Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pastor Jud Wilhite

Pastor Jud Wilhite is the Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV.  This church has locations that meet in prisons, and is revamping "Sin City". 

How to Stay Grounded

2 Corinthians 5:11-12

We are on an spiritual roller coaster in the dark.  We don't know where the ups and downs are.  We just know He is keeping us safe.

God knows where you are at and what you are going through.

Your responsibility before God is having a faithful and sincere heart.  Your responsibility is to have a spectacular promise. 

How to Stay Grounded

1 - Do a gut check.  (2 Corinthians 5:11-12)
     It's about being faithful to God.
     This will keep us grounded.

2 - Stay a little crazy for God.  (2 Corinthians 5:13)
     Ministry is messy because sin is messy.
     When you are stepping out in faith, it should be a little crazy.
     Don't make your crazy mandatory for others.

3 - Be compelled by Christ's love.  (2 Corinthians 5:14-16)
     You are dead. 
     What we deserve is hell, but He gave us grace.
     Go back to the place where you were saved!  Remember what it was like to be covered in sin, and then have a new life.
     I will not look back.  It won't be easy, but hang on.
4 - Focus on the task of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)
     We have the best job in the world - sharing the Gospel.

This was an amazing message.  I felt as if this message most applied to the volunteers who are all in for the launch of Elevation - Rock Hill.  We have had and will continue to have many long days.  We need to stay grounded in our faith.  I was very thankful to hear Pastor Jud preach this message. 

I hope it helped. 

One more message from Newspring Leadership Conference.  I saved my favorite for last.  :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.  He was raised Catholic, but at 19 he had a life changing experience when reading the book of Romans.  This is when he became a Christian.  Soon to be out, Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace wrote a book on relationships.

There was no title given for this message. 

Idolatry looks different for everyone: bed, desk, success, etc.

Why am I worshipping the wrong god?

Under every sin is an idol.

You can have a theology of love and grace but not have a reality of it.

Marriage gets better or bitter.

It doesn't matter what you say, your actions portray you.

Sometimes you suffer because you are wrong.

Focus on friendship with your spouse.

Are you friends with your spouse?

Be friendly towards all but friends with a few.

The first friendship of the world was marriage - Adam and Eve.

We are meant to be married.

We should be shoulder to shoulder and face to face in marriage. 

Many marriages get caught up in shoulder to shoulder time - doing life together, standing side by side.  Marriages need more face to face time, looking in each others eyes and talking.

Friendship changes everything in a marriage.

I find myself struggling with how to apply this message to my life today.  I hope to remember this message for the day that I get married.  I want to remember how key it is to be friends with my spouse. 

Pastor Mark spoke on a very personal level about how he and his wife, Grace were not having face to face time.  They were lovers but not friends.  Then, one day, everything changed.  Grace needed a friend, and Pastor Mark realized where their marriage had gone wrong.  It went wrong by always being shoulder to shoulder.  They learned how to have face to face time and be friends with one another.

For my married readers - I hope this can help your marriage.  :-)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pastor Andy Stanley

Pastor Andy Stanley is the pastor of North Point Community Church.  He is, also, an author, a well known communicator and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc.  NPM has grown from one campus in 1995 to five across the Atlanta area and has planted thirty strategic partner churches.

How to Navigate in Your Church During a Political Season

There is a huge difference between making a point and making a difference.

There is a difference between telling what you did wrong and inspiring to be right.

Neither Jesus nor Paul were content to make a point. 

It's fun to make a point, but hard to make a difference.

#1 - They leaned relationally in the direction of those they most agreed with.
     You can't make a difference in someone you haven't connected with.
     Sometimes the easiest route is the wrong one.

#2 - They were constantly at odds with the religious rights.
     It is all about approach.
     Jesus' "point-point-point" messages were to the Pharisees.  He preached to move the lost.

#3 - They were not concerned with guilt by association.
     You need to have influence in your approach.
     Jesus associated with the lost.
     Our Savior wasn't concerned with who He associated with.
     You can't influence without association.

#4 - They didn't judge outsiders for acting like outsiders (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
     We do a better job at policing others than ourselves
     Do not leverage your faith to get a political point across
     Colossians 4:5-6
     Let your conversations by full of grace

The early Christian church made a difference instead of making a point.
1 - Do not take a public stand on everything they want you to make a stand on
     Luke 20
     Matthew 21
     There are some questions that Jesus didn't answer.

2 - Do not fear guilt by association

3 - Do not attempt to police the behavior of people who don't believe what you believe.  It doesn't work!
     Our message is the gospel!!!!!

4 - When political and cultural issues intersect - talk about it.
     Talk to Christians.
     Set an expectation.
     Non-Christians get a pass.

My notes on this one may be a little confusing.  So, let me try to explain.

Pastor Andy Stanley got up and began talking about how we are entering a political season.  I began to think that this message couldn't possibly apply to me.  I was ready to put up my notes.  I ended up taking more notes from his message than anyone else's. 

The last set of four points was about how to go about making a difference instead of a point.  These are points straight out of the Bible referencing how Jesus handled situations.  Point number 4, he said was the most contradictory.  He spent all of his time talking about NOT intersecting politics and the church, but he concluded with - when they intersect, talk about it.  But, you need to talk about it to the Christians in your audience.  The non-Christians in your church get a pass at the message for the weekend, because the message is to believers. 

This message can apply to anyone.  Not just someone who stands behind a pulpit, or preaches to thousands every weekend.  This messages applies to you and me.  We need to be about making a difference in our church, our friendships, our family - not making a point.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I wanted to take a minute to apologize for apologizing for being MIA.

On Thursday, my life starts to get a little crazy as I begin to prepare myself and all eKidz volunteers for the weekend ahead.  There are lots of emails to be sent, scheduleing to be done, etc.  I stay busy until about Tuesday.  I have emails to send out after the weekend, to make sure everyone had a great expereince over the weekend, answer any questions, etc.

I have not forgotten about my lovely followers, the blog posts that I have promised you, or anything else!  :-)

God is working on giving me something amazing to write about, and I am just working those words out right now.  I should get back to you tomorrow with the next Newspring Leadership Conference post.

If you have any questions, or would love to have me write about something.  Please let me know!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pastor Craig Groeschel

Pastor Craig Groeschel is the Senior Pastor of  They have locations across the United States and meet globally at Church Online.  Pastor Craig is Pastor Steven's pastor.  So, he is my Pastors Pastor.  :-)

4 Ways to Make More Than a Difference (Acts 20:22-24)
How many of you feel like God wants to use you?  God wants to do more than make a difference in our life!  In order to go where God wants you to go, you will have to go! 

1. Spirits Prompting (Acts 20:22a)
There are times when God will pull you somewhere else.  When you learn to walk with God, you will have these pullings all the time.  It may be in a huge way (like to move to another city to start a church) or in a small way (to call a friend).  Do not ignore or underestimate this pulling.

2. Certain Uncertainty (Acts 20:22b)
When you follow God, you will have "Oh Crap" moments.  We can't handle the details.  Just do it!! You have to lead by faith.  If you aren't scared every once in a while, you aren't leading by faith.

3. Predictable Resistance (Acts 20:23)
If you aren't ready to face opposition, you aren't ready to be used by God.  Every significant move of God gets criticized.  Don't worry when you are being criticized, worry when no one criticises you!!!!  If you blame yourself for the decline, one day you'll take credit for the increase!

4. Selfless Passion (Acts 20:24)
I consider my life nothing to me.  If you want to make more than a difference you need to rise to an Acts 20:24 type of thinking.  His name is far better than any name.

There are three levels of thinking.  Start at the bottom!

Level: God
Type of Thinking - "God is Good"
Enemy - The Devil
This is where you make history!!!
Level - We
Type of Thinking - "We are Good"
Enemy - The outside.  Everyone not included in "we"
Living to make a difference.
Level - Me
Type of Thinking - "I'm Good"
Enemy - Everyone
People who want to make a name for themselves or a living.  You live to be about the numbers. 

There is no room for personal branding in the Kingdom of God.  It is all about our posture and hearth.  I'm not good, I deserve hell!!

I'm not and we're not - But He is!

Psalm 100

This was amazing sermon.  The part that hit home the most was the levels of thinking.  Many of us reside between the bottom two.  We need to find ourselves in the top level.  It isn't about us!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pastor Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church preached the second message at the Newspring Leadership Conference.  A majority of my readers are Elevators, but for those of you who aren't, I will give a brief bio on Pastor Steven Furtick.  He is from Monks Corner, SC.  At the age of 16, God gave him the vision to start a church in the southeast in a major metropolitan city.  The Furtick's and seven other families sold everything and came to Charlotte, NC to start Elevation Church.  Elevation averages over 12,000 people on a regular weekend and has six campuses.

Gratitude: Being Grateful 

Gratitude is key to leadership.  Keep a thankful heart.  We will not take this for granted. 

Psalm 69:30-31 - Gratitude is important to our God, so it needs to be important to us.
Psalm 22:3 - God is attracted to grateful people.
Acts 16:25-28 - After praising the Lord, the prison gates flew open.
Psalm 100:4 - God has a protocol for thanksgiving.  Say thank you before you say please.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Be thankful.
Colossians 3:17

5 Observations on Gratitude
1. Gratitude is never invisible or silent.  (Luke 6:45)
When  you are grateful, you'll tell them and show it!  If you're really grateful, it will pour out of your heart.  Example: Pastor showed a clip of one of Oprah's Favorite Things episode.  If they can be that grateful to get sparkly Uggs and a car, we need to be excited about being a part of the church of Jesus Christ.  We aren't in danger of being too grateful.  Unexpressed gratitude is a missed opportunity to praise God.

2. Gratitude sustains joy and blessing.
We need to learn how to sustain the blessings we already have.  If Christ is in you, you can relive his blessing!

3. Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.
You can't be grateful for what you feel entitled to.  You get to, not have to!  When you have to, you are entitled to it.  We aren't entitled to any of this!  Just to be used by God is a blessing.  God is God all by Himself.  We are blessed!  Every morning that we wake up, we have a direct deposit of His grace.  If He doesn't breathe out, we don't breathe in. 

4. Grateful people can find, enlarge or create a blessing in almost every situation. 
Example: When it rained for the first time at Elevation, Larry Brey found it as a blessing.  Some people are crap factories - They are able to find, enlarge and create crap out of almost every situation.  No matter what you put in, crap comes out.  It is easy to turn the blessing we asked for into a reason to complain.

That was an amazing message.  The things that got me the most were, It is easy to turn the blessing we asked for into a reason to complain.  And, we aren't in danger of being too grateful.  I hope this message hit home to you in one way or another. 

After Pastor Perry and Pastor Steven, I don't remember the order that they went in at the conference.  So, tomorrow I will write about Pastor Craig Groeschel's message.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pastor Perry Noble

This year at the Newspring Leadership Conference, Pastor Perry Noble was the first speaker.  Pastor Perry Noble is the pastor at Newspring Church.  Newspring has five locations across South Carolina.  His church is 11 years old and they average 12,000 people in attendance in a weekend.

Five Things We Need to Create a Church That is on Fire... John 2:1-11

1. An awareness of presence (John 2:1-2)
Jesus never showed up and the place got more boring! When the presence of Jesus is there, there is potential for a miracle.  Focusing on the presence of Jesus will make us fearless.  Why fear something so small when our God is so big?  We don't want to do church without Jesus.

2. A desperation for His voice (John 2:3-5)
We are more desperate for a code or a fix than just letting God do His thing.  The Bible says to do whatever He tells you!  We need to spend more time on our face asking Him what He wants our church to do.

3. A realization of what He has given us (John 2:6)
The vessel for the miracle was already in the house.  We focus too much time on what we do not have.  Be faithful and use what we already fave!  God has planted potential for a miracle in our House!

4. A desire to work hard (John 2:7-10)
Jesus told them to fill the jars.  It would have taken them hours and hundreds of trips to fill all the jars.  They were willing to work hard.  We don't think about working hard.  The servants were willing to work for the miracle.  It wasn't easy to fill the jars.  We need to be willing to perspire!  We have to be ready to make tough calls and have difficult conversations.

5. A desire for people to see Him clearly (John 2:11)
You have to talk to Jesus and use His name!  The amount of wine they had amounted to 908 bottles.  The reason He made 908 bottles of wine wasn't to have 908 bottles of wine.  It was so they would see Him clearly!  Who could deny that??  We are a temporary container.  Life is a gift.  Eternity is reality.  If our life sucks - we probably had a part in that!

Can people walk into the church and just see Jesus?

All of that is directly from my notes.  It is all straight from Pastor Perry Nobles mouth.  It was an amazing sermon.  This can apply to anyone.  A church staff member, a church volunteer, a small group leader, or just someone who attends a church! 

As an Elevator, number 3 made me think of The Code, "We think inside the box." 

Tomorrow, I will speak about Pastor Steven Furtick's message! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Newspring Leadership Conference 2011

Last year, I had the priveledge of attending the Newspring Leadership Conference as a guest of Elevation.  It was incredible.  This year, I debated buying the $99 ticket to attend this year.  I kept putting it off, and then the price went up.  I just didn't have the money to buy the tickets.

Two weeks before the conference, Jessica Bealer emailed me and asked me to attend as her guest.  I hesitated.  I knew how special it was to be asked to attend again.  But, I didn't want to overstep my boundaries at work.  They are so good to me, I didn't want to ask!  After persuasion from family and friends, I decided to ask.  My boss said yes! 

So, last Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the Newspring Leadership Conference, AGAIN!  It was an amazing day.  Seven amazing pastors from around our country poured into a thousand plus leaders in the church.  It was amazing. 

This week, I am going to write about one speaker a day.  Please come back tomorrow to hear what Pastor Perry Noble of Newspring church in South Carolina had to say.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Keep alert and pray.
Otherwise temptation will overpower you.
For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!
Matthew 26:41

God put it on my heart to come before you today and tell you to keep praying.  I don't know who this is for, or what your situation is.  But, keep praying. 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24

Many of you know about the situation I was in at work.  In case you don't, I will bring you up to speed.  At my previous job, I was constantly being tested by God to remain faithful.  I hated my job.  I would leave work crying on a daily basis, and several days a week I would break down in tears at work.  I hated my job.  I would pray the drive to work, the whole day at work, and the entire drive home for Him to rescue me from the situation I was in.  I strongly believe that the Lord feels our pain.  So, I was confident He felt my pain.  I just couldn't understand why for over a year I had to endure that pain.  I never lost faith.  I knew that He put me there for a reason.  For over a year, I would pray constantly that He show me what I need to be doing differently and bring me out of that situation.

Another thing that I believe is that the longer we endure a difficult situation, the greater the reward will be in the end.  The shred of hope that I held onto was that when I was able to leave there, my reward was going to be far greater than I could ever imagine.

Guess what!  He came through!  At the beginning of the summer, He brought me out of my previous job and a job far greater than I could ever imagine.  I have yet to regret the decision of leaving.  Everyday I come before Him with thanksgiving.  He didn't have to do all the He has done for me.

I tell you this story as I story of encouragement.  I spent over a year in what I thought was hell on Earth.  I stayed because He instructed me to.  I had faith that He had a plan.  I was confident that He would pull me out when the time was right.  I knew that He would reward me for staying faithful.

Please.... Don't give up.  He is a good and faithful God.  He will bring you out of this.  Stay faithful.  Continue to pray.  Expect that He will do nothing that the best for you.  You will come out of your struggle are much stronger person.  I promise!!!

Rejoice always,
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

If you need a partner in prayer, please leave a comment or email me.  I am more than happy to partner with you in prayer.  I will stand beside you in whatever you are struggling with.  The Lord is a good God.  No matter what you are dealing with, I know that He will come through for you, too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Good Life

Happy Labor Day!

The past couple weeks I have had the song, Good Life by One Republic stuck in my head and on my heart to write about.  I typically would post the video to the song, but today Blogger is being difficult.  So, you will have to click the link above and watch the video for yourself!  Sorry!!

Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

That is the chorus to this catchy new song.  There are a few things that I would like to tell the guys of One Republic and you!

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31

How powerful is that?  This is the good life!!  The guys of One Republic seem unsure if this is the good life or not.  I want to assure you that we are the redeemed.  We live the good life.  If we are in Christ Jesus, we have the good life!  We have the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Nothing separates us from the love of Jesus.  This is the good life!!!  Take comfort in Romans 8:37-39.  There isn't anything that you can do to make Him leave you.  There isn't anything that you can do to make Him hate you.  We are living the good life.  We have the love of Jesus Christ on our side. 

But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease,
without fear of harm.
Proverbs 1:33

Can it get any simpler than that?  This is the good life!  All we have to do is listen to him.  Listen to His direction in our life, and he will keep us safe and free of harm.

My prayer for you today is that you would stop wondering if this is the good life and take confidence in the fact that this is the good life.  If you have brought Christ into your life, you are living the best life possible! 

If these three weren't good enough for you, please pull out your Bible and read any of the ones below.  Any reason to doubt that we live the good life now? 

Genesis 18:14, Exodus 33:14, Joshua 1:8, 1 Samuel 2:2, Ezra 8:22, Job 42:2, Psalm 121:8, Ecclesiastes 3:14, Jeremiah 29:11, Nahum 1:7, Zephaniah 3:17, Matthew 11:28-29, Acts 17:27-28, Romans 10:9, Philippians 4:19, 2 Peter 1:4
Check out this link for multiple promises from God in each book of the Bible! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

It is a lovely Thankful Thursday.  I have so much to be thankful for!! 

1.  My job.  I have the best employers in the world.  They shower me with appreciate, love and gifts.  I do not deserve a job as amazing as the one that I have.  I get to influence the children on such a personal level.  It is a great feeling to have such an influence on two children, and the parents as well.

2.  My church.  I am in love with my church.  I am so grateful to have found Elevation Church.  I will never take the opportunity to be a part of Elevation for granted.  In 10 days, I will get to see Northwestern High Schools auditorium fill with people from Rock Hill.  I can't wait to see lives changed there.

3. My family.  My family is such a blessing to me.  I can't get over how much they love and support me.  They will go to the end of the earth for me, and I am so thankful for that.

What are you thankful for?