It’s all about HOPE!

Hope is what keeps us going when everything in us wants to give up!

Hope is the glimpse of sunshine when the storms of life seem to be the most intense.

Hope is the big breath of air that fills our lungs when it seems as if we are drowning in our circumstances.

Hope is hearing a child’s laughter in the middle of your tears.

Hope is that flash of light when we are in the darkest place in life.

Hope is a blood stained cross that resulted in an empty tomb.

Hope is a RISEN SAVIOR who conquered death.

Hope is knowing that Jesus lives in me, and if He conquered death that He in me allows me to conquer anything life throws my way.

Hope is knowing that one day JESUS is coming back, not as a kid…but as a KING.

Hope is knowing that one day JESUS will take all that is wrong and make it right.

Hope is knowing that we are not alone in this world because of His promises to always be with us.

HOPE is what this world DESPERATELY NEEDS!!!

And…the message of the RESURRECTION is the message of HOPE!

People need hope!

Let’s do whatever it takes to get people here to an Easter Service at CLC so that they can and will hear the message of Jesus and give them HOPE!

CLC EASTER Info!

The darkest & brightest days of our faith are separated by only a matter of hours: The events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Without both our faith is a waste of time.

You’re invited to join us at Christian Life Center as we honor and celebrate the message and meaning of Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our Good Friday service will be April 18th at 7:00PM. It will be a time of reflection and remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

On Sunday, April 20th Easter Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00AM, we celebrate the risen savior who conquered Satan, sin, and death. We celebrate new life in him. We celebrate the hope of heaven with gospel preaching, live music, and baptisms—all because Jesus Saves!

We want to encourage you, our church family and friends, to invite your friends to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday! Following the 11:00 service will be our annual Great Egg Giveaway sponsored by our Children’s Ministry department of CLC.

Join us for these two great holiday gatherings. We would be honored!

The ASK of Easter!

I once read a statistic that 25% of people who do not regularly attend church said they would go to church if someone would ASK them.

We’ve all heard messages on asking people to come to a church service, but all of us have also struggled with asking someone to come with us.

Here are three concepts I am asking everyone at Christian Life Center to think about, pray through and act upon as we prepare for Easter…ASK =

A – Accept the fact that God really does want to save people!

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commissioned us to reach as many people as possible. Paul told Timothy in I Timothy 1:15 that God wants to save people. And Jesus Himself said in Luke 19:10 that He came to seek and save those who were lost.

So I really do believe that when we want people to receive Christ, we are wanting what Jesus wants…which puts us in EXCELLENT company.

S – Seek opportunities in existing relationships.

When it comes to asking people to come to church, we should not think that God wants us to make posters with pity phrases on them and then stand on street corners and yell at people.

He wants us to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16).

We see people reaching other people whom they knew in Scripture over and over again. For example…
Andrew met Christ and then went and told his brother Peter (John 1:40-42). And Cornelius knew that Peter was coming to preach in his home so he invited his friends and family to come and hear as well (Acts 10:24).

None of us have a relationship with someone by accident. Combine that with the fact that everyone spends eternity somewhere and that is a BIG DEAL.

Take a minute or two to literally stop and ask God WHO you need to bring with you to an Easter service. And if God puts someone on your heart, then do whatever it takes to get them here. That person on your mind is no accident. That’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you.

K = Keep on trying.

God did not give up on us, so we should not give up on others.

Maybe you have asked someone to come a dozen times and they have always said “NO!” I’m asking you to ask them again…you never know what is going on in their life. This may be the time they might actually say “Yes”.

Maybe you’ve brought someone before, they came, heard the Gospel and did not receive Christ. That’s ok. Just ask them to come again. After all, most of us did not accept the message of the Gospel the first time we heard it either. Maybe they’ll meet Jesus THIS time!

And…as you keep trying to reach out remember that God has been patient (II Peter 3:9) and kind (Romans 2:4) with us…we need to extend that same patience and kindness to others.

It is my prayer that none of us would allow an empty chair to be beside us during our Easter services.

Praying for boldness for you all as you go out and invite people to the BEST EASTER SERVICES EVER!!!!!

14 Miserable Habits!

I saved this article a while back, probably because I wanted to send it to one of my kids, whichever one was needing a subtle poke at the time. It’s called the 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People. I don’t think I ever forwarded the link, but I keep coming back to it, reading it through the lens of the work we do. Be sure to read the original article (in case you want to send it to one of your kids), but below I have adapted Cloe Madanes list to describe the …

14 Habits of Highly Miserable Churches
(and how your preaching can get them there).

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. Remind your people week after week that things are bad and getting worse. And when the offering isn’t good, remind them that they don’t give because they are ungrateful. Spend as much time as possible taking the offering each week, talking about everything the church needs but can’t afford. And remember, if you make them feel guilty, maybe they’ll give more.

2. Practice sustained boredom. Do the same thing in worship week after week. Follow the same order. Preach the same predictable format.

3. Give your congregation a negative identity. Make sure the community knows what you’re against. Make sure guests know that they are only guests, not one of the group. Exclude them from parts of your worship service.

4. Pick fights. Encourage your people not to let any perceived slight slip past them. Make sure they share it with everyone in their class or circle. As pastor, choose sides when you can.

5. Attribute bad intentions. Make sure your congregation knows that those with differing views are fundamentally bad people. Especially when it comes to politics. Make sure that they know that any elected official from the “other party” is evil. Avoid Romans 13 at all costs. And, by all means, don’t pray for a leader you don’t agree with.

6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Nurture the “what’s-in-it-for-me” mentality. Make sure every dollar spent on mission reaps a harvest in public relations. If you can’t get some kind of credit, don’t do it.

7. Avoid gratitude. Instead of being grateful for those who show up, who help, and who give, be sure to complain about those who don’t.

8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. After all, things are getting worse every day and there’s nothing God can do about it. Being irritable all the time lets people know you’re working hard.

9. Blame your parents. Or the former pastor. Or previous staff. Or the denominational leadership. Or the government. But never challenge yourself or your congregation to take responsibility for the ways things are and for making things better.

10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Avoid times of fellowship. And when you do have a fellowship event, tack on a long devotional at the end to remind them that life isn’t all fun and games.

11. Ruminate. Spend as much time as possible talking about the church’s problems, just make sure the talk doesn’t lead to productive action.

12. Glorify the past. You know: “People used to care. The church used to be full. This country used to be a Christian nation.” That kind of thing.

13. Put people in leadership who have no business being in leadership. It doesn’t matter if they’re ready. Maybe giving them a title will change them.

14. Be critical. Make sure you let everyone know about everything that you don’t like. After all, you don’t want anyone to confuse you with one of those positive churches.

Thanks again to Cloe Madanes for the original list.

Meaning In Random Events

There once was a farmer who owned a horse. One day the horse ran away. His friends came to console him because of the loss.

“I don’t know,” said the farmer, “maybe it’s a bad thing and maybe it’s not.”

The following week, the horse returned to the farm, accompanied by 20 other horses, who had been roaming wild in the countryside. His friends came to congratulate him: “Now you have a full stable!”

The farmer just said, “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a good thing and maybe it’s not.”

The following week, the farmer’s son was out riding one of the new horses. The horse began to buck and threw him off, breaking the son’s leg. His friends came to console the farmer because of the accident.

“I don’t know,” said the farmer, “maybe it’s a bad thing and maybe it’s not.”

The following week, the government declared war and called all able-bodied young men to join the fight. They came to the town and rounded up hundreds of young men, except for the farmer’s son who had a broken leg.

The farmer said, “Now I can say that it was a good thing my horse ran away.”

Life is a series of events, and until we’ve reached the end of the series, it’s hard to know exactly why things are happening.

Being Great!

This is from Perry Noble.  It was so good I wanted to share it here.  Great stuff!

Would you like to be a GREAT spouse (or future spouse), co-worker, friend or anything else you can think of?  

Jesus told us how, ”…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.) Matthew 20:26

If we want to be great…we need to serve!  

What does this look like?  

S = Seek out opportunities to do good for others without expecting ANYTHING in return.  (If we do things for someone b/c we expect something in return then it is not serving, it’s selfishness!)  

E = Eliminate the mindset that, “it’s all about me!”

R = Remember the example that JESUS Himself set for us (John 13:1-17) and why He said He came (Matthew 20:28).  

V = Value the fact that as we seek to serve others (and not take from them) then we are becoming more like Jesus.  

E = Embrace the fact the church will reach way more people in this world through serving them rather than screaming at them.  (This is SO true in EVERY relationship…if you want to be a GREAT spouse, don’t scream at your spouse about what you perceive to be their inadequacies, SERVE them to the best of your ability!  It WILL change things!)  

Leaving a Legacy

What sacrifices are you making now for the future of others?

From all outward appearances, Jack McDonald was a man of modest means. He lived most of his adult in a middle class neighborhood, he clipped coupons, took the bus, and often wore sweaters with holes in the elbows.

For thirty years he worked as an attorney for the Veteran’s Administration. He married for the first time in his fifties. At 82 he and his wife moved into a retirement home. A few years later, she passed away. In September 2013 Jack McDonald died as a result of injuries from a fall.

It was then that his “secret life” became known. Jack was frugal and lived simply, but he was a genius at picking stocks.

Over the years he amassed a fortune worth $187 million — while continuing to cut corners in his personal spending habits.

Upon his death, he left his money to three organizations: Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington Law School, and the Salvation Army. His gift was the largest in the state’s history — the same state where one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, makes his home.

I don’t know how Mr. McDonald lived his life, what his spiritual values were. But he did understand about building a legacy that you leave behind for others. For some it’s done with dollars. For others it’s done with service.

It’s a question we would all do well to consider: What sacrifices am I making now for the future of others?

Here’s a link to the story about his donation.

Delays & Re-directions

Delays and re-directions happen all the time, almost every day, in one way or another. Things don’t go the way we thought they would, or the way we want them to.

Those who have placed their lives in God’s loving hands see these annoyances differently: we know that God is in control, that he is causing all things to work together for our good and for his glory.

The tiniest delay could be diverting you from the greatest disaster. Or it could just be God’s way of preparing you for his perfect timing. When life inconveniently re-directs your plans, and it will certainly will sooner or later, remember that God is in the details. He is leading you where he wants you to be.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)

Positive Choices for 2014

Pastor Tim Satryan from Central Assembly of God in Cumberland, MD shard these in an email I received.  Great choices to live by!

Positive Choices for 2014
Positive Choices for 2014Here are ten positive choices to make 2014 truly a happy new year!

1. Today I will not strike back
If someone is rude; if someone is impatient; if someone is unkind… I will not respond in like manner.

2. Today I will ask God to bless  my “enemy”
If I come across someone who treats me harshly or unfairly, I will quietly ask God to bless that individual. I understand the “enemy” could be a family member, neighbor, co-worker or stranger.

3. Today I will be careful about what I say
I will carefully choose and guard my words, being certain that I do not spread gossip, slander or malign anyone in any way.

4. Today I will go the extra mile
I will find ways to help share the burden of another person. I will find ways to make life more pleasant.

5. Today I will forgive
I will forgive any hurts or injuries that come my way. (I will also work to forgive injuries that have been inflicted upon me in the past)

6. Today I will do something nice for someone, but I will do it secretly
I will reach out anonymously and bless the life of another person.

7. Today I will treat others as I wish to be treated
I will practice the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – with everyone I encounter.

8. Today I will raise the spirits of someone who is discouraged
My smile, my words, my expression of support, can make the difference to someone who is wrestling with life.

9. Today I will nurture my body
I will eat less; I will eat only healthy foods; I will thank God for my body.

10. Today I will grow spiritually
I will spend a little more time in prayer today; I will begin reading something spiritual or inspirational today; I will find a quiet place (at some point during this day) and listen to God’s voice!