Right now God is doing an awesome work at Palm Valley Church. Lives are being changed en masse, people are inviting Jesus into their heart during every service, more people are stepping up to serve than we’ve ever seen, and there’s just an awesome feeling on campus during the weekends. I love my job.
On the flip side today was one of the most depressing days I’ve had in 15 years of ministry. Right now a lot of people are struggling, and it hurts my heart. 4 people stopped me on the patio yesterday and asked for prayer because they’re losing investment homes, and they’re worried about the impact. Today I learned of 2 more good friends who are facing the loss of their homes. Another good friend called me to tell me he’d been let go at his job this morning, adding to 2 others who were let go last week. I hurt for people who are hurting. As a pastor I love the people in our church, and I hate to see them struggling. Yet I rest in the promise that the Lord has their situations in the palm of His hand, and He will not let them go.
At the leadership level I have a responsibility to continue to lead the church where God has called us to go; and we’re facing some real challenges.Â I feel like God is stretching and growing me in incredible ways. Growth is always uncomfortable, yet necessary and rewarding. I want to be the man, the husband, the father, the pastor God wants to develop me into. To steal a line from my message yesterday, I’m “tuning in to Him” to see what He’s doing through this.
Overall, please know that I’m not freakin’ out. I just sense that right now a lot of people at Palm Valley need real leadership and encouragement, and solid answers about how to live through times of uncertainty. This teaching series couldn’t have come at a better time. Palm Valley’ers, please know I’m praying for you. It’s times like this that God will develop our character and draw us closer to Him; as well as each other. I felt so much peace this weekend as we talked about the foundation for our lives, Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that it is exactly what we all needed to be reminded of.
You don’t want to miss the upcoming weeks at Palm Valley as we continue to talk about how to live with certainty in uncertain times. I’ll be bringing some very practical advice from the Bible about how to make it through the tough times in life.
I also decided to write this post to help other pastors. I know that there are a ton of pastors out there feeling the same way today, and I want to encourage you. Be strong and courageous, and continue to lead your church through these tough times. I believe all of our churches will come through this stronger, refined, and better equipped to reach our world with the good news of Jesus Christ!
Awesome weekend to start the “unCERTAINty” series. Here’s some thoughts…
- This series is right on time, so many people hurting and worried right now.
- The worship rocked this weekend. Derrick put together a powerful service!
- I love meeting in the auditorium, such a better feeling than the gym.
- The students started a new series called “bodybuliding”. It was cool to see them all walking around with their tattoos (temporary)Â for the series.
- Lori and I had a group of leaders over for dinner last night. Great to just hang out and chill with great people.
- There was a 15 minute wait at the Fresh Start table Saturday night. Lives are being changed.
- We need more Fresh Start volunteers
- You don’t want to miss September 29 & 30. There’s going to be some huge stuff happening that day.
- Raiders are 0-1. I can’t wait to see who we take with the #1 pick in next year’s draft.
- My baby girl’s growing up way too quick. I need to figure out how to stop that.
- Heard some very cool life-change stories this weekend. it’s always encouraging to hear how God is using us at Palm Valley.
- UFC 75 was cool Saturday night (free). Matt Hammill got robbed.
- This week’s message is “Why Does God Allow Suffering”. I’m praying hard on this one!
- Ian saved the day Sunday. We had some audio equipment explode, and Ian figured out how to make it work on the fly.
- Pete rocks on the harmonica (who knew )
- I’m feeling whipped this morning, need to go to the gym and work it out.
That’s it for this morning. Have a great day!
About 6 months ago I wrote down in my journal that I needed to teach a series titled “unCERTAINty” (props to Ed Young for the title). I really wrestled with God over it, because it didn’t make sense to me. The economy was great, people were optimistic about the future, and there seemed to be bright skies ahead. Yet, I just felt God was prompting me to teach this series.
So, we scheduled it. The creative team went to work on it. I started to craft the message ideas, points, illustrations, etc… Then it happened, the market began to crash, the mortgage industry went down the tubes, our economy struggled, people in our church were being laid off left and right. God’s timing is always perfect.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this series beginning this weekend at Palm Valley Church. I’ve talked with so many hurting, confused, and fearful people lately; I can’t wait to teach the hope that is foundÂ in Christ. I believe this is going to be a life-changing teaching series.
We’re expecting a ton of people this weekend, so I’m asking for your assistance in reaching more people with good news about Jesus. If you attend Palm Valley, please help us inÂ 3 ways…
- Invite people who don’t know Jesus to come with you this weekend. You can even send them an e-invite here.
- If at all possible, please don’t attend the 10:00 am Sunday service. It’s packed, and we need more seats for people who don’t know Jesus.
- Get there early. The service is going to be awesome from the very first moment. Plan to be there with enough time to check the kids in and get seated. You don’t want to miss a minute of the service!
Today was a long day. After being in the office for a while (message prep, couple meetings) we drove out to Riverside, Arizona to shoot a video for this week’s service. Where is Riverside you ask? Good question. It’s about 2 1/2 hours east of Goodyear.
So we drove out and did the video shoot, which I think turned out very cool I really believe it will help people connect with the message this week, “How Do I Build My Life On A Solid Foundation”. I can’t give away too much info, it would spoil the surprise this weekend.
Anyway, I’m beat. Shooting videos always wears me out. It takes a lot of mental energy to keep repeating lines over and over again, and try to remain consistent. I really believe strongly though, that videos done well help tell a story that engages people with the gospel. We’re committed to doing this consistently, and our team is getting better each time at producing excellent videos that support the message.
This weekend was the closing of the baggage series, and I could tell people didn’t want it to end. I wasn’t speaking this weekend, so I got to hang out on the patio and talk with people. It was cool to just be able to hear their stories, pray with them, give some hugs and high 5′s, and just be a pastor.
Here’s some thoughts from the weekend…
- Ryan and Mark did an awesome job teaching.
- We have some great teachers on our staff.
- Darius is rockin’ the student ministry. Hung out in Jr. High for a while and was blown away by the excitement level.
- Adrienne’s a true leader, and the Early Childhood area is growing because of her leadership.
- Dave’s got the grade school area wired; not a bored kid in the house!
- It’s way too hot in Phoenix, i’m ready for some cooler weather.
- We’ve got awesome volunteers, who serve even when it’s 112.
- Sad to see Fernando and Eileen moving away.
- A gal handed me her cigarettes yesterday because she wants to quit after 24 years. It was cool to pray with her and throw them away.
- Another gal I prayed for about 6 months ago showed up, reconciled with her husband who has now invited Jesus into his life. Very cool!
- God is working at Palm Valley Church, and He’s changing lives in the process.
- God is good.
- Christina had the students passing out door hangers yesterday. Props to her.
- Uncertainty starts this weekend, it will be awesome!
- Bring your friends to Uncertainty, they’ll thank you.
- Heading to some friends from church today, going to BBQ and swim with the kids. Fun day.
That’s it for today, enjoy the holiday.
Baggage has been the most incredible series we’ve done at Palm Valley Church. God has used this in such an incredible way to bring people to Himself, change hearts, and release people from their hurts, habits, and hang-ups in life. Our attendance increased by 20% during this series, and 53 people invited Jesus into their hearts. I love that each one is being followed-up with by one of our Fresh Start team, and that we will do everything we can to help them grow in their new faith.
The highlight of Baggage had to be last weekend, when people came streaming forward to place their baggage from life on the cross, and release it to Jesus. It was awesome just to see the relief and release on people’s faces as they caught a glimpse of the freedom Jesus purchased for us on the cross. This weekend we will be giving everyone a card with a picture of the baggage on the cross on the front, and my main points from last week’s message on the back. We hope this will be a visible reminder for the rest of your life that this baggage is no longer yours.