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.