Monday, December 20, 2010

What People Think Really Does Matter!

Have you ever thought or even boldly declared, "I don't care what people think."? Some wear this attitude as if it were admirable or a badge of honor. I understand the thought that we can't let people run our lives or allow their opinion of us to knock us off track. We also must not be "people pleasers" leaving God in second or third place on our list of importance. However, we are missing the mark if we use this attitude as a means of letting ourselves off the hook of responsible Christian behavior.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:13 NLT "So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble."

Does Paul's statement only include not eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols of false gods or is there a spirit about his statement that flows into our current culture and activities? Let me provoke you to thought and prayerful consideration for a moment. Paul was careful not to judge, condemn or to call something "law". He called our attention to the freedom we now have in Jesus. But he warned us to not allow our freedom to be seen by others as weakness or to cause a young believer to stumble or question the Spirit of God on the inside of them.

Growing up in the church, I was made aware of all of "God's rules." No alcohol, no smoking, no tattoos, no eating in bars, no secular music, and on and on and on. Are these all in and of themselves sin? Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 that, "Its not what goes in a person that defiles them, but what comes out of them." Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that these are all God approved activities. I'm also not saying that they are sin. But what is Paul talking about?

He is talking about loving people enough to curb our activities in hopes of leading more to Christ. What if having a glass of wine at dinner could cause a new believer to stumble? Would you have a soda instead? How about how we dress, where we eat, what movies we go to, or our comments on Facebook? I believe Paul is challenging mature believers to think of others more than themselves in hopes of leading more to Christ. It is mature to ask, "What will others think?" Who knows, maybe your maturity will open the door to lead a friend to Jesus. Its all worth it!

Hope you enjoy a little thought provoking today!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A thought from today's SOAP!

Our worship needs to be fresh!

I was reading my SOAP (daily Bible reading plan) for the day and 1 Corinthians 5:8 spoke clearly to me about what worship in the church should be like. It reads, "So let us celebrate..., not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth."

We must work to make sure each time we come together as the church to worship that it is fresh, new, genuine, and pure; not religious, rote, or routine. We may have a stereotype in our minds that rote services probably happen more in mainline denominational churches. However, I think all churches have to guard against the cold of routine. Many in pentecostal or charismatic churches feel they are fresh because their worship experiences are less planned and more un-structured. They feel the Holy Spirit moves more freely in that environment. However, I have found that their worship can be just as routine. There seems to be just as much a pattern in their experiences as there is in the most religious of congregations.

The key is to not put God/Holy Spirit in a box. Don't assume the Spirit of God isn't there if sister so and so doesn't stand up and prophesy. Just the same, don't assume He is moving when sister so and so stands up to prophesy. God is not routine. He does not follow man's pattern; we are to follow Him. Simply put, expect the unexpected. Look for something fresh. Remember, His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Get Moving!

As a pastor of a local church, its my job to help people fulfill their destiny by leading them to discover how they are uniquely made and by getting them fitted in their calling or ministry in the church. Our current strategy in making people aware of the possibilities is what we call AccessFLC. This is kind of like a membership class (yet we don't have "official" membership). The true members of FLC are those that attend regularly, give consistently, and serve faithfully.

AccessFLC is all about giving access to the FLC story, structure and strategy to anyone who cares to know. Though this process has served us well, with over 50% serving in some capacity, some still struggle to begin serving because they don't know 100% where "God" wants them to plug in. I put quotations around God due to the fact that a few blame HIM for their lack of commitment and faithfulness to the church HE has placed them at. The other reason for the quotations around God is that possibly we (the church) put way too much emphasis on people discovering THEIR gift to the point where THEY won't serve until THEY can minister where THEY feel God has anointed THEM. Wow, even I think I have a little bit of an edge right now. ;-)

Most aren't deliberately disobeying God or neglecting His church. They simply don't know the process of being led by the Holy Spirit. You see, I believe the will of God is explored. The Bible says in Psalm 37:23 that, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." We must teach people that many times clear direction comes when we simply step out and put our hands to something. Our philosophy is to get people placed in any area to walk out faithfulness and then they will be planted in their niche area for fruitfulness.

Here's my encouragement...1. Don't over think your first step. The key to momentum is simply movement in almost any direction and then its easier to stere. Just begin serving and be faithful. God says our gift will make a place for us. Meaning...our gift will raise us to the top. 2. Churches need to do a better job in communicating responsibility to the church family along side discovering your calling. Their are things in any family that no one feels called to do, yet have to get done for the better of the entire home.

Great churches exist because great people take ownership of the vision along side the leaders. Get moving! Get in the game and lets reach people for Jesus!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Marriage Ref is Here!

Yesterday we launched our latest series called the Marriage Ref. I had a blast as I preached in a referee uniform on artificial turf and with a goal post in the background. I "made the call" on a couple marital disputes that were sent in before I shared my message, "5 Yard Penalties" that we need to avoid in our relationships. After the service we enjoyed a FREE tailgate party with burgers and hotdogs.

The entire day was so much fun, but the highlight for me was hearing the stories from couples whose marriages have been struggling and they now have hope and help from FLC. One first time family said that the postcard they received came at just the right time! They literally used the word "miracle" to describe how God had helped them find the church. I was grinning from ear to ear as they told me how they feel like their marriage is now going to "make it".

I am motivated even more to pray for families and to work hard at bringing friends to FLC. God is truly at work in our midst as we reach more people every week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let the "Groups" Begin!

This week FLC launches 8 different Life Groups designed to bring people together around common interests for the purpose of growing closer to God and each other. To be completely honest, I've never been a real fan of traditional small groups, home groups, or life groups. I felt like I would be forced into a group I didn't like with people I had nothing in common with and led by a leader who wanted to be there about as much as I did; which was not at all! My biggest problem with small groups was that they would go on forever with no end in sight. If I stopped going I would be considered unspiritual and a quitter. Not the life-giving motivation I was looking for.

Well, I'm elated to say that FLC groups have overcome all my concerns & fears! Each group is conceptualized by an individual who has a passion for what their group is about. Each group has a beginning and ending time. Most groups are weekly and last for about an hour and a half. All groups are semester based and run for about 10 to 12 weeks and may or may not start back up in the next semester.

Click HERE to see our current Life Group Guide. I trust there is a group for everyone. If not, sign up to lead your own group next semester!

Doing life together!

Pastor Dan

Monday, September 13, 2010

Awesome Summer!

We are reeling from the amazing growth we have experienced this summer! Attendance has jumped from 84 mid-June to 153 yesterday! We had over 30 surrender their lives to Jesus and 28 were water baptized, in just 3 months! We see new faces each Sunday and many are getting plugged into a team to serve and make an eternal difference.

We just launched a new series called, OVERLOADED where we are learning how to unplug from the business of life so that we can reconnect with God and His plan for our lives. You can click resources at to listen into the podcasts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dominican Republic Mission Trip Update

July 21st through the 29th, 7 FLC members were in the Dominican Republic sharing the love of Jesus. We spent our time with Rev. Mark & Stephanie Pyles of Ministerio Jovenes Valientes. Their ministry is headquartered in the city of Santiago, where there are approx. 1 million people. We easily and without incident, arrived on Wednesday into Santiago. We checked into our hotel and then spent the afternoon with the Pyles family and their two interns. Orientation was a must.

After breakfast on Thursday, we went to
the market to buy supplies to give to the boys in the youth prison. Each of the 80 inmates received a bag with deodorant, soap, toothpaste and a T-Shirt. They were smiling from ear to ear. We had a special service for them in their cafeteria. Many responded to receive Jesus and to be prayed for! It was an amazing experience.

The following day was two-fold. We first went to a children's home with profoundly physically and mentally disabled children. We had the opportunity to play with them and to give them lolly pops. It was a very moving experience as we showed the love of Christ to children that, for the most part, have been forgotten.

In the evening, we ministered at a church that is pastored by a friend of Rev. Mark's. You could sense the presence of God as Mark & his wife Stephanie led worship. The people were hungry to experience God and His power. I shared a message on Gaining an Eternal Perspective. There was a wonderful response from the people to receive prayer.

Saturday was a very full day. We started off in the city where they just started a new church only 4 weeks prior. We went door to door passing out invitations and tracts. It was wonderful to be able to invite the people of that city to come and see. We had a lot of fun and met some wonderful new friends that came to church the following night.

After lunch, we went to Rev. Mark's first church to train his leaders and empower them to go to
the next level as a team. We then returned back to the city where we passed out tracts and held an outdoor evangelistic crusade. People were watching from the balcony of their homes. Mark's team shared dramas, music, and we preached a message. It was awesome praying for those that responded.

Sunday morning we were at Mark's first church and then back at his second church in the evening. We had the honor of ministering his 4th service in the new church. God was so faithful to keep the team healthy and encouraged. It was a powerful first mission trip and we thank God for the opportunity to go and be His hands and feet.

Thank you for your prayer and support to send our team!


Pastor Dan

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The BUZZ is working!

This past Sunday was one the best experiences FLC has ever had! There were a lot of new faces with 115 people in attendance. 2 people surrendered their lives to Jesus and we baptized 7 people in water. Our band did an amazing job with worship and leading us into God's presence. Every Dream Team member worked extremely hard to make FLC an irresistible environment for people to experience God. We also had a ton of fun during the message as I made a real fruit smoothie to help illustrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The BUZZ is working! People are talking about what happens at FLC. We actually have a group of people talking about coming just to see what goes on in "that middle school." Its exciting to see the vision come alive and literally transform lives for eternity.

Keep talking to your family, friends, co-workers, and strangers about FLC. Invite them to "come and see." Watch what God does with your simple step of sharing your excitement about YOUR church. Eternity will be different because of you and the BUZZ you generate.

BUZZing with you!

Pastor Dan

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FLC Getting Some BUZZ!

One of the greatest, well, maybe THE greatest, ways to get the word out and market the church is through word of mouth. How do we get people talking about Family Life Church? How do we create a buzz about FLC so people get curious and come on Sunday? Or, how do we get people so interested in the church that they begin seeking us out to learn more?

Well, I think one of the ways is to have an awesome service EVERY week. We do work very hard to make sure people's experience on Sunday is inspiring and life-changing. But another way is to have the newspaper voluntarily write a feature on the church and put it on the front page!!!

All I can say is, WOW! Check out these LINKS LINKS to read the story and see the pictures. I'm praying this BUZZ will get the attention of people that need Jesus. I'm praying new people start asking their friends if they know anything about FLC. I'm praying FLC members start sharing this story as a tool to invite their friends.

WHY? Because I know if those people will simply step through our doors, they will come face to face with a loving, accepting, forgiving, and saving creator God! Lets keep the BUZZ buzzing and bring people to Jesus!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Access FLC

We have created a "simple" way for new people to understand the vision of Family Life Church and to "quickly" become a part, connecting in meaningful relationships and service.

Yesterday was the second Sunday of the month, which means Access FLC happened! 6 new people came to gain "access" to the vision, DNA & strategy of the church. I love seeing those who have only been to FLC 2 or 3 times taking ownership of the vision. My heart is not that people will help "ME" fulfill "MY" vision. The vision is to help people discover "THEIR" God-given gifts and passions and then to assist "THEM" in fulfilling "THEIR" destiny.

Church (the systems & processes of the church) truly should be simple and as organic as possible. "So easy a caveman can do it." Some processes in churches are so cumbersome and complicated that new people are alienated and disconnected for so long that they just don't get involved. Maybe it is to create job security for leaders? I sure hope not. My friend Matt Keller, lead pastor of Next Level Church in Ft. Meyers, FL says, "We need to put the cookies on the bottom shelf." I like that! Because, "If people don't connect, they will disconnect."

People don't need a semester in seminary to unload a trailer, set-up/tear-down church environments, usher, greet, or brew coffee. They don't need Bible school classes and credits to mix sound, do lighting, love babies or play drums. Certainly, there are some areas of ministry where the process of involvement is a little more detailed. However, our goal as leaders should be to figure out how to simplify not complicate the system. Just remember, you can't "know those who labor among you" if they are just sitting in a class hearing someone speak.

"PLACE" people for faithfulness and then they can be "PLANTED" for fruitfulness.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Servolution Goes Running!

Over 500 participants + 100s observing + 37 FLC team members serving + a lot of water given away = SERVOLUTION!

Last night was one of my proudest moments as the lead pastor of Family Life Church. There were so many FLC team members in their green Servolution shirts. Our team was passionately sharing the love of Jesus through a simple act of kindness and generosity with no strings attached to Roxbury and Morris County. I want to thank each and every person that came, as well as the entire families that were serving together. Your faithful service impacted eternity last night. The seed of the gospel was planted and there will be a harvest.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

There is a heavenly reward for serving with a pure heart. I trust God's heart was pleased with the love FLC expressed to the community in the Name of Jesus. I look forward to many more Servolution opportunities individually and as a church.

Impacting Eternity - One Life at a Time,

Pastor Dan

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Restoration, Recovery, & Peace

1 Samuel 7:14

S = “Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were RESTORED to Israel from Ekron to Gath; and Israel RECOVERED its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also, there was PEACE between Israel and the Amorites.”

O = God is a God of Restoration, Recovery, & Peace! Once Israel repented and returned to the Lord, they positioned themselves in the center of God’s will, provision, and protection. God is always "for us". However, blessings flow when we are "for Him"! Israel stepped out of God's protection and provision because they were no longer "for God" but "for themselves". They wanted to be like the culture that surrounded them. They lost focus in their pursuit of God and started experimenting with the world. Maybe they got bored and curious. Either way, they started living "for themselves".

A = Am I living for myself or for God? Am I in the center of God’s will? If not, GET THERE FAST! If yes, I must keep myself there. I will consume God’s presence and His Word. I will not allow disappointment, pain, lack, or struggle to remove me from God’s presence and will. He restores me. I recover all that was lost. I live in peace. I walk in all these blessings by faith as I live in the center of the will of God.

P = Father, I thank You for being for me. Help me to live for You! I ask for your strength to stay steadfast in You. I live by faith!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's Your Assignment

Luke 4:1-2, 14-15 NIV

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry...Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised Him."

Fasting and prayer are essential to receiving a clear vision of God's specific path for our lives. Many times following a season of prayer and fasting we have a more defined understanding of the part that we play in the body of Christ and a greater sense of our particular spiritual giftings. (1 Corinthians 12)

This chapter in the Gospel of Luke describes the circumstances surrounding the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Notice that He went into the desert “full of the Holy Spirit.” However, He returned to Galilee, “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Being full of the Spirit is knowing God and his character; walking in the power of the Spirit is when we know that we have the God-given strength and authority in our lives to walk out His will.

The power of the Spirit is essential for us to accomplish the assignment God has for our lives. God could be leading you to fast so that you can receive His specific instructions for your life. He will empower you, not just to know Him, but to walk in His power to accomplish what He has called you to do.

Are there areas of your life that need more clarity? Are you walking in the power of the Spirit and living in God’s purpose for your life? Write down those things God is speaking to you. As you conclude your fast, pray that God continually reveals His purpose and gives you ever increasing clarity and strength to walk it out.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A New Wine-Skin

Luke 5:37-38 NLT

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.”
Two things do not mix: new wine and old wineskins. The reason is simple: old wineskins cannot grow and stretch to hold the new wine. The new wine God wants to fill you with is expansive; it is a picture of God’s Spirit. It always brings an enlargement. A container that is dead, dry, stiff and shrinking back cannot be entrusted as a storehouse for God’s valued treasure. Our vessels must be prepared for the fresh, dynamic, living presence of God – everything we do will flow from it. This preparation comes through prayer and fasting, producing a container that is ready for the new thing God wants to do. God’s new wine always changes us – it expands our faith, enlarges our purpose, and brings renewed vision.

Everything God does is expansive, He is not into shrinking wineskins – it is up to us to shed them. As we seek Him in this season, let’s shed the old wineskin and ask God to fully prepare our hearts for what’s to come.

What has caused you to shrink back in your expectation of what God wants to do in your life? Are you ready to be expanded beyond recognition? That’s what God’s new wine will do in and through you. Pray the Lord will expand your life to glorify Him, giving you boldness to step out and be