The Year of Re

release

 

 

 

Let’s assume that you don’t know anything about what is going on at New Venture Christian Church. Maybe we haven’t done the best job communicating or someone hasn’t been paying attention. So I will start at the beginning and lay out the plans and directions of the church through some blog posts.

To begin with, NVCC entered into a transition period on January 1 of 2015. That transition is involves the lead minister of the church. During 2015 I will be releasing the lead role of the church and handing it off to Chris Garrett. This transition period will take up to twelve months, if needed.

Founding Pastor

I was the founding pastor of New Venture and have led the church over the last eleven years. During that time we have met in three temporary locations for Sunday services including Carmike Cinemas, Tomahawk Creek Middle School and currently the SDA building on Courthouse. In addition, during that time the church has purchased property on Lucks Lane, renovated a facility there for a ministry center and will build a permanent meeting place and church campus on that site in the future.

Next Level

After eleven years in the lead role I realize it is time to transition to a younger leader who will move the church forward to its next level with fresh and compelling vision and passion. Chris Garrett is just that person.
Chris grew up in Virginia Beach but has been on staff at Indian Creek Christian Church, a mega church in the Indianapolis area, for the past seven years. He comes with proven experience, solid credentials and a passion for reaching those who are far from God.

Chris and I are equally sharing the Sunday teaching responsibilities at the current time. As the year unfolds more and more of the preaching will be transferred from me, to him.

The Year of RE

So we are calling this The Year of RE. The first RE is RELEASE. I will be releasing the lead role to Chris Garrett who will be leading the charge as soon as the full transition is in place.

Looking ahead, other RE’s to come are…
• Relocating
• Restaffing
• Relaunching
• Revisioning
• Remissioning
• Recareering

The Year of RE

release

 

 

 

 

Let’s assume that you don’t know anything about what is going on at New Venture Christian Church. Maybe we haven’t done the best job communicating or someone hasn’t been paying attention. So I will start at the beginning and lay out the plans and directions of the church through some blog posts.

To begin with, NVCC entered into a transition period on January 1 of 2015. That transition is involves the lead minister of the church. During 2015 I will be releasing the lead role of the church and handing it off to Chris Garrett. This transition period will take up to twelve months, if needed.

Founding Pastor

I was the founding pastor of New Venture and have led the church over the last eleven years. During that time we have met in three temporary locations for Sunday services including Carmike Cinemas, Tomahawk Creek Middle School and currently the SDA building on Courthouse. In addition, during that time the church has purchased property on Lucks Lane, renovated a facility there for a ministry center and will build a permanent meeting place and church campus on that site in the future.

Next Level

After eleven years in the lead role I realize it is time to transition to a younger leader who will move the church forward to its next level with fresh and compelling vision and passion. Chris Garrett is just that person.
Chris grew up in Virginia Beach but has been on staff at Indian Creek Christian Church, a mega church in the Indianapolis area, for the past seven years. He comes with proven experience, solid credentials and a passion for reaching those who are far from God.

Chris and I are equally sharing the Sunday teaching responsibilities at the current time. As the year unfolds more and more of the preaching will be transferred from me, to him.

The Year of RE

So we are calling this The Year of RE. The first RE is RELEASE. I will be releasing the lead role to Chris Garrett who will be leading the charge as soon as the full transition is in place.

Looking ahead, other RE’s to come are…
• Relocating
• Restaffing
• Relaunching
• Revisioning
• Remissioning
• Recareering

Lee Strobel This Sunday

LeeStrobel_mediumLee Strobel completes our ReMission (DVD) teaching series this Sunday, September 14.

Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University.

Described in the Washington Post as “one of the evangelical community’s most popular apologists,” Lee shared the Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie The Passion of the Christ. He also won Gold Medallions for The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate.

Latest Works

His latest works include his first novel, The Ambition, and The Case for Christ Study Bible, which features hundreds of notes and articles. His free e-newsletter, Investigating Faith, is available at http://www.LeeStrobel.com.

Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree). He was a journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois’ highest honor for public service journalism from United Press International. He also led a team that won UPI’s top award for investigative reporting in Illinois.

Willow Creek and Saddleback

After investigating the evidence for Jesus, Lee became a Christian in 1981. He joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in 1987 and later became a teaching pastor. He joined Saddleback Valley Community Church as a teaching pastor in 2000. He left Saddleback to write books and host the national network TV program Faith Under Fire.

In addition, Lee taught First Amendment Law at Roosevelt University. In recognition of the extensive research for his books, he was honored by Southern Evangelical Seminary with the conferring of a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2007.

Other Books

Lee’s other books include The Case for the Real Jesus, Finding the Real Jesus, God’s Outrageous Claims, The Case for Christmas, The Case for Easter, The Unexpected Adventure (co-authored with Mark Mittelberg), and Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage, which he wrote with his wife, Leslie.

Lee also co-authored the Becoming a Contagious Christian course, which has trained more than a million Christians on how to naturally and effectively talk with others about Jesus.

He has been interviewed on such national TV networks as ABC, Fox, PBS and CNN, and his articles have appeared in a variety of periodicals, including the online editions of the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. He has been a recurring guest on The Bible Answer Man and Focus on the Family radio programs. He is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

Family

Lee and Leslie have been married for 40 years and live in Colorado. Their daughter, Alison, is the author of six novels and co-author of two books for children. Their son,remission Kyle, has written several books on Jonathan Edwards and on spiritual formation. With a PhD in theology from the University of Aberdeen and two master’s degrees, he is a professor at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Is God An Unfinished Project?

Several months ago, well, maybe a couple years ago, my wife asked me if I would refinish the Hutch and table I had built for her the first year we were married, 43 years hutch  ago. She wanted it to look more Amish like. She had ideas in her head of what she was looking for. She attempted to describe them to me and tableexpected me to transfer those descriptions to the furniture. I have resisted for a long time and finally unfinished chairdecided to delay no longer.

I am delighted to say that after a few weeks of work on the “almost antique” furniture the project is nearing completion. And I am glad that it no longer falls into the unfinished project category.

chairsFor several months there has been a line of old chairs along the fence in my backyard. They are chairs salvaged from the cleanup and restoration project of our new ministry center. Since last year it has been my intention to begin restoring these chairs and putting them to use. Finally the project is underway. Two chairs to date have been completed and a third is in the restoration pipe line. Though the  chair restoration project has a long ways to go it is at least moving forward.

Do you finish everything you start? I imagine not. And to be honest, some things are worth finishing.

But don’t think, even for a second, that you can put God in your collection of unfinished projects. For starters, he isn’t a “project.” Besides, he’s not going to sit on a shelf contentedly waiting for you to give him your attention once the kids are grown or the retirement is funded or other task are completed.

The Israelites learned that lesson the hard way. They returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple. They started strong but in time turned their attention to other endeavors. What was important to God became unimportant to them.

16 years past without any work being done on the Temple. So God allowed drought and downturns and difficulties to come upon them. And he said, “give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 5:7).

God is either the main thing in your life or he is nothing. At the end of the day, each of us are responsible for our own schedule. There is really no such thing as partial obedience. God begins as the priority and then we scheduled time with him and around him. We schedule the things that are important to him. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).

The Jews eventually got back to God’s priorities and took part in one of the greatest works of heaven. You can to. There are some things worth finishing. Get on with it.

Baptism has nothing to do with salvation

SPIRITUAL MYTH #6 “Baptism has nothing to do with salvation”

baptismYou often hear it said in evangelical circles, “Once you give your life to Christ, you need to be baptized as the first act of obedience.  However, baptism has nothing to do with your salvation.  You are saved simply by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and repeating the sinner’s prayer.”

I think that’s a partial myth that needs to be debunked.

There are actually two sides of the mythical coin associated with the ordinance of baptism.  One is that baptism in and of itself saves you.  Parents tell their children, “Of course you are a Christian, we had you baptized shortly after you were born”.  The implication is that infant baptism, performed against your will, was sufficient to forgive your sins and guarantee you eternal life in heaven.

Some treat immersion as an adult in much the same way.  They will say, “Of course I’m saved.  At age twelve, I was baptized by immersion at the end of a new member class.”  Again the idea is conveyed that baptism alone makes a person a Christian.  This misconception is termed, “Baptismal regeneration” in theological circles.

Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teaches that salvation is granted to those who choose to place their trust in Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and not their own goodness.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” John 3:16, Romans 3:28, Romans 10:9, Hebrews 11:1 all make it very clear – the first step of obedience is to place our faith in Christ.

The other side of the coin is the very popular misconception that since we are saved by grace through faith, baptism has nothing to do with salvation.  Baptism is just an act of obedience.  We trust Christ then, sometime later, we are immersed in water as a symbol of what happened to us when we were saved.

But the ordinance of baptism is more than an act of obedience.  It’s more than a symbol or, “an outward sign of an inward grace.”  Baptism was originally intended to be a means of receiving Christ’s grace.  It’s a God-given benchmark that testifies to the fact that we are beginning a new life in Christ.

When Jesus healed people, He often requested an act of obedience as a test of faith.  “Go show yourselves to the priests”.   “Go wash in the pool of Siloam”.   “Stretch forth your hand”.   When the needy persons obeyed, they were healed.   Their efforts didn’t heal them, Jesus did.  But their step of faith was when they were made whole.

In New Testament times when needy sinners put their faith in Christ they were not commanded to repeat the sinner’s prayer, raise their hand or sign a card, although those responses can be helpful.  Those who believed in Jesus were instructed to repent of sin and be baptized.  And they responded by doing so as soon as possible.

It’s not a myth that we’re saved by faith in Christ.  It’s a myth that we receive salvation by just repeating the sinner’s prayer.  Read through the conversion stories in the book of Acts and ask two questions: (1) What was required of those who wanted to accept Christ as Savior? (2) When did they respond to Him by being baptized?  Here are a few examples:

Acts 2- Those who believed the first gospel message were told to, “… repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins”.  Three thousand people were baptized that very day. (Acts 2:38-40)

Acts 8 – When the Treasurer of Ethiopia believed that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah he requested that the evangelist Philip baptize him immediately, in a pond along the road he was traveling.

Acts 16 – The Philippian Jailer was told to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”. Then he and his family were baptized in the wee hours of that D7K_3325-1981462688-Omorning.

Acts 22 – Three days after Saul of Tarsus had been humbled by Jesus’ appearance to him outside Damascus, Ananias asked him, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16)

Someone may protest, “Are you saying that a person can’t be saved without being baptized?”  What about the thief on the cross? He was saved and Jesus said nothing to him about being baptized.”  Yes, but he was still living in the Old Testament dispensation – the blood atonement and bodily resurrection hadn’t yet been completed.  Jesus, God in the flesh, promised the dying thief he would be in paradise when he requested it.

“Well, what about a dying soldier who makes a death-bed confession?  What about a person who is physically unable to be baptized?  Won’t they be saved if they just put their faith in Christ?”

We certainly hope so.  We can only trust God’s grace is sufficient in those instances.  But the assurance of salvation is promised to those who demonstrate their faith by repenting of sin and being baptized into Christ.  Dr. Jack Cottrell, Cincinnati Christian University professor, points out, “Baptism is not the first step a convert takes as a Christian; it is the last step the sinner takes to become a Christian.”

If you were trained to instruct converts to receive Christ by repeating the sinner’s prayer but they refused to repeat the prayer, would you conclude they are saved?  You would probably have doubts about the legitimacy of their faith.  Jesus promised, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

God offers the free gift of salvation through the atoning death of His Son on the cross.  A believer’s response is repentance and baptism.  To refuse to obey is evidence of insufficient faith.  James said, “… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)

Simon Peter taught that just as the flood waters buoyed up Noah’s ark and saved his family, “…this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 3:21)

Dr. Beauford Bryant, Milligan college professor, often said, “Baptism is a tomb and a womb.  A tomb where, by faith, we die with Christ and a womb where we’re born again into His Kingdom.”

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-5)

Adopt a Revolutionary Motto for Your Life

mottoIn the early formation of our nation George Washington had the opportunity to become king of the burgeoning nation. But given the young nation’s experience with England and because he had a robust prayer life he knew there was only one King, so he declined the offer.

King Jesus

The people of the land apparently knew the same. “In a 1774 report to King George, the Governor of Boston noted: ”If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.” The prewar Colonial Committees of Correspondence soon made this the American motto: “No King but King Jesus.”

The story of God’s chosen people might have gone very differently had they chanted the same motto. Instead, they wanted a king. Over the period of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah there were thirty-eight kings. Only five of them were good. Of the others a refrain heard throughout the Old Testament goes like this: “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

I Am The Lord

Prophets appeared exhorting the people to turn back to God. God spoke through one prophet—Isaiah— to tell the people of Judah that they would be captured and deported to Babylon but afterward he would bring them back home. The purpose? “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. Then the whole human race will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:23).

In Isaiah 53 the prophet depicts the coming Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53: 2, 3). God did not want the people to miss him. But they did. And still do.

God On The Throne

Our nation would have gone a much different route had Washington agreed to be king. But he seemed to know what many others didn’t. When we displace God on the throne of our lives, the outcome will go horribly wrong. But when we put God on the throne in our lives, we put ourselves in the best possible position for godly success.

Maybe our American ancestors knew the best way to start a revolution. Adopt the motto “No King but King Jesus” in your life. See what changes that ignites in your life.

Married to a Seducer

HEARING gODVerizon Wireless created one of the most memorable marketing campaigns ever in 2005. In their commercials a so-called “test man,” accompanied by a crowd of network engineers, travels the country asking the simple question, “Can you hear me now?” in an ongoing exercise to determine the reliability of the mobile phone carrier’s network.

The “catch phrase” caught on. The company’s market share went up and employee turnover went down. It seemed people could relate to the struggle to connect. Folks were tired of dropped calls and unreliable communication systems. And Verizon sent a message that they wanted desperately to connect with its subscribers and wanted its subscribers to be able to connect with each other.

PROPHETS

At the risk of selling him short, God has done the same. Even when the Kingdom had split in two, he kept sending his message. He gave the people of the Divided Kingdom some 208 years to decide whether they would “accept” or “reject” his call. He sent his own “technicians” to get the message out. We call them “prophets.”

PROSTITUTES

The job of the Verizon technician is unique. But not nearly as unique as the task given Hosea. Hosea, himself a prophet, appeared in a down time in the nation of Israel. The reality is that people often hear best when things are at their worst. So Hosea signed on with God. But God gave him a most unusual assignment. Hosea’s life would be his message. He was to marry a prostitute named Gomer and love her. What an incredible request! (Just imagine a young man with a sePROSTITUTEminary degree in hand trying to explain that one to a pastor search committee.)

The tough assignment was made even more difficult as Gomer left Hosea. She would conduct her ‘trans- actions’ with customers and all the time in her mind believing they were the ones supporting her. In reality, though, it was Hosea who continued to care for her and provide for her necessities even during her times of unfaithfulness.

PIMPS

God tells Hosea to go and demonstrate his love for her, so he does. Now picture this scene, as ugly as it is: Hosea pays some Hebrew “pimp” for some time with his wife, Gomer. When she enters the room expecting her next customer, she comes face-to-face with her husband. It is then that Hosea tells her again he loves her and wants her to come back home.

PICK IT UP

It’s the lived-out message that Hosea later gives in words. And it’s the same message God sends today. He loves us—even in our extreme unfaithfulness. And he wants us to come back home, even though we have abandoned him. But much like a call on your cell phone, you can hit the “accept” button or the “reject” button. You have the power to send God to voicemail and make him wait. Or you can answer his call today. The people of Israel had 208 years to pick up and they never did. The network is clear. The message is reliable. Can you hear him now?