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On the Brink

25 Apr

I have to put a disclaimer right up front here for this blog.  It may  not be for everyone.  It reminds me of a quote from the movie A Few Good Men, “You want the truth?!  You can’t handle the truth!”  Anyway, here we go.  I am away at the Exponential Conference in Orlando.  It is the largest gathering of church planters on the planet.  I am here with 5,000 church planters, pastors and leaders from around the world.  My first experience at Exponential was two years ago.  I was a man without a church but not a man without a vision.  We were one month away from launching City on a Hill Church.  Needless to say I was excited, scared, thrilled, worried, expectant, anxious and every other emotion in between.  I was “On the Brink” of the greatest adventure I would ever be privileged to go on to date.  I was “On the Brink” of the most beautiful yet brutal spiritually demanding, emotionally charged, physically challenging, mentally exhausting journey of my life called church planting.  Here is the coolest part I knew I was “On the Brink” and God was about to do something through me even bigger than I could have ever asked thought, dreamed or imagined.  I could sense His hand of favor on me, my wife and the Launch Team of City on a Hill Church.  I knew that I knew that I knew that God was in this thing 1000%.  That was and is the beautiful part, now with all that being said we get to the brutal part.  Over these past two years I have been “On the Brink” multiple times.  I have been “On the Brink” to the good and to the bad.  I wish I could tell you it has all been a bed of roses.  No! Check that, no I don’t!  God never wastes a hurt.  Nothing worth having is free it comes at a high price.  The theme of this conference is Sifted from Luke 22:31-32 and I must tell you I have been Sifted and Re-sifted throughout this journey.  I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences I have had because they have shaped me into the husband, uncle, pastor, brother, leader and friend I am becoming.  I say, “I am becoming” because I know it isn’t over by a long shot.  There are going to be many more times when I am “On the Brink”.  I call Mondays “Blue Monday” because every week I am drained and “On the Brink”.  I told you this is raw and for all of my City on a Hillers don’t worry your pastor isn’t going anywhere!  I ain’t got no quit in me!  Sometimes I may be “On the Brink” but I am tethered to Jesus and His dream called City on a Hill Church.  I do have a thought or two for those of you “On the Brink”.  What if you are one day away from that breakthrough?  What if you are one more try from finding the answer?  What if you are one huge failure away from ultimate success?  If we quit we will never know!  Besides my friend Shawn Lovejoy taught at Exponential, “If we are doing what God has called us to do and we quit, it is sin.”  That statement resonated in my spirit and gave me a spiritual slap across the face and a defibrillator to the heart.  It was like spiritual smelling salts for me.  There are so many facets to the vision of City on a Hill Church still yet to be realized.  My heart’s cry is to see lost people found, wanderers brought home and restored, disciples being made into disciple making disciples and missionaries being sent into every culture in our city.  Sometimes I forget just how fast everything has happened for us at City on a Hill Church.  We are only going to be two years old next week and we are tracking like we are 5 to 7 years old or older. I just know we are “On the Brink” but recently every time we are “On the Brink” of taking our next big step it seems like when we get to that step we have a setback of some kind most behind the scenes.  I need to preface the next few comments.  I know and believe success isn’t based on nickels, numbers and noses, I get that.  However, numbers do tell part of the story.  We have seen steady growth from May of 2010 to February of 2012.  We went from 135 in average attendance to 280 in those short months.  That is almost double!  Glory to God forever!  However, in February of 2012 we were “On the Brink” of breaking into over 300 in average attendance every weekend, which is the natural growth mark.  I have been praying for COAH’s growth in every way.  The first growth I pray for always is spiritual because spiritual growth will produce numerical growth (evangelism), financial growth (stewardship) and exponential growth.  We had a huge Easter with over 450 in attendance and the two Sundays following Easter we had below average attendance which concerns me.  Not for reasons most would think.  No! It is not about the numbers it is about the people.  I am a shepherd in every sense of the word.  It breaks my heart when I see people “On the Brink” of incredible spiritual growth instead end up “On the Brink” of spiritual decline because of a setback.  Setbacks are comebacks in the making!  Usually when I don’t see people in church or if their attendance becomes sporadic it is because something negative has happened and the enemy of our soul is trying to isolate and insulate them from Jesus Christ, their faith and His Church.  I am left with the question, “What if that Sunday is the day in Church that God wants to give you that breakthrough?”  What if that Sunday was the day ordained by God that a brother or sister in Christ, known or unknown, speaks prophetically into your life?  Why do I ask this?  Because I saw it happen last weekend!  A brother came up to me after service and said, “Pastor Mike I have to tell you something.  I came in here this morning dragging and struggling.  After service a sister, I don’t even know her name, came up and gave me a word from the Lord.  There is no way she would know unless God told her.  I didn’t even know her.”  He went from “On the Brink” of a breakdown to “On the Brink” of a breakthrough.  There is a daily concern I carry for every person God has placed under my care.  I pray for the prayer requests, I call hundreds by name weekly, I cruise facebook looking for opportunities to pray, I just love City on a Hillers passionately and compassionately.  I just know we are all “On the Brink” of something amazing!  God has not gathered such  incredible group of His servant’s in one place to wait on Heaven.  He has called us and gathered us together to impact our city, reach lost people, restore wanderers, be disciple making disciples and to send missionaries.  I know that we are “On the Brink” of a spiritual awakening because so many are “On the Brink” and going through tremendous personal struggles.  I am praying that God will help us all stay “On the Brink” of personal spiritual renewal and corporate spiritual growth in every sense of the Word.  I am equally praying that God will sustain those who feel “On the Brink” of a mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical decline to recognize we can lift our eyes up to the hills where our help comes from and fix our gaze upon Jesus!  You are “On the Brink” of stepping into the life and calling God has made you for!  Be encouraged!

 
 

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