On February 22, 2009, TJ Holmes interviewed Mark DeYmaz on CNN Sunday Morning to air concerns related to a proposed bill in the Arkansas legislature that would allow those with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns into churches in Arkansas. Thanks in part to such publicity, the bill died in a senate subcommittee later in March (2009).
On February 12, Dr. Joe Aldrich passed from this life into life eternal with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. More than a great man of God and of prayer, he was family; the uncle of my wife, Linda, and younger brother of my mother-in-law, Jane Aldrich Brown. While his death saddens us all, we see it as an act of mercy. For fifteen years, Joe had suffered with Parkinson's Disease and only five days before his death, had been placed in a nursing home as the difficulty of his care became too much any more for the family, led by his wife, Ruthie. And since his father, Dr. Willard Aldrich, turned 100 in January, Joe could have remained alive for many more years; but this as you might imagine would not have been living. He is now whole and at peace in that wonderful place we call heaven.
Dr. Joe as he was affectionately known by students and faculty alike at Multnomah University was the president of that institution for nearly twenty years prior to contracting Parkinson's Disease in the early 1990s. In addition, it was 20 years ago this month that Joe founded and facilitated the very first Pastors' Prayer Summit in Salem, OR, as part of his vision/initiative at that time called Northwest Renewal. It was his belief that if pastors across denominational lines would come together to pray and to seek the face of their common Creator and Lord, entire churches and communities would be renewed with fresh wind and fire. And they have. Since then, nearly 2,000 Prayer Summits have taken place in over 40 states and nearly 30 nations throughout the world under the auspices of International Renewal based in Portland, OR.
A well-respected national Christian leader (seen in this picture with Dr. Billy Graham) and author of many books, his work entitled, Lifestyle Evangelism became a classic. His vision was the impetus for the founding of Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, OR. His love for students and his lasting imprint on Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary was memorialized in the naming of the Joseph C. Aldrich Student Center (JAC) dedicated in 2007.
If you would like to express that to his family, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join me for a free online webinar hosted by my good friends at Leadership Network on Thursday, November 13, from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CST. At that time, I will be responding to questions live as well as others posed to me in a similar forum we conducted this past summer. Due to the overwhelming response to the first webinar, this second session has now been scheduled. I hope you'll tune in and/or spread the word to those you know who might be interested.
Perhaps no message I have given recently has so inspired a renewed faith in our Lord as the one I shared on Sunday, October 19, entitled, More Than a Feeling. The message challenged our members (and, indeed, all Christ-followers) to run to the Lord and not away from Him in this time of economic and financial uncertainty. It exhorted us to put our hope and confidence in the Lord and not the uncertainty of riches. And it provided a specific challenge through which we, as individuals and as a church, can do just that.
Since our treasure reflects our heart (Matthew 6:19, 20), and the greatest commandment (according to Jesus) is that we "... love the Lord with all our heart ..." (Matthew 22:35-38), the elders at Mosaic have issued a specific challenge through which all who call themselves one with us might declare our love, faith and dependence on Him here at the end of the year. In so doing, we are expecting God to so move in us all as to create stories of His goodness, graciousness and compassion toward us as we embrace the challenge to actually increase our individual giving in November and December! In other words, if you give more than you might typically give ... if you give (as directed by God) and perhaps beyond what otherwise (humanly speaking) makes sense, etc., we believe God will not only still provide for you and your needs, i.e., you will still have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, food in your stomach, etc. Indeed, we believe God will bless you with a story(ies) to inspire other believers to step-up and lead out in trusting Jesus at a time when so many are losing hope. And in turn, such stories, we believe, will lead non-believers to Christ! This, then, is our ultimate goal!
In other words, this is a time of potential Kingdom harvest; and Mosaic is determined to lead and light the way!
Such stories are already being generated, as you can hear, for instance, in the intro to the message - the story of Bruce, one of our homeless members who responded so incredibly to the message after the first service last week (listen now). And just three days after I preached the sermon, committing Linda and I to increased giving ourselves, I received news four hours ago that a couple (outside the church and who did not hear the message) will be giving a gift of $36,000 to our church to be proportioned in increments of $1,000 a month in support of my salary, that portion that Linda and I released back to the church in order to hire Steven Weathers in September!
I want you to have such stories to tell, as well.
So, here's what I'm challenging you to do with Mosaic or your own local church in mind.
1. Listen to the message;
2. Take a brief moment after listening to respond by completing a brief survey;
3. Tithe (if you are not already, whether on your net and gross income) in November;
4. Begin to pray and to plan on making a sacrificial gift in December, something beyond what you might have otherwise planned to give.
Following the message, I received an encouraging email from Dan Gaffney, one of our members who is on staff at FamilyLife here in Little Rock. Dan wrote ...
"Thanks you for Sunday's message! Mark, you nailed it! I brought up the 'economic uncertainty' topic with my wife on the way to church. We had already heard some messages from other Christian leaders that shared a similar perspective to what we heard on Sunday, so we felt we had the right attitude and biblical mindset, etc. Yet as we talked further, I asked my wife the following question, “So what do we do about it?” We never actually answered the question, at least in the van ride to church ... until we looked at each other (more than once) during your message. Our hearts resonated with what was communicated! It was absolutely biblical at the core, and it was perfectly practical in answering the big question of what to do about it. I think we were both stunned as we sat in our chairs - by the timing of the sermon and the answer to our own prayer. All that to say, the Gaffneys are in! And we look forward with great expectations to what our King Jesus will do in November and December at Mosaic."
In the coming months, and with this challenge in mind, may we all have such an open, joyful and team spirit as one in Christ and in His Church!
Apparently this week, Leadership Journal (a publication of Christianity Today) uploaded to their online site a brief interview I provided for their Summer 2008 print edition entitled, "Diverse By Design." In the interview, I was asked to address what motivated me to plant a multi-ethnic church and why it is so strategic for the expansion of the Gospel in the 21st century, some of the obstacles we face, the difference between multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and what I might say to existing churches seeking to transition from mono- to multi-ethnic.
While it's short in length and broad in focus, I've already heard from pastors around the country encouraged by the aritcle. Here's one comment I'll particularly treasure ...
"Hey, great article/interview in leadership magazine this week! Thank you for helping all of us out here believe this can be done and showing us an example of how God has already worked!"
You know, it's that kind of understanding and appreciation - though not often expressed - that really keeps me and other multi-ethnic local church planters and pastors going in this still early, pioneer stage of the movement. Thanks to all, like this one, who take the time to express themselves and who really do appreciate the faith, courage and sacrifice increasing numbers are making to realize the local church on earth as it is in heaven.
Don't miss this first-ever reunion of former leaders, students and spouses of FSM spanning the years 1994 - 2006! The date is October 10-11 and the event will be held at Mosaic Church in Little Rock.
In the spirit of Winter Chills past, the theme for our conference is, This Is Your Life. You can REGISTER ONLINE TODAY ... and make sure to spread the word through facebook, email lists and phone calls, etc.!
The moment I stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac, I could feel "it." Something special in the Lynchburg air. In the unseasonably cool and gentle breeze. In the lush green foilage of Virginia, the surrounding mountains ... memories of last I was here.
Then, it was the summer of 1982 and I was forunate enough to hitch a ride one late summer's night, traveling back with him - on his own, private jet - from a ministry event in South Carolina. Now, stepping off a US Airways prop-driven plane, I am here again; and he - Dr. Jerry Falwell - is gone.
Indeed, it is only the second time I have returned to Lynchburg in the past 25 years. And this time, I have come at the invitation of Dr. Falwell's son, Jonathan, to attend the Innovate Church Conference at Thomas Road Baptist Church. Best of all, I am here not as a speaker, but again as a student and disciple, to both listen and to learn, to hear God speak to me as He often did so many years ago in college and as an eventual graduate of Liberty University.
The fact is, I remain in heart and soul, one of "Jerry's Kids," motivated and believing that I can change the world, A Champion for Christ. More than anything else, this is the "it" I feel.
During this webinar, I’ll be sharing my vision of a healthy, multi-ethnic church with participants. I’ll also share what I’ve learned from scripture about how to articulate the New Testament vision, discuss current needs, and define the mission of a multi-ethnic church in a clear and concise way for others. In addition, I'll unpack the seven core commitments of a multi-ethnic church, generate practical ideas toward their implementation, and discuss common obstacles and ways to overcome them if the dream is to become reality.
This Leadership Network webinar will be useful for church planters as well as pastors seeking to revitalize churches in decline or to transform healthy but otherwise homogeneous churches around the multi-ethnic vision. Like the men of Issachar (I Chronicles 12:32), participants will leave with a better understanding of the times and more fully comprehend why I believe the most effective way to advance the Gospel in the 21st century will be through healthy multi-ethnic churches. Involvement will inspire those who believe the kingdom of heaven is not segregated to create local churches on earth that will not be either.
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer
This conference is strong! One thing that strikes me about Rick Warren is his commitment to the basics of local church development and particularly, his passion for training other pastors like me. In many ways, it's not rocket science; yet, in a day and age when far too many pastors have an over-inflated sense of ego - and these more often than not speak without real knowledge or proven experience concerning what the church is and should be - this man (with an indisputable annointing and mantle) is committed to Biblical, relevant evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, lay-leadership development and worship. I am learning much and being refreshed; the timing for Mosaic could not be better.
For after spending five years pursuing the theology and commitments of multi-ethnicity and with such DNA set, we are now pursuing (with passion) a more healthy church from top to bottom so that we can reach even more people for Christ! Again this conference is providing the encouragement, motivation and practical help to save us time and energy in the process.
Well, I'm here, blogging live from the 2008 Purpose Driven Community Gathering at Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA. Wow, what a campus; and more importantly, what a privilege it is to be here at this event.
Linda and I are the guests of Dale and Judi Dawson, founders of Bridge2Rwanda. Dale is one of the conference speakers, as are others such as Mark Driscoll, Miles McPherson, Dave Ferguson, Jonathon Falwell, Mark Batterson, Dave Gibbons and, of course, Rick Warren.
Billed as a "invitation only" community gathering of senior pastors and businessmen, Rick Warren writes, "The goal of this summit is action, not merely discussion. We live in critical days. So each church will be asked to select a country and begin a P.E.A.C.E. project, working directly with an overseas church. We will provide a list of P.E.A.C.E. project requests from around the world. As James said, we must be 'doers of the word, not hearers only.'
Mosaic's work within the local community in Little Rock, including food and clothing distribution among the poor as well as it's involvement in "Antioch" of Asia, etc., make it a church well in mind and positioned for partnership w/the new P.E.A.C.E. Coalition that is being launched with this conference.
So, over the next few says, I'll do my best to keep you informed wharing once a day one or more of the more significant things we experience and learn here this week.