Friday Funnies (Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas!  I hope today is a happy day for your family.  Here are some holiday funnies to start your weekend off right:

dog shaming, the christmas tree fainted, guilty dog

strawberry santas, strawberry santa fail, pinterest fail

golden retriever christmas, golden retriever ate presents, golden retriever dog shaming, golden retriever christmas tree, dog funny, christmas dog humor, christmas dog funny, golden retriever funny, golden retriever photo

10 Random Things to Know About Pastors

Great blog post from my cousin, Ron Edmondson. Check him out at Pretty much every one of these apply to me as well. 

I’ve learned pastors are often misunderstood. Especially by people who haven’t known a pastor personally, but we can really be misunderstood by many people. It’s surely a unique vocation. I can’t speak for all pastors. And, certainly – maybe since I was in secular work longer than I’ve been a pastor – I’m not typical.
But, I suspect I’m not completely abnormal either.

Here are 10 random things to know about pastors.

These are true for me, but I suspect they may be for your pastor too.

The temptations you face – I face. I’m not immune from temptation. I’m human. You shouldn’t be surprised when I make mistakes. I need lots of grace. I should be held accountable, but ultimately I’m accountable to God – just as you are.

The larger the church gets – the less I know about anything. But, this can be true of any church size where other people are empowered to lead. Ask me anything. I may or may not have an answer. Sometimes, however, you save both of us time if you email the staff or volunteer leader more likely to know – but I can always forward an email.

The better the message – the longer it takes me to prepare it. There are rare exceptions to this for me. If I am going to have a descent message I will have to take time away from other responsibilities to prepare. This could mean I’m not everywhere you hoped I would be.

Even though I’m teaching it – I may not yet have mastered it. Hopefully I’m working on it, but I teach the whole counsel of God – the Bible – and I’m still a work in progress in many areas of it.

I get nervous every time I start to preach – sometimes sick to my stomach nervous. If you didn’t notice – well, glad I’m getting better at covering. But, you do me a tremendous blessing if you whisper a prayer as I step up to preach.

Sunday is not the only day I work. Honestly! And, preaching is not all I do. I actually work 6 long days a week and even when I’m off or out of town, I’m often working. But, Sunday does come around quickly.

Your story probably won’t surprise me. I am never callous towards it, but I’ve probably heard similar or worse. And, I’m still going to love you.

To my family I’m usually not a pastor – just a husband and dad. And, I like that. I even like to be “just a friend” sometimes.

If you tell me something on Sunday morning – you probably should back it up with an email to remind me. My mind is distracted and I will forget. And, if it can wait until Monday – even better.

I can relate to you better than you think. I like to have a good time. Some would say I’m funny. I even know how to laugh. I don’t even have to be quoting Scripture to do so. We have struggles in our life too. Lots of them. And, the more you see me as a regular person, the more I can relate to the struggles you face and your friends who are afraid to come to church – partly because they think I’m not.

7 Facts You Didn't Know About Pearl Harbor

Sure, we all know the date and the famous quote (Dec. 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy") and, of course, the implications and significance (more than 2,000 Americans were killed in the attack, which launched the U.S. into World War II). But below are seven facts that may not be so obvious about Pearl Harbor.

1. Most of the battleships sunk that day were resurrected.

Of the eight battleships targeted during the attacks, all but two were eventually repaired and returned to the U.S. Navy's fleet. The USS West Virginia and the USS California had both sunk completely, but the Navy raised them, repaired them and reused them.
Furthermore, bullet holes and damage from the attacks can be seen to this day at many of the active military installations on Oahu, including Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Hickam Army Air Field. Rather than being repaired or covered up, the bullet holes serve as a reminder of the lives lost that day and as motivation for our military to stand strong still.

2. Veterans of the attack can be laid to rest at Pearl Harbor.

Survivors of the attack have the option to join their lost comrades and make Pearl Harbor their final resting place. Crew members who served on board the USS Arizona during the attack -- the ship that experienced the most devastating damage -- may choose to have their ashes deposited by divers beneath one of the sunken Arizona's gun turrets. Roughly 30 Arizona survivors have chosen this option and less than a dozen of the 355 survivors are still living. Other military survivors can choose to have their ashes scattered wherever their ship was located during the attacks.

3. The USS Arizona still leaks fuel.

The day before the attacks, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel, nearly 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel helped ignite the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship, but -- amazingly -- some fuel continues to seep out of the wreckage. According to the History Channel, the Arizona "continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day" and visitors often say it is as if the ship were still bleeding.

4. Service members stationed in Hawaii took care of the memorial during the 2013 government shutdown. 

Service members stationed in Hawaii treat Pearl Harbor as a living memorial and have been known to rally around it when times are tough. In October 2013, for instance, when the U.S. government shut down for more than two weeks, no one was around to take care of the memorial site. A group of service members and their families spontaneously gathered to tend to the abandoned site, raking, weeding and mowing the overgrown grass. Their message to all veterans, they said, was: "We haven't forgotten about you. We will not forget about you."

5. Many tourists from Japan come to visit the memorial:

While most people can tell you that the Japanese were responsible for the attacks on Pearl Harbor, not everyone realizes that the Japanese now visit the memorial in droves. Japan, now one of America's strongest allies, is the largest source of international tourists to the state of Hawaii. Japanese visitors pay their respects at Pearl Harbor just as Americans do; ironically, the state's economic vitality today depends largely on tourism from Japan.

6. A baby girl's remains still lie entombed within a sunken battleship.

A crew member of the USS Utah had been storing an urn containing his daughter's ashes in his locker onboard, planning to scatter them at sea, but the Dec. 7 attack prevented him from ever doing so. Sixty-four men died aboard the USS Utah that day, and many of their bodies remain entombed within its sunken hull. The baby girl, who had died at birth, was finally honored with a funeral at the USS Utah Memorial at Pearl Harbor in 2003.

7. There's a huge oil plume beneath the harbor.

An estimated 5 million gallons of spilled fuel -- or nearly half the volume of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska -- has been collecting in a large underground plume beneath Pearl Harbor for decades. Though the plume, which lies beneath the main gate of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, is approximately 20 acres, or 15 football fields, in size, the Navy maintains that it is currently stable and not a threat to drinking water. 

Remember Pearl Harbor

I’ve had a lot of pastors and church staff members ask me, “How can we do a better job of developing volunteer leadership?”
Well, let me answer that question with a question.
Do you remember Pearl Harbor? The surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii that took the lives of over 2,400 Americans and incited the United States to join World War II.
It happened on December 7, 1941 at 7:55am. Exactly 74 years ago today.
As soon as word spread that Pearl Harbor was struck, there was an immediate flood of navy yard workers who volunteered to relocate to Pearl Harbor. See the pic below...

In addition, tons of men felt inspired to volunteer for military service when they got word of the attack.
Even today, the volunteerism continues.
There’s a Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor that pays honor to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.
It’s ran by volunteers.
The USS Arizona Memorial gives historical information about the attack. It, too, honors those who lost their lives. Over two million people visit it annually.
It’s maintained primarily by volunteers.
So what's the secret? The event of the attack on Pearl Harbor turned pacifists into card carrying, gun-toting GI's. It was that "Day which will live in infamy", as FDR called it, that motivated everyone to get behind a war effort which the United States desired to remain neutral. But when you're attacked? Neutrality goes out the window. When your back is against the wall? You've got to volunteer.
At, we have to remind everyone that we are in a war. Not a war of flesh and blood, as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12. We are in a war in which the casualties are the folks who choose NOT to go to church. Of a people who think, "Go to Church? I am not a churched person? Why would I go to church?" 
We all work in communities or cities where, for the most part, people think that Church is for ChurchedPeople. They do. It’s true. In this community, people think that church is for churched people. The reason why unchurched people don’t go to church is because they believe church is for churched people. “Why would I go to church? Church is for churched people!’
But I don’t believe that. In fact, I believe you don’t believe that. But we live in a world that believes church is for churched people. That just drives me crazy. I know that church isn’t for churched people because that would mean Christianity is for churched people, which means that Jesus came for churched people and there wasn’t even a church when He came! We know that’s not what this is all about.
Unfortunately, (and you know who’s fault it is—its our fault) Unfortunately we live in a culture that believes that church is for churched people. And yet, we live in a country that people really do believe about God. People really do want to have a connection with God. The problem is not God, the problem has been the church. Yet I believe that church is the connection between people and God. The Body of Christ should be the equation of connecting people with God.
It drives me crazy that people want to connect with God, but because they have had such a bad experience in church, they just don’t want to go to church.
Every day, 125,274 people in Clarksville don't go to church anywhere. 88% of our community would rather stay home on Sunday because they don't believe that church has anything to offer. 
In our community and thousands of other communities all across America, there is a hunger for God, but the church gets in the way. And I would give the rest of my life to change that, because I love God and I love the church. Jesus said, “The way I’m going to get the world’s attention is that I am going to establish My church, and nothing is going to stop it.” But for some crazy reason, church history shows us over and over again how the church has gotten I the way of people connecting with God.
I believe that church should be the magnet that draws people to God—not an impediment. We ought to be irresistible.
I don’t want to play church. I don’t want to lead people around in a circle and keep people happy. Keep the pictures straight on the wall and argue over paint. I want to look back over this next year and se people’s lives changed. I am on a mission to get the church out of the margins of society, and to change the reputation of the local church. To make it irresistible, because Jesus was irresistible. If we’re His body, we should have the same magnetism. People should be able to walk in here on Sunday morning and say, “I don’t believe it. I don’t like it, but I’m coming back. I don’t agree with it. I didn’t even understand all of it, but I like those people. They are so weird, but they are the finest people I have ever been with. I felt more accepted by that group of people that I disagree with than I do feel accepted by the people I do agree with. There’s just something about them.” That is how Jesus was. That is why sinners liked to be around Him. They liked Him and yet they were nothing like Him.
That is our charge. Our mission. That is the bar. And where that doesn’t happen, we have to change it. And when we cast that vision? That people who are far from God can have a changed life? People can and will come out of the woodwork and do some amazing things... because they are willing to volunteer for a cause in which they believe.

Friday Funnies

Today is the first Friday of December!  Yay!!  Hope you've had a good week. Here are 3 funny pictures that will help you start your weekend with a laugh.

dog meme, dog motorcycle, dog in side car, mom got a dog and motorcycle

cutest nope, snow nope, cat nope, dog nope, cat refuses to go outside, dog refuses to go outside, pet doesn't like snow

cat christmas tree, cat eating christmas tree, cat christmas problems, funny snapchat gives a really good tip for Pizza!

Talking about Starving the Monster of Entitlement at You can ask anyone who has worked in the restaurant business. Working Sundays are the worst. Why? Because the Sunday, come-after-church crowd are usually the most picky, most high maintenance, worst tippers there are. Christians have a bad reputation when it comes to Sunday lunch times. But as Christ followers, we should leave a good tip. We should love them well.

So we took up a special offering and blessed a Domino’s delivery person for the holidays. Remember, You always want more until you decide to give more!!

Defeating the Monster for Good

We're finishing our Starve the Monster series tomorrow with a BANG!! We're talking about how we can defeat the monster of entitlement once and for all. Together as a church, we're going to do something amazingly fun, but in order for you to participate? You're going to need to bring some extra cash.

Why, you ask? Because tomorrow we're planning on blessing the socks of someone who really needs help this year. Some of you remember the time Ellen ordered pizzas at the Oscars?  

Well, we're going to order some pizza at and have it delivered during the service. Our plan is to leave the pizza delivery person WITH A BIG TIP, so in order to do that? You need to bring some extra cash. You won't want to miss being a part of helping someone out this Thanksgiving season!! 

We will take up two offerings tomorrow. Our regular offering will happen during worship and before the sermon that will go to God, and we will take up a special offering that will only go to the tip of blessing the pizza delivery

A couple of other things you should know that is coming up at
  • First, Pastor Chris challenged everyone last week in week 1 of Starve the Monster not go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Stay at home with family and friends. We're encouraging everyone to post a picture on social media on Thanksgiving with the hashtag #thanksnotthings. So this Thanksgiving? Both for your own sake, and out of respect for the retail staff who get drug into coming to work on a day they should have off with family, stay at home. Which leads me to my second point...
  • Second, we want to Share Our Thanksgiving with you! We know that our church is full of individuals or families who don't have any immediate family to hang out with over Thanksgiving. We also have plenty of families who have extra room around their kitchen table. Do you need a place to go for Thanksgiving? We have multiple houses and families who are willing to share Thanksgiving with you, so click HERE to sign up to be a part of someone's Thanksgiving festivities!
Tomorrow is a great day to come to church--whether you're here in the Clarksville area or you've moved away--you can join us at at our online campus! You should try it! Click HERE to watch the worship and the teaching, chat with one of our volunteers, and even participate in the offering by giving. See you at church tomorrow!!

The Innovative Flop

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City a rail-thin engineering student from Oregon State named Dick Fosbury stunned the world of track and field with his approach to the high jump competition. Rather than sprinting straight toward the bar like the other competitors, Fosbury stood to one side and ran toward the bar in a short loop. At the last-minute he turned his back and threw himself head first over the bar with his feet trailing as he fell on his back to the mat. No one had seen anything like this before; it was completely unorthodox, dangerous and possibly against the rules. Fosbury would have been laughed out of the competition except he had just set a new Olympic high jump record at 7 feet 4 1/4 inches. To this day on every Olympic high jump champion goes over the bar backwards in what is known as the Fosbury Flop. Dick Fosbury revolutionized his sport because he was willing to do something no one else had tried, to jump over the bar backwards.

The American church needs more Dick Fosburys. We need leaders who stay within biblical standards and respect the traditions of the church, but are willing to jump over the bar backwards. Too many churches are stagnant, too many church plant fails and too many people are unreached with the Gospel to continue to do the same thing over and over and hope for different results. We have to find new models to reach new segments of society and see new patterns of success. So how do we find the “Fosbury Flop” in the American church? 

We do the same things over and over and wonder why the uninitiated don’t connect. We’ve created the one right way to do church, the one right way to go over the bar, and we’ve closed our minds to jumping over backwards.
Is your church ready to flop?

There was a time when Dick Fosbury was the only person on the planet who thought jumping backwards over a high jump bar was a good idea. Until he won an Olympic Gold medal he was just a goofy engineering student from Oregon, when he cleared the bar at 7’ 4 1/2” he became the trendsetter for the next 50 years. We need more Dick Fosburys in the American Church. We need leaders who are willing to walk away from what they know, from what is safe, from what is comfortable and find a new way to share the timeless Gospel. But they need to succeed. It isn’t enough to be different, you have to make an impact. Little experiments are great, but at some point you have to win a Gold medal for the world to notice you exist. We need bold, crazily talented leaders who will lead us to a new model of church based not just on the past, but on what God wants to do in the future.

This blog post is an excerpt from

Friday Funnies: Thanksgiving Style!

Thanksgiving is less than a week away!  I hope you enjoy these 3 Friday Funnies and have a wonderful holiday!

not what I meant when I asked you to carve it, funny Thanksgiving comic, Thanksgiving humor

Turkey costume, how long are you going to wear that costume?, tupperware thanksgiving, turkey thanksgiving joke

sorry man didn't see you standing there, funny thanksgiving

Why So Many Church Leaders Struggle With Their Faith

This is a great post from Carey Nieuwhof, a fantastic communicator and pastor of Connects Church in Canada.

There’s a secret many leaders won’t readily tell you. One of the most difficult aspects of Christian leadership is keeping your relationship with God fresh and alive. It’s amazing to me that a frequent casualty of Christian leadership is a leader’s personal walk with God. I have had to regularly engage this battle for two decades now. So have so many leaders I’ve talked to. I realize if I don’t engage the battle, I’ll lose it. How does it happen?

The Struggle Starts Innocently Enough

Drifting away from the God who loves you happens innocently enough. You start out in ministry with enthusiasm and passion. You get ‘burned’ a few times by people and the challenges of leadership, and your heart grows a little hard. You confuse what you do (your work) with who you are (a follower of Jesus) and the line between what is personal and what is vocational becomes blurry. You end up cheating your personal devotions by reading the passage you’re working on for Sunday. Or not reading much scripture at all. You end up so focused on strategy and execution that the mystery and supernatural aspect of Christian leadership gets lost. The services you lead become technical and clinical rather than life-giving and awe-inspiring because you’re focused on executing them well. You find yourself singing words that used to mean something and preaching words that once sounded more personal and alive than they currently do.

You still believe in your head, but you’ve lost your heart.

I have drifted into or close to that territory in seasons, and as soon as I do I realize it’s a terrible and unsustainable place to be in, let alone stay in.

A Searing Question

I have tried to keep this issue front and center in my life because I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who gains the world (or even a small slice of it) and loses his soul.

A few years ago I landed on a question that forces me to be 100 percent honest about where I am with God. The question:

If I wasn’t in ministry tomorrow, what would be left of my faith?

In other words, if ministry came to a dead halt:
  • Would I still passionately love God?
  • Would I have lots left to pray about?
  • Would I want to lead people to Jesus?
  • Would I wake up grateful?
  • Would I still confess my sin?
  • Would I live out of an overflow of my relationship with God?
If the answer to these questions is “I’m not sure” or “no,” I have a problem.

And so, I try to foster a personal relationship with God that runs independently of anything I do in Christian leadership. I try to remember that God loves me, not what I produce. That in the end who I am matters so much more than what I do.

So What Helps?

There are several components to staying healthy spiritually over the long term. You need a close circle of friends for support and accountability (I wrote about how to develop an inner circle here).

You need to pray.

But here’s what I find. It’s so simple you might dismiss it, but I can’t. It’s just always true:

The more I engage the Scriptures, the more I engage God.

When I read the Bible personally, I grow closer to God. When I skip or skim, I don’t.

And this is also the area in which I find many leaders and so many Christians struggle.

Five Ways to Keep Your Scripture Reading Fresh

So in the hopes of helping, here are five ways to ensure your reading of scripture stays fresh. At least these work for me:

1. Find Your Best Personal Time.

For me, it’s a no brainer. I’m always best in the morning. If I try to spend time with God at night, I fall asleep (it’s nothing personal, I also treat late night movies, friends and family the exact same way after 10:00 p.m.) I love having time with God between 5 and 6 a.m. I’m fully awake, engaged and present.

What’s your best personal time? Give it to God. You’ll grow.

OK, I better come clean. I have a bias. I think everyone should become a morning person. I think there are inherent advantages you don’t get any other way. I started becoming a morning person in my early 30s and have never looked back. Think you can’t do it? Michael Hyatt shows you how.

2. Find the Medium That’s Best for You.

I’m a reader, so a written Bible has always equaled awesome for me. But a few years ago I discovered that I had stopped reading my Bible in a fresh way because I had been reading it for so many years. The words didn’t feel fresh anymore because they had become so familiar.

Around that time I had bought my first iPhone. I downloaded the YouVersion app and suddenly I found I was reading the Bible as though it was the first time. Every word looked new, even though I had read it before. And that meant my connection with God and the Bible was stronger. The only thing I changed was the media. Now I read it off my tablet with the same effect. Experiment with mediums. See which one works best for you. If you don’t like reading, get an audio Bible and listen.

3. Get a Translation You Can Understand.

Many new Christians I talk to think there is something sacred to the King James Version of the Bible. There isn’t. It’s a beautiful translation that works powerfully for people with a solid command of 17th-century English, but that’s not me.

There are many great translations out there. I personally prefer the New Living Translation. The TNIV (Today’s New International Version), the Message and even the English Standard Version are used by many people effectively.

4. Use a Reading Plan.

Random reading can get you started, but it often doesn’t keep you going. Like many others, I use a reading plan. Here’s a sampling of the hundreds available.

Year after year (including this one), I come back to the One Year Bible. Nothing has kept me more engaged with God on a daily basis than that. It’s about 15 minutes of reading a day (so it’s a commitment), but for me there has been nothing better. I love it because I simply look for the daily readings and they’re all laid out. No flipping pages all over the Bible. If it’s July 6, all the readings for the day are laid out. So whether you use a paper Bible or an App like me, it’s all there for you. So easy to use. If reading through the Bible in a year is not something that will help you, there are a ton of other reading plans out there.

5. Take Time to Reflect and Pray.

A combination of prayer and some kind of reflection time is advised. Some people love to journal. I’ve tried to journal, but I’m not sure it’s me. Other people reflect on their life and issues when they pray. I often do when I cycle. If you make your prayer time a time of asking God to help you apply what you’re learning and apply what you’ve read, you will never run out of things to pray about.

Whatever you do, keeping your relationship with your Saviour fresh and alive is critical.

After all, if your relationship with God dies, you lose your authority to lead, not to mention your passion and joy.

Carey Nieuwhof is Lead Pastor of Connexus Church north of Toronto, Canada, blogs at and is host of The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast available for free on iTunes.

God Qualifies the Unqualified

We’re all different. We have different likes, dislikes, abilities, passions, quirks, ticks, and personalities. We all have different gifts, capabilities, and capacities. We have different resources and outlooks.

None of those are a mistake. In fact, read any part of the Bible or spend anytime leading other people and you’ll soon discover that we’re not all the same. It doesn’t take a registered people expert to determine that. Because we’re not all wired and made the same, we can find our share of difficulties when in relationship with other people. Whether we’re in a relationship with our spouse, making new friends in high school, raising our kids, or leading a team, the differences in us all can be somewhat difficult to navigate. The tempting thing, especially for those of us with higher levels of capability and big callings, can be to push people away that don’t seem to think like us, or be willing to learn what we want them to learn.

I’m glad God has never pushed away 
people that are difficult to lead.

One of the greatest leaders in all of scripture is Moses. Spend any time at a leadership conference or reading a leadership book and you’re 99.998 % likely to hear about his style of leadership. Moses was a man with a past that God called to dramatically impact the future. God called Moses, a man who had already been an orphan and a murderer to a big task in Exodus 3:10:
“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
The temptation when reading that verse is to immediately think that Moses was fully gifted for a call that God had put in front of him. Did Moses have a past? Sure. Was God going to call someone that didn’t have all the tools they needed to get the job done? You wouldn’t think so. That’s exactly what God did. In fact, in the next verse we can see a little bit about how incapable Moses himself thought he was…
“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’”
And again a chapter later. Here, Moses got specific with God about how incapable he was…
“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’”
Now, many of us know the rest of the story. After this, Moses would do some bold things for God and God’s people. He’d approach Pharaoh over and over knowing Pharaoh wasn’t going to listen. He’d approach the people’s sins head on and beg with God on their behalf. He’d get called to the top of a mountain and get instructions for the rest of humanity. He’d get a glimpse of God Himself. While he eventually fell into pride and didn’t get to see the land promised to his people, Moses is mentioned several times in the New Testament as being a hero of the faith.

One of the most amazing parts of the Moses story is that he let God teach him. God led Him each day, every day. God would instruct him. God would discipline Him. God would provide practical information and tangible tools.

As leaders, we often look at Moses’ leadership, but we should also look at God’s leadership of Moses. When Moses argued with God in Exodus 3 about his calling, God could have easily told him he was right and gone with someone else. I’m sure there were more polished and smarter people out there. He didn’t. Instead, God chose to coach Moses through the greatest comeback story of all time. He walked in close relationship with Moses. He even changed His plan once when Moses requested.

As leaders, relationships are still key. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to build real relationships with those we lead, but we have to do it. We have to know them, their families, and even let them speak into our lives at times. Sure, they may not be someone we would pick as a close friend, but if we find them worth leading, we have to find them worth our investing.

I love How God led Moses through his insecurities of speech and ability. Moses wasn’t so sure He could speak to the people or to God for that matter, but God boosted his self esteem early on by showing Him that he was with him every step of the way. “Throw down your staff and make it a snake.” God was with Moses. Our people, no matter how “unqualified” or insecure they may seem, have to know we have their back. That we’ll support them and provide the tools they need to grow and make it in whatever we’re placing them in. Too often we write people off as incapable when we just haven’t been empowering.

I’m thankful today that God is a patient leader. His patience has lead to my redemption, my life, and my eternity. He still leads us the same way He led Moses—patiently, lovingly, and gracefully. We have to borrow from that example. Our organization, our church, our business, our students, our families will be better because of it.

Posted by Jonathan Pearson

Looking at Entitlement

Tomorrow at, we're in week 2 of our Starve the Monster series, where we're talking about starving the monster of entitlement. (If you missed last week, you can click HERE to watch week 1.)

We said last week that Entitlement is thinking that you have the right to something that is actually a privilege.

A couple of things you should know that is coming up at

  • First, Pastor Chris challenged everyone last week in week 1 of Starve the Monster to not go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Stay at home with family and friends. We're encouraging everyone to post a picture on social media on Thanksgiving with the hashtag #thanksnotthings. One of the biggest litmus test of entitlement is a lack of gratitude and thankfulness. It is called Thanksgiving, not Things Getting. So this Thanksgiving? Both for your own sake, and out of respect for the retail staff who get drug into coming to work on a day they should have off with family, stay at home. Which leads me to my second point...
  • Second, we want you to Share Your Thanksgiving! We know that our church is full of individuals or families who don't have any immediate family to hang out with over Thanksgiving. We also have plenty of families who have extra room around their kitchen table. Would you be interested in hosting an individual or family for Thanksgiving? Do you need a place to go for Thanksgiving? Click HERE to host folks at your house, or click HERE to sign up to be a part of someone's Thanksgiving festivities!

Tomorrow is a great day to come to church--whether you're here in the Clarksville area or moved away--you can join us at at our online campus! You should try it! Click HERE  to watch the worship and the teaching, chat with one of our volunteers, and even participate in the offering by giving. See you at church tomorrow!!

Friday Funnies (Dr. House)

How was your first week of November? I hope you enjoy these House funnies to start your weekend off with! :)

dr house, house quotes, house rectal bleeding all of you

dr house quote, dr house somewhere out there is a tree producing oxygen apology, tree apology

house I've heard your name, house noun

Should A Woman Be Allowed To Preach?

This is a great post by Perry Noble, pastor at NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has a great perspective on this hot topic, and I totally agree with him on this sunbelt. Check Perry out at
Today at NewSpring we had the privilege of hearing from Stacey Tarrant.  
Every time a woman has preached over the course of our 15 years, there have been a very small minority of people who have asked why we would allow her to do so when they feel the Bible says a woman should not do so.    
Let me say before continuing this article that there are godly people on both sides of the debate as to whether or not women should be allowed to "preach!"  
The following is the stand I take on this issue.  
This is an article of clarification, not one for argumentation.  
I am simply, as the pastor, answering a sincere question we occasionally receive.  If, after reading, you do not have the same conclusion as me on this issue then I am perfectly fine with that, and hope you will be as well. 
As Augustine once said, ““In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
I do not have a problem with women preaching the Gospel because Jesus did not have a problem with them doing so.  
It was women that were the first commissioned by Jesus to preach that He was alive after His resurrection. 
When the Holy Spirit fell on the believers in Acts 2:1-4 Scripture clearly says He filled everyone in the room, and they all began to declare the Gospel.  
If your blood is beginning to boil and you are screaming, “what about what Paul said?” 
I would ask you the same thing. 
If we take the totality of everything Paul said in all of his letters, and then also look at the fact that he mentioned women and their actions/behavior in the church—we would find that he speaks about the issue five times (at the most, depending upon interpretation). 
One of the things I am learning when reading the Scriptures is, even though I believe every word of it is true and can be fully trusted, there are passages that had more relevancy at the time they were written than they do today.  
(For example – Deuteronomy 25:11-12 speaks to the issue of how to deal with women when it comes to an incredibly sensitive issue; however, that’s not a verse we quote or put on coffee mugs today!)
So while I acknowledge Paul addressed the issue on a limited basis, I really do believe to base our view of women on these few passages means we have to ignore an enormous portion of Scripture that validates the preaching, teaching and leadership of women.  
Deborah (Judges 4-5) was clearly called/used by God in a leadership and speaking capacity (her song made the Bible in Judges 5—if God allowed her words to speak to us, can we not allow women to speak as well?
Esther was clearly put in a position of leadership (and had a whole book named after her!) 
In Acts 21:8-9 we see that Phillip had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
Paul clearly says in Romans 16:1 that Phoebe is a deacon (leadership position) in the church. 
Then there was the amazing husband and wife team of Priscilla and Aquila.  (If women were always supposed to be silent in every situation, then why does Paul mention her name specifically on three separate occasions in his writings?  If it was all about the men then why not just leave her name out altogether?   
I've often heard people call these ladies "exceptions" - but I see them as examples as I honestly do not believe women are forbidden to preach the Gospel. 
(And, just a side note, so many of the people who hold the anti-women preacher viewpoint grew up in church where the Sundayschool teachers were mostly…wait for it…WOMEN!  Good gosh, if it were not for women there might not even be a church!!!) 
Bottom line - there are over 7 BILLION people on the planet and over half of them do not know Jesus - I think our focus should be on the fact that someone is trying to reach them rather than tell them they can't because they do not have the proper body parts!  

Starve the Monster Starts this Weekend!

  • Don't forget - Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend! Set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night. We hope you enjoy the extra rest, and we can't wait to see you on Sundaymorning at 9 or 11! 
  • Last Sunday's Trunk or Treat was amazing! This was the second year we served our community by throwing a Trunk or Treat for the exit 1 area. This year, we had more people, more activities, and a WAY MORE trunks!! You guys knocked it out of the park! Make sure to post your pics of the event on the Facebook page. Click HERE to post your pics!
  • Don't forget that if you invited anyone to Trunk or Treat to invite them to church this Sunday. 
We start a new series this weekend called Starve the Monster. What is it about? Well, there’s a small monster that lives inside most of us. It always wants just a little more. A little more money. A little more food. A little more of anything we want. Feed the monster, and he grows. Eventually, you begin to feel entitled to anything the monster wants. In this series, Pastor Chris will share some key lessons on how to shrink the monster of entitlement that lives inside all of us.

Hope to see you this Sunday at 9:00 or 11:00 at, meeting at Northeast High School on Trenton Road at Exit One.

Friday Funnies: Halloween Style!

Have a safe Halloween tomorrow and enjoy these Friday Funnies to start your weekend. :)

funny witch comic, witch halloween, witch cauldron, witches with hand mixers, witches easier

not speaking to anyone who doesn't believe in the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown halloween, Charlie Brown comic, Peanuts halloween, Peanuts great pumpkin

halloween funny, halloween comic, halloween instagram funny

Holy Shifts

Holy Shifts
Clay Scroggins
One 2015
The landscape for religion and faith in America is changing. Rather than burying our heads in the sand or taking a weapon in hand, the church has always thrived by paying attention to these holy shifts and making slight adjustments in methodology to “win as many as possible.”

Paying attention to the shifts of the temperature of a green egg. The more you open the daisy wheel, adjusting the air flow.

I.               Subtle shifts can make a distinct difference.
II.             When we fail to pay attention now, we’ll pay for it later.
Illus. Blockbuster Closing going out of business; taken over by Netflix. Investors bought Blockbuster in 1991 for 8.4 billion dollars. In 1997, Reed Hastings got a $40 late fee for Apollo 13. Started Netflix. In 2,000, Blockbuster had the opportunity to purchase Netflix, but didn’t do it. In 2010, Blockbuster was worth $24 million.

a.     People are becoming much more distrusting, especially of the local church.
                                               i.     31% of Baby Boomers say they trust the church.
                                             ii.     Gen X’ers…
                                            iii.     Today, Millennials only 19% feel like they can trust the local church.
                                            iv.     Instead of complaining about this, we should be asking the question, “Why?” Why are Millennials so distrusting? Information is so accessible to them. Seen more at a young age. 24-hour news generation. Exposed and experience more.
b.     People are becoming much more comfortable as irreligious.
                                               i.     There are more ‘Nones’ in America than any other time.
                                             ii.     In 2007, 16% of Americans claim to be unaffiliated with any religion.
                                            iii.     In 2014, that percentage grew to 23%.
c.     People no longer attend church out of obligation.
                                               i.     Online church affected church attendance in 2011. Is it okay to value information.
III.           The church should not be alarmed. However, the church should always adjust.
·      Paul was always adjusting to pay attention to the shifts that were happening, and making minor course corrections.
Though I am freeand belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews (Personality mirroring).To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak (We are all deserving of God’s wrath but we have been made trophies of God’s Grace). I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
·      You did this when you were dating, so that you could win someone else!
·      “We will do anything short of sin to reach people!” –Craig Groeschel
·      Was the juice worth the squeeze, Paul?
a.     In light of people becoming much more distrusting, building trust is crucial to building the church.
·      Read, I Once Was Lost.
                                               i.     Investing must be a prerequisite to inviting.
                                             ii.     “To create a church unchurched people love to attend, we must be a church that loves unchurched people.” Quote from Lane Jones
·      You would thing that these are attached at the hip. The first statement is all about programing, the second is all about love. “Does our staff love unchurched people? Do our volunteers love unchurched people?” If not, it starts to sell phony.
·      Refuse to see the church building as a refuge from the community.
“You are now entering the mission field.” We need to take down that sign.
·      Choose to celebrate and partner with the community as much as possible. It is hard to distrust someone who is doing a lot of good.
·      Listen closely to the stories we tell. “We are not going to tell, ‘Make it Better’ stories.” Though the staff has core values of Take it personally and Make it Better, we need to tell stories of us loving unchurched people.
b.     In light of people becoming much more comfortable as irreligious, we must lead as though we are the minority, not the majority.
                                               i.     Do not assume everyone believes what we believe.
                                             ii.     Make it as easy as possible for people to belongbefore they believe. We want to allow people to get as far as they can before they hear a “No.”
                                            iii.     Discard any us vs. them language. Sacred vs. secular. We want to have an approach us all being the same boat.
c.     In light of people not attending church out of obligation, we must ensure people’s experience is meaningful and valuable.
                                               i.     Did people leave our environments feeling that what they experienced was worth it? Not just give truth. Not just give application. But make them feel something.
“I have learned that people will forget what you said. I have learned that people will forget what you did. But people will never forget what you made them feel.”
–Maya Angelou
                                             ii.     In every environment, do people know exactly what to do with what they just heard?
                                            iii.     Does your community see your church as meaningful and valuable?

What stands between unchurched people and church? We do.
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