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With the holidays coming up, now would be a wonderful time for you to receive a raise on your job.  Hopefully these 25 action steps will help lead you to a better future:

  1. Leave your personal drama at home. 
  2. Stop wasting time on Facebook and start working on projects that make a difference.
  3. Stop acting like a victim.
  4. Stop complaining about things not being fair.
  5. Arrive a few minutes early, leave a few minutes late.
  6. Stop talking about what you are going to do and do it. 
  7. Ask your leader what you can do to make their life easier.
  8. Have a heart of gratitude instead of a heart of entitlement.
  9. Be the best servant on the team.
  10. When you find a problem, present a solution instead of griping about it.
  11. Have your leader’s back.
  12. Pray for your leader every day.
  13. Memorize and live out the vision and core values of your organization.
  14. Take responsibility for your responsibilities.
  15. Love difficult people with all of your heart.
  16. Stop making excuses.
  17. Do more than what is expected, doing just enough to get by is lame.
  18. Care more about people than projects and personal preferences.
  19. Make people feel like they matter by giving away as much power as you possibly can to those on your team.
  20. Pay attention to deadlines and details.
  21. Respect your leader’s family.
  22. Communicate with your leader and team.
  23. Don’t go over your budget, it puts a burden on your leader.
  24. Increase your education.
  25. Make Jesus the center of your life.

If you want a better future on your job, check out The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell.

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6 Things You Really Need To Know If You Attend RTPCC

  1. Casey and I will be teaching the ownership class on September 8, 15 and 29th for anyone interested in joining RTPCC or finding out more about the vision and core values of our church.
  2. Back to Church Sunday is September 15th. This is a great time for your family to reconnect with RTPCC.
  3. Friend Day at the Lake will be on September 22nd. Be thinking of a delicious side item and dessert to bring.
  4. Freedom’s Crossing will be at RTPCC on October 20th. Adam and Becca were with us last year. This year, they won Southern Gospel’s New Artist of the Year. This will also be an appreciation day for our seniors.
  5. Octoberfest will happen at RTPCC on October 25th.
  6. Click here to listen to yesterday’s sermon and here for online giving.

 

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Jason was Arrested

September 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Just because you’re not performing miraculous signs doesn’t mean you’re not making a significant impact.

I love sharing exciting Bible stories with my son. Recently, he asked me if Delilah was in hell because of what she did to Samson. He is still VERY ticked off because she cut his hair. The other day we were riding in the car and he asked to hear Samson’s story for what seems like the thousandth time. I said, “Why don’t I tell you the Bible story of Jason?”

Jason appears in Acts 17. His home was used as a refuge by Paul, Silas and Timothy. He was actually arrested for welcoming them into his home.

Jason didn’t have huge muscles bulging from his biceps. He didn’t survive in a den of lions. Jason didn’t kill a giant. He simply led three mighty men of God to a better future by opening the door of his home.

Be encouraged. You don’t have to be in the spotlight to make a significant impact. You don’t have to be the main character. Just do what God calls you to do.

On Sunday someone handed me a card and asked me to anonymously give it to a family at RTPCC. The card is sitting in my office and it’s killing me that I don’t know what is in it. Money? A gift card? A Bible verse? Encouraging words? I guess I may never know.

I do know that leading others to a better future is much more than performing miraculous acts of faith. Sometimes it’s just opening up the door of your home to someone in need or sharing a card that brings hope and encouragement for someone to press forward.

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6 Things You Really Need To Know If You Attend RTPCC

  1. Casey and I will be teaching the ownership class on September 8, 15 and 29th for anyone interested in joining RTPCC or finding out more about the vision and core values of our church.
  2. Back to Church Sunday is September 15th. This is a great time for your family to reconnect with RTPCC.
  3. Friend Day at the Lake will be on September 22nd. Be thinking of a delicious side item or dessert to bring.
  4. Freedom’s Crossing will be at RTPCC on October 20th. Adam and Becca were with us last year. This year, they won Southern Gospel’s New Artist of the Year. This will also be an appreciation day for our seniors.
  5. Octoberfest will happen at RTPCC on October 25th.
  6. Click here to listen to yesterday’s sermon and here for online giving.

Photo Credit: FormerWMDriver via Compfight cc

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“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

(Luke 10:33-35 NLT)

by Pastor Matt

During last week’s sermon, Pastor Jason noted that one of the best examples of leading someone to a better can be found in these scriptures about the Good Samaritan. As a matter of fact, the Good Samaritan recently made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived.”

 

At RTP Community Church we are making the transition from a church made up of members to a church made up of owners.  Last week, Pastor Jason shared on this blog that one of the differences between members and owners is that “members are takers, but owners are investors.”  Anyone who has ever invested money in anything understands that with every investment there is some amount of risk involved.  The story of the Good Samaritan is a story about the investments and risks necessary to lead people to a better future.

Investment

The Good Samaritan invested his emotions (he felt compassion)
The Good Samaritan invested his time (he stopped)
The Good Samaritan invested his resources (bandages, oil, wine, donkey)
The Good Samaritan invested his energy (he picked the man up)
The Good Samaritan invested his money (he handed the innkeeper two silver coins)

The Good Samaritan invested his future (I’ll pay you the next time I’m here)

Risk

The Good Samaritan risked his safety (obviously not a good neighborhood, people were getting mugged)
The Good Samaritan risked his reputation (why would a Samaritan help a Jew)

The Good Samaritan risked not being appreciated (The man could have been a drunk, a drug addict, a jerk, etc.)

Leading people to a better future is not simply pointing someone in the right direction and hoping that they find their way.  Leading people to a better future means you take the journey with them. It might get messy, there will be complications, but in the end it is worth it.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to help someone find a better future?

Don’t forget:  If you are interested in owning the RTPCC vision, Pastor Jason and Casey will be having ownership classes every Sunday in September from 10-11AM.  

  • Click here to make an online contribution to RTPCC.
  • Click here to listen to last week’s sermon.

Mark your calendars for the following RTPCC events:

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Over the past 4 years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to convince people to join our church. I’ve visited homes, went to dinners and scheduled meetings trying to persuade someone to become a member. Eventually, they join our church, attend for a week or two and then they are never seen again.

I shared in yesterday’s sermon that I don’t want anymore members. I have memberships to CVS, Food Lion, Netflix and O2 Fitness. I use them when I need them and ignore them when they offer no value to me. I have no loyalties to these companies. When I want to switch gyms, it’s no big deal. If I want to shop at Walmart, Food Lion is a distant memory. This is how many people approach church membership.

I have reached the point where I am looking for owners, not members. Every Sunday in September from 10-11AM, I will be teaching a class for anyone interested in becoming an owner of the RTPCC vision. Our vision is to lead people to a better future (Luke 10).

Actually after yesterday’s message, ten people responded to the call. Here are ten reasons I’m praying for owners rather than members:

  • Members have rights, owners have responsibilities.
  • Members come and go, owners have a vested interest.
  • Members are spectators, owners are participators.
  • Members are takers, owners are investors.
  • Owners know that Jesus gave His life for the church (Ephesians 5:27), so they give their lives to Him.
  • Owners see their church vision statement as more than just a catch phrase and realize it is a compelling call from God for everyone to answer.
  • Owners see their local church as a gift from God.
  • Owners know that God has called them to make a difference.
  • Owners are spiritually involved in their church.
  • Owners are physically involved in their church. They are not afraid to sweat or get their hands dirty.
  • Owners are financially involved. They realize that nothing they have is something God needs but everything they have is something He can use (click here to make a contribution to RTPCC).

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Mark your calendars for the following RTPCC events:

Back to School

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Recently, I read the book Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility. This is a great resource for anyone with kids. This week, I wanted to share a few highlights from the book that Casey and I are now trying to apply in our family. I hope they lead your family to a better future.

  1. Realize that your primary goal as a parent is to raise your children to be responsible adults.
  2. Love your kids enough to allow them to fail.
  3. Make sure your kids know that your love does not depend on their achievement.
  4. Don’t place your primary focus on the end result, focus on the learning that takes place along the way.
  5. Allow kids to practice decision making at a young age.
  6. Let your kids struggle.
  7. Model responsibility for your children.  You will get what you model.
  8. Don’t put your kids above your marriage.
  9. Remember that everything you fix for your kids, your kids will be unable to fix for themselves.
  10. When your child causes a problem show empathy and then lovingly hand the problem and the consequences back to the child.
  11. You don’t have to respond to problems immediately.
  12. Your kid will lose respect for you if you cannot set limits and make them stick.
  13. When you don’t provide firm limits for your kids they will suffer low self esteem.
  14. Parents who take all the control from their children end up losing the control they sought to begin with.
  15. Kids with too much control are brats.
  16. Show empathy without rescue when unwise choices result in pain.
  17. Good parents don’t give warnings.
  18. The real world doesn’t operate on the warning system, neither should we.
  19. Parents who give tons of warnings raise kids who don’t behave until they’ve had multiple warnings.
  20. Consequences leave kids thinking hard about their behavior.

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  • Click here to make an online contribution to RTPCC.
  • Click here to listen to last week’s sermon.

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I’ve been blessed to serve as the lead pastor of RTPCC for over four years. It’s not unusual to see visitors at our church because we have stressed that “lost people matter to God so they should matter to us.”  People at our church really get excited when a co-worker gives his life to Christ. But what happens next?

I can’t count how many times I’ve watched a friend or family member accept the gift of salvation only to never show up at church again. Why?

Once you lead a friend to Christ, there are four next steps for you to take:

1)  Connect them with some christian friends.  

What is easier for a new believer? Reading Leviticus or connecting with a godly family at dinner? Discipleship doesn’t have to be complicated. Invite your friend over to play a board game, go play putt putt, ride go carts or go to a sports event together.

More than likely, you grew your faith by hanging around people who live like Christ. These people helped you spark an interest in God. You’ve watched them go through difficult times with patience and joy. They believed in you, encouraged you and picked you up when you were down. Most of all, they were an example of how to live like Jesus.

I can’t imagine where I would be without my friends. Once your friend gives his or her life to Christ, the next step is to connect them with friends who will help them take next steps in their Christian walk.

2)  Help them understand the importance of Biblical, practical teaching.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to go to the gym, workout for two hours and have the endurance, strength and muscle mass to last the rest of your life? We know that’s not going to happen in one trip to the gym. We return to the gym because we understand the benefits and value of exercise. We realize it is helping us. Each visit makes us stronger. 

Similarly, I believe people will return to church when they realize the value of biblical teaching and preaching. If someone thinks of a sermon as just a collection of helpful thoughts, they will eventually stop returning. If they understand that the sermon is a direct message from God’s Word for their life then teaching will become valuable to them.

It’s so important for your friend to know what the Bible means and they also need to understand what they are supposed to do. Encourage them to attend a church that provides practical next steps. Your friend shouldn’t have to guess how to grow his or her faith. 

3)  Challenge them to have a daily quiet time with God.  

New believers tend to resist private disciplines. It can be difficult to set aside time each day to pray and read God’s Word. The thought of giving ten percent of our income to God is even more frightening.

Andy Stanley says that what begins as a discipline can eventually become a pleasure. I’ve found this to be true in my own walk with Christ. Some of my most intimate moments with God have happened when I made my quiet time a priority during a busy season of my life.

Two great resources that will teach your friend to pray are: Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels and the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I am a huge fan of the daily reading plans offered on youversion.com. I try to use this tool on a daily basis.

I also would love to see every new believer read The Blessed Life by Robert Morris. The book CHANGED MY LIFE and completely transformed my thinking about giving.

4)  Encourage them to engage in a personal ministry.

I used to watch hours of baseball with my dad but I never fully understood the game until I put my cleats on and walked on the field. It’s very hard to learn about serving others by simply reading a passage about Jesus washing the disciple’s feet.

Really try to get your friend involved on a ministry team as soon as you can. Convince them to volunteer at an outreach, go on a mission trip, or serve as a greeter. Taking these action steps can quickly catapult spiritual growth. 

The next time you lead someone to Christ, take time to celebrate but remember that your work is not finished. We are told to make disciples.

Photo Credit: Hadock_via http://compfight.com

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Click here to make an online donation to RTPCC.

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It happened again. A couple that I used to work with is going through a divorce. Why does this seem to be happening so often? How do I respond? I’m friends with both of them. I don’t want to choose sides but I do want to help. Truth is, it’s awkward. I don’t know what to say or do.

There is no doubt about it, I come up extremely short in this area. I realize every single situation is different. No couple’s story is exactly the same and it’s not fair to generalize every situation.

How can we get better at helping people who are struggling through this difficult chapter of their life? In 2008, I heard Rick Warren preach a sermon on how to help a friend who is going through a difficult time. This week I stumbled across my sermon notes and thought that they may be helpful to some of you.

  1. Support them with space. Allow your friend to grieve the loss. Don’t push them to “race on with life.” Many times people battle depression, anxiety and panic attacks after a divorce. Encourage them to meet with a Christian counselor who can guide them through this chapter of their life.
  2. Show up. Don’t send an email message. Don’t write a Facebook post. Be there. Spend time with your friend. You don’t have to talk about their situation with them. The situation is already obvious. Just be there. (As you help others, always remember to maintain appropriate boundaries with friends who are the opposite sex).
  3. Shut up. Don’t trash talk the person who hurt them. Believe it or not, that doesn’t help. It simply reinforces the hurt that is already there. You have to remember that your friend has spent years with this person. Not all of the times were bad, there were some good experiences in the relationship. Don’t gossip about the situation to others and don’t listen to gossip.  That does nothing to help. Refuse to talk negatively about people who are not there.
  4. Support them with prayer. Pray for them. Yeah, we get that one. I think we should pray WITH them. Out loud. I can’t tell you how much it means when someone actually hears you praying for them. It is legit. Everybody says, “I’m praying for you.” Really, well…let’s put our money where our mouth is.  It doesn’t matter if the prayer is awkward. It doesn’t have to sound professional. Put your hand on their shoulder and pray for them with your heart.
  5. Steer them toward forgiveness. Your friend is in a huge battle with three emotions right now. Anger, guilt and bitterness. These emotions are actually worse than the divorce because they can go with your friend the rest of their life. Your friend will get over the divorce. Just don’t let your friend become bitter.
  6. Stop the blame game. Blaming is a waste of energy. It won’t make the situation better. Everyone is right in their own eyes. 
  7. Strengthen their faith. Constantly help your friend focus on what’s left and not on what’s lost. Share some of the 7,000 promises of God with your friend.
  8. Speak words of hope. Assure them over and over and over again that they are going to make it. Repeat Philippians 1:6 with them each time you see them. Show them that God is still going to use them to do great things.
  9. Shower their kids with love. Go the extra mile to show their kids your support and love. Divorce is just as hard on kids as it is on parents. Give them SPECIAL attention. Pray for and with them.  Make sure to strengthen their faith.
  10. Speak truth into their life. Help your friend answer the question “what is true about their situation?” People do not just typically wake up and find themselves in the middle of a divorce. There is usually a reason. What were the real problems? Ignoring the problem is not helping your friend, you need to deal with what caused it. If your friend is about to jump off a cliff by their actions then someone has to step up and speak truth into their life. This isn’t being offensive, it’s showing love. Real friends show love by speaking truth. This can be seen in the Bible when Nathan spoke to David. If a moral failure caused the divorce there also needs to be a time of repentance. If your friend doesn’t truly repent and turn to God then they will continue making the same mistakes again and again.

     

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    – Click here to listen to yesterday’s message about trusting God with all areas of your life.

    – Click here to make an online contribution to RTPCC.