Friday, December 12, 2014

"10 Signs of a Great Church" Is Missing a Few Things.

I just read again, "10 Signs You're Attending a Great Church."

I have no real issues with the ten things listed, but I believe it leaves out some essential elements - like the GREAT COMMISSION and the GREAT COMMANDMENT!

To me, this article is too fluffy, too feel good and way too safe.

I guess it is because I am currently reading The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken, which is filled with testimonies of Christians around the world living in persecuted places, but I think churches can get caught up in the "right programing" while it misses the greater calling. The Body of Christ around the world is prospering, but it isn't always packaged in a nice box with pretty bows.

Here are some things I would like to add to the list:

  1. A Heart for Missions - supporting, praying, giving and sending.
  2. Outreach - having a vision beyond the church walls.
  3. Courageous Leadership - willing to risk making difficult decision based on the direction of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Persecution - "The most accurate ways to detect and measure the activity of God is to note the amount of opposition that is present" (Ripken, 153).
  5. Compassion - People around the world are dying of malnutrition and dehydration.
  6. Multiplication - Church planting! 
I would like to have everything listed in the article for the church I pastor, but if the list presented by the article is all there is, it will not inspire courageous hearts to participate. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Establish the Work of Our Hands

In July I had the opportunity to break away from the normal routine of pastoring and take some time to reflect and dream. It gave me a chance to evaluate the past three years at Centerpointe Church and think about our future. It also gave me a chance to rest, exercise, reconnect with some mentors and friends and enjoy some things I love, like riding a motorcycle, visiting coffee shops and going to Camden Yards to watch the Orioles. 

This also gave me an opportunity to visit other churches and celebrate what God is doing in other places. Not only did I enjoy the messages, I learned some things about the way other churches function and take care of their guests. God is working all over to bring people to himself.

Reading books about church and leadership was very rewarding during this time. My favorites were: Leading the Starbucks Way by Joseph A Michelli; The Multiplying Church by Bob Roberts Jr.; Listening to the Voice of God by Roger Barrier.

The real impact came from visiting the campus of Lee University in Chattanooga Tennessee. As we were walking around campus I noticed that on every building, engraved in stone was the scripture reference Psalms 90:17. We later discovered a bronze statue (in honor of Paul and Darlia Conn) of a man sitting on a bench with his Bible opened to the verse which says, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us, and may He establish the work of our hands, yes establish the work of our hands.” This is the prayer of a desperate soul who recognized his temporary presence in this world and wants to leave a meaningful legacy. This became my theme verse for July and also the messages I would preach in August and September. 

The Life Application Bible says this about the verse, “Because our days are numbered, we want our work to count, to be effective and productive. We desire to see God’s eternal plan revealed now and for our work to reflect his permanence.”

There are major changes happening at Centerpointe Church. We are dreaming about our future and making bold strategic steps towards it. My prayer is the same as the psalmist, “Lord, whatever we do, let it be for your honor because that is the only way it will mean anything for the future generations. It’s important that we get this right, so give us wisdom to know your direction, discernment to know your voice and courage to follow through.”

Serving Him,
Pastor Keith

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Yesterday was Father’s Day, 2014.

My life has dramatically changed over the last couple years in the dad department. I have four girls who are growing so quickly and each one is entering into a new season of life. One is giving one year of her life to teach and children in an unnamed region of the world. One just graduated from college and two days later got married, making me a father-in-law. Before they begin their lives in the work force, they are giving six weeks to work with teens in Costa Rica. One is entering into her senior year of high school and is heading to New York for a week this summer to serve with her youth group. She is also a leader in her Christian club at school and a musician and leader at church. Finally, my youngest is going to Costa Rica this summer for four weeks to join her older sister and brother-in-law. She, too, is a leader and musician at school and church.

I’m watching them mature and grow, and it’s changing me.

I’m more nostalgic now. I have such fond memories of their childhood years. Esther and I truly enjoyed watching them grow up. I still want to sing silly songs and make corny jokes, but the strong warnings I get prevent them. (Just wait till I’m a granddad – they’ll be back!)

I’m also slower now, yes physically as well, but that’s not my point. I’m not as much in a hurry as I used to be. It’s less of an inconvenience to take them to school now. I still don’t say much in the mornings, but I get to say, “Go change the world” one more time. When the girls want a hug, I take those moments because they don’t come as often as they once did.

I'm trying hard to not be obnoxiously proud, but it's not that easy and I suspect it will get harder in the years ahead. 

All this to say I love my kids and am so glad that God has allowed me to be a dad.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Going to Church This Weekend - Get Ready!

Get Ready!

Are you going to church this weekend? If so, here are some practical ways to prepare yourselves to get the most out of your time in church:

Be ready to give thanks.  Psalms 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Don’t wait for the band to get to your favorite song before you enter into singing, just jump in a praise the Lord.

Be ready to be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” You don’t have to wait to see how much you are moved by the music or how good the sermon was – God has already spoken about how much to give. Be a tither, not a tipper.

Be ready to encourage. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Be that voice of encouragement you wish others would be for you. Instead of coming to “get fed,” come expecting God to use you to “feed others”.

Be ready to serve. Jesus said to the disciples, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

Be ready to listen. Expect God to speak to you individually and as a congregation. Allow Him to challenge you, discipline you, encourage you, forgive you, restore you, etc. Whatever it is you truly need, the Lord will provide.

Be ready to make a friend. We were not meant to go through life alone. If you want to make friends, show yourself friendly. Look for someone who came alone and ask the Lord how you can minister to them.

Be ready to engage. Don’t be a bystander. Christianity is not a spectator sport. If you want the preacher to preach better, be attentive and take notes. If he/she knows you are writing it down, they will work to make sure the message is worth taking notes about – trust me on this one.

Be on time. When the whole family is on time and ready to worship, the energy level is powerful and exciting. You are not late for work (I hope), so don’t be late for The Body of Christ. Why not come early and grab a cup of coffee in the cafe'?

These are just a few thoughts. I am praying for our time together. I am expecting God to do great thing in our lives and through our lives.

Are you ready?

Love and Prayers,
Pastor Keith
Keith G Edwards
Centerpointe Church
Fairfax, VA