Friday, December 27, 2013

Do We Change Course or Weather the Storm?

Just read "FAITH", a journal on History, Mystery and Challenges Revealed. It gives a wonderfully illustrated, yet brief, history of Christianity. The title for the journal is "What's Next for the Christian Church." One section is titled, "Under Fire". Here is the thought provoking introduction:

 "As secularism becomes more and more mainstream, Christianity is faced with a moment of great importance. Obstacles in the form of dwindling congregations and an increasing antagonism against conservative ideals have created unique trials and challenges for Christian churches in America. As we continue to base our lives and decisions off the teachings of Jesus, Christians are forced to choose a path, as we have done so many times in the past. Do we change course or weather the storm?"

We are not the first Christian generation to face persecution for our belief or doctrine, and we will certainly not be the last. So any kind of mocking we experience should not surprise us. In fact, in a strange way, we should welcome it.

The antagonism Christians experience through media and political correctness should make us dig deeper into scripture, and by virtue of the digging make us theologians.

Defending our faith is very different than being defensive. Boldness is not arrogance.

Final thought from 1 Peter 3:15, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Going back to the journal's question. I will choose to weather the storm in theology, belief, values and doctrine. However, in my attempt to lead others to Jesus, I'll do whatever it takes - well, almost.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

An Everyday Story

Sunday, at Centerpointe Church, we begin a new sermon series called "An Everyday Story." I have to say that I am very excited about it for multiple reasons. Yes, I love celebrating Christmas and the holiday season. I love the music and the atmosphere the season brings. And we will have all of that in each of our services.

But there is more to this series than those things.

This series speaks to what I believe our church should be doing throughout the year: Inviting, Welcoming, Growing and Serving.

We begin this week by examining the message of the angels to the shepherds. The angels in Luke 2 invited the shepherds to Bethlehem to meet the Savior of the World. Their lives were changed and they became the messengers of hope. In the same way, we are invited to meet the Savior and experience the joy He brings.

The second week is about belonging. It is all about authentic and loving relationships. My wife Esther is speaking about the story of Elizabeth and how she welcomed Mary, a young, single and pregnant cousin into her home. It is Christianity at its best.

The third week Pastor David will share a message about the wise men offering their gifts to Jesus. Each gift was meaningful in the life and death of Jesus. We each have gifts to bring to Jesus.

Finally, on the last week, I will come back to the angels and their new mission after meeting Jesus. We have to be as passionate about sharing God's love as the shepherds were.

This leads us to one of my favorite services of the year: Christmas Eve. It is a time of personal reflection and a great time to spend a couple of minutes thinking about the true meaning of Christmas.

I am believing God that Centerpointe Church will be full of guests in December, because my desire is for us to see many people introduced to Jesus.  

Thursday, November 07, 2013

I Love Our Church

On Saturday, October 5th, my daughter Brittany got engaged to an amazing young man, Luke. We are so proud of them believe God has incredible plans for their lives together.

Esther and I decided that we would go and surprise Brittany after Luke proposed to her. It was such a great time of celebrating with them and their friends. Luke is such a romantic!

We had not done this before, but on the Thursday before, I recorded a message the sermon for Centerpointe Church. Since it was a message to the church and about the future and direction of the church, our staff felt like I was the one who had to deliver it - and I am so glad I did. I believe it is a message that celebrated our last two years and projected clearly into the future.

Here it is:

I Love Our Church

Monday, September 16, 2013

This Moment Changed My Life

Here is a moment in my life that made me realize that God's peace is real and transforming.

Greencastle Greens Video


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Lord Prepare Me to Worship

Lord Prepare Me – To Worship

Scripture: Romans 12:1
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (NIV).

On Sunday, we will gather once again to worship God.  

One of my biggest concerns in the area of worship is our limited definition. For many believers, worship is limited to the singing experience in a church service. After church we ask, “How did you enjoy the worship?” And what we generally mean is “What did you think of the music?” We judge the worship based on the talent of the lead singer and band, or whether or not we liked the song selection. However, if that is how we define worship, we will live our lives searching for the best show in town and never experience the whole of what God has for us. In fact, when the New Testament refers to worship, it refers to our daily living, not a set of songs cleverly put together.

Think about it. In Matthew 2:2, the wise men came to seek Baby Jesus, who was born King of the Jews. They said they came to “worship” him. What did they mean? Did they travel all of those miles to sing Jesus a hymn or chorus? No. They came to bow down before him, give him honor and bring him gifts to show their allegiance to Him and recognize Him as the future king.

Please understand, I believe that good music and singing are an important part of our gathering together. When we join in singing, it is a powerful expression of praise to God, declaring His goodness. Our commitment to him is found in the words we sing and it is a wonderful way to encourage others in the faith. To sing half-heartedly doesn't ignite anyone’s heart, but demonstrates lethargic living and a lack of trust.

HOWEVER… There is more…so much more.

One of the greatest definitions of worship ever laid down was by William Temple: "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."

Re-read that again, slowly. Let the words sink in and ask yourself, “Am I really worshipping God?”

When we gather to worship, we gather to give. We give glory to His name. We declare His goodness. We celebrate His love. We bring offerings for His work. We offer our spiritual gifts to His service.  

When we gather in worship, we also receive. We receive His grace, His healing and His strength. We experience His love, His peace and His forgiveness. We also join together with others to experience unity and demonstrate love.

Lord, prepare me to worship. As my spiritual act of worship, I give you my life; all that I am and ever hope to be. I bow my heart before you and recognize that you are the Lord of my life. In Jesus name, amen.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Lord Prepare Me - To Dream Bigger


Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

I love The Message translation of this passage: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

M. Lloyd Jones, a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who went to be with the Lord in 1981 said this, "Our greatest superlatives do not describe the power of God. Add one to another, multiply them and add them together and multiply again and go on doing so exceedingly abundantly beyond all things and still you have only begun to describe God's power. We're invited to bring the most impossible of requests and daring petitions to our God who is Able! Let the whole church join together on their wildest desires and demands. There is no danger of exceeding the limit." (M. Lloyd Jones)

Stella Stuart said, “Dream Everyday.” “Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility. Around me is boundless opportunity. Why should I fear?” ( She also quotes Napolean Hill who wrote, “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
Before I get too “new age” on you, let me add this. Dream big, but make sure the dream is God directed and God driven.

As Kid President would say, “Don’t stop believing, unless your dream is stupid, then get a better dream.” Just for fun, watch this great video:

If God has put a dream in your life, you can be confident that nothing is beyond His ability or capability. He can do beyond all measure or exceedingly abundantly; vastly more than more. God can do more than you ask or even imagine. Take the most optimistic goals, and if God is in it, those quickly become small and past goals.

God-sized dreams are not just for the individual, they are also for The Church as a whole, and each local expression of The Church, called the Body of Christ.

Leonard Sweet, in his book Soul Tsunami, asks, “Is your church dreaming anymore? Not the American Dream, not the Dream Machine of Madison Avenue marketers, but God’s dreams and God sized dreams. What would it mean for your church to “Dream On”? Can your church dream in color? Is your church life more filled with little heroism, little hypocrisies, or big dreams, big ambitions, big failures, big mistakes? Is your church today more prone to breast-beat its doubts than to breast-beat your dreams? Hollywood has given birth to “DreamWorks.” What would it be like for your church to be more than a pipe-dreaming, more than a fire-breathing “Dream Church?” If God is the one dreaming for our city, our church, our life, it will be Him who performs the miracles.

I dream for Centerpointe Church

I dream of a day when the people of Centerpointe are introducing others to Jesus every week and our services are a great celebration of what God has done.

I dream of a day when Centerpointe Church is known throughout all of Fairfax as a church that is deeply committed to following Jesus and His word, loving each other and serving our community in meaningful ways.

I dream of a day when the people of Centerpointe Church are making a significant impact in families, the arts, government, business, education and leadership.

I dream of a day when everyone who is part of Centerpointe Church participates in the work of missions in our community and around the world.

I dream of a day when Centerpointe Church has several locations in Northern Virginia, is part of a church planting movement and helps restore existing churches back to health.

I dream of a day when the supernatural is normal and every week we hear of how God saved, delivered, healed and filled people with the Spirit.

I dream of a day when the people of Centerpointe Church see themselves as ministers to their families, schools and workplace. Furthermore, that many would be called and trained to serve in full-time service as missionaries, evangelists, teachers and pastors.
Centerpointe Church is only limited by the size of our dream and our ability to step toward it.

What are you dreaming about? I would love to hear it.


Lord, help me to dream again, and this time through your eyes. Use me more than I ever expected. Wake me up in the morning with a desire to see the dream come to pass and the energy to accomplish the things we need to do to move towards the dream.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Lord Prepare Me to Go Deeper

Scripture: Luke 5:1-7

One day Jesus was teaching a crowd of people. As he taught, he saw something that captured his attention. He saw two boats used for fishing by the water's edge, and the fishermen were also there washing their nets. He asked one of the fishermen to take him out on the boat a little ways from the shore. A fisherman named Simon, later to be renamed Peter, after a hard days work, agreed, and Jesus sat down in the boat and continued to teach the people.

After the message, Jesus rewards Peter, but Peter was not going to understand it in the beginning. Jesus said, Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Listen to Simon’s response: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Here is a thought for applying this scripture to our lives: When Jesus calls us; He takes us from shallow faith to deeper faith, but we must respond like Peter and obey.

It is Jesus that takes us from superficial, half-hearted walk with him and calls us into a deeper, more personal and real commitment to him. We may protest saying, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything…. But because you say so, I will let down the nets". In other words, "I've already been there and nothing happened. But, oh well, since it is you, I will give it one more try."

How does Jesus take us from where we are to where he wants us to be? By getting us beyond our comfort level, that's how. He pushes us away from one level of stability to a place where we are more dependent on Him. We might also mildly argue with him, saying, "Lord, I've already been there and done that. I've already tried reading the Bible, I've already prayed, and it hasn't worked.” But hopefully we won't stop there, but will continue by saying, "But if this is what you want me to do, to go once again from where I am now, then so be it."

Deeper water is scary, unstable and unfamiliar, but it is also where there are more fish. Fishermen have to go out into the deep water to catch larger and more fish, and we have to take steps of faith to grow more in God. Faith is going beyond the natural and believes in the supernatural - from the comfortable shoreline to the deeper place where you will need to be more dependent on him.

The comforting thing for us to know is that even though we don't know exactly where the boat is going, we know that Jesus is sitting in the boat with us, and he knows exactly where he wants us. The journey to the deeper water is always to help us to know God better.
So, thank God for the deep waters.

What a step of faith is God asking of you? Are you willing to push out of the comfort zone?

As for Centerpointe Church, I believe that God is taking us into deeper water, where more faith is required, where more is at stake, where more is unknown. But He is with us. He has not abandoned us. And there in the deeper water, God is telling us to let down the nets for a bigger catch.

Let us say the same as Peter, “but because you say so…”


Lord, I do not want to live a shallow Christian life. I want to launch out into a deeper, more fulfilling experience with you. I want to know you more, serve you more and bring more people to you.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Lord Prepare Me - To Love Unconditionally

Scripture: Luke 7:36-47

A television spot produced by the Franciscan Production Center showed a Catholic Sister in the midst of a leper colony, surrounded by disease, death, and despair, caring for a group of Indian lepers. An off-screen voice comments, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!” The sister turns slowly to the camera and says, “neither would I.”

In his book, Unconditional Love, John Powell says, “There is no third possibility: love is either conditional or unconditional. Either I attach conditions to my love for you, or I do not.  To the extent that I do attach such conditions, I do not really love you.  I am only offering an exchange, not a gift. And true love is and must always be a gift.”

As we purpose to become more intentional in love, the first prerequisite is the right attitude, and that is: UNCONDITIONAL. Unfortunately, an attitude of unconditional love is easy to talk about in theory because it is something that does not come naturally to humans.

On Thursday of last week, I was eating by myself for lunch and noticed a lady siting across the room. Her thin sunken cheeks and the loneliness in her eyes looked familiar and it wasn’t long before I remembered that back in March, this lady was part of our hypothermia outreach. I spoke to her and she remembered me also. I could tell by her voice, obviously damaged by years of smoking, that things were not going so well. Embarrassed, she told me she was still without a home, but she remembered Centerpointe Church and how loving and kind everyone was. I gave her money enough to buy a couple of meals and told her to stop in and see us whenever she walks by. I prayed with her and gave her a hug and we said “goodbye.” Later I saw her again, smoking on the sidewalk. My guess is that some of the money I gave her would be used to buy cigarettes and not food, but that really didn’t matter. I didn’t give the money to her with conditions, but out of a sense of compassion that only comes through Jesus. 

As I write this, my nostrils can still smell what Centerpointe church smelled like during the hyperthermia week and I remember saying to someone, “It smells like Jesus’ love in here.”

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t always been as kind to the homeless. I am guilty of justifying my lack of concern with “there is a reason why they are homeless.” But something changed when I sat down and talked to the ones who came to church last March. I found out that each person has a name and a story, and no one planned to be homeless.
I’m so glad Jesus knows my name and my story, and when I was lost, He provided a home.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Help me to see others through your eyes of love and compassion. Help me to know people’s names and listen to their stories and lead them to you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Father's Day

Sunday, we celebrated Father's Day, and it was, so far, one of my favorites. Yes, we had a good day at church. Our theme was "Duct Tape Dynasty... Building a Legacy that Sticks!" Our Family Life Pastor, John Carter, preached a great message and we honored all the men of the church. But that's not what made it my favorite.

On Saturday, our daughter Melanie finally convinced us to get an outdoor fire pit. We had turned her down so many times before, but for some reason gave in. On Sunday, Esther and I went out for a little bit and came home to find Melanie putting it together in the garage. Of course, as a dad, I had to jump in and help. Being reminded of Pastor John's message to read the instructions, we followed them step by step.

After assembling, we got some wood and made a fire. At first, because it was so hot outside, we were not really interested in sitting around it, but eventually we all gave in. With Brittany just returning from her trip to California, all four daughters and Esther were present. We roasted some marshmallows and got out a couple guitars and sang choruses and dreamed of future plans - personally and for Centerpointe Church. I listened as my girls talked about serving the Lord and desiring to make a difference for His Kingdom.

I somehow felt older as I watched the love of the ministry passed on to the next generation of Edwards. At the same time I felt younger dreaming with them about the future.

On thing for sure - I felt honored to be their dad.

Eventually, we prayed together.

Nothing profound, just very meaningful.

I am reminded of what Dr. Bob Rhoden said, "It doesn't always have to be monumental to be meaningful."

Thanks Esther and girls for making my day.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Promises Promises

Isaiah 61 and Joel 2 are two great passages where discouragement is confronted by the promises of God. As you are reading, underline each promise or write them down.

Here are just a few:
The Promise of Provision
The Promise of Deliverance
The Promise of Freedom
The Promise of Gladness
The Promise of The Holy Spirit
The Promise of Salvation
The Promise of Healing
The Promise of Comfort
The Promise of Restoration

You have too much history with God’s provision to let this moment discourage you!!

My Prayer:
Lord, remind me of your great provision. I trust in you and will live knowing my future is in your hand.

Prayer for Centerpointe Church:
Lord, help us to have such a positive view of the future that it shows up in everything we say and do.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Today's Thought: Remember, Repent, Return

Read: Joel 2:12-17; Revelation 2:1-7

These are some of the “not so fun” passages in scripture. They call for action and change. As you read them, listen to the voice of the writers. Feel what they are feeling. Can you sense the urgency in their voice? They are sounding an alarm.

Call To Remember
Ask: What was my life like when I first received Christ? How did I act and feel? What was my prayer life like? 

Call to Repent
Ask: What does God mean when He said, “Rend your heart and not your garment?”

Call to Return 
Ask: What areas of my life do I need to change? What are the consequences of continuing in sin?

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to recognize the areas of my life that are not pleasing to you and give me the courage and power to change. In Jesus name, I receive your forgiveness. 

Take a couple of minutes and listen to Micah Stampley sing “Holiness”.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Pursuit of Revival

Psalms 85 is one of my favorite Psalms. It is written from the perspective of someone who has seen God’s provision and protection in the past and pleads for God to restore the nation once again. His prayer is simple: revival. Here is a sermon outline for you:
  1. The Psalmist remembers what God did for Israel in the past, including salvation and provision. 
  2. The Psalmist requests that God revives them once again so that they might rejoice in Him.
  3. The Psalmist rejoices in God's faithfulness and future intervention.  
  4. The Psalmist accepts the people's responsibility to live righteous in order for God to grant peace.
From the Hymn, “Search Me, Oh God” by J. Edwin Orr written in 1936 at a revival meeting in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand:

O Holy Ghost,
Revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival,
Start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

We Remember

This is a weekend of remembrance. We remember those who have paid the ultimate price to support and defend our freedom: freedom to worship, freedom to speak, freedom to come and go.

Since our nation’s founding, 1,321,612 American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have paid the ultimate price. Another 1,531.036 have been wounded and another 38,159 missing.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all those generations who have passed the Torch of Liberty to succeeding generations. And we owe a debt to the fallen that can never be repaid.

George S. Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

On Wednesday, some of the staff went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We had the unexpected honor to witness a sentinel’s last walk at the tomb. It was an incredible moment which reminded me of how proud I am to be an American.

Memorial day is a day to say, “We will not forget.” “We honor their lives.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thankful for Armor Bearing Friends

Warning... what you are about to read is mushy and sentimental but from the heart. 
This week I was reminded once again how significant it is to have people in my life that know how to walk alongside of me and offer prayer and encouragement.

First, I am thankful for Esther, my wife, who believes our greatest days are ahead of us. I am thankful for my girls who love God and put Him first over everything else. I am thankful for my mom who prays and prays and prays. I am thankful for my in-laws who stand with us in everything. I am thankful for the friends I have made over the last 50 years who have been there through every move and every season without wavering. I am thankful for the mentors, coaches, pastors, bosses and teachers who invested in me with support, encouragement, and accountability. I am thankful for staff people that I have worked under, worked with, and lead with dreams and visions of great things to happen. We tried many things - some failed, but most succeeded. It's all about teamwork. I am thankful for elders and deacons, past and present, who were willing to "give it a shot." When it got hot, they took the heat and stood with me to see what would God do. Finally, I am extremely thankful for the people and churches who have given me the honor and privilege to serve them through leading, teaching, coaching and preaching. Together, we have experienced God's goodness and shared our lives.

This year will be Esther and my twenty-fifth anniversary and our twenty-fifth year of serving in ministry together - what a journey! If you have experienced God's grace, fallen in love with Jesus a little bit more and discovered God's purpose for your life, then our journey was filled with abundant joy.

And we are just getting started...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Sometimes God shows up; sometimes God shows off!"

God's timing is impeccable isn't it? He's never late. He's never early. God is right on time all the time!...

I don't believe in coincidences; I believe in providence. I believe there is a God in heaven who directs our steps, who prepares good works in advance, who causes all things to work together for good, who fights our battles for us! And if you pray through, there will be a breakthrough!

Don't lose heart. Don't lose hope. Don't lose faith. Don't lose patience."

Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

Saturday, February 09, 2013

What Are You Reading?

A friend of mine asked me a question on one of my posts about the books I read outside of sermon prep, so I thought I would post a short blog on the subject. I hope it is helpful.

First, let me say that I am not one of those people that read incessantly. My oldest daughter Stephanie reads everything and all the time, but I can't read that much. Secondly, I can't read anything without it eventually being used in a sermon sometime. I use Evernote and highlight my Kindle or book so I can keep track. Thirdly, I'm not the person that enjoys fiction more than once a year - I wait for the movie. Finally, I confess, I am a compulsive reader. I read when I feel like it. I do a lot of reading for sermon preparation, so to read just to read is a chore.

All of that said, and confessions made, I do like to consistently read three types of books: Church Life, Personal Leadership and Spiritual Growth. 

I love to read about the church of Jesus Christ and how He demonstrates his love for the church. People like Craig Groeschel inspire me to keep going and believing for great things. I also like to read about how I can grow in my leadership. This could be a book on coaching, dealing with people, change, pastoral life, etc. I am currently reading Dr. Bob Rhoden's book "The Four Faces of a Leader". I also want to be reading a book that helps me dig deeper in scripture and my walk with Christ. It may be one of the classic books on prayer or spiritual disciplines or a recent popular book that challenges me spiritually.

If you want a list of my current reading, see the "Books I Am Reading" sidebar.

I hope this helps. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If You're On Time You're Late!

I once heard someone say, "If you're early you're on time. If you're on time you're late. If you're late you're fired."

I realize this may be a little harsh, even though I have repeated it a time or two, but it certainly emphasizes an important leadership principle - showing up on time and ready to participate is one thing that sets leaders apart from average.

This could be a rant, but it is certainly is a pet-peeve of mine, and a real issue for many of the business owners I know.

On the negative side, being late communicates loud and clear that the meeting you are attending is not high on the priority list. It also devalues the time of everyone else that showed up. "Fashionably late" is still late, and it is reserved for kings and nobility, of which I am neither. Dedicated mediocrity is still mediocrity.

On the positive side, being early and ready for a meeting speaks to my willingness to focus and participate. There are so many wonderful conversations and insights you can gather before the meeting. It also says you care about others and look forward to working with them. If this point is not true, perhaps you need a change of jobs.

When I worked for others, I decided that I would make sure I arrived at work before my boss did and leave after he or she did. I wanted to be ready. Of course, there were times of extenuating circumstances and I was happy my boss didn't fire me. I have even forgotten a couple meetings to my embarrassment. I hate humble pie, but I have eaten my share of it. I am not as harsh as my first quote; however, I would much rather be early to a meeting than have others wait for me.

What about you? Does it bother you when others are late?

Rant Complete

Do I need a theapist?

Friday, January 25, 2013

One Point of the Story

Sunday, I will be speaking from Chapter Two of The Story. 
In this chapter, we are introduced to a man named Abram, a man from Ur, whose name later becomes Abraham, whom Christianity, Jews, and Islam all point to as their founding father. There are many things about Abraham's journey that are fascinating: his call, his influence, his travels, his battles, his wells, his wife Sarah, etc, etc.. However, the most important part of Abraham is his willingness to believe and obey God' voice even though it made no sense.

Has you ever done anything that made no sense? How quickly did you respond? Did you make any mistakes while following God's call (Abraham sure did)? 

Think about it.

See you Sunday.
Pastor Keith

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Points of The Story

Yesterday was a great day at Centerpointe Church as we started reading "The Story" together. 

We discovered the first eleven chapters of The Bible show us the redemptive heart of God. For a short reflection of the message, visit our blog at The Story. The two great points are:

1. The real point of Genesis is so amazing it’s almost unbelievable: God wants to be with us.

2. The rest of the story of the Bible unfolds his plan – His relentless pursuit of you and me.

You can also listen to the message on our website

Friday, January 18, 2013

Preaching on Science and Faith

From Enrichment Journal, Fall 2012
 On Sunday, Centerpointe begins a yearlong series called “The Story”, which is the Bible condensed to 31 chapters with transition passages to bring clarity. I am very excited about taking our people through the Bible because it changes lives.

Preaching is a passion of mine, but it is not always easy, especially when you are not an expert on the subject matter you are covering. For example, the very first verse in the Bible says “God created…”, which I believe. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me; but not to everyone. Once I say, “I believe”, I am immediately confronted with preaching creationism in a world that teaches evolution and often shows disdain for people who think otherwise.

I’m not a scientist. It was never my strong point. (It wasn’t even my mediocre point), so I can’t get caught up in arguing young earth vs. day-age creation vs. old earth or big bang vs. intelligent design. This is not an excuse for lack of study or being ill prepared, but I will certainly not be able to answer every creation question in 30-45 minutes in a way that makes sense to everyone. I will tell you that I will preach what the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I don’t need to know how or how long it took. 

I think a larger issue is whether science and faith have a place at the same table of truth discovery. I believe they do, as long as both are willing to learn from one another. However, if you make assumptions and draw quick conclusions, you close yourself to the amazing handiwork of God.

See, here is what I believe. The deeper you dig the closer you get to God. So dig, explore and discover. After all, God created the universe and he enjoys you finding out about his creation because.

For those who are wired for study in the sciences, I did come across a great resource. In the fall of 2012, The Enrichment Journal (A journal for pastors and church leaders) dedicated the theme to the co-existence of faith and science. The articles are fascinating and educational. You can find it at Enrichment Journal. In it, there are many other resources listed for further study.

In the meantime, I still get to preach God’s incredible word on Sunday and I can’t wait to talk about God’s story of redemption. If you want to hear it, go to our website It should be very interesting.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Soul Detox

In January, there are many Christians who are setting aside time to fast and pray. Some are doing Daniel fasts (fruits and vegetables for 21 days), some are fasting from any food for a set amount of time and some are doing some sort of self-defined fast, like abstaining from media or sweets or hot sauce. Whatever the fast is, or for however long, people are creating space in their lives for God to speak to them or intervene in some way.

Centerpointe Church takes the first full week to fast and pray. It always makes a difference in the spiritual temperature and atmosphere of the church. For me, I feel refreshed and re-invigorated. It gives me clearer vision and passion.

Fasting is also a time of humbling ourselves before God and asking him to cleanse us from sin. Like our physical bodies benefits from this time of detoxing, our spiritual life also needs a time of cleansing. 

I have already recommended people to get the book Second Chronicles Seven Fourteen Journey. It is a 28 day journey in prayer that will help guide you in your days of fasting. Others are reading Mark Batterson's book Draw the Circle. This is a 40 day prayer challenge. Hey, anything Mark writes I highly recommend. 

Here is another. My daughter got it for Christmas and I picked it up today. It is Craig Groeschel's Soul Detox, Clean Living in a Contaminated World. I have only read the first chapter, and I recommend it already. 

"The Bible consistently reminds us to check our spiritual diet for toxins. Proverbs 25:26 says, 'Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.' How muddy is your water right now? Is your well polluted by all the cultural toxins seeping in? Or does your spiritual well draw on Living Water as its pure, thirst-quenching source?" (pg 17)

During your time of creating space for God, allow Him to speak to you about the areas of your life that need correction. This is no laughing matter. As society intentionally pushes us toward dysfunction, let's go counter-cultural and draw near to God.

Drawing Near,

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Who Are You Hanging Out With?

Nothing to do with post, just the view from my window.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hanging out in beautiful San Diego with church planting leaders in the Assemblies of God. These people have an incredible passion for starting new faith communities around the United States. Even better, I get another day with these folks. My roommate even took me on my first Geo-cashing quest. We found 4 cashes (I guess that's what you call it). 

I love learning from leaders who are doing something beyond themselves. It stretches my thinking and searches my soul. They bring me back to what's really important and challenge me to think on higher levels.

For example, last night, I ate with an old friend of mine, Terry Broadwater. He now pastors in Colorado. We have known each other for years, pastoring in neighboring communities a long time ago. Our paths have taken us to different places, but we both are now pastoring again. This guy loves to see people grow in Jesus. We shared some stories about our churches and found our situations are very similar, although his context is a little larger. Web site: Grace Community Church

We talked leadership structure, renovations, life groups, staffing, technology, connecting, app developing, etc. So many new ideas... So many new thoughts... So many changes to come. I love it! I can't wait to get home.

And... I get another day of being around these great leaders. Our conversations will revolve around coaching for church planters and how we can support the vision of establishing new churches. Furthermore, I will get to meet one of my distant heroes, but I can't tell you who just yet.

So, who are you hanging out with? Are they helping you grow? Are they challenging you?

Just asking.



Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Looking Back... Looking Up... Looking Forward

It is early Tuesday morning, January 1st, 2013. We celebrated the end of the year in our house with friends eating snacks, playing games and watching the ball drop in Times Square (To be honest, I still don’t get it.).

For years now, I have taken the last week of December and the first few weeks of January to reflect on the previous year and ask the Lord to prepare me for what He has in store for the next year. This year is no different.

Looking Back

On a personal level, Esther and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. It’s been quite a journey, filled with joy, laughter, some tears, transitions and incredible relationships along the way. Stephanie turned 22, Brittany 20, Kristi 16 and Melanie 13. Yes, there is another driver in the Edwards’ household. I am one proud dad.

I had shoulder surgery in August, which is still no fun to deal with. I was able to travel to Argentina to work alongside Centerpointe’s missions team and work on building a dorm at Instituto Biblico Rio de la Plata. I also joined the Assemblies of God Church Multiplication Network to work with their coaching for church planters. This is my investment back into the next generation of pastors and churches.

Centerpointe Church also took major steps forward. In March, we took 52 days to raise the funds and remodel 90% of the church building. The impact on our lives as a congregation and the lives of people that will join us in the future will be felt for a long time. We called this time, “Ready the House” so we could fill the house, and God has added to our congregation already. We also took more steps in building relationships with our neighbors at Ragan Oaks and Gables. We have come a long way since March of 2011 when we first arrived.

Looking Up

Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were moments of concern. Yes, at times I wondered if we were going in the right direction. And, Yes, God did honor our steps of faith. Whenever I questioned God’s direction, He sent us the right people at the right time to keep us moving forward.

All I can say is “God is Good.” I like to use the phrase, “We have too much history with God’s provision to let one season discourage us.” 2012 was another year of provision, thus another year to look back on as a reminder of God’s goodness.

Looking Forward

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I have a sense that God is going to work wonders in our lives.

For me personally, I am going to invest more in the lives of pastors and leaders. I am going to also invest more time into the men God has put in my path. Once again, I will read through the Bible, although I haven’t chosen a translation yet. As a family, we are going to invest more into the Kingdom of God financially through missions and our church.

As for Centerpointe Church, well, that’s a long list, but here are a couple of key initiatives (details not included):
•    Spiritual Disciplines – “The Story”, prayer, fasting, journaling, tithing and generosity
•    Outreach – serving weekends, prayer communities, ESL, sheltering homeless
•    Internal Systems – Constitution and Bylaws revision, follow up and connection, benevolence
•    Leadership – development, coaching, mentoring, interns
•    Discipleship – “Disciple Makers”, more baptisms, small groups
•    Care and Community – military families, family services
•    Ministries – hospitality, kids safety, fine arts
•    Awareness – Internet, marketing
•    Facilities – windows in doors, repair parking lot, foyer, video cameras, upgrades
•    Missions – trips and special projects

This list should get us started.

Lord, how desperately we need you in our lives. May our desires be to know you more and to make you known.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV)