Just take a look at some of these faces. The sights and sounds are hard to describe, and pictures don’t really do justice to what we have experienced, but these pictures give you a small glimpse into rural Nicaragua. We have seen extreme poverty, malnutrition, and hunger, but in the midst of the pain, the people here are still joyful. It’s hard to explain how people who have nothing are so content. And yet we have so much but still want more.

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.

Continue Reading…


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.

Just read about the new CCLI license on ChurchCreate and I am excited!  Have you ever wondered why most churches just have video of their sermons online and don’t include the music? Legally, if you want to include worship music online in your church audio or video, you need a special license. Our church has looked at the WORSHIPcast license in the past, but decided that it was too expensive.

update: WORSHIPcast now offers a new price of $500 for churches with less than 500 people. check the comments below for more info

Now CCLI has introduced a new option that is much more affordable for smaller churches. This means that we can start including our worship music online in our videos and on our podcast. It even works for live streaming of your services as well. This is exciting news for churches who want to expand their online presence. Check out churchstreaminglicense.com for more information and watch the video below.

Still not sure if you need this, check out the information below from their website

Many churches have already begun to webcast the pastor’s message online…on the church website or through a third party streaming service. A lot of these churches would also like to include the song service as part of their webcasts, but they’re not sure about the legal implications.

Their concern is legitimate. Including copyrighted songs in a webcast without permission is considered copyright infringement, and the penalties can be severe…up to $150,000 per infringement.

Now sign up and start sharing, legally of course

Over the past year, I have done a little website design in my spare time.  I created a new website FEDesign.net to handle my webdesign and consulting, and I wanted to share a few of my recent projects with my readers. I do some WordPress design work and for the rest of the sites I use a custom content management system that is incredibly easy for clients to update on their own. My speciality is smaller businesses and churches that don’t have a huge budget.

Since my primary passion is preaching and teaching, I have limited time to work on websites. But it’s something that I really enjoy and I like to stay current on web technology. I’m working on several sites now, so let me know if you are interested in working together. For more information, check out this page about the different services I offer. The images below are some of my recent projects.

 

We have more accessibility to the Bible now than we’ve ever had. You can read the Bible on your iPod, iPad, laptop, phone, xbox, and almost every other electronic device.  And now, we are getting to the place where we can not only read the Bible anywhere, but we can also listen to the Bible anywhere. I wanted to highlight two different mobile apps you can use to listen to the Bible.

YouVersion recently added audio Bible to their android app. They have audio for several different translations and plan on adding more. It’s still officially in Beta, but it works great.  You can read the details on the YouVersion Blog. I expect that you will see this feature rollout to other platforms in the near future. I know I have blogged about YouVersion a lot lately, but they keep innovating and adding features, and it is one of the most used apps on my phone.

 

I also found another option on the web and for android and iPhone/iPod/iPad. Bible.is is a great tool to listen to the Bible on the go. The Bible text scrolls as it is being read, so that you can both listen and read at the same time.

I plan on using this when working out, while driving on long road trips, and while doing work around the house. Learning and listening and meditating on Scripture helps me to stand strong against temptation, and it helps me to worship in any and every situation.
 



How will you listen to the Bible? Is this something that you will actually use?

If you are interested in creating a safe online community for your church, then check out the Table Project. It officially launched today and it looks like a great solution. The best part – it’s free!

In the past, I have always thought it is better for the church to be involved online where people already are signed in. Why do we really need another online service to keep track of. But this has promise because of the way it integrates with existing services and with existing church management software solutions. They even address on their blog why this isn’t just a Christian version of Facebook.

Watch the two videos below to get an idea of how it works, and then sign up and give it a try. If you are a Cornerstone attender, we’ll add you to our test group to try it out. Our Cornerstone Table is at http://mycornerstone.tableproject.org

The Table Project – Introduction from The Table Project on Vimeo.

The Table – Main Tour from The Table Project on Vimeo.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the different worship presentation software solutions out there. Proclaim Online is getting ready to launch and it definitely looks interesting. To add to the excitement of the release of Proclaim, they are giving away $25,000 in worship resources at their site http://proclaimonline.com. They have some good prize giveaways, and the promotional video is worth your time to watch.

This is more of a cloud based solution, where pastors, musicians, and graphic artists can collaborate and add content for services.  I’m not sure yet if it would be a good fit for our church, but I’ll be checking it out once it releases. It seems like the big three programs right now are ProPresenter, Easyworship, and Mediashout, so it will be interesting to see where Proclaim will fit in.

Making Prom Affordable

February 17, 2011 — 1 Comment

Click to Download Flyer

At Cornerstone, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to minister to the community . My wife was talking with some of our youth about prom and they talked about doing a prom dress outreach.  One of our ministry friends has a similar outreach in the Johnson City/Kingsport area called Head 2 Toe, and we thought about how we could make something similar work here in our city.

They ended up with the idea to take donated prom dresses and accessories and plan a big weekend extravaganza, selling dresses for only $20 and giving out multiple door prizes.  The idea grew and more people became excited about how we could meet a need in our community. With the high unemployment levels and the high poverty levels in our community, a reality is that many girls simply cannot afford to go to prom. We want them to realize that they are special and loved in God’s eyes, and we want to show them that we care. Along with the door prizes, we will be giving each girl a special packet of material to let them know that Jesus cares for them as well.

When we announced it at church, the idea really took off. An article first showed up in the Carroll County News. Then it was picked up by WXII-12 news in Greensboro/Winston. Then it was picked up and shared by the national Christian radio station K-Love (listen to the segment here), and it hasn’t stopped yet.  Our local paper is doing a feature story in Friday’s edition, and we are receiving a lot of phone calls from people wanting to help. This event has really seemed to connect with our community and with our church.

So the excitement is building and we can’t wait to open up our church as prom dress central on March 11th and 12th. Here is what we need at this point. We need gently used dresses and shoes and accessories. We have had a good response so far, but with all the publicity we really don’t know what to expect. Most girls will only wear a prom dress once. After that, the dresses just end up in a closet. Let’s put them to good use and help those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.

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