Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm Grateful for the People of Jubilee

As 2008 comes to a conclusion, I've spent some time thanking God for all of His goodness. One of the real bright spots for me was all the people at Jubilee who love to serve people. Based upon the most recent office records, we currently have 160 ongoing serving roles in the City location alone filled by 111 people. If you belong or attend Jubilee, here are some of the people who serve you:

First Contact (Ushers and Greeters)
  1. Teresa Lawson (Team Leader)
  2. Alex Kerford (Team Leader)
  3. Maria Kerford
  4. Chelsie Donjon
  5. Missy Rice
  6. Florence Scheller
  7. Mark Rice
  8. Tony Boswell
  9. Heidi Sever
  10. Jennifer Russo
  11. Abbie Nadolny
  12. Daniella Herrington
  13. Kari Ann Perry
  14. Dan Nadolny
  15. Rebekah Kruvand
  16. Dennis Shipman
  17. Alison Reisner
  18. Kathy Dills
  19. Chris Kalkbrenner
  20. Jennifer Whitmer
  21. Jen Hark
  22. Cindy Shipman
  23. Maxine Wooldridge
  24. Donna Smith
  25. Camika Bell
  26. Samantha Bryan
  27. Ginger Price
  28. Shannon Hein
  29. Mike Chance
  30. Jason Hark
Cleaning Team - clean the building every Saturday morning
  1. Daniella Herrington (Coordinator)
  2. Kara Russo (Team Leader)
  3. John Russo
  4. Camika Bell
  5. Rachel Mowrey
  6. Jackie Benton
  7. Katie James
  8. Betsy Pittman
  9. Carol Sjelin
  10. Abbie Nadolny (Team Leader)
  11. Alison Reisner
  12. Mike Cisar
  13. Jennifer Russo
  14. Shanna Holman
  15. Betty Finley
  16. Elizabeth Poe
Nursery and Toddlers (ages 0-2)
  1. Elisabeth Poe (Coordinator)
  2. Madyson Hark
  3. Amie Fox
  4. Shelly Brindley
  5. Rachel Mowrey
  6. Michele Benton
  7. Abby Fisher
  8. Ella Fisher
  9. Geoff Koeller
  10. Jodi Koeller
  11. Abby Chance
  12. Sara Rojas
  13. Dani Turner
  14. Jodi Hertz
  15. Marsha Vedova
  16. BJ Springett
  17. Kelly Springett
  18. Amanda Rigel
  19. Amber Schmidt
  20. Jean Bergeson
  21. Tessa Bergeson
Children (ages 3-12)
  1. Michael Whitmer (Children's Director/5-7th Grade Coordinator)
  2. Vicky Mowrey (3-4 year old Coordinator)
  3. Renee Scott
  4. Mick Vedova
  5. David Herrington
  6. Daniella Herrington
  7. Brandi Edwards
  8. Jessica Rigel (K-4th Grade Coordinator)
  9. Preston Donjon
  10. Cindy Shipman
  11. Dennis Shipman
  12. Josh Kirkpartick
  13. Alison Reisner
  14. Pat Donjon
  15. Anna Miles
  16. Daniel Harel
  17. Lisa Chance
  18. Mike Chance
  19. John Donjon
Worship Team
  1. Seth Hein (Worship Coordinator)
  2. Abby Fisher
  3. Jessica Rigel
  4. Dwight Rigel
  5. Jeff Boshans
  6. Joe Pastor
  7. Anne Patton
  8. Joel McPeak
  9. John Russo
  10. Samantha Bryan
  11. Jodi Koeller
  12. Elijah Stanley
  13. Ben McCutchan
  14. Anna Miles
Audio
  1. Mike Lawson (Team Leader)
  2. Geoff Koeller
  3. Jason Hark
  4. Mike Boshans
  5. Aaron Poe
A/V Media Team - responsible for displaying the words during worship, power point presentations and video taping
  1. Dan Brindley (Team Leader)
  2. Mike Cisar
  3. Chelsie Donjon
  4. Fletcher Isler
  5. Martha Lee
  6. Kara Russo
  7. Clayton James
  8. Nathan Turner
Hospitality (Coffee)
  1. Wes Benton (Team Leader)
  2. Michele Benton (Team Leader)
  3. Kari Ann Perry
  4. Ryan Parish
  5. Grace Kim
Offering Counters
  1. Heidi Sever (Team Leader)
  2. Donna Smith
  3. Mick Vedova
  4. Mike Chance
  5. Kelly Springett
  6. Mark Rice
  7. Kara Russo
  8. Dan Martinez
Administrative Team - put together the bulletin packs every week
  1. Amie Fox (Team Leader)
  2. Caris Stewart
  3. Heather Sweetman
  4. Eva Navarijo
  5. Judy Gebhardt
  6. Chelsie Donjon
Welcome Team - responsible for making guests feel welcome at Jubilee, answering their questions, and helping them get connected
  1. Abbie Nadolny (Director)
  2. Maria Kerford (Coordinator)
  3. Amie Fox
  4. Alex Kerford
  5. Jodi Hertz
  6. Ginger Price
  7. Jennifer Russo
  8. David Herrington
  9. Daniella Herrington
  10. Dan Nadolny
  11. Heidi Sever
  12. Ben Sever
  13. Mike Chance
  14. Mick Vedova
  15. Teresa Lawson
Building Maintenance
  1. John Donjon (Team Leader)
  2. Roman Rojas
  3. Tony Getz
  4. DaVonte Kirksey
  5. Harold Beach
  6. Tim Gillman
Communion
  1. Jackie Benton (Team Leader)
  2. Gabe Dunn
  3. Ali Dunn
  4. Charlie Lehman
  5. Gloria Lehman
Sunday Morning Set Up - make sure everything is in order for Sunday morning including setting up the baptismal
  1. Alex Kerford (Coordinator)
  2. Ronelle Ming

And these are just the ongoing serving roles. There are others who serve events such as Oneblaze or Mobilise. Still others who serve the surrounding community, host out of town guests, put together brochures, update websites, counsel others and the list goes on and on. In fact, if I missed your name...I do apologize...there just so many of you!!

Thank you for all that you do!!

Bryan

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Zim Update

I wanted to update you on Jubilee's effort to offer relief to the Crisis in Zim. If you are new to this blog, you can read my December 6 entry that explains the crisis in more detail.

So far, Jubileeites have given $13,695.97! If you haven't given to this yet and want to, you will be able to through January 18. You might talk to your employer too about matching charitable contributions. They typically won't for churches, but for this effort they might.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and are able to enjoy it with people you love. My prayer for you this holiday season (which isn't much different from the rest of the year) is that your hearts are continually transformed by the gospel and the love of Jesus. And during the next few days you will have opportunities to express that love. It can be as simple as offering to help out your host with the work load (men, don't go straight to the TV). Be grateful to you wife, mother, friend, whoever and be quick to serve them (I am speaking especially to those of you who are younger). Be like Jesus who was and is Master and Teacher, but washed feet. Hosts, don't get too stressed out and focused on what you've done and what everyone else hasn't. Focus on your guests and how you can continue serve them with the love of Christ. Jesus did lots of stuff He never got thanked for. Finally, don't allow this Christmas to come and go and forget Jesus. Family, friends, fun, presents, sports, etc all make the season enjoyable, but only Jesus makes it life giving. I love what the angles told Joseph (Mt 1:21), "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Praise Him! Worship Him! For He is the One (THE ONLY ONE) who is able and was willing to save you and me from our sin! Because of that, we have been given life - the best life - His life. Therefore, singles, wake up earlier and crack open the Bible and read the Christmas story in Matthew or Luke. Spend some time by yourself in prayer and worship. Fathers and mothers, gather your family and do the same. Allow your heart to be filled with the joy and hope found in the person of Jesus and have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Zimbabwe Crisis Needs You

The crisis in Zimbabwe is intensifying at a horrifying rate. Half the country is facing starvation (about 5 million), there is an outbreak of cholera, and inflation is higher than anywhere else in the world (200% a day or in other words, prices triple every day).

In the midst of this intense suffering and panic, our 24 churches in this country are standing firm on the hope found only in the gospel and are teaching people to farm with 10 times the productivity. Because of this, they have received a national platform to teach this method known as "farming God's way". They have a plan to serve the country, but funds are desperately needed. Can I encourage you to do a few things:

1) Read this article.
2) Pray for the country and our brothers and sisters there
3) Give money. I know we are in a bit of a economic shortfall ourselves. Your income may have dropped or your job could even be in jeopardy. Jubilee's income has taken quite a hit as well. The temptation for us is to hold on tighter to "our" money that actually isn't ours in the begin with. It's ALL God's and He has put it in our possession to steward. We should, therefore, ask him how we should use it! Let me just give you a few verses to meditate on that demonstrate how God would have us view those in need (Prov 3:27-28, Prov 19:17, Isaiah 1:12-17, Isaiah 58:1-6, Ez 16:49, Mt 25:31-46). It could be that you might need to get a little creative. Maybe cut back on what you spend on Christmas? How awesome would it be if you can encourage your kids to give up something for someone else? Maybe sacrifice cable for a year? Or maybe you don't eat out for a couple of months? There are probably literally dozens of ways to come up with some extra cash. How to give: Write a check to "Jubilee Church" and put "Zimbabwe" in the memo.
4) Encourage your friends or even your employer to give. This is very worthwhile situation to direct charity. After you download the article, pass it on to your friends.

Part of what blesses me about the people of Jubilee is their generosity. You have always risen to the occasion to help others in need. Let's continue to be that people in this situation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God Speaks in the Mundane

It's so important for us to live with the expectation that God WILL speak to us if we listen. Jesus said to his audience, "He who has ears, let him hear." In other words, we need to pay attention! Recently, a dear lady of ours, Kathy Dills, communicated the following story that demonstrates that God can speak at any time.

This past week, I dealt with a very stinky + smelly thing, my sewer backed up into the basement anytime we used water in the house. More + more sludge + gunk kept coming out of the drain with a terrible stink.

We tried to use a snake to unclog it. It didn't work but we did bring out some roots + other things. Next we called a plumber, he came out with a large snake, but still the same result, everything he got through it clogged up again + more sludge came up in the basement.

The plumber suggested to call MSD, we did, but it wasn't their problem. MSD gave us the phone # for the city, and the city inspector came out when the plumber was back. I'm thinking this whole time now "Lord how am I going to pay for this?"

The inspector determined it was the city's problem + they would fix it. The sewer lateral line was collapsed in many places for about 20'. Men came out + fixed the sewer + I thanked God that the problem was covered by the federal lateral line insurance.

I had about 2" of sludge in the basement to clean up. As I was cleaning up + thanking God for taking care of the problem, I heard this still small voice. God told me, "Jesus is like the lateral line insurance. He paid for my healing, to remove the sludge + gunk in my life so I may have a direct line to God so the river of water (the HS) may flow through me + clean me." As I washed the sludge down the drain + saw the basement transform back to a clean state, joy rose inside of me, thanking God for his love + his son + the power of the H.S. in my life.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Bible Reading Plan

Here is December's Bible Reading Plan.

If you are new to my blog, I have created a Bible reading plan that runs from September to August. You can get previous plans by scrolling through my archives (Sept, Oct, Nov); however, don't feel like you need to start at the beginning...just jump right in!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank You Graphic Designers

Recently Jubilee Church was recognized with an award from the US Local Business Association (USLBA) for "Best in St. Louis" in the "worship" category. We received this award because of our positive image in the community. Now normally, I would be a bit shy about this and even a bit turned off by it. However, I wanted to use it to bring two things to our attention (those who are a part of Jubilee Church).

1) We do have a positive image in the community. I have received several comments from business owners, local politicians and citizens over the past year that they are glad we are here in South St. Louis City. One of the marks of a Biblical community is to have your good deeds praised by those outside the church, even though they may not like our message. Consider 1 Peter 2:12, "Keep your conduct among the Gentiles (non-believers) honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers (they reject our message), they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (when Jesus returns)." This verse says that an authentic, Biblical church will be both vilified and validated. Some will say, "I don't agree with them". But they will also say, "But I'm glad they're here". That's happening with us. We should rejoice about that.

2) We have talented people. Another big reason why we got this award was our website. I would like to publicly thank my wife Rachel and Dan Brindley for playing a key role in the design of our website. They worked tirelessly on this project as they have on many other projects. There are many others in the church who offer their gifts and talents to the church in an excellent way. This is the way the church should function...people offering their best and performing at the best of their ability. After all, we are going for an imperishable wreath! (1 Cor 9:25-26)

Anyway, we are not in this to win awards. Like I said earlier, I'm kind of embarrassed to even mention this, but it highlights for us a couple of positives that I thought I would point out. Happy Thanksgiving.

New Preaching Series

I hope those who are apart of Jubilee St. Louis City are enjoying our current series in Philippians. The ninth and final message in the series will be preached by David Herrington this Sunday (11/30). The following Sunday (12/7) we'll begin our Christmas series titled, "Christmas 360". In this series, we will be looking at Jesus' birth from three different perspectives: The Shepherds, King Herod, and Joseph. On that final message (12/21), we will conduct a special service where we will worship to traditional Christmas music. It will be an excellent time to invite your friends.

On a different note, this is my 200th blog entry. I didn't know what I was getting into when I first started blogging. A few from Jubilee encouraged me to and in a moment of weakness, I set up an account and went for it. Well, I hope that this blog is of benefit to you in some way. Thanks for tuning in.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

8 Year Anniversary

This past week, my wife and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary. The actual day is November 11 (also Veteran's Day), but we celebrated it by going to Kansas City on November 13 to see Coldplay at the Sprint Center. For those who care, they put on a very good show.

The next day we went to shop down in the plaza area of KC where the economy seems to be doing fine. Later on that night we had dinner with Rachel's brother and his wife before driving to Lee Summit to stay with the Stanleys (Tommy leads Grace Church in Lee Summit and his son Elijah is doing the fyt in St. Louis and lives with us).

On Saturday, Rachel and I spent the day with the leadership of Grace Church teaching and encouraging them (that was the idea anyway). And this morning, I have the privilege of speaking to this wonderful church who have sent away leaders to plant in 4 of the top 100 cities in the USA. I'll miss being with the Jubileeites down in the city, but it is great to be with the extended family here in Kansas City.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sharing the Gospel with Our Kids

At Jubilee, we make a big deal of sharing the gospel to the next generation. That would of course, include our children. I found this post by Jen Whitmer (one of our members) helpful and inspiring. I would encourage you to read it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

An Opportunity to Serve Abused Children

I love the people at Jubilee. They are highly motivated by love and the gospel to serve others. Recently, Gabe and Ali Dunn put together a way for Jubilee to help abused children. Maybe you can help to. Here's how:

Family Resource Center is a non-profit organization (that is right down the road from Jubilee) that does a number of things related to preventing and treating child abuse within the community. AMEN :)

They have a christmas holiday tradition of providing toys to the children they serve. They have asked us, Jubilee, for our help collecting these toys. They need new and unwrapped children's Christmas presents for the free store they set up, where the families they help can select Christmas presents for their children.

Attached is a flyer that contains more information. The toys are to be dropped of at Jubilee Church by Nov, 30th. Mike Lawson is going to set up a crib where people can put their toys in. If you can pass this information along to your groups that would be awesome!! We will be making an announcement next week sunday at church.

If you have any questions, email Gabe and Ali Dunn at gdunn77@gmail.com

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grace Kills Bitterness

I'm catching up on some of the blogs I follow. One of those, which I high recommend, is the blog of Terry Virgo. He recently posted an entry titled "Grace or Bitterness" that I recommend you read.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More on Humility

Here are some more quotes and resources from this past Sunday's message on Humility.

Charles Spurgeon on Humility

Book Recommendation: "Humility" by C.J. Mahaney

Quotes:

"The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about." — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

"Pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend." – John Stott

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Attention 18-29 year olds

You have to check out Mobilise this Year! It will truly be the best year yet. Returning as our main speaker is the passionate and motivating Tom Shaw and to lead us into incredible times of worship and celebration is none other than Simon Brading.

If you have no idea what Mobilise USA is, check out this video of Mobilise in the UK.

REGISTER TODAY at www.mobiliseusa.org!

Also, check out Mobilise on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

November Bible Reading Plan

For those following along with Jubilee City's Bible reading plan...

Get November's reading plan.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Union

I'm looking forward to speaking at Life Church in Union this Sunday. Although they are outside the borders of what's considered the St. Louis region, I still feel like Life Church are partners with us to effect the St. Louis region with the gospel. Many from the Union/Washington area commute to St. Louis for work. For that reason, we are sowing into the same field.

David Herrington will be joining me and I expect that he'll be able to contribute as well. Please pray for the both of us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More on Suffering


When you preach, there are lot that you don't say because of time. This Sunday during my message on suffering (part 3 in our series on Philippians), I had wanted to point to the most recent issue of the Newfrontiers magazine whose theme is also suffering. There is story about the sudden loss of Phil Stoddart's two daughters and how he has responded to that is particularly moving. I highly, highly recommend you get a copy of that magazine and read that article. It begins on page 14. Or you can read it online.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Daily Reading

How's your daily reading going? I thought I would blog to you how I use the SOAP method to help me with my daily devotions.

The Old Testament reading was Lev 17-19.

Scripture: Leviticus 17:14, "For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life."
Observations: God went to great lengths to make sure the Israelites did not mishandle or were casual about the blood of any creature because life is in the blood. This reminded me of the preciousness of the blood of Jesus that was spilled for my sin and gifted me righteousness.
Application: Repentance and Worship
Prayer: "Father, I thank you for the depth of your love for me. That you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin. That because of the blood of Jesus, there is the forgiveness of sins and there's new life for me and for all those who would call upon His name."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Social Action Weekend Review

More than 75 students participated in our first Newfrontiers USA Social Action Weekend down here in Joplin, MO. Last spring, a F4 tornado ripped through the area and we rallied students together to serve this cause. I thought it was a great success. Students had great attitudes and served very well (I also think they had a lot of fun). The icing on the cake is that we got some press from a local newspaper and a local TV station.

On Sunday morning, I had the honor of speaking at CCOJ (a terrific church). You can download that message off their website.

The next Newfrontiers USA student event is Mobilise, January 16-18, 2009 in St. Louis, MO. Early Bird registration is now open.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wall Street Blues

You are witnessing history in the making. Never before in the 120+ year history of Dow Jones Industrial Average has it ever fallen so much in a single week (more than a 1000 points!). On one level it's interesting, but mainly it's just gut wrenching. Now as I write (Monday morning) the market is rebounding, but the future remains unclear.

Now this should only remind us a firm belief we hold as Christians. Jesus said it this way, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The recent downturn in the economy in many ways is so helpful for all us not to get comfortable and secure in what is not ultimately comfortable and secure. Money, wealth, status, education, career, etc are a house of cards just waiting to let us down. Jesus and Jesus alone is our firm foundation, our chief cornerstone that we can confidently build our lives upon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Students and Social Action

This weekend I'll be down in Joplin, MO to participate with Jubilee's college students in the NF Social Action Weekend. I'll miss being in St. Louis, but look forward to that time with our students and speaking at Christ's Church of Joplin on Sunday morning. Curt McCutchan will continue our series in Philippians and I expect God to do great things as the rest of Jubilee gathers together. Keep the Lanfermans and the Sweetmans in your prayers as well as they travel up to Chicago to meet with Fusion (a church pioneering effort).

I thank God for all that He is doing in and through us. I'm excited that we are making a difference in St. Louis and pleased about our influence beyond our great city.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Deacons

As the church grew in Acts, more leadership was required to handle the growing needs of the church so that the church could continue to grow (Acts 6:1-7). And it seemed fit to the apostles that the church needed two kinds of local leadership. The first group are elders who provide spiritual leadership, equip, shepherd and govern. The second group called deacons serve the church by handling some of the administrative and pastoral responsibilities to free the elders to give primary attention to prayer and ministry of the word.

As Jubilee has experienced growth over the past few years (particularly this past year), the elders have studied the office of deacon and prayed about whether or not that office should be held and recognzied at Jubilee Church. We have come to the firm conclusion that it's not only a very Biblical idea, but is also necessary step in order to see Jubilee continue to grow and bless the St. Louis region as well as the nation and nations.

On behalf of the elders, Mike Lawson put together a paper on deacons that you can download by following this link.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October Bible Reading Plan

How's your Bible reading? Well if it makes you feel any better, I got a little off track in September as well. I have mixed thoughts about Bible reading plans because on one hand they held you stay connected to Scripture, but on the other hand they can seemingly point the finger at you and call you a bad Christian. That's why it is so important for us to live in the good of Romans 8:1, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ." We are not accepted and love by God based on Bible reading performance, church attendance or hours of service we have under out belt. We are accepted and loved purely because of the grace of God! How awesome is that!

Having said that, it's not a good reason for us to caste aside disciplines like Bible reading plans. Actually, it's the grace of God that produces discipline (Rom 6:17-19).

It is important for us to approach reading the Bible as an opportunity to connect with God and not a Christian duty to fulfill. It is joy to hear what God has to say.

For those who want to track with my Bible reading, here's October's plan.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Living Beyond Ourselves

There is nothing more dangerous for the soul than "playing it safe" Christianity. That's where we plot along and give mental accent to some Bible truths (Jesus is Lord, He loves the world, we should treat others well, etc), but the nature of who Jesus is doesn't penetrate our souls. And when that happens we grow apathetic and avoid life on the edge - the place where normal Christianity is meant to be lived. Proverbs 29:18 says (esv), "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint (or they get discouraged)..." That's another way of saying when there is no audacious, Christ-honoring picture of the future that is beyond our ability, we wonder off into Christian routine and apathy. How do you know if that's you? How do you know if you are living radically, for a vision that is beyond you? Well here's a few questions you might ask yourself:

1) Do I step outside my past experience and do things that are uncomfortable to facilitate kingdom advancement or the building up of the church?
2) Do I give generously and even amounts that I'm not sure I can afford, but God amounts told me to give?
3) Do I often do things for others regardless of how it affects me?
4) When I reflect on my life now and my life 12 months ago, can I see clear change?
5) Am I in constant prayer?

It's that last question, I would like to write a few more thoughts about - prayer. If we seek to live for an audacious, Christ-honoring vision that is beyond ourselves, we will pray a lot because we are abundantly aware that God needs to do something or this vision we have is a pipe dream. By the way, if our vision is within our natural abilities, it's not Christ-honoring. God calls us into the realm of the impossible. He has done so in your life since the day He saved you from your sins and bought you into His kingdom. And according to Jesus, entering the kingdom on your own effort is as easy as a camel passing through the eye of the needle - and if you don't know anything about camels or needles, that's impossible. Now here's what God wants to do in your life (the vision he has for you in some shape or form): he wants to use you to see many others enter His kingdom and for your life (as a part of the church) to be representation of Jesus and a demonstration of kingdom life! You can't do that in your own ability. You need God to step in and do something. That is where prayer comes in. Prayer is a demonstration that you are in need of God to sustain what you're all about. Just like eating today was a demonstration of my physical need for food. It would be stupid for me to think I don't need to eat - eventually. If I don't, I die. If you're not in that place of prayer, where you are contending and believing for something beyond you, you die. Spiritually, you begin to die.

Coming together for prayer is accepting God's invitation to partner with Him to live beyond ourselves. I want to encourage us to prioritize times of prayer together. Not because it is a religious activity for us to check off our list, but because we are living beyond ourselves and we know we need God.

Here's the prayer schedule for next week:

Monday: the Wentzville location gathers at 7 PM
Tuesday: Leaders gather at 5:30 PM
Wednesday: City location (last name A-L) gathers at 7 PM
Thursday: City location (last name M-Z) gathers at 7 PM
Friday: Both locations gather at 7 PM for a time of celebration and to set in Larry Mowrey as an elder

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sharing the Gospel

Today I went to "bring you pastor to school" day at Webster University to pray and talk to students about Jesus. And although it seemed a little strange, I jumped at the opportunity - I love students and I love sharing the gospel.

First of all, it was a bit nostalgic driving into old Webster. Many of you will remember this was Jubilee's former base of operations until just a couple of years ago. It had been even longer since I've walked on that campus. As a side note, they have done a lot to that campus and seems like a great place to go to school.

I showed up there at 10 am and we prayed for an hour or so and then went out and engaged students with spiritual questions. My new friend Nathan and I got into a great conversation with a freshman who is majoring in graphic art, but it appeared to us that her real desire was to connect with the divine. She struggles tremendously with God (at least the one I love and serve), as issues of right and wrong and judgment and other religions clouded her views. As I walked away from that conversation, my heart broke for this next generation. I was reminded of Paul's writings in Ephesians 3 where he wrote that it was his job (and our job) to make plain the mystery of Christ. And I began to think how God was a mystery to her. She was confused about God like many others are in her peer group. Yet, I was also struck by her desire to talk with us (for about an hour). My attention then floated to Matthew 9 where Jesus surveys a lost generation and says (I imagine with tears in His eyes), "The harvest plentiful but the workers are few". There are truly thousands upon thousands in this city like this girl I talked to today. Hungry for God, but confused about who He is. There truly is a plentiful harvest and there appeared to me today (at least at Webster's campus), not enough workers.

Let us never, never, never forget why we are alive on earth. We are alive on earth to share the glorious message of the gospel. To make plain the mystery of Christ to a lost and dying generation. We do that with both word and deed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Latitude Launches Weekly


Jubilee's Student ministry "Latitude" launched weekly on Monday night at 7 PM at the Crave coffee house. I'm looking forward to being able to connect more with college students. Currently there are more than 450,000 young adults between the age of 18-29 in the St. Louis area and less than 1% are plugged into a local church, which means more than 99% are either disconnected from Jesus or at best struggling in their relationship with Jesus. I believe God has called Jubilee to do something about that. I would encourage you to be prayer for the students of St. Louis.

Great Weekend

Jubilee had a great weekend. The Acts 13 meetings on Saturday and Sunday night were great times of prayer and prophecy. God was so good to speak us clearly and so intimately.

Equally as good was the message Jeremy Simpkins delivered at our Jubilee Church St. Louis City Location. It's a must to listen to.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fall Kickof: Gift Days

GIFT DAYS: SEPTEMBER 21 & 28

The Bible is full of verses that seem very counter intuitive. For example, "It is better to give than to receive." The idea here is simple, but it's difficult to apply. "So what you're saying here God is that it's better to give someone a $1,000 than to receive a $1,000?" Or, "It's better that I babysit someone else's kids than for them to babysit mine?" I think if we're being honest, most of us have a difficult time believing that is actually the case. I think most of us would rather be on the receiving end. However, we have to wrestle with the fact that the Bible is the inspired word of God, the author of all Truth, and He going to tell us it is better to give than receive.

What do you think? Do you believe it's better to give than to receive? Would you rather have someone walk up to you and give you a grand or would you rather go to the ATM machine, take out $1,000 and give it someone else?

Here's what I think. I think we would all like to be the person that loves giving more than receiving, but that's not always the case for us (it's not for me). But what I do know is that every time I give (I mean every time I give - even the ridiculous amounts) I never regret it. I've regretted spending money on stuff that has not met my expectations, but I have never regretted giving money away - not once. God must know what he's talking about. God must know us better than we know ourselves. God must know our frame and how we are wired. That we have been wired for eternal things and not the temporary. When we receive material wealth in this world, we only receive what is temporary. When we give that wealth away and invest in the kingdom, we receive something eternal - far better.

When you consider in prayer what you would give later this month, ask God to help you focus on what is eternal and not on what is temporary.

What Defines Success?

Last Sunday, we kicked off our mission series asking the question, "What are we doing?" because there is a danger in getting involved in all kinds of church activities, but missing the big picture of what the church is meant to be and do. So we can do Sunday morning, we can do group life, we can do serving, we can do social action, we can do prayer meetings, but what's the point of all that? We'll the point is reconciliation of disconnected souls back to the loving Father who created them. The point is to Connect people to Jesus, which we believe results in God-honoring life change. Success, therefore, for Jubilee happens when people are Connected to Jesus and when life change happens. That's what we are going for and that's what we celebrate.

1) So we celebrate the more than 40 people who have been rescued by Jesus and baptize here in the last two years (Jesus connection)
2) We celebrate the broken marriages that have been miraculously restored (life change)
3) We celebrate when people put aside their own concerns for the concerns of others and give their money and time (life change)
4) We celebrate when people who left the church in their teenage years finally accept our invitation to check out church one more time and find it a safe, gracious place to explore Jesus again (Jesus connection)

There are a lot of other things we celebrate, but it all comes down to people being connecting to Jesus that result is authentic, God-honoring life change. Let's continue to allow God to use us to build His church in St. Louis.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fall Kickoff: Guest Speaker


Fall Kickoff is full of great events. I hope you have all them down in your planner, ical, iphone, sticky note, or in whatever you use to organize your life.

In this post, I want to make you aware of the guest speaker we'll have on September 14 - Jeremy Simpkins. I'm really excited to have him with us. Besides being a great friend of mine, he's a great leader and is passionate about Jesus and His Church. Some of you may remember him from Clear Vision 2006 (if you're under 32 and were around then). Jeremy leads a church in Teesside, UK also called Jubilee and oversees the northern region of the UK for Newfrontiers.

A fully anticipate that he will be a tremendous blessing to us and your friends will love him so go ahead and invite them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bible Reading Plan

God has given us an amazing gift in his written word (the Bible). It is His self-disclosure to man that enables us to know Him, connect with Him, and learn about His purposes and plans for our lives. Don't ever take it for granted or grow tired of opening its pages and having God Himself speak to you.

To help you, I have decided to put together a Bible reading plan that will allow you to read the Old Testament and/or the New Testament in a year. I have also added a third column that will allow you to study the passages from the Sunday message. This option will be available in October.

If you interested, you can download September's reading here.

Fall Kickoff: Acts 13 Meetings

A few days ago I blogged about the first event of Fall Kickoff: the "Jubilee Family Meeting", which by the way is Thursday, Sept 4 at 7:15 pm.

The second Fall Kickoff event I want to make sure you know about is our Acts 13 meetings, which will take place September 13 & 14 (a Saturday and Sunday night). These meetings are incredible times of prayer, praise and prophecy. This is such a huge event that we will be flying in two prophetically gifted men over from the UK (Julian Adams and Jeremy Simpkins). These are meetings that you absolutely DO NOT WANT TO MISS and get started at 6 pm both nights. Childcare is provided.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fall Kickoff: Jubilee Family Meeting

Fall Kickoff is an opportunity for Jubilee Church to recalibrate and get re-envisioned for the year ahead. We tend to run our schedule off the school calendar so September represents the beginning of a new year. There will be many events throughout the month and I want to take the time this week to highlight each one.

Today, I want to highlight our Jubilee Family meeting.
  • When: Thursday, September 4 at 7:15 PM (shouldn't last longer than an hour)
  • Where: The auditorium at our Kingshighway building (map)
  • Who: ANYONE at who considers Jubilee their church (whether you're a member or a recent guest - this is for you)
  • What: We will be discussing in a detailed way, where we are as a church and where we are going
  • Misc: There will be childcare for this event. Unfortunately, we will not be putting the audio of this event online. CDs will be made available for those who serve the children that evening.
Jubilee Church St. Louis is one church with locations in St. Louis City and Wentzville.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Recap - Leadership Development

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the series in Acts. It's been great for me to study this book in closer detail to figure out what made this early church work. If you wanted to study more for yourself, I found John Stott's commentary on Acts titled "The Message of Acts" very helpful. It's part of a series published by IVP.

In this final message, I found my heart begin to swell as I thought about all the people who have stepped up at Jubilee to serve and take leadership responsibility. I'm very grateful for servant-heart that is evident at Jubilee.

I wanted to recap the leadership roles in case you didn't right them down. Here they are:

Jubilee Elders, responsible for leading all Jubilee Locations

City Location Leadership Team:
  • Bryan Mowrey, full-time employee - preaching, teaching, leadership development, students, and general oversight
  • Mike Lawson, full-time volunteer - Financial Counseling, Ministry to the Poor, Building/legal issues
  • Larry Mowrey, part-time volunteer - Discipleship Communities, Prayer Ministry
  • Karl Scott, part-time employee - Worship Dept, Video Production
  • Alex Kerford, part-time volunteer - Sunday Morning Coordinator, Public Relations Liason
  • Seth Hein, part-time volunteer - Baptism, New Believers, FYT Theology
  • Curt McCutchan, Newfrontiers Employee - Pastoral Care, Marriage, FYT
Secretaries
Discipleship Communities Leaders
  • John and Pat Donjon (city, south of Chippewa and Illinois)
  • Karl and Louise Scott (city, north of Chippewa)
  • Larry and Vicky Mowrey (St. Louis County)
  • John and Kara Russo (Youth)
Children
Ministry Leaders
  • Heidi Sever, Money Counting Team Leader
  • Wes and Michele Benton, Coffee Team Leaders
  • Abbie Nadolny, Cleaning Team Coordinator and New People Connection Coordinator
  • Maria Kerford, New People Connection Team Leader
  • Dan Brindley, Visual Media Team Leader
  • Matt Sweetman, Angel Food Ministry Coordinator
  • Teresa Lawson, Ushers and Greeters Team Leader

My prayer is that we'll continue to grow in leadership and that you reach the redemptive potential God has for your life! Let me know how I can help.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't MIss Out!

This Sunday (the 24th) is the final day to sign up for action tracks. Why wait sign up now!

Here are your choices:

1) Love & Respect, A Marriage Enrichment Course - Almost FULL

2)
Philippians Bible Study (for women only) - FULL

3)
Turning Point - Almost FULL

4)
Connect Series

5)
Evangelism Training (for men only) - Almost FULL

6)
Community Service

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Opportunity for Jubilee to Make An Impact

Lately I've been hanging around some of the Christian College Student Ministry leaders in the area trying to get a beat on St. Louis college students and to look for ways that Jubilee can serve. Well a guy from Campus Crusade passed along the following opportunity to not only impact students, but the nations as well.

About 80% of the 4,000 international students studying in St. Louis will never have the chance to set foot in an American home while they’re studying here. We’re trying to create a network of churches and Christian families who are willing to open up their house to a student for just one meal every semester or so. We believe this will be a huge opportunity to share Christ with so many who otherwise would never have a chance to hear the Gospel.

Being hospitable (that is the welcoming in of strangers) is a clear calling for the Christian (Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9). What we are being ask to do is a fairly simply task and that is: Invite one international student for one meal. That's it! Let's do it church!

If you are interesting in hosting a student for a meal or would like more information, please email me at info@jubileestl.org.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thanks from Shaw Elementary


Today, I had the privilege (along with Joe Pastor) of delivering more than 20 back packs full of school supplies to Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School here in South City. Principal Marilyn Burress and the rest of her staff were very thankful. She told me there is no doubt that this act of kindness will change the worlds of some of her students. Way to go church!

The Community Impact of Jubilee Church St. Louis City Location

We've been in South City a little more than a year, but take a look at our community impact:

1) We have helped New Americans get situated in the new homes and hosted a Christmas meal for them
2) We have served the Bevo Mill Community center remodel and fill their food pantries
3) We have served single mothers in the area
4) We have served the Czech Center with landscaping
5) We are helping to run a food pantry out of basement every Saturday that serves the Bosnian community
6) We run Angel Food Ministry that allows South City residents access to 50% off their groceries
7) We've picked up trash along Kingshighway
8) We've done some painting for Central Visual and Performing Arts High School
9) And now we've donated back packs to Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School

And people are taking notice. It is not uncommon for me to meet someone new in the area who has never visited our Sunday meeting, but has great things to say about Jubilee Church. They'll say something like, "I really like what you guys are doing for the community." Or, "People are really taking notice of what you guys are doing." Or in a note I received, "I've never met a church that wanted to serve the community like you guys."

Of course, we do this not in our own strength, but through the grace Christ has given us. I want to encourage us all to continue to serve our community.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Proud Dad



On Tuesday, my daughter turned 4 years old. We are pictured here (on the bottom) with her new (used) bike that we got for her birthday. It was a big day for her and Rachel and I. It was one of the moments where we both thought, "She's not a baby anymore!" I still think of her as the girl pictured on top. The moment was full of joy and tears.

But I guess growth is the goal, right?

Because I said So

Growing up I couldn't stand the phrase "because I said so." "Dad, why can't I ______." His reply, "because I said so." It bothered me so much, I made a vow never to use that phrase when I became a dad.

Well the other day, my 4 year old daughter asked me if she could do something and I said, "no". To which she replied, "Why?" And my answer? "Because I said so." Now I hadn't given my reply to her much thought until she said, "Why do you say so?" To which I replied with the ever ambiguous, "I just do."

This got me thinking a bit as to why this it a legitimate parental answer? Because the truth is, me "saying so" to my children sometimes is the only reason they need or maybe the only reason they would understand. However, on the kid side, it doesn't always seem like a complete answer. The reality is, it is a complete answer when the child trusts the parent.

How true is this with our heavenly Father? How often he does things that we don't understand? How often He, in effect, says to us, "because I said so"? Do this. Go here. Be this way.

As parents we know that our children would be much better off if they would just do what we say and we are imperfect. How much better than would our lives be if we would just do what our heavenly Father tells us to do who is not imperfect but knows all, and is all? I would encourage you to think about the things God has ask you to do through His word and otherwise and make the re commitment to follow through even though you may not completely understand. It really is a matter of trust.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Need Your Back Pack

Once again, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for how enthusiastic Jubilee was to serve the elementary students Shaw Visual and Performing Arts School. All the back packs were picked up immediately to be filled with school supplies.

Many have turned them back in already to be delivered next Monday, but for those who haven't, I wanted to remind you to make arrangements to do so by this Sunday.

Thanks again for your participation in this act of generosity.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Send off Sunday

This Sunday (August 10) will be an exciting and historic day for Jubilee (seems we have been having a lot of those lately). The reason why is that we will be sending off the Jubilee Church Wentzville crew in prayer as this will be their last Sunday with us before we launch weekly at the Jubilee Church Wentzville location the following Sunday (August 17).

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Impacting the Community


As you may know, the Oneblaze youth invaded St. Louis to help us serve our city. The response from the surrounding community was very positive. Everyone had amazing things to say about "those kids in the orange shirts!"

Click here to see a letter of appreciation from the Czech Center.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Supplies for Local School

I was very thrilled to see that the back packs were quickly picked up by Jubileeits to be filled with school supplies. I'm encouraged by your zeal to help others.

Many expressed to me the desire to help out even though the pack backs were already taken up. So I'm going to publish the info hear for anyone who wants to go and the get the supplies (you'll also need to buy a back pack). The cost for the supplies (including the backpack), should run you anywhere between $25 - $40, depending upon what brand you buy. We did our shopping at Target. Also, please remember to bring the supplies to the Kingshighway building no later than August 17.

Here's the list:

1 Back Pack
1 Box of tissues
1 Plastic bottle of waterless, antiseptic hand wash
1 Box of crayons (16 or 24 count)
5 #2 Pencils
1 Box of markers
5 Pocket folders
7 Spiral notebooks (wide rule)
1 Assignment notebook
-this is a “ledger notebook,” basically a notebook that has lined paper in it and may be slightly smaller than a usual spiral notebook.
1 Bottle of glue
1 Pencil case

These supplies may cost anywhere from $26-$40 (including backpack) depending on the brand name you choose.

**The school also asks for donations to the classrooms including: Ziploc bags, hand soap, antibacterial lotion, band-aids, Wet Wipes and/or a roll of paper towels.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Generosity

This Sunday I will continue our summer preaching series, "Acts: Building a Church That Works" and will tackle the subject of generosity (Acts 4:32-5:5).

I think everyone one wants to be generous, but there is something about being generous that makes us fearful. What if I don't have enough for me? Jesus answers this fear in Luke's first book the gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verse 22-32. If you are one of the many who wants to be generous, but is fearful to do so, I would encourage you to read those verses.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week of Prayer

One of my favorite things to do is gather together with the church for prayer. Praying on your own is great, but there is a special dynamic when "two or three" gather. And it has an exponential effect as it grows to 20, 40, 75, 100....and up and up. I found John Lanferman's analogy last Sunday very helpful. He likened corporate (the whole church) prayer gatherings like lumping coals together. One coal will spark and flicker, but will eventually burn out. However, if you lump coals together, a fire breaks out.

I would encourage you to download it that message if you missed it.

Here's this week's prayer schedule:

Monday Night
Who: Wentzville Location
Where: Rick and Gayle Hein's House
When: 7 PM

Tuesday Night
Who: Leaders
Where: Kingshighway building
When: 5:30 PM
Childcare Provided

Wednesday Night
Who: City Location, Last Name A-L
Where: Kingshighway building
When: 7 PM
Childcare Provided

Thursday Night
Who: City Location, Last Name M-Z
Where: Kingshighway building
When: 7 PM
Childcare Provided

Friday Night
Who: EVERYONE!!!
Where: Kingshighway building
When: 7 PM
Childcare Provided


Finally, I wanted to pass along this thought from one of our members, Jamee Palmer. One of the things I really appreciate about what she says is that it's God's will not ours. Thanks Jamee for being a "living stone" and spurring us on in prayer!

In light of this upcoming week of prayer at Jubilee, I thought I'd share something I read in 1 Samuel a couple months ago that impacted me.

Here is the story: There was a man named Elkanah, and he had 2 wives: Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah was barren because "the Lord had closed her womb"--this indicates that it was not by chance or for punishment, but was under the Lord's sovereign control (1:5). Elkanah regularly sacrificed a double portion to the Lord on her behalf, but it wasn't until Hannah herself went to the temple and wept and poured out her heart to God that the big stuff happened (1:20). Eli the priest observed her praying silently and perceived that Hannah was drunk. When he rebuked her, (1:14) she explained that she was speaking out of vexation and great anxiety, not from drunkenness. Eli then said "the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to Him" (1:17). Hannah went away and ate (after having fasted for a long time because of her sorrow), and her face was no longer sad.

Hannah's reaction after her experience praying in the temple shows that she had confidence and great faith that her prayer would be answered. She went away acting as if she had already received an answer from God, because she was so certain that He heard her.

God did hear, and He did answer. Hannah bore Samuel, and when she went back to the temple after he was weaned she was able to tell Eli, "I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord" (1:26-28).

Result: God is glorified.

There are several things we can take away from this story, but I want to point out one thing: When we pray, we are not only praying for our needs or desires to be met (as Hannah prayed for a child), but we are expecting God to answer according to His will, and ready to tell others about it when He does. Having our prayers answered is not an end in itself: it is also a means to glorify God. I am going to try to have this mindset when praying, and hopefully it will help my focus to be on the One who moves and answers, not just the answer itself.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Reports from Oneblaze Week

Things are going very well so far during the Oneblaze week. Our youth are making a big impact on the community. I'll pass along more details later.

But for now, I wanted to let you know what is happening spiritually with our youth. Here are some reports I received from Matt Sweetman, a church planting intern at Jubilee and the Oneblaze Youth Leader. He did a great job at collecting some great interviews with the kids.

In our second evening meeting we received a word of knowledge about someone with a problem in their elbow and suffering from headaches.

Wes from Arizona responded to the word. He hurt his elbow playing tennis and after an MRI scan the doctors told him that they couldn't do anything for it. He was stuck with the problem. So, we prayed in the name of Jesus and his elbow was completely healed and he's been free from his headaches so far. Watch the video below for more ...

In our second evening meeting Sam, a catholic girl from the North East, realized that she was not a Christian and decided to follow Jesus. The girls had a party in the dorms that night to celebrate!!! See the brief interview with her ...

Rhianna from Atlanta has had Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) for about a year. One of her shoulder blades sticks out because of this and she has constant pain -- day and night. She was prayed for in one of our meetings and Jesus completely healed her. It's been a couple of days and her spine is still straight and she has no pain.

Rhianna was scheduled for an operation which would require 3 months out of school. Praise God she no longer requires this! See my short video interview with her ...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oneblaze Update/Family Fun Day


Well it's been a great week so far. We have 175 Oneblazers (youth) booked in, worshiping God, making friends and serving the St. Louis community. One of the ways we are serving our community is through offering a free kids camp. We have 85 kids from the neighborhood participating in our camp and having a great time. I can not thank enough, or speak highly enough of the numerous volunteers who have put this week together and those who have faithfully served to make this event possible.

I would highly, highly encourage you all to join Jubilee and the Oneblazers this Saturday at the Kingshighway building from 11-4 pm for our second annual Family Fun Day. It will be a time of food, music, lots of kid toys and more. It will be a good opportunity to have fun together and meet new friends from our community after a great week of serving St. Louis. Invite a friend! For more info, click here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mark Driscoll on Newfrontiers and Prophecy

If you are a blogging junkie in the Christian world (especially if you are in Newfrontiers or a reformed-charismatic), you have probably of heard of Adrian Warnock. His blog gets about 30,000 hits a day in the US alone. Adrian is not a pastor, but is a part of a Newfrontiers church in London named Jubilee Church (great name). I like tunning into his blog because he gets good interviews with some great people including our own John Lanferman.

Recently, he interviewed Mark Driscoll to get his thoughts on Newfrontiers and Prophesy. I thought I would pass that along. To view this interview, click here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Interview with Jeremy Simpkins


Hello Jubilee! This is my final day in Brighton, UK. I finally got around to eating fish 'n chips. And I have to say, it was quite good. If I could sneak them through customs, I would bring some back. I have really enjoyed being in Brighton and attending the conference, but I'm really excited to go home. I miss my Rachel, Ella and Simon.

My final interview was with Jeremy Simpkins from another Jubilee Church in Teesside, UK. Jeremy, his wife Anne, and Julian Adams will be with us in September for our Acts 13 meetings on September 13 and 14. I want to highly encourage you all to make yourself available to be with us on those days. I will be speaking more on this in the future.

Here's the interview with Jeremy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WxcBeK9N0Y

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Interview with Mbonisi Malaba

One of the real privileges of being apart of the Newfrontiers family of church is the relationships you develop all over the world. Mbonisi Malaba and his wife Tash a dear friends of mine who lead a church in Bulaway, Zimbabwe. I had the privilege of having dinner with him on Wednesday night and I asked him to send you all a message about how we can continue to pray for him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5j9Ls3xnCQ

What Outsiders Think of Newfrontiers


The main speaker at this year's Brighton conference is non other than Mark Driscoll. Driscoll leads on the fastest growing churches in the USA gathering about 8,000 on a Sunday. He also leads a network of churches that planted more than 100 churches. He's a author and perhaps the most influential pastor under 40 years old.

His time with us has been very beneficial. I think he is serving us very well. I thought you might want to read what he has to say about us. I cut and pasted this off his blog. If you want to read the whole thing, click here.

A healthy mix of Word and Spirit The Newfrontiers folks are a very healthy mix of Word and Spirit. They love the Bible and the leading of God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes in the States those who are charismatic are negatively influenced by health and wealth teachers who say that, in essence, if you have enough faith you do not need to be like Jesus and endure pain or poverty. In contrast, somehow the folks I am meeting from around the world who are connected to Newfrontiers have a healthy biblical reformed theology complemented with an active and biblical view of the person and work of the Holy Spirit and exercise of all spiritual gifts. I have always believed in the perpetuity of all the spiritual gifts (including such things as tongues and prophecy) but have not had much experience in seeing them exercised biblically, so being in circles like this is very insightful and instructive. Yesterday, for example, a pastor from Africa (PJ Smyth) shared a prophetic word about the Father’s love for Jesus his Son and it was incredibly biblically rooted and emotionally moving.

Lastly, the people have been fantastic. My new African friend Pastor Tope who leads a growing church in London has been our host and rarely have I met a man whom I enjoy more than him so hanging with him has been a delight. I am eager to preach to his people on Sunday and honor their pastor who has been so gracious to me. We have been loved, served, and encouraged well. I’ve also been using the Mac to iChat with my family, which is great. Although I am gone, seeing the five smiling, laughing, funny-face-making kids of mine is a boost of joy. And nothing beats seeing your wife’s smile as often as possible, especially when on the road.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Interview with Sam Poe

Today I interview Sam Poe, who most of you would know. But if you don't know Sam, he is a up in Tacoma, WA helping to lead that church plant. He also a part of the Newfrontiers-usa leadership team and helps Newfrontiers to plant churches internationally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY30i84Kvjo

Monday, July 7, 2008

Who I'm Hanging With

I put together the first of several videos I plan to post this week to introduce you to a few of the guys I'm hanging out with this week. Click here to view.

God's Forgiveness

I was given a handout by my Discipleship Community leader, Karl Scott, on the Lord's Prayer as "homework" last Tuesday because we ran out of time to complete it during our time together as a group. This particular lesson was on "...as we have forgiven others..."

It was a great reminder of two things: 1) the wonder of God's mercy and depth to which he forgives us and 2) the freedom we can experience when we forgive others. Scripture communicates to us that we will be forgiven AS we forgive others. In other words, if we want the floodgates of heaven to pour out mercy and forgiveness upon us, than we should do like wise to the world around us. It is a very similar concept to the Great Commandment: "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself." God is saying that to love Me is to love people. To be forgiven is to forgive.

Listen to the grace and mercy that we find in Psalm 103:8-14.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

Let us continue in our receiving of God's grace and forgiveness and let us continue in extending grace and forgiveness of others.

If you haven't taken the time to go through this past lesson in our Discipleship Communities, it would do you well to do so. If you don't have a copy, request one for your DC leader or email Samantha at grouplife@jubileestl.org and request one.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Time at CCK in Brighton



Tonight I went to CCK with a bunch of guys from Christ's Church in Joplin. I was pleased to have reunited with some friends from our churches across the USA, the world and even ran into some Jubileeites (Ginger Price and Jen Russo). Terry Virgo, who was just with us in March says hello and passes on his love (please listen to the message he preached at Jubilee if you missed it - just do a filtered search under archives).

It was great being there tonight. PJ Smyth preached an outstanding message. You can listen to it by clicking here. I would encourage you to do so. If you do, just substitute St. Louis when he talks about Brighton and Johannesburg.

Amazing Story

Read an amazing story about a child rescued out of a 60 ft ravine told by Terry Virgo on his blog, dated July 3 and titled God-Glorifying Rescue.

Getting Acclimated

I landed yesterday morning in London at 7:30 am (1:30 am St. Louis time). It was a decent flight, but bad food and little sleep. I took a bus from London to Brighton, which was both interesting and long. The good news about that is it allowed me to sleep. After another brief nap in our rented apartment, I grabbed an early dinner with some friends from Joplin, MO who I'm sharing the apt. with. We all woke up late this morning and are messing around on our computers because it's cold, windy and rainy. That's suppose to be the forecast the rest of the week so I might be blogging a lot.

Tonight I will be attending CCK, the church that Terry Virgo founded and continues to serve as an elder. PJ Smyth is the guest speaker and worship will be led by Stuart Townend, who wrote the hymn "In Christ Alone". I am really looking forward to being there tonight as well as the conference that begins on Tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

National Night Out

National Night Out is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors and building into your community. I want to highly encourage you all to make plans to get involved in your community or work together with another Jubileeite in their neighbor. Here's how to get involved:

Check with your block captain if anything has been organized. You can do this by contacting your block captain. T0 verifying which neighborhood you are in, log onto http://stlouis.missouri.org/neighborhoods/. Then search on your neighborhood page for your captains email address or phone number. If you have a NNO already planned then join it. If not then register on the web site and host it: http://www.nationalnightout.org/nno/. It is a perfect opportunity to network within your community. Let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Brighton

This Sunday I'll be in Brighton, England for the 2008 Newfrontiers Leadership Conference (July 8-11). I am looking forward to hearing what God might say.

Curt McCutcheon will continue our series on Acts.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Chicago

Sunday was a bit hectic day for Rachel and I. She worked in the nursery, I preached, and then we both rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Chicago. Despite a brief delay, we were able to join Fusion (our Chicago pioneering effort) for their 5:30 pm meeting, where I also had the privilege of speaking.

The group here in Chicago is a fantastic and wonderfully diverse group led by the very dynamic powerhouse known as Tim and Chloe Steinke. They meet in a Jewish Synagogue on the north side of the city of Chicago. They are strategically located in a diverse area about a 1/2 mile south of Loyola University and they are right on Michigan Lake - very beautiful.

Fusion is really doing the stuff! I felt right at home being amongst such a radical group (reminds me of the people of Jubilee!). Lots of prayer and prophecy in their meeting. The real highlight for me was when Tim and I prayed with a young man named Mike to receive Christ. God genuinely met with this young man! I may get to be a part of his baptism tonight...we'll see. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to pioneer. You can stay connected through their website (click here).

Word and Spirit Homework

On Sunday during my message, I concluded by giving out the assignment to read John and Acts, while asking the following questions:

o Who is Jesus?
o Why did He come?
o What might He have me give primary attention to?
o Who did he hang out with?
o Who was he compassionate with?

And then when you get to John 14 and on into Acts, add to that

o What is the Holy Spirit’s function?
o Do I want more of the Holy Spirit or do I have enough?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pray for Zimbabwe



The situation is Zimbabwe is simply unimaginable for us in the US. The economy is an absolute joke even though Zim. is rich in natural resource. Unemployment is around 70%! In the height of the Great Depression during the 20s and 30s, it got no worse that 30% unemployment. Inflation is out of control. Currently, a can of coke costs One BILLION dollars (Zim dollars)! The political system is an absolute sham and the people live under the abuse and fear of a horrific dictator. It's like they experience the terror of 9/11 everyday. Here is a link to an article Rick Hein passed on to me that sheds light on the situation: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/06/23/zimbabwe.main/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

As a part of the Newfrontiers family of churches, we have relationship with churches there. Mbonisi Malaba has been with us and spoken at our church. He's become a friend of mine an others. Recently he sent these prayer requests to Alex and Maria Kerford that I would like to pass on you.

1. Please pray that there'd be peace and that there'd be God's protection over the churches in the rural areas particularly.
2. Evangelistic breakthrough: We're planning a major outreach into the rural areas for mid-July. We'll be having a healing evangelist from India by the name of Ram Babu with us who'll be preaching the gospel and praying for the sick. We can only go ahead with this if things are relatively safe, so please pray for safety for him in particular and our plans in general. Please pray for a real demonstration of the kingdom.
3. Please pray for leadership wisdom and courage for us to respond appropriately to what's happening.
4. Please pray for our time away in Brighton. Please pray that the churches would feel secure, even with leaders away, and please pray for me as I'm speaking in 3 churches and helping with a Brighton seminar.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All About 6-14 Year Olds

If you have a 6-14 year old child, you must sign them up for our Free Kids Camp on July 23-25. We'll have 3 types of camps for them to choose from: Soccer, basketball and art. For more info, visit www.freekidscamp.com.

Have them invite a friend!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wentzville


Last Sunday, Jubilee Church had its 4th of 5 preview service out in Wentzville. The 5th will take place on July 20 leading up to the weekly launch on August 17. I am grateful to God that he is adding people to us from that region of St. Louis. The Heins and the group out there are hard at work to both serve Wentzville and be a witness to the gospel of Jesus.

Recently (June 20th), we hosted a "Thank You Wentzville" for all the public service men and women of Wentzville by providing them a lunch. Local businesses also chipped in on the effort, which was a plus. We had anywhere from 80-100 people attend and we got great reviews from the city employees. One guy told us, "I've worked for the city for 20 years and no one has ever done anything like this for us before." I've included a picture of the event on this blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jubilee Summer BBQ Series

If you are new to Jubilee and looking to connect, you should definitely check out the BBQs Jubilee members will be hosting throughout the summer. Here is the current schedule. I believe all of them start at 7 pm.

Saturday, June 21 Alex and Maria Kerford (directions)
Sunday, July 20 David and Daniella Herrington (directions)
Friday, August 15 Seth and Shannon Hein (directions)

If you are interested in coming, all you need to do is rsvp at grouplife@jubileestl.org and bring your favorite side dish and drink.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baptism Sunday

Besides being Father's Day, June 15 is also baptism Sunday at Jubilee. Baptism Sundays are my favorite because they highlight what Jubilee is all about, Connecting People to Jesus. This mission and passion of ours stems from the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20) when Jesus commanded ALL of His followers (that includes us) to go in all the world and 1) make disciples, 2) baptize them and 3) teach them everything Jesus commanded. And this commission comes with the promise that He'll always be with us. I'm so grateful that baptisms at Jubilee have become a regular occurrence.

This Sunday, we'll be baptizing Jodi Hertz and Martin Pittman. We've made it a practice to include their testimony in our bulletin, a practice that I rather like. This time, I wanted to go ahead and share them with you as I find them both very encouraging.


Jodi Hertz

Good morning, my name is
Jodi Hertz and I am thankful to spend such an amazing day with my family of God. I grew up in the South, raised Catholic and as a newborn unaware of the commitment being made was baptized in a ritualistic ceremony.

I am now 34 years old, a Mommy to an amazing little boy Elliott and am today with humble pride announcing my commitment to Christ. This day for me represents; encouragement, accountability, discipline, integrity, commitment, unconditional love and hope. This day also represents my transformation from someone who simply respected faiths, into someone who is growing in a real relationship with Jesus.

Before Christ I carried the weight of life upon my own shoulders. I didn’t value anything greater than myself. I gave greater weight to symbolism, taking whatever appealed to me from all kinds of other belief systems. I failed to recognize the need of God’s Love in my heart. What I began to notice was that I repeatedly continued to feel empty and unfulfilled.

My relationship with Elliott’s father was dissolving and I was faced with the harsh reality that my life was not the one I wanted to live, and I did not have as much control over it as I had thought. This time of hurt cultivated my relationship with Jesus. One night I was praying out to some of my ‘gods’, and yet I was overwhelmed with the feeling that Jesus was near. Just as a Mother would tuck in her child, I felt safe in His loving company as I laid to rest. I was met and accepted just as I was, and was asked nothing but to welcome Him into my heart.

I am thankful for all my dear friends who along my journey with Christ helped guide my path. Now, I live life with great hope, trusting my hand in the Lords. I live a life in a committed, faithful and loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Look beyond the sun not below the clouds.” –Terry Virgo


Martin Pittman

I had been in & out of churches throughout my adult life; for the most part it has either been superficial or short term. I never really felt “It” for any significant length of time or depth, despite being exposed to HIS love on a daily basis. In February, I began attending Jubilee; I had met Bryan and others and was once again ‘checking in’ to this whole deal.
Shortly thereafter, due to some devastating personal issues that I was experiencing (caused by the sinner in me), I found myself alone (or so I thought) in my loft on a Friday afternoon. It was time…I wasn’t asking for it, wasn’t expecting it, IT was happening whether I wanted it or not. Me & GOD…at that very moment he reached down with his mighty hands and literally turned me inside out…from the tips of my toes through my lips; physically this was certainly the most amazing feeling ever, it was unbelievable-it is what makes Believers. After some moments, I realized what had actually happened. No longer was there anger, hate or evil inside of me. It had been removed and was now filled with HIS abundant love. How lucky am I to have had that closeness with HIM. I can summarize the experience by saying this. “I was a Sinner, I have met the Savior.”

As I look back at my life prior to this, I realize that I had been dying a slow death from the inside out and it was often contagious and destructive to those around me; I never saw it…I was blind to my surroundings and emotionally disconnected. For the last 90 days, I have tried to simply remember the following:“The old has gone and the new has come.” 2Corintians 5:17

I am now talking the Walk with HIM.