Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Wordle

Monday, December 29, 2008

This Weekend

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Nativity

As the sheepherders were invited to be involved in the unfolding story of God in this world, I invite you, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your family members to join us tomorrow at 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, or 11:00 to celebrate the unfolding story of God in our lives on Christmas Eve.
Arrive early, you don't want to miss anything.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


During Advent I read and hear a great deal about hope. What does that really mean?

I looked it up. The dictionary says,
"to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

to believe, desire, or trust."

For some people, this year will be their first Christmas without a close friend or loved one. Over the past year they have experienced the death of their spouse or child. They have experienced separation or divorce. It is all too easy for us to throw around the word hope and use it flippantly in their presence.

I believe we must take particular care to truly offer hope during this season. Jesus does bring hope. Jesus does fulfill all of his promises. In the birth of a baby boy, we see the fulfillment of the hope of the world.

I know there are people in your circle of influence who seem to have lost all hope or have stopped looking for hope. They have experienced loss this year. You are in their life for a reason. You are there to remind them that there is still hope. It is not based on our circumstances but on our relationship with God through Jesus. Take particular care over the next few days to invest in someone who thinks they have lost hope and remind them of where their hope really is based.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let Your Light Shine

The light that shines the brightest is the one that is surrounded by darkness.

You have read here and you have heard from the main stage at Charter Oak Church to invest and invite people in your circle of influence to join you for worship here on Christmas Eve. Maybe you have thought to yourself that there is nothing spiritual going on at work or in your home or in your school. People around you aren't talking about God, but are more likely to be using God's name in vain. What do you do in those kinds of situations?

I truly believe that even in the most dark of environments, the light of Jesus shines the brightest. You can't hide light in the dark, it stands out obviously. When you are in situations that it appears that there is nothing spiritual going on, it might be that you can't see it because it is coming from you. You are the light. You are the one that God is shining through. So I want to encourage you to continue to shine brightly. Be the one in your work place, home, or school that shines for Jesus.

People are drawn to the light. When given the opportunity, go ahead invest and invite. What would happen if one more person at work, home, or school started to shine like you?

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Are Ready

We are ready for Christmas at Charter Oak Church. If we weren't before this weekend, we definitely are now. The 2008 Christmas Cantata was spectacular!

I was ushered into the Advent season with joy and celebration through the singing of the adult and children's choir. I was reminded once again of the promise of the coming Messiah by the drama team. What a weekend!

Are you ready? Are you investing in other people's lives? Are you praying for people in your circle of influence? Are you ready to see what God is going to do in their lives? You don't want to miss Christmas Eve at Charter Oak Church this year. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to bring someone with you. I am pumped up by what I know God is going to do!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Luke 17:3-4

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, "I repent," forgive him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Luke 16:10

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Readings

Thursday night represents the end of the week for me. Friday is my day off. I try to make sure I am home on Thursday nights. Tonight Kelli is out at a party for her lady friends. Caleb is watching the Pens kill the Islanders. It's 8-1 in the second period. Abby is in bed.

So I started reading randomly through some of the blogs of the students in our ministry. Wow! I was never this deep. I was a jock - when is the next game? was the deepest I went at that age. These students are incredible.

Amber, the Deuce, Ande - college students

Sammi, Katie, Kayla - high school students

They all run deep. They all love Jesus. They all will change the world in some way because the love of Jesus within them in undeniable.

Spectacular Gift

Those of you who know me well, know that when it comes to shopping, I can't stand it. I don't go to the mall. I don't like the traffic. And I certainly don't like waiting in lines.
And yet, at Christmas I want the Wow! factor in the gifts that I purchase. I am blessed with a wonderful wife who truly loves to do the shopping and the wrapping. Not me. So when I actually invest the time and energy in doing it, I want it to be spectacular.
Let me tell you, we have a spectacular gift for you this weekend at Charter Oak Church. The Christmas Cantata will be presented Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 9:30am. You do not want to miss this production. You do not want to miss out on the opportunity to invest and invite someone to come with you that doesn't have a church home.
Do everything you can to make sure you are here.

Luke 15:10

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Luke 14:23

"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.'"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Book #25 - Tribes

On Friday I picked up Seth Godin's new book - Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. On Saturday I read it. I couldn't stop reading. There are no chapters, just 147 pages of incredible, thought provoking, out on the edge writing. I resonated with so much of it.

I read Seth's blog everyday. This was just like he took a month's worth of posts and put them together to tell the story of the desperate need for leaders.

The book was written for the business world, at least that is the section that it was sold in at Barnes & Noble. However, there are many, many illustrations from the church world throughout the book. This isn't about business, it is about leadership. We need great leaders to step up in the church. If you are a leader, you need to read this book.

The Hidden Gift

What is it about this season leading up to Christmas that is magical? I actually started my shopping this past weekend! Perhaps the earliest I have ever shopped in my life.
Of all of the ways that God could have made himself known to the world, he chose to come as a baby in an unknown town to an unknown woman. A quiet, humble beginning for the Savior of the world.
This is the most spiritually charged time of the year. There is no denying what season this is. And yet, we have a very difficult time talking about our relationship with Jesus with others. More people are willing to say yes to attending church on Christmas Eve than any other time of the year, yet we cower at the thought of making the big ask. They want to say yes, we are afraid of hearing no. It just doesn't connect for me.
I feel like we have this incredible gift and we are hiding it behind our backs, unsure if we should give it or not.
I'll let you in on a little secret, the gift has already been given. The point of our being is to share it openly and freely. This isn't an option. This is a priority.
I don't know how many conversations you will have with people this week and over the next two weeks, but I do know that they will be with people who do not have plans for Christmas Eve that include worship. You can help change that person's Christmas and life for eternity by simply taking the gift that is behind your back and sharing it. Our Christmas Eve worship services are at 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00.

2 Peter 2:2-3

Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2 Peter 1:5-7

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Friday, December 5, 2008

1 Peter 4:10-11

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Am Second

If you have some time today, get some coffee, and go to this site.

1 Peter 3:15-16

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed for their slander.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent Reading from Duke

Yesterday I received a small Advent devotional from Duke. One of the guys I went to school with wrote one of the devotionals. It is based on Mark 1:1-8. Here's what he wrote...

Perhaps nothing distinguishes the church's observance of Advent from the world's celebration of the holidays more than the person of John the Baptist. An exchange of season's greeting cards bearing the figure of Saint John dressed in camel skin with a mouthful of honey-dripped wild locusts would bring a chill to any office party. Even so, the church spends half of the Sundays of Advent considering this man and his message of repentance and self denial. John the Baptist is the one who is NOT. He is NOT the prophet. He is NOT Elijah, Not the light. He is NOT the Messiah whose sandals he is not worthy to untie. John the Baptist represents the spirit of Advent; he prepares the way of the Lord by way of self-negation.

In some Christian traditions, Advent and Lent share the same liturgical colors. The reason for this is that Advent used to be a season of fasting and penitence, a little Lent. Both Advent and Lent share the same logic: "I must decrease that he might increase." Only by joining with John the Baptist in his "I am NOT" do we make way for the coming of the great "I AM." By emptying ourselves, we make room for the supreme gift that is Jesus Christ.
- Edgardo Colon-Emeric

1 Peter 2:4-5

As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

1 Peter 1:7-9

These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressive and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In the News

A group from Charter Oak Church made the news. Chris, who I wrote about last week, is written up in the local paper and the three leaders plus another one of our students from our congregation are mentioned in the article. If you want to read it, click here.

Isaiah 55:12

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.