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Start With Jesus

Start With Jesus

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

“The Lord’s Prayer” (or the “Our Father”) wasn’t invented on the ball field or in the halls of a cathedral. It was a simple, model prayer that Jesus shared with His disciples.

In response to the question, Jesus wasn’t giving a poem to memorize. He was, instead, teaching them how to pray. This teaching walks His disciples through a simple progression that frees us to pray more effectively.

In the first line of this model prayer, Jesus says, “Father, hallowed be your name… (Luke 11:2).”

Let me simplify this because to me this line has always been confusing.

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Its All About Saying “Yes”

Its All About Saying “Yes”

For the past few weeks, we’ve challenged our church to fast for 21 days as we take an intentional season to seek God in prayer.

In life, there is a time to feast and there is a time to fast. Feasting in the scriptures happens in celebration and remembrance. Fasting is a spiritual discipline, like prayer and meditation, that draws us closer to God.

When we think of fasting, we often think of saying “No.” That’s not what it really is all about.

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Don’t Let It Stay In Your Head

Don’t Let It Stay In Your Head

It’s THANKSGIVING!

That means turkey and family time.

It also means that we, collectively as a culture, take a day to pause and be thankful.

If you’re like me, you probably have so much to be thankful for.

I catch myself often thinking about these things.

Can I give you one simple piece of advice when it comes to being thankful?

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The Power Of A Grateful Heart

The Power Of A Grateful Heart

It sort of amazes me that “Black Friday”, the day America loses its mind over cheap stuff we don’t really need, falls on the day that immediately follows Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a profound day.

Not exactly because of Turkey or stuffing or cranberry sauce that most of honestly detest…

Thanksgiving is important because of redirects our hearts and minds.

We take this so seriously, that as we pastor our kid’s hearts we’ve made “having a grateful heart” one of the most significant points of emphasis in our home. When our kids complain, they’re immediately met with the question, “Are you having a grateful heart?”

There’s power in a grateful heart.

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What You Focus On Matters

What You Focus On Matters

Have you ever found yourself at that moment where your kids were doing something absurdly cute or ridiculously funny?

What do we do? We grab our phones and try to take a picture, don’t we?

More times than not something goes wrong with the picture for me: my fingers get in the way, the camera doesn’t focus on time, or the moment passes.

I think life is a lot like that.

Life is a beautiful journey. We’re surrounded by so much good and get to encounter so much in life that is purely wonderful, it’s impossible not to be struck by the simple beauty of life itself.

It’s also easy to miss it.

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It’s Lonely

It’s Lonely

During this blog series, I’ve shared what I didn’t know about planting a church when I started the adventure to plant Vortex Church in Albemarle, NC.

Most guys who strike out to start a church come from a similar context to me: they were on staff at a church doing something awesome for Jesus.

It’s so easy to overlook something that’s obvious: when you’re on staff at a church you’re typically surrounded with significant relationships. To be on staff at a church, the church would need to be larger in nature. There’s a large pool for relationships. From that, most church planters live in a significant community prior to their transition.

That was my story. We had fully integrated into the community we lived. We had a ton of friends in our church and outside of our church.

I played kickball in a league in our city with a bunch of people who never went to church, and I loved it. I played golf with men from our church on a regular basis at their invitation. I had coffees and lunch meetings with people that I was mentoring and leading.

Life was full of significant relationships.

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It’s Harder Than You Think

It’s Harder Than You Think

Anything worth doing is not going to be easy.

That’s the truth in life, and that’s the truth in church planting.

As I coach other church planters, I’ve noticed that that are a lot of us that approach this without a lot of respect for the work it’s going to take to sustain a move of God.

Throughout history, all great moves of God have been a lot of work for the people involved. In the mid-19th century, the great preacher Charles Finney led revivals throughout the US in what became known as the Second Great Awakening. During that time whole communities would be converted into active believers.

Before Finney led revival meetings in towns, he oversaw massive efforts of prayer networks throughout the communities. This methodology would later be replicated by Billy Graham Ministries in his crusades.

Too often we’re caught looking at the harvest, and neglect to understand the work that it took to sow the seed and prepare the field.

Here are a few observations on the work of planting a church…

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It’s Going To Hurt (Part 2)

It’s Going To Hurt (Part 2)

When you start a journey, it’s always exciting.

The first few steps of a run, the first few miles of a road trip… there’s always a sense of wonder and expectation.

The same is true of the journey to plant a church.

It started with good dreams: helping people find a meaningful relationship with Jesus, seeing broken families healed and the lost being found.

I neglected to understand this important fact: to see all that happens we would have to gather a bunch of sinners together, build relationships with them, and watch Jesus move in their lives… since we are practically incapable of doing any of that in their lives!

I didn’t expect to get hurt when we started out on this journey, but planting a church is a journey filled with pain.

Here are a few observations on how it hurts…

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It’s Going To Hurt (Part 1)

It’s Going To Hurt (Part 1)

I’m not a “health nut”, but I’ve learned something important about being healthy… It hurts.

Being unhealthy hurts, too.

When you plant a church, at the center of your motivation needs to be two things: God and people.

Planting always needs to be a response to a call. I’ve written about that before.

Planting also always needs to be focused on people.

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It’s Not About A Church

It’s Not About A Church

One of simplest, yet most profound questions we’ll ever wrestle with is: “What’s the purpose of my life?”

I believe that Jesus still invites us to follow Him, just like He did His disciples.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where God is going.

I know a lot of people who wrestle with this. The wrestling comes in the form of “calling” and “career”. We want to have a clear roadmap, and too often it just feels hazy for a lot of us. We don’t know what where Jesus is leading us or what He specifically wants us to do.

When God convinced me that He wanted me to move to back to our small, rural hometown and start a brand new church I thought this would all be about a church.

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