Iron Sharpens Iron

As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.
– Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

These four relationships are vital for your spiritual growth and health:

Paul – The Mentor: These leaders always put a demand on our potential. These voices are rare and deserve our undivided attention, because they do not allow us to settle or get comfortable. Many times they see more in us than we even see in ourselves.

Barnabas – The Encourager: Barnabas had this amazing habit of always spreading good rumors behind his friends back. How refreshing are people who see the good in us before our shortcomings. Feeling down? Find some people who will inspire you and uplift your spirit through their positive perspective.

Peter – The Truth: Peter got himself in a lot of trouble for always speaking his mind. However, as he matured through the Holy Spirit he learned to speak the “Truth in Love.” People who genuinely love you will give you honest feedback on crucial issues in your life – ALWAYS.

Timothy – The Successor: It’s been said, “There is no true success without successors.” One of Paul’s greatest successes was raising up Timothy to impact the world. One of the greatest gifts that God entrusts us with is raising up the next generation. Who are you speaking life into?

Which of these relationships do you need more of in your life?

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It’s a Girl!

I never imagined that Sarah and I would ever have a baby girl. My wife is pregnant and sure there was a 50% chance, but it’s probably a boy. Here’s where it get’s crazy for me. After revealing the news that I wasn’t prepared for, the doctor looks at me with a crazy glare in her eye and says “You will be giving her away at her wedding before you know it!” She might as well have jammed a needle of adrenaline in my arm, while simultaneously pouring a 16.9 oz Red Bull down my throat (Yes that is the biggest can of Red Bull you can buy right now. And no they are not sponsoring my blog… yet.) My mind began to flash forward through imaginary time and I felt like I was standing at the altar of her wedding. And then I almost passed out. Seriously I almost passed out.

A boy, no problem I grew up with boys. I used to be a boy. Sometimes I still act like a little boy. But a girl, now that’s intense! However, after it settled in for a couple of hours… Ok a couple of days… Honestly, it was probably closer to three weeks when it hit me. It was almost instantaneous when I was filled with this amazing joy and peace that can only come from God. In that moment my masculinity was put on hold and I got excited about tea parties, teddy bears, the color pink, and yes buying her princess outfits. (What? Did I just write that?) All of it leading me back to a scripture that has never resounded so loudly in my spirit.

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. 3 You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. 5 You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know! 7 I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

Psalm 139:1-7 (NLT)

God knows what we can handle and his plan is always perfect. “American Girl” doll store still might give me a nightmare or two. But I am ready for the new adventure starting this summer of 2011 with our daughter… Brooklyn.

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If you’re happy and you know it…

Are you genuinely happy about your life? One incredible study found that children laugh almost 200 times a day, while adults only average 6-8 laughs a day. What happened to us old folk? Perhaps it is due to obvious reasons such as stress, responsibility, and normal life pressures. Then again, maybe it’s just the way we start looking at life as we get older. It’s time we start learning from our children. One thing I have noticed is that kids can have fun doing virtually anything! I believe it’s truly because they see the good in our world before the negative. My prayer for our church has been that God would teach us how to live joyfully. I want this powerful scripture to be in the center of my walk with Christ and I hope it speaks to you as well. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by your generous Spirit.” -Psalm 51:12 (NKJ)

Laughter Increases Your Health:

*Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

*Laughter boosts the immune system. It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

*Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

*Laughter protects the heart. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
Proverbs 15:13 (NKJ)

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Do You Have “It?”

One of my favorite books that I have read this year is entitled “it: HOW CHURCHES AND LEADERS GET it and KEEP it,” by Craig Groeschel.
A theme text in the book is found in John 3:8 – The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Chapter ten is one of my favorite chapters in the book: “You share it.” I believe the up and coming generation is finally getting “it.” It’s not only about my church, my vision, my calling, but it is about helping others. It means helping and even promoting other churches. Our home church, Word of Life, would not be what we are today if it had not been for other leaders investing into our future. Key leaders have given us hours of their life because they have God’s heart for people. They get “it.”

If your gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you. -Curry R. Blake

This is a great selection from the book and a picture of the heart of LIFECHURCH.TV:

As God gives it to you, give it away. (If it helps to motivate you, just sing the lyrics of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song “Give It Away,” which says, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now” over and over again, followed by “ooh… ooh yeah.”) Remember where you find it? You find it in people! One of the most generous gifts you can give is the gift of people. You might prayerfully send individuals or families with spiritual gifts, or just wonderful hearts, to other churches. One weekend, I promoted ten other churches. I gathered their brochures and told our church, “If you aren’t making a difference or growing spiritually at LifeChurch.tv, try one of these.” Then I described some of the strengths of each one. Many people took me up on that challenge and later wrote me thank-you notes. We cleared some needed seats to reach more people, and the other churches in town were grateful.
(“it” pg. 152 Craig Groeschel) Do You Have “It?”
Do You Share “It?”

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Stuck in the 80’s

It’s amazing how technology has changed the way we live life.  If you’re anything like me I always feel that I am behind the curve of this modern era, and once I catch up society hits a nitro button and flies by me again!  However, I know that it is crucial to stay innovative and relevant through these mediums. 

I look at it like this… If I were moving to Japan I would learn to speak Japanese.  If I’m living in a society where social media, text messaging, Facebook, and websites are the most productive avenues to connect with people then I must learn to speak their language.

I’m actually embarrassed to say it, but I am a 29 year old who has the tech savvy lower then most grandparents.  So I can stay there and be determined to build a church stuck in the 80’s, or I can get a clue and move into 2010.  Don’t get me wrong the band Journey, tight rolled jeans, and Back to the Future will never go out of style… But I must speak the language of this culture.  As great as the Cosby show was and the hours I invested playing Miss Pac Man, it’s time for me to fast forward to reality.

It’s way past due, but I’m saying goodbye to church bulletins with clip art, overhead projectors for worship songs, expensive mailers that never make it to your house, and the occasional phone tree system to get information around the church (not that I was that lost in time).  I’m sorry Ushers but gold name tags were out in the 80’s, the inventor of the choir robes must retire, and a note to TV Evangelist but Bob Barker wants his hair back!

Let’s make tradition what it is… History.

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Pastor Adam Bagwell

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