Archive for the ‘GCC’ Category

Leaving For Jamaica

After man long months of training, preparation and fund raising we are ready to go.  Tomorrow we will board a plane and head to Jamaica to minister to many children and families.  Please pray for our team as we go to minister to people in schools, villages and churches.

img_2487

The blog will be quiet this week unless I can find some wifi near our base camp.  If I do find a hotspot I’ll provide updates here and through twitter.

Hope

When I gave my life to God just over 12 years ago I was filled with excitement.  I was amazed at what changes were happening in my life so quickly.  My attitude, my language, my actions.  They had all changed.  This excitement brought about a joy in my life that was noticeable.  Around that time I found a verse in 1 Peter 3:15 that stirred me up.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

And I was.  I wanted to run and tell everyone about the hope that I had.  I shared with anyone who asked.  I prayed that people from everywhere would see a change in my life and ask what had happened.  Those were some of the most exciting days of my coming to Christ.

I have been re-reading that section of Scripture lately and was a bit put off as I read the same verse in it’s overall context.  The heading for this section of Scripture is listed as “Suffering for Doing Good.”  Not such a feel good heading!  As I read through the entire chapter that this verse is listed in I was reminded of a few things.  Here’s the Scripture:

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere 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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Even the best of our intentions can land us in some pretty hot water with people.  Our actions and words can be misunderstood.  Our intent in doing good can be misinterpreted by those around us as being self-serving.  People won’t always get what we are doing and they will become critical.  Overall I believe that can just be a fact of life.  But when you are in the middle of “doing good” and being attacked because of it you don’t get filled up with lots of happy thoughts.

truehopeThis past week I have been answering many emails that have come in due to the signs that we created to promote our Easter services.  The signs are very simple – just a few words with an image of Jesus on both sides.  The image was colorized to take on a bit of the look of a former presidential candidates sign.  In doing this we have stirred up some controversy.  People are confusing our intentions of communicating the message of true hope that comes from Jesus and Jesus alone.  Instead some are reading into the sign as saying that President Obama is the messiah.  Nothing could be further from the truth and that was not our intention at all.

My first reaction, honestly, was to blast the people.  “Idiot!  Are you serious?  Do you see Obama’s likeness anywhere in this picture?  That is JESUS and the word below his image is HOPE!”  Let’s just say that I caught myself before replying to any of the emails in that manner.  Instead I tried to communicate, as best I could, the message of hope that we were trying to convey with the signs.  I realized my gut reaction was not going to do anything to win anyone over.  It would neither speak of love or hope.  It would only push people further away from the God that we represent.  In responding with my initial thoughts I would have done an even greater disservice to God and to the reader of my reply.

Rather, I needed to convey the message of HOPE to each person who was found to be a critic.  I wanted them to see a difference in a my reply.  I wanted to attempt to clear up the confusion that they had and help show them that not only does Jesus bring hope but also compassion, joy, and patience.  And that, my friends, is my prayer for each of you today and throughout this week.  As you strive to convey a message of hope to others in your words, actions, and attitudes you will be misunderstood.  People will not understand why you are doing what you are doing and they will become critical of you.  Don’t give in to the temptation to blast them.  Allow your response to them to be full of grace and mercy, love and compassion, joy and hope.  May you be messengers of the greatest HOPE ever and may you not be fearful of being misunderstood.

Misunderstood

Every once in a while in our efforts as a church to use something culturally relevant in communicating the message of  Jesus we are misunderstood.  It’s usually another believer that is the one that is offended rather than our intended audience – those who have not yet connected with Jesus.  It happened again today.  In my inbox was an email from someone who was very upset about our latest attempt at promotion.  Here it is:

How dare you try to combine obama with Jesus for your Easter services.  obama in NOT the savior.  Only our Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ is our savior.

Again, how dare you disrespect Jesus in the manner you are doing.

Shame on you!

Where it gets a bit sketchy is that we have not implied that President Obama is Jesus.  What we have done is use a piece of pop culture in the artwork that was done by Shepard Fairey and tweaked it in a way that shows that Jesus is the only true source of hope.  Here is my reply:

I must apologize for your confusion with the signs that we have created and are using for the promotion of our Easter services at GCC.  On the contrary, we are not in any way linking President Obama to Jesus.  We are actually trying to communicate where the TRUE source of HOPE comes from – Jesus Christ.  Some may trust in government to carry us through tough times but they will be found lacking in the end.

It is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we each can find HOPE.  That is the message that we are trying to communicate to people and I am sure if you join us for our Easter services that is the message that you will hear.  With that being said, if you are a member of another church in the area please continue going there.  While we want all to hear the Gospel we really are trying to reach out to those who do do not yet have a church home.

Again, please know that we are sorry for the way that you have interpreted our signs.  We acknowledge fully that Jesus Christ is the only WAY, TRUTH & LIFE.

Here is the promotional piece.  You decide…

truehope

April 7th update on this post.  We keep kicking up dust here.  Check the link here:  http://www.nowhampshire.com/2009/04/02/concord-church-promotes-“hope”-at-easter-time/

Free Puppies!

That’s right.  Come to Impact tonight and you get a free puppy!  We’ll be giving them out while supplies last so get here early for the best choices.

puppyandbow

Seriously?  Puppies?  Free?  It’s the 1st of April folks!  You can still join us at Impact though…

UNafraid Message

unafraid

Some of you have been asking about the message that I preached on fear this morning.  You can check it out here.  May you live a life that is UNafraid!

UNafraid

Proverbs 29:25 says:

The fear of human opinion disables; 
   trusting in God protects you from that.

This week at GCC we will be looking at how we can become UNafraid when it comes to interacting with people.  We’ll be looking at what God’s plan for us looks like and how we can step into those plans boldly without the fear of man.  As a quick teaser I thought I would include the video intro that our Media Team has put together for the message.  

Can I just say that we have an incredible Media Team!  Great job on this one guys.

My prayer is that through the course of this series many people will find freedom from the fears that have been crippling them in their relationships and in life.  Get your boots on and get ready to drop-kick fear in the head

An Even Greater Impact

Over the past two years we have been working hard at raising awareness of the vast need for clean water wells in Rwanda, Africa.  The youth that I pastor at Impact and around the Northern New England District have raised over $20,000.00 to drill two clean water wells.  This is reason to celebrate alone!  Teenagers have done this.  Today we have another reason to celebrate.

We at Grace Capital Church have finished up our capital stewardship campaign to expand our facility to make room for an ever growing youth & children’s ministry.  Our church council, pastors & campaign team have decided to tithe on the total amount that is raised through our Greater Impact Campaign.  Well, the total is in:   

$1,799,743.00

Now, keep in mind I wrote tithe.  That means that 10% of all that comes in is going out.  Even cooler news, above I wrote about how we have been raising money to drill clean water wells in Rwanda.  The tithe, that 10% number, the $179,974.30, yeah, all that.  It’s going to drill clean water wells in Rwanda.  With each drilled well costing $10,000.00 that means that we will be able to drill 18 clean water wells in Rwanda villages.  This equates to over 18,000, that eighteen thousand people gaining access to clean water which will keep them healthy, reduce the amount of time (usually up to 6 hours per day) looking for water, which will give women the ability to care more for their families, children the ability to get educated rather than searching for water, and end the senseless passing on of diseases to family members by providing dirty water for cooking, drinking and cleaning.  Water = Life.

The thing that I am most proud about with this decision to tithe on our capital campaign program is that what we do effects more than just us.  Yes, we will build a phenomenal youth center but it is less about us building our kingdom.  It’s more about building His Kingdom.  With the funding that will come in we will be blessed with an expanded facility but even more important, a legacy of life giving will be set forth.  That’s the message that I want every teenager who walks through the doors of our soon to be new youth center to know.  That’s the vision that I want them to catch.  That’s the kind of world changing movement I want to see be built in the lives of the people that I serve.

It’s not too late.  You can join us in making this dream a reality.  Would you like to use your money to do something so much bigger than you could do with it on your own?  Join with us.  Help us build up a new generation of young people who will go out and impact this world with the love of the Father!

n749225244_5531777_3775

A Greater Impact

greater-impact

This Sunday we gather all together in one giant combined Family Celebration Service to make our commitments to the Greater Impact building expansion.  I can’t even begin to say how excited I am for this weekend!  All along we have been talking about how this expansion is for those yet to come – and it is.  Over the last 4 years we have seen over 600 new people begin a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  We know that this region has so many more people that need to connect with God.  

“The best is yet to come.”  That’s a direct quote from Pastor Jack Hayford as he shared with us just over a year ago.  I believe this whole heartedly.  God has placed us in this region and shown us amazing favor.  Each person who calls GCC home has the ability to make an impact in the lives of many others.  As we follow the calling of God in each of our lives we see more added to our church body.  As we expand our facility for future generations we look expectantly to the Greater Impact that will be made here in Central NH.

As you prepare for this Sunday’s Family Celebration please be in prayer.  We are asking each person to make a sacrificial commitment towards the Greater Impact campaign.  It’s not equal gifts, it’s equal sacrifice that we are challenging people to.  We’ll see you all at 9:30am this Sunday for a standing room only service that will exceed our imaginations!

For more info you can check out the Greater Impact site.

Text

7-7-08-text-messaging

We are finding that the absolute best way to connect with youth and parents about upcoming events is through text message.  Below you will find links for either parents, leaders or youth please click on the link and spend the next 20 seconds updating our accounts…thanks.

Parents

Leaders

Youth

It’s Not Your Baby!

baby-80513

Last night Pastor Peter shared with us at the Northern New England District Fall Leaders Conference.  He shared a message titled “It’s Not Your Baby” and it really helped me gain more perspective in all that I do.  For the last 10 years I have been serving the youth of Grace Capital Church and I love what I do.  My dream would be to be the Generations Pastor at Grace Capital Church fifty years from now.  This role just fits me well and it is where my passion is.  But it’s not my baby.  At any time things could change.  At any time God could call me elsewhere.  I can not allow myself to hold too tightly to my position here.  It is not what I do that defines who I am.  Who I am draws me to do what I do.

I find this message ringing in my ears as we are entering into a transition within our district structuring.  For the last five years I have served in the role of district youth director.  I have loved serving in this role and have greatly enjoyed the time that Kim and I have been able to lead at the summer camps.  The relationships that I have with so many from around this district are fantastic and I enjoy being able to share my life and experiences with them.  As we are transitioning there are many uncertainties as to what the new district will look like, who will be leading, and what I will be doing.  All of these unanswered questions have brought about a bit of concern as to who will be leading in the future.  Again, not my baby.  I am holding the role that I serve in loosely and know that whoever steps into this role in the future we will continue to have an incredible ministry with youth in this district.

Pastor Peter’s message brought about a new found freedom in my spirit.  I have known these things all along and have never tried to do anything to grasp at my position.  I feel very fortunate to have such a fantastic team around me that has the ability to run the youth ministry without me when I am away.  It is humbling sometimes to think about that.  Even when I am traveling and can not be at Impact – it still goes on.  They don’t need me as much as I sometimes want to be needed…  But that is the true measure of my effectiveness as a leader.  The fact that they can go on without me helps me see that I am doing what I need to be doing in raising up and releasing new leaders.  I would never want to see Impact fade and fizzle away simply because I was not around.  I want what we do to impact the youth of central NH to live far beyond my years at GCC.  I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon but if it ever happens I want to ensure that what the ministry that I am a part of goes on.

What about you?  Do you understand that it’s not your baby?  Are you doing what you need to be doing in order to keep the ministry you serve in going beyond your time?  Are you holding onto something so tight not knowing that you have already lost it?