Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

   Remember that statement?  Some of you will, especially if you have ever watched The Andy Griffith Show.  Gomer would occasionally give the “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise” line to share his excitement.  It’s been a while since I last caught an episode of that show.  Can’t seem to find it anywhere.

Anyway, the surprise factor (if you will) of this blog post surrounds some very encouraging news that has recently been published.  I sincerely hope you will find it to be as good and refreshing as I have.  It pertains to 4 Surprises that have recently been discovered involving the “unchurched” population here in the U.S.  So regardless of what some write and blog about, and dismissing the negativity of even certain populations and people in the Church, find hope in what has been uncovered and discovered, but God surely isn’t done with His Church.

The research has been released by Lifeway Christian Resources and Rainer Research, 2011.  Here are “4 Suprises” about the unchurched, and to define, the unchurched are those who were once involved and connected to a local church who have left, become deactivated, or have fallen away.  Here are 4 things we should find as “good news.”

  1. The unchurched are not mad at the church.  Many, if not most, hold no anger or resentment toward the local body or the local leadership.
  2. Young and college adults are returning out of obedience to God (ages 18-35).  They are seeking God and closer relationships with others and cite that many of the “excuses” and “reasons” they have given for being deactive are actually weak and lame.
  3. The unchurched, by and large, do not feel awkward about returning.  Only 15% mentioned that they would feel uncomfortable while 85% said they are fine with it.
  4. Affiliation and denominational preferences do not change among those who have left.  64% of those who left would prefer to get active in a church of the same affiliation/denomination.

Praise God for what He is doing and how He is leading!  Let’s be sure to encourage those we know, love, work with, and live beside that there is no better time than now to return and come back to the church family — the local hands and feet of Jesus Christ!

Prayerfully,

Pastor Porter

Coming Soon

In the past few months, a whole lot of people seem to be reading the book by Francis Chan, “Crazy Love.”   I love the book and have recommended it to at least a dozen folks.  By the way, whoever has my copy — please bring it back to me.

Anyway, the Lord has planted a seed and we are going to cultivate it.  This Fall, we will be launching a 4 to 6 week GROW Study based on this book.  More to come later, as far as dates are concerned.  For now, let me recommend that you find a copy online or in your favorite bookstore.  You won’t be disappointed.

You may be asking yourself:  What is it about?  What is the theme?  How would a journey through the book help?

Great questions.  Consider what it states on Francis Chan’s website:  “Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo?  Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions?”  I believe there are many reading this who are saying, “Yes!”

Stay tuned for more details and plan on joining us.  Please start praying with me, that this would be a real opportunity for those seeking a deeper love relationship with God.

Pastor Porter

Fishing?

I was thinking about this subject just yesterday, as I heard a short segment on local fishing, and my thought was this:  What are some of the things people “fish” for?  It didn’t take me long to figure that the list could be incredibly long.  Sure, there is the obvious  responses:  flounder and trout to name 2.  Most have seen Deadliest Catch at one point or another, and many have probably been on a deep sea adventure.  Ever been to downtown Morehead City during Big Rock, to see a weigh in of a 600+ lb. blue marlin?  Now that’s some fishing.

But there are other “fishing” adventures for sure.  Some fish for a spouse, and they drop lines & hooks all over the place.  Others fish for money, their primary motivation in life.  I have seen people fish for all sorts of things:  careers, friendships, gossip, and hobbies.  At one time, I even knew some people who fished for a church — putting high end bait on those hooks, trying to lure one in.  Some bit on that line, but nothing was quite good enough for the ones fishing.  They threw them all back and then realized that they were some extremely hungry fishermen.

I find it interesting how the life and ministry of Jesus took place in close proximity to water.  I find it fascinating how several of the His followers were professional fishermen; picked by Jesus Himself.  But most importantly, concerning these things, was His call:  “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).  That is a call for us today.  We should want to be fishers of men, for Him.

Is that your passion?  It should be.  If not, something is wrong.  Be sure to pray and ask God for the same Spirit, which was in Christ Jesus, to fill you and move you and consume you.  This is my prayer:  Lord, give us a heart so that we would be and become Your fishers of men, here and now, today.  In Jesus’ Name and for His fame.  Amen!

New Season

Back to Church Sunday: The Concept, The Heart

In the next few weeks, as we lead up to Sunday, September 18 and the celebration of “National Back to Church Sunday” — we will explore in this blog some different themes that will help show why it is important, today, that we communicate and demonstrate the true heart of God’s Church.  Many may be a bit indifferent; not sure of why this subject is important.  That is o.k.  We will cover and highlight many things that will illuminate why it is critical.

Please be sure to stay tuned (add the blog to your favorites) and subscribe to the posts.  You won’t want to miss this journey.  I sense it will speak and minister to someone.  My prayer and hope is that it will deeply impact us for the betterment of His eternal kingdom.

Read 1 Cor. 8:1 today.  While Paul is on the theme of some practices that were customary in the day he was writing, he takes the liberty to remind us of a tremendous point:  “…knowledge puffs up, while love builds up.”  We live in a day when many think and have convinced themselves that they know much more than they actually do.  It is in every spectrum of our lives and culture.  In God’s Church, let our first priority be love: love for God, love for each other.  Love is the most excellent way.

Blessings,

Pastor Porter

Simple Reminder

Some days, we just need to be reminded of Who We Are and What We Believe as a family of faith.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. It was founded to spread the message of scriptural holiness (Christlike living) across the lands. Today the Church of the Nazarene is located in 156 world areas.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Great Commission church. Our mission is to make Christlike disciples in the nations. We believe that God offers to everyone forgiveness, peace, joy, purpose, love, meaning in life, and the promise of heaven when life is over by entering and experiencing a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are called to take this message to people everywhere.

The Church of the Nazarene is also a holiness church. We believe that Christians can experience a deeper level of life in which there is victory over sin, power to witness and serve, and a richer fellowship with God, all through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

For more info, you can visit www.nazarene.org and learn much more. You can also locate a church near you. With over 26,000 congregations, our vision and mission embraces the entire world. Each local congregation of the Church of the Nazarene is a faith community ready to greet you in Jesus’ name. There you will discover opportunities not only to encounter Jesus as your Savior and Lord but also to grow as a follower of Christ. Local churches offer worship, opportunities for serving others, fellowship, and training. We invite you to experience the unique fellowship of your local Church of the Nazarene.