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God Is All about You

Posted on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 under Care

Keith’s story is both challenging and powerful. His life was a combination of things that happened to him outside his control as well as decisions he had made. We all face the complexity of these two factors in our lives. Abuse, bullying, neglect, tragedy, loss and other trauma play one part in the shaping of our sense of identity, security, and significance—or lack thereof. Then, our choices pile on top of these influences in our lives as we pursue meaning through pathways that land us in places we never expected… bad relationships, addictions, financial ruin, and more. Together, these factors seem to conspire to bring us down, down, down, until we find there’s nowhere to look but upward. And we catch a glimpse of the God who loves us. We find that He has pursued us all the way down on our spiral—whether it has been life-long or just the past few months.

When he came to his senses, Keith had prepared what he would say to God. But he discovered what he had to say didn’t matter. God was ready to welcome him home. God doesn’t care how far you think you’ve fallen. As Keith reminded us of the words of his friend, “God knew what He got when He got you.” God is all about you. He loves you. He likes you. He wants to help you. It starts with a step toward Him. Check out our Care page to learn more about the ways you can begin to take these steps.

Will Briggs
Care Pastor

Choose to Cheat

Posted on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 under Expression 1

Have you ever been called a “cheater?” I imagine at some point in our lives we have all been accused of cheating. Whether as a child playing on the playground or as an adult in a more serious situation, regardless of the circumstances, no one wants to be thought of as a cheater.
 
Lately, I 've been reading a book by Andy Stanley and the subject matter is all about cheating.  In fact, the title is Choosing to Cheat. The premise of the book is that each of us choose to cheat every day. It's not a matter of whether or not we cheat; it’s really a matter of what or who we are cheating.  
 
The book is not as scandalous as the title may make it seem. The point Stanley is making revolves around our priorities and time management. If we choose to stay at work a little longer to respond to a few more emails, we are cheating our family who are waiting at home for us (this one hits really close to home for me). Or, maybe we let the yard go one more day without being mowed because we choose a round of golf with our buddies. Either way, we're making our values very clear based on the choices we make with our time.
 
It’s an easy read... but also a very challenging one. It will lead you to make some very practical applications. I encourage you to peruse the book when you get a chance—but to read it, you'll be faced with a decision to cheat something else. (See, the principle even applies to his own book.)
 
Regardless, whether you read it or not, ask yourself this question: Who/what are you cheating with the daily decisions you make?  Are you cheating family? Are you cheating work? Are you cheating God?

Jeff Presley
Formation Team Director

Big Picture Show Sneak Preview - April 26/27

Posted on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 under Children Weekend Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. So we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you! Take five minutes this week and read the Bible story with your child and talk about the questions below. You can also listen to the songs we'll be singing this weekend!

ANIMATION STATION

Bible Story: None (Life Group celebration)

Big Idea: None (Life Group celebration)

Talk About: Talk about what you love about your Life Group Leader. Write a note and bring it to them this weekend.

Worship Songs:

Ha-La-La-La
by Studio Musicians

My God Is So Big
by John Delich

Jesus Is Alive
by Singin’ Praise Tots

THE DRIVE-IN

Bible Story: None (Life Group celebration)

Big Idea: None (Life Group celebration)

Talk About: Talk about what you love about your Life Group Leader. Write a note and bring it to them this weekend.

Worship Songs:

Live It Out
by Steve Fee

I Am Free
by Shout Praises Kids

THE BACKLOT

Bible Story: None (Life Group celebration)

Big Idea: None (Life Group celebration)

Talk About: Talk about what you love about your Life Group Leader. Write a note and bring it to them this weekend.

Worship Songs:

Turn It Up
by Jason Hoard and Chrystina L. Fincher

We Won’t Be Quiet
by Brett Younker

Mighty to Save
by Laura Story

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Celebrating New Life

Posted on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 under Weekend Expression 1

Easter Sunday was amazing. Again. And not because the sun peeked out and warmer weather has finally come along, but because of the visible evidence of lives being transformed before our eyes. Easter is a time when we celebrate baptisms in large numbers around here. And it was so cool to see God's faithfulness as over 300 people took the plunge yesterday across our Harrodsburg Road, Danville, and Richmond Road campuses.

After our time in the worship service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on that Easter Sunday so long ago, it was such an awesome experience to witness the resurrection of lives after their burial in the waters of baptism. But it's not just about large numbers of people being baptized; it's about individual hearts and individual stories as people share what God has done in their lives, how He's rescuing them, and how He's provided a new pathway for their lives.

God led over 300 people into the waters yesterday and we're so thankful for the transformation He's begun in their lives. Take a moment to join us in praying for these people to know God better and better and to grow deep with Him.

If you haven't taken the plunge, we'd love to help you move closer to taking that step. If you've been thinking about baptism and would like to know more, contact me to talk further!

Will Briggs
Care Pastor

Hey, You Know Jesus!?

Posted on Sun, Apr 20, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1

Shortly after I started following Christ, I was on a retreat at the beach with some folks from my church. During our morning gathering, the challenge was presented to talk to a stranger about our faith at some point throughout the day. There were hours and hours of free time that day and the challenge was simple; At some point, just talk about your faith with someone. Anyone. You don’t need an agenda or plan. You don’t need to baptize anyone or exorcise any demons. You just need to engage in a conversation about the fact that you know Jesus. And it had to be by the end of the day.

I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know what to do. I spent the entire day exhausted from some mixture of nervousness, guilt and excitement. I loved Jesus and I knew He loved me. But I had never considered how I’d talk about Him to a complete stranger. How would it come up? Is there any way to segue the conversation from sunscreen to Savior?

Every minute of the day passed in an agonizingly slow way. As I purchased my taco from the taco stand I’d think, “Is this it? Should I mention Jesus?” As my airbrush t-shirt was branded “Spring Break ‘99,” I thought, “This is my opportunity. Look at those palm trees. You ever heard of Palm Sunday?” But, alas, no conversations were had. At the very end of the day, right before we were to go back and share our stories I saw an older couple walking along the beach. They seemed disarming enough so, in a last-ditch effort, I walked up to them and blurted out, “Hey! Do you know Jesus?

“Excuse me?” this kind older woman said.
“Jesus. You know Jesus?” I awkwardly stuttered.
“Yes.”
“Me, too.”
Then I took off. I just ran away.

It was awful, awkward and pointless. I was embarrassed and, more importantly, I bet Jesus was embarrassed, too. My heart was in the right place but my actual effort was just terrible. I took no interest in this couple. I didn’t truly care about them enough to even get to know them. I was just trying to check off “evangelism” on my spiritual to-do list.

Now things are a little different for me. I’m not the type of person who is going to set out with an agenda. And sharing Jesus isn’t about me. It’s about that person in my life who doesn’t know how awesome Jesus is. I’m not saying that the challenge was wrong or that sharing Jesus with someone cold-turkey is a bad thing. But I’ve learned that leading someone to Christ is more often a relational journey. More often than not, it comes from taking interest in an individual and walking alongside him or her. It’s a friendship or an ongoing investment that paints a more accurate picture of who Jesus really is.

So, who is that for you? It’s probably not going to happen with the random couple walking down the street. The more fruitful relationship would be that neighbor who you talk to every Friday when you bring the garbage cans in or the babysitter who hangs with your kids every Thursday you have date night. Look for those consistent relationships in your life that you could have an opportunity to model Jesus instead of just blurting Him out. Identify that person and then start praying for them. Be aware of your actions around them and look for opportunities to bring Jesus into the conversation. If someone knows you, it shouldn’t be too hard to bring it up.

Shoot me an email or give me a call if you need help with this stuff. Or if you want to hear a bit more about living a life of evangelism, go watch this message of Jon’s from a couple years back. It’s a great resource!

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Call it a Comeback

Posted on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 under Weekend Expression 1

Luke 15 may be one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. I love the story of the prodigal son. All of us like a good story of redemption. A story without redemption is just depressing! I remember when my wife Lauren and I were in the hospital expecting our first son. We were patiently awaiting his arrival in the hospital room and, to pass the time, we decided we would watch a movie. The hospital had a movie channel so we decided that we would try and watch The Pursuit of Happiness. We tried to watch the movie two or three times; but every time we would get to the most depressing part of the story, a doctor would come in and interrupt. There was no pause or rewind on the hospital movie channel so if you stopped the movie, you had to start all the way back at the beginning. I’m sure the whole childbirth thing is pretty painful but this was agonizing (kidding)!  We left the hospital with our 7lb, 4oz, beautiful baby boy and went straight to Redbox!  We had to see how the story ended. We needed to see the redemption. 
 
This Easter weekend, we get to celebrate the biggest comeback in History. We get to see how this epic story of salvation ends. And not to be the spoiler but, He wins! And because He wins, we win. I’m so excited that we get to celebrate together this weekend. We’re going to walk through the story of the prodigal son together and then we get to throw a big ol’ party for all of our brothers and sisters who have decided to come back home. This is a comeback story you do not want to miss!
 
Don't forget to invite a friend!

Derrick Breaux
Creative Director

Give Thanks!

Posted on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 under Expression 1

As I’ve been reading through the Bible recently, I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of times the biblical authors give thanks to God. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Colossians, and in just the first three chapters Paul either gives thanks to God or instructs the Christians to give thanks to God six different times!

1:3 “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.”

1:12 “...Joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

2:7 “...Strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

3:15 “...And be thankful.”

3:16 “...As you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

3:17 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, to it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

From what I’m seeing in Colossians, it appears that giving thanks is supposed to be a natural, consistent, spontaneous part of the Christian life. Take some time today to press pause and thank God for who He is and for what He has done for you. After expressing gratitude to God, look for opportunities throughout the rest of this week and weekend to express gratitude to people in your life for who they are and for what they've done for you. Who knows, perhaps your words might be just the source of encouragement they need!

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Stepping out in Faith

Posted on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 under Global Missions Weekend Expression 4

I can’t stop thinking about how amazing our God is, that He’s blessed us with a church that's able to give away not one, but 11 mission trips! When we first started talking about this, our team was pumped at the thought. As the weekend approached, we were in prayer that the Spirit would move to select the right people for the trip. Each time a name was revealed from the bucket on stage, my heart jumped a little!

We'd like to congratulate the following people who won and would love for you to join us in praying for them as they embark on this adventure:

  • Melanie Lane
  • Ian Banta
  • Kris Washington
  • Daniel Groves
  • Steve Stone
  • Monica Juett
  • Zachary Rowe
  • Loudetta Robertson
  • Jenna Wild
  • Lizzie LeDonne
  • Scott Mahan

My first trip to Haiti transformed my life, and I can’t wait to see how God radically changes their lives through their trip!

If you feel that God is calling you on a short-term trip with us or another organization, don't hold back. Sometimes we have to step out in faith like Wayne and Terri to experience things that can change our lives forever. View our upcoming opportunities on our Global Missions page or contact me if you'd like to learn more!

Lizz Kunz
Global Outreach Logistics Leader

It’s in the past… Leave It There!

Posted on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 under Evangelism Expression 1

Many years ago I had a friend who I knew who never really gave her heart to Jesus and never was baptized. I prayed and prayed for an opportunity to talk to her about it and one night, as she was dropping me off at my house after going to a movie, we started a conversation. I asked her what was stopping her from following Jesus and being baptized. She told me, “How can God forgive me when I can’t even forgive my own brother?” I told her that God first wanted to forgive her from all of her sins and in time, as she yielded to God, her heart would soften and she'd be able to forgive her brother and others who had hurt or wronged her in the past.

A few days  after that conversation, she and her husband both were baptized. And in time, she forgave her brother too.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Many times our past holds up from following God. We can never be good enough on our own to come to Christ. Never! God didn’t send Jesus to die for the healthy, He came for us who are the sick. He came for those of us who have a past, who don’t feel worthy, who struggle daily really believing God could love us that much!

Don’t let your past dictate your future. God loved you first! He desires your companionship. He longs to see you in heaven with Him!

No matter where you are in your relationship with Jesus right now, don’t be afraid to take the next step. Maybe that’s asking a friend, “What’s keeping you from following Jesus?” or, “What’s keeping me from following Jesus?”

Jesus loves and forgives and He forgets—and He wants us to have a beautiful life with Him! Leave whatever it is in your past and keep walking.

Dotty Harney
K-2nd Grade Groups Leader

Big Picture Show Sneak Preview - April 18/19/20

Posted on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 under Children Expression 3

We believe parents make the biggest difference in their child’s faith. So we want your kids to hear the Big Picture Show Bible story first from you! Take five minutes this week and read the Bible story with your child and talk about the questions below. You can also listen to the songs we'll be singing this weekend!

ANIMATION STATION

Bible Story: Jesus is alive; Matthew 26–28:10; Mark 14–16:10; Luke 22–24:10; John 18–20:18

Big Idea: Jesus died for us, and now He is alive!

Talk About: Tell your family this week what Easter is really all about. Jesus died for us because he loved us so much!

Worship Songs:

Ha-La-La-La
by Studio Musicians

Jesus Is the Best, Oh Yes
by Singin’ Praise Tots

Jesus Is Alive
by Singin’ Praise Tots

THE DRIVE-IN

Bible Story: Jesus is alive; Matthew 26–28:10; Mark 14–16:10; Luke 22–24:10; John 18–20:18

Big Idea: Jesus is love so He made the ultimate sacrifice for you.

Talk About: Talk about why Jesus died on the cross for us.

Worship Songs:

Happy Day
by Fee

Get Down
by Audio Adrenaline

THE BACKLOT

Bible Story: Matthew 26:1-28:10

Big Idea: Jesus is love so He made the ultimate sacrifice for you.

Talk About: Read the Bible Story aloud together this week.

Worship Songs:

Happy Day
by Fee

Get Down
by Audio Adrenaline

Jason Byerly
Children's Pastor

Being Intentional

Posted on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 under Evangelism Weekend Expression 1

Here's one short, yet factual statement about me: Unless I write it down, it will not happen.

You know those people—you tell them something small and they remember for years down the road. They pick up on the small details of your life and make you feel immensely special because they’ll remember for years on end. Hi, i’m not one of those people. Thank goodness for reminder systems, calendar invites, etc.

So, how do I combat this? I put things in my direct line of vision consistently and frequently because I want and need them to be a priority.

That’s why the Circles of Influence program we received in service last week was so immensely beneficial to me. I care more than I can explain about those five names I wrote down, and I bet you do too. Those names represent thousands of prayers and hopes for those people you hold to be important in your life. They represent who knows how many conversations.

I truly believe we all have great intentions with our prayer life and to spread the gospel with others. We easily get distracted and forget to be bold in our prayers and our conversations, but we have a new day... every day! God is good to press “restart” with us—to give us a new perspective, a new opportunity.

If you haven’t yet written down your five names of those you're going to be intentional with, I say stop reading this blog now and write them down!

There's no prayer or person that is out of God’s reach. Pray specifically and boldly for those names and then go do something about it! You and I both have a challenge set before us today.

Janelle Cartner
Local Initiatives Coordinator/Administrative Assistant

Take the Plunge on Easter

Posted on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 under Weekend Expression 1 Expression 4

I look back on my long journey toward Jesus so many years ago and recall the way I sat in the church making commitments to Christ during the worship service and then left and lived however I felt like living. I did it for years. I sensed the need for something more, but kept running on the same church attendance treadmill in an attempt to reconcile myself to God. I would feel the pull, the tug, the nudge to step out of my seat and jump in the waters of baptism, but I talked myself out of it time and again. I can hardly express the relief I experienced, the weight lifted off my spirit, when I finally took the plunge and said, “Jesus, have it your way. Whatever you want, I want.”

How about you? Have you been thinking about taking the plunge? Maybe putting it off for weeks? Or months? Or, like me, years? Easter is a time when we make it super easy to take the step of baptism. Just go here to register and then show up on Easter Sunday, April 20 with a towel in your shirt, shorts, and a pair of shoes you don't mind getting wet. We'll be excited to see you there!

Will Briggs
Care Pastor


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