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

Pay Attention To The Ripple Effect

ripple effectThe decisions you make and the actions you take affect those around you.

Rehoboam learned that lesson the hard way. Rehoboam followed his father Solomon to the throne of Israel. Solomon had exacted harsh labor on the people. A delegation, led by Jeroboam, went to the new king and asked him to take away the harshness.

In private, Rehoboam asked his elder council what he should do. They advised that he become a servant to the people, lighten their load, and the people would always be faithful servants to the king.

His circle of younger friends gave him just the opposite advice. They told him to work the people harder. He liked that idea, told the delegation his plans, and wound up with a divided kingdom.

At one time or another all of us are impacted by someone else’s decisions or actions. When we suffer the negative consequences of another’s wrongheaded decision, God can redeem the situation. Although Rehoboam wound up ruling only two tribes—Judah and Benjamin (as opposed to Jeroboam’s rule over ten tribes)—it was through Judah that Jesus came to us. God can work, and often does what seems to us as his best work, in situations that seem the most difficult.

We should always consider how our decisions and actions affect those around us. In “systems thinking” it is said that “you are the highest leverage point in any system you are in.” More simply stated, you can make a difference. You are more “powerful” than you think you are––no matter your station in life.

Clint Eastwood’s film Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s use of the South African rugby team to help heal a nation divided by apartheid. In one scene of theripple effect 3 movie he explains to a team member, “Reconciliation starts here. Forgiveness starts here.” He knew his actions would have a ripple effect on those around him. Eventually the blessing of that “ripple” washed across the nation.

Rehoboam made a bad decision, but it was really his father Solomon’s actions that divided the kingdom. He forsook the one true God and chased after other “gods,” he neglected to serve the people and instead forced them to work harder, and he was focused on himself, as reflected in his accumulation of wives, gold, and horses in direct disobedience to God’s counsel. His son Rehoboam was merely living out consequence of those decisions and actions.

Learn from Solomon’s mistake. Love God first. Love others second. And serve those that do not yet know God. You will be surprised to see how far your ripple will travel

Write Your Life Chapter Into the Story of Life

Image

If you think Genesis is just a band from the ‘80’s . . .

If you think it was Dr. Dolittle who took two of each animal into a big boat . . .

If you think an epistle is a woman married to an apostle . . .

. . . you may need to know more of The Story.

You may be a bit intimidated by the Bible. You’re not alone; many people are. And no wonder, its pages mention odd names like Jehoshaphat and Nebuchadnezzar. It contains accounts from places you probably never heard of, like Sinai and Samaria. And it seems to be made up of a lot of different, seemingly unrelated stories. But it really is one big, exciting story.

You can see it easily if you open your Bible to the beginning and then flip all the way to the end.

The first words found in Genesis 1:1 read: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then, if you turn all the way to the back of the book, Revelation 21:1, you find, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . .”

In the beginning God is creating the heavens and the earth. At the end he is creating a new heaven and a new earth. So the big question is this: “What on earth happened between the beginning and the end of the Bible?” If you can answer that question you will have uncovered the one seamless story of God.

Why not read God’s story with your family this year? Studies indicate if the extent of your child’s exposure to things of the faith is only a weekly visit to church or Sunday School, the likelihood is very great that when she graduates and leaves home her relationship with the Lord will turn cold.

However, if you as a parent engage your children in the experience of reading and discussing the Bible, chances go up astronomically that they will remain strong in their faith after leaving home. You don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers. You just have to be willing to experience it with them.

Get involved in The Story of God. It will forever transform your life and your family’s life. Every day God is seeking to guide you, forming sentences that flow into paragraphs that over time write the chapter of your life––a life committed to knowing him better.

Will you choose today to take your life chapter and make it a part of the Big Story of what God is doing on earth?

For resources or more information on The Story call the New Venture Christian Church ministry center, 378-7727.

The Story begins February 9, 10:00 AM, NVCC, 530 Courthouse Rd, N Chesterfield 23236

If A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words Then These Speak Millions

photo 2 New Ministry Center, 12200 Lucks Lane, Midlothian,VA 23114

-Before and After-

The pictures say it all!

Thanks to the many, many people who devoted countless hours over the last six weeks to the massive project.

photo 202

photo 201

photo 115photo 207photo 124photo 206photo 213photo 117photo 107photo 206photo 208photo 129photo 203photo 202 photo 210 photo 204 photo 119 photo 2214 photo 205 photo 126 photo 127 photo 209photo 112photo 116

A simple answer to all the violence.

violence 2

I look at all that is going on in our country and the world. Shootings and violence seem to be escalating daily. In some cases it just seems to be worse due to expanded media coverage that amplifies the picture. However, no one can deny the expansion of outright disregard for the lives of others and the determination to take life in violent ways.

As I study the scene the question comes to my mind, is there a simple explanation for it all? Are we making it more difficult than it really is? Are we looking for answers in all the wrong places? Are we attempting to make it something that it really isn’t? Are we exploiting the violence for personal agendas? Are we habitually or ignorantly ignoring the primary reason for it all?

At the risk of oversimplifying, could the reason for the escalation of killings and cold-blooded violence be traced back to a country and a world that insist on turning farther and farther away from God, Jehovah God,? Instead, the world, out of arrogance and self directed ambition, has turned more and more to its own ways. Over the last few decades, especially in America, there has been an intentional, by government and individuals, movement to turn from a belief in and an adherence to God. As a result, the downward spiral in our country has escalated.

So is it too naïve to just say that the reason for what we see, more than anything else, is the result of turning away from God and the truth of Scripture? Every man and womanhatred has chosen their own way. And when God is eliminated from the picture what we are experiencing is inevitable. We are left with no moral or spiritual code and every person becomes their own god and the value of life goes down exponentially.

Having stated that, I fear the future more than the past or the present. As America and Americans, as well as the rest of the world, moves farther away from Jehovah God and Scripture the violence picture will most certainly escalate.

We can look to gun control or mental health solutions or a number of other plans to stop violence. But none will provide any long term improvement. My observation is that our only hope is for the people of America and the world to turn back to God, Jehovah God rather than no god or some other god that advocates violent killing of innocent people.

So where are you with God?

The meaning of life

ImageLets talk about the question of significance, Does my life matter.  Isaiah asked this question in Isaiah 49:4a. He said, “My work all seems so useless.  I’ve spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose at all.”   You were made for meaning, and if you don’t have a meaning and purpose in your life and you don’t know why God put you on this planet, life doesn’t make sense. 

During World War II, there were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary, that were processing human sewage in a factory.  The allies came along, bombed that factory and blew it apart.  So the prisoners had nothing to do.  The Nazi soldiers had the prisoners take all the rubble of that factory and move it to another field.  The next day, they had them take that same rubble and move it back in reverse.  The next day, they had to take that stuff and Imagemove it back and day after day they had no meaning, no purpose.  It was just work doing the same thing over and over with no meaning and no purpose.  Then something strange began to happen.  The prisoners began to go crazy.  They began to lose their will to live because there was no meaning, no purpose in their work.  They were just moving bricks back and forth, back and forth.  Many of them began to throw themselves in front of the guards trying to get shot.  In essence, trying to commit suicide.  Because you and I were made for meaning. 

Now you’re going to go through life living at one of three levels:  The first and lowest level is the Survival level.  The Survival level is really where most live today.  They’re just in survival mode.  They are just barely getting by.  They’re just existing.  They’re not living.  They are controlled by their circumstances.  They put in their time and live for the weekend.  They’re just in survival mode. 

A step up from that, a better way to live, rather than the Survival Imagelevel is the Success level.  Honestly, this is where many are  By the world’s standards, you’ve got it made.  You’ve got a comfortable living, compared to the rest of the world; you’re extremely wealthy, compared to the rest of the world.  So you have possessions, you have freedom, you have good health and you may have prestige and you may be quite successful.  But today there are a lot of books coming out that say things like, “If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel fulfilled?”  The reason is, it takes more than success and it takes more than status to satisfy. 

 

You need to go to the third level of living, which is the Significance level.  Not a Survival, not a Success but step up to the level of Significance.  How do you live at the Significance level?  Well, you get there through three things:

#1:  You know the meaning of life – that gives Significance.

#2:  You know how much you matter to God – that gives you Significance.

#3:  You know God’s purposes for your life and you’re living them out and that

       gives you Significance.

If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at the next couple of verses.  God says, “I am your Creator.  You were in My care, even before you were born.” (Isaiah 44:2)  God was caring for you even in His mind, as He thought you up.  The next verse says, ”You (talking about God) scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book.”  That’s how much you matter to God.  He paid so much attention to your life that every detail was recorded in His book, before you even took a breath.  That’s how much you matter to God.  Do you matter? – Yes.  He made you.  He made you to love you and the Bible says you do matter.

And God wants you to know how much you matter to Him.  God wants you to know the meaning of life.  He wants you to know His purposes. 

Do you realize the fruit fly only lives one day? Here today- gone tomorrow. What’s its meaning for life? Why is it even here? Why live just a day? Unlike the fruit fly, God has extremely long-range plans for you.  Look at the next verse, “His plans endure forever; His purposes last eternally.”   Now listen, God’s purpose for you is not just for the rest of your life on earth,  they’re for the rest of your life forever and ever, and ever and ever and ever.  Because God’s purposes are eternal.  This is the warm-up act, this is the kindergarten, this is the preschool, this is where you do the dress rehearsal. 

God says I have plans and purposes for your life, but they don’t end at death.  Because when you die, your heart is going to stop Imageand that will be the end of your body, but that’s not the end of you.  You’re far more than a body.  You were made to last forever.  The Bible says this, Psalm 33:11 says, “His purposes last eternally.  God says, ”I was made to last forever.”   I was made to be loved by God, and I was made to last forever.  This life is not all there is.  One of the biggest ways you can waste your life is thinking all there is, is here and now.  You’re going to spend far more time on that side of death, than you do on this side.  On this side, you may get to live 60, 70, 80 or 90 years or so.  But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The time you spend on earth really isn’t that very long. 

It’s like if you stretched out a line around the world the first millimeter of that line would not even equal how tiny your life is compared to all the time you’re going to spend in eternity.  You were made for eternity and life is preparation for eternity.  You’re not going to find that in a self-help book, but it’s the truth.  Life is preparation for eternity. God’s purposes for you are eternal.  They are forever.  This is the key to the meaning of life.  Realizing that life is preparation for eternity. 

The Bible says this.  Notice 2 Cor 5:1, “When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn down.  God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in.  A home He himself has made, which will last forever.”  You want to know how much you matter to God.  Well, I’ll tell you – you matter so much to God; He wants to keep you with Him for the rest of eternity.  For the rest of eternity – He wants to keep you with Him forever.  That gives meaning. 

Look at this verse, “Leave your impoverished confusion and live and walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (Proverbs 9:6)

(Adapted from “Why in the world am I here” by Rick Warren) 

10 Places To Find Money For The Capital Campaign

Money signI know, the biggest concerned people have when it comes to a capital campaign is, where in the world do I come up with money that I want to give to something that is so good and necessary? I really want to participate in a big way, but how do I? So here are some suggestions and sources to find resources to contribute to this Kingdom venture. That is, of course, assuming that you love God and you love the church and you really want to be a part of moving it forward, more than you love yourself and your own kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

1.       STUFF. Let’s start with all of our stuff. Most of our houses are cluttered with stuff. Garages are cluttered with stuff. Get rid of some of it. Why do you think eBay and Craig’s List exist? It’s to get rid of stuff that can be used for building the Kingdom. So walk through your house, go up into the attic, go down into the basement, go out into the shed, and make a list of all the stuff that you can sell to give to the capital campaign.

2.       STASH. This might not be true of everyone, but is of some. There are those who keep a stash for a rainy day. And many times that stash is somewhere in the house. What better day is there than the day you can have a huge part in making Kingdom advancements? Use the stash or part of the stash to give generously to the capital campaign.

3.       SAVINGS. It is difficult to maintain a savings account in today’s economy, but not impossible. And for those who have disciplined themselves to do so, this provides an excellent source of revenue that you can tap for your part in the campaign, assuming that you’re willing to let go of it.

4.       SAFETY NET. If you follow recommended financial advice, you should have developed are building a reserve fund that serves as your safety net in case a crisis hits your family. That safety net or reserve fund could be several thousand dollars. How about taking part of the safety net and giving it for Kingdom advancement? I know, that leaves a big concern over what will you do if something drastic happens? Suggestion, if that should happen, open and equity account on your house and draw from it to cover the crisis. This is exactly what my wife and I are planning on doing.

5.       SACRIFICE AN INDULGENCE. This is where we usually find a lot of room to make a big difference with a lot of people. Most people have indulgences that would be good, if not great, for them to either let go of or kick. So take that money that you spend regularly on high dollar caffeine drinks, the six pack, or the cigarettes, or online porn or whatever else it might be, and turn it into a gift for God and the church. Watch it compound over the weeks and the months into a huge amount of money. And on top of that, you will save your own self from habits and indulgences that are probably more harmful than good and thereby improve the quality of your life and lengthen the years of your life.

6.       STEAL FROM YOUR NEIGHBOR. Oh, did I really say that? Let’s scratch that one. Let’s reword it this way. Maybe your neighbor or someone else owes you from something in the past. What better time and what better reason is there for you to go to this person and say, “I really need for you to pay me what you owe me because I want to give it to the church capital campaign.” This could be the reason you have been looking for to push for payback from someone who needs to pay up.

7.       SELL A CHILD. Did I really say that, also? That’s two weird ones. I have to watch myself. Scratch that one too, because I know there are some who would jump at this onestack-of-money too quickly. So let’s change the “sell a child” to sell a big ticket item. How about that wedding ring from three marriages back? Or those antiques that you never really liked? Or that extra car that hardly ever gets used? Look around and see what big-ticket items you might have that could be far better used for Kingdom advancement in the capital campaign. And as you do, understand how much we live in a materialistic world and the only thing that will overcome materialism is generosity. And the only way to really show that we love God and are generous is if we are willing to let go of our stuff.

8.       SET ASIDE A VACATION OR A MAJOR PURCHASE. For the sake of a greater cause, be willing to sacrifice something that you would like to have or do or have been looking forward to. Maybe it’s a vacation, maybe it’s a major renovation project on the house, or the purchase of a new vehicle. All of those can come in time, but are you willing to put them off for a period of time in order to have a major part in the capital campaign? When we sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom God blesses us with even greater things.

9.       SET PRIORITIES. For some, being able to generous participate in the capital campaign just comes down to setting financial priorities in your life. If you will determine that God and the church are of greatest importance and then build your spending and finances around that priority you will find that you will have extra funds to give to him and his cause. Sometimes it’s just a matter of prioritizing our life and our spending in the way that honors God.

10.   SEE AUNT SADIE OR UNCLE STAN. When all else fails go to Aunt Sadie or Uncle Stan, (or whatever their name might be) that would be more than willing to give toward or support a great cause for God, and ask them if they would partner with you and New Venture in this capital campaign adventure. Instead of Aunt Sadie or Uncle Stan it might be some other relative or friend that would be willing to share their wealth for something that you are so passionate about. But unless you ask them they will not respond.

So, as you can see, there are a number of sources from which to find resources for your part in the capital campaign. The key is to be creative in your thinking, courageous in your acting, and sacrificial in your giving. If you will, God will lead you to resources you may never have considered. Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. You will be delightfully surprised by what you will discover.