Happy Monday family and friends. As we embrace another week it is my hope that You will experience God in a deeper more meaningful way. I feel like it has been a long 7 days since last Monday b/c I have had some awesome experiences! Here are your Monday Moments:
Capon Springs Pastors’ Retreat
This past week was the annual Grace Network Pastors’ retreat in Capon Springs West Virginia. Now after traveling down a 3 mile dirt road, there was a beautiful oasis to retreat and reconnect with our Creator. This was Pastor AJ & I’s first time attending this retreat, and it was huge blessing. If I could sum up the retreat in 1 word it would be: Restoration. The first session was dedicated to worship and prayer. While we were in that session I really saw how The Lord was restoring us as men, husbands, fathers, and pastors. I believe that many families & churches are going to be blessed because of this time in the presence of God. We also spent some time learning the skill of leadership coaching. Coaching is a skill rooted in listening and asking open questions that create the space for individuals gain clarity for their lives, and put action steps towards inner growth. I am excited to continue to grow in such a way that I will be able to encourage and help others grow and achieve their dreams. One of my life’s missions is to help individuals discover, utilize, and maximize their God-given potential. Just from one session of peer coaching I have gained clearer vision for my life and ministry for 2015, and I am excited to see what The Lord is about to do in my life, and I hope i will be able to help others gain that clarity as well. If you are looking for an unplugged vacation or retreat I definitely recommend Capon Springs & Farms.
While this time away was great, I missed my ladies Cherelle & Chloe. I thank God for Sprint cell service in the mountains it afforded Cherelle & I to have some throwback moments of falling asleep on the phone talking to each other. It seems that Chloe was in rare form as Cherelle flooded me with pictures of “Lady Bug Sugas” aka Chloe!
Returning to DUCC:
Last week I was away from DUCC supporting one of my best friends Edwin Jones for the launch of the Bridge Church in Hampton. While I was only gone one week from DUCC, Cherelle & I really missed being at our spiritual home! I always tell people even if I were not the pastor, I would still want to go to our church. I am not saying it is the best church, but I am saying that I love that church. Returning to the pulpit after missing a week is always a joy and a challenge. The joy of preaching the gospel is one of the greatest joys I have here on earth. However that comes with great challenge to do it week after week. I am continually learning how to depend on The Lord in the preparing and preaching moment that His voice will be heard. To stand as a mouthpiece for God is humbling, and simply put YOU DON’T WANT TO MESS UP! I have been asked many times, do I get nervous before preaching? Not all the time, but there is a consistent reverence for that moment that causes me to recognize how small I am and how BIG GOD IS! Before preaching I often pray Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” Many people cry, laugh, or are challenged & encouraged during or after my sermons, but my goal is not to garner up an emotional response from people, my goal is Colossians 1:28-29 ” 28 Him (Christ) we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”
Preaching 2 services:
We have just completed our first month of 2 Sunday services, and it has been a rather smooth transition. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, and we are still learning quite a bit. One of the most interesting things has been the different crowds & engagement in the two services. There are some Sundays where seems the 1st service is full of energy and the 2nd service is harder to connect with & we have seen the exact opposite. In particular yesterday the 1st service I felt like my sermon flowed clearly and I was able to instantly connect with the congregation. However the 2nd service there seemed to be a little disconnect at times. What I rejoice over the most is that the word of God is faithful, and at the end of both services we had people confess Christ as their Savior, and others recommit their lives to Christ. So no matter how I “feel”, it is my hope that if people don’t remember Chris Johnson as an awesome or horrible preacher, but that they remember that Christ Jesus is their Savior.
Again special thanks to our volunteers that help DUCC put forth quality ministry where people can have encounters with Jesus on a weekly basis.
Be blessed and enjoy this week…