Blog Address Changed

17 06 2013

Hey Everybody, I’m now going to be blogging from a new address.  You can check it out at jeffmaness.com.

If you want to subscribe via a blog reader go HERE.

 





Sunday Ruminations (4-14-13)

15 04 2013

UNBELIEVABLE day at Element Church today!  WOW!  SO proud to be a part of this church and call these people my “family”.  I laid out a challenge last week to “Each one invite ONE”, and you took that to heart.  I prayed all week long for the ones you’d be inviting and we had an AMAZING result today.  Here are my ruminations on the day.

—  49 people acknowledged to us they responded to the offer from Jesus for salvation and experienced LIFE in Him.  WOO HOO!  If only for the ONE!

—  Please join me in praying for those people who accepted Jesus as Savior.  Pray that God would do the work that only HE can do in changing their hearts and lives.  Pray they take their next steps and get connected into Him.

—  We also saw 18 go public with their faith through baptism at the Cheyenne Campus.  LOVE LOVE LOVE baptism Sundays.  So cool seeing those people declare their allegiance to Christ.

—  We SHATTERED our previous non-holiday attendance high by over 100 people.  Again, SO proud of our church stepping up and inviting people this week to attend.  We definitely saw the power of ONE invitation.

—  I asked the band to perform a Rascal Flatts song today before the message.  That is a TALL ORDER but man did they nail it.  Pastor Devon killed the vocals and it was a perfect set up to my message.  The song is called “Changed” and it has an incredible message.  You can check out the Rascal Flatts version HERE.  SO good.

—  Asked the question “How can I be born again today?” in the message.  Talked about the power of ONE day, and how this could be your ONE DAY of salvation.  Preached from 2 Kings 5:1-14.  The story of Naaman being healed of leprosy is such a GREAT picture of how God wants to handle our sin.  Never preached from this passage.  Loved preparing and delivering it.  Here are some excerpts:

  • Spiritually ALL of us are lepers.  Our sin makes us unclean and that uncleanness separates us from God.  If left untreated it will lead to an incredibly gruesome sight in our hearts and lives, and outside of the miraculous provision of God, it is permanent.  (Sin does to our spirits what leprosy did to their bodies)
  • The admiration of men does not equal the acceptance of God.
  • If your basing your entrance into Heaven off how good you are, you better hope God is judging based on the curve.
  • The servant girl was taken prisoner from her home, but she didn’t let her prison keep her from her purpose.
  • Where we would see being taken captive as “God is opposed to us”, this girl say being captive as “God giving her an opportunity”.
  • Wherever God put you is exactly where He wants you to be, to accomplish exactly what He wants you to do.
  • When you experience the power of God you can’t help but express it to other people.
  • Naaman refused to receive healing based on his opinion there was a better or another way.
  • It wasn’t Naaman’s act of washing that healed him, it was his acceptance of the way.
  • God has A way to be saved and it’s either HIS way or the HIGHWAY…literally.
  • Out of the story we looked at 5 things needed to be born again today:
  1. Hear (Romans 10:14) Just like the servant girl in the story, I’m here to tell you: “Go to Jesus…He can heal you of your condition”
  2. Repent (Acts 3:19) Just like Naaman had to leave his homeland and go to Israel, so we must leave our old live and turn to Jesus.
  3. Confess  (1 John 1:9)  Just like Naaman had to admit he needed healing before he ever could be healed, so we need to admit we need forgiveness before we can ever be forgiven.
  4. Believe (Romans 10:9)  Salvation is not something you can achieve, it’s only something you can receive.
  5. Receive (Revelation 3:20)

—  I gave the clearest Gospel message I knew how to give today.  Praying God spoke to hearts as I prayed.

—  The power of ONE dollar experiment is going great.  Next Sunday is the last Sunday to bring a dollar to put in the container.  We’ll then collect all the money and bless 2 single moms for Mothers Day.  If you’ve forgot to bring any dollars the last few weeks, drop three in on Sunday and make up the difference.  I promise, no one will complain.  HA!

—  The power of ONE church serving ONE day is coming up on Saturday April 27th.  I’m going to be out serving with my family and I hope you will as well.  LOTS of opportunities for all ages to get out and serve our communities.  Go HERE to get you and your family signed up and we’ll see you out there.

—  Construction Documents have been completed and turned in to us by our architect for the remodel.  We are SO excited and SO close to getting this thing going.  We talked to the contractor about phasing and will be putting in for permits now that we have plans.  We’ll try to keep you up to date as things happen.  Hopefully, you’ll be seeing signs of construction around here soon.

—  Gonna end it there.  You guys are AWESOME!  Love being a part of your lives.

Till the end,

Jeff





Christmas Cheer

18 12 2012

Yes folks, it’s THAT time of year again.  The time where yule tide joy and Christmas cheer take over our lives.  Speaking of  Christmas cheer, Buddy the Elf says: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”  So that’s just what we’re going to do.  We’re gonna spread some cheer.  Here it is, my yearly tradition of sharing “Jeff and Ben’s Old Fashioned Family Christmas”  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!





Sunday Ruminations (12-16-12)

17 12 2012

Wow!  SO blessed to be a part of what God is doing here at Element Church.  What a great day.  SO thankful for the presence of God in our midst.  That is what we NEED!  Here are my ruminations on the day.

— 35 people acknowledged to us that they experienced LIFE in Christ through salvation.  WOO HOO!  If only for the ONE!

—  Someone very kindly told me after 3rd service that they are “so proud” to be a part of a church that is seeing people surrender their lives to Christ.  LOVED hearing that and I echo that sentiment.  So thankful that God is choosing to use us.  Unbelievable.

—  Had a guest worship leader this morning, Bryan Umphenour.  He led a few weeks ago and was back today.  SUCH a great job leading us in worship and the band…what can I say?  Thanks Bryan for helping us out!

—  Had a 5 part acappella group of Elementers sing “White Christmas” today.  They KILLED it!  Wow!  We have some talented people in our church.

—  Don’t forget, Christmas Services are this coming Sunday & Monday (December 23rd & 24th).  On Sunday the services are at 9 – 11 AM and 6 PM.  Monday’s services are 4 and 6 PM.  All 5 services are exactly the same so no matter what service you attend you will get the same experience.

—  Bake some cookies for a friend and take an invite card to invite them to one of our 5 services.

—  Continued our series called “Xmas” today by asking the question, “What’s the best way to experience our Father?”  Preached from Mark 5:21-34.  Talked about Jesus as our “Everlasting Father” from Isaiah 9:6.  Here are some excerpts on the day:

  • There is a reality about who Jesus is, and a reality about how He views us.  We cannot experience Him the way He designed us to until those two realities collide.
  • Most of the time it’s not Jesus that keeps us from experiencing Him the way we’re designed, our view of Him does.
  • My view of Jesus doesn’t change WHO He is, it only changes HOW I relate to Him.
  • The church has been great at yelling to the world “CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP!!” when what we need to be yelling is “COME TO JESUS!!”
  • Until I’m convinced that nothing else can fix me but Jesus, I’ll never experience the way that I’m designed.
  • It is possible to be around Jesus…even TOUCH Jesus without tapping into His power for our lives.
  • Way too many people are content never having a conversation with Jesus.  We allow Him to forgive us, but we never really become friends.
  • I think there are a lot of people who are more afraid of CONFESSING their faith in Jesus than they are of the COST of following Jesus.
  • The woman had to LIVE as a daughter, not just LOVE the fact she was called “daughter.”
  • Jesus doesn’t just cover up our sins, He converts us from sinners into saints.  He doesn’t just gloss over our faults, He makes His glory FULL in our lives.  He doesn’t just turn a blind eye to who we are, He turns us into someone who is becoming more like Himself.  Jesus doesn’t just give us a new name, Jesus makes us NEW!

—  REALLY cool to have my twin brother Jeremy in church today.  I used him as an illustration at the end.  It worked BRILLIANTLY!

—  Talked in the sermon about how we live our spiritual lives with labels.  Almost as if they are name tags that determine who we are and how we live.  I wrote on some “Hello my name is…” name tags things like: “impure” “unworthy” “worthless” “unwanted” etc.  I put them on my shirt.  Then I ended with how Jesus doesn’t just cover all those up, He makes us NEW, and I had my brother walk out on the platform and stand next to me.  Peoples faces were CLASSIC!

—  Jeremy was wearing a shirt with a giant name tag printed on it.  It said “Hello, my name is” then had a space to write a name.  On the bottom it said “I am wanted by my Heavenly Father.”  I wrote my name on there, illustrating how Jesus doesn’t want to give us a new name, He wants to take us AS we are, WHO we are and make us NEW!  Seemed to connect.

—  We gave out the same name tags that were printed on magnets and challenged people to write their name on it and put it in a place they would see it every day.  “Hello, my name is… I am wanted by my Heavenly Father.”

—  Heard a lot of comments about how much the sermon meant to people.  How God spoke to them.  SO humbled that God chooses to use us.

—  That’s it!  God is SO good!  Thankful for His presence.  I love you guys!

Till the end,

Pastor Jeff





A time to SPEAK up and a time to SUBMIT

13 12 2012

As a leader you need people who will SPEAK UP when needed, but also SUBMIT when necessary!

If the people around you are only allowed to SUBMIT but never SPEAK UP, you’re not a leader you’re a dictator!  OUCH!  It’s called “having YES men!”  As a leader, I NEED people who will speak up about things we are doing, directions we are heading, disagreements they are having.  I’m not infallible.  I’m capable of mistakes AND capable of missing the voice of God.  It’s called “being human.”  So I NEED people who will SPEAK UP when necessary.

But as a leader, I also need people who AFTER they speak up and AFTER I take their advice to prayer, as long as I’m not leading into immorality they SUBMIT to my decision.  In the same way, I need to CHANGE my decision and FOLLOW their advice after they speak up if they are in the right.  I NEED that as a leader.  You might say, “Where do you get this?”  Let me show you in Scripture.

1 Samuel 23:1-4 One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah stealing grain from the threshing floors. David ASKED THE LORD, “Should I go and attack them?”  “Yes, GO and save Keilah,” the Lord told him.  But David’s men said, “We’re afraid even here in Judah. WE CERTAINLY DON’T WANT TO GO to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine army!”  So David ASKED the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “GO down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”  So David AND his men WENT to Keilah.

David felt led to GO but his men SPOKE UP.  So David took it to prayer, he still felt led to GO and his men SUBMITTED and they WENT!  That, my friends is great leadership & great follower-ship.  But the flip side is also true.  Look at this.

2 Samuel 18:2b-4a   The king TOLD his troops, “I AM going out with you.”  But his MEN OBJECTED strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us,and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.”  “If YOU think that’s the best plan, I’ll DO IT,” the king answered.

David’s followers had earned the right to speak up, BECAUSE they were willing to submit.  And in this case, David saw that their advice was the RIGHT advice.  David trusted those around him as much as those around him trusted HIM.  Wow!  I pray for that kind of leadership!

Challenged,

Jeff





Focus MOST when you need it the LEAST

11 12 2012

focusThe time to be focused the MOST is when you feel you need God the LEAST!

Now friends, that’ll preach right there.  We have a tendency as followers of Christ, and especially as leaders, to REALLY focus on God when times are ROUGH but we kinda focus on US when times are great!  When we NEED Him we’ll call on Him but as long as we don’t need Him we’d rather He just leave us alone.  Come on now!  Just being real!

2 Chronicles 12:1 says about one of Judah’s Kings:  But WHEN Rehoboam was firmly ESTABLISHED and STRONG, he ABANDONED the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

If you continue reading it says that BECAUSE of his unfaithfulness, Egypt was allowed to rise up against them.  When Egypt rose up against them, they all the sudden humbled themselves, focused on God and asked Him for help.

It just made me think about myself.  Am I seeking God as hard when times are GOOD as I am when times are HARD?  The time to be focused the MOST is when you feel you need God the LEAST!

Focusing,

Jeff





Sunday Ruminations (12-09-12)

10 12 2012

— 20 people acknowledged to us they accepted Jesus as Savior today and experienced LIFE in Him!  WOO HOO!  If only for the ONE!

—  I’ll never forget the one face of a young man I saw in 2nd service when I asked for people to acknowledge their salvation.  He looked right at me with his hand raised in the air and tears of joy running down his face.  LOVE seeing people find life.

—  Tons of people responding as well, saying that God was speaking to them about something specific in their lives.  Praying for each person to have the strength to follow through on what God’s asked you to do.

—  Met a couple in the lobby after 3rd service who was SO eager to get plugged in.  They had a friend with them and were getting connected to volunteering and a group.  So cool.

—  Met another lady after 3rd service who asked where all the “gray haired” people were.  (She was grayed as well)  I told her they all come to the 8:30 service.  She said she would try that one.  HA!  Love it!

—  Announced today that we are officially moving to THREE services from the four that we currently have.  Starting Sunday, December 23rd, we will have a 9 & 11 AM service and a 6 PM service.  You can watch the sermon online by Tuesday to hear more of the explanation.  Essentially it boils down to getting healthy in our volunteer teams.  All external indicators say we should stay at four, but it has been a battle to successfully fill all necessary volunteer positions to minister to the people God brings us.  It is going to be FULL in our worship center, so be prepared.  We’ll put all 400 chairs in and fill it up.  We’ll try this for a season and see what happens.  We are NOT stopping our focus of REACHING people for Jesus.

—  THANK YOU to all those who are currently volunteering.  You guys are SO valuable to what we do.  What you do MATTERS!  Thank you.  You are the BEST volunteers on the planet.

—  We continued our sermon series called “Xmas” today by asking the question, “How is Jesus Mighty in the Quiet.”  I did about 3/4 of the message in complete silence.  Not saying a word.  We used cue cards, a television, a whiteboard and our projectors to communicate the message.  It seemed to be powerful and really connected with people.  Silence is AWKWARD, but so many times, it’s in the QUIET that God is mightiest.  Preached from 1 Kings 19:1-18.  Here are some excerpts on the day:

  • When it seems that Jesus is missing and appears that He is silent, is perhaps when He’s the mightiest and speaking to us the loudest.
  • God doesn’t NEED to ask what you’re doing here.  He already knows.  He asks because we need to ADMIT what we’re doing here.
  • God wasn’t mightiest in the wind, the earthquake or the fire.  He was mightiest in the quiet.
  • When you focus on WHAT you’re doing here, you can forget WHO is with you.
  • In the quiet Jesus confirms His presence.
  • In the quiet Jesus confirms His purpose.
  • God doesn’t want us to re-live our past.  He wants to redeem our past for His purpose.
  • The devil wants us to believe our purpose died based on what we did.  You’re purpose, though is not based off what you did or based off who you are.  It’s based off who God is and what He’s already done.
  • God wants you to know your purpose more than YOU want to know your purpose.
  • When God says “I will,” it will always be done “His way!”

—  It was VERY weird only preaching the introduction and then response time at the end but it was a lot of fun.  I trust that God used this unique delivery to speak to your heart.  We’ve been planning this and praying over it for WEEKS now.

—  Thanks to so many of our team that worked EXTRA hard getting this sermon all set up.  There were a TON of moving parts and it all worked seamlessly.

—  WOW, did we have a worship moment today!  We Bring You Honor was AMAZING and then Kara stinking slayed the song “Winter Snow.”  So good!  Every week I’m continued to be blown away at the level of talent God’s brought to us.  Thankful for such a great team.

—  Don’t forget, we are having FIVE Christmas services on December 23rd and 24th.  9:00 AM // 11:00 AM & 6:00 PM on the 23rd, and 4:00 & 6:00 PM on the 24th.

—  On Sunday, December 30th we are letting YOU decide what we sing and what is preached.  Go HERE and you can vote for your favorite worship songs and submit a question for me to answer.  I’m going to answer as many of them as I can.  There are some GREAT questions coming in so far.

— That’s it.  I love you guys!  SO SO proud to have you as my church home.  You guys are amazing!

Till the end,

Jeff





Sit and wait vs Stand and walk

5 12 2012

photoWhen it comes to prayer, there is a time to sit and wait, and there is a time to stand and walk. 

Almost every day I’m at the office I try to prayer walk around our facility.  I pray for God’s protection, for His Spirit’s presence, that He would bring the right people each week to hear the Gospel.  Each time, I stop at the back of the building and I place my hand on one particular block, and I pray over our facility.  I’m sure I’ve looked weird to several people who see me with a hand outstretched on the back of our building.

Well, the last couple days, right in front of the block where I stop and pray, this chair was sitting there.  We are in the middle of construction so we have some huge dumpsters out back and apparently when someone rents a big dumpster it signals the entire neighborhood that they can bring all their trash to your property.  I guess it was too hard for this person to throw the chair into the dumpster, so they just set it down by the wall.

Well, this last time I walked by that chair sitting right in front of where I pray, made me think:  “When it comes to prayer there is a time to sit and wait, and there is a time to stand and walk.”  And we struggle, I think, knowing when to do what.

I think sometimes we keep praying about something and God’s waiting for us to do something.  Other times we start doing something when God’s asking us to sit and wait on something.  I guess I’m writing this not to tell you what YOU’RE supposed to do.  I’m just reminding us, there is a time to WAIT and there is a time to WALK.  Which one are you in?

Waiting,

Jeff





Mountains AND Valleys Can Lead To Disaster

11 10 2012

Don’t make DECISIONS on the mountain and don’t be DEFINED by the valley.

That is a principle that plays into every area of our life.  Making decisions on the mountain tops of life and being defined by the valleys of life can both lead to disaster.  If I were DEFINED by my greatest failure, I’d never get out of bed each day.  I’d never live in the FULLNESS of God’s grace.  And if I made DECISIONS solely based on my greatest successes, I’d never go to bed and I’d outrun God’s FAITHFUL direction.

In Luke chapter 9, Jesus had taken his inner circle of disciples (Peter, James and John) up on top of a mountain.  While there His body was transformed, His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light.  Then BAM…Moses and Elijah appear and began talking with Jesus.  To a Jewish man these were the prophets of ALL prophets.  All stars.  Superstars.  You name it.  The disciples I’m SURE had goosebumps and tear drops.  It was a MOUNTAINTOP experience.

And Luke 9:33 says this, As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, (made a decision) “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 

“Let’s stay here God.”  Is essentially what he was saying.  “This is SO AWESOME let’s not leave!  We don’t want this to end!”  If Peter’s decision on the mountain would of held, what would of happened?  I guess we’ll never know.  But I do know, according to Scripture, that when they came down FROM the mountain Jesus was met by a crowd where He healed a demon possessed boy.  If the decision had HELD on the mountain, the boy would not have been HEALED by the Messiah.  DISASTER.

Fast forward a bit in Scripture and Peter had denied Jesus three times just as He predicted.  This was the LOWEST of LOWS for Peter.  Talk about a fall from the mountain.  Compared to the transfiguration, Peter’s denial was the bottomless pit.  Something he never IMAGINED could happen.  He even SWORE it would never happen.  Then BAM (kinda like the arrival of Moses and Elijah) Peter denies Jesus THREE TIMES!  He was crushed.  Embarrassed.  Defeated.  But THANKFULLY, he wasn’t DEFINED by the valley.

Years later Peter wrote this in 1 Peter 1:3,  All praise to GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great MERCY that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.    

Ya think Peter wrote that verse thinking of his greatest failure?  I do…and WOW!  If God’s mercy can overcome Peters denial at Jesus’ GREATEST time of need, don’t you think His mercy can overcome your greatest failure?  What if Peter would of remained in the valley?  DISASTER!  He was a PILLAR of the early church and an author of two books in the Bible.

All that to say this:  Don’t make DECISIONS on the mountain and don’t be DEFINED by the valley.

Trying,

Jeff





Run Element RUN!!

23 08 2012

Hey Element Church!  Just wanted to give you one more heads up on what’s happening this week with I Heart Cheyenne.  As of today we have served together as a church 8,134 hours in our community.  That is absolutely AMAZING!  So proud of you guys.  This Saturday is gonna be a blast as we run & walk the Element Church 5k to raise money for Comea Homeless Shelter and LifeChoice Pregnancy Care Center.  You can sign up to volunteer at the 5k HERE and you can register to participate in it HERE.  The cost is $20 and you’ll get a 5k t-shirt, a cool gift bag and there are prizes for the top finishers in the race.  (Good prizes I’m told)  This is a fun and easy way for us to get out and serve two GREAT organizations in our community.

Don’t forget we’re also collecting new or gently used men’s clothing and accessories for a new organization called Discovery 9.  Discovery 9 helps men who have lost their jobs and are changing career fields get the clothing and accessories they need for their new field.  Anything from boots and belts to suits and shirts we are collecting. Bring the clothes to the church office Monday – Thursday 9 am – 5 pm, or to church on Sunday’s during any one of our four worship experiences.

There are still PLENTY of serving opportunities EVERY day of the week through the rest of the month of August.  Check out iheartcheyenne.com for all the serving opportunties. You guys have blown me away this month.

I’ll be out there running the 5k with you.  Just hoping I don’t cross that line last!  HA!  See ya out there.

Ready to run,

Jeff








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