For quite a while now, I have been praying about what to do with this blog. I have frankly just lost the desire to blog and yet I still want to encourage the people God has brought to Next Level Church and find ways to engage throughout the week.
Recently, God answered that prayer by giving me a great idea. What if I could reach people right where they are, the way they already communicate? What if they didn’t have to read something long, but could just digest a short burst of encouragement? What if I didn’t have to spend hours writing a perfectly composed mini-sermon as a blog post?
Tvotions are 140 character messages to help you stay focused on Jesus all week long sent via text right to your phone. This will not be news and updates from NLC and you won’t get more than 1 per day. Just short but powerful encouragement from my heart sent straight to you wherever you go. Sign up HERE to get encouraging and challenging Tvotions from me sent directly to your mobile device.
I’m so humbled and blown away by what God is doing at our church and throughout New England. I’ve believed from the day we started NLC that we would see one of the greatest moves of God New England has ever seen! People always ask me: “can you believe what God is doing at NLC?” The truth is, YES I CAN, actually when it comes to NLC my question is never IF, it’s always WHEN. I have never wondered IF we will have dozens of locations, IF will we reach tens of thousands of people, IF we will see over 100,000 people give their life to Christ, IF we will be able to bless and encourage the local church in this region. The question isn’t IF, it’s simply WHEN. I am as confident of the vision of NLC and it’s impact on this region for Christ as I am my love for my kids. Now, understand I love my kids WAY more than NLC but I still live, breathe, and have given my life to this church! In the early days that confident assurance was seen as pride by our critics, but now that it’s happening, it’s seen as prophecy Funny how 3 years ago I was just a kid with a dream that will soon end up as another pastor swallowed up by the disappointment of New England. I’ve never had a dream for NLC or New England – it’s always been a vision! I can’t explain the difference, it’s beyond words…a dream has the possibility to not come true; a vision has already happened and you’re just waiting for it to come to pass.
I talked with my (our) lead team over lunch yesterday and we all had tears in our eyes when we think of what God has done in three years. It’s honestly MIND BLOWING! The mentors who are behind us, the growth of Gods church, the generosity of God’s people, the world changing volunteers, the staff, the different locations, the locations to come, Kaleo Coffee, the conferences, his favor, but most importantly the thousands of lives forever changed! BECAUSE OF YOU NLC, lives and families will never be the same!
Here’s the best part! We haven’t even boarded the plane yet…really, I’m not just saying that. I truly believe if this were a scale of 1-10, 10 being the influence of NLC for Christ the day I die, we are below a 1. We haven’t even made it to the scale yet. There are many more people in the cities we live in and the large cities throughout New England to reach with the love of Christ.
Here are some pics of this past weekend! Because of you NLC, three portable locations were rocking with God’s glory being revealed!
Our first experience at Kaleo on Thursday night!
Our second experience at Kaleo on Friday night.
Foyer between first and second experience at Kaleo on Friday night.
Our third experience at Kaleo on Friday night.
Our fourth experience at our Portland, Maine location on Saturday morning.
The line that went on forever to get into the fifth experience at our Newington location.
Our fifth experience at our Newington location. (room was about 130% full)
The line waiting to get into the sixth experience in Newington. (this was a crazy transition)
A shot of the foyer in Newington, the theater manager told the police that more people came to church than to the movies that day!
Our sixth experience at our Newington location.
The pictures that matter most are the faces of those who gave their life to Christ this past weekend! We didn’t take a picture of each person and I probably wouldn’t post them if we did NLC, as your pastor I’m very proud of you, I love you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in 2012! We turn 4 on Easter and as you can imagine, it’s going to be AWESOME! See you this weekend!
I have tons to say about the new building and the record crowds we have been seeing but I’m not sure I’ve found the right outlet for that type of information yet. I think blogging is being used around the country as a measuring stick to compare which churches are the “best”, most controversial and to find junk on a fallen pastor or to further idolize rock star pastors. So with all that said I’ve stopped blogging until I feel like I can do so without a fake purity that pins my false intention on the cross of Christ. I struggle with a great deal of insecurity and blogging to all my “fans”, critics, NLCers, or to pastors I’m thinking about as I write ONLY deepens my dependency on the thoughts of others instead of growing into a man who lives for the audience of one!
I wanted to share with NLC the amazing job our creative team did for our new series coming in Nov. Please keep inviting your friends! NLC, we are just getting started, we haven’t even boarded the plane! http://vimeo.com/m/32153610
k…First things first, all my proof readers are out of the office, so I already know the grammar is wrong, no need to email! We have seen Jesus do immeasurable more than we could ever think or imagine over the last three years and yesterday was NO different! We’ve been looking to launch a NLC location in the Rochester area for about 3 months…we’ve always thought we would have a location in Rochester, but over the last three months more and more people have been asking us to make it a priority, so we did We have hundreds of families that travel to NLC from Rochester and the surrounding areas and over the last few months we have been looking at different options and opportunity’s to launch a location in Rochester! Yesterday, we HAD A FACILITY GIVEN TO US! I know that sounds to good to be true and a lot like hearing the sun stood still, but it’s true! We actually have a 10 year lease on a facility for thousands of feet of space, 16 ft ceilings and awesome parking, UNREAL location, awesome landlord, awesome soccer field out back, JUST AWESOME! Did I mention free!!!! Talk about a low risk move that will produce a huge impact! We will be able to seat plenty of people, along with have an UNREAL NLCkids area, awesome offices and a HUGE foyer! We’re even painting the outside of the facility NLC colors! I’m in awe of what God is doing at NLC, this isn’t normal I couldn’t hype this up enough! I Brought some people there today and even after hearing the story they couldn’t believe how unreal this is! We have already been to the city and have some planning meetings coming up to look over our usage and build out, it’s part of the process I’ve heard of miracles but now I’m living right in the middle of one, this will allow us to launch several more locations over the next few years! IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS and I’m so blown away and humbled by his favor!
I’ll be talking a lot more about our fourth location over the next few weeks! Our team cried and was pumped up after reading this journal entry by George Whitefield in 1745! Be ready Rochester Be ready Boston you may be next THANK YOU JESUS MAY YOU RECIEVE ALL TH GLORY AND MAY YOU WILL BE DONE!
GEORGE WHITEFIELD in Rochester, New Hampshire, 1745
“Preached yesterday twice with much divine power to large Congregations for the Rev’d Mr. Cushing at (in Dover) and today once for the Rev’d Mr. Main of Rochester outermost settlement in the province of New Hampshire, where they fetch masts for the King of Briton. They lie most exposed to the Indians, and are obliged here and adjacent provinces to build garrisons for their defense.
But I thought, the situation was very delightful, and could not help but looking over the present uninhabited Woods, between this and Canada, with a believing prospect that these howling wildernesses would, ere long, in God’s time, be turned into fruitful fields, and that Jesus would take them as being given Him by the Father into his own possession.
I thought I felt something of what the Patriarch Abraham felt when he was the Redeemer’s day afar off, and rejoiced. We wait for your visitation O Lord.” (Journals, 556-557)
I’ve been wondering if blogging is something I’m going to continue to do. I know I’ve had a lot of comments asking why I’ve stopped and the answer is simple…I’m busy and choose to use my time doing things that only I can do! Pastor Craig said something to me and also I’ve heard him say it publicly which is “wherever you are, be all there”! That’s HARD! I’m not good at that! Plus, by writing a blog am I trying to win the approval of man or of God? When I read blogs by most people it’s simply written by an insecure leader trying to inadvertently speak to the pastors in his community or around the country in a self promoting way! By no means will I say I’ve never used this blog to “promote NLC” but I don’t want to live like that. There’s this almost impossible line I’ve always wanted to be pure in and it’s the line between boasting in the things of the Lord and boasting out of insecurity! For example, I would love to always post our numbers, who I talked to that day, where I’m speaking, book stuff that God is doing, location stuff in the works and so on and so forth…And I believe about 85% of me would simply be talking to NLC and boasting in the Lord, but if I’m being transparent there would be about 15% of me wanting those who doubted God’s call on my life, doubted NLC, or through time, have just talked about NLC, myself, our vision, our motives, my staff or simply just critics to see it! The sad thing is, we have no “unchurched critics”. The critics are Christians and even pastors! With all that said, I DON’T WANT TO LIVE UNDER THAT BONDAGE! I don’t want to write with people in mind I’m a 30 year old pastor in way over my head and I am humbled beyond measure with what Jesus is doing at NLC and I know we are only seeing 5% of what we will see over the next 10 years! I just don’t want to be the one to prove it out of my insecurity! My dream has been so simple from the beginning of NLC. I can remember crying years ago just begging God that my family would see me as a man after God’s heart and that someday I would be a part of something that ONLY HE could get credit for! I want NLC to be 5000-10000 people a weekend by year 10 but only for these reasons- 1. To see those far from God moved into life in Christ! 2. To bring honor back to God’s church in New England and prove his power isn’t divided by state lines! 3. So that NO MAN can get credit for that. I don’t want credit for NLC – I’m an unqualified sinner and I am the least likely to be pastoring one of the greatest moves in NE which means IT CAN ONLY BE GOD! I love that! It’s sure not my knowledge or gifting! 4. So that I can somehow live with this aching passion and vision in my heart that at times hurts more than I can describe! 5. So we can bless other churches and ministries and break down the walls of competition. 6. So my wife and staff can see that the God they gave it all up for held the sun still on behalf of their faith! I could go on and on!!! I’m literally just sharing my heart. I had no idea I would be going this direction As I’m writing Shawn McDonald’s song “open me” is playing. WOW…powerful, I want that!!!!!
Okay some things I’m pumped about…
- Tonight’s Red carpet volunteer party! Going to be sweet! Can’t wait to honor them!
- Our interns, really excited! We had one of the interns named Wade here this weekend and he will be one of the most influential worship leaders around if he stays humble and focused on God! Unreal gifting!
- We have our “Bleed Green Week” next week! Our staff goes to Waterville Valley for 1 week and prays, plans and prepares for the next year!
- Been an unreal season of growth so far this summer! Not just numerically, but community at NLC is really strong! Lots of salvations and guests every week! I believe years 3-5 will be DIVINE and it’s happening!
- Big conference coming up October 26th…may have a HUGE announcement this week!
- Limo rides and all kinds of awesome things happening in out next series: “At The Movies”! I may even teach from a hot air balloon! The way we do this series is we show about 20 minutes of a blockbuster movie and I teach on the spiritual truths in that movie.
- Some cool trips this summer! Really looking forward to going to lifechurch.tv with our whole team!
- VIP “meet and greet” went awesome this past weekend and will be on the second weekend of next month! Had over 120 people attend at all locations! La Festa in Dover and Panera in Portsmouth and Portland were literally owned by NLC!
- Love what I’m hearing from local churches! Love hearing about, the Rock church in Portland growing and life church in Maine growing! Love hearing about Bethany and all the lives being changed in the seacoast! Love my old roots from restoration church who is killing it for Jesus! Love our close friends and many family at Zone church they have tons of interns and will see huge things this summer, love Pastor Al’s heart for people!
- We have had some CRAZY things happen with our Rochester location! I can’t say much right now other than Rochester is about to see more people meet Jesus! Love our friends at the Journey, Pastor Rob is the coolest pastor I know and Glen at Grace Community may be the most humble man I’ve ever met!
Okay, got to get ready to preach tonight! Love preaching to our volunteers. I can get away with saying whatever I want