May
22

Serving vs. Believing

Hey Friends,

I am writing a book on Daniel and can’t wait to get it finished. From Daniel we learn many great secrets on serving the Lord in the Book that bears his name. One of the secrets is what the lost pagans said about Daniel: “The God that you constantly serve.”!!! What if all your lost friends and coworkers said this about you? Maybe they do. What we say today is “The God I believe in.” This may be a subtle difference, yet I think it is profound. Daniel was known for serving and we are known for believing. He made a big impact for the Kingdom.

When all you do is believe you place yourself alongside demons. “They believe in God and they shudder.” Believing is easy, serving takes it to a whole ‘nother level!!! Which one of these two statements best describes you? There is no doubt that belief and not serving is where the Church of America is today. It is a shame! I thought that belief led to serving, but that is not how it is in most cases.

The Church that is full of believers, but the vast majority do not serve in any capacity! Can you be saved and not serve? I think James would challenge that concept. Today we have raised a generation of sitters, not servers. Jesus is our Lord and our example and He was a servant. “Who is greater the one that sits or the one that serves, I am one that serves.” Words from the Word. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. “All the fullness of the godhead dwelt in Him.”

How do we let ourselves off the hook in serving? Not just in the body, but at home and in our community. Have we been more affected by culture than Christ? Is it the Word or the world that informs our worldview, outlook, and our lifestyle?

Just a thought!

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
May
21

Empty Nesters!

I have joked about it for years: “I can’t wait until the kids grow up and move out.” I really was kidding! This week marks the first week for Michele and me as empty nesters. This past Friday I preformed the wedding for our youngest son, Zac. He is now on his honeymoon. Not quite sure how I feel.

First, let me say that my kids are my best friends. I love hanging out with my kids. What amazing gifts from God. When they were young it seemed like this day would never come. But come it did, and now the house is empty. On the upside, Michele and I can do whatever we want with no concern the kids might walk in!

I do miss Zac already, as we spent hours talking about the Word, ministry, and his future. He is an awesome man of God and I believe he and Rachael will rock the world for Jesus. Yet with all that said, he now has a new address and our talks will be fewer and farther between. I will probably be calling Micah, our middle child, to come over more. At this point in the game all you can do is hope you discipled them well and they will walk in the favor of the Lord.

No longer can I tell him what to do or even have him take the garbage out. No longer is he or my other two kids at my beck and call, but they are at the call of Christ their Lord.

God, I did my best to raise them for You. I tried to prepare them to serve You and Your Church. I pray you bless them and you put a hedge of protection around them. God, they are so awesome! I thank you that you let me have each of them in our home and celebrate the time we had. I pray our future watching them grow is bright. I can’t wait until you grant grandkids and I get to start over helping disciple another generation for you. Thanks God, my kids are great. Thank you for my new kids they have married and I promise I will add value to them. Help me be all you want me to be in their lives. Help Michele and I as we walk this new part of the journey.

Just a glimpse into my heart today as I process my kids being gone.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
May
11

God: Pain or Pleasure?

Hey Friends,

Sorry to all of you watching TBN Thursday night. They moved the show and I’ll let you know when it is to air.

I have had a serious revelation that is going to help a lot of people. The bottom line is when God wired our brains He wired us with 2 basic drives: Pain & Pleasure. This is usually not a cognitive thought process but is basic in our wiring. Everything we face in life we attribute to pain or pleasure. Remember you do not think about this but we all do it automatically.

When I say diet, what comes to mind? PAIN! Exercise? Pain? Vacation? Pleasure! I could go on all day but the people who read this blog are WAY above average intelligence. You do not have to tell your body to digest food or breath it comes without thought.

Not let’s put a deeply serious spiritual spin on the metaphysical side of life. When people think of spiritual disciplines they usually think Pain, giving, serving… Pain. You do not think about assigning that designation, but your flesh does. Ever wonder why, you know you should: read, study, work out, pray, give… and yet you don’t do it like you should? The trifecta of our enemy, which is: the world, your flesh (old nature), and the Devil make sure you assign pain to the things of God.

When we unwittingly assign pain to the things that help us grow in the Lord we are FAR more likely NOT to do them. Does this make sense? We are at war and the enemy has been fighting for a long time. In the Garden of Eden the ultimate pleasure in the universe was God. It was not until the first sin did we run from God. They assigned pain to God!

If we are to be and do all the Lord desires we have to reassign in our thinking the things of God with pleasure. People that are in shape physically have done it with diet and exercise. They see great pleasure in what most of us see as pain. That is how they keep on going. We must do the same thing with the Lord and all His desires for us.

When I think of Bible Study or quiet timeI think great pleasure and so I am consistent. The same thing goes for giving. I assign great pleasure with giving.

If you get this it could revolutionize your walk and service to our Lord.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. I’m working on a message on this topic and I am having a blast!

 
May
07

Raising Up Next Generation Leaders

Hey Friends,

Hey leaders, if you’re over 45 years old it is your job to raise up younger leaders for the Kingdom! If you read the ministry of the Apostle Paul you will see him pouring into many younger leaders. If we do not do it, the Church will be in serious trouble. Many denominations and churches have failed at this point and realized it only after it was too late. If we do not make room for them they will find another place to serve the Lord! More churches than we can count have made this fatal mistake.

Both the aging and the younger leaders come at this with a bias. Older leaders look down on the younger and the younger do not respect the experience and wisdom of older leaders. Younger leaders feel left out and disrespected and older leaders feel they have to hold all the keys. Both are wrong.

I was reading the story of Solomon’s death and the rise of his son, Rehoboam, to the throne of Israel. You know the story and it is very revealing in this situation. As Rehoboam was crowned King, the people asked for mercy from him. He asked the older counselors for their advice and they told him to show kindness. He asked the younger men what they thought he should do. They told him to be harsh! He chose the advice of the younger men. As a result, 10 of the 12 tribes revolted and divided the Kingdom.

He was the rightful King and yet his inexperience and lack of wisdom divided Israel. This is a great illustration of how both generations are required if we are to move into the future with great leadership.

So, older leaders must make room for the younger and the younger must listen. The older leaders need to listen to the ideas of the younger. The younger leaders are usually more in tune with the culture. If we are to remain relevant we must listen. That does not mean we do everything they want. If they know they are loved and respected they will respond with the same love and respect.

Paul told his young protégé not to let people look down on his youth. The Church should reflect multigenerational leadership and membership if it is to be strong and viable for the future.

Just a word from the Word.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. At Faith Promise we are strategically making room for the next generation at every level and in every ministry.

 
May
03

Empty Promises

 

Hey Friends,

I just started reading Pete Wilson’s new book, Empty Promises. It is going to be great. Pete is a great pastor, author and friend of mine. I just sent three Faith Promise families moving to Nashville to visit his church, Crosspoint. His first book, Plan B, is a must read.

I have been thinking recently about the empty promises in the world. I watch so many families I minister to enslaved by our culture and its empty promises. I would so recommend you pick up the book. There is no reason to reach for, and even run to, the world’s empty promises.

Yesterday the news came out about Junior Seau. He committed suicide. He had everything the world has to offer. He had money, fame and power. What did it get him? Emptiness - he was so empty he took his own life. That is the desire of the devil. He is a liar and the father of lies. He will trap us in the world’s system and we will give it all we have. Then at the end we find out it was all lies and empty promises. He is a pro at pulling us into his web of deceit.

We believers should be smarter than that. At the end of the day only God can really provide what we need. Only God can come through. He never gives empty promises, but always comes through. He and He alone can give peace, love, joy, victory, and all the things we really want. Look to Him and you will never be sorry. Please seek Him with your whole heart and you will find what the world can only dream of.

Loving and praying for you.

Pastor Chris

 
Apr
29

How Long Can The Leader Feel The Pulse?

Hey Friends,

This weekend I was walking through the Word when I reread a story we have all studied: Absalom’s rebellion against his father, King David. I am not going to retell the whole story but you can read it in 2 Sam. 13-19. There are many facets and angles to the story, but this time I read it from a leadership perspective.

King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was a superb leader and built a great dynasty. In the middle of his reign after he was well established as the King and Leader of Israel, his son “stole” the hearts of the people away from David. The people loved David and yet he was usurped by his son. How could this happen? I know this - if it can happen to him it can happen to any of us!!!

After David allowed his banished son to return to Jerusalem, he began a slow steady revolt right under everyone’s noses. For four years Absalom would stay at the gates of the city and tell people if he were King they would get justice. He would be an ear for the downtrodden and misused. Sounds like a presidential race and political promises. The only problem is that David was not up for reelection. He was King for life unless someone stole the crown.

By the time David was warned, Absalom was already marching with David’s army at his command. He was coming to kill David and become the King. He had already crowned himself King. David knew he was beaten and he fled from his son. As I meditated on the story some questions came to mind:

  • How did King David get so disconnected from his people?
  • Did David see it and ignore it because it was his son?
  • Did no one warn the King of the uprising?
  • Where were David’s trusted men?
  • Was David so confident that nothing could happen to his leadership?
  • Can this happen today?
  • How can I stay connected with the church I lead so this will not ever happen to me?
  • If the devil were to try to divide you and your people, how would he do it?
  • What would the signs be if you were becoming disconnected?

I think that this is a very important issue for each of us and we should all have our ear to the ground and our fingers on the pulse of the organizations we lead.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s keep asking the right questions to the right people and we will get all the information we need to keep growing, learning and leading well.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Apr
24

The Church is Full of Spiritual Vagabonds

Hey Friends,

If you have read this blog very much then you know I love to read. I am reading a great book called: The Bait of Satan. It was written by John Bevere. The book was written to deal with offenses. This is the bait of the enemy and we have been well warned. Yet we all seem to take the bait from time to time. This blog comes from Chapter 5 and it is a great thought.

Here it goes! After almost 30 years of ministry you cannot imagine how many people I have watched leave the churches where they worshiped. The number one reason people leave is they feel offended. Some, to be sure, have been treated unfairly or unjustly while others were not, but felt they were. Some mistrusted the leadership or took something wrong. Remember, offenses are the bait of Satan.

People leave and on their way out dog, crucify, and hammer the Pastor or the leadership. They stir up all the confusion and mistrust they can because they feel wronged. Even if they were wronged, their response is also wrong. The problem is that we see only ourselves in any situation and never consider how our actions could adversely affect the church. The enemy so enjoys when we are offended because we become so easy to control, deceive, and use for his evil schemes.

If you do leave a church do it by Isaiah 55:12, “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.” But my pastor hurt me. No doubt we pastors are more human than most and can hurt church members. But that does not give you a right to hurt the Body! Don’t be offended! Walk by the Spirit. Notice King David never went after Saul all the time he was trying to kill him. Now that’s an offence.

“We are to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water…” How can you be firmly planted if you leave a church every time your feelings are hurt? If you keep uprooting a plant it will eventually die from shock. Learn to stay and help your spiritual family.

There is a time to leave a church! But, that is God’s call. I don’t think He moves us around like we do. Imagine all the lessons the Lord wanted to teach us at the church we left! Notice you keep finding the same problems where ever you go?

It’s time to plant some deep roots and help build His Church. Repent of being offended and accept responsibility for your actions and attitude. As you bloom your fruit will be much.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Apr
22

How I Prepare My Heart For Summer

Hey Friends ,

Summer is just around the corner and we all love summer. All of us except pastors! Usually only the pastor wants a full sanctuary, and in the summer full is unusual. We call it the summer slump. The summer now lasts from mid-May until the first of August. During that time almost all the regular attenders miss at least two of the ten weeks. That means between 10-20 % of the church is gone every weekend. Two things normally drop – the attendance and the offering. The worst two months in giving are June and July because many take their tithes to the beach or they spend money getting the kids ready for school.

As a pastor of a large church I pray even harder during the summer. I love the summer personally, but as a pastor I walk into it with great concern. This summer is going to be even more difficult as we are in a major building project on our Pellissippi Campus. So facing all this, how do I get ready for Summer?

  1. I trust God to move in power and build His Church even in the Summer. When the Fall comes the attendance will go through the roof.
  2. I want the families in the church to enjoy a vacation together. To do that they have to miss some weekends.
  3. I believe the core of committed at Faith Promise will rise to the challenge as they have for the last 17 years.
  4. I believe the Lord will draw a few thousand guests to our campuses during the summer and many will be saved.
  5. I believe the Lord has called us to the work of winning the lost and building His Kingdom and He will come through and provide all we need.
  6. We still serve a miracle working God and He will win.

This is how I prepare my heart for the summer. I have to tell you, I make apology to no one that I believe the Lord wants His Church to grow. God has His hand on Faith Promise and the future is going to be amazing. This summer will be no different.

I hope you will be a part of all the Lord is doing.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Apr
19

Questions I Asked the Lord

Hey Friends,

First let me thank you for all the great feedback on Monday’s blog. I was not bummed out, just wondering out loud. In my blogs I try to deal with some things that people think but never say out loud. Thanks for the calls and concern though. I am greatly loved by friends and I really appreciate it. With all that said, let me let you in on my Journal of Thursday morning and some more wondering or questions I asked the Lord:

4/19/2012 “Lord, I need some revelation as to what to do with your Body Faith Promise. 23% of the giving families tithe to you and half of the families do not give at all. 34% of the attenders serve, and 40% of the attenders are in a group for community and spiritual growth. The highest percent is where we staff for… Jesus is our score card, right? It is Your Church. You own it and You are the Lord over it. You matter Most. Holy God of Heaven, I’m asking seeking and knocking at your door. Your Word and will matter more! Jesus, you did not die for a weak apathetic uncommitted church, did You? You said ‘deny self, take up our cross, and follow you.’ We are to live for You and be Your Hands and Feet. The light and salt of the world. Light in darkness. How low is the wattage with a church with such low percentages? We need a Holy Ghost explosion and a revival of love and commitment with the other 70% of attenders. Do they want You? Send the Wind Mighty Lord, Holy God! This weekend I pray for 5,000 in the name of Jesus… You said You would build Your Church and the gates of hell would not prevail over it. You did not set the captives free to be enslaved by the current culture. No, you freed us to love, honor and serve You. Please empower us and bring Holy Ghost conviction. Build an Army of Warriors – sold out radicals. Lord, I’m not giving my life for a country club. It’s not why You died and rose from the grave. Lord, thank you for not giving up on me, please move in on me. I’m not giving up on them…”

His Word to me is to keep on preaching the Word and watch Him work. The battle is the Lord’s and He will win it. I am already a victor and He will move in great power.

Well, you have a window into my heart. My concern for His Church and for the lost. I am committed to seeing transformation and mega-life change. Phil. 1:6 comes to mind. He is not done and we will march on. Not everyone will like it, but we are not called to please people. We are called to honor and please the One who died for us and called us into His Church.

Are you ready? How do you see it? I will not rest until we have a 100% kind of church. Many think mega-churches are watered down and lukewarm. FPC will be a hot bed of commitment and revival.

Just my heart.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Apr
16

The Weekend AFTER Easter!

 

Hey Friends,

I love Easter! I love everything about it and this Easter was no exception. It was awesome! We had our second highest attendance ever. Yet, there is always a next weekend. It is usually a letdown. My question for anyone who would like to take a crack at answering is:  Can the attendance not stay up after Easter? Can we not get a boost from a great weekend and a record attendance?

Every year we fast and pray about Easter. We look for record crowds and we expect many to be saved. That is exactly what we get. You might think that the next week the numbers would drop, but not back to pre-Easter attendance. With 7,700 for Easter I was praying for 5,000 the next weekend. We had 4,200. Now, praise the Lord for 4,200 worshipers, but where are the 3,500 others?

This pattern plays out in most churches. We have everyone here for Easter and then some – hundreds of guests and then everyone who calls Faith Promise their home church. Not only is the core there, but everyone else is also. That means the every-other-week people, the every-third-week people, and the casual-drop-by people. The next weekend the only people who come are the core. Praise the Lord for the core! They keep the body alive and moving. Are you a part of the core?

I wonder if this is just a fact of life and I need to quit kicking against the rocks? Some things you can’t change! This is a true statement, but I do not have to like it. So what do you think? How do we get more people to come back the week after Easter?

On Easter weekend almost every tweet from pastors was about attendance and salvation numbers, but the next weekend the tweets went to a deafening silence. What do you think and how do you see it? If we are going to make it hard to go to hell from East Tennessee then we need to find out how to get faithfulness as a priority.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris