The Year Of The Comeback Follow Up

29 02 2012

Hey Element Church!  The Year Of The Comeback is in FULL SWING and we’d like to keep it going for you so check out this video for some helpful financial tips this tax refund season.  If you’d like to set up online giving go HERE and also, check out Joe Sangl’s website HERE for some incredible wisdom and tools on winning with money GOD’S way!





All About The Numbers

28 02 2012

When you’re all about GOD you will be all about the NUMBERS because GOD is all about the NUMBERS!

I said something this past Sunday that I’m SURE rubs/rubbed some people the wrong way, but I stand by it 100%.  That ANYONE who thinks God’s not concerned about numbers should read the book of Acts again…and I’d say, read the BIBLE again because I think it’s clear that He IS! (Luke records LOTS of numbers in Acts)

Now, a LOT of people would say that the church should NOT be concerned with numbers and that numbers SHOULDN’T matter, which might be one of the reasons that church attendance in America is DECREASING while the population continues to INCREASE.  I’m not saying that the church should ONLY be about numbers, but we should be ALL ABOUT the numbers, as long as they are the RIGHT ones.  Isn’t that the same thing?  Not necessarily.

Here’s what I think it boils down to.  The only reason we think the church shouldn’t care about numbers, is because we think it takes the focus off of ME, and we don’t like that.  When in reality, if God doesn’t care about numbers, He doesn’t care about ME, because I AM ONE.  Every number represents a person and every statistic represents a soul.  “For God so loved the WORLD (that’s a lot of numbers) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (That’s ONE number.  That’s ME and that’s YOU) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

1 Timothy 2:3-4  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL (lots of numbers) men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants EVERYONE (more numbers) to repent.

1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. (How high can you count?)

I don’t think the church should pursue GROWTH, I think the church should pursue GOD and when we do, GROWTH will happen.   Why?  Because God’s concerned about the numbers!  The first church in the book of Acts didn’t want more PEOPLE, they wanted more of GOD, and when you seek more of GOD you’ll be drawn to all the PEOPLE because God is ALL about ALL the people.  You can’t pursue God and pursue yourself at the same time.  But you CAN…in fact you WILL pursue other people BECAUSE you pursue God.

If only for the ONE…and many more ONE’S,

Jeff





Sunday Ruminations (2-26-12)

27 02 2012

—  Had one of our biggest 1st services in a while.  If you were in first service today, thank you and KEEP COMING!  It helps open up seats in 2nd and 3rd service.

—  Just before the offering, Pastor Devon shared a cool story that happened this last week.  Last Sunday we had a gentleman who attended our church, I believe for the first time. He had just moved to town, but the place where he was staying did not have heat on yet, and due to the holiday weekend it wouldn’t be turned on until Tuesday.  Pastor Andy spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we could do to help when he received a phone call from an Element family.  They had heard about the situation and opened up their home to him to stay until Tuesday.  LOVE that!  Radical generosity in action.

—  I’ve loved hearing about how you have been spreading the generosity this past week as well.  Already heard stories of extra large tips, paying for someone’s meal in the drive through and others.

—  This was submitted via Facebook this past week:   I took my daughter to Mcdonald’s for ice cream tonight and thought I’d use one of my “just because” cards to pay for the person behind us.  I love random acts of kindness and have done this in the past but I really felt great when I told the young man at the window what I wanted to do and he said “and you want me to give them a card right?” I said “yes, have you seen the card?” He said “yes a lot”!!! We are a generous church!!

—  HA HA!  I LOVE that he knew about the cards.  SO cool!

—  We continued our sermon series today called “Movement”.  We’ve been asking the question “What should we see in a movement?” and today we talked about “Continual Growth”.  It’s the fourth quality of a movement.  Here are some excerpts on the day:

  • If you think God’s not concerned with numbers you need to read the book of Acts again.  Luke records a LOT of them.
  • If someone says “They’re just all about the numbers”, my response is “YEP”!  Why?  Because every number is a person and every statistic is a soul.
  • Prayer is too often a way to procrastinate doing what we already know we’re supposed to do.
  • These people and the first church didn’t grow because they were seeking growth.  They grew because they were seeking GOD!
  • Peter wasn’t seeking to become a stronger Christian.  He was seeking God and in the process he became a stronger Christian.
  • This movement wasn’t seeking to become a bigger church.  They were seeking God and in the process they became a bigger church.
  • Obedience IS our success!
  • The first church didn’t want more people, they wanted more of God, and when you seek more of God you’ll be drawn to all the people and the people will be drawn to you.
  • Do you know what delayed obedience is?  Disobedience.
  • A church that doesn’t OBEY the Spirit will soon be a church that doesn’t HAVE the Spirit!
  • God won’t show you your NEXT step until you’re first willing to take the one you already have.  You may not be growing because you aren’t GOING to do what you already know to do.
  • God will not ask you to do what He has not prepared to come through.  If He’s asked you to do it He’s prepared a way for you to walk through it.
  • I’d rather have the power of God than the approval of men.  I’d rather be accused of having a ministry like Jesus, than acclaimed for having a great ministry by men.

—  The Gas Buy Down is coming up on Saturday, March 31st.  We will be paying down the price of gas by fifty cents a gallon at TWO Big D locations here in town from 10 AM – 2 PM.  We will pump the gas, wash windshields and be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community.  There are two time slots to serve in.  9:30 AM – noon and 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM.  We’re gonna need quite a few volunteers.  You can sign up HERE to serve.

—  Sunday, March 11th is our next opportunity to be baptized here at Element Church.  If you are new to the faith or have never been baptized, this is THE NEXT STEP for you!  We’d LOVE to be a part of your special day.  If you’d like to be baptized sign up HERE.

—  Don’t forget to keep praying your BOLD PRAYERS!  I’m praying for you every day!  You can read HERE for more information on the bold prayer I’m asking everyone at Element to pray!

—  That’s it for today!  I love you guys!  Thanks for being a part of our church family.

Till the end,

Jeff





Are You Mature?

23 02 2012

Well, it depends on what you are talking about.  I can guarantee you, maturity was not something I was (maybe even should say AM) accused of very often.  What can I say, I like to have fun!  (I even laughed out loud because at first glance my title could be mistaken as “Are you MaNure?  Which there could be a good blog post there about being “fertilizer” for the Word of God to grow & spread.  HA HA!  Ok, I know I’m proving my point) But I’m not talking about THAT kind of maturity.  I’m talking about SPIRITUAL maturity.

Spiritual maturity is not about KNOWING more Scripture…It’s about the Scripture KNOWING you!

1 Corinthians 4:20 says For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.

James 1:22 says But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

If merely KNOWING Scripture and STATING doctrine were the marks of a mature believer, Pharisees and even the devil himself would be leading the way in the discipleship process.  The Pharisees knew Scripture backwards and forwards.  The devil could quote more Scripture than we will ever dream of knowing.  In fact, one of the greatest signs of IMMATURITY is knowing more than what you’re currently willing to do!

Spiritual maturity is not seeing the RIGHT things in Scripture, but letting the Scripture help you see the RIGHT things.  (That’ll hunt right there)  It’s about seeing more from the perspective of GOD and what I need to do FOR Him.  It’s about seeing more from the perspective of OTHERS and what I can do FOR God TO them.  It’s not a lot of TALK, but living by God’s POWER!

I’m not saying I got this one figured out.  I just think we need to make sure we’re seeking the right things!

Seeking,

Jeff





Unity FROM God

22 02 2012

When God unleashes His Spirit on His people, the spirits of His people will be united.

This is something I didn’t have time to throw into my message from this past Sunday.  It was a total side note from the subject matter of the message, so I didn’t include it.  Here it is.  It seems like there is a lot of talk about WORKING at unity in the church.  As if unity is something WE do or WE accomplish.  Now, I do agree that we need to work hard at being patient with one another.  Not holding grudges or offenses against one another.  But I wonder if unity isn’t something we EARN but something that’s GIVEN.

Acts 4:32 says All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.

This comes JUST after God shook their meeting place with His presence and FILLED them with the Holy Spirit.  They didn’t do anything EXCEPT seek God. (Side note:  The presence OF God prompted them to give LIKE God.  Don’t seek His presence unless you want to give like He did)

Maybe unity isn’t something we should seek, at least not as much as SEEKING His presence.  Because when God UNLEASHES His Spirit on His people, the spirits of His people will be UNITED.

Seeking,

Jeff





BOLD Prayers

21 02 2012

Hey Element Church.  Just wanted to remind you that starting TOMORROW we will be joining together in 46 days of prayer and fasting for BOLD prayers.  Since our message on bold prayers 2 Sundays ago, I’ve already been lifting those of you up who are praying your own bold prayers and am asking you to join us in one for our church. Here is what I wrote in my ruminations blog from yesterday about this request:

—  Since there was a TON to get through today, here is some of the Impact update I gave (You can watch the entire sermon on Tuesday HERE):

  • Essentially we are in a state of pause.  Through the generosity of the people at Element Church, we have $500,000 in our Impact account right now.  This past Fall, we thought we were on the way to securing financing to start our remodel but it didn’t work out like expected.
  • Here is what it boils down to, we need more equity in our current property which we own.
  • We have spent HOURS in prayer and discussion on what our next step is, and this is what I shared with the church.  As your pastor, I don’t know what to do next.  I simply don’t know.  But I am confident of this.  GOD DOES!
  • We had initially decided to use the money that’s been given and START some smaller upgrades to our facility, but it just didn’t seem right.  I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit that we needed to wait.  So I’m asking you guys to join us in a season of prayer and fasting.  Starting this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and continuing through Easter Sunday I want you to fast from something in your life and pray with us these two prayers every day:
  1. For God’s wisdom.  Do we hold on to the money and watch how God provides the rest, or do we use what we have and start the project on a smaller scale?
  2. This BOLD PRAYER.  “God, we need $2,000,000.”  Why $2,00o,000?  I was prayer walking around our property in December and just felt prompted to pray for that specific number, and now I’m asking you to join me in it.
  • We are simply in a state of pause.  I don’t want to take matters into my own hands just because God’s not working on my time.  I want to do what GOD wants us to do.  More than anything, obedience is our success.

That last phrase there is everything to me.  Obedience IS our success.  I don’t know what the next step is but I am CONFIDENT that Jesus does, and I believe He will SHOW us the way or MAKE a way through this season of fasting.

I’m going to be fasting from a couple things.  I’m gonna fast from soda (just need to) and social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) etc.   I’ll still be writing blogs and my assistant will still be posting my blogs via Twitter and Facebook links, but I won’t be checking any of the blogs I follow, or doing anything myself on Twitter or Facebook.  I want to quiet my life from those mediums and seek God’s Spirit and direction.

Element Church, God’s NOT done with us yet and I believe the BEST is YET to come!  Nothing else changes for us.  We will STILL preach the message of Jesus Christ.  We will STILL reach people with the life changing power of Jesus.  We will STILL fund our ministries and we will STILL serve our city.  Our mission and vision remain the same, we just need to seek God on what’s next!

Praying,

Jeff





Sunday Ruminations (2-19-12)

20 02 2012

Another weekend past, and four more great experiences at Element Church.  It was a HUGE Sunday as I shared the latest update from Impact AND preached on money.  OUCH!  Here are my ruminations on the day.

—  Felt VERY apprehensive about today’s message.  I’m usually nervous (I’d question anyone who isn’t at least a LITTLE bit nervous when preaching God’s Word), but this was different.  There was a LOT to share and I just felt really uneasy about the whole thing.  I think it ended up ok, but didn’t feel great going in.

—  My notes were an absolute WRECK.  Scribbles here, scratches there.  I think I adjusted the sermon all they way up to coming into the worship center, and even adjusted some on the fly due to time.

—  Typically I have 35 minutes in our schedule to deliver, this week I had 45 minutes and I used EVERY one of them and then some.  Apologies to 3rd service for my extensive talking.  HA

—  Since there was a TON to get through today, here is some of the Impact update I gave (You can watch the entire sermon on Tuesday HERE):

  • Essentially we are in a state of pause.  Through the generosity of the people at Element Church, we have $500,000 in our Impact account right now.  This past Fall, we thought we were on the way to securing financing to start our remodel but it didn’t work out like expected.
  • Essentially what it boils down to is we need more equity in our current property which we own.
  • We have spent HOURS in prayer and discussion on what our next step is, and this is what I shared with the church.  As your pastor, I don’t know what to do next.  I simply don’t know.  But I am confident of this.  GOD DOES!
  • We had initially decided to use the money that’s been given and START some smaller upgrades to our facility, but it just didn’t seem right.  I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit that we needed to wait.  So I’m asking you guys to join us in a season of prayer and fasting.  Starting this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and continuing through Easter Sunday I want you to fast from something in your life and pray with us these two prayers every day:
  1. For God’s wisdom.  Do we hold on to the money and watch how God provides the rest, or do we use what we have and start the project on a smaller scale?
  2. This BOLD PRAYER.  “God, we need $2,000,000.”  Why $2,00o,000?  I was prayer walking around our property in December and just felt prompted to pray for that specific number, and now I’m asking you to join me in it.
  • We are simply in a state of pause.  I don’t want to take matters into my own hands just because God’s not working on my time.  I want to do what GOD wants us to do.  More than anything, obedience is our success.
  • So will you join us in prayer?  I’ll be posting more about this later this week.

—  We continued our sermon series called “Movement” today and talked about the 3rd mark of a movement…”Radical Generosity”!  Preached from Acts 4:32-5:16.  Here are some excerpts from the day:

  • If anybody should talk about money it should be Christians and the church.  We have the ability to redeem it, put it into the purpose of building God’s Kingdom and making the name of Jesus famous.
  • When we as Christians, together as the church, begin to live out these marks of a movement, we won’t have to TELL people about it, people will begin to TALK about us.
  • The presence OF God prompted them to give LIKE God.  (They shared EVERYTHING they had)
  • I don’t think giving is a HAVE to, I think it’s a GET to.
  • The only reason we don’t want to give is because we believe it’s OURS in the first place.  IT’S NOT OURS!
  • Here is the thing, it’s ALL God’s whether you believe it or not!
  • God never intended for the government to have a welfare system, He intended for His church to look out for peoples welfare.
  • We don’t GIVE money to God, we BRING it!  Why?  Because it’s already HIS!
  • God doesn’t need money, but I need to give it because it shows that I’m putting Him FIRST.
  • Tithing has very little to do with the church needing money.  It has EVERYTHING to do with you and your personal relationship to God.
  • When I talk about tithing, I’m not trying to raise funds, I’m trying to raise your FAITH.  It takes ZERO faith to give out of what’s leftover.
  • Most people CAN afford to give, we just have different affections.  If your affection is for Jesus you WILL give because Jesus is a giver.
  • Giving is not a money issue, it’s a MINDSET.  It’s not a resource issue, it’s a RELATIONSHIP one!
  • I could care less whether you ever give a penny to other people or to our church.  Ultimately, I care that Jesus is Lord of your life, and until you are faithful in giving to the Lord He is NOT the Lord of your life.

—  My prayer going into today was that SOMEONE would be set free financially.  Financial freedom has NOTHING to do with getting more money.  It has EVERYTHING to do with being free from the CONTROL of it!

—  Announced a gas buy down we have coming up on March 31st.  We will be pumping gas, washing windshields and paying down the price of gasoline by fifty cents a gallon to as many people as we can service between 10 am & 2 PM at TWO different locations.  The reason we are doing this?  JUST BECAUSE!  We want to lead the way in generosity to our community.

—  If you’d like to volunteer at the buy down you can do that HERE.  We are gonna need a BUNCH of people to help us serve our city.  Please take this opportunity to help us be the hands and feet of Jesus to people.

—  This past Friday we did what’s called a “stop and drop” at Dazbog coffee shop off Vandehei/Gardenia on the North side of town.  The AWESOME owners up there allowed us to pay for $1,000 worth of customers this past Friday.  They gave each customer a card that said “Just Because” on it from us.  I heard the line for the drive through was out of the parking lot.

— To close our service today I gave everyone a “Just Because” card and challenged us all to do something generous for someone this week and give them that card.  Buy someone’s coffee.  Leave a 50% tip instead of 15% at a restaurant.  Pay for someone’s meal behind you in the drive through.  Whatever it is, let’s lead the way in generosity.

—  We’d love to hear what you do for people with your generosity!  Let us know via Facebook or email how you served someone else with what God gave you.

—  That’s gonna be it for today!  Thanks for letting me share my heart with you guys today!  I love you Element Church!

Till the end,

Jeff





Element Church: DON’T MISS THIS SUNDAY!!

16 02 2012

Hey Element Church!  I told you this past Sunday that THIS Sunday I’ll be sharing with you a BOLD PRAYER that I have as your pastor.  It’s a prayer I need YOU to join me on.  This prayer has to do with our Impact Initiative and facility remodel.  I’ll be giving you a complete update on where we are at with Impact and what our next step is as a church.

As your pastor, I believe this is THE BIGGEST prayer request we’ve ever brought to God as a church!  If you call Element Church home and are going to be in town, PLEASE make it a point to be here for this service.  I believe the BEST is yet to come for Element Church and I CAN’T WAIT to see how God comes through on our behalf.

On top of that, we are continuing our series called MOVEMENT!  I LOVE looking at the marks of God’s very first church and pray that WE are being challenged to join God’s movement and bear those marks as a church as well!  Element Church, I love you guys and hope to see EVERY one of you on Sunday.  Appreciate your prayers as I put final touches on what I’ll be sharing with YOU my FAMILY!

Anticipating HUGE things,

Jeff





Desperate or Deliberate?

15 02 2012

God’s direction for our lives is not typically born out of DESPERATE prayers, but out of DELIBERATE ones!

Oh, we’re good at desperate prayers.  And now doubt, there are moments in life where desperate prayers are the ONLY prayer to offer.  In the wake of tragedy or in the face of affliction you lift up to God that prayer of desperation.  “HELP us God!”  “HEAR us God!”  “HEAL us God!” But if ALL we have in our lives is DESPERATE prayers, most likely we won’t find God’s DIRECTION for our lives.  God’s direction typically comes from DELIBERATE prayers!

Acts 13:2 says this One day AS these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the special work to which I have called them.”

Notice that?  Ok, maybe you didn’t.  I didn’t see it the first time either.  God spoke DIRECTION into their lives and it was born out of DELIBERATE prayers!  They weren’t praying WHETHER to commission Paul and Barnabas for their first missionary journey.  They were just PRAYING!  ONE DAY as these men were fasting and praying…JUST seeking God, God spoke direction into their lives.

Too often, we wait to pray until we HAVE to make a decision, and then we just pray a prayer of DESPERATION.  I believe the more DELIBERATE we are in our prayers, the more DIRECTION we’ll receive from God and we won’t need as many prayers of DESPERATION.  You’ll start to notice a lot more ONE DAY’S in your life when you begin to pray EVERY DAY!

Deliberate,

Jeff





Earnest AND Expectant

14 02 2012

It’s easy to pray EARNESTLY the question is, are you praying EXPECTANTLY?

On Sunday at Element Church, we talked about praying BOLD prayers, and how the first church prayed bold prayers.  But in Acts Chapter 12, we actually see the early church fall into a similar trap that we fall into. In Acts 12, Peter was again put in prison for preaching about Jesus.  Acts 12:5 says But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed EARNESTLY for him.

Now it doesn’t say this, but I would imagine the church was praying for his RELEASE!  That just seems to make sense. So what does God do?  Well, one night in prison, Peter is awakened by an angel who actually causes his chains to fall off and he leads him right out of the prison to FREEDOM.  Peter then goes to the home where the believers were gathered for prayer…EARNEST prayer…earnest prayer for HIM…most likely for his RELEASE!

Peter knocks on the door (very polite of him), a servant girl named Rhonda came to open it, when she recognized Peter’s voice she didn’t open the door (not polite) but ran back to the believers and said “Peter is HERE and he’s standing at the door!”.   Look at how the believers responded.  Remember, they were praying EARNESTLY for PETER!

Acts 12:15  “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”

They were praying EARNESTLY but they weren’t praying EXPECTANTLY!  Their response showed they didn’t really BELIEVE God could do what they were asking!

Our prayers should be SO BIG that we don’t believe they can happen, but our GOD is so big we can’t help NOT to!  Bold prayers cause us to pray EARNESTLY, but a BIG GOD causes us to pray EXPECTANTLY!

Expecting,

Jeff








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