Archives For November 2009

Nicaragua Update

November 29, 2009 — 1 Comment

Thought I would drop by the blog and give an update from Nicaragua. This will be short since I’m typing it on my iPod. It has been a great trip so far. We’ve been to the rim of an active volcano, ridden a boat on Lake Nicaragua, visited a street festival in Grenada, and soaked in the local culture. Today we rode a school bus from Managua north through Leon and Chinandega to the city of Somotillo.

We went to a great little Nicaraguan church tonight and I was able to preach with the help of our translator. What an experience! We sang and worshipped as one church, not divided by the color of our skin or the language we speak. I shared a message from John 17 about the prayer of Jesus that we would be united so people can see Christ through us.

Tomorrow we will be speaking on the radio, doing some construction work, and traveling to one of the local villages with a doctor. Pray that the people of Nicaragua will be able to see the love of Christ in us as we hand out food, clothing, and medical supplies. Of course we will be sharing Christ everywhere as we go.

I was able to talk with the family using skype tonight. So great to hear the voices from home. I’ll share more as the week continues. God is good!!

Cornerstone has partnered with Because We Care Ministries over the past several years to do mission work in Nicaragua.  We have helped build a sister church in Tonala, Nicaragua and we pay the pastor’s salary each month.  Before Cornerstone had a building in Galax, we had a church building in Nicaragua, and before we had a full-time pastor in Galax, we had a pastor in Nicaragua.   You can read about some of our past trips on our church website.  I will be in Nicaragua all of next week with a team from Cornerstone.  I ask for your prayers as we do construction work, as we share and preach and teach, and as we distribute food and love to the people of Nicaragua.

I don’t know how much I will be posting next week. We will have limited internet access, so I will try to share some pictures and thoughts.

Here is a video from last year’s trip to Nicaragua

Clarity vs. Energy

November 24, 2009 — Leave a comment

In preaching multiple services, there seems to be a struggle between clarity and energy. In the earlier services, I typically have plenty of energy and passion, but clarity and focus can be lacking. As I preach through each service, the message becomes clearer and more focused, but my energy tends to decrease. The ideal message is one that is straight from God, delivered with passion and energy, and that is clear and focused.

Most weeks, we are using the message from the evening service for our sermon podcast. Why? Because it usually flows better and makes more sense. It’s just another incentive to attend our 6pm service. Since we moved our Saturday night service to Sunday night, I have really noticed a difference in the morning service.

How do the other pastors handle this clarity vs. energy struggle? Do you preach to an empty room earlier in the week? Is it a struggle at all?

In preparing for the new series we are doing on the Holy Spirit at Cornerstone, I have been busy reading. If you want to learn more about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then check out these great books.

Note: if you are using a feed reader, you will need to click through to my blog to see the books.

Holy Spirit Intro Video from Mike Morris on Vimeo.

We started our new series on the Holy Spirit this week at Cornerstone. I’m excited about our church learning together how the Holy Spirit moves and works in us and through us.  We ended the service with a powerful prayer by Francis Chan from his book Forgotten God.  This is our prayer as we start this series. Will you join us on this journey to discover the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives.  The sermon audio will be up on our sermon website later today.

Spirit, we know that we have done wrong by You. Please forgive us for grieving, resisting, and quenching You. We have resisted You through sin, through our rebellion, and through our hardness of heart. At times, we have been spiritually blind. At other times, we knew what You wanted us to do, but we chose to ignore Your promptings. Yet this is not how we want to live now.

We need you to change us. Only through You can we truly worship. Spirit of the Lord, You are the one who brings us to a place where we can worship. You are the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of Life. Thank You for the truth, the holiness, and the life You give us.

We need Your wisdom and understanding as we seek to live this life. Keep us from disbelief, from fear. We need Your strength to help us do what you are asking us to do and to live how You are asking us to live. Speak loudly and drown out the other voices calling us to conform to the patterns of this world.

You are the Spirit of self-control and love. Give us the self control needed to deny our flesh and follow you. Give us a love strong enough to motivate courageous action. Manifest Yourself through us that we may serve and love Your bride, the church, as You do.

Come, Holy Spirit come. We don’t know exactly what that means and looks like for each of us yet, in the particular places You’ve called us to inhabit. But, nonetheless, whatever it means, we ask for Your presence. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Christian Book SummariesI ran across an interesting website last week. Christian Book Summaries provides an much-needed service. I love reading books, but if you’re like me, you probably have a stack of books waiting to be read. There are a lot of books that I would like to read, but I simply don’t have the time to get to. These free summaries are detailed and helpful, and they provide a good overview of the book. They’re not reviews, so the summaries just contain info straight from the book. You can look here to see all the books that they have summarized in the past. It brings back memories of college and cliffs notes.

I also found another service for Christian Leaders that provides summaries for a low monthly fee. Check out Leaders Book Summaries for info on their service.

For a long time, I have had a passion for helping smaller churches utilize technology. From assisting them with their websites, to setting up podcasts, to helping plan audio and video systems, I have gained much experience over the last 15 years.  So today, I’m making it official, I am offering my services to other churches as a consultant and web designer.

My goal is to help churches develop an overall technology and web strategy.  If we’re not careful, technology can consume huge amounts of money and distract us from our main mission of making disciples. I want to help churches realize how it can create connections between the people inside your church and the community. Technology is an incredible tool to advance the Kingdom when used properly.  Since I am a pastor, I will only have limited time available for consulting and web design.  My focus will be on smaller churches with smaller budgets.  Click on the Design and Consulting Link from my website to find out more about how we can partner together.

I’ve been playing a little with Google Wave.  It could really become a useful tool for ministry in the future.  But it is not there yet.  Google is trying to invent a better way to communicate with groups of people.  If you have ever been in a long email conversation between multiple people, you can understand the potential benefit that Google Wave will provide. I think this will be a great tool for leadership teams to collaborate and share info throughout the day, even if you are in different locations.  The main drawback is that there are not many people currently using it. If your friends and colleagues aren’t on it, then it doesn’t provide much benefit.  It is also complicated to use in it’s present form.

Since the service is still in Beta, you have to be invited to use it.  I have several invites that I can share, so leave me a comment if you are interested in trying this service out.

Here’s a simple description of how Google Wave works

If you want a more detailed understanding of Google Wave, check this video out.

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