Archive for December, 2009
Posted on December 26, 2009 - by admin
I’m often asked by friends who are moving away, “Is there a church you can recommend in such & such city”? Two of my three sons and their families live in other places and they went through this experience also. For those with such questions, my answers are not always the name of a specific church, but rather the principles that I’d use to guide me in finding a “good church”. Here they are: (1) Doctrine. The content of what you receive is more important than the package it comes in. Now I believe in being relevant, seeker-sensitive, and providing new methods of delivery and presentation as a means to connect with the unchurched & the next generation. It’s highly effective. But at the root, if the doctrine is not Biblical and sound, the end result is a life built on sand. When tough times come, and they will, a life without a Biblical foundation will not survive. (2) Example in Leadership. Check out the personal life of the leaders. How do their children live? How’s their marriage? How do they manage their own finances? Do they pay their bills? How long have they been in this place and how did they leave the last place they were in? Do they seek only those who don’t attend a church or do they attempt to take members from other churches? These are ethical questions. Regardless of talk, remember, “Facts do not lie”. (3) Purpose. What’s the mission of this church? What are they called to do, and are they actually doing it? It’s hard for me to “buy in” to a church that says it cares about people and travels hundreds of miles to do “missions” for those of other races, when those same people would not be accepted in their church if they moved here and wanted to attend. Look at things like how many people are being baptized, are growing in their faith, are serving others, if they give financially (that’s a fact that doesn’t lie). When a church actually knows and does it’s purpose it “weeds” out some and attracts people serious about faith. A mark of a church doing its mission is that it will be a blessed by God and despised by the devil. One of my sons goes to a church that is often criticized for its size. He says, “The devil hates that church so that affirms to me that Gods using it”. Now remember, there’s no perfect church, because there are no perfect people. If you find one, don’t join it because since you are not perfect you’ll mess it up. But that’s not what to look for. Follow those simple guidelines and you’ll narrow your decision toward one that helps you grow and develop.
In closing, here’s our own story. I’ve been pastor at Cascade Hills Church in Columbus Georgia since Easter (April) of 1983. I celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary in July to the one and only woman in my life, Debbie. We raised 3 son, all married, love God, have good careers and know their purpose in life. Cascade Hills Church is devoted to reaching the unchurched for Christ and has been for the 27 years I’ve been there. Not once in 27 years have I ever asked a person attending another church to leave their church for ours. Not once. God loves other churches too and those attending there are needed there. I am a friend to pastors and other churches, not by words but by example here. Every year for the past 18 years we’ve led our city and the region in baptisms of those that come to Christ. We give generously to missions at levels that are surprising and our people serve our local community with genuine care for others. Our church isn’t the church for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. I only say this because that’s our story. I sincerely hope this information helps you in you if you are ever in search for a church.
Posted on December 12, 2009 - by admin
Cascade Hills DOES Church. The right way and for the right reasons. There’s not a day that the ministry they provide doesn’t impact lives one on one, locally & globally. This month they’ve given an enormous amount of groceries (over 600 bags already) to 4 local food banks for the homeless and hurting. The recent dollar per follower to Bill_Purvis @twitter provided a generous financial gift to Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Giving Tree Ministry of Cascade Hills asked every school counselor in the area to provide names of children in real need for Christmas. Thus far over 245 children have been helped. Here’s some of their stories; (1) a single mom with cancer and a totaled car has children ages 7,9 & 12. Her children like to read, so her only request was for a book per child. We’re doing much more, but that’s the heart of this mother. (2) Two little boys, ages 8 & 9, with no father, had the 9 yr old ask for a gift for his little brother because he thought we only offered one gift. We’re helping the entire family. (3) 6 children who live from relative to relative because they have no permanent home, will be provided for, and the list goes on and on. My wife recently bought and wrapped gifts for a family of 7 and loved every moment of it. Two of my best friends spent the day shopping for gifts for several families they adopted and I was amazed at how generous they were and the joy they felt. I’ve always said, “Givers ALWAYS have more than enough” and it’s a fact. Cascade Hills Church does ministry not just at Christmas, but all year long, every week, every day. Every week teams of people visit waiting rooms in local hospitals to provide snacks to those unable to leave since they’re waiting for loved ones in surgery. The number of ministries like this at CHC are huge and the heart of those behind them is even larger. That just one more reason I love Cascade Hills.
Posted on December 1, 2009 - by admin
This is a shout out to “Worship Leaders”. Just a sincere thanks from a Pastors perspective. You help us have greater impact and you give opportunity for people to draw close to God. And what’s so great about this is, that you do this week in and week out. Like pastors, lawyers and others, I know you’re disrespected at times. I’ve heard the old “devil landed in the choir loft” comment too many times to count. I know people without a clue ask “what do you do all week’? I appreciate the time you’ve sacrificed and the talent you bring to the experience. I’m aware that it took years to develop your skills and your heart is still in development. It’s not just a song I applaud. It’s the life, the devotion, the authenticity, and the support of the pastor and church. Sometimes when I’ve crashed and burned in preaching, it’s refreshing to hear someone say, “The music was awesome today”. And after you’ve heard my sermon for the third time each weekend, I’m amazed that you still laugh at the jokes or listen to each point as if it’s the first time you’ve heard it. Many times I’m tempted to point you out and say, “and on bass here we have….and on keyboard is….” because you bring it so well, so often. Thank you. I might not enter His gates with thanksgiving or His courts with praise without your reminder each week. For any worship leader or team member reading this who hasn’t felt understood or appreciated, let me speak for one pastor. We need you. We want you. You are a very important part of the team. Here’s a life lesson I learned long ago, “The people, circumstances, or things that draw us closer to God are our friends”.