Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Thom Rainer is the President of Lifeway Christian Resources. He has a heart for the local church and I have enjoyed many of his blog posts. Recently he posted this list of Eight Things I’m Praying Will Happen in Churches in 2015. I’m joining him in his prayers for the church:

1. For greater emphasis on prayer. Many, if not most, churches have a woeful emphasis on corporate prayer. Churches who do not give prayer a high priority are churches without God’s power.

2. For standing firm on biblical truth. Culture is trying to push our congregations away from the truths of Scripture. We cannot yield to that pressure. If we do, our congregations cease to be true, biblical churches.

3.For greater unity in our churches. There is too much infighting in many of our congregations. And there is too much disunity from church to church. The world is watching our fights. “Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us” (1 John 3:23).

4. For greater intentionality in evangelism. The typical church in America is doing very little to share the gospel of Christ boldly and intentionally. May we be so grateful for what Christ has done for us that “we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

5. For greater emphasis on groups. Churches should grow larger by growing smaller. A church member not in a small group or Sunday school class is not fully committed to the body.

6. For membership to be more meaningful. For many churches, membership has become nearly meaningless. For others, membership is a perceived entitlement, much like country club membership. I pray that membership in our congregations will become truly biblical as Paul demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 12.

7. For clear plans of discipleship. Too many congregations cannot clearly articulate how members can become more obedient followers of Christ. This issue was the thesis of my book with Eric Geiger, Simple Church.

8. For more ministry involvement and impact in our communities. I pray that our churches will become known by the positive impact they have in their respective communities. As we obey Acts 1:8, we must first be obedient to our own Jerusalem.

Will you join in praying for your church?

 

Posted by & filed under Financial Issues.

The end of the year is drawing near and for the past several weeks our Stewardship Team has been gathering information, crunching numbers and working very hard to put together a budget proposal for our church for the coming year.

It is one of the more difficult tasks that must be done for the church to fulfill our ministry. I always tell our Stewardship Team that they have a difficult line to walk; they have to find balance between leading us to be good stewards of the resources God has blessed us with, and leading us to live by faith, believing that God will provide the resources for us to do the ministry He has called us to do (where God guides, God provides). And once again our team has done an outstanding job of putting together a budget that is both responsible and reflects the faith that God will provide our resources to minister to our church, community and world.

This past Sunday the team handout a budget proposal for the coming year. Last night we met as a family to discuss the proposal and clarify a few items and answer any questions that folks may have. It was a wonderful meeting and I want to thank Christina O’Brien, our Stewardship Team leader, for her leadership in this process. And “thank you’s” to team members Tony Hickle, Barbara Bull, Mark Self, Tracey Kinsler, and Chris Adams for their hard work and dedication in serving on the team. And I want to thank our Treasurer Mike Heffner for the  hours he puts in keeping our books balanced and paying our bills. We are blessed with wonderful servant-leaders in the area of finances for our church.

And thank you for your faithful obedience to tithe and be cheerful givers to the work of the Lord. The year isn’t over yet, and all the numbers aren’t final, but God has blessed us with the financial resources we’ve needed to do all that He has called us to do. We’ve been able to be witnesses for Christ at home and abroad, we’ve purchased and used resources to help us make disciples in all age groups, we’ve helped families in need pay utility bills, buy fuel, and provided food and clothing for those in need. We’ve paid our bills and have given more than 10% of our tithes and offerings to the work of missions in our community and throughout the world. For a church our size, we’ve had a significant impact for the kingdom work of God in the world. And for all that God has provided, we are thankful!!!!

This coming Sunday, the final proposed 2015 Budget will be presented at the end of the worship service, and you will have the opportunity to affirm the work of our Stewardship Team, our church and the blessings of God. Some people may see the “vote” as a mere formality, but for me it is a way to affirm God’s goodness to us, and our faith in the continued blessings of God. And it is a commitment to continue to support through tithes and offerings, the work that God is doing through our church. Though I won’t be present this Sunday, my vote is a resounding “YES” for all that God has done, and all that God is going to do. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” (I’ll let you finish singing the rest of it).

Blessings,

George

Posted by & filed under Christmas.

It has been a busy but wonderful couple of weeks of ministry. God has brought a number of families to our church and has given us the opportunity to minister in His name. In the last couple of weeks we have helped pay electric bills, purchased gas and groceries and have begun to help needy families prepare for Christmas.

We minister to those in need all through the year, and I don’t normally share the stories, but one story really touched my heart. It actually begins in back in July. During our Fireworks Fundraiser, a man and woman and three kids stopped by our tent; they said they stopped because of the enthusiastic person who was out by the road advertising our fireworks sale. I had an opportunity to talk to the man of the family and he shared that he had just recently overcome a 10 year drug addiction. He told me he was trying to start over with his life but was having trouble overcoming some of the problems his drug addiction had created. We prayed together and I invited him and his family to church. He was apprehensive because he was afraid of being judged by others, but I assured them they would be welcome at Magna View.

A few weeks ago he and his family finally visited us. It was the Sunday I was away on vacation so I didn’t get his Connection Card till a week later. I called to thank them for visiting and he shared with me how bad things had gotten for them. He had been out of work for several months. He had just found a job and started work the day after Thanksgiving, but they had gone a couple of weeks only eating one meal a day to stretch things out, and they had no food left in the house. I was able to get groceries and take to the home; the small house had only a couch and a small TV in the living room, and no furniture in the kitchen. Blankets were hung in doorways to separate the rooms. There were only a few small toys for the young kids.

I got the clothing sizes for the kids and found out what kind of toys they liked. I shared the story with my Sunday School class on Sunday and asked if anyone would like to help, the response was immediate and these kids are going to have a nice Christmas this year.

I tell you this to say how thankful I am to be a part of such a generous and caring church. Because you give your tithes to the church, we have the resources to help families who are in crisis. And because you are willing to give above your tithes when there is a need, we are able to share the love of Christ and bring joy to those who are going through difficult times. This is only one of several stories, and this only one of a few families we are helping this holiday season. Thank you for making that possible by being a caring and giving church.

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Urban partnership


Mike and Heather McAfee are church planters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. They use storying to share the Gospel in Abidjan’s neighborhoods, particularly with Muslims. They want local churches and U.S. churches partnering to plant a Baptist church in every neighborhood. Check out their video story here and then pray for the McAffees as they tell the story of Jesus to the people of Abidjan and for US churches partnering in this task.

IMB 3a

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

It is great to be home! Cecelia and I enjoyed our anniversary cruise and had a wonderful time away, but I am thankful to be home. As we were driving in from Nashville last night, Dorthy’s line from the Wizard of Oz kept playing through my head, “There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home…” While we were away we met some wonderful people, made some new friends, and saw more of God’s beautiful creation, but there is nothing like being home with family, seeing the beauty of East Tennessee and sleeping in my own bed! Yes, there is no place like home!

Thank you again for your generosity that made our trip much easier and nicer. And thank you to those who stepped up to lead while we were away. I’m looking forward to being back with you, our family of faith, on Sunday and wrapping up our sermon series on praise. this coming Sunday, Lord willing, we will talk about the Power of Praise and look at a passage in Acts 16.

I’m also looking forward to our time of fellowship and celebration on Sunday night as we enjoy our annual Thanksgiving Supper together. We will have a covered-dish meal, take some time to count our many blessings, and celebrate God’s goodness toward us this Sunday evening at 6pm. Can’t wait to celebrate Thanksgiving with you!

Speaking of home, last week one of God’s great men went home to be with the Lord. Tennessee Baptist pastor David Landrith, of Longhollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN passed away. Over the last 16 years, God used David to grow His kingdom and Longhollow BC from a couple of hundred people to a church of more than 12,000. In early 2013 doctors diagnosed David with a rare form of cancer, and last week David finished the race, won the fight and went home to be with the Lord. Though I didn’t know David personally, I have followed his ministry over the years and have gleaned great wisdom from him and his work. Though I am sad to see his earthly life come to an end, and I have been praying for his family, I rejoice in the victory He has experienced in Christ as his faith has become sight.

Below is a video interview with David made earlier this year by Pete Wilson, pastor of Crosspointe Church in Nashville. I hope you will take thirty minutes to watch; you will be greatly blessed and encouraged by what David shares. God bless you and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Church.

Four reasons from this weekend why I love my family of faith at Magna View: 

1. Once again you have blessed and overwhelmed us with your generosity and thoughtfulness. Next month Cecelia and I will celebrate thirty years of marriage by going on a cruise (without children!!!!). Your generous Pastor Appreciation gift will make our trip much better! Thank you for being generous people who love with open hands, and blessing us with your love and grace.

2. On top of your generosity to us, you are also blessing people all over the world who have little or no access to clean water. Our Mission Friends group, under Barbara and Karen’s leadership, challenged the church to collect loose change and give to a WMU project called Pure Water Pure Love, that enables missionaries to purchase water filters for families and communities living in areas where there is little or no access to clean water (you can learn more about the project here). You generously gave $646.63. Wow! That is awesome church! Your giving will impact many lives.

3. I’m thankful to be in a church where  people of all ages can use their gifts for God’s glory. I’m proud of my daughter Lydia and her leadership of the praise team and the music in the worship service while Brittany was away. And I’m grateful to Brittany for developing the praise team and mentoring Lydia and giving her the opportunity to serve. I was also blessed by the ladies who have played the offertories the past two weeks, Barbara Corbett a week ago and Amaris Rice this past Sunday. This is what church should look like, young and …not so young using their gifts and abilities for the glory of the Lord.

4. Finally, we’ve had a family visiting our church over the past several weeks. I’ve talked with the family, learning their story. The wife in the family has been involved in church most of her life, but the husband hasn’t been in church since he was a small child. This past weekend, the husband came by himself, his wife and kids were out of town. As he was leaving the service he told me how much he enjoyed the service, and is enjoying the church. And then he told me that Sunday was the first time he had attended a church service by himself in his life. He felt comfortable coming to Magna View by himself. That’s an awesome testimony of your warmth and the way you make guests feel welcome in our services.

Thank You Magna View – you’re an awesome church! I love my church!

Posted by & filed under Prayer Revival.

 

Dr. George Sweeting is a former president and chancellor of the Moody Bible Institute. He has served as a pastor in several churches, and has written numerous books, In His book Who Said That? Dr. Sweeting offers “Seven Steps to Revival.”

(1) Develop the desire to know Jesus better.Develop a holy dissatisfaction. The contented Christian is the sterile Christian. Paul said in substance, Jesus arrested me on the Damascus road. Now I want to lay hold of all that for which I was arrested by God.” Be thoroughly dissatisfied with your spiritual posture.

(2) Pray for a revolutionary change in your life.I think of Jacob wrestling with God. He wanted blessing. He wouldn’t be denied. Throw your entire life into the will of God. Seek God’s very best.

(3) Do what you know to do.If we pray for revival and neglect [personal] prayer, that’s hypocrisy. To pray for growth and neglect the local church is foolishness. To pray that you’ll mature and neglect the Word of God is incongruous. Put yourself in the way of blessing.

(4) Totally Repent. Create in me a clean heart!” David sobbed. For a whole year David was out of fellowship. But he confessed his sin; he turned from that sin, and then he could sing again; he could write again; he could pray again.

(5) Make the crooked straight.If you owe a debt, pay it. Or have an understanding with the people you owe. Zacchaeus said, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and f I have taken anything from and man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8). As much as possible, make the crooked straight.

(6) Develop a seriousness of purpose.Keep off the detours. Let nothing deflect that magnetic needle of your calling. If there is anything that is a Trojan horse in our day, it is the television set. Beware lest it rob you of your passion and your purpose.

(7) Major in majors.The Christian life requires specialists. Jesus said in effect, “Be a one-eyed man” (cf. Luke 11:34-36). Paul said, “This one thing I do.” Too many of us burn up too much energy without engaging in things that bring us nearer to God.

Refuse to rust out. Start sharing your faith. Make yourself available. Back your decision with your time and talent and dollars. Finally, ask God for great faith in Him. Begin to expect great things.

 

Posted by & filed under Prayer Revival.

Then if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

 

D.L. Moody was the Billy Graham of the 1800’s. Through his ministry he saw thousands saved by the Lord. He was also a part of the a great spiritual awakening and revival among the churches of this land. Below is a portion of an article he wrote about the essential-ness of prayer for revival.

 

“…If we want a revival in our churches, we must pray for it. It isn’t great preaching that we want, brethren, so much as it is great praying. The work is the Lord’s, not man’s; and if Gabriel were to preach to a church six months, not a soul would be revived, not a sinner would be converted, without the Holy Spirit. All our quickening must come from His blessed presence and power. And the earnest, importunate prayer of one person, one poor humble brother or sister who will not let God go without an answer, may call down the blessing.

One of the first series of meetings I ever attended was started by a poor, sick man, who, lying flat on his back, became so exercised over the condition of the church that he could not rest. The church was dead, and the young folks around all unsaved. He sent for the brethren of the church, and entreated them to pray for a revival. But they were too cold, and too much wrapped up in the world. Then he sent for the sisters, and begged them to pray, and at last a few of them did so. The Lord revived their hearts. Others were added to them, and when I came they had been before God many days entreating for a blessing.

The first night I preached, all was cold. It seemed like beating the air. But that night at midnight the son of one of the elders came down to his father’s room, crying out, “Father, pray for my lost soul.” The Lord came suddenly to his Temple, and we had a great blessing. Now, is there any one so weak or humble that he or she can’t do as much as that sick man did? You can pray yourself, and perhaps you can get some one else to unite with you in prayer, and the Lord will add to your numbers, and your own souls will be revived. And once let the church be set on fire of God, and there will be no trouble about the unconverted. Red hot coals will kindle a fire wherever they fall…

Brethren, we have this matter of a revival very largely in our own hands. God is ready—are we?Do we really want a revival more than anything else in the world? Are we praying for it? Are we determined to pray for it until it comes! Are we living such lives that God can hear us? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Are we saying “Come,” as well as praying it? The Lord help us all to prepare the way of the Lord, that He may come among us in power.”— D. L. Moody, S. S. Times.

 

Will we pray church?

 

My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:15 (NLT)

Posted by & filed under Financial Issues.

Borrowing from a blog post by pastor Perry Noble (read his original post and other things he writes [good stuff] here), I want to offer 7 reasons you need to do Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

#1 – You’re living paycheck to paycheck and have no plan to change that.

#2 – You’ve had at least one argument in your marriage about money.

#3 – You have legitimate stress in your life because of money.

#4 – You are in debt and would love to get out!

#5 – You are one crisis away from being in serious financial trouble.

#6 – You’ll never be able to retire because you haven’t prepared for it.

#7 – You would love to use more of your resources for Kingdom work.

If you’re saying “yes” to any of the above reasons, you need to make the commitment to be in FPU. Class starts this Wednesday at 6 pm at Magna View. Click here to register for the class.

“Financial freedom isn’t a pipedream… it’s possible!!!” Perry Noble