• 005 Finding God

    005-04 — Finding God in Christ

    SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:15-20

    God wants us to find him so badly that He has gone beyond making Himself available, beyond revealing Himself in nature, and beyond revealing Himself in humanity. God came to earth in Christ Jesus so we could find Him.

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  • 005 Finding God

    005-03 — Finding God in Humanity

    SCRIPTURE: Psalm 8

    Recently, we have seen the devastation that people can cause. We see the evil side of humanity on a daily basis. However, there is something in humanity that, if we dig deep enough, will reveal God to us.

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  • 005 Finding God

    005-02 — Finding God Through Nature

    SCRIPTURE: Psalm 19

    Our world is full of people who are looking to ?Mother Earth? to give them hope and meaning. It’s truly sad because nature is supposed to point us to God! Looking at our world properly, we can find God.

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  • 005 Finding God

    005-01 — God Can Be Found

    SCRIPTURE: Psalm 32

    We spend so much of our lives looking for something to make us truly happy. We imagine there is the possibility that we could experience true joy. Well, our answer ultimately lies in finding God. The good news is that He can be found!

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  • 004 Seeking the Lost

    004-03 — Stockbroker to a King

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    How would you feel if the king of all the land hired you to invest his money? How would you react? How would you invest it? What kind of investment do you think God wants us to be making for him? Listen up!

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  • Personal

    Monday, September 17, 2001

    This last week has just been madness for me. I tried last week to encapsulate the events of Tuesday in my journal, but I ran out of time to do it, and I assume that I will run out of time today to complete it, so I will try to be summarizing and somewhat brief.

    Last Tuesday, I was watching the news as the events unfolded and as reporters were still confused about all that was happening. I was shaken by the immense act these terrorists had done, and some of the initial harrowing predictions of casualties numbered upwards of 10,000 (even today, nearly 5,000 are missing and presumed dead). I decided that I needed to go to work for a bit, so I came over to my office. On my way over, though, I thought it might be a good idea to open up the sanctuary to people who wanted to pray. I came into my office, and almost immediately there was a knock on our office door. I opened it, and there was a man standing there who looked a little dazed and confused, so I thought he was shaken up by the events of the morning. I invited him in to talk with me and to pray if he wanted to and he said he would appreciate that.

    Right after he came in, Virginia Baumann came out of the bathroom and told me she really needed to see me, so I asked this fellow to wait just a few minutes in the hallway in front of my office so that Virginia could tell me what was going on with her. She came into my office and told me that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was going to have surgery soon! We prayed about it, and then she left.

    Now, remember, Mildred Takecare had died the previous Friday, and we were all in the throes of putting together a funeral service. (I was trying to put together my first funeral service ever, and I was rather nervous about the whole thing.) Also, remember that the previous Sunday was my “altercation” with P.C. Straw and the sound guys about improving the quality of our sound (P.C. walked out and then came back, and we talked, and he said it was all cool…) Finally, remember that Monday had been my extended conversation with Lorraine about all the monkey business between the sound guys and the worship team. Argh!

    Anyway, this fellow, named Miguel, told me after quite a bit of coercion that he had been confused for the last two weeks about his whole life. To make a LONG story somewhat shorter, I eventually pieced together that he had been in some kind of organized crime group and two weeks previously, he decided he hated his life and wanted to change. He started going to church and eventually got a meeting with the pastor there who witnessed to him and counseled him to leave his life of crime behind. He told his boss that he was out. His boss told his uncle. His uncle put a gun in Miguel’s mouth. Miguel panicked. The boss stood up for him. He went back to work, and Tuesday morning he was on his way to make a delivery of some kind when he decided to just run away. He dropped the car somewhere, took a bus, and ended up at our church talking to me.

    Well, after about two hours of talking with this guy, I was pretty convinced that for some reason, God had brought him through the last two weeks, and for some reason God had brought him to our church. He was VERY willing to be obedient to anything God told him, and anything I told him because as a pastor, I was a representative of God. We talked, and eventually decided that I would give him a ride to the nearest train station and loan him some money to get a ticket. I gave him a Bible and the street address of our church so that he could return the money if he ever got the chance to.

    We had a prayer service on Wednesday evening that was just wonderful (I thought).

    We planned the funeral for Thursday evening, but that day, I got a phone call from Gary Bledsoe saying that Perry for some reason was opposing my ordination, and he wanted to know why that might be so. I read my email, and Perry had sent an email telling all the stewards that he would oppose my ordination if it came before the congregation that Sunday. He sent me an email listing some other grief he had with me, and he carbon copied that email to both Bob Carlson and Lorraine. I sent an email back to the stewards explaining that I wasn’t being pushy with the whole ordination thing and that I was willing to do it whenever the church wanted to make it happen because I had already done my part of the whole thing.

    Anyway, Perry and I spent about an hour and a half on Thursday afternoon talking about his “observations” about me, and me trying to explain to him that his methods had been inappropriate, and him saying that I had asked him to do that for me…

    I don’t want to continue in that vein, but you can clearly see that the week was absolutely harrowing from a spiritual/stressful/practical point of view. Sunday was our annual budget meeting and the church put together a task force to plan my ordination, and Perry didn’t say anything.


    Lord, I’m confused about how to deal with Perry and his family. Mostly, I’m confused about how to understand him. I have the sense that Lorraine and I can talk and understand each other, but I feel like everything I say to Perry just gets all jumbled up once it hits his ears. I asked him to make a small list of my offenses and what he wants to see accomplished in the meeting he wants to have, and today, he sent me an email with a two-page document outlining all manner of things without any comments on what he wants to see accomplished in our meeting. I have told him many times that I never asked for him and Bob to be my accountability partners, but that I wanted him to call me on individual issues on an individual basis, but he still thinks it is necessary to have all three of us meet together. I don’t really know what to do, because I can’t think of any potential good that can come out of this meeting, unless he hears me totally capitulate to everything he accuses me of and requests of me. I think he wants to have Bob in the room so that there is a little more firepower on his side. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to have a meeting with Perry at all, but I really don’t want to have a meeting with him and Bob. All I can think is that I have to tell him that I mistakenly told him something that shouldn’t happen in the context of this church. Perhaps I need to tell him that if he has a personal problem with me being the pastor, he should speak with someone on my pastoral cabinet or speak to the steward of Human Resources. I think I would prefer for him to handle things that way. But I need your wisdom about this.

    Lord, I pray that you would watch over Miguel and help him to get to where he wants to be both in terms of physical location and in terms of spiritual maturity. He is in your hands now, and I ask that you would hold him tightly so that he could realize your power in his life. Help him to grow closer to you, and help him to see you more clearly even in his travels.

    Lord, be with Charles Takecare since he just lost his wife. Be with our church. Help us all to hear you above ourselves and help us to see Your passion for the lost people in this neighborhood. I love you Lord. Help me to love you more.

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  • 004 Seeking the Lost

    004-02 — 99 to 1 Odds

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    What are the odds of a good bet? Most smart people when faced with 99 to 1 odds would tend to side with the 99 over the 1. But what about those risk takers who bet on the 1? What happens if they actually win? High risk can mean high returns. Are you interested?

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  • Personal

    Tuesday, September 11, 2001

    Today is not only Jen’s birthday, but it is perhaps the strangest and most spiritually intense days I have yet experienced. Last night, God gave me a really good night of sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, but a few seconds later, my alarm was going off and I had slept through the rest of the night so soundly that it felt as if no time had passed at all. I had planned on getting into the office early today so that I could have a good amount of time in prayer before beginning the rest of my day, but I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up for another hour. After telling myself I would hurriedly get ready for work, I still took a little while to get ready. In fact, I watched the rest of “Arthur” on TV with Charlie after he finished his breakfast and Jen was in the shower.

    In some ways, that was all providential because after Arthur, Jen usually turns on the news to find out the weather for the day. Since I finished watching the show, I turned to the news and to my amazement found that every major network was showing live coverage of a fire in the first building of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. They told how at 8:50 am EDT, a plane had crashed into the side of the building, and I could see a gaping hole on the 90th floor where the plane entered the building. I was dumbfounded as I watched the news broadcast describing the horror of the moment, smoke billowing out of the top of the tower as if it were one gigantic chimney. Then, right during the broadcast, at 9:05 EDT, another plane entered the view of the TV camera and proceeded to smash into the side of the second tower as the cameras were broadcasting live video.

    I watched the broadcast for an hour there as the newspeople were describing the events and the interpretation of them. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the two planes were commercial jets and likely passenger jets. The government enforced a no fly zone around New York. Federal employees were being evacuated from Washington, DC. And then, the news came that American Airlines was confirming reports that one of their planes had indeed been hijacked after leaving Boston. That plane was the one that hit the second of the two towers.

    Then, while coverage was continuing and the news stations were continuing to describe the rescue efforts underway, the second tower buckled and collapsed. The ENTIRE TOWER just fell straight down to the ground like when large buildings are demolished with explosives. The top part buckled, and then fell destroying the rest of the tower underneath it. That happened at 10:05 EDT, but within another 30 minutes the first tower crumbled as well. Within such a brief period of time, both World Trade Towers were completely demolished! But the story wasn’t over. At about that time, it was reported that a third plane had crashed into the side of the Pentagon, and a fourth plane had crashed outside of Pittsburgh (apparently on its way to a more strategic target). All in all, two United airplanes and two American Airlines airplanes were hijacked this morning for this dramatic act of terrorism. Four commercial, passenger jetliners totaling hundreds of people, were hijacked and used by suicide bombers to destroy the Twin Towers, damage the Pentagon, and kill many more people in a field in Pennsylvania.

    There is just too much information to try to process all of it now.

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  • 004 Seeking the Lost

    004-01 — Party with a Pagan

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    Jesus led an amazing ministry. He continually confused people with how he lived. What was it about his ministry that drove him forward? In this message we see how a party with a pagan revealed the core of Jesus’ ministry.

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  • 003e Conclusion

    003-17 — Getting Started Again

    SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 4; 6:15-16

    Sometimes we can get halfway through a job and then just lose all motivation. We may face opposition or discouragement and want to quit. What can we do at those times? How can we press on to see the work completed? Perhaps Nehemiah can help…

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  • 003d Ministry

    003-15 — Pay It Forward

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    Personally, I think it would be great if you could make an investment that was guaranteed never to lose value. No investment is ever that guaranteed. The market can rise and fall, and inflation makes cash lose its value. But there is a way to store up treasure in a totally safeguarded account. Are you interested?

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  • 003d Ministry

    003-14 — Calling All Workers

    SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:1-8

    Imagine what would have happened if Jesus was all ready to feed the five thousand, but there were no disciples to pass out the food. What would it have been like if the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost to find no one in the room? God is calling for people who are willing to work in His kingdom. Is He calling you?

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  • 003c Growth

    003-13 — This Is Only the Beginning

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but God’s work in any church is NOT MEANT FOR THAT CHURCH ALONE! If God does something here, He intends for it to only begin here. If God begins to move here, it’s because He wants to begin a movement here. Are you ready? You won’t want to miss this motivational message.

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  • 003c Growth

    003-12 — Is Bigger Always Better

    SCRIPTURE: Various

    Nowadays when you meet someone new and tell them you go to Church X, they say, ?Oh, I don’t know much about that church. How many people go there?? Or sometimes, you’ll hear them ask, ?What kind of programs does your church have?? Our world thinks that bigger is always better (SUV mentality). Well guess what! When it comes to church, bigger and better relate in ways you may not have thought.

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