Thursday, September 20, 2012

Launch Day 9.16.12

We launched!  Did the 6 1/2 months take forever, or go by in the blink of an eye?  Either way, we had the most blessed and wonderful launch day.  Thank you for your prayers.  We had 185 in attendance, not counting those who attended both services.  We had 1 baby dedication and 6 baptisms.  We had a wonderful time of worship and a great kick-off to our church and what we're about, as well as our sermon series.  And it all went smoothly - nothing went wrong, nothing fell apart, nothing had a glitch in it.  We got to meet new faces and see old friends.  We enjoyed lunch on the house courtesty of Keller's Iron Skillet.  We had beautiful weather. 

More to come later!

Point of Change Church of the Nazarene
2407 Beich Road
Bloomington, IL

Sunday Service 10am
Thursday Prayer Service 7pm

Monday, September 10, 2012

We're Ready!

This Sunday is our launch Sunday - it's finally here!  And, guess what?  We're ready.  We're ready.  Sure there's still some money to be raised and still some details to attend to.  However, we're ready!  In about 6 1/2 months time, God has blessed us, grown us, stretched us, and then repeated that about 100 million different ways.  We've grown, we've shrunk (miss you!), we've grown again, we've moved, we've built, we've experienced new life and also death, and throughout it all God has not withdrawn His hand.  We're so thanksful.

Let's re-cap.  (Ok there's not enough time and space to detail and recap every blessing.  But let's try to get a few...)
Circling it up for prayer at IBEW.

Praise God - The Sunday after we were commissioned by Bloomington First, we were able to have worship at Friends and Family Fellowship, which allowed us to function as a church while preparing to launch one.
Praise God for our launch team, working together (lots and lots of hours) to prepare our action plan in oh, a week or so.  Praise God, our action plan was approved by MST!
Praise God for the vision we all shared, even at the very beginning!
Remember church plant tours?  Praise God for the unique experience of having worship Sunday night, which allowed us to tour successful church plants on Sunday mornings.
Remember all those chairs Tony got for a stellar deal?  Praise God for every chair that we cleaned, and every person that will be sitting in those chairs on launch day!
Praise God for all the many, many talents of our launch team members... from carpentry to technology, thank you all for using your unique gifts to help us make it!
Our pastor family (love!)  Thank you for your vision and leadership and sacrifice!

Remember... Good Friday game night?  Praise God!

And Easter morning at IBEW?  Praise God!  Just a foreshadowing of what was to come!
Easter egg hunt and the lovely, lovely, hard-working children on our launch team!
The Holy Spirit really, really blessed us at our visit to Princeton.  :)
 Praise God for the marketing and fundraising opportunities! 

 Feelin' hot, hot, hot at the Towanda Parade!
 Designn work for our sanctuary!
 Making the stage!  We're so blessed!
 Design and preparation - and it all came together so well!  Praise God!
Labor Day Parade - successfully pulling the worship band (including keyboard, drum set, etc) on a float - could it be God?  Yes!!!  Praise God!
 Supper club - a fun time of food, fellowship, and fundraising!

Billboards!  Praise God!
Rest up, and Rest in Him, Launch Team! Sunday's coming, and we're ready. Our days as a Launch Team are coming to an end.  But it's okay, we'll keep busy enough being, oh, a church.  :)  Sound good to everybody?  Okay!

Praise God! 
We're ready. 
We've got regular rockin' worship service planned for Sundays (10 am after our initial launch day).  We've got a prayer service Thursday nights at 7pm (this is really where it's at!)
We've got  nursery, toddler, and elementary school ministries.
We've got our senior pastor, and three (count 'em!) district-licensed pastors.
We've got an administrative assistant.
We've got a building.
We've got outgoing and incoming missionaries ;)
We've got a bunch of people who love God and need Him and are desperate for His presence, who will love on you with the love of Jesus.
And you're invited!
All glory to God, who has so richly blessed us. 

Psalm 16:11

English Standard Version (ESV)
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

You're invited!

September 16th
2407 Beich Road
Bloomington, IL  61701
Come worship with us!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Don't Read This, Read Zechariah Instead!


The other day I was reading Sherry Sherwood's updated blog post, which pertained to Zechariah.  (Check out her excellent posting here: ).  Now, I can't say that I have ever sat down, opened my Bible, and thought, "Zechariah, here I come!"  But, I am so glad Sherry's blog prompted me to go check it out.  Not only did I read the excellent verses she discussed (in chapter 3) but I kept backing up and reading until I just gave up and started with chapter 1, verse 1, because it was so good.  I can't even begin to put into words what a good time I had with God.  Just go read it.  All of it.  Zechariah.  Go!  Go now! 

My next plan, actually, is to re-read Haggai (a Todd Keller favorite, love to hear him preach on Haggai!) and then read Zechariah immediately following.  I had never noticed that they were so close in proximity.  (Haggai begins with "In the second year of Darus the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month..." and Zechariah "In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius..."  Cool!  Just goes to show all that stuff I tend to skim over is WORTHWHILE!!!  ;) 

Okay, so what I love in my ESV study Bible is the background for Zechariah.  According to my ESV, God's people are DISCOURAGED.  The foundation for the temple had been laid after their return from Babylonian exile (that's the ESV talkin', not me!) but they had been met with opposition and hadn't made much progress.  So what was anticipation-fueled excitement had been replaced with discouragement.  They wanted to see the transformation that the prophets had spoken of, and they weren't seeing it.  They were discouraged, thought of God as absent, that faithful obedience was useless, and that theirs was "a day of small things." 

I don't know about you, individually, or collectively, as the body of Christ, but I have been there.  Discouraged.  Not excited.  Desperate for God's transformation (be it in myself, in my church, extrinsic, intrinsic, any and all of it)... wanting to see that "near revival" as a current reality instead of just always feeling on the brink, both for myself and for all of God's children (whether they know and believe they are God's children or not).

This background really helped set the tone for when I read Zechariah, which I really can't say I ever loved before.  With its lampstands and horsemen and scrolls flying through the air... previously, I just went "hmmmmm" and carried on.  But this time... wow.  I couldn't even make it past the first chapter without being utterly WOWED (when all I really wanted to do was get to the part Sherry discussed). 

Return.  Repent.  (1:1-6)  Necessary.  Can't really get on to anything else until you take care of this business first.  :)

But then, here comes that vision of a horseman and I'm just not that comfortable with it.  But I pushed past and read.  And what do you know, the horseman vision isn't creepy at all!  You see, in Zechariah's vision, the horseman is symbolic of God's angels watching the world (while God's people thought He wasn't.)  And they see the world at rest but God's people aren't at rest.  The angel of the Lord intercedes on behalf of Jerusalem. 

And here is what I love... in Zechariah 1:14 "So the angel who talked with me said to me, 'Cry out, Thus says the LORD of hosts:  I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. and then again in verse 17, "Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts:  My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem." 

Cry out.  Zechariah is instructed to cry out.  Now, the familiar pattern in the rest of Zechariah seems to be "Thus says the Lord of hosts" but without the "Cry out" preceding it.

This is what we need to be doing, both in our private prayer time and as the body of Christ.  We need to return.  We need to repent.  Yes, Church, we've got our foundation, but we can't build past that when we're met with opposition if we don't keep our foundation of God (be in His presence and stay there) and repentence.  Could it be that our brokenness makes for strong foundation?  When it's coupled with the strength of the LORD - I think the answer is yes!  What we need to do to keep the building momentum going is to CRY OUT.  Foundations were meant to be built upon, right?  So, do we cry out with emphasis?  With desperation?  Yes and yes.  Cry out that God is jealous for our families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, cities, countries, world... which is just a fancy way of saying God wants YOU!  He wants you!  Come as you are.  Don't delay.  We also need to cry out that we have a faithful God who keeps His promises.  "My cities shall again overflow with prosperity..."  The LORD will comfort us.  God wants YOU and there's freedom, victory, and comfort on the other side of that "Yes, Lord" and of that surrender and submitting.
What goes into building a foundation? One of the ingredients in concrete is some kind of aggregate or crushed up pieces of rock. Could it be that coming to the Lord in our brokenness makes for the strongest foundation? 

Don't be discouraged.  Don't stop wanting the restoration and revival in your own life, and the life of your church, and in your communities.  Zechariah 4:10 "For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel."