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From Church Planter To Church Pastor

The Cowboy Fellowship of Atascosa County is a high impact, soul winning, church starting congregation. It was a decade ago when I first joined the core team and we set out to plant a successful church.  God moved in amazing ways in the early years of our church plant and He continues His amazing work to this very day.  As a result I have personally taken part in helping start a dozen other churches over the past ten years.  One of the major problems many church planters face is knowing when they are no longer a church planter.  There comes a time in the life of every church plant when you are no longer a church plant, but instead you are viewed simply as being a church.  This transition can be difficult to spot because it has little to do with attendance, tithes, or the size of your staff.  Generally, the only way to know when this transition takes place is to watch and listen for cues from the community that surrounds your church.  When the community at large no longer views you as being the new church in town, then the transition has probably taken place. As the leader of a church plant if you fail to recognize this transition and adjust your leadership you will find nothing but frustration and disappointment as you try to lead like a church planter, when in reality you are now a church pastor.  Below are a few of the differences I noticed as I made the transition from planter to pastor. Planters evangelize future disciples, pastors disciple future evangelists. When you first plant a church as the leader you are the main, and in many cases the […]

Christian Camouflage

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a hidden place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 11:33 NET Should the word Christian and camouflage ever be used in the same sentence?  Generally when you use camouflage for its intended purpose you are attempting to conceal something from someone else.  I suppose there are a few legitimate reasons to conceal your faith.  For example believers that live in foreign countries are sometimes forced to deliberately conceal their identity or they run the risk of imprisonment or even death. The underground churches around the world that find themselves in these situations however they can’t fully camouflage themselves otherwise the Gospel would never spread. I have noticed an increasing number of camouflaged Christians lately.  I am not sure if the number of such people is actually increasing or if God is just making me more aware of them for some reason.  These people deliberately hide their faith from others, and they have no good reason to do so.  They conceal their beliefs even to the point of acting like unbelievers.  Most of them do it in an attempt to please other people, and gain their approval.  Some put on their camouflage before they head to school, others before they go to work, or local grocery store.  Many feel they must hide their faith before heading out on a Friday or Saturday night.   This seems strange to me and inconsistent with the Christian faith. Of all of the world’s religions Christianity is certainly the most open and transparent.  The Bible encourages all believers to live and walk as Jesus walked.  Jesus practiced his ministry […]

Use your mouth…

“I will praise the LORD at all times; my mouth will continually praise him.” (Psalms 34:1 NET) It can be hard to praise the Lord at all times.  The difficulties of life never rest. Sickness, pain, grief, temptations, and the storms of life that are caused by sin continually bombard our souls. Many use the difficult times in life as an excuse to delay their praise to God.  During these times our flesh naturally wants to turn inward and we move into a mode of self preservation.  Frequently during these times people stop reading their Bibles, praying regularly, and attending church and other spiritual activities.  This however, only enhances the problems that we face in our lives.  Rather than running away from God we should have this attitude that we would praise the Lord at all times.  That we would use our mouth to continually praise him and thank him for his goodness and grace in our lives.  Instead of using our mouths to complain, whine, moan, or lament why not use it instead to praise God?  Certainly this would be a better use of our tongue and do much more for our soul than living in a state of self preservation. When you find yourself in a foul mood or facing a great difficulty of life remember this passage.  Remember to use your mouth to praise God even during the hard times of life.

Be thankful… Part 1

  3 He is the one who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases, 4 who delivers your life from the Pit, who crowns you with his loyal love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your life with good things, so your youth is renewed like an eagle’s. (Psalms 103:3–5 NET) Psalms 103 contains an amazing list of things everyone can be thankful for.  David outlines 11 things in rapid succession in the first 15 versus of this chapter. David expresses an extreme attitude of thankfulness to God for his ability and willingness to, first and foremost,  forgive him of all of his sins. We can all be thankful that God does not forgive us for most, almost all, or some of our sins; instead he forgives ALL of our sins! David continues by thanking God for his ability to heal all of our diseases.  This phrase should not be viewed as a guarantee of earthly physical healing from all sickness or pain but rather as a promise of our ultimate healing and new bodies with the coming resurrection.  God does however, frequently still today heal people from cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other seemingly deadly elements. The Hebrew word used for diseases can actually mean sickness, pain, suffering, grief, drought, or famine. David praised God because he was able to provide a healing for any and all in the above list.  Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:26, with God all things are possible. We can all be thankful and praise our heavenly father that even the most feared diseases and earthly predicaments can be overcome through the power of God. Next, David expresses his thanks to God in verse 4 by proclaiming that […]

It’s Christmas Day!!!

Merry Christmas guys!  I pray that you all have a wonderful spirit-filled day today.  I am thankful for each of you who follow this blog daily.  Those of you who comment regularly bless my soul in many ways with your thoughts and ideas that enhance my own.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and will help me continue to spread the word about Jesus in 2012.  Tell your friends and family about this blog as you meet with them today, show them how to subscribe to it and receive the blogs in their inbox each day.  Be blessed! Pastor Pete

Onesimus (Day 43 Philemon 1:10–11 NET)

10 I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, 11 who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me. Philemon 1:10–11 NET The name Onesimus means “profitable.” Onesimus was the slave for whom Paul wrote his letter to Philemon. The book of Philemon is the only New Testament book addressed to a single individual.  In his letter, Paul pleads with Philemon to free Onesimus because he had been so helpful to the apostle while in Rome. Paul had apparently had some part in converting this former slave and they had worked together to advance the kingdom while Paul was in chains.  Onesimus had robbed his master and escaped, using the money he stole to flee to Rome. His intent, likely, was to disappear into the busy urban life of the large city. God however had other plans.  While there in Rome he met Paul, and accepted Christ. In sending him back to Philemon, Paul urged the owner to treat the slave as a Christian brother (v. 16).  Paul also had a close relationship with Philemon and was instrumentally involved in his conversion as well. Paul had enough influence on Philemon that he felt confident his words and recommendation to receive Onesimus back into Philemon’s household would be enough to save the slave’s life, and it appears to have worked. Onesimus accompanied Thychius in bearing Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae (Col. 4:7-9). It was most likely during this trip that he was escorted back to the home of Philemon as well.  For Onesimus to travel alone would have put him at great risk of being caught by the […]

The Dirty Little Secret About Christmas

16 Therefore, let no one judge you because of what you eat or drink or about the observance of annual holy days, New Moon Festivals, or weekly worship days. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body ‹that casts the shadow› belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16–17 GWORD This past Sunday I preached a sermon entitled “The Dirty Little Secret About Christmas.”  It was based off of the scripture from Colossians 2: 16-17 where Paul talks about the fact that much of what we observe in life are nothing more than shadows.  This message really impacted our congregation in a powerful way, in part, because everyone can relate to shadows, after all, we all have one.  The over all concept is simple, a shadow is only a reflection of something that is actually a reality. Paul was saying that much of what we see here in this world is just a shadow, Christ is actually the reality.  I don’t know if there is any better time of the year to see this truth in our culture.  Christmas is supposed to be a religious holiday, but I contend that today it is nothing more than a festival for consumers.  This so called religious holiday is full of shadows but there is very little reality in the way we celebrate Christmas today.  As I point out in the message, there are four basic problems with shadows.  They are hollow, hopeless, a hindrance, and heartless.  I am not saying that we can’t exchange presents and I’m not trying to be legalistic about Christmas, instead, I just think we should believe in the reality, not the shadows. We should celebrate the reality which is Christ, […]

Who do you resemble?

My good friend Chris who also runs next generation disciples wrote the post below.  It is based around our reading from today I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did… Has anybody ever told you that you remind them of somebody?  It might be just a visual resemblance or it could be a matter of your actions and characteristics, but there is something about you that reminds them of a certain someone.  As believers we are called to resemble Christ this should be one of our primary goals in the process of sanctification and can only be achieved by spending time with Christ, we see this in Acts 3 and 4. In Acts 3 we see Peter heal a lame beggar and as the onlookers see this they rush to him, as the rush to the apostles Peter begins to preach to them Jesus and the resurrection; he reminds them of what they did and he began to preach repentance to them.  As this was going on the Sanhedrin priests seized Peter and John and as they were questioned Peter gave all glory and credit to Jesus saying, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead— by this name this man stands here before you in good health.”  What happens next is what we should all pray for, “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John […]

Complainers (Day Sixteen Luke 15:1-2)

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1–2 NET) As the leader of an organization I hear lots of complaining.  Sometimes it is disguised as “helpful criticism”, other times people just come right out and complain about whatever has grieved their heart. While on rare occasions, some of the complaining can be justified, most of the time it is nothing more than harassment from some critical on-looker. This was what Jesus faced throughout his ministry and yet again here in Luke 15.  The “experts” were once again complaining because Jesus was not acting the way they thought he should.  He was eating with people they despised and at the same time ignoring them. So Jesus gives them some attention, albeit not the kind of attention they wanted.  He starts into a series of parables to teach these complainers a lesson.  I have come to realize that there will always be someone to complain about anything you try to do.  It is true that making everyone happy is an impossible goal and one that not even Jesus was successful at.  As I read this text I am convicted about my own complaining.  Certainly I don’t want to be labeled a complainer by Christ, nor do I want to be perceived as a complainer in my community.  So below is a list of a few things that have helped me when I am tempted to become a complainer. Seriously consider the value of my complaint.  Is what I have to say really necessary?  Does it have the potential of positive […]

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