Do you get it?

This weekend the PARTY at Fellowship was awesome! The creative and praise teams did fantastic jobs. I want to give special thanks to Jonathan Ickles – even in your absence you led your teams well. Simeral – great job leading worship and stepping up to the challenge of the day. Todd and John – great job bringing energy, fun, and truth. Tracy Fetters – I don’t even know what to say, dude. Brandon Scott – the band was awesome. Jude McCoy – everything was perfect on screen. Shannon – for leading our greeters to get people prepped for the day. Jesus told us if we lift high his name on earth he will draw all men to himself. It takes hard work, creativity, and passion to lift high the name of Jesus on earth. We have to use everything we can here on earth to do that. And you did it. Thanks. Whether it was in a strobe light, a fog machine, a guitar, etc. it was all for his glory and truth. I can’t wait till next Sunday’s PARTY!

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this Sunday because we had so much family coming in that is not accustomed to being in a church like ours. I was afraid they would hate it, but they did not – I don’t think.

Wendy’s granny was there. She loved it. She said something to me that will always stick with me. Fellowship, I really want you to listen to the wisdom of the statement that this 80 plus year old lady told me about our out-of-the-box approach to last Sunday’s worship service.

She was talking to me about the service and how great it was and how much she loved the truth that I taught and all the work we put in to teaching that truth and then she dropped the wisdom bomb…

Do whatever it takes to get them. If you don’t get them, hell does!

Wow, she gets it. That is my new mantra for teaching connecting the lost to the love of Christ. Many of you stepped up to connect to go this week and invited people who need the love of Christ to the party last Sunday. Do it again this week. If we don’t get them, hell does. People need to get connected to the love of Christ. You are connected to the love of Christ so GO and connect.

Do you get it?

The Legacy I Leave

Well this morning God really showed me something cool in my personal Bible study time. I think it is connected to what is going on in my life right now. Just this weekend I have experienced some things that show me this truth in me and in someone else. So here it is.

Read 1 Chronicles 28:9-10. David is preparing for his death. He is officially handing the kingdom over to his son, Solomon. He speaks to the nation and then he addresses his son. The address to his son is powerful. You should read it. Dads, read it carefully. Then read it again. Let God speak to you.

This is what I see. “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father…” The whole quote is priceless, but this opening statement hit me. David stopped addressing the nation and addressed his son. He was king to all of the people, but he was father to Solomon. He had a legacy to leave to his nation but that legacy was not passed on to the people of the nation but to his son who would lead that nation.

He did not say Solomon one of my people. He did not say, Solomon one of my soldiers. He did not say, Solomon one of my advisors. He said Solomon my son. He knew who Solomon was and who he was to Solomon. David did not tell Solomon to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob either. He did not say follow the God of the tabernacle. He did not tell him to follow the God of his grandfather, mother, or brothers. He said follow the God for you FATHER!

Wow, what an incredible statement. The hope of that nation was the same as the hope of that son. The hope was in God and God alone. David was not passing down tradition or power or a throne. David was passing down faith. He said follow the God you have seen me follow. Learn from me. He knew the imperfections and sins of his life. He knew that Solomon was the son of a relationship that started in sin, but he was not a man leaving a legacy of adultery and murder, but of love for God.

Fathers, what are you passing down? The hope of your family is not in your bank account, nor your children’s sports abilities, nor your coaching prowess. The hope of your children is not in the God of Junior Church or children’s church, it is not in the God of Life Groups, or the God of Fellowship Church. Yes, God is the God of all those things, but the hope your children need is in the God of their father.

This Sunday I baptized my son, Daniel. That celebration of confession was not the conclusion of my spiritual leadership in his life, but the beginning of it. The God I know and love he needs to know and love and he needs to learn how to love and know him because he watches me love and know him. He and his sisters need to see it in Wendy and me every day. In the lives we live, the prayers we prayer, the truths we teach, the service we give, and the truth we tell to those who need to know Jesus.

With my family the day that Daniel was baptized was a family of faith. Wendy’s Granny, my parents, Wendy’s parents, Wendy’s aunt, my sister and her kids. Why? Because I am following the God of my father and mother. Wendy is following the God of her father and mother.

Maybe that is not your story or testimony, but it can be for your kids. Decide today to tell your kids to follow the God of their father. Then give them something to follow so you too can say, “Be strong and do it.”

Lesson 1 from the Party Life

# 1: A Wrong Party is No Party

I remember the first “wrong” party I ever went to. I was a seventh grader. There were lots of drunk people at the party. The friend I was with got drunk that night. Honestly I was horrified.
I had never felt so out of place. It was not a party for me. I was miserable. I had no fun. None at all. I hated every moment I was there.

It was not a party – at least not for me. I realized in that moment that I cared less about what those people thought was right than what I knew was right. I decided to walk down the street to a house where my sister was at a party with her friends.

She was great. They all were. Her and her friends invited me in till my mom and dad could show up. They were having a great time. They were dancing and talking and laughing, but they were not drinking. They did not need any outside chemical to have a good time. They were just partying.

That night I realized I wanted to be in that crowd instead of the one I was running in. I struggled with that through high school and college as the crowds around athletics is typically more the other style of party, but I realized what I liked in a party.

Here is the spiritual lesson. Party right because a wrong party is no party at all.

There is no party in conviction. There is no fun in feeling guilty over what is wrong. There is also no need to party wrong.

Celebrate the right things in life. I have learned to party over honor rolls and kids performances. I have also learned to celebrate God changing lives. I have learned to celebrate God’s work in my own life.

I am still learning to stop and celebrate what God does in me and at Fellowship, but I am learning to love it. It is those type celebrations that need no outside chemical to give them life. They are just great times.

Find people that party like that and party away. This Sunday morning we are kicking off a 2 week series called PARTY. It is all about what Heaven celebrates. Join us and celebrate with us. Come and be ready to party Fellowship style. It is going to be a little crazy and off the hook, but there will be no chemicals needed. We will practice the passage that teaches us to not get drunk on the fruit of the vine but be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now that’s a party. See you Sunday. (And bring someone with you.)

Partial Partier?

Do you ever partially party? You show up to a party. It is a great atmosphere and people are having a great time, but not really you. I mean you are there. You put on the party face at times. You even make it look legit for a few moments, but you are just not into it.

I have been known to party like that in my life. The odd thing is it has been at different types of parties at different stages in life. I remember going to some parties at one point in my life and feeling out of place because no one was drinking, but then at other times I went to parties and felt out of place because someone was drinking. Or sometimes you just weren’t into it. You were with a date that was just a one event type date and it was awkward. Or maybe you just thought the whole party and celebration was lame.

The truth is we can miss out on some great parties in life because we are just not into it. In the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin and the Lost Son, it says there is a party in heaven when a lost person is found. I wonder what a party in Heaven is like. I imagine it is one fine shindig.

The question for us is “do we party when Heaven does?” Do the things that cause parties in Heaven cause parties in our lives? Or are we so consumed with the peripherals that we miss out on the party?

When was the last time you missed out on celebrating something great because you wanted it to be even greater? (I know I have been guilty of that many times at Fellowship.)

When was the last time you missed out on the opportunity to party with some great people because you wanted to party with specific people only? (Some of you live constantly guilty of that one. Remember growing up people like that were called snobs.)

When was the last time you missed out on a party because it did not look like the party you would have planned for such an occasion? (You ever been to a redneck wedding?)

When was the last time you missed out on a party because you simply failed to value the magnitude of the occasion in life and failed to celebrate it?

Don’t fail to party in life. Party for the right reasons in the right ways at the right times. The truth is there are way more right reasons than we realize. There are way more right ways than we are willing to accept. And there are way more right times than we see. How about right now?

What could you celebrate in your life? Have a party. Invite God. Ask him to be the guest of honor. Invite everyone you know. And celebrate.

Watch for more lessons from the party life blogs and some challenges with the Party Series in the blog this week.

Influential Influence

We challenge the people of our church to live lives of influence right where God has put them. We each have circles of influence that God has given us. We have our families, our friends, our classmates, our coworkers, our teammates, our neighbors, etc. We all have lots of people that we have the opportunity to influence.

There are also many people who have the opportunity to influence us. We must choose to live our lives in such a way that we are influenced by the right people and the right things. I made a choice to go to a conference in Alpharetta, GA last week. It was at Northpoint Community Church pastured by Andy Stanley.

I was great influenced by what I heard and saw. Andy is a great pastor and leader. He is humble and teaches from his heart. His vision and passion is one I really relate to. His vision for Northpoint is so much like what my heart for Fellowship to become.

One of the things that really hit me was his teaching about how they reach new people. The church never advertises. Its advertisement is its people. If you have been around Fellowship for a while you might know that I relate to that concept. I want to see our church reach more people through the lives of the individuals that make up the church.

I was influenced by him during those few days. One thing that influenced me was their way of teaching people to be an influence. I loved it. It is simple and it is straightforward. So here it is… Invest and Invite.

I think I will use that as my new definition of influence.

Invest in the lives of others. Influence them for Jesus by investing in their life. Investment requires just that – an investment. Investments take time, resources, money, and concern. Go and invest in someone today that needs to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Invite them.

#1. Invite them to Jesus. Invite them to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
#2. Invite them to church this Sunday.

The numbers are just to let you know there are 2 invites, you can use whatever order the Spirit leads you to, but why not start with just asking them to come church this Sunday. It is a simple step towards Christ.

So to influence people we invest and invite. I have been influenced and I am trying to influence. Just today I invited someone I have been investing in for two years. They have not come yet, but they will. When they get there they will find a church that is excited and fired up and being changed.

So, Fellowshippers, I challenge you to invest and invite this week. May 24 and 31 are going to be Sunday you really, really, really don’t want to miss and that you really, really, really want to bring someone who need Jesus to.