Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Using Halloween to Scare The "Hell" Out of People

Why are clowns so scary??

Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching [them] from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 1:22-23

I'm not cursing... if you're freaking out, calm down. I really just wanted you to click on the post. It worked! Thanks for the click. There is a point to my rather crass title.

Need a laugh? Here is a great montage of people being scared.

God has called us to reach out to those who are destined for eternal separation from God, and as Jude states, the fires of Hell. Hell isn't something people really like to hear about. Because of that in our culture many preachers don't like to preach about it or even say the word. Hell has to be preached about. If we don't warn people about it who will? No one.

Oceanside's main goal is to reach out to the lost. We desire for people to come to know Christ as their leader and forgiver. We work in all kinds of ways to help people make that decision: Block parties, Sunday services, small groups, podcasts, and street preaching (to name a few). This Halloween we're extending our reach and hosting, what many people might call, a haunted house.

Haunted really isn't the best term. It won't be full of ghosts, witches, or anything like that. But it will be a house filled with death. Death that is caused by sin. Suicide, drugs, prostitution, and serial killings are just a few of the themes.

So, what is the point? We're trying to remind people that this life will end, and we'll ask them if they're ready. The point of our, "Haunted house", for lack of a better term, will be to scare the Hell out of them and fill them with Christ. We're looking for people to be a part.

So how can you use this awesome opportunity to reach people for Christ? Well, I'm glad you asked.

We need:
Actors, Makeup artist, costumers, builders, crowd control, and counselors. It will be an awesome event for you to help at, please join in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

7.5 Steps to Starting a New Ministry in Your Church

If there is one thing I've found over my few years as a fulltime pastor it's that there are a lot of people who want to start up their own ministry. Everyone has their passions and knows the ministry they wish their church had. So I'm going to give you a few suggestions to starting up a new ministry in a church. Be aware this list may not be comprehensive and is more or less a general guideline to getting one started.

STEP 1: Find a church that fits you. Not every church is for everyone. And most of that comes down to worship style preference. I also encourage you to do research into the church and make sure they are Bible believing and that your beliefs match up with theirs. It would be a terrible thing to start up a ministry and find out you can't stay at a church because of their beliefs. So be sure this is a church you are willing to stay at for years. And just a note- if that church's vision and mission matches up with what God has called you to, but their music isn't your preference... just put up with it and listen to your favorite style in the car on the way to church. Matching up with beliefs, vision, and mission is far more important than the style of music a church plays.

STEP 2: Join that church! Some people call it becoming an owner, and others call it being a member. Whatever it is called let the people know you have a serious commitment to that church and their vision.

STEP 3: Get involved in a ministry. You need to find a place to serve. And I encourage you to serve in that ministry for at least a year before even considering starting up a new ministry. Serving helps you with a couple of things. 1) You'll get to know other ministers in the church. 2) It will orient you to a church's mission and vision. You'll be able to see more clearly what the church's goals are and who they are trying to reach. It would be a bad idea to start up a ministry without knowing those things.

STEP 4: Look where God is at work in your church. Ask these types of questions:

  • What type of person is being reached by my church? If your church is reaching a lot of singles and young marrieds, but has no seniors, you probably don't want to start up a monthly breakfast for the elderly (unless of course you see a need where there are seniors who don't have an outlet, then you would have a great ministry opportunity.)
  • Does this ministry fit in with the strategy of my Church?
  • What are the church's strengths and how can I use those to help me?

STEP 4.5: Talk With Your Pastor about the ministry... You'll have a lot more respect from him if you're an actively serving and consistently attending member that he knows he can trust. And with his blessing and support move on to step 5.

STEP 5: Partner with people and get them excited about your dream. Tell people where you want the ministry to go, who you want it to reach, and how they can be a part of it. People want to know where you're going. They don't want to jump on a ship that has no destination. People will invest time and money into a vision not a fancily named ministry.

STEP 6: Raise your funding. Ministry takes money. Some churches may have the financial means to support whatever ministry you feel God telling you to start, but even so, raising your own funding will help you and your team members take ownership of the ministry. Once the church sees your dedication and success they'll be more willing to throw a few dollars your way. Again, when trying to raise money, be sure to get people invested in the vision of the ministry. You can tell them all day long how much money you need, but connecting those dollars to actual people will get the money flowing.

STEP 7: Pick a start date, advertise, and kick it off!!! You will have worked hard to get here, but you should know the hard work is just beginning, but so are the great rewards. Make sure you are celebrating God's victory in people's lives. If someone becomes a follower of Christ tell people how God is using the ministry! Give God the glory.

A few closing points-

  • Your ministry will not be the savior of any church, big or small. Jesus saved the church. Your ministry is a tool that God can use.
  • Your ministry has the potential to make a real difference when you start thinking about other people's needs.
  • Don't start a ministry that you wish your church had. Start the ministry your church needs.
  • Ministry is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for a very rough road of non-attendance and half-heartedness in the beginning, but fight through it! It takes time to grow a great ministry. Having a strong vision for your ministry will help get people's hearts into it and get people to attend and/or support it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Find Out Why I'm So Happy I Got a $300 ticket! :-D

Getting Ready to Leave for New York

Sorry I didn't blog last week. I was on a little thing I like to call vacation. I vacated to the metropolis of New York City. What an amazing city with incredible wonders. Time square, Freedom Tower, Toys R Us, and the Statue of Liberty are only some of the amazing sites I was able to see. All those things were great, but I was treated to the real New York experience. I had my car towed.

Me in front of Freedom Tower Which is on the WTC site

I can read. In fact you may say I'm quite good at reading. So when a sign says, "No Parking" I read it and know not to park there. But when a sign says, "No Standing" I figure it means not to stand there. HA! Was I wrong.

That is exactly what the sign said...

What I found was No Standing is actually a more severe warning than No Parking. It basically means that no body, car, or thing can be standing still in this area at anytime or it will be towed and ticketed. I parked my car in a No Standing zone at 10:45 PM and it was towed by 12:15 AM, barely an hour later. It was an expensive lesson that cost me an entire day of my vacation and $300. I'll never park in a No Standing zone EVER again. And I'll never forget the experience.

I was reminded in all this that even in the most annoying situations I should stay joyful. James explains it to us this way, Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

This is another Biblical paradox. We are supposed to be happy when times are most sad. We rejoice in the trials of life not because it's fun, but because God is making us into the people He wants us to be. After we face a trial, if we react to it the right way by counting it all joy, we are closer to that final product that God wants us to be.

So what difficulty are you going through right now (If you're not going through anything yet, hang on, it's coming)? Stare it down and tell it that it's not going to get the best of you. Because you understand this challenge is only making you stronger and more like Christ. What an amazing thing it is when we can take the terrible events of our life, as minor or major as they might be, and put it in the joy column because we know God has it under control.

In Closing:
Halloween Scare House: As Halloween jets towards us we are working hard at getting our scary house together. We need help, your help. We need people to help build sets, props, sue costumes, and paint makeup. There will be another interest meeting this Sunday morning after church.

Oceanside Saturday Night: We have a mission at Oceanside to reach every man, woman, and child in our 2 mile radius. So in order to reach a new demographic we're going to start a Saturday night service. It will be very similar to the Sunday morning service except more technology driven (Twitter, Four-Square, Facebook, and so much more). We think it will appeal to a those who have challenging schedules, like to sleep, single, young & married, or all the above. Beta Service September 17th 8PM.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You and Captain America Were Made For More Than This

Captain America

This past week was my birthday and I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. It was great and now that I'm 26 I feel so much older. After my party Allie and I escaped to the movie theater to watch the all new Captain America movie. We were on the edge of our seats the entire time. Explosions, excitement, and even emotion (something not too often seen in summer blockbusters) had us captured for the entire hour and a half.

Most of the movie takes place during World War II. It follows a very slight man named Steve Rogers who gets turned into a super soldier to fight for the U.S. Army. This scrawny man with a huge heart turns into a beast of a man with a huge heart that can out run a car and pickup a motorcycle. It's pretty fantastic.

Steve in the USO

Steve Rogers wants to fight on the front lines. Steve wants to serve his country. He wants to be a real hero. But the Army sees him as an experiment that needs to stay in a lab and be tested, and the politicians see him as a way to sell war bonds and build morale. Neither of those things are his dream.

The conversation that changed everything.

Depressed and ready to give up a woman sits down and talks to Steve. She tells him that he is made for more than just the USO. He is made to fight for his country. That sparks a flame in Steve's head. He puts on a helmet, his leather jacket, and uses his USO shield to storm a Nazi base. Single handedly he rescues 400 men. The Army realizes that he is more than an experiment and the politicians realize he is more than a showman. He is Captain America.

Captain America suited up.

This set off a spark in my mind too. We were made for more than the mundane life. We were made for more than just 70+ years and then dead. We were made for eternal life and made to lead others into that eternal life. That pang you get in your heart that says, "This can't be all there is" has been designed by God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. Yes, you were made for more than this. God made you for Heaven.

It's when we start living and thinking about our ultimate goal, Heaven, that we start living differently. Suffering for Christ on Earth isn't just something we put up with anymore, it becomes a joy. We don't make more money for the sake of getting more stuff. We make more money to give it away. We don't schedule our day for our own good, but we schedule our day for God's good. The list of things that change could go on. Paul says in Philippians 3:7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Everything changes when Christ enters the pictures.

Let me encourage you this week. Stop living like this is all there is. You were made for more than the mundane you were made for the extraordinary! God hasn't saved you so you could attend Oceanside on a Sunday morning. He saved you so you could serve Him and he would reward you greater than you can even imagine in Heaven. Take charge, break into satan's strong hold, and make him sweat! Satan hates it when you start living like you have a purpose. #KSITT