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June 28, 2008

A Holy Spirit Sensitive Church

Well I was up early for me this morning because I'm so excited about what I sense the Lord is doing in the world today. I'm especially excited because of what that means to us at Jubilee Family Church. God's given us amazing ideas to reach our community and world for Him. Now it's time to execute the plan and walk out the direction and vision he's given us. I'm very confident in the Lord and believe him to be faithful on every level. As I sit here watching my dog "Buddy" chewing on a stick while laying in the slow falling mist I want to re-iterate something that I said last Sunday at church.

There's a strong push in the body of Christ to make the emphasis of the church people. Not just any people but lost people. I understand this philosophy and see some very powerful benefits to embracing this seeker sensitive movement. I however also realize that our church needs to have a very strong dimension to it's makeup that's what I call, "Holy Spirit Sensitive". Sometimes in an effort to attract big crowds ministries can compromise certain aspects of what they are doing in order to not be offensive to people who won't understand the message of the cross. I believe the message we preach should be comprehended by the people who are listening but I also know that Jesus often spoke in veiled speech to the multitude. However when in the presence of his disciples his message was plain and explained. I suppose what I'm saying is there needs to be a balance in our church. Some of the things that some Christian people have heralded as "a move of the Spirit". May just be people acting weird. I understand that also.
When God shows up in power people will come, the numbers will be there. I've decided to pursue the Lord to move in power and majesty in our services as apposed to making things comfortable to visitors. We do have several home cell groups that a visitor can go to; to connect relationally and experience true community and friendship. However when we gather together as a large group my heart is set to experiencing the manifest presence of God.

Well a crying baby who needs a nap is going to end my blog for now. God has given us the city!

Jubilee Family Church

June 10, 2008

Finding Your Place

Jubilee Family Church

This is Johnny making a quick post today. I hope Pastor Tony doesn’t mind, but he did allow me to be a contributor to his blog…

I felt compelled to spread a word of encouragement today – partly because I need to hear it myself, and partly because I believe there’s someone else out there that needs to hear it right now.

I want to talk about finding your place in the Kingdom. This is something I have spent most of my life struggling with – and I still haven’t gotten all of the answers yet.

I’ve grown up in church and I’ve heard all the sermons about divine authority and the offices and callings and ministry categories that are available in the church today. Not to be rude, but there are times where I do believe that Christian culture has put God in a box by developing too many labels and categories that we are to fit into if we are to be successful in ministry.

This has been especially hard for me at times because when I was 13 years old, I had a prophecy pronounced over me. In that prophecy I found that my ministry gift was creativity. Part of that prophecy stated that I would be known everywhere I went as creative. It was odd to me at the time because I’m not a singer or musician, and I don’t draw or paint well. How could this be?

Well, along the way, I found out that I have a gift for words and telling stories and that has become my art. I am also creative in a number of different ways. But where does that fit into the ministry of the church? I spent a long time feeling inferior because I didn’t have a specific place. While I can flow in different gifts of the spirit, offices, and callings, I never really fit into any position. I spent years feeling like I was falling through the spiritual cracks. Yet, somehow, I am now known everywhere I go as being creative.

About a year and half ago, we were going through a lot of changes with our church. Transitions tend to stir up old feelings that have sat dormant. Yet again, I wondered where my place was going to be and how I would be able to fit in. I started feeling like I was slipping through the cracks again. I even used to call myself the “gap filler” because I was always “filling in” until someone better came along. As much as I wanted a place to belong, I was always the temporary solution.

Yet, at this time God reminded me of something. Gap fillers are necessary. Without the mortar a brick wall would not be able to stand the test of time. There is a purpose for the things that have fallen into the cracks. They secure the foundation. They hold things together.

I can’t tell you how many times people used to come up to me and tell me that others may not see what I do, but God does. He remembers. There are times when that’s not at all comforting. But in hindsight, I understand now. Not everyone sees the beauty in the goopy gray goo that gets plopped in between each layer of bricks.

But for today, from one pile of goo to another, I want you to know that you are necessary. You are valued. You are important. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have a purpose. You just might be the glue that holds things together.

Now, let me clarify something. Am I so important that things couldn’t go on without me? Absolutely not. God can always raise someone else up to take my place and your place. But would it be the same? Never.

I’ve now learned to be happy with my role as “gap filler.” It has given me the opportunity to help others succeed. That, in and of itself, is strategic seed toward my own destiny.

Have a great rest of the week.

johnny

P.S. If you haven't been reading the stories over on my Family Fiction blog page, you really should.

June 5, 2008

Allow me to Ramble

Well I'm up late tonight. Thanks to swigging down some cold coffee after church and stopping for some additional caffeine at the gas station with Rick on the way home. I just wanted to thank everyone for loving Andrea, the kids and I. We feel so welcome here at Jubilee Family Church and in Batesville. We've only been here a year and a half but are extremely honored to be part of the community.

I'm very excited about some positive things that have happened with the Literacy Council of Independence county today. Chuck received a phone call from the IRS approving our 501 (c) 3 status. Things are moving forward nicely with the Literacy Council. I believe the Literacy council is a much needed service in our area to give people a hand up as apposed to a hand out. I love the concept of empowering people to take care of their own business. I also love the way teaching and education help defeat poverty in the lives of people. Our mission is to train tutors and help connect them to students who need basic literacy training as well as students who speak English as a second language. If you're interested in becoming a tutor or know of a potential student have them call the literacy council office at 870.793.5912.

Our web streaming is also moving along nicely. We web cast live, every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM and have an interactive online discussion every Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM CST. Participate with us if you're from out of town or even out of the country!

We were talking tonight about bearing fruit at church. I can't get off the page of using my life to glorify the Lord in the area of duplication. Duplicating myself into others, raising them up to be fruit bearing disciples of the Lord. That reminds me... I'll keep you all posted on our fair outreach. I haven't heard anything from the powers that be regarding a booth but have a guarantee that well be on the call list for a booth when they start organizing things. I'm excited to see Ron Brown in action winning souls. I've heard him mention evangelism explosion and the success that one of his previous churches had with it in the area of raising up new believers. I really enjoy getting around the zealous new believers. Don't you? They are so excited and full of life.

We'll be traveling up to Cape Girardeau this weekend for the Mellies Carbaugh wedding. That will be good and I'm excited for Andrew and Rachel.

Please keep praying for the successful launch of our two radio stations. I've got many hoops to jump through to turn the vision into reality. Thanks for praying with us for the fulfillment of the vision. I solicit your assistance in securing a location. I've been looking around and praying and have some thoughts. I need to press on some doors to see if one opens. Have a great week and feel free to make some comments.

Jubilee Family Church