I think the church video company Floodgate Productions has come up with a great solution for semi-custom church videos. Their latest Welcome to Our Church video is now customizable with pictures from your church and your church logo. I tried it out today and the results were great. Personally, I think the cost is a little high, but when you stop and compare the cost to hiring a graphic designer to do a custom video, it really isn’t that bad. You get to choose from 1 of 3 different background styles, then add 9 of your own photos and add your church logo. The turnaround time was fast and they provide multiple HD and SD video formats. I hope this is the start of a new trend in church video. Click the graphic below to find out more.
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Your relationship with God is the most important relationship you will ever develop. Unfortunately, for many people their relationship with God is clouded in uncertainty and doubt. This past week at Cornerstone I shared a message about how we can have certainty and actually know that we have faith and salvation through Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:11-13 tells us that we can know with certainty that we do have a relationship with God. And the test of certainty is not external religious rituals, the test is whether or not we have the Son. If you want to read more about having this type of certainty in your relationship with Christ, let me recommend a book by Tullian Tchividijian called Do I Know God?: Finding Certainty in Life’s Most Important Relationship.
We did a text message survey during the service to see how certain people really are about their salvation. We had people vote at the beginning of the service and then we revealed the results at the end of the message. We used polleverywhere.com to setup and run the survey. For $15 a month, you get surveys with up to 50 responses. I just start the service when I need it and cancel when I’m done.
I was a little surprised at how many people responded. Between our two services, we maxed out our 50 votes. Next time, I will run a separate survey for each service. Overall, we are seeing many more people using technology to stay connected to God’s Word. It also shows me that we do indeed have people here each week who don’t have a relationship with God. We have the responsibility and privilege of sharing Christ each week. From a technology standpoint, you have several ways you can create interaction with the congregation. You can also do polls and surveys through YouVersion Live which we use for our online sermon notes, but with text messaging, anybody with a phone can get involved. Below I listed the results of our survey and the video of our message.
One of the reasons that I do a little web design in my spare time is that I have a passion to help smaller churches and ministries understand and implement technology. I’ve recently had two opportunities to do websites that build and advance the cause of Christ. Check out both of these sites.
This is the new website for the Galax Area Ministerial Association. By sharing contact information, upcoming events, and service times for our local churches, we are cooperating rather than competing. It always seems like churches find out about great events and opportunities after the event has taken place. Our hope is that this will be a place where we can share how God is moving in our community. Please visit the site and submit any upcoming events that you are hosting. One Savior, Many Churches.
I have been to Nicaragua twice in the past two years with this ministry. Dr. Donald Gillette and his wife Pam do an incredible job of mobilizing ministry groups to serve in one of the poorest areas of Nicaragua. Their new website let’s you easily sign up for their Nica News newsletter. I encourage you to visit their website and consider how you can support their ministry.
I shared this past Sunday about what it means to be a true worshiper (link to video) In John 4:23-24, Jesus tells us that He is looking for true worshipers, people who worship in Spirit and Truth. Unfortunately, many people view worship as simply a time of singing songs during Sunday morning. Romans 12:1-2 expands our definition of worship to include our entire lives. Listen to how the Message paraphrases this passage:
Romans 12:1-2 MSG So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
This is our spiritual act of worship, giving our entire lives before God. We give God our time, we give God our devotion, we give God our worship, we give Him what He rightfully deserves, the first place in our life. When we meet together on Sunday to worship, everything we do is worship! We worship through gathering together and encouraging one another, we worship through singing and praising God, we worship through the teaching of His Word, and we worship through giving. It’s this last one that typically gets neglected in most church services. Instead of viewing giving as worship, we view giving as an obligation.
In my recent trip to Nicaragua, I was able to truly worship through giving. I literally gave away every dollar I had before I left. When you experience God moving and working, you want to support God’s work and help advance the Kingdom. I want to encourage you to view giving to your local church as worship. As honoring God and giving back to Him a portion of what He has blessed you with. God owns everything, and He has entrusted you to manage it wisely. Let’s work together to transform the communities we live in through the local church.
Several churches that I know of actually stand up and applaud while the offering is taken, knowing that God is going to do incredible things through the resources and money that are being given. During the message, I also mentioned a video I viewed on YouTube about a man celebrating while giving his offering. I love the joy that he shows in giving back to God. It’s a little over the top, but that’s why I like it!
Are you a true worshiper? Someone who worships God for who He is, for what He has done, and what He will do in the future.
We have fed hungry children hot nutritious meals in these villages, we have shared the gospel and seen many people respond, and hopefully we have given them hope and love. The needs are great, and the resources are lacking, but God has used our group to touch lives and spread the love of Christ. I have especially enjoyed getting to know a group of local pastors that we have spent the last three days with. It has been a great privilege to teach and encourage them in ministry. I will share more about how you can help and get involved with Because We Care Ministries in a later post, but for now, just look through these pictures and pray.
I’ve had a long and incredible day. Yesterday was spent in airports and on airplanes, and it’s really hard to believe that yesterday morning I was at home. I’ve been to Roanoke, Washington D.C., San Salvador in El Salvador, Managua in Nicaragua, and I’m finally in Somotillo.
It still amazes me that I’m sitting in a village in the remote part of Nicaragua and blogging. Today was awesome. It started a little too early because I was using my phone as an alarm clock and it jumped ahead an hour because of daylight savings. Unfortunately, they don’t observe daylight savings here which means I woke up at 5:30am. So I had a little extra time to relax and get ready for church this morning. I preached at the Casa de Padre church in Managua and it was rocking. The music was loud (I’m guessing 105 to 110 db), the people were passionate, and best of all, 4 people came forward at the end of the service during the invitation to accept Christ. Right before I got up to preach, their pastor was encouraging the church by telling them that God was in control. He had no idea that my message was on the same topic. I spoke from Job and Philippians about worry, stress, and the fact that we must trust God in the good and the bad.
After church, we had a big lunch and made the 3 1/2 hour drive up to Somotillo. The people really do drive crazy here, but I missed most of it sleeping. We relaxed for a while and then headed to church at the Principe de Paz church here in Somotillo. I preached here on my last trip and I have a lot of good memories here. There was another mission group from Oklahoma here and their pastor shared the message tonight. We saw yet another person accept Christ, and I want you to know that it never gets boring seeing lives changed by Jesus Christ.
God is at work, not just at Cornerstone, but around the world. I heard that we had two great services at home and I appreciate everybody filling in for me while I’m gone. We are blessed to have a great group of people who love Jesus Christ and who love to serve others. Let’s remember that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and that He is still in control of this world we live in. My challenge to you is to let Him orchestrate and guide your life, to simply trust Him and follow Him. I’ll try to post some more updates as we go through the week. The internet is a little slow here, so it will be tough to get pictures uploaded. The picture above is from the Father’s House church in Managua.