July 30th, 2009
July 29th, 2009
Every day, in every place, you worship. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.
We are all worshipers, created to bring pleasure and honor to the God who made us. You may not consider yourself a worshiping person, but you cannot help but worship…something.
If you choose to not give God what He desires, you worship anyway – simply exchanging the Creator for something He created.
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and
on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NIV) (also see John 1:1-3)
All things were made by Him; and all things were made for Him. That includes You!
You have been created by God, but not just created by Him you were created for Him.
- As a result, there is an internal homing device within your soul that constantly longs for your Maker.
- An internal God-ward magnet that is pulling you toward Him.
- Stamped in the image of God, you know that there is something that you are attached to, a place where you fit, someone you belong to, someplace called home.
We come from the womb equipped for connectivity with God. Prewired to Praise! (Matt 21:16)
We were born as objects of His affection, housing mirrored souls designed to reflect His Glory.
You and I were made by Him and for Him. You exist to reflect back to God His matchless glory!
Worship Is Our Response To What We Value Most.
Worship is about saying, this person, this thing, this experience (this whatever) is what matters most to me… it’s the thing of highest value in my life.
- That “thing” might be a relationship, a dream, a position, a status, a degree, something you own, a name, a job, or something of pleasure.
- Whatever the “thing” may be, you have concluded in your heart it is the thing that is worth most to you. And whatever is worth most to you is what you worship.
Worship, in essence, is declaring what we value most. To Ascribe Worth. Worth-ship to what matters most.It is what fuels our actions, becoming the driving force of all we do.
Everybody Ascribes Worth
Not just the religious crowd. Everybody. A multitude of souls proclaiming with every breath what is worthy of their affections, their attention, and their allegiance. Proclaiming with every step what it is that they worship.
Everybody has an altar. And every altar has a throne. How do you know where and what you worship? What you Worth-ship? Follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your allegiance. At the end of the trail, you will find a throne; and whatever, or whoever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you. On that throne is what you worship. The trail never lies. The volume of our actions speaks louder than our words. In the end, our worship is more about what we do than what we say.
All People Worship and All People Worship All The Time.
Worship is the activity of the human soul. It’s not just a Sunday thing…it’s an all the time thing.
- Right now, every person in this city is worshiping – continually making decisions based on what they value most.
- Some of the purest forms of worship are not found in the church. Consider concerts, football games or others sporting events. These worldly events are often filled with the same forms of worship mentioned in the pages of God’s word. People lifting their hands, shouting with joy, staking their claim, standing in awe, declaring their allegiance. (Rom 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6)
- But do they know that they were created by Him and for Him? Do you know?
You and I were made by Him and for Him. You exist for one purpose alone.
We seek the experience of that purpose – to reflect back to God His matchless glory.
Why Are We So Good At What We Do?
We all worship something all the time. We are good at it. History is full of worshipers. The timeline of mankind is littered with little idols. Temples, shrines, religions. Why? Why do we crave to worship? Why are we drawn from idol to idol, desperately needing something to champion, something to exalt, something to adore?
Why are we always looking for something more? Something of higher value. Something that is worthy of our worship.
Because that’s what we were designed to do. We were made for God. Made By Him and For Him.
Whatever is worth most to you is what you worship. Only in the worship and worth-ship Christ Jesus who is worthy will we feel like we have connected with God and satisfied that internal God-ward magnet that is pulling us toward Him.
July 21st, 2009
Monopoly: Chance and Community Chest
Though they may not seem to have a big immediate effect on the game, Chance and Community Chest definitely affects the overall flow. There are 16 cards in each pile. When a player lands on a square with the Chance or Community Chest logo he or she must draw a card and then follow its instructions. In Community Chest the instructions are mostly financial and largely beneficial. Ten of the cards allow the player to draw money from the bank (or in one case, from the other players). The total haul for these cards is $850. There are only three bad cards and they create a cost of only $300.
Think of Community Chest as being generally positive and Chance as a bit more risky.
That’s a lot like life. We can get involved in Community and reap the overall benefits from the Community Chest. Sure sometimes it will cost us a little for the overall good. But the benefits of Community far out way the sacrifice. Or we can take a “Chance” and go it alone. I’m pretty sure I can make it without anyone else’s help. I’ll just take a chance, who needs community.
People Need Community
People aren’t just looking for a friendly church… people are looking for friends.
It’s this very idea that makes church, and especially “Life Groups”, so appealing.
Life Groups are a place to: Live in Community.
The statement “People aren’t just looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends” is backed up by some interesting statistics.
- People decide within the first 10 minutes if they will come back to a church, generally based on the friendliness of the people.
- People who drop out of a church within one month will usually do so because of theology.
- After six months, people will stay or drop out of church based on “how many friends they have made.” After one year, people will stay or drop out of church based on “the quality of friendships that they have made within the church compared to the quality of friendships they had outside of the church.”
People like small churches… or is it that people just desire small groups?
Do you realize that if a church’s weekend attendance totals about 90 people, they are an
above-average church (at least in the United States and when measuring by such numbers)?
If your church has more than 200 people in attendance, you’re among the top 15% of churches (based on size) in the United States. Rick Warren
Why is that? The average church in America is less than 90 people because we have a social and emotional capacity limit. Above 60-70 people, our ability to care, love, and know begins to diminish.
Therefore, we either intentionally or unintentionally remain small for the sake of friendships.
Research and polls indicate: When people were asked, “What factors led you to choose your church?” 90 % stated that it was the pastor and his preaching. When asked if the pastor were to leave would they stay at the church, their answer was “Yes”. When asked why, they replied, “I would stay because of the friendships that I now have here.”
That’s what keeps these small churches surviving. Its friendships, it’s belonging, it knows and being known, it’s that sense of community, and it’s that sense of family.
Social Channel Capacity
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”, pulls together some fascinating research on our “Social Channel Capacity”.
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s research:
Group of 5 people – You have to keep track of ten separate relationships: You have to understand the personal dynamics of the group, juggle different personalities, keep people happy, and manage the demands on your own time and attention, and so on. Group of 20 people – You have to keep track of 190 two-way relationships.
Neocortex ratio: The size of the neocortex relative to the size of the brain reveals that Homo sapiens estimated group size was 147.8 – or roughly 150. That is the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship with.
150 pops up in social circles.
· 21 different hunter gatherer societies’ studies found that the average number of people in their villages
was 148.4 – or roughly 150.
· Military organizations. “Over the years, military planners have arrived at a rule of thumb which dictates that functional fighting units cannot be substantially larger than 200 men.
· The Hutterites, a religious group who for hundreds of years have lived in self-sufficient agricultural colonies in Europe and, since the early twentieth century, in North America, have a strict policy that every time a colony approaches 150, they split and start a new one. They have followed the 150 rule for centuries.
Church’s less than 150 – 200 people are struggling.
Research and experience tells us that pastoring a church of less than 150 people is the most difficult church to pastor.
Church attendance is declining in America. Only 41 percent of the people of America attend church regularly. Let’s face it, most of these churches, though made up of saved, God-fearing people that love one another, aren’t fulfilling the Great Commission. They are not reaching a lost and dying world.
Rick Warren said, “A church that has no interest at all in increasing its number of converts is, in essence, saying to the rest of the world, “You all can go to hell.”
So, as long as there is one unsaved person out there, the church has a mandate to grow!
So what are we to do?
- Subdivide the church every time it reaches 150 people?
- Then, we would have several small churches that are hard to pastor and would probably be very ineffective in building the kingdom of God.
Should we have to sacrifice church growth for the sake of church unity and closeness?
Mark 6:30-44 JESUS’ PLAN TO FEED MANY PEOPLE
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.
(Divide them into groups / provide a comfortable setting.)
40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.
RESULTS: They all had plenty to eat and was satisfied. There was more than enough. Large numbers of people were able to be ministered to. People felt a sense of community.
When people get involved in a Life Group they will make long lasting friendships.
When they make long-lasting friendships, they will find the community they need.
Why is it important for us at Believers Church to continue to create an environment when community can develop and grow?
What or who was responsible for leading you to Christ?
1% Special Need / 2-3% Walked In / 5-6% Pastor / 1-2% Visitation / 4-5% Sunday School / 5% Evangelistic Crusade / 2-3% Church Program / 75-90% Friend or Relative
It’s in an environment of community that Christ Jesus’ love can be experienced. That we can continue to be “Just Walk Across the Room” type people. Just as we saw in Mark 6 that Jesus can feed people through us.
 Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, (New York, Boston: Little, Brown and Company,
2002), p. 175-181
July 20th, 2009
Vision Dinner and New Members Class
I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to join Janet and I and the Staff of Believers Church for dinner this Friday Night. This will be a chance for us to get to know you better and for you to discover the Vision of Believers Church. At this dinner you will understand why God planted Believers in Statesboro, why we do what we do and where are we going in the future. The dinner will be at the church this Friday, 07-24-09 at 6:30 p.m. Child care is provided. I would love for you to join us. If you would like to attend respond to this e-mail or contact the church office at 912-681-1440.
Also if you are ready to take you church experience to a HNL, become a Member of Believers Church!
You will need to attend a onetime requirement membership class this Saturday, 07-25-09 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided. Due to the length of the class we don’t provide child care at the church, but we will give you a child care voucher to help offset the cost your child care.
At this class you will learn what membership is all about. What is required of a member and what we the church will do for you as a member. You will discover your Spiritual gifts and see how they flow with Believers, you will see the purpose of Baptism, Life Groups, the Ministries of Believers Church, our vision for Children’s ministries, learn about our church government, our Tenets of Faith, and what we believe about church in general.
This is always a fun and exciting time together. You don’t have to join Believers Church after attending the class, but you will be able to make an informed and prayerful decision about joining Believers.
July 16th, 2009
Join us this Sunday at Believers Statesboro
9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. for “Just Walk Across the Room”. A series written by Bill Hybels.
Grander Vision Living
When Jesus Christ entered the scene more than two thousand years ago, he lived out this “Grander Vision”
concept — prioritizing people above all else, seeking out potential in everyone he met, and taking action to
draw them toward his Father. As he departed, he in essence said, “What I’ve done, I now want you to do!
“Abandon your lesser visions in favor of living life the way I intended . . . with one eye on me, one eye
on the people I love, and a heart that beats fast for kingdom-building activity. Live in light of the reality
that the only things you can take to heaven are the people whose lives you touch! Throw your one and only
life — all of your energies, your resources, your passion— into making a difference with people, and you
will one day say, ‘Now that was a life well-lived!’ ”
At its core, Grander Vision Living means allowing other pursuits to fall away in order to focus on the priority that is nearest to the heart of God. And when you choose to pursue the Grander Vision, you will be partnering with God in the most magnificent mission imaginable: finding what’s lost, restoring what’s broken, and reclaiming what’s his.
Based on chapters 9 – 1 of Just Walk Across the Room, the message for Week 4: Grander Vision Living says “the invitation to live the Grander Vision has been extended to Christ-followers of all shapes and sizes, of all backgrounds and preferences.”
Now, a choice has to be made. The invitation is yours to accept or decline.
What is Grander Vision Living? It’s allowing other pursuits to fall away in order to focus on the priority that is nearest to the heart of God: people.
When you choose to pursue the Grander Vision, you will be partnering with God in the most magnificent mission
imaginable: finding what’s lost, restoring what’s broken, and reclaiming what’s his.
• The priority is people
• The focus is potential
• Start small . . . but start!
It’s Time to Party!
We will encourage you this week to rally with some of your newfound neighbors, small group members, or
others from our church, to host a “Matthew Party” — a social occasion where nonbelievers and believers can rub shoulders in hopes of something spiritual unfolding.
July 11th, 2009
Last year we began an amazing project at Believer’s Church in Statesboro. The Backpack Project is a project where we gave backpacks filled with school supplies to under resourced kids in our community. We learned that one of the reasons that lots of kids are hesitant to go back to school was because their parents did not have the money to purchase their school supplies. In a few short weeks, last year, we raised enough money to purchase and fill 500 backpacks. The cost of a filled backpack is $10.
This was a HUGE success. The youth of our church helped “pack” the backpacks and as part of this they wrote a personal note to the recipient of the backpack and placed it inside. I can not begin to tell you how incredible this project was. Click here to see pictures and read my blog about this from last year.
Due to the challenging economy – our church as decided to stretch our goal this year to 750 backpacks. Edie Grace has set our “family” goal to purchase 50. Last week we hosted a garage sale and we have sold Lemonade and popcorn at events downtown. So far she (we) have raised over $300. We need your help to meet our “family” and church wide goal.
There are two ways you can help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a pledge of a contribution of $10 for every backpack you want to sponsor. Please have your children write notes to the recipient for each backpack you sponsor and we will include it in “your” backpacks – if you wish.
The second way – is to book a full session with me. The next FIVE sessions booked – I will donate HALF of your sitting fee directly to the project in your honor.
Mark your calendar and bring your family out on Saturday, August 1st as we meet these families and remind them of God’s love for them with this gift.
Our world has really changed quickly lately. Kids need our help…not just in Africa and other parts of the world…but in our own towns too! Jesus said, . . . I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40, NIV).
July 11th, 2009
The Power of Story
What does it mean to talk like a walk-across-the-room person?
Do walk-across-the-room people communicate differently than others?
When sharing something as significant as God’s redemptive story, what are the “right” words to use?
Is there a “right” way to tell your personal faith story?
Based on chapters 6 – 8 of Just Walk Across the Room, the message for Week Three: The Power of Story seeks
to answer these essential questions and more. If you’ve ever been in a conversation that turned spiritual and found yourself cotton-mouthed regarding how to explain who God is and what he has done in your life, this message is for you!
Christ-followers often struggle to convey the heart of God’s redemptive activity and the “nut” of the before-and-after difference his intervention has made in their lives.
They talk too much; they use fuzzy terminology; they drop four-syllable “Christianese” words on their listener;
they speak in a manner that comes across as haughty, pious, or superior.
Obviously, none of these approaches serves the cause of Christ very effectively.
We can do better.
The Power of Story reminds Christ-followers that there is supernatural strength inherent in words. And the words we choose to use when conveying God’s story and our faith stories can make or break an interaction with someone far from God. When we speak words of life, of light, of encouragement, of authenticity, and of grace, we leave the listener with a deep desire to know more of this God we know. Isn’t that the goal for us all?
Reflecting Christ in everyday life by definition means communicating with effectiveness and efficiency — as well as humility, brevity, clarity, and simplicity.
Regardless if they are formally “gifted” in evangelism or not, all Christ-followers can be prepared to engage
People in spiritual conversations and do what they can to point people toward faith in God. When conversations
do take a spiritual turn, it is critical to know how to convey two stories with humility, clarity, and brevity: your own faith story, and God’s Good News story.
• Stories — and the words used to tell them —are powerful!
• God has a story . . . learn to tell it well!
• YOU have a story . . . learn to tell it well!
July 3rd, 2009
Church in 3D? Part of Sunday’s service at Believers will be in 3D.
3D glasses will be issued when you arrive.
This is week two of our “Just Walk Across the Room” church wide campaign. This week “3D Living”. Join us at 9 or 11.
July 3rd, 2009
Believers Church of Statesboro (www.believersstatesboro.com) will be joining thousands of churches across America this Sunday, July 5th, to participate in a nationwide Call to Fall (see call2fall.com).
Check out the web page and join us as we pray for the healing of our Nation.