Archive for the ‘Miracles’ Category
Here’s an email we received from Denise Rabon, whose 16 year old daughter, Angel, went to be with the Lord on July 1, 2012. God is good!
I wanted to share this with you guys. Angel’s cousin left yesterday to go to college at Southern. She is still having a hard time with Angel’s death. While driving she was asking God to take care of her and Angel to watch over her while she was in college. This is what she saw. She had to pull off the road and everybody on that road pulled over and was taking pictures. There was a man standing there crying because he had just lost a love one. Amazing…
1. Yesterday, my barber asked if he could trim my eyebrows. I ask, “What eyebrows?” Facial hair is not my forte. Speaking of facial hair, I absolutely love the new show Duck Dynasty. They make me want to grow a beard and blow things up, which is some of what we will be doing during the Graystone Man Series in June. BTW, we are having a beard growing contest for Father’s Day. I have already started letting my preach fuzz loose.
2. We have one more week in our Hunger Games message series. If you want to be fed, then this is a good Sunday to be at Graystone. I’m talking in spiritual terms not actual food. BTW, I had several sweet rolls this morning. Sweetness rolled up…does it get any better than that?
3. As many of you know, we are launching our Beautiful series on Mother’s Day. I cannot wait to share with the ladies of Graystone how beautiful they are. As part of the message series, Jennifer will join me on stage during the second week. She will be sharing about her battle with melanoma skin cancer and the surgery that she had on her face. It’s still hard to believe that she had 65 stitches from her eye to her chin. I’m getting a little queasy thinking about it. Good thing I ate all those sweet rolls this morning to make my stomach feel better.
4. Since I mentioned Jennifer, let me give you a little update on the family front:
- Joelan is 15 years old and got his Instructional Driver’s License (Learner’s Permit) yesterday. If you see a black Camry heading your way with a good-looking young man peering over the steering wheel, you might want to get as far to the right as you possibly can.
- Julia got her hair cut this week and is donating it (the cut off part) to Locks of Love. She looks even more super cute. I’m so glad that she has decided NOT to date and will trust me with an arranged marriage. If any of you have sons that are interested, the “bride price” is set at $2 million. And this is not the $2 million I am trusting God for Graystone. This will be my 401k.
- Jessie is still wearing her “thumb gloves” and trying to win the battle against thumb-sucking and hair twisting. I have actually drawn a prayer circle around this on my prayer sheet/Vision Night page. If God can cause “the sun to stand still”, He can help Jessie overcome this habit. Your prayers are welcomed and appreciated!
5. God answered 2 prayer requests that I have been drawing a circle around all year. This Sunday, I will be introducing the two newest staff members of Graystone Church. BTW, they both graduated from the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! I offered a job last summer to a graduate of LSU, and he is the only person to ever turn down a job offer from Graystone Church (Actually, this is not entirely true. Kyle Hale turned me down the first 9 times I asked him to be our Worship Leader.) I guess the Graystone Staff Team is only big enough for one LSU fan? Anyway, I am so pumped about both of our new staff hires, and I know that God is going to do incredible things in and through their lives.
It’s hard for me to put in words what took place at Vision Night. It truly was one of those events that “you had to be there”. As I said in an earlier post, we had a great time of worship (It was the loudest I have heard our congregation sing.) celebrating all that God did at Graystone in 2011. I also reminded us that what is going on at Graystone is a God-thing as in 7 short years we have grown from averaging 68 people in Sunday morning attendance in 2004 to averaging well over 1000 people in 2011.
As a church family, we came around the Lord’s table and began our new year sharing communion together. Then, we closed out the night physically circling the building in prayer as we stood hand in hand pleading for God’s favor on Graystone in 2012.
As part of my hour long “message”, I shared 6 visions/prayer requests for Graystone’s future and 5 initiatives for 2012. Here they are:
Big Picture Dreams/Visions for Graystone
1. Build Phase II – 1500 seat auditorium, new preschool wing, and our current auditorium becomes the Youth & Rec Building.
2. Purchase 3.5 acres next door - in order to have enough land to build the size building we need, appropriate parking, and the vision for expanding the ball fields for Sports Camp and greater community outreach, we will need more land. We approached the owners 3 years ago, but they were not interested in selling. I personally believe God has already given us this piece of property and am praying that they will approach us to buy it.
3. $2 million miracle – God has impressed on my heart to pray for a $2 million miracle. We owe $2 million on the current land and building and if we were to pay off all our debt, it would put us in a tremendous position of strength. It would free us up to hire more staff and invest our resources in expanding our influence and impact. In my mind, the only way I see a $2 million check coming in is through the life insurance policy on me. But I know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and $2 million is pocket change for him. Pray with me for this miracle!
4. DOMINATE our community with the love of Jesus – We have a prayer circle drawn around the 32,000 homes that are closest to Graystone Church. We will continue to move forward reaching our community with the love of Jesus Christ.
5. Expand our impact by going multi-site. Part of our vision at Graystone is to go multi-site and expand our impact into surrounding communities. The first one that God has laid on our hearts is Monroe. We already have hundreds of Grasytoners who live in the Monroe area, we when the timing is right, we would like to start the new campus with a full-time staff team and 300-500 people.
6. Graystone expansion campuses near colleges/universities (Athens, Milledgeville, Atlanta, Carrollton, Rome, etc.). It has been a dream of mine for over 10 years to start churches on college campuses (I showed an old school video of me on the campus of SMU sharing this vision.). College students are an incredibly strategic group of people to reach for Christ. They are deciding what they believe and are making major decisions on life (occupation, marriage, etc.).
They also can be the leadership pipeline for our internship ministry and we can train them up to send them out as pastors and missionaries around the world. College students have their whole lives ahead of them and they are not tied down with mortgages and expensive lifestyles. They are agile, mobile and available. I could go on for days about the “strategery” of starting a thriving college ministry.
Also, how cool would it be for our kids to graduate high school and go to college where there is a Graystone campus with Graystone staff to continue discipling and mentoring them?
Where are we going in 2012? 5 Major Initiatives:
1. Connecting people into relationships
Thousands of people are coming through the doors of Graystone, and we need to do our best to get them connected relationally, mainly in small groups and serving teams.
2. Caring for orphans and abandoned children
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Graystone has been known as the “Sports Church”. What if we became known as the church that cares for orphans? We have started an adoption fund for any Graystone family adopting children. We are trusting God for 15 Graystone families in 2012 to adopt or foster. But we want every single Graystone member to do his or her part (give, help, pray, etc.). We are devoted a message series in February, True Religion, to highlight this initiative.
3. Focus on strengthening our marriages
- Extraordinary Marriage series in March
- I’m sick and tired of hearing about people having affairs.
- There are too many divorces happening in the church.
- Couples are not taking seriously the sanctity of marriage.
4. Stay evangelistic and keep reaching out to our target community
- 32,000 piece mailer for Extraordinary Marriage series
- Egg Hunt on March 25…big outreach event
- Easter…new series on Sermon on the Mount
- Jersey Day on April 29
- Mother’s Day in May
- Sports Camp…first week of June…Tim Tebow or someone else will be speaking.
5. Focus on Fatherhood and helping our men become the spiritual leaders in the home
- June message series: Courageous (based on movie)
- We will make Father’s Day one of our biggest services of the year (Easter, Christmas Eve, Father’s Day).
Well, that’s Vision Night in a nutshell. I shared many more things about our “Community to Core” Philosophy of Ministry (concentric circles) and our focus on keeping it simple with our mission and values (the 4 G’s). We have a strong core team and tons of MO. I truly believe that 2012 will be our best year yet. Thank you so much for being on the Graystone Team. Our next Wednesday night “core team gathering” is March 21.
Major dreams/miracles we are drawing prayer circles around:
I have already had several conversations, texts, and emails regarding Vision Night at Graystone. It sounds like God really moved in many, many hearts. I’m pumped that you guys are pumped about where God is leading our church. I am curious to know what excited you most from Vision Night.
I first taught on drawing prayer circles around our biggest dreams and greatest fears. Then, I shared 6 BIG visions for the future of Graystone and 5 initiatives for 2012. Which ones resonated with you?
What excited you most about Vision Night? Let’s hear it!
If you were not at Vision Night, I’ve attached my notes below.
On the blog this week, I would like us to look back on 2011 before we move full speed ahead into 2012. Tomorrow, I will be sharing the Top 11 Things God did at Graystone in 2011. Today, I want to share with you about the miraculous offering at the end of the year.
Heading into the final 2 services of the year, we were around $8,000 behind in Graystone’s General Offering and needed $47,000 given to finish the year “in the black”. Well, God did it again!
Through God’s provision and the generous giving of our Graystone family and friends, we had our 2 largest general offerings in the history of Graystone Church. $87,000 was given, and we finished 2011 $40,000 OVER our general offering need. PRAISE GOD!
As the Graystone staff team is working hard to make final preparations for Christmas Eve at Graystone, I began making a list (and checking it twice) of things we can do to make the most of this Saturday’s Christmas Eve services at 2:00, 3:30, and 5:00 PM.
1. Please park at the intern house next door. If you are a volunteer and/or physically able, please park next door off of the intern house driveway. We are trusting God for a big crowd, and this will free up parking spaces for our visitors and help with traffic flow. It would be especially helpful for you to park next door, if you will be at Graystone for more than one service. We will have a shuttle running from the overflow parking areas.
2. If you are serving as a volunteer or on staff, please make it a priority for you and your family to worship at one of the services. We DEFINITELY need volunteers in the children’s area, but I also want to make sure that you have an opportunity to worship JESUS on Christmas Eve. And if you are serving at Graystone on Christmas Eve (parking team, greeter, usher, security, tech team, band, nursery, wherever), let me say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. And not only for serving this Saturday but throughout the year. You are greatly appreciated. And it is an honor to serve Christ with you.
3. Childcare is provided for children 3 years old and younger. So, if you have children in this age group, please drop them off in the nursery where they will be loved, cared for and safe. This will help you and the people around you better experience God during our Christmas Eve service. And it will be the best place for your child! I know that my daughter, Jessie, will have a much better Christmas Eve church experience in her age appropriate class than in the main auditorium.
4. Arrive early, so you will have plenty of time to find enough seats for you and your family to sit together. Also, you do not want to miss the beginning of the service. Just sayin. No hints. I cannot give anything away.
5. Bring a Christmas offering. I know that some of you are not in a position to give an end of the year gift, but if you are able, it would be greatly appreciated. God has always provided for Graystone, and we have finished every year “in the black”. And we are trusting God that this year will be no different.
6. Invite somebody. Our Christmas Eve services will be very special for the members and regular attenders of Graystone Church. In fact, it will probably be your favorite service of the year. But it is also designed to reach out to our friends, family and community. I will be simply and passionately sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. And we are trusting God for many to receive the free gift of eternal life. So, PLEASE invite your friends and family. Christmas Eve is our best opportunity of the year to invite people to church. Let’s make the most of it.
7. PRAY for God to do only what He can do! The angel told Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). God can do the impossible. He is still in the miracle business. Whatever miracle you need God to perform this Christmas, trust Him to do it.
I’m pumped! God is up to something BIG. I’ll see you Saturday at 2:00, 3:30, or 5:00.
William and Charlotte George began attending Graystone Church last year. If you have not met them, they are an older couple who sit in the back right (stage right) during the first service. The first Sunday I met Mr. George, he said that he needed a new kidney and asked me to help him find a donor. I told him that I didn’t know any donors, but I could pray for him. We prayed together that day, and he has been on my prayer list and the Graystone prayer list for months.
Well, guess who showed up last Sunday morning at Graystone with a new kidney? You guessed it! PRAISE GOD! God is still in the miracle business, and He is answering prayers daily. What are you trusting God for?
What can I pray for you?
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Jesus (John 16:24)
In the Fall, a friend of mine shared with me his desire to have a son (He has 2 daughters.). His passion in life is to leave a godly heritage, and he wanted a son to pass on his name sake. So I, along with our men’s discipleship group, joined him in trusting God to bless him with a son.
This has been my one prayer that I have prayed for him almost every day. Well, his wife is pregnant, and they found out Tuesday that they are having a son. PRAISE GOD!
Let me encourage you to pray bold specific prayers. God is still in the miracle business. Be persistent.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NLT