Monday, April 15, 2013

Established by a Second Witness

After receiving an incredible confirmation yesterday that we are moving in the right direction I was just browsing through online again today and a pastor in Connecticut posted the following. This is a second witness and confirmation for us.
There were people Sent to your life for certain reasons and it may have been for you or for them. If they didn't complete their work or even receive what they were to get or give, O Well….
 Some won't get the opportunity again, due to the fact that their heart wasn't right in the first place.
Some won't get another chance due to having a spirit of pride, which is NOT of God, so they too will miss out.
Some will get a chance, but yet are too close-minded, thinking God or you owe them something, so again that chance they got becomes a miss.
 So what do you do? Keep Moving Full Steam Ahead!   ... because for what they didn't do or get~ God has a SET people waiting on you....A Set people that will do it just the way God wants them to; A Set people who are willing to give and receive; A Set people who have GOD’s Spirit, willing to Go Forth and last for the long Haul...A SET PEOPLE of GOD...."

The Lord trully intends for us to accomplish His purpose in our season on this earth.
Yes, Lord! We will keep moving forward!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Stopped, But I Didn't Quit

Today I announced the decision to cut back from meeting EVERY Sunday to only meeting TWO Sundays per month. Even though it seems crazy to do this in a time when pastors and ministries are scrambling and doing everything they can to gain members and add resources and income, I KNOW that God has spoken to me on this one.

Immediately after I got home from our gathering; after disclosing to our small church family that we are going to sacrifice quantity of gatherings for quality of gatherings, I checked out my facebook stuff and found this:

There's a difference between quitting and stopping.
Quitting is giving up before the goal is reached.
Stopping is a choice to end a specific activity, and continue to move forward in a different direction.

Quitting is associated with guilt and implies failure.
Stopping brings perspective, responsibility, restores balance, protects and preserves goals and resources (not to mention sanity), and plants the seed of hope. - Carl Prude Jr.

Carl is a one of our dearest and most genuine friends, colleagues and brother in our life. I receive this as a confirmation from the Lord today.

Friday, April 12, 2013

TWO Sundays per month

As usual, I’m about to do something controversial. We’re going to cut our corporate gatherings down to only two Sundays each month. Starting in May, we’re going to gather for prayer, worship and teaching on the first Sunday of each month and we’re going to gather for breakfast and fellowship on the third Sunday of each month.

Aside from the practical and logistical reasons for doing this, I can only say that I simply sense the peace of God about doing this. There seems to be something stirring in my soul, regarding adjusting our weekly and monthly schedule for 21st century ministry.

For eight years we’ve been trying to do everything we could to meet the demands of the incredibly busy schedules of today’s families. We kept adjusting the schedule by meeting on Fridays or Saturdays. Then we tried meeting later on Sunday afternoons.

However, fluctuating, rotating work and school schedules have caused the attendance pattern to remain the same: only five to ten people have been able to attend each week.

The past two weeks, my wife and I have been praying together and talking things through on how to adjust to today’s world of family and ministry. I believe the Lord gave us the simplest solution. Instead of trying to do MORE to meet the demand, we are to do LESS; a lot LESS.

Instead of trying to gather EVERY Sunday in laborious attempts to catch a few people in our net, we are cutting back to just two corporate gatherings each mont,h even as we continue to push our internet church outreach on Wednesdays.

We will still accomplish our mission of following the early church pattern of providing:
1.)  apostolic teaching,
2.)  fellowship,
3.)   breaking bread and
4.)  prayer

The first Sunday gatherings will be for prayer and teaching. The third Sunday gathering will be for breaking bread and fellowship.

The other Sundays of the month will leave every family and individual the wonderful opportunity to connect with their own families. It also gives everyone some true Sabbath rest periods to recover and refresh for their own personal life journeys.

For too long, we pastors have driven our congregations and leadership teams to the brink of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion with the relentless schedules and demands of the ministry. However, Carol and I are intentionally and deliberately moving in the opposite direction. We are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts and homes of the people who attend Urban Life Church.

By moving to this lighter and more manageable schedule, we believe that it will actually improve our attendance and appreciation of the calling and purpose for Urban Life in Harrisburg, PA.

So, here we go again… launching into another radical move!

Many people may not understand it. Some may even feel that we’re making a big mistake. It may seem that we’re making people and families more important than God.

To which I say: we are trying to show that the people and their families are more important than the ministry. They don’t need the ministry to find God. If we help families get stronger, then they will help build the ministry. And the ministry will never become more important than the family.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We Live to Worship Him

Lately we’ve been getting back to some of the foundational elements of our lives. One thing I can say about our family is that God made us worshippers. Way back in the day, the Green family traveled around the country singing and ministering in all kinds of venues.

When the Lord altered our journey and placed us in the local church setting, we discovered a major reason why music and singing had always been a part of our lives.

Week after week, the sound of powerful worship spilled forth out of the open windows of the Metro Christian Worship Center in south St. Louis. Every Sunday morning the neighborhood was directly impacted by the sound waves of praise and worship sweeping through the surrounding community. God changed the atmosphere of the community through praise and worship.

Then we had the audacity to take it to the street. We used to set up our equipment in neighborhood parks and sing praise and worship to God. We set up in front of the church facility and did the same thing.

We didn’t do evangelistic music or songs to try to draw a crowd. We just lifted our voices to the Lord. And we beheld the miraculous. People would come from everywhere, drawn by the sound of praise and worship to God.

Many of today’s musicians and singers make the mistake of trying to appeal to the world with their music and lyrics, but we have seen first-hand, how the mighty power of God affects people when all focus and attention is placed upon God alone.

Now that we are the overseers of a small weekly gathering, we have found that it is still the most powerful thing the church can do.

The past few weeks, we have returned to those praise and worship roots. We gather each week and enter into worship from the very beginning. Already the Lord has been moving in a powerful way as the meetings quickly become a prophetic gathering, an intercession gathering and a healing gathering.

We don’t have a team of musicians, singers and dancers, so we just use what we have available and that’s wonderful worship videos. I thought it would feel awkward to play worship videos while people prayed, but it was as natural as breathing because we were created to worship God.

Our hearts instantly engage, no matter how the worship comes forth. It doesn’t matter if it’s a recording or a live session. Our spirit recognizes the Spirit of God and instantly engages.

This has been an amazing discovery and we can’t wait to see what God does in our midst as we gather each week to worship Him.

As the songwriter said, to worship Him I live and I live to worship Him.

And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We want the Spirit of God to bring His liberty into our midst and we are open for God to do whatever He desires to do in us, with us and through us.