The Dream, The Dream, The Dream!

Psalm 40:3 (NLT) He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Here’s a little list of some of our guiding principles as we enter the Fall of the year. I think that we have a great group of ideas for the future that will make our church’s future the greatest years that we have ever had. I believe that we can see the most people saved, the greatest development of maturity for believers, and the greatest opportunities for service that we ever have. Mission Statement: Connecting people including the next generation to God and our church. Branding Thought: The Church of the Second Chance Dream: To have a kids ministry in which children have their own worship service and are so excited about kids worship and ministry that they beg their parents take them to church. We will be a church that reaches the next generation of young families while continuing to minister to those we have always reached. We have begun to reach toward our dream. There will be things that will try to tell us we can’t make it or let’s settle for something less. However, we must never give up the dream that God gives us. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be from God. The dreams God gives are those that are too big for human beings to do on their own. It means we can only do it with God’s help. I thank you and salute your First United Methodist in Fort Stockton for the progress we have made. We have seen some increase in our attendance with an average of 40.5 during the first half of the year. Thank you for the following which we have seen happen in our church:

  1. New sound and video system
  2. Updated platform to appeal to the unchurched
  3. Willingness to learn about how to reach others through healthy systems and teams
  4. Beginning to implement two of those teams: WOW Team (First Impressions) and Follow-up Team. In September, we are planning to put in place greeters and parking lot attendants as well as other elements of the WOW Team. So pray for us as we do this.
  5. Cooperating with us by filling out the weekly “Let’s Connect/Prayer Card.” Thank you for filling it out as it enables us to help our guests and give them a better experience. Unless all of us fill it out, our guests are not as likely to do so. The average number of first-time guests who return is 1 out of 23. Through the card, we have goal over the next two years to make that 1 out of 4 will return.

Through your work and leadership, it will happen. Remember we will never change the message of the Gospel, but we must be missionaries to accomplish the Great Commission today.


Welcoming Guests

Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

In the great passage above, Jesus has returned as King and Judge. He states that the way that we treat others relates directly to the way we treat Him. When we have shown compassion to others, particularly the least, we have done the same act for Jesus. Notice in verse 35: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

It is important to do so for the following reasons:

  1. Dr. Nelson Searcy tells us that in the first seven minutes from the time a guest drives on the parking lot, he or she will decide to give the church another chance or not.
  2. Bishop Robert Schnase states that according to Edward Deming’s research what churches which are declining do is the reason they decline. Bishop Schnase states it is the same as if a church develops a plan that yields those results.
  3. In the average church, only one person out of twenty-three first-time guests return a second time.
  4. Our church like mainline denominational churches and others is suffering from a great decline as we saw the graph of church attendance since 1985 recently.

At Annual Conference, Bishop Schnase was the conference preacher and he shared the growth pattern for Methodist Churches. We hope that any given year that maybe ten families will move into town. Then, we hope perhaps some of them will see our building or bump into one of our members. Then, we hope maybe three families will come and hopefully two families will kind of stick with the church.

This actually used to work in a Christian culture, but today it doesn’t. We are starting with our hospitality and follow-up teams as we must increase the number who will return to one in four as a healthy rate. We will put in place a team of greeters, ushers, and parking lot attendants over the next few months to make a difference.

However, follow-up is then crucial to ultimately keeping them. The only way that we can effectively follow-up is by showing we care and to do that we have to have a prayer card. Here are the steps and we need everyone’s help if we are to make a difference.

  1. Everyone will receive a prayer card and fill it out. One side is the prayer card side which we emphasize as we want to help our guests and pray for them. When you fill it out, our guests are more likely to fill it out so we ask your help and when you do you are helping those don’t know the Lord come to faith in Him. Regulars and members have this secret that you can just fill in your name and status as a regular or member.
  2.  Everyone has a next step. There are options for next steps that you can take. Sometimes these are generic and sometimes related to the sermon but it is an opportunity to grow in Christ.
  3. Place the prayer card in the offering.

For the regulars, this helps us notice if someone may be sick for a time and missing to check on. For our guests, it’s the only way that we can show we care and help them grow spiritually as a part of our church.

Thank you for loving them and helping us as a church to minister to them.


To Graduates

Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men….

Years ago, I thought about writing a letter that would be given to each of my children on the day that I go to be with the Lord. I never did it, probably because I was still fairly young at the time and preoccupied with other things. However, as I thought about it, I wondered from my life’s experiences and faith just what advice about life I would offer to others. So, for what it’s worth, here it is.

Of course, it all begins with God. Always keep your life in order with Him. You grow by reading the Bible and prayer, but be sure you put it into practice or in the end it’s meaningless. Find a good church that believes the truth and which wants to serve and impact the lives of others. Don’t simply warm a church pew one day a week. Find a small group, be active in serving, tell others, and live an authentic life as a follower of Jesus. Whenever you sin, immediately confess it.

Following Jesus will be costly. He said it will be. The Devil will hate you. People who don’t live for Him will persecute you. Those who pretend to be Christian will say evil things also and even sometimes those who are Christians may misunderstand and oppose you. If someone in the church wrongs you or perhaps needs correction, follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18 to go to the person and make it right. The way of God is always the best. Don’t publically humiliate them or say that’s not the way we do it. Follow the path of thinking the best of someone and forgiving others even as God has forgiven you. After all, the world won’t want something that we say we believe and don’t practice all the time. Even though it’s costly, following Jesus Christ is the one thing in life that will bring you joy in times of sorrow, peace in times of contention, and comfort when you are heartbroken.

Your home will be happiest if you make Jesus the center of your family. Remember to love each other with all your hearts. It won’t hurt to say the words “I love you” to each other daily. Keep the lines of communication open. Pray together, talk about the Bible together. From the earliest times, teach your children the importance of the Savior’s sacrifice for them and their need of Him.

Always have a heart of humility toward others. Furthermore, don’t give up on others even if they will not listen to reason and continue in a lifestyle that leads to ruin. Never forget that God is always loving and merciful. Of course, sin and wrong behavior have consequences but keep on loving that person God has placed in your path. Pray for them and give of yourself to them even if it hurts. Always trust and believe God that the Holy Spirit is with you to tell others about the love of Jesus that sent Him to die for your sins. Fear will keep you from anything and everything in life, but even worse is it will keep you from telling others that God wants to save them and forgive them of all their past.  

So, love those who are different. Jesus died for them too. Show them the love of God. It’s interesting that at the judgment in Matthew 25, the judgment rests upon how we treat the hungry, homeless, ill-clothed, and mistreated. Show others the love and compassion they need. Listen to God and see if He requires of you the blessing of sacrifice for them. When you see injustice and false charges toward another or a group, speak up for them. Don’t judge people based upon ethnicity or prejudices. Show them that God’s love for all people in Jesus Christ brings people together.

Finally, live your life to please God and not people. It won’t bring you popularity, but on the job, at school or home, at church, always make your love and obedience of God the priority. In some ways, it will give you favor with others. You will be honest and give a full day’s work for your pay for your employer. But in other ways, it will bring ridicule and perhaps persecution. You will have to have courage to speak up for Jesus and resist peer pressure to engage in momentary sinful activities. It might even cost you—a position or ridicule. Remember that your goal must be to please the only One who really counts.

Aim high. Do your best for God. Set goals for your life that are worthy of someone following Jesus Christ. Be determined that you will sacrifice to achieve those goals because it won’t be easy. Be willing to develop yourself and achieve the knowledge and skills that are required. Be assured there will be obstacles, but be determined that you will not be defeated in your pursuit of the goals which God has laid on your heart.


Billy Graham’s Legacy

Acts 6:1-7 (NLT)
1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily Read more…