Check out the following Scripture from Proverbs 3:1-4 (NLT):
1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
According to the Scripture above the following is a recipe for having favor with God and man:
1. Remember the wisdom of the Word.
The Word is full of wisdom to help us live lives of character and integrity. It contains countless morsels to ensure long-term success. I suggest your read one Proverb each day. Eventually it will take root in your heart…which is step #2.
2. Keep the wisdom of the Word in your heart.
We already know whatever is inside our heart will eventually spill from our lips. The more we feed ourselves the Word the more likely it will come out of us.
3. Loyalty is a must.
When I was offered an associate position at a megachurch of 2,000+ it wasn’t because I was the most qualified for the job. It was because I had been loyal when I previously worked for the ministry.
As leaders of RockChurch loyalty doesn’t mean you must agree with every decision, but it means you stand by and support the vision regardless of your personal feelings.
To repeat pastor/author Larry Osbourne from Sticky Teams, “When the battle of competing ideas is over, they (leadership team) march out and present a united front, setting aside their personal preferences and agendas in light of the greater good and the bigger mission.”
A loyal leader refuses to talk behind the back’s of those he/she serves.
I want to be a loyal leader.
I want to be a loyal friend.
I love this tweet from Mark Driscoll:
“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.” – Walter Winchell
Are you loyal?
4. Be kind.
Nobody likes a leader who’s a jerk…so don’t be a jerk.
It’s much easier to serve with and alongside leaders who lead with kindness and love.
If we are kind to those who serve us, they will be loyal. They will want to serve. They will enjoy serving.
This one is huge for us. We have created a culture of love and generosity that separates RC from other churches. This is a testimony of Team RC.
RC will continue to have favor with the media, community, and those who walk through our doors if we continue to abide by the above. Not only that, we will have favor with God. I sincerely believe God has blessed RC with an amazing building and growth because we have put this to practice. Let’s keep it rolling.
Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. ~Proverbs 22:1 (NLT)
Thank your for your loyalty.
Thank you for your love.
Thank you for contributing to the vision.
Focused on Favor,
This past Sunday was over-the-top for a number of reasons:
- First of all, so many responded to the Word! Lots of people recommitted their lives to Jesus. Boom!
- AMPD Band opened all three services with Loving, Forgiving, Saving. They did an outstanding job I must say, too! I’m so proud of our youth and their willingness to use the gifts and talents for the Kingdom.
- The crowd was even more energetic and responsive than usual.
- I enjoyed the presence of the Holy Spirit and His leading. Lp went with the ‘flow’ and switched up the songs in all three services. Cool.
- We moved a bunch of LFS T-Shirts and CD’s. What a way to release the new song! (BTW, if you haven’t heard it yet, click HERE and enjoy.)
- Kristie & RCBand nailed Jewel’s Who Will Save Your Soul
- 512 people attended!
- Our staff, leaders, and volunteers are awesome.
Song List (9AM)
- Loving, Forgiving, Saving (RC original performed by AMPD Band)
- Let It Rise
- At the Cross
Song List (11AM)
- LFS (AMPD Band)
- Now & Forevermore
- I Exalt You
Song List (4PM)
- LFS (AMPD Band)
- Lift the Roof
- Rain Down
- At the Cross
For our sermon we concluded the series Loving, Forgiving, Saving by focusing on Saving.
Sermon Highlights & Takeaways
- Loved the video clip about Noah. Hilarious. Watch it HERE.
- So interesting that God was sorry he ever made humans, yet Noah found favor with Him.
- In the midst of adversity and an overwhelming task, Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him. Props to Noah. See John 14:15.
- We read Romans 10:5-13. Notice everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
- Our key character was Nicodemus. Our key Scripture was John 3:1-21.
- 1. Nicodemus Came to Christ (at night)
- He was still lost in spite of his: sincere religious faith, his religious office, and spiritual awareness.
- We drove home the point that it’s not enough to simply believe in God. The devil and his demons believe in God and are still going to hell.
- Told the story of a man who spent 49 years serving a church and was…lost. He finally got saved at age 83. You can attend church every Sunday and still go to hell.
- Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved, period.
- 2. Nicodemus Spoke Up For Christ
- Will we do the same?
- 3. Nicodemus Honored Christ (after He was dead)
- It’s better to give flowers to the living than to deliver them to a funeral.
- Come to Jesus today, speak for Jesus today, honor Jesus today, worship Jesus today, serve Jesus today, live for Jesus today.
Thank you, Lord…
My heart is bursting with gratitude this morning as I type this while sipping some piping hot coffee that was just delivered. I posted the following on Facebook earlier so why not here, huh?! I lover our church. Not the property, plans, programs, presentations, or performances, but the PEOPLE. You!
Okay, I actually do love all the above, but I love you more because the Church is the people. It was so good to hang out with you this past Sunday. What a great day of fellowship. I was here from 7:45 AM until after the big game, but it was well worth it. I especially enjoyed conversing with some newer RC folks that I haven’t really talked to before. Good times.
Review of 9AM & 11AM:
RCBand was back in full-effect and came flying out of the gate with Your Grace Is Enough! In fact, while the band was rehearsing I ran out of my office and into the drum cage to give Jake a bear hug. “Welcome back” Mr. Slammin’ Hamann!
Here was the complete song list:
- Your Grace Is Enough (Tomlin)
- Loving, Forgiving, Saving (Lp)
- Arms of Mercy (Lp)
- Rain Down (Crowder) [11AM only. This was a Holy Spirit booyah moment! Good call, Lp.]
- Amazing Grace (traditional + RCBand equal…well…amazing)
After the usual “This Is My Bible” chant (BTW, I messed it up in the 11AM service) Lp and Kristie delivered a strong electronica performance of Pride (In the Name of Love) by U2.
@Firegod94 tweeted the following shortly thereafter:
I delivered Part 2 of Loving, Forgiving, Saving. Last week we focused on loving. This week we focused onforgiving.
Highlights and Takeaways:
- Read the lyrics again to Lp’s song of the same title. Click here to read them. You will be able to download the song (FREE) this coming Sunday (30th) or purchase a CD for $2.
- Our key Scripture was Luke 7:36-50 (The Sinful Woman who washed Jesus’ feet).
- What I love about Jesus is not only did He dine with notorious sinners (liars, thieves, drunks, prostitutes), He even hung out with the religious wolves (and they are the ones who condemned Him for hanging out with the “sinners”). The religious crowd’s motive was usually to trap Him and trip Him up and He would always end up reading their mail. Love it.
- The one thing I tried to accomplish Sunday was getting everyone to really ”see” how broken and condemned this woman must have felt. She had a horrendous reputation. She was an uninvited guest who must have been scared to death interrupting the meal and approaching Jesus. This was unacceptable behavior in the eyes of the Pharisees. Try to wrap your mind around what was going through hers as she sat the feet of Jesus.
- She carried her flask of expensive perfume (perhaps the same perfume she had previously used to entice married men or the same perfume used to cover the stench of their bodies after being intimate).
- She didn’t just weep but cried so hard she was able to wash Jesus’ dirty feet. Simon should have had a servant wash Jesus’ feet but he missed it. This woman did what Simon should have done.
- Martin Luther referred to her tears as “heart water.” This was a humble act of repentance.
- She then dried Jesus’ feet by letting down her hair. The Talmud (Jewish commentary) teaches that this very act would be grounds for divorce. Her physical contact with Jesus was unacceptable behavior in their eyes. In the eyes of Jesus this was the right thing.
- She then anointed Him with her perfume. This was not an erotic effort, but an act of worship.
- Simon was thinking to himself, “Doesn’t Jesus know who is touching him. Geesh!” Jesus read his mail and basically showed Simon that she was more grateful than he was.
- Jesus came for those who know they are sinners, not for those who think they are righteous. This woman knew she was a sinner.
- I love how Jesus makes Simon look at her. When “religious” people look at others they don’t see a person; they see shame. Jesus said that in Him there is no condemnation. Boom!
- Jesus acknowledges that her sins are many, but they are forgiven. Wow! He accepts her without approving her sin. Sometimes acceptance looks like approval. Just because we accept a “sinner” doesn’t mean we approve of their sin. So…should we associate with sinners? Yep. Jesus did.
- Jesus eventually tells her to leave in peace. The woman arrives in pieces, but leaves with peace. I LOVE THIS!!!
- Final takeaway: 1 – Jesus forgave you so need to forgive yourself. 2 – Jesus forgave you so you must forgive others. (Food for thought: To forgive someone doesn’t mean you approve of what they did to you.)
NFC Playoff Party Highlights:
- The Spread: Wow, talk about some great food! From Daniel fast to now I need to fast again. I don’t know who brought the cheeseburger casserole dealio but I must profess my love for you.
- The Crowd: We had more people here for a playoff party than any of our previous Super Bowl parties. The foyer was jam packed and the sanctuary had people scattered throughout. I was surprised by how many people stayed for the game. (Nice, clear picture, too. Thanks, Greg!)
- The Halftime Message: I took the same message on forgiveness and condensed it to fit in the halftime time-slot. Note to self – Halftime during the NFC Championship is much shorter than the Super Bowl halftime show. Oops. I went three minutes into the 3rd quarter…and thought I was going to get shot. It’s a good thing the message was on forgiveness.
- The Game: Couldn’t ask for a better game. Who would have thought the Bears would almost win with a third string QB. Wow. I really thought we were headed to OT, but oh well.
- Pittsburg vs. New York. Who cares. Okay, I’m sorry. Forgive me?
- Go Cowboys!
Thanks for the food, fun, and fellowship.
We get to do it all over again on Super Bowl Sunday!
Focus 1, Focus 2, Focus…2011, hut, hut…HIKE!
I want to slow down for a second and celebrate some recent “WINS!”
- 227 people attended our Wednesday night service this week…a record for a regular Wed. service!
- 54 youth (and leaders) crammed into The Bunker for AMPD…a record for a youth service.
- 10 people got dunked Wed. night during a spontaneous water baptism. It was so cool to hear the testimonies as the congregation gathered around the horse trough. (Props to Pastor Juan for filling it with “warm” water.)
- We are averaging well over 400 on Sundays in 2011. If you include our midweek service the number is closer to 500 (not counting duplicates).
What jazzes me more than anything is the response and feedback regarding the Word. In all the years of RC’s existence I cannot remember a time when so many people were so hungry for and excited about the Word of God! That’s what it’s all about, right? Jesus is The Word.
Don’t forget this Sunday is all about forgiveness…and to repeat Lp, “…you will have the opportunity to practice it” during our NFC Playoff Party!
Thank you for serving and running with the vision!
Enjoy the Ride,
With RCBand leader and worship pastor Lp waking up sick, Kristie went from assisting role to leading role, along with her husband Jeremy on guitar and Oj on bass. Add them together and = second week in-a-row ala acoustic vibe. [I am hyperventilating at the thought of having drums and our full team back on stage this coming Sunday, not to take anything away from Kristie and the gang…as they still rocked it.]
I am proud that RCBand delivers regardless of who is on the stage and whether or not it’s all electric, all acoustic, or even a mix of the two. One big benefit of going scaled down is being able to hear all the voices (no, not the ones in my head), as in everyone singing and worshiping out loud! Or maybe it’s just my new hearing aids (wink).
Here was the song lineup:
1. Free (Newsboys)
2. Better is One Day (Kutless)
3. More Love, More Power (Jeff Deyo)
4. How He Loves Us (David Crowder)
DJ Ezra mixed us up some turntable delight again during the offering. Nice.
I was pretty stoked about kicking off the new three week series entitled WORSHIP: Loving, Forgiving, Saving. Loving, Forgiving, Saving is the new song penned by Lp that was recently recorded by RCBand and will be available Sunday, January 30 in all three services. You will be able to download the new song for FREE. If you want a CD ($2) you can pre-order by signing up at RC or by replying to this blog.
I began Part 1 (LOVING) by reading the lyrics from Loving, Forgiving, Saving.
Loving, Forgiving, Saving
By Lyndon Perry
how could you love
the me only you see
you are so good to me
how could you want
this sinner’s company
you are so good to me
thank you for loving me
thank you for forgiving me
thank you, Lord, for saving me
how I was lost
you found me worth rescuing
you are so good to me
it took the cross
to return me to your reach
you are so good to me
you are so good, so good
for loving, forgiving, and saving me (x2)
you are so good, so good
We also introduced our Verse-A-Month which is a verse you’ve probably never heard of: John 3:16.
I’m kidding of course. This is usually the first verse we ever memorize as new believers. In fact, a lot of people are familiar with it before they are believers…thanks to those who hold it up after every NFL field goal! (Side note – Any of you 80’s people remember Steve Taylor’s song/video Bannerman?! Love it. In fact, here’s a link to watch it. Enjoy…and you’re welcome.)
Our central Scripture was Luke 19:1-10 and the amazing story of Zacchaeus.
Here are some key points and takeaways:
- It’s intriguing that the very ones who were so stoked about Jesus were the ones blocking Zacchaeus’ view.
- Want to see Jesus? Look past yourself.
- The people were displeased that Jesus went to eat with such scum. When was the last time you saw someone at church and thought to yourself, “What are they doing here?”
- Have we ever judged someone’s salvation by thinking out loud, “I don’t think they are really saved.”
- Jesus loved Zacchaeus enough to stop everything he was doing and hang with him. Who do need to hang with?
- While Jesus did hang out with sinners; he didn’t sin with them. Are we willing to do the same?
- We read Mark 2:13-17. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy. The next time you look at someone self-righteously remember…that used to be you.
- Showed a powerful video clip from Annie Lobert’s TV program Hookers: Saved on the Strip.
- Wrapped up the sermon with Romans 8:31-39. Nothing can separated us from the love of Jesus!
- Nothing you can do will make Jesus love you less.
- Nothing you can do will make Jesus love you more.
- Jesus loves you, period.
Highlight of the day: All of those who responded to the altar calls Sunday! If the angels in heaven rejoice when ONE sinner repents we should, too. Go ahead, let out a big WOO-HOO! (Sorry if I just got you in trouble at work.)
Over 400 people have attended RC each Sunday this year; not too shabby considering the cold weather we’ve had. Pumped about 2011 and all that God has on our horizon!
Let me wrap up this weekend wrap by sharing something I read this morning in Larry Osbourne’s book Sticky Teams: “…the best players don’t win championships; the best team does.”
We have an amazing team (staff, leadership, volunteers). Thank you.
Well, it was good to get back to our regular service schedule even though my body wasn’t ready (thanks to a head cold). Great crowds at 9am & 11am and 4pm wasn’t too bad. Our attendance for the day was 434 which is a 49% increase from the same Sunday last year. (By the way, none of this would be possible without our amazing volunteers! Thank you for serving. You make it happen!)
RCBand went with the acoustic vibe this week and while they did a superb job, I sure missed Mr. Slammin’ Hamann and his drum box! Man, I love me some drums. I’ve always wanted to take lessons, too. Ashton begins lessons next week. Kidding.
Here was Sunday’s song lineup:
1. Loving, Forgiving, Saving (RC original)
2. All For You (RC original)
3. Rain Down (Crowder)
4. I Exalt You (Remixed by Lp)
To help remove the sting of no drums Lp unleashed DJ Ezra (Cory Vance) upon us. Cory mixed the turntables for a special song that rocked the house! Rumor has it we will see and hear more this Sunday.
In place of a sermon our pastoral staff and I spent the allotted time casting the vision for 2011. After a funny mock video (MeChurch), we revealed this year’s theme word: FOCUS.
F O C U S
Here’s a synopsis from each pastor:
Chad Ingham (Children’s Pastor – SkyQuest)
- New Teaching Method (Understanding, Learning, Practicing, Application)
- Parent’s Role
Juan Rios Jr. (Youth Pastor – AMPD Youth)
- 2010 Review (AMPD grew from 34 students on roster to 86)
- Goal for 2011 (250 students, 25 leaders/mentors)
- Bus Update, Plan (Currently using 2 buses, plan to uses 3rd to create mobile church)
Lyndon Perry (aka Lp, Worship Pastor)
- RCBand Recording (goal to release one song/month, complete album via iTunes by Thanksgiving)
- AMPD Band (will oversee and develop, infuse into RC worship)
- SkyQuest Worship (will oversee and develop worship experience for JungleQuest & SkyQuest)
Chris Papazis (Focus Groups/Teaching Pastor)
- The importance of planning (“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~Abraham Lincoln)
- Introduced book Sticky Church by Larry Osbourne, explained RC’s plan to create sermon-based small groups to be called Focus Groups.
- Sermon-based Focus Groups will be intentionally designed for maximum growth and minimum burnout.
- Unity (entire pastoral staff will lead or teach a Focus Group in 2011)
- First Quarter (build the first Focus Group prototype)
- Eight week trial run in April
- August (full blown launch)
I shared the following Scriptures:
1 Timothy 4:13 (NLT)
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I FOCUS on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… (Focusing on the vision)
RC Vision: To reach and impact the Peoria area and our world by delivering the Word of God through relevant worship, discipleship, and relationships.
Romans 16:27 (MSG)
All our praise is FOCUSED through Jesus on this incomparably wise God! Yes! [WORSHIP]
1 Timothy 4:13 (NLT)
Until I get there, FOCUS on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. [DISCIPLESHIP, RELATIONSHIP]
This will happen organically at our upcoming Focus Groups.
“Performance-based programming must give way to intentional relationships and community.” ~Ed Stetzer
Philippians 3:15 (MSG)
So let’s keep FOCUSED on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet!
We prepared our hearts to partake communion together by reading Galatians 3:1 and having RCBand lead us in Oh the Blood of Jesus.
Galatians 3:1 (MSG)
You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear FOCUS in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
There you have it. Our vision for 2011 is to focus on discipleship and relationship through sermon-based small groups called Focus Groups. (We already focus on worship every Sunday at our regular services.)
To do the above effectively is going to require less focus on other things. We prefer to have laser focus and conduct five things with excellence rather than twenty things without excellence. This will require an honest examination and evaluation of every area of ministry: Does it contribute to our vision? Is it producing fruit? Is it conducted with excellence? Is it RC 2.0? Would anyone notice if we stopped doing it? You get the idea.
Thank you for trusting, supporting, and running with the vision.
Together we are going to make a difference in 2011.