Friday, June 22, 2007

Ministry Update

Wow! Things are moving fast. As most of you know, Catherine and I (and Emma and Lydia) will be relocating to Pittsburgh over the summer to begin the work of church planting all over again.
Here is what has been happenning:

The contact series has ended here at The Church of the Cross and we are using the last two weeks of June to preach on the changes that God asks his people to make out of love for Him. Pastor Mike will be starting a new sermon series beinning July 8th called "A Chosen People."

My last day as Lead Pastor at CrossPoint, (our other campus church) before moving to Pittsbuburgh to begin church planting, will be July 1st. We will have a testimony Sunday Service and a party in the afternoon to celebrate the four amazing years that we have had here in Bluffton growing the church and celebrating God's call to have us do a church plant in Pittsburgh.

Our house sold in an amazing 28 days which proves that God is very big and can do whatever he wants. On July 10th we will close on our house and move to Pittsburgh.

We will be spending the bulk of July moving in to a great family home that we have leased. The house that we found is in a great area of the city, close to the cities famous Frick Park, and nesteld between the kids new school (Trinity Christian School) and Oakland (where we will be starting the new church).

We will be spending several weeks in August on vacation before beginning our new work in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in September. It is amazing how supportive everyone has been and how well things are working out so far. Change is so hard sometimes but God has always cared for his people in over the top ways. Catherine and I want to thank ya'all for the ways you have supported us in this new adventure.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CONTACT (Just Updated)

Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Jesus has commanded us to make contact with those who have yet to come to know Him both “far and near.” That describes a horizontal kind of contact. In Acts, Luke put it this way; “When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." We are to make contact with others, from Bluffton and Boston, to Bangkok and Brazil. But, there is more. Jesus tells us that when we make contact, we are to then go deep. We are to reach hearts and minds with the Truth that sets people free. We are to “Instruct them in the practice of all that I have commanded you.” That is a vertical kind of contact that allows the heart of God to come down and touch the heart of man. It’s pretty clear that Jesus wants us to make contact with the world, both horizontally across cultures and vertically by connecting heaven to the hearts of man.

The big question is, how do we do it? Do we send missionaries to Brazil, or are we to be missionaries in Bluffton? Or is it both? And, when we do make contact with people, how do we reach their hearts and minds? How should we present the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ in an image driven, post-Christian, 24-7-365 world? Should we build a holy city and invite others to visit? Should we adapt to the ways of the world and try to become more user-friendly? How are we to “Be in the world but not of the world,” to quote Jesus’ follower, Paul.


In Francis Schaeffer's Brilliantly dark book, Death in the City, he exposits Romans 1:18-32, saying that men who do not have The Bible still cannot escape the image of God in them. Though we attempt to push God and the knowledge of him, down, we are still (hopelessely so and how great is that!) made in his image and bare the marks of him in the DNA of who we are. Thus, there are these five marks left with all of us, that reveal themselves in our life, work, play, sex, family, community, art, architecture, and thinking: a deep need for Truth, a love for beauty, a longing for intimacy, the demand for fairness, and the longing for eternity. We have tweaked the contact sermons series to reflect these five elements and will be preaching on them over the next five or six weeks.

Part One (Sorry- this sermon did not record properly).


5-6-07 (Jay) Romans 12:1-21
Contact: How to Be a Transformer

5-13-07 (Jay) Psalm 119:145-176
Contact: We Need the Truth

5-20-07 (Jay) We Long for Community