All posts tagged: evangelism

Dive In! The Water Is Great!

This past summer, I went to this place called Foster Falls, which is an eighty-foot water fall pouring into a swimming hole. When we arrived, there were a couple of guys at the top of the water fall ready to jump into the pool below. The first couple of guys jumped without hesitation, but there was this one guy who wouldn’t budge. You could tell he was scared! The guys who jumped were hyping up the guy. They were shouting encouragements, affirmations of the water’s depth, telling him it wouldn’t hurt, you name it. After a few minutes the guy at the top took the plunge, and when he resurfaced, he screamed with excitement. All the guys cheered hysterically! I believe this is what the church is supposed to look like. A lot of people aren’t too sure about this whole Jesus thing. They have seen people jump off the cliff through baptism, serving, or giving, but still they don’t trust the water. Is it true? Is there really freedom and forgiveness? Is it possible …

4 Fundamental Questions to Improve Your Faithfulness

If you ask someone who sleeps in on Sunday morning why they avoid church, many will point to the hypocrisy or lack of faithfulness in church members. Are you part of the problem? Here are 4 questions for you to reflect on as you work on growing the fruit of faithfulness. Are you faithful to God? When no one is looking, are you still committed to being trustworthy? If no one were to ever find out, would you still walk the right path? In John 14:23, Jesus says, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” Being faithful to God means walking by the Spirit even when the flesh is telling you something different. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Are you faithful to making disciples? Jesus called us to love God and love others. How are you doing at …

What a Difference Love Can Make

First Church was a stately, old church located in downtown Central City. She had a rich heritage along with the other churches clustered around Church Circle. And she, along with the other downtown churches, had her share of people who were always dropping by because they needed something. The “regulars” came by just like clockwork. Louie was always drunk; I mean eyes-matted-together-slobbering drunk. His still being alive was a miracle in itself. Hank was one of the most colorful people to come through our doors. I looked forward to passing by him on the sidewalk because he always cussed me out—to music. He cussed everybody out to music. He had one of those contraptions around his neck that would hold a harmonica, and he walked up and down the streets playing the harmonica and his guitar—until he saw you. The harmonica would come out of his mouth and out would come some of the most vile language you ever heard—all set to music. He could shred. Hank had come from Nashville. He had begun to …

Living Out the Mission of The Gospels

If you are a Christ follower, you have been made a new creation because of Christ now alive in you. On the cross, Jesus became our sin so God could defeat it’s power in our lives through the resurrection. Now, you have been adopted into God’s family. You are joint heirs to the kingdom of heaven. You are purchased, forgiven, chosen, loved, saved, identified as His, seen as without fault (see Ephesians 1:3-14). We are loved by Him, sought by Him, never without Him! This is who you are! This should pump you up! If you are part of the Southern Hills family, you have probably heard, read, memorized, and bought the t-shirt for our mission statement: Making Disciples who Make Disciples. It’s our mantra, our call to arms, our understanding of what Christ called us to do. In all we do, we should be thinking about how we can fulfill the mission we have been called to complete. Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on …

Jesus Will Return. Will You be Saying, “Hosanna?”

Have you ever wondered why Christians celebrate Palm Sunday? Here is the scene: In Matthew 21, we read about Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He comes in riding on a donkey, as prophesied by Zechariah. He is greeted by  crowds celebrating Him. Some of the people put their cloaks in the street and others put out palm branches—both were signs of welcoming the humble King. The crowd is shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” (Hosanna means “Save, we pray.”) Less than a week later, the crowds chose to release the prisoner Barabbas and demanded Jesus be crucified (Matthew 27:15-23). For a number of reasons (ultimately, God’s own purpose), Jesus was not living up to Israel’s expectations. Not only was He not appearing to be a strong military leader, He was even making claims to be God. “Blasphemy!” they cried—and killed Him. They wanted a King to deliver them from Gentile rule—the same way King David had defeated the Philistines. Sadly, many people seem to think the same way today: “If God won’t give me …

Are You Keeping An Eye on the Harvest?

My in-laws own a strawberry farm. They live in Gallatin, TN, so if you are ever passing through in the month of May, you should stop. There really is nothing better than popping a juicy, fresh picked strawberry into your mouth. It’s sweet and flavorful and you’ll never buy from a store again once you’ve had field fresh strawberries. Every year when the season comes around, late April to early June depending on the weather, we head up several times to help and enjoy the harvest. My girls love this time of year. They help at the selling hut and walk the rows with their cousins, showing people how to pick the best berries. The plants are always loaded with berries, but not all the berries are ready to pick. Each day new berries become the deep red, juicy goodness you are looking for and the girls are experts at picking the best ones. Sometimes people pick berries that aren’t ready and they have a sour experience. (Fun fact: a strawberry never ripens after you …

But Its My Gift and I Don’t Want to Share

Remember the first day you got to drive a car? Alone? Maybe you were lucky enough to get a new car that day. Or maybe you were just grateful to be able to borrow the family car. Either way, you were given the gift of freedom. You didn’t have to depend on anyone to go where you wanted anymore. You could just go. I got to drive the family car when I was 16 and the privilege to do so was a gift I didn’t take lightly. I had dreams of grandeur, driving around and picking up my friends to go and do… I don’t know what. We didn’t do a whole lot other than hangout and play basketball. I found out quickly with my new found gift there was an expectation to share the gift with my sister. She was younger, but she needed the car to take her places also. I needed the car to get to the store, school, a friend’s house, and church. So did my sister. And now with the …

Are You Living a Wholly Generous Life?

Don’t you love fall? The leaves are changing, the flannels come out of storage, the weather is cooling off, and everything is pumpkin spiced. This time of the year is beautiful. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is have bonfires. There is nothing more relaxing than getting together with my small group or a couple of guys and just sitting around a fire. When I have a bonfire, I like to go somewhere away from everything: out in the country, out in a field, or out in the woods. It fascinates me that bonfires can be seen for miles. People a couple of houses down can enjoy my fire form the comfort of their own homes. In the Bible, our lives in Christ are often referred to as a light. Our lives illuminate this dark world. But the thing is, this light does not come from us. The life that illuminates is merely reflecting the greatness of God. This light comes from the glory of the Gospel, the generous sacrifice of …

Are You Focused on What Really Matters?

There aren’t many things that stress me out. I mean, I sit right next to Keith for eight hours almost everyday and even that doesn’t matter all that much to me. It doesn’t matter what I have for dinner as long as a I have food. It doesn’t matter when I workout as long as I do get to workout. It doesn’t matter how loud Keith is as long as I get my message done, I’m good The specific logistics don’t matter as long as I get done what I am supposed get done. I believe Jesus had that same mentality. Jesus’ ministry was about sharing the Gospel with people who desperately needed Him. Looking at John 4 and the conversations Jesus had with the woman at the well and then with His disciples, we can see to Jesus religion, rules, tradition, and prejudices really don’t matter. The message He was preaching was counter cultural. It was new, it was against tradition, it offended people, but what He was preaching and living out was still …

The Church Is Not A Building (Even a Really Cool One)

I’m heading to the chicken farm. Are you at City Station? I can’t wait to see our SoHills family this Sunday! During the move to our new facility, you would frequently hear statements like these. Without knowing it, at least among the staff, we made a clear distinction between the two locations and the body of believers who meets there. I pointed this out to my husband and he thought it was awesome enough for a blog post. After a few days though, I started to refer to City Station as “the church,” and Corey would remind me the church is not the building. After he pointed this out several times, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about sharing my observation. Since the beginning, Shannon has said City Station is a tool. We were not building something fancy to provide us comfort. We were not giving towards a facility that would meet all our needs and we would only use on occasion. We were sacrificing to show the community that love does. And now we are here! …