I hope that you had a great weekend and I pray that you encountered God yesterday in our services.

I look forward to seeing you Wednesday night for our fellowship dinner at 6:00 pm and our Quaterly Church Conference at 7:00 pm

 An important item on the agenda for conference this week is that we will be voting on a new Deacon. Michael Crager will be presented by the Chairman of the Deacons as a candidate to become our next deacon.

 We have met with Michael and believe that it is God’s will for him to serve Pine Street in this ministry. I encourage you to come Wednesday night and elect Michael as our new deacon.

 Also, next Sunday, after our morning worship, the men will be providing lunch for all the ladies of our Church. Ladies, this is not a test. It is true!!

That’s all for now… stay tuned..

I’M BACK!!!!! 

Just read this and I thought some of you might be interested.

 This is a great post by J.D. Greer about a meeting he had with Erwin McManus.

Whatever it takes: Erwin McManus

Got to spend about 6 hours today with one of the most innovative, creative thinkers in church–Erwin McManus. Erwin is pastor of a 3500-member church, called Mosaic, in dowtown LA. He and I were both speaking at the North Carolina Baptist State Evangelism Conference.

I have met few people that are as focused on doing whatever it takes to reach people as Erwin is. He gave a great talk from Acts 17, and then we got to talk in a small group of pastors, and then a few of us at the Cheesecake Factory… Here’s a little list of things I gleaned from him today:

  • Churches fight over going from organ to guitars; then from guitars to keyboards; then from keyboards back to organs because retro is back in… in the end, it is never about the music style, but about whether or not the church is focused on entertaining and placating Christians or reaching its culture.
  • The real reason we don’t win the culture is that we’re not distressed (like Paul was) that the city is full of idols. We’re angry about it, but not distressed. We question the motives of those who are going into the culture simply because we don’t have motives as strong as theirs.
  • Mosaic does not have the name “church” in its title. It’s not that they are ashamed of being a church; they are ashamed that people would have to be told it is a church. They should just know. I don’t introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Erwin, the human.” Human is obvious and needs no title.
  • Jesus’ first followers did not call themselves Christians; outsiders did. They simply followed Jesus and the world called them Christians; now we call ourselves Christians and the world calls us hypocrites.
  • Take almost any dying church, and you’ll hear someone say, “It’s not growing, but the fellowship is great.” Most churches do not have what the Bible calls fellowship, because it’s not inviting to those on the outside. It’s like walking in on two people making out; it’s intimate, but you’re not particularly inclined to join.
  • “Christians are bolemic: they starve themselves all week and expect to gorge each Sunday. My goal is not to feed the sheep; but to make them hungry and teach them to feed themselves.”
  • When Jesus told Peter to “feed My sheep”, He was referring to unbelievers, not believers. How do we know? Peter went preaching among unbelievers in response.
  • You don’t disciple new Christians; you disciple lost people. Discipleship happens long before someone gets saved. When Jesus told his followers to make disciples, it was of the nations who had not yet heard the Gospel. In the same way you disciple your children before they become believers; you share your life with unbelievers and disciple thme before they become believers.
  • Christians talk about being “called to be saved,” then “called into ministry” then “called to serve.” There’s only one call–to radical discipleship. We have to layer the “callings” to explain why 90% of Christians don’t look at all like disciples.
  • Failure doesn’t mean God is not with you. Sometimes God makes you fail; for the stuff of victory comes out of failure.
  • Christians who have followed God for several years who are still asking to be discipled are factory defects. The dough isn’t rising. Spend your time with a more profitable audience.
  • The 2 characteristics all NT churches had in common: heretical and immoral.
  • Hellfire is the effective threat for those inside the church; grace is the effective appeal for those outside the church.
  • Many of our churches are not part of the movement of Jesus, but a movement of Descartes. They believe, ” I think (Christian), therefore I am (Christian).” They have as their goal Christian education in proper thinking; not radical discipleship.
  • Every institution that has as its primary focus the study of the Bible eventually drifts toward liberalism. The more you turn the Bible into an educational tool, and the less you follow it as a manual of radical discipleship that leads you to love and serve people, the more you go toward religiosity and away from Jesus.
  • “Our church is not seeker sensitive; we’re just equally insensitive to everyone.”
  • There is enough proof of God already inside of people… we don’t have to prove that to them. “My goal is to dig into the universe that is inside of you and show you the fingerprints of God that are already there.” This is the subject of Erwin’s latest book, “Soul Cravings.”
  • “Mosaic was not like one of those church plants where some guy sneezes and 10,000 people show up. Building the church has been long, arduous, and full of failures.” (My comment: Have you noticed that a lot of the great, disciple making churches are like that? Driscoll’s, Dever’s, etc… I oscillate on this point a lot: I want the church to grow super fast because I want to see people saved as quickly as possible. But also, the church is to be a picture of the glory of God, which means that care is to be taken building a community that is truly reflective of Jesus. This morning I read Exodus 39, about how careful Moses was to build the tabernacle to God’s specifications. God blessed Israel because “they had done exactly as He commanded.” I once bought into the philosophy that “only Sunday morning counts, or ‘Sunday morning, stupid'” because Sunday morning is what makes people come to your church. But Sunday morning is NOT sufficient for making disciples or real Christian community. That takes deep relationships and ministry that goes on all throughout the week. Jesus did not meet with His 11 disciples for 1 hr on Sunday. In other words, it doesn’t seem to me that He bought the “Sunday, stupid” principle.)

Well, that’s a quick digest. There’s a lot to process. Some of the stuff i have mixed feelings on, and am still processing myself. What I take away is that I want so badly for the Summit Church to be a church wholly focused on reaching and shaping her community. I want my daughters to grow up in a house where they see Veronica and me continually interacting with people who are searching for God. I want to be personally involved in the lives of the hurting, the oppressed, the “downtrodden” and the searching.

Jesus was about people; not about sermons. He used sermons to help people. Sometimes I feel like I am the opposite.

Erwin is a huge Chapel Hill fan, even though he lives in LA (he graduated from UNC in 81). He told me that the UNC logo is the most popular emblem in LA, even over UCLA.

One final thing. Erwin (fascinatingly) has been invited to be a part of series of debates at Columbia University, NYU, Harvard, and a number of other strategic places. Quite often he is matched against philosophy dept heads; science dept heads, etc. He is incredibly effective with the students, but not because he knows how to answer each science or philosophy question. He knows how to appeal to mystery and to the “soul God-cravings” in every person–things that science and secular philosophy cannot address. I learn a lot from that. My strategy with people is often to show them that we have more and better answers than they do. However, it is appealing to the soul mystery that science and philosophy can’t answer that often speaks to people on their soul levels. This is not to say that Christians should not labor hard to debunk the false claims of historians and scientists with agendas, and to show the logical fallacies of a lot of philosophical systems–just that there are often some more effective doors to enter with people.

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