Monday, September 28, 2015

Striving For Excellence

When you look at an athlete like Michael Phelps you know that he is a driven individual. Mr. Phelps has won 18 Olympic gold metals since 2004.  I think it is safe to say that he is a man that strives for excellence.  I don't believe he was fulfilling another person's dream for his life.  I believe he was willing to put in the time and struggle that it took to accomplish these victories because it is what he wanted for his own life.

What makes a person so determined?   What would cause someone to go through all the pain?  Where does the discipline come from that drives a person like Phelps to victory? Do you think his trainer had to get him out of bed or tell him to go to the gym?  I think not!  I think he was self motivated as he strived for excellence in his field.

I remember as a young man wanting to be a minister for the Lord Jesus Christ.  I considered it (and still do) to be a high calling and honor to serve my King and have the ability to speak truth into the lives of people.  My pastor and professors didn't have to tell me to study my Bible.  I was not forced to pray or walk by faith.  These were disciplines that I placed in my life as I strove for excellence.

It seems that in today's world Christians have the idea that all the information they could want is at their finger tips with a push of a button. If we want to know what the bible says about prayer we just google it.  The one thing that google will never do for you is have "the words of God dwell in you richly."  Knowledge at your finger tips is not the same as wisdom in your walk.  If you are going to master the art of being a Jesus follower, it will take discipline, struggle, endurance, and pain.  Paul said that he pressed toward the mark of the high calling of God.  "That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings." (Phil. 3:10-16)

I am looking for the true disciples of Christ. Those that will get up early or stay up late if necessary.  Those that study the word of God because that is what it takes to be transformed into men and women of God.  Those that take the leap of faith knowing the awesomeness of their God and are not afraid to take chances.  These are the game changers! These are the kingdom builders!  These are the ones that will turn this world upside down with the gospel!

Don't be a google centered Christian.  Be a gospel centered Christian.  Strive to be a Kingdom Builder.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Empowering Your People

What makes the difference in a team player and a water-boy.  There are so many different leadership styles that I will not take the time to discuss them all here today.  But, any good style of leadership is going to have some key ingredients that makes it successful. One of those ingredients is the level of empowerment that a leader gives to his or her people.

Empowerment can be tricky in the respect that the leader has a specific direction that he is trying to take the organization, and there are many different personality styles to get it there.  Let's talk about the opposite style first so we have something to compare.  Lack of empowerment in a leader is one that dictates tasks to his people and everyone is a slave to the task list of the Leader.  There is no original thought or idea.  Sharing it is just a list to be completed.  This might be the case if you are dealing with support staff only, but if you have true players on the field they are going to want to contribute and execute.

Empowerment is a culture that is built over time.  It is not just decision making.  Here are a few ways you can begin to build a culture of empowerment with your people.

  1. Spend a lot of time sharing and refining your vision with your team.  Everyone must be headed in the same direction. If this is not the case, you as the leader will be frustrated when people are moving in a different direction.  Empowerment in this environment is dangerous to the overall vision of the organization. 
  2. Have brainstorming sessions before the tasks are given out. Once everyone is comfortable and in agreement with the vision, the team can start building a road map of how to get there.  As the leader, you might have a general idea of how to get there, but you must be flexible in the brainstorming meeting as others will think of things that you did not. 
  3. You don't have to be the smartest person in the room.  Be O.K. with the fact that you have gathered an excellent team to get the job done. Just because someone can throw a touchdown pass doesn't threaten the job of the coach.  It just makes the coach look good. 
  4. Give feedback to the team.  Empowerment without assessment comes across as unconcern. Communication is key here!  People can't read your mind and they want to know if in fact they are moving in the right direction.  The more reassurance the leader gives, the more decisive the team can be.  If the team is unsure if they are accomplishing the goals, they will stop making proactive decisions and begin to wait on instruction.  
  5. Celebrate the successes!   To do so, success must be clearly defined.  What are the milestones in the journey?  When those milestones are reached there must be celebration.  Without celebration the milestones seem unimportant and therefore the work that went into achieving it also seems unimportant. There is plenty of time to hit the next milestone so don't miss the celebration along the way. 
I have a saying with my teams: "Together we can do more."  Empowerment is true leadership.  In the next entry we will see some examples of how Jesus empowered his disciples.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Team Church

I have always loved being a part of a team.  Working together with others to accomplish a greater goal than you could ever accomplish by yourself.  My teams would always bring out the best in me and push me farther than I thought I could go.  Teams help make a healthy environment.  They are all about relationships, goals, victories, and defeats.  People that you count on and trust in to see you through.

Today many have the religious idea that church is the place that we come to meet with God. They attend to be reverent and be moved in someway in their spiritual life.  Many times people are struggling to find their purpose and meaning and think that will come through some supernatural touch from the Holy Spirit.  Many times they leave with the same problems they came in with.  They start feeling that church doesn't work for them the way it does for others. It's because of this that many don't see the need to go to church.  They are hit and miss because they think that church is just about their spiritual walk with the Lord.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  What would a church look like if they understood that Jesus had placed all of them on a team?  A team to win the souls of people.  A team that needed to perform together to accomplish something bigger than themselves.

When Jesus started his ministry, the first thing He did is build a team.  He didn't build a building (as a matter of fact, he never built a building).  He built a team of men that would work together to accomplish something greater than themselves.  Jesus is still building teams today!  He brings people together with different talents and abilities to accomplish something greater that they could ever accomplish on their own.  When I was on my high school basketball team we had practice everyday after school and games on Friday night. If you didn't come to practice you didn't play in the game. Even if you were good enough to skip practice you still had to come and practice with the team. Through practice we learned how the team plays and how to play to our strengths. We learned each other and we learned to care about one another.  If a team member didn't show up, we demanded to know why.  It was unacceptable that a team member wasn't there.  Not because they did know the plays or even needed the practice but they did need to be with the team.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Finding a Team

Reliant will be hosting a partners meeting on August 16th for all those interested in being on the launch team.  We will be launching March 6, 2016.  We are looking for some new team members that are ready to do something amazing for God.  You can RSVP for the meeting by CLICKING HERE.

One thing that you don't see in the scriptures is a lone ranger that goes off by himself to do a work for God.  It is very evident that is into the team concept.  Even Jesus hand picked 12 men at the beginning of his ministry that would walk with him through his entire ministry.

I remember the day in my office when God call me to minister to his people.  My response was, "Lord I need you to send me some men that know what they are doing.  I need guidance and help."  God has been faithful to surround me with the necessary people to accomplish His mission.

I find myself in that situation again as we plan the new Church.  God has provided solid instruction through the guys at Stadia, and he has also provided me with men and women by my side that will help me get it done.  I am in the hunt for my team at this point.  I need an associate, and a worship leader.  Before you send you resume.  They need to be willing to raise their own support and have that entrepreneurial spirit to start something for nothing.  God has been faithful in the past and I know he will be faithful now.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Questions for Upcoming Ministers

Being in ministry for 25 years and being a part of training men and women for the ministry, there are a few questions that I have learned must be answered before one will be effective in ministry. There are too many stories of pastors falling or failing in the ministry for these questions to be avoided.

1 Peter 5:2-3, "shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." Ministers are commanded to be the example to the flock in all areas of life. So here are a few of the questions that every minister should continually ask (in no certain order):

  1. Do I want people to follow my example in the way I raise my kids?
  2. Do I want people to follow my example in how I treat my wife / husband?
  3. Do I want people to follow my example in how I spend my time and money?
  4. Do I want people to follow my example in how I lead others?
  5. Do I want people to follow my example in my spiritual life and witness for the Lord?

These are questions that I have been asking myself for the past 25 years and will continue to ask. Knowing the Bible is a must. Being a visionary is a must. Waxing eloquent in pulpit is important. Processes and procedures you can't do without. But if you don't live in such a way that people can aspire to follow, your ministry will be short lived. I realize this is a tall order, but that is the call of a man or woman of God.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finding Jesus

How do people find Jesus today?  This question has never been more real to me than right now, as I plant our new Church: Reliant.  Last week I was sitting in a discussion meeting with Stadia and Greg Nettle said something in passing that is changing the course of the way I think about evangelism.

The way a person comes to faith in Christ today is a lot different than it was in the 70's and 80's.  The pattern back then was something like this:  Information (The gospel) led to a decision (salvation) which led to relationships (church) which ended in mission (evangelism).

Through the 90's there was a transition into the a relationship style of evangelism that sparked a small group movement all over the country and the pattern changed: Relationships (small groups) led to sharing (the gospel) which led to church attendance (assimilation) which ended in mission (evangelism)

Today the pattern has changed once again.  The millennial's think in a whole different light.  They are very aware of the ills of the world and are determined to make a change in the world around them.  They love missional  causes that help society as a whole.   So, here is the pattern: Causes (mission) lead to relationships (small groups) which lead to sharing (the gospel) which leads to church attendance (assimilation).

Let's review:

70's & 80's: Salvation - Church - Relationship - Mission
90's & 00's: Relationship - Salvation - Church - Mission
Current: Mission - Relationship - Church - Salvation

This can all be summed up by understanding the way that truth is perceived today.  People no longer take for granted that the Bible is the inerrant truth. This mind set is described fully in James 2:18, "But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  We live in a "show me" generation. So here are a few questions that you can ask yourself.

  1. How is my relationship with Jesus changing the world in which I live?  
  2. Is my faith based in facts alone or actions I take?  
  3. What missional cause am I developing that will lead to new relationships?
  4. Who am I taking with me as I reach out into the world with the love of Christ?
I am in the process of raising funds for our new Church Plant launching early 2016.  Please consider giving a special gift today by Clicking Here.  If you are interested in being a part of the launch team, please contact me at or visiting our website.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Independent Jesus

As I was studying for Sunday out of Joshua 7, I was reminded of how much God views His Church as a whole.  Americans are bad about entitlement and selfishness that creeps its way into the Christianity and the Church.  It begins with a salvation message that is individually based.  Do you realize there is no place in scripture that emphasizes an individuals salvation.  I'm not saying that individuals don't make a personal choice to receive Jesus. But into what are you born?

The book of Ephesians (which is the go-to book on the establishment of the church) is all about being born into a family that together makes up an habitation for the Lord.  Without the Body fitly framed together there is no meaning to the Bible, the plan or commission of God.  This is the reason for so many shallow Christians that see no need to read the scriptures or pray or walk by faith.  The truth is these things don't matter in a self-centered life.  

We must be diligent to teach the young Christians that it is not all about them and what they can get from God, but rather the joy that comes from forming a vehicle in which the Lord can move and accomplish His will and plan for Himself and for your life. Take the journey with God.  Get in the vehicle and hold on for the ride of your life. The the pages of the bible will come alive to you.  You will need to pray and walk by faith.  And God will be pleased.

One of our core values at Reliant is "God Pleasers"  By faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.  Let it be one of your core values as well.

Help Support Reliant as we produce Jesus followers of faith that will expand the kingdom of God by their witness and His Word. Give Today: Click Here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Life to Life

I often remember the verse in Acts 8 when Philip was called out to meet the Ethiopian eunuch on the road.  As he approached he saw the man reading his Bible and said, "Do you understand what you're reading?"  The eunuch replied, "How can I except some man would guide me?"  Everyone needs some guidance in their lives especially in the area of spiritual matters.

When Jesus called his disciples he didn't call them to serve, he called them to "follow."  Jesus taught the men by hands on revelation as they walked together for the next 3+ years.  As the situations of life would arise Jesus taught them how to live by faith, how to pray, and how to minister to others.  They did what the master did.

This art of discipleship is all but lost today in our crazy, busy, fast-paced world.  Mentoring has become a website, article, blog, or sermon.  If you want to know how to walk with the Lord, find someone that is walking with Jesus and walk with them.  Paul said, "follow me as I follow Christ."  Find a mentor.  Be a mentor.  And watch real life to life change take place.   

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Three Keys to Discipleship: Accountability

Over the past few blogs we have been discussing the necessity for three key components to any good discipleship process.  Many churches talk about discipleship but fail to see the reality of the lives of their people truly being conformed to that of Christ's. As in everything, stability is bound in 3's and so it is in discipleship.

First, you must build an intimate relationship with God.  This is more than just saying the prayer of salvation or even being "born again." John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  I love the simplicity and the intimacy of this verse.  An intimate relationship is a constant interaction with God that is real and personal.  (Experiencing God, Blackaby)

Second, The Bible must be the final authority for all life and practice.  If we don't hold the Bible as the standard then people will make it up as they go.  Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."  There must be a shift in the mind in which a person humbles themselves under the authority of God's Word and trust what He says to be right and true.  When this happens you begin to see real life change as the individual begins a life long journey of change and adjustment.

Third, one must be held accountable by the body of Christ. There are many levels of accountability and a necessity for all levels.  According to Matthew 18:15-18 accountability begins with peer-to-peer.  We have the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in Christ if we see they are going astray or if they have offended us in some way.  If peer-to-peer is ineffective then there should be a peer-to-group accountability where truth is established and encouraged.  If the person is still walking contrary to the scriptures after the group accountability then Jesus says to take the matter to the Church.  This is outlined very clearly in 1 Corinthians 5.  If the person will still not repent from their sin they are to be removed from the Church in order to protect the integrity of the whole.  Once a person has repented of the sin and are walking according to the Bible they should be fully restored to fellowship and service in the Body of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2).  Although in today's world this might sound harsh, people practice this same thing in families, schools, jobs, and sports.  Why is it that we would guard the name of Christ more than we would these other areas.

My heart is broken over the lack of true discipleship going on in Churches today.  Until we as Christians are willing to take the time to invest in others there will not be the radical life change that Christ can and should bring.  As we start our new Church Plant I am excited to call the church body to a real life changing gospel that will change the course of many generations to come.  What is Christianity without these three keys.  It amounts to new born babes unwilling to take care of themselves and surely unable to take care of others.  

If you are searching for the changed life, if you know you need this kind of discipleship, email me at and I will direct you to a church in your area that will lead you in the ways of God.

Give to Reliant Ministries by CLICKING HERE.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Three Keys to Discipleship: Authority of God's Word Part 3

After understanding the mindset of where we have come from, it is easy to see how so many people look at organized religion as a failed institution.  This translates to a lack of authority from the Church and ultimately from the Word of God.  With all the craziness that goes on in the name of Jesus, it is no wonder that people are seeking guidance from other places.  But the truth is, God's Word has never changed and the old saying still stands, "Truth is always truth."

God has established his word above even his own name according to Psalm 138:2.  Which means even God himself is bound by the truth he has written there in.  The Word of God is an everlasting bond between God and man and will last for all eternity.  This is why we can bank our lives on the truths that are found within it's pages.

The blessing of understanding God's Word as the final authority in the church is two fold.  First, the church will not be molded into the preferences of any man.  The truths of the Bible supersede any culture or people group and therefore stands the test of time.  The second, is the unity that one set of truths bring to the body of believers.  When we are all in agreement that the word of God is our final authority we can all function in the truth that is found within. This removes the authority from men and places it where it belongs, on God.

I see many churches that want a good discipleship process but they spend no time establishing the Word of God in the lives of their parishioners.  Thus leaving them to their best judgement of what is right and what is wrong.  This only lends to confusion and compromise as people are faced with life changing decisions.

Next we will discuss the last key of discipleship which is accountability.  Comments and discussion are welcome.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Three Keys of Discipleship: Authority Part 2

We have been discussing the Second Key of Discipleship which is Authority in God's Word.  This is a continuation from the last post so make sure you read part 1 before going on.

The 1980’s to the Present (Baby Busters & Mosaics).  When the King is in question, people lose the fear of God.  Church became nothing more than a religious activity on Sunday.  God was a good idea with no substance.  It was O.K. if someone believed in God, but few knew if God really existed because society had ceased to live by faith.  We had become self-sufficient, or so we thought.
Revelation 3:17, “Because you say, 'I'm rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,' and you don't know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,”  This generation views many of the people in church as hypocrites, or fake, because most would pledge allegiance to Jesus on Sunday and live for the Devil the rest of the week.

Today’s generation is the “show me” generation.  Preaching a good message is no longer sufficient. There must be feet to the message. There are tons of preachers standing in pulpits all across America commanding people to win the lost through personal evangelism when they do nothing to evangelize their world.  It is this shallow Christianity from the so-called men of God that causes the current generation to question the motives of the church.  Where is the reality?  Where are the people that are actually doing the things that we preach?  Where are the Spirit-filled believers that are living with the almighty God that we preach?  These are the questions of this generation.

Today’s generation will not receive a message of authority and loyalty to a person or a cause just because someone preaches it.  They demand the proof of it. They have been lied to for too long. “Because I said so” doesn’t cut it anymore! “Because the Bible says so” doesn’t cut it anymore!
The proof is based solely in the reality of the day to day actions of the believers.  How scary is that, when we look at the state of the believers in our churches today.

A proper balance must be drawn for God to be seen in this generation. We must remember the lessons of our fathers.  Proverbs 22:28, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”  The fear of God must be restored.  The fear of God produces respect toward God and his body, the church.  When respect is restored obedience and service naturally follow.  We must learn the balance of love and respect.  Love is not in competition with respect. True love naturally produces respect.  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  True love is caring about others more than you care about yourself.  Therefore, true love produces the reality of caring more for others than one’s self, and respect follows naturally.  Demanding respect without love leads to rebellion because it is oppressive to the soul.

To Be Continued in Part 3

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Three Keys to Discipleship: Authority

In any good discipleship process there are three major components that will cause the reproducible results that church leaders are looking for in their people.  The first key which I discussed in my last post is intimacy with God.   The second key is establishing the Authority of God's Word.

At Reliant one of our core values is Bible Believers: The Word of God is our Final Authority for all Life and Practice.  This is not just a saying for us but a life to be lived.  Authority is often times defined by the culture in which one lives.  So let's take a brief walk down history lane and see where we came from, where we are, where we are going.

In the 1940’s & 50’s (Builders) as Americans came out of The Great Depression and into the Second World War, there was a great sense of unity among the nation.  The government conveyed the feeling “of the people, by the people, for the people” (Lincoln, 1863).  Out of this generation immerged three primary aspects of authority in the lives of people:

  • Respect:  The acknowledgement of something bigger than yourself.  A group of people can only be unified when they understand and accept the structure of the group.  People were happy to accept their place in society and function in it.
  • Obedience:  When there is true respect, there must be obedience to the chain of command: President to people, father to son, teacher to student, Pastor to flock.  Defiance to the structure is known as being disrespectful.  Therefore, respect and obedience go hand in hand.
  • Service:  The performance of a command.  When an order is given and carried out, a service has been performed, and thus respect has been shown.

This was very much the way of things in church.  Everyone in America, in church or not, acknowledged the fact that God is sovereign, and the church his mode of operation.  Those that were in rebellion to the structure of the church or God understood that they were in rebellion, and thus were primed and ready to receive the message of the King of kings and Lord of lords.  There was an inherent sense of loyalty and duty to God, family, and country.

Problems began to arise at the end of the war when the fathers came home with troubled hearts and lives.  The sense of loyalty and duty had been so ingrained in the men that there was room for nothing else.  All life revolved around respect, obedience, and service whether that was in the military, home, school, or church.  Many had lost the ability to love or to show love.  Expressions of love were seen as weak or feminine.  It is this lack of love that caused the next generation to rebel and defy all structure and authority.

The 1960’s & 70’s (Baby Boomers).  One thing is for certain, people tend to be extremist.  By the end of the 1960’s the next generation was rebelling against any and all types of authority.  America had gotten out of balance.   The primary need of every soul is love and people were willing to fight to get it. The famous cover of Time Magazine on April 8, 1966 said it all, “Is God Dead?”  Here are some excerpts from that article. “Less radical Christian thinkers hold that at the very least God in the image of man, God sitting in heaven, is dead, and—in the central task of religion today—they seek to imagine and define a God who can touch men's emotions and engage men's minds.” “The institutional strength of the churches is nowhere more apparent than in the U.S., a country where public faith in God seems to be as secure as it was in medieval France. According to a survey by Pollster Lou Harris last year, 97% of the American people say they believe in God. Although clergymen agree that the postwar religious revival is over, a big majority of believers continue to display their faith by joining churches. In 1964, reports the National Council of Churches, denominational allegiance rose about 2%, compared with a population gain of less than 1.5%. More than 120 million Americans now claim a religious affiliation; and a recent Gallup survey indicated that 44% of them report that they attend church services weekly.” “Particularly among the young, there is an acute feeling that the churches on Sunday are preaching the existence of a God who is nowhere visible in their daily lives. "I love God," cries one anguished teenager, "but I hate the church."

Due to the lack of love and purpose being found in the structure of the churches, it was sought out in other forms.  The reflection of this search was apparent in many art forms of the day.  Music played a major role in communicating the message of the day.
“Come on, people now, smile on your brother.  Everybody get together.  Try to love one another right now” (Get Together, Youngbloods)  The fathers of the 60’s & 70’s began to seek out more of a love relationship with their children.  With no example to follow, they were faced with making it up as they went.  Some succeeded and some didn't.  It was at this time that churches began to experiment with an “all-love” style of preaching and teaching.  Condemnation was thought to be inappropriate.   Laws and commandments were seen as oppressive and controlling.  People were searching for the God of love.  The focus of the message became the cross of forgiveness instead of the road to repentance, or the authority of a King.  Christianity became the road to heaven instead of an entrance into the kingdom.  Thus, salvation was the end of the Christian faith and not the beginning.

To Be Continued on Friday's post.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Three Keys of Discipleship: Intimacy

I remember, as if it were yesterday, 20 years ago traveling up to First Baptist Church in New Philadelphia, Ohio to visit some men of God that helped me learn how to mentor the people of God. Mark Trotter and Frank Pardue (God rest his soul) were the pastors at the time and were very gracious to spend time teaching young ministers how to "pour into" others.  Since that time I have made it a life long mission to learn the best practices of mentoring Christians for the cause of Christ. Kim and I have been taking tons of physiological profiles this week as we get ready for our Church Planting Assessment and I am finding that searching out best practices is right in my wheelhouse.

When it comes to building people for the kingdom of God there are three major components that I have found that must be present.  If one of these is missing, you will have a shallow result that does not reproduce itself, and let's face it, discipleship is all about multiplication.  Over the next few posts, I will discuss all three of the aspects needed.

The first key to a reproducing discipleship is "Intimacy with God." One of the biggest problems that I see in the church today is a shallow sense of intimacy at that moment of salvation.  We spend a lot of time talking about forgiveness for sin and not the person that has been offended by that sin.  God has always been drawing people "unto himself."  For example, in the book of Deuteronomy God chose a people "unto himself" which in turn makes them holy. The proper definition of the word 'holy", is "to be set apart", not "to be righteous".  The Children of Israel were by no means righteous before God but they were set apart by Him "unto himself." (Deuteronomy 14:2; 28:9; 29:13)

Not only was God concerned with a nation for himself but for a people of all nations, tribes, and tongues.  In that famous passage of 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 we are told in vs. 19 that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."  These are just a few scriptures on this matter, but I think the point is clear.  God has sacrificed His Son so that he might have an intimate love relationship with His people.

So, how do we structure intimacy into our discipleship process.  This is normally the place that you get the pat answers of read your Bible and pray more.  And although I'm not in objection to that, I want to dive a little bit deeper.  To build intimacy with the Lord one must walk with Him.  Walking with God can only be done through faith.  And there in lies the key.  How does your discipleship process produce impossible circumstances where your disciples must walk by faith with God? Materials will not do that.  Bible reading will not do that.  Prayers won't do it alone.  There must be situations and circumstances that demand faith. Faith will build a lasting and intimate relationship with the Lord that is real and personal.  "Without faith it is impossible to please Him."

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Healthy Fear

"There is no fear of God before their eyes" is the commentary of people who don't know God in Romans 3:18.  I'm afraid this same problem has carried into the church even after people have accepted Christ as their Savior.  Could it be that it is the way we present salvation in the first place?   Many teach that your sin will send you to hell if you don't repent. The Bible says God himself will send all those to hell that do not confess their sin to God and accept Jesus as their Lord. The more I get relational with God the more I understand how we were created in His image.

Sin is not just an inanimate object but an offence against the Creator of the universe.  The reason we don't see the life change in our churches after salvation is because we failed to put the gospel in the context of a relationship.  Paul spends a lot of time in Ephesians 5:1-11 describing the difference of a child of light and a child of darkness.  We must understand that God is offended by sin, both by the lost and the saved.  Again in Romans 6:1, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!"

The problem is we don't have any fear of God.  There are churches that take communion every Sunday using 1 Corinthians 11 as their model but yet they don't instruct the people to examine themselves and make sure they are not living in offence to the gospel which has caused many to be sick and some to die.  Yes die!!  When a christian becomes on offence to the gospel they will be chastened (convicted) by the Lord.  If the chastening doesn't work then He scourges (whips) every son (Hebrews 12:5-11).

We as pastors must take a close look at the way we represent God.  He is the God of love and forgiveness.  He is the God of second chances.  He is the God of restoration.  And He is also the God of righteousness.  He is the God of holiness.  He is the God of justice.  My prayer is that we would "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called."

Visit Reliant Ministries at 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Meeting New Friends

Do you ever feel like you lived a month in a weeks time?  This was last week for me. It started off with an amazing Sunday at Reliant. We had music and guests and it was outstanding.  Then on Monday, Brian Clark was in town for a Missions conference and we had lunch with his entire family.
Brain as been a missionary in the outskirts of London, England since 2002 and is doing a great job bringing discipleship to that place. He is the pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church and is active in modern day evangelism with the teams that come over to help during the Summer months. He set up a lunch date with two other pastors here in town so that I could meet them.  This was much appreciated since I haven't had a chance to really get out and meet a lot of guys yet.

One of the guys at the table was Billy Wood, pastor of One Baptist Church in Douglasville.   It was good to meet a guy sold out to discipleship and ready to do a great work for God.  He is the pastor of a 2 1/2 year old church plant and has got a good group of people behind him.  I look forward to the time I can visit their place and hang out a bit.

The other guy at the table was James Dekoker, pastor of Connect Church in Emmerson.  James is also a new church plant and has been running a discipleship model somewhat similar to mine.  I was excited to hear about the people they had won to Christ through relationship building.  If you are out the Emmerson way, Connect Church would be a good one to go and visit.  I'm excited to talk with James more about the Church Plant and get some pointers from him as we get ready to launch Reliant.

That just gets us to Tuesday afternoon.  Brian preached at Reliant on Tuesday night and was really helpful in getting the people to understand the balance of evangelism with discipleship.  The bottom line of his teaching was this.  If you don't A.S.K. people about Jesus you're not going to win anybody. If you would like to catch Brian's powerful message online, just follow this link.

I'm been blown away by some of the things that the Lord has been teaching me in Joshua.  Things I had never seen about Rahab.  So, I'm excited about Sunday.  If you would like to be a part of an exciting church plant, come to Reliant this Sunday.  You won't be disappointed. We had to purchase some chairs this week which cost us $500.00  If you would like to help with the cost you can donate by CLICKING HERE. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Avoiding the Trap of Legalism

Growing up in an independent fundamental Baptist Church,  I was exposed to quite a bit of legalism.  Over the last few decades legalism has taken on a broader meaning than its first intent.  The definition of legalism is the gaining of salvation through the adherence to a set of laws.  The church I grew up in was not so. We were always taught that salvation was by Jesus alone through faith alone.  So in the strictest definition we did not practice legalism.

We were called legalistic because there were certain rules that were placed on us by the church that were not found in the Bible.  For example, I remember going to Astroworld in Houston in the heat of summer with jeans on because we "as Christians" were not allowed to wear shorts.  The crazy thing is I wore shorts every day of my life just not at church functions.

Legalism can take on many forms and creep up on you before you realize what happened.  Today we understand legalism to be any set of rules that is used to determine one's spirituality.  Legalism would say today, "If you do ___________ then you will be closer to God and God will accept you."  For centuries men have been setting up these sets of rules and laws to be able to determine who is the most spiritual or superior in their spirituality.  This is a dangerous game to play.  It is the same game that the Pharisees were playing in Jesus' day and he called them hypocrites (and that was the nice term he used).

We know that if a person says you must were a suit to worship God that is described as legalism.  But what about the guy who says you can't were a suit?  He is just as legalistic.  Is the person who has a quite time with the Lord in the morning more spiritual than the guy who reads his Bible twice a week.  We would think so, but that really depends on a persons heart doesn't it?  Generally I believe that it is better for a person to spend a daily quite time with the Lord, but I can't say that it is going to make you more spiritual.  The fact is, a child of God is spiritual and accepted into the beloved by the blood of Jesus Christ.  It is nothing that we can obtain or gain, we just are.

Here is the danger of legalism.  The church has used sets of rules and laws to control people for centuries.  There have been many denominations that have set up these rules to use and manipulate people into doing whatever they want.  These rules usually come back around to money at some point.  Jesus turned over the money changing tables in the temple because the temple had established rules that you had to use temple money to tithe and buy sacrificial animals and they were cheating people in the exchange rate.  We would call that a racket today.  But what about things like coming to church, or serving on a serve team, or giving a tithe, or taking communion, or taking bible classes.  I think all these things are helpful in the walk of a christian but they are not required.  And when a person is made to feel guilty or less of a christian because they don't do these things or others, we have crossed the line into legalism.

So have your quite time, study your Bible, take communion with your local assembly, and serve your church not because it makes you any closer to God but because you are close to God.  "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Eph. 2:13)

Visit us at Reliant Ministries

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mission Minded

I remember growing up in a midsize Church in Houston, TX, now North Park Baptist Church where missions was always at the forefront of our minds.  It is an Independent Baptist Church which means we supported our own missionaries directly.  The plus side of this kind of Missions Program is that you get to see and meet the missionaries in person instead of just seeing their stats on a spreadsheet.  (There are some negatives to this type of system as well, but this is just one of the positives).

Because the missionaries had to raise their own support they would travel around all over the country (that would be the negative side) and preach in any church that would let them, hoping they would be taken on with monthly support.  So, I heard hundreds if not thousands of sermons on reaching the world for Christ.  I got to witness first hand how men and women would push through the struggles of deputation just to see their people group have a witness of Jesus Christ. I have to be honest, it made an impact on my heart.  I would dare say it made it very easy for me to answer the call of God on my own life.

There are still couples traveling all over the country trying to raise the support needed to preach the gospel in foreign lands and I applaud their efforts.  It seems that with the modern movement of programming the church services, there is little time or room to hear a man's burden for the lost in other places.  Jesus was very intentional about giving his disciples a world view of evangelism.  They were commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  This is a command and a responsibility that we still have as disciples today.

I have had Ivan Kunderenko staying in my home for the last few days.  He is a Pastor in Ukraine and aides the churches of Ukraine in understanding the Cults in the area.  He is truly a warrior for the cause of Christ.  He will be addressing our core group in the meeting this evening.  I am excited to introduce him to the people of our church.  As Kingdom Builders, We will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Excellence & Discipline

For those of you that have been following my posts, you know that our first Sunday to have our Core Group meetings was this past Sunday.  Last week was a blur as we were transforming my house into a meeting place that would accommodate about 30 people.

I asked the group to get here at 9:00 am, because I didn't know how long it was going to take to get the garage all set up and the children's area worked out.  To my surprise and joy, everyone was here on time and we had the whole thing set up and ready to go in about 20 minutes.  Everyone pitched in and before we knew it, we were ready for our time of preaching and teaching.  These people are amazing.

We had everything up and going that any church in town would have had, just on a smaller scale.  Everything from coffee bar to a giving kiosk to the check-in station for the kids was set up and ready.  I want to set a culture of excellence from the very beginning because excellence in all things relates to trust in the message.

When you find a disciplined person,  they are usually disciplined in all areas of life.  And the same is true when you find an undisciplined person, that he or she is so in all areas.  So, it is important that when people come to your church that you present yourself as a people of discipline and excellence.  This tells the visitor that you will be excellent in your interpretation of the scriptures and in the care of their souls, just as you are with everything else.

Very few times do people see or pay attention to organization, because being organized is the standard of living.  But people will immediately detect disorganization and remember because it directly affects them.  We, as the people of God, must always strive for excellence and discipline as we are ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ and speak on His behalf the ministry and message of reconciliation.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."  2 Corinthians 5:20

Click Here to give to Reliant Ministries.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Getting to the Core: Kingdom Builders

If you have been with me through the journey of the core values of Reliant Ministries, you can see why I'm so excited about starting this new work of the Lord.  It is so easy to get off track and get away from the biblical pattern of ministry that we must continually remind ourselves why we do what we do.  The truth is there are lives at stake.  It's one thing to start a business where the end game is to make as much money as possible.  If it fails, life goes on to the next adventure.  But when you are talking about the work of God and the ministry of reconciliation, what we do and how we do it will have everlasting consequences.

Here are the 5 Core Values of Reliant:

  1. Disciple Makers: We will make every effort to multiply our faith through evangelism and mentoring.
  2. Bible Believers: The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.
  3. God Pleasers: By faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.
  4. Community Engagers: Ministry runs on the rails of relationships.
  5. Kingdom Builders: We will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.
There is no doubt that God is advancing His Kingdom in this world and is using the Body of Christ to do so.  Every time a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, the kingdom is advanced.  I remember the first time the U.S. invaded Iraq after the bombing of Kuwait.  When the Iraqi solders saw the U.S. troops coming at them, they would lay down their weapons and throw up their hands in immediate surrender.  I'm afraid that too many Christians do the same thing when it comes to advancing the kingdom of God.  When times get hard or demanding, God's people are too quick to surrender and the kingdom is not advanced.  We must get in the fight for the souls of men.  God is not willing that any should perish.  Those Iraqi solders knew that if they came under the protection of the so called enemy, they would have a life they could only dream about.  So it is with those we win to Christ.  Once you surrender and enter into the kingdom of God, you find it is everything you ever wanted.

We must be intentional in our pursuit of the lost and the advancement of God's kingdom.  Therefore, we will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.  But to truly be kingdom builders we must have a trained army that can carry out the commands of the Lord and win the war for the souls of men, women, boys and girls.   We are Kingdom Builders!

Online Giving Here

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Getting to the Core: Community Engagers

Our tagline for Reliant is "Ministry Runs on the Rails of Relationships."  We use a set of railroad tracks to illustrate the thought of people walking parallel to each other in this life connected at different points for different reasons.  The longer the tracks go, the closer they come together, and so it is with the relationships of this life.

One thing I know for sure is that all of life is about relationships.  A person is happy when their life is full of good healthy relationships and a person is sad if his or her relationships are not healthy or non-existent.  God tells us that we were created in his image and likeness which tells me that God is relational as well.  God has no desire to be alone but to share his life and creation with people who will share their love and life with Him. God cares so strongly about having these relationships that it drove him to sacrifice his own Son so that these relationships could be restored and maintained for all of eternity.  This in itself should reveal how valuable these relationships are.  I think it is a shame when people take the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as a ticket to get out of Hell or condemnation and never give God the relationship for which He died.

Our core values at Reliant are:

  1. Disciple Makers: We will make every effort to multiply our faith through evangelism and mentoring.
  2. Bible Believers: The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.
  3. God Pleasers: By faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.
  4. Community Engagers: Ministry runs on the rails of relationships.
  5. Kingdom Builders: We will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.
As we look at the pattern and example of Jesus in his earthly ministry, we don't see him building a big building and inviting people to come to it.  What we see is him walking the streets, going from house to house, spending time in the market place, or in the social gathering places (bars and such).  He was where the people were, building relationships with them.  This was one of the main differences to his ministry and that of the synagogues.  Jesus could preach anywhere.  Jesus was willing to go anywhere (John 4). He didn't need a structure to define him, his message defined him.  As he traveled he didn't travel alone, he had hand chosen 12 men to walk by his side and learn the ministry.  These disciples didn't learn to build buildings but to build people.

I don't believe anyone can effectively accomplish the ministry of Christ and not engage your community.  Christ's ministry was not a christian Walmart where consumers can come and find whatever they want and need.  Ministry is in the trenches with other people, loving them right where they are; finding the lost and shining the light of the gospel.  We can no longer sit back and hope that the blind wonder into our buildings.  We must follow the command of the Lord and go into all the world and preach the gospel.  We must seek and save that which is lost.  We Must Be Community Engagers!

Online Giving Here

Friday, January 23, 2015

Start Your Engines

There is nothing more exciting then when you go to a NASCAR race and the drivers get the call to start their engines.  The roar of the cars and the roar of the crowd lets you know that the race is on!!  This is exactly where we are in our church plant for Reliant.  Our core meetings are beginning a week from Sunday, getting ready for the starting line in August.  Can you imagine all the prep work that goes into getting that NASCAR to the starting line.  There is a lot of time, talent, and treasure that is stashed away under that hood so that it has at least an opportunity to run in the big race. That's why you see all the decals on the side of the cars.  Someone has said to that team, "I think you can win.  I think you have a chance to run with the big dogs and I want to give you that chance."  And the sponsors end up running the race with them because they are invested in the process.

So it is with church planting.  As we get ready, we are building processes and systems that will ensure our success when we pull up to the line.  If we don't spend some time, talent, and treasure under the hood before we pull up to the line we won't be going anywhere.  I need some people that believe in our cause of discipleship; those that know we can win the race for souls if we just have a vehicle to race in.  We need some sponsors!!

Our team has sacrificed and raised a little over $3,000 on our own over the past month, and we are "relying" on God to touch the hearts of others that will sponsor us in this race.  By the end of February we need to be hitting the $10,000 mark for sponsorship.  And I believe that if everyone reading this post would give a donation of $50, $75, $100 or more, we can scream up to the starting line and be ready to run our race.  Put your decal on the side of our car and run this race with us.

We have a secure website for your giving: CLICK HERE.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Getting to the Core: God Pleasers

The more I observe people and churches the more I see the trap of religion.  Religion is a control mechanism that places people in fear in order to produce a desired reaction.  The desired action varies from denomination to denomination but it usually ends up focused around your money.  If you fail to comply, there is some type of hell to pay or God will not be pleased with you.  There is no doubt that God is displeased with people because of our sin, but I would quote to you the same blessing that Paul quoted in Romans 7:24-25, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

You see, the love of Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection have set me free from the old wretched man that I am.  Jesus has not only paid my penalty for sin but has also lived out my righteousness.  Jesus Christ is my everything.  I don't have to live in fear wondering if God loves me because Jesus is the manifestation of that love. The perfect love of God has cast out all fear (1 John 4:18).

Now that I have a relationship with God and I don't have to worry about all the religious stuff that Jesus has already accomplished, how can I personally please God?  The answer is found in Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."  The way I please God is simply by faith; i.e. to trust him.  That's it!!!  To know that He is God and I am not.  To believe that if I seek him with my whole heart I will find him and he will reward me. The call of God to humanity has been the same since the garden of Eden.  God simply says, "Trust Me."

As I was talking with Kim about our new church plant.  I was sharing with her my desire to form a group of people that would learn to walk by faith.  A people that would take God at His Word.  I want to be the church that Jesus looks at and is moved by our faith as he was with the Centurion.  So we called the new Church "Reliant."  And we made sure that one of our core values is being God Pleasers: by faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.

On Sunday, February 1, 2015 we will begin our Core meetings getting ready for our grand opening in August.  I am trusting the Lord for 25 families that are ready to walk by faith and do something amazing for God.  We are asking God to give us our first meeting place that will hold us and our children.  I know God is going to provide.  If you would like to be a part of this new church, please contact me at  I look forward to leading those that come by faith and walk by faith.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Getting to the Core: Bible Believers

I remember the call of the Lord on my life to preach at a very young age.  My father wasn't a preacher nor my grandfather, but I knew what God was calling me to do by age 12.  I began seriously studying the Bible my senior year of high school.  I remember going into my local Christian bookstore and wandering around trying to figure out what book I should get and I settled on a book entitled "Coming Events in Prophecy" by M.R. Dehaan, M.D.  I was hooked.  That sparked a fire in me for studying the Bible that has been raging ever since.  I still have that book on my shelf as a keepsake to remind me of where it all began.

It's been 28 years since I purchased that first book and that has turned into the new church plant of Reliant Ministries, Inc.  Reliant is producing Jesus followers of faith that will expand the kingdom of God by their witness and His Word.  This has already begun to happen as we have many starting to embrace our first core value of being Disciple Makers.  Here are our five core values:
  1. Disciple Makers: We will make every effort to multiply our faith through evangelism and mentoring.
  2. Bible Believers: The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.
  3. God Pleasers: By faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.
  4. Community Engagers: Ministry runs on the rails of relationships.
  5. Kingdom Builders: We will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.
The second core value is Bible Believers: The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.  I am amazed today at the number of Christians that can't find the book of Ephesians if their life depended on it (and someday it might).  There is a growing epidemic of Bible illiteracy that has stifled evangelism and is causing the enemy to get the upper hand in the lives of the saints of God.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus when he was praying to the Father and said that he had given the words of the Father to the disciples and they received them and believed them in John 17:8, "For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me." (emphasis mine).  As Jesus continued in that prayer for the disciples of his day and those that would come after, he said, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)   Jesus knew that the way to live a sanctified life, holy, and unto the Lord was going to come through knowing and living the Word of God.  

Therefore, we will be very intentional about training the disciples that God has placed in our care.  I refuse to preach sanctification unto the Lord and not give them the Word that is able to sanctify.  It is the Bible that gives us all we need to live holy in this crooked and perverse generation.  I believe it is spiritual neglect to withhold from God's people the very words that will set them free.  We are Bible Believers.  The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.

Consider a one time donation to help Reliant Ministries get off the ground.  Click Here to Give

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Getting to the Core: Disciple Makers

Over the last few years you have seen a business term creep into the church world and that term is "core values."  As I was learning how to run a church in the early days, I understood you needed a mission statement, goals and objectives, and tactics to accomplish those objectives.  Now the language has somewhat changed in the fact that you have a vision statement, core values, and strategies to get it done. There is a not much difference in these sets of statements but I do believe they are better defined today.  For example, a core value is defined as "A principle that guides an organization's internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world." (Read more:

As we start the new church plant: Reliant Ministries, it is important that are core values be the very principles that guide our organization both internally and externally.  We have five essential core values:

  1. Disciple Makers: We will make every effort to multiply our faith through evangelism and mentoring.
  2. Bible Believers: The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.
  3. God Pleasers: By faith we will please God and trust him with our lives.
  4. Community Engagers: Ministry runs on the rails of relationships.
  5. Kingdom Builders: We will take every God-given opportunity to advance His kingdom in this world.
Everyone of our core values are given to us directly from God's Word, and our first core value is "Disciple Makers."  We are commanded in Matthew 28:18-20,
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Notice that Jesus didn't tell us to go and make converts or simply evangelize, but to go and make disciples.  The word disciple is defined as "a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower." (  Jesus has commanded us to make followers.  It is so clear in the scripture that Jesus called the 12 disciples when he said "follow me."  After the ascension of Christ, Paul gives the same command to the church of Corinth when he says, "Follow me as I follow Christ."  There is a lot that goes into making a disciple.  The first step is to evangelize and win them to Christ, but that cannot be all there is.  Salvation is a spiritual birth.  You wouldn't leave a baby at the hospital and claim success as a parent.  No, the journey has just begun; and then the training begins.  And the way you train will have a direct impact on the life of that child, soon to be an adult. So it is in the life of a new born babe in Christ.  "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation." (1 Peter 2:2)  

There are three key elements to any effective discipleship strategy:
  • Building Intimacy with God
  • Establishing the Authority of God's Word
  •  Accountability to God's Word

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sound the Trumpet

For centuries now people have balked at organized religion because of the corruption that man brings with it.  You have movements of people that want to do something for God so they begin to rally together around a cause, but if they are not careful the cause in not conveyed to the next generation and the cause is lost and the movement stops.

The Pharisees of Jesus day thought that Jesus was the head of such a movement.  They had seen people come and go that were proclaiming to be the Messiah.  But a movement from God can not be stopped!  God sounded the trumpet and has gathered his armies to rescue the brokenhearted and wounded of this world; to forgive sins, and restore relationships.  Reliant is a part of that movement of God. This is our time to take up ranks and fight for the cause of Christ.  We are not here to organize religion, or create monuments for the next generation, but to fight for the souls of men, women and children that desperately need a Savior, a Messiah, and a friend.  They need Jesus!!!

I love the passage in 1 Corinthians 14:8 that says, "And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?"  With the organization of Reliant, God is giving a very distinct sound as he is calling us together for the purpose of making disciples.  Producing Jesus followers of faith that will expand the kingdom of God by their witness and His Word. 

We know that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves or even the Church that we belong to.  Every Christian is a part of the Body of Christ.  But yet in any great army there is organization for the purpose of movement.  God has organized different churches to accomplish different objectives as we all work toward the ultimate goal of seeing the world come to the knowledge of Jesus the Christ.  So Jesus has chosen some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers, to lead his people into this battle for the souls of men.If you know Jesus as your Lord and savior, yea as your King, you are in fact enlisted in his army.  So the question is, are you a good solder for your King?  Have you joined the movement that has changed the world?  Are you making disciples in the name of Jesus? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Windows of Opportunity

Today, I close the door on a wonderful opportunity that God gave me to minister to the people of New Season Church in Hiram, GA. It is always hard to leave people that you have poured your heart and soul into.  My hope is that New Season will take the truths that I brought and continue to apply them to their lives.  I'm excited to see what God is going to do with the new staff that he is creating to accomplish the goals of New Season.  New Season will always be apart of me and part of my heritage in my journey for the Lord. I wish you all the best and will be praying for you all.

While the door is closing for me and my family at New Season, God is faithful to open another in the way of Reliant Ministries which is the name of our new church plant in the Acworth-Emerson area.  This is a huge leap of faith and I'm beside myself as I watch God provide and guide in this new birth.  I would ask all you to pray for us and the new planters.  Planting a Church will be the hardest thing I have done in the ministry thus far and I believe it will yield the greatest fruit for God's kingdom.

One of the first things I am teaching to the young church is how to pray specifically and in expectation of the mighty things God is doing. So, here are some ways you can pray for us:

  1. We need to settle on our meeting place both immediately and when we open in August.
  2. We need a core group of about 25 families to really get ready for the opening this fall.
  3. We need people to be generous to the ministry as it takes quite a bit of money to start from scratch as we are doing. If you can help right now with any amount please click here
I know my God will supply all our need according to his riches in glory.  Here's my question, is he going to use you to do it?  Stay tuned with me over the next few weeks as I lay out God's vision and plan for Reliant.  If you haven't read the last few posts it might be good to go back and catch the last few.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Establishment is Everything

The word motto is defined as "a maxim adopted as an expression of the guiding principle of a person, organization, city, etc."  So where a vision statement gives you the what, a motto gives you the how.  Yesterday I revealed that our vision statement for Reliant is: Producing Jesus followers of faith that will expand the kingdom of God through their witness and His Word.  This is what we will be doing.  But how are we going to get that done.  This is where a motto can come in handy.  A motto tells the organization in a few simple words the overlying principle of how to get it done.  For Reliant our motto is simple: Ministry Runs on the Rails of Relationships.

I first heard this phrase from a pastor/teacher of mine, Alan Shelby, the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Blue Springs, Mo.  The meaning is self-explanatory.  We know that all of life is determined by the relationships we have whether good or bad and ministry is no different.  When Jesus started his earthly ministry he did so by choosing some relationships that would last for all eternity.  These relationships would turn into more relationships that would eventually change the world.  Any true discipleship model will have the element of godly relationships built into it.  Without close relationships Christianity is just passing on information and information doesn't change lives, relationships do.

When we launch our website in February the address will be  We do this so as not to forget that building godly relationships is the key to our discipleship process.  Reliant members will be asking themselves three simple questions.

  1. Who is behind me?  As mentors there should be someone that we are leading in the ways of the Lord.
  2. Who is beside me?  As brother and sisters there should be people with whom you are walking.
  3. Who is in front of you?  As ministers we will target and impact people with the gospel message of Christ. 
When these three questions are active in every members life well see a mighty moving of the Lord as he builds relationships through us.

Reliant Ministries
Ministry Runs on the Rails of Relationships   

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why Another Church

I was running errands yesterday and I couldn't help but notice all the church buildings on every corner.  I live in Paulding County GA where the majority of the population never steps foot inside any of these places of worship. I have two thoughts on all these churches.  First, If your preaching the exact same message and targeting the exact same people, join up with the guy across the street and cut down on some the expense of running both places.  Second, if you have a building that seats 600 and your running 30, it time to change your strategy.  

In the midst of all these church buildings some would ask me, "Bill, why start another church in an area full of churches."  My answer come from Andy Stanley's book "Visioneering" (a must read for all church planters and pastors).  He states, "A God-ordained vision will begin with concern.  You will hear something that gets your attention."  God has gotten my attention over the last few years of this fact.  The people of God do not walk by faith anymore.  This breaks my heart for without faith it is impossible to please God.  If the church is not going to teach God's people to walk by faith we set them up for failure with God.

The vision statement for Reliant is:

Producing Jesus follower of faith that will expand the kingdom of God 
by their witness and His Word. 

We used the word "producing" on purpose to show the ongoing action of discipleship in the lives of the believers.  They will not only follower Jesus but will learn to follow him by faith.  This is the major lesson that Jesus pounded into the heads of the disciples.  His goal was to have them walking by faith by the time He ascended knowing that they could handle anything if they were walking in faith.

As I walk this journey of faith with the Lord my prayer is that I can be a shining example for others to walk by faith along side me.  Stay tuned.  

Join the journey by helping us get started.  Give Here  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Journey Begins

As many of you may already know, Kim and I are about to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives. We are taking all the the wisdom and experience that we have learned over the past 25 years in ministry and starting a church. For the past 3 months I have been getting all the background work done (corporate papers, people management systems, bank accounts, vision statements and core values, etc., etc.) And now it's time to get the ball rolling with a core group of people that have the same heart and vision.

I had a great time with the staff of New Season Church as they gave me a send off lunch and blessings all around. I have learned many things during my two year tenure at New Season. It reminds me of all the things God has been teaching me from my first ministry 'til now.

The new church is called Reliant as we rely solely on God to see us through. It will be based on a discipleship model with many new ideas. When the vision comes to pass we will not look like traditional church at all. Our core group meetings beginning February 1st at my house. Our plans are to find a meeting place that will hold the core group of about 25 families (my house is not big enough). We will then look to open the doors to the public some time early August of this year.

During this start up time as we form the core, we could use some help with some simple start up money. It is amazing what happens when the people of God get together and give for the cause of God's kingdom. Many of you have been touched in some way through our ministry in the past and I'm asking all of you at this moment to pay it forward. The investment that I have made in many of your lives is the same investment I will be making in others. Some of you can give a little and some of you can give a lot to get this new church off the ground. I know that God will multiply your giving many times over. Please Click Here to pay it forward. All donations are tax deductible and will go directly to Reliant Ministries.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on the new church plant. And more than anything Pray, Pray, and when you get done praying, pray that God would do something amazing and unexplainable for His glory.