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Archive for February, 2009

The Legend of Speedo Guy

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Sermon in a Wordle Part 2

Wordle: Promises of God

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Sermon in a Wordle

Here is the text of my last sermon in a Wordle:

Uncomfortable Comfort

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Grace Foothills actually began about 4 years ago when a group of like minded people found themselves driving up the mountain each Sunday to worship at Grace Mills River.  The first “official” worship service was held in the living room of Jeff and Helen Byrd’s home on October 28, 2007.  We then moved into the Tryon Theater on Palm Sunday, 2008.  There were 59 folks at that particular worship service on Palm Sunday.  Last Sunday, we had 140 folks worshipping with us.  Am I surprised?  Yes and No.  I am very surprised that we have grown to 140 in less than one year in a town of about 2,000 people and a county of about 20,000. Imagine if this was Charlotte or Atlanta.  This is Tryon and we are at 140!!!  Pretty amazing.  On the other hand, I am not surprised that we have grown so fast because of the message we are communicating.  We are communicating the gospel of grace (that I am more lost and flawed than I ever imagined and I am more loved and accepted than I ever dreamed). And we’re doing that by using and illustrating with the arts, different styles of music, and a group of folks who are hungering for an authentic and real relationship with God and one another.  The most unique thing about Grace Foothills is that it’s not about me, the Lead Pastor.  This is about collaboration.  Everything we do is done together (the music, the sound, the tech, the cafe, the children’s ministry, the youth ministry, etc.).  Even the preaching is shared by the teaching pastors and the worship team.  When I stand up there to preach, the sermon is not just mine, but Dave’s, Josiah’s, Craig’s, Brian’s, Chas’, Colin’s, Tonya’s, and David’s.  This is truly a unique church plant.

Listen to what Spurgeon says, “Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Saviour; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you, and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw others? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn, and see if it does not draw them.

No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, depraved or amiable — all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.”

This is our goal at Grace Foothills. To talk about Jesus and that He would draw men, women, and children to Himself.

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The Reformation: Drunk on Grace

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof grace–bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us singlehandedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home free before they started…Grace was to be drunk neat: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale…”

-Robert Farrar Capon

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In the next couple of weeks, I will be posting some free flowing thoughts as I approach the one year birthday of Grace Foothills, the church that I have helped plant in Tryon, NC. It has been a learning process for me and it has been a lot of fun.

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Keller: Parable of the Two Sons

Tim Keller recently spoke at Christ Presbyterian in Nashville on the Parable of the Two Sons. It’s probably similar to his other talks on the subject, but always helpful to hear it.

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