Archive | December, 2012

Gotta LOVE the EBC Tech Team

10 Dec

Have you ever wanted to know what REALLY goes on around the church office during the week???

Sled Race from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

Today’s sermon: Why did Jesus come?? HOPE

9 Dec

Why did Jesus come?? HOPE from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

25 Years Ago … TODAY

5 Dec

25 years ago … a quarter-century ago … I did the smartest thing I’ve ever done (besides accept Christ as my Savior).  I married my best friend.

Life has been quite an adventure since then.  In every way, Diana has been the perfect compliment to me and my weaknesses…  When we married, I was starting a career I loved as a computer programmer.  We had planned to build a house on a couple of acres my mom and dad gave us adjacent to their property (when we could afford it).  Life was all mapped out and we were good with it.

About one month after our wedding, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  She had a tough battle, and Diana was right there with me helping.  And it was hard.  They say the first year of marriage is tough, and ours was really hard.  Mom got on the road to recovery (and has done very well since) and life resumed … until God called a couple of years later.

After I ran from His call for a while, life took us to New Orleans and my being a full-time student.  Diana didn’t flinch at the fact that she would have to find a full-time job (even though we’d been able to afford for her to be a stay-at-home mom with our toddler, Krissy).  Those were some of the toughest times, and also some of the best.

Since those days, life has been quite a roller coaster.  I guess everyone can say that about life, but our roller coaster has had some hills, valleys, and sharp turns that would snap your neck.  And in every unexpected turn, there she is … my wife … holding on tight for the ride and not shaken by any of it.  And able to make sense of it all.

Has life turned out like we dreamed many years ago??  Yes and no.  No, we are not where we’d mapped things out.  But that’s okay.  Because, truth is, we wouldn’t be happy being anywhere but where God wants us to be.  And I thank God for my wife, who not only understands that, but is willing to serve Him right along side me.

So, I know I’m a blessed man!!

Church Growth

3 Dec

How does one grow a church??

There are many methods and theories.  And, believe it or not, my Master of Divinity minor was church growth…  So, all that means is I’ve read a TON of theories and studies.  And I see a lot of those theories and studies happening in Florence.

One theory (and not one that I believe pleases God) is “Tell the people what they want to hear.”  You might call it prosperity gospel or a gospel of justification.  If I took the pulpit every Sunday and told you not to worry about the ungodly things you do in your life, or asked you to just give me $19.95 and in return you would receive ten times that in your checkbook by the end of the year … Those would be central ideas in those churches.  And, people FLOCK to those messages.  Because we all like to hear that it will be okay and we all would like to think that the sins we hold onto are alright in the eyes of God.   And there are churches in Florence, SC, that do this.

Another theory (a little more Biblically centered, but still has many  flaws) is to go after people who can help financially.  Make a concerted effort to treat them well and encourage them to give to the ministry, and then in turn really try to do ministry.  And, yes, there are churches that do this and grow big numbers with fantastic facilities.  And people flock to it. And there are churches in Florence, SC, that do this.

ANOTHER theory is to be primarily evangelistic.  The mission of the church is to tell others about Christ.  I love it, but the entire mission of the church is NOT only found in evangelism.  Don’t get me wrong:  The majority of our county is headed for Hell unless someone tells them.  That leads into ANOTHER theory, and one of which I am quite fond.

DEPTH.  Discipleship.  Learning what it means to be a disciple, and that resulting in telling others about Christ.  When we understand our purpose and what God is doing all around us, it becomes CLEAR when and where we share His good news.  It is the dual-pronged approach … GROWTH, not first by numbers but by maturity.  Spiritual growth that results in numerical growth.

Which do you see in your church??  Which do you think is best?