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In just a couple of weeks, we will have a special evening service that you will want to attend. On August 19, we will honor Pastor Rob Emanuel. Pastor Rob has faithfully served Life Community Church for 14 years and has invested in the lives of hundreds of students. He has been a loyal, dedicated servant, but most importantly, a dear friend to me who has demonstrated a heart for God and for students. We will have a night of appreciation at 6:00pm that night and afterwards, we will be a special time of fellowship at the Life House. Bring your favorite snacks, foods and/or desserts for everyone to share while we fellowship.
Because we have known of Pastor Rob's upcoming departure from LCC, I have been praying and working hard to find a youth pastor for many months now - as well as a children's pastor to help lead that ministry to the next level. I have contacted and received resumes from pastors of some of the largest churches in the country. I’ve also corresponded with John Avant, the president of Life Action, as well as Ryan Loveing who oversees their ministry teams. I’ve spent countless hours contacting, talking, interviewing and having meals with potential prospects, but many felt they were where God would have them be, while others simply weren’t the right candidates for us. Even though the process has been difficult, frustrating and often draining, God’s presence and direction has been undeniable.
Pastor Rob and Pastor Dean recommended my son, Jake III, but because he is my son, I ignored it and didn’t give it a lot of thought. But a few months ago, God began to work in the life of my son, reminding him of the most satisfying and fruitful times in his life and ministry - his senior year at Wesleyan Academy when he was one of the student chaplains. There he began an early morning prayer time and spoke at chapel. He has also been reflecting on his ministry as an R.A. at Liberty University where he invested in the lives of many young men. His summer intern positions here at LCC and First Baptist Woodstock in Georgia and mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Africa and India also factored into his recent reflections.
As God was taking him down memory lane, Jake took a few students from Mosaic to Crossroads Camp for the week, and while there, God began to clarify and confirm direction in his life. When he returned home, he placed a resume in my box -- unbeknownst to me -- sensing God’s leadership to serve here at LCC as Youth Pastor. I spoke with our Pastoral staff, getting their feedback as well as the Personnel Committee. I interviewed my son for a couple of hours focusing on two questions: (1) How do you know God has called you here, and (2) What would be your direction and your strategy if you were serving here? After a couple of hours of conversation, I was convinced the young man who grew up in this church and was licensed and ordained to the gospel ministry by this church was ready to serve this church in this capacity.
Therefore, effective August 20, Jake J. Thornhill III will join our ministry team to serve as the youth pastor at LCC. I look forward to him sharing his strategy with the parents of our students in the near future. Before I began this process I spoke with Pastor Barry at Mosaic. I would never do anything to hinder the work there, nor would I hire Jake without Pastor Barry’s approval and blessing. Pastor Barry was in full agreement and thought Jake would excel at LCC. Jake has been meeting with a group of young men from Mosaic on Thursday nights in his home and will continue to do so even while he begins to serve full-time here at LCC.
Please pray for this time of transition and for the other staff positions that will need to be filled. Pray that God will continue to lead and send those who are called and equipped to serve here.
For the King and His Kingdom,
After being married for thirty years, a wife asked her husband to describe her. He looked at her for a while, then said, "A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K." She asks... "What does that mean?" He said, "Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Gorgeous, Honey."
She smiled and said, "Oh that's so lovely, what about I, J, K?"
He said, "I'm Just Kidding!"
Some things are better left unsaid.
We, as followers of Christ, need to realize what we say and do really matters. We need to encourage one another and be equipped to impact a hurting world.
On April 27th, we'll have a leadership dinner for our staff, deacons, Bible study teachers and team leaders. I'll share a fresh vision for LCC with short and long range plans on how we can saturate our communities with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, on the following Sunday evenings, we'll share greater detail concerning God's direction for His church.
We need divine direction during these difficult days to impact our community. The prophet Isaiah said it this way, "Oh that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence!" (Is. 64:1)
Isaiah, the old, faithful, weathered warrior of God, is hungry for a divine manifestation of Jehovah God and says, "Oh Lord, that you might split the skies and come down, that the mountains might tremble at your presence." Isaiah wants God to show up and shake the unshakable. Is that the cry of your heart? Do you desire for Jehovah God to show up in such a way that there's not only a manifestation of His presence, but a demonstration of His power?
May God give us His vision for His glory. May every member of LCC know why we're here, where we're going and how we're going to get there. We need for God to burden us over a lost, lonely and hurting world. We need to love God and love others in such a way that it is contagious. Let's join our hearts together in unity and cry out with clarity, "Oh that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence!"
Do you know every year in America approximately 2 million patients become infected by germs in hospitals? In other words, they come to the hospital for healing, but get an infection while there. That is not on purpose, but it happens. Those who are spiritually sick ride by our church, and many others attend every week seeking answers and hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Do they find hope and help in their time of need? Or are there spiritual germs that contaminate and hinder them from knowing the truth? We have a responsibility to our Lord to be a lighthouse, a lifesaving station, a place of rest in the midst of restlessness. And if we seek the Lord and cry out to Him, He'll show up!
As we commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Apr il 1st, don't miss the opportunity to invite family members, friends and neighbors to our Easter celebration. There will
be an exciting time of praise and worship in the morning services as we celebrate our risen Savior, and our evening service will be powerful and engaging as we lift up the Lord in song.
Jesus is alive and because He lives we can not only face tomorrow, but by His grace and for His glory we can change tomorrow!
"Oh that you would rend the heavens! That you'd come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence!"
Have you ever stopped and thought about what the writer of Hebrews was saying as he began chapter 12? He said, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Those are two phrases that should get our attention and cause us to care- fully evaluate our lives. Those divine words from the lips from our Lord will determine the direction of our lives, and determine whether we’re fulfilled or frustrated.
We are to “lay aside every weight.” That is something we are to personally do. What are you carrying that God never intended for you to carry? What unnecessary baggage have you added to your life that is keeping you from serving the Lord with gladness? It may be an activity, a questionable relationship, a personal desire or possession that you’ve picked up. It has now become the priority in your life, and you’re not even aware of it. It is weighing you down, consuming you and keeping you from experiencing the fullness of Christ. Lay it down and grab hold of God’s truth, the unsearchable riches of Christ. Would you get alone with God, meditate on these words and ask, “Lord, what weight should I get rid of?”
The second statement is even more thought-provoking. We are warned against the“sin which so easily ensnares us.” We think we’re strong, mature and invincible. However, we’re not only a target, we’re an “easy” target! We seldom think about it, but sin attracts us, it draws us like a magnet and then it “easily ensnares us.” Listen to what Paul said writing to Timothy, “and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:26.) You may want to read that again. When this occurs, we find ourselves knowing what we should do but not doing it. If this continues, we become spiritually insensitive and ineffective. We’re like a puppet in the hands of the enemy.
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). Are you sharing your faith, being a mentor by equipping young believers and serving the Lord with the gifts that He has given you or are you sitting and satisfied? God has promised to give us victory, but we must “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.”
I love the words John Bunyan wrote while in a prison cell, “Oh, God, keep me back from being like a painted fire that has no warmth, or a painted flower that has no fragrance or a painted tree that bears no fruit.” He was saying I want to be real, genuine and authentic.
May we be authentic followers of Jesus Christ and come together as a healthy body of believers impacting the Triad with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Last year more than 10,000 evangelical churches in America baptized no one - ZERO! More than that baptized two or less. We will never change the moral climate of our culture until we bring a lost world to a loving Savior. What have we accomplished if we build homes, provide water, food, clothes and even medical relief, if we are not intentional in bringing lost, hurting, blind people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Jesus was clear: He came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)
We are living in a society that finally thinks it has figured out a way to eliminate right and wrong. First, you do away with God. When you do away with God, you do away with sin. When you do away with sin, you do away with guilt. When you do away with guilt, you do away with responsibility. When you do away with responsibility, you do away with punishment, and everyone does what’s right in their own eyes.
But there IS a God, sin IS prevalent and prominent, and we have a personal responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It may be getting dark in our country, but it is getting gloriously dark. It’s time for the light of Jesus to shine in us and through us. May we be determined by God’s grace to be intentional, faithful, a voice crying out in the wilderness sharing the hope and victory that is found in Jesus Christ. Whether it’s feast or famine, prosperity or poverty, revival or ruin, we can trust God because He’s faithful, and He never fails.
I covet your prayers as I travel to India. I’ll be preaching an evangelistic service in Delhi, speaking in chapel services, teaching in the seminary and preaching at the graduation services in Kota. The weekend conference in Kota starts early morning and goes to late evening. I’ll be preaching at least 3 times per day and will conclude the evening services as the keynote speaker. Please pray for strength and stamina, but most importantly, pray for God’s anointing.
I’ll leave for India after preaching the morning services here on the 18th and arrive back home on the 27th. In my absence, Dr. John Avant will be preaching on the 25th. John is now serving as the presi- dent of Life Action ministries. John is a former pastor who also served as Vice President of Evangelism and Spiritual Awakening at the North American Mission Board. While serving as pastor in Brownwood, Texas a revival, a powerful, unmistakable movement of God broke out. You’ll not want to miss this anointed messenger.
Israel is the apple of God’s eye, the epicenter of the world and needless to say it’s a life changing experience to walk where Jesus walked. It’s a place where the Bible comes alive! Think about it: when God decided to come to planet earth, this is where He chose to live. If you’re interested in joining Dr. Ron Herrod and me on this journey May 6-18, now is the time to submit your deposit. Brochures and registration forms are available in the office.
Whether we’re walking in the footsteps of Jesus in Israel or in the Triad God has called us to be faithful, to stand unashamedly in a world that is getting more difficult and dangerous. Difficult times require strong disciplines and often desperate measures. Why not find a quiet place and say, “Lord I want to be your voice, your hands, your feet... Lord use me!”
Can you believe it? 2018! Even as I write it down, it doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. None of us know what the New Year holds. Many may be like the couple who were out celebrating the New Year and the guy was getting a little rowdy at the New Year’s Eve party and his wife said, “Remind me to put some steak on your black eye when we get home.” He said, “But I haven’t got a black eye.” In which she quickly replied, “You’re not home yet.”
As believers we’re not home yet, and as we journey through life, we can get beat up or blessed. God wants to bless us, but we have an enemy, an adversary, who wants to corrupt and crush us. Our enemy desires to kill, steal and destroy, but our Lord desires to give us abundant life, His life, so we can be shining lights in a dark world! But, we must trust in the Lord with all of our heart and walk by faith and not by sight.
There’s a question I often ask myself, and I recently asked our staff: “Am I still doing what I’m doing for the same reason I did it when I began?” That’s a thought-provoking question that we need to answer honestly.
God says, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) As we enter into the New Year let's sow seeds of love, kindness, service, compassion and unity so we can reap a heavenly harvest among those that are hurting and helpless.
If you are new to our church and haven’t attended the Christian Life and Service Seminar (C.L.A.S.S.) on Wednesday evenings, let me extend to you a personal invitation. The first meeting will be on Wednesday evening, January 10th in room 127 at 6:30pm. It’s a 12-week class in which we’ll discuss what it means to be a member of LCC, how to mature in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and how to discover and use the gifts God has given you to become actively involved in ministry. Set this time aside and join us. You’ll be glad you did.
Holy Land Trip 2018
Can you imagine sailing on the Sea of Galilee, floating on the Dead Sea, sitting on the grassy slopes where Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount, gazing on the birthplace of our Lord, standing in awe over the valley of Megiddo, standing on Mt. Carmel and picturing Elijah, walking the streets of Jerusalem and the Via Dolorosa, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, walking into the empty tomb and sharing the Lords Supper in the garden? It’s a trip of a lifetime!
Join Dr. Ron Herrod and myself for this unforgettable experience as we walk where Jesus walked. The trip dates are May 8 – 16, 2018. The cost is $3,799 from Atlanta. If you’re interested, pick up a brochure from the foyer or office, fill out the registration form, and get your deposit in as soon as possible.
Would you begin praying right now as we enter into the New Year for God to give you His vision and His burden for a lost world? My constant prayer is, “Lord, give us a vision that demands divine intervention and keeps us in a state of desperation.” I believe this upcoming year is an extremely important and significant year in the life of our church. Let’s sow spiritual seed, expect a supernatural harvest and look unto Jesus our Lord and soon returning King, expecting Him to do the miraculous in and through us!