great day as we concluded our Missional Mandate Sermon Series. The highlight was coming to the Lord’s table to celebrate our personal identity with Him. As the cup was being passed, I was reflecting on the sufficiency of Christ, that He is truly all I need.
The Gospel…His death, burial and resurrection is what should permeate every area of my life, my marriage, parenting, work and leisure. A gospel-centered life is an impactful life. So… back to the cup being passed.
As I was thinking of my Savior’s shed blood for my sin, I was overwhelmed with the realization that He gave everything. He held back nothing of Himself that day. That’s what the love of the Father does…..He loves unconditionally.
Then I heard the piano playing a hymn that we all love.. one that I know every verse! I began to sing the words in my heart ... “when I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died”… I worked my way through the verses then it hit me like a ton of bricks… the song extolling the love of God towards me in the first verses now demands of me in the last verse ... “Love so amazing so divine, DEMANDS MY SOUL MY LIFE MY ALL.” The great demand! Total abandonment.
How is this demand being fleshed out in your life daily? “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”. (Matthew 16:24).. that is a bad word in our society… DENY.. then add..YOURSELF! That’s not the American dream. “Fulfill yourself” is the dream in our culture.
I will end with lyrics from another well known hymn. “All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all.. I surrender all.. all to Jesus my blessed Savior, I surrender all”. Does that reflect your life? A surrendered church, surrendered lives.. that is the great demand upon us all. As you start each day will you simply say to your Heavenly Father.. “I surrender” That is the only life he can use. A surrendered life.
I love you, church -
January 22, 2018
We live in an amazing time of our world. We can almost instantly connect with people anywhere at any time. The technology that the world is creating is incredible. I recently read about a company in Japan that has created robots that you can assemble as kind of engineering toys. Mechanical people! With mechanically engineered emotions, language, response and movements. They all sound alike, walk alike and talk alike…. How cool but how boring!
That is great technology with little creativity. I am so thankful that God did not create us that way... making us look, talk, and all have the same emotions.
That’s what the church is. A community of blood bought individuals doing life together. We are not robots but uniquely created for the purpose of Glorifying his name. We do that by the varying
Again, that’s what the church is. A community of blood bought individuals doing life together. Not perfect, but encouraging each other along the journey. What better way to truly experience “community” than to come to the Lord’s table together this Sunday!
January 15, 2018
Our mid-week family nights began again this past Wednesday. Our adult study is concentrated on the discipline of prayer. Just to give a snapshot of what we talked about this past week, we looked at the legacy of prayer. Examples of Abraham, Hannah, Jeremiah and David in the Psalms. Real feelings, real emotions real words. Some of the prayers these real people in scripture prayed were as simple as HELP! Nothing theologically mind blowing… just an honest cry to our Heavenly Father to intervene.
A hymn we all sing from time to time says, “Oh what PEACE we often forfeit, Oh, what needless PAIN we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” He is our Father,
He loves us. May we be like Moses, in Exodus 33:11, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” I pray for that type of intimacy with my Heavenly Father.
Church Family, I’m praying that we all grow deeply, practicing the presence of God through this awesome gift of Prayer.
Come join us on Wednesday!
Mission and Values
JANUARY 9, 2018
January 2, 2018
This Sunday we will begin a series on our Missional Mandate “Identity”. I will simply take our Mandate and Values and biblically walk through them over the coming weeks. The Mandate and Values were formed out of the Study conducted by a special church needs task force made up from members of our church and the staff. Auxano, a team from Lifeway, led the church through the process.
What are our Values?
Speaking His Truth - teaching biblical truth, equipping for life
December 27, 2017
A Baby is Born
December 18, 2017
A Savior is Born
Could you imagine that night? A stable, animals around, the stench in the air? I don’t think this is how Mary envisioned the birth of her child, but this is exactly how God envisioned it. A humble birth, announced to shepherds first, and not to the palace that was just a few miles away. Luke 2 says that once the shepherds told Mary the news concerning the angels' proclamation, she kept it and pondered it in her heart. The child she was holding was God with a heartbeat and kidneys! Immanuel, God with us. A child that would not only change Mary and Joseph’s priorities, schedules and conversation but those of the entire world! This child was simply born to die. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) He experienced the wages of sin… DEATH. The payment, the debt…. Personalize it…MY debt. YOUR debt. He became MY sin on the cross! As we prepare to come to God’s table this Sunday, reflect this week on this indescribable gift to you! Celebrate the gift of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE this child, this SAVIOR, THIS KING brings and offers to a broken world needing not some good advice, not three ways to have a happy day, but a SAVIOR. “And you shall call His name Jesus, For He will save His people from their sins.”
Merry Christmas, Church Family! I love you!
December 11, 2017
It's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere I go! Stores are saturating us with the news of BIG SALES. Some stores have dancing guys, twirling signs, wearing costumes that look like Santa and there was a dancing gorilla on 280 pointing the way to the store that hired him. They constantly are competing for our attention. The signs said “50% off til Christmas.” Some stores were touting the “cheapest gifts” in town! Hey guys buy your wife a gift and tell her…. “Yeah it was cheap, that’s why I bought this for you!” Enjoy the couch! We can’t get by with…. “Well it was the thought that counts right?”
December 4, 2017
May this week bring you great joy as you personally worship and be reminded that God Himself, put on our flesh to be our substitute and pay the price for the gift we could never purchase… SALVATION. That’s why Heaven and Nature Sings!!
The Light That Leads Us Home
November 28, 2017