As we enter into the year 2020, may God give us 2020 vision concerning our lives and His Kingdom. In fact, that’s the series I’m beginning as we prepare for the New Year: “2020 Vision.” There are doors of opportunity that God is going to open for us this year, but we must be intentional, available and step out by faith.
My goal for the last few years has been to prepare LCC to grow, both numerically and spiritually. That’s why we renovated our children’s wing and added Kidz World. My family and this church have always been the priority of my life apart from my relationship with God. I’m excited for what I believe God is doing. He’s been leading, confirming direction and answering prayer. I believe God is preparing us to impact the Triad with the gospel and to bring hope to those who are hurting. But it will require all of us as a unified team being spiritually sensitive and faithfully active.
Paul said in I Corinthians 9 that we are in a race, and we are to run it in such a way that we win. Winning a race depends not only on the speed of the runners but also the skillful ability to transfer the baton. If the baton is dropped, precious seconds are wasted and the race may be lost. If the runner fails to pass the baton, he is disqualified from the race altogether. There comes a time when we have to pass the baton to other leaders to impact this generation and the next.
I have invested 25 years of my life in this wonderful church, and as I’ve prayed and fasted, I believe God has led me to Dr. Chad Grayson. I look forward to lovingly and skillfully passing the baton to him so God’s church will be strengthened and will impact our community with the glorious gospel. He will continue what God allowed me to begin years ago.
I will serve with Pastor Chad for approximately two years before I pass the baton, and we’ll share pastoral ministries and the pulpit. We will alternate sermon series on Sunday morning and whoever is not preaching on Sunday morning will preach Sunday night. I’ll be preaching in January, but I’ve asked Pastor Chad to preach on Sunday morning, January 12th, and that evening, after the service, we’ll welcome the Grayson family with a church-wide fellowship.
I also have another surprise. I’ve asked Noah Darnell to join us as we kickoff the New Year as a worship intern. Noah grew up at LCC and is a gifted young man with great musical skills and one who loves people. This is going to be an exciting and challenging year, so put on your spiritual glasses and pray for our Lord to give us 2020 vision.
In conclusion, as we prepare for a New Year let me ask you a few questions I often ask myself…
Don’t just read those questions, but why not take them into your prayer closet and ask them in the presence of our Father?
For the King and His Kingdom,
This is my favorite time of the year when we give thanks for the many blessings of life and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a time when we gather with family and friends. We enjoy the biggest feast of the year: turkey, dressing and all the fixings. Immediately after Thanksgiving, we put up the Christmas tree, the lights, the wreaths, and the Hallmark villages. Before we know, it our house looks like Christmas land.
But what if all of those things we enjoy disappeared? What if it all became so secular that it lost its meaning? Giving thanks and celebrating the birth of the King is at the heart of Christianity. We would have no one to thank and nothing to celebrate if it wasn’t for Jesus Christ. And yet our nation that was founded on God is wandering far from God.
The decline of Christianity in the United States continues at a rapid pace. It seems many are so busy enjoying their blessings that they’re blind to what’s going on around us. According to Pew Research, 65% of American adults identify as Christians, which is a 12% decline in the last decade. Now keep in mind, just identifying as a Christian doesn’t make you one. Today over 26% of American adults identify as atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular, which is up 17% since 2009. And the number of the non-religious are escalating, not declining.
So here’s the question.
What should we give to Jesus this year on His birthday?
I believe an honest answer to that question is simple and undeniable. He wants US!
What would happen this Christmas if we were God’s gift to the world? What would happen if every morning we woke up and said, "Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do, and wherever you want me to go, I’ll go!" If we did so, what would happen in our lives, our homes, God’s church and the Triad?
During that first Christmas, the Bible says “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) In other words, Mary treasured the things that the shepherds had said and thought about them often. This Christmas, may we treasure all the things that God has said, and focus on the truth that God wants US. When we surrender to Him daily, we’ll experience the love, joy and peace that only He can provide. And we’ll not only have a Merry Christmas, but we’ll have a happy New Year.
Let’s live for the King and His Kingdom,
Last month, our Compassion Can offering was extraordinary as you faithfully gave to provide for those who can’t provide for themselves. We gave $113,299, and I believe all of heaven rejoiced. Your love and kindness expressed through giving will touch orphans and rescue women and children who’ve been exploited through human trafficking. Sujo John and Samuel Thomas were ecstatic and almost to the point of tears when I shared with them. Thank you for your sensitivity and generosity.
Patsy and I have been on ocean cruises before, but a river cruise is something we’ve always wanted to do. And thanks to your generosity, we leave on our Viking River Cruise on Tuesday, November 5th. We will go to Prague for a few days and from there we will go to Nuremberg, Germany, to begin a cruise on the Danube River that will go through Regensburg and Passau, Germany, then Krems and Vienna, Austria, and conclude in Budapest, Hungary. Words can’t express our appreciation, but we are eternally grateful. What a privilege it has been for me to serve this great church for 25 years.
As we rapidly move towards another Thanksgiving, let me challenge you to find yourself a quiet place where you’ll not be disturbed, and take the time to give thanks. Reflect on the goodness of God and fervently pray for our nation. I am so grateful for the blessings of God. I’m thankful for my family, my freedom and faithful friends like many of you. We have so much to be thankful for, but I am deeply concerned and burdened over our country.
The spiritual climate is rapidly changing as our country grows progressively darker. The voice of truth is being silenced while the vices of men are becoming stronger. There’s a lack of leadership as a nation once founded on God has chosen to abandon God and is spiraling dangerously out of control. What once was considered sin is questionable among many, and accepted by others. Christians are continuously portrayed as intolerant, close-minded, mean-spirited people who are extremists.
Unfortunately, there are some who call themselves Christians yet live in direct opposition of Christ’s teachings. They are either spiritually immature or wolves in sheep’s clothing. Followers of Jesus Christ trust and obey Him, and their love for Christ and others consume them. Love doesn’t mean we go along to get along, nor does it mean that we ignore, accept or condone sin. We can’t accept what God says is unacceptable. Sin always brings heartache and sorrow therefore we must love people enough to tell them the truth. We must speak the truth in love.
As we move towards the conclusion of another year may we have a greater boldness, a greater burden, a greater faith and a greater love for our Lord and others! May we work while it’s still day, because nights coming.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Once again we have a wonderful opportunity with our “Compassion Can” emphasis to help those in need and to share the love and life of Jesus Christ. On October 6th, we are asking everyone to give lovingly, generously and sacrificially. If you can’t be with us on the 6th, you can still support and invest in this life changing opportunity by sending your gift to the church office.
As we’ve done in the past, the love offering will go to 3 different ministries. Because of our new children’s building one-half of what is given will go towards the payoff our new building, KidzWorld. In this way, we will be investing in children and their families in the Triad.
The remainder of the offering will be divided equally between two ministries. “You Can Free Us” works to eliminate human trafficking in Asia. As you may remember, I was there in December, and God broke my heart over what I saw. I made a promise to the Lord that I would help those who couldn’t help themselves.
Second, one part of your donations will go to HopeGivers. Your gifts will help with basic repairs and additional dorm rooms for the young girls in New Delhi. We’ve heard the stories and seen firsthand the needs from Dr. Samuel Thomas and Sujo John, and now we have the opportunity to give and minister in the name of Jesus. Our gifts can go where we cannot go and do what we cannot do. Let’s pray and make preparations to give lovingly, generously and sacrificially.
On October 5th, I’m asking every member of LCC to join me at 8:30am at 2425 Randleman Road to participate in the Love Life movement. Please place this on your calendar and make it a priority. Like never before, God is moving in His church, among His people to stop the killing of innocent, unborn children. Abortion may be approved by the Supreme Court and applauded by many, but abortion is just as inhumane as the Jews massacred during the Holocaust. Many are misinformed, confused and deceived when it comes to this issue but day by day, one by one, we are killing our future!
We can make a difference. As we join with other believers, our passionate prayers ascend to the Father. Our attendance encourages other Christians, it’s a powerful testimony to everyone who passes by and our presence often keeps women from making the worse decision of their lives, killing their children. We can stand, we can pray and we can allow God to use us as we make ourselves available. The answer is adoption, not abortion and your standing on behalf of those who can’t stand for themselves makes a difference.
Please don’t ever forget that we exist to lead and ever-changing community to find fulfillment in following the never changing Christ! And I believe the best is yet to come as we step out by faith and trust Him.
For the King and His Kingdom,
Summer has now passed, and now our children are back in school. Our favorite football teams are kicking off, and the beauty of Fall is waiting to unfold.
So what are your plans?
I suppose we could all answer that question in different ways, but hopefully, whatever answer we give focuses on knowing Jesus, serving Jesus and making Him known. He’s worthy, and when we honor Him, He honors us and our life becomes a “God story” that others read.
But for every one of us there is a constant danger, a satanic snare that can paralyze us and leave us inoperable. It's getting caught in a rigorous routine that leaves you empty, exhausted and blind to the glory and goodness of God. Don’t waste the gifts God has given you. Jesus is too precious, the gospel is too powerful, and life is too short. Don't miss out on being involved in the greatest adventure imaginable: the gift of life that’s anchored in Jesus! Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.
"Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last."
Plan now to join us for a fellowship reception after the evening service on September 8th as we welcome Pastor Deon, Julie and his family along with our Life on Lexington church family. We are so appreciative of the Life on Lexington ministry. We've invested in that location for several years now, and we’re looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with these faithful followers of Christ as they join us.
Let me also encourage you if you’re not participating in a Wednesday night training class to join me on September 11th at 6:30pm. I'll begin a 4-week series called “How to Turn Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations.” We have been commanded by God to share the good news of Christ, yet we often feel ill-equipped. We are surrounded by people who are blind, deceived and hurting, and we have the truth. Your investment of one hour each Wednesday could change lives forever.
Our “Compassion Can” offering will be given on Sunday, October 6th in all the services. Our love offering will provide for three ministries this year. The first half of what is given will go toward the payoff of our new building, Kidz World, as we invest in children and their families in the Triad.
The remainder of the offering will be divided equally between two ministries. The first is “You Can Free Us” in Mumbai, an organization which seeks to alleviate human trafficking.
The second is HopeGivers International. Our gifts will help with basic repairs and additional dorm rooms for the young girls in New Delhi.
We’ve heard the stories and seen firsthand the needs from Dr. Samuel Thomas and Sujo John, and now we have the opportunity to give and minister in the name of Jesus. Let's start now by praying and making preparations to give lovingly, generously and sacrificially to help those who desperately need it.
Lastly, if you know of parents with young children, be sure to let them know about our new indoor playground.
It is open during the week Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, and Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Kidz World Play Center
Open to the public
Extend to families a personal invitation, and let them know it's free. It will be staffed with LCC volunteers who will have the opportunity to meet them and talk with them as their children play.
For the King and His Kingdom,