Really Big

The last few weeks have been very exciting. I work at NewPointe Community Church and we have been planning a community Impact day for this Sunday August 3, 2008. A couple of weeks ago, I was not sure we would reach our goal of 1,500 boxes of food for the food drive, and I was not sure how many people would participate in the community impact day. Well it looks like we are very close to our goal of 1,500 boxes. We had money donated as well, that will add to our box total. We also have around 1,000 people participating on Sunday. I hope to have a more accurate number next week. We have over 50 community projects in places like Millersburg, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, Mineral city, Bolivar, Strasburg, Dover, New Philadelphia, Dennison, Uhrichsville, Gnadenhutten, Sugarcreek, Baltic and Dundee.

Someone at work kept telling me all week this is really big (thanks Barbara). I totally agree, because I think this will touch people in ways we will never know. The old saying of people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is very true. When people know the church cares about them, maybe they will want to hear what we have to say. Maybe they will want to check out this church that is giving to the community. Maybe their lives will be changed forever.

I stand amazed at how God has brought this all together. I believe He has a plan in all of this, and I am so excited to be a part of it. I have heard so many positive comments and I also want to thank the many people that are leading these work teams and that have given so generously to the food drive and to community impact day. It is amazing what a group of people can do if they work together. God is Good!

Baptism at NewPointe

I love baptism Sunday’s at NewPointe Community Church. Today we baptized 9 people. Each one shared their unique story of what God has been doing in their lives. To hear stories of life change, and to see people making a public commitment to Jesus Christ is very exciting. I get to hear the stories of each person when we video tape them telling a little bit of their story. I always am encouraged by how God is working in their lives.

Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It is a way of publicly identifying with Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ day people that wanted to become Jewish had to go through a long list of things before they could become Jewish. The last thing on that list was to do a washing or baptism. When they came up out of the water, they were considered Jewish. This tradition transferred to people that wanted to become Christian or Christ followers.

Jesus was baptized by John the baptist to align himself with what John was saying, that the Messiah is coming, repent and be baptized. That is why everyone that calls themselves a Christian should take this step of baptism. Jesus did it Himself, and He asked His disciples and now His church to go into the world and make new followers, baptize them and teach them His ways.

In the New Testament, when someone believed and decided to follow Jesus, they were immediately baptized. This should be done when you make that decision on your own. Many people that attend NewPointe have been re-baptized, because they did not fully understand baptism before or they were baptized as infants. Doing it after they understood what it means to be a Christian is an important step in their spiritual journey. It does not minimize their infant baptism, which was very meaningful to their parents. It just let’s the world know you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It also is an act of obedience and submission to Christ. It represents dying to your old self and being a new creation, a new person. Our faith is a very personal thing, but Jesus asked us to also make it a very public thing, and being baptized is an incredible way to witness to people by sharing your story.

Our next Baptism is scheduled for Sunday August 31st, I can’t wait.

Single Parents

Being a single parent has to be a very difficult thing. Unfortunately many people are finding themselves in this reality. I am not a single parent and don’t pretend to understand the challenges they face. My heart does go out to them as they try their best to raise their kids.

On Sunday August 3rd NewPointe Community Church is offering a free oil change to single parents. This is a small way to say we care and want to help. To participate they must call the church office with information about their vehicle. That number is 330-602-5600. We will then give them a voucher good at one of 5 locations on Sunday August 3rd from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. They will get their car serviced, inspected and washed.

We are also offering free health screenings and free haircuts to children 13 and under that same day. The health screenings and haircuts are open to anyone. The church will be open that Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We will also be washing cars outside.

People attending will get free snacks and coffee. We are also handing out toothbrushes and floss. Some of the health screenings include, blood pressure checks, glucose screening, Cholesterol screenings, body mole exams, height, weight and body fat, simple hearing and vision tests and eye glass repairs.

We are hoping people in the community come and take advantage of these offers. We want to bless our community and let individuals and families know that we care about them. This is not a typical thing for a church to do. We believe by giving to our community we are showing God’s love and concern for all people.

Please help spread the word about what is happening on August 3rd at NewPointe.

Community Impact

One thing that I am passionate about is outreach. Reaching out to the people and organizations in our community and in our country and around the world. As a church we can make a difference. My passion to serve the hurting, broken and less fortunate people in our world has been growing. Every day I talk to people that are hurting or struggling in some way. I have seen first hand the poor living conditions of people in our own community. I have talked to people that are unsure where their next meal is coming from. I have seen the destruction of a hurricane and walked the streets of garbage city in Egypt.

I believe God is moving in our community and He wants to use the local church to turn our community on its ear. To do that we all need to play our part. It starts by using the gifts and abilities God has given you to serve people. When we reach out in love to our neighbors, they may not understand it, but a seed is planted. They become curious about a church that gives so freely and really cares about the needs of ordinary people. Those acts of kindness draw people to God. It gives them hope and encouragement and can be the beginning of transforming their lives. It begins to build a relationship of trust that can lead to future open doors and opportunities.

Too often we sit on our hands and stay in our own little world. We don’t want to take the time it takes to really make a difference. What if we all served other people passionately and without conditions? What if we stepped out of our comfort zones on a regular basis? What would happen if that became our culture and we constantly were looking for ways to help and serve others? What if we sent hundreds of people on mission trips to the Middle East and to help with disasters in our country? What if we all gave ten percent of our income? What if we all did just one act of kindness this week?

I want to be a part of a movement like that. An unleashing of the local church that is so untypical, that is has ripple effects that will last for years.

On Sunday August 3rd we are doing a community impact day. On that day we will not have church services, but we will go out and be the church to our community. Groups, families and individuals will gather in locations of up to 20-30 miles from our church and serve people, schools, non-profit organizations and cities. These acts of service will generate a buzz around those communities and draw attention to God. That is the ultimate goal, to glorify God, to show people that His ways are not our ways. That Christians are not typical or ordinary but extraordinary and untypical.

I hope that all those that call NewPointe their home church will get involved and make a difference. This isn’t just about one day of serving, its about changing our communities and changing lives. It’s about being a church that shines so bright, it can’t be ignored.

Leadership Thought

I try to do a lot of reading, but it goes in spurts. Currently I am heading into a spurt as I am starting to read three new books. One is on leadership, and I came across this quote in chapter two: “Hunger itself is one of the biggest facets of leadership.” That is from the book Launching A Leadership Revolution, by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.

That simple quote really made me think. What am I hungry for? What gives me energy to start something, the stamina to persist in it and the will to finish an endeavor? I am in the middle of a huge challenge in my work place. This quote has helped me to step back and look at where I am and why I am doing what I am doing.

A hungry person will search persistently for food. I was on a diet recently and found myself hungry at times. When I was hungry, all I could think about was food. When was my next meal and what was I going to eat. A hungry leader will keep pushing forward no matter what stands in the way. A hungry leader is constantly thinking about what is next, what will happen if we do this or go there or try that?

A bigger question to me is what is feeding your hunger? Is it your ego? Is it your ambition? Or maybe it is your purpose in life, understanding why you are here and what role you are playing in this world.

Hungry leaders are driven to change the status quo. They cannot just maintain things, they feel compelled to grow themselves and their organizations. If you have lost your hunger, maybe you don’t have the right thing feeding it. Finding your bigger purpose in life can make you hungry again. The hungrier you are the bigger your vision gets and the more influence you carry.