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Something New>>>

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YOU HAVE SPOKEN, WE HAVE TAKEN ACTION!

After hearing from many of our RLC family, Real Life Church has begun something new this week.

We have taken ONLINE GIVING to the next level.

We have recently partnered with a company called Easy Tithe and have created an online giving portal for your convenience.

Now you can give online and can even schedule your giving. Within the next couple of weeks there will also now be a giving kiosk available.

Click below and try it out—>

online_giving_web_button

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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to RLC>>>

Hello RLC!
What an amazing weekend we just experienced. It never gets old celebrating changed lives with you. Two more people experienced the life-changing hope of salvation through Jesus Christ this past Sunday. Simply awesome.
Here are a few things I wanted to share with you this week:

1. WHY???. Sometimes as a pastor you just know when a series is going to be something special. Heading into this one, I had that feeling and it has not disappointed. I’ve already begun to hear from so many of you how these past two weeks have really been something amazing. It’s such a blessing to hear and see how God is impacting your lives and giving you such hope and peace in areas you’ve struggled with. This past weekend’s question, “Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer?” was something very close to my heart. Of all the questions we will cover in this series, this one is probably the one I’ve struggled with the most. However, God is so very faithful and has proven how good He is over and over.
Don’t allow present disappointments overshadow your relationship with Him. Don’t forget. God never closes a door without opening another.

2. SCAVENGER HUNT. I am so excited about the very first RLC Scavenger Hunt. Jamey O’Connor and Jess Davis have done an amazing job preparing this amazing event. It all begins this Sunday at the church at 4pm. There, you will receive instructions and a handout with a list of all the things you’ll need to be part of the hunt. The contest will conclude at 6pm at Covington Woods Park with a cookout and turning in your findings. This is going to be awesome.

3. LIVE STREAM. Many of the faithful RLC family attend church while traveling via RLC ONLINE. If you are one of these RealLifer’s you’ve probably noticed the feed has been down the past couple of weeks. Currently we’re considering some other options for the stream and hope to have something resolved soon. Till then, you can view the service on the RLC YouTube Channel. It’s posted as early in the week as possible.

4. DISCOVER | RLC. Have you ever wanted to know more about RLC, how we got here, where we’re going, and what it would look like if you got involved? RLC|DISCOVER is where you need to be July 7th at 5:00pm. At this free event you and I will discuss all these questions and more. I love sharing the story of RLC and even more the passion we have to see others impacted by the life-changing hope of Jesus Christ. We also have free childcare available upon request so nothing can stand in your way.  There’s also a free meal provided.
All you need to do is register here. That’s it. Look forward to seeing you there.

5. LIFEGROUP LEADERS. Do you love doing things with friends? Do you enjoy having people over at your house? Do you love geting together with others and having fun? If so, you are not only perfect for attending a LifeGroup but you may also have what it takes to be a LifeGroup Leader. If you would like more information about what it would look like to host a LifeGroup this Fall come to this Summer’s LifeGroup Leader Training event coming up this July. It’s going to be great. More details are coming soon.

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Must Read List for Church Planters

One of the first things I learned about being a church planter was just how much I didn’t know about church planting. There are so many things unique to this particular type of endeavor it can seem overwhelming. The great thing though is there are mounting resources for planters.

I once read that early in his leadership journey,  John Maxwell would pay an executive $1oo for one hour of his time.  During that one hour, John would ask as many questions as he could.  Through this he gradually learned what it was to be a leader. This is a great idea. However, it simply wasn’t possible for me. So, I discovered the next best thing… books. There are scores and scores of great books about church planting. Here are a few that we really benefited from during our church planting journey and still do.   (These are NOT in order.)

Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers    
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird 

 

Exponential
Dave & Jon Ferguson

 

The Purpose Driven Church
Rick Warren

This book has pretty much become the gold standard of church planting and church growth books.  The paradigm shift Rick talks about is just where we need to be as pastors and church leaders. His idea is profound yet simple. Church isn’t about keeping the sheep happy anymore. It’s about being a resource center for those far from God. Everyone has a purpose in life and that purpose is not to simply breath air. Life is meant to be lived.

 

Launch
Nelson Searcy

Nelson has a growing library not just for the church planter but for post-launch-life as well. This book is the jumping off point. He talks not only about the theory and theology of church planting but also dives head-long into budgeting ideas, scheduling, etc. Great stuff.

 

Simple Church
Thom Rainer

This book is something for helping you set up the idea of what your church needs to be before it’s even born. He basically talks about established churches being a mile wide and an inch deep. We’re too complicated so in the end there’s a lot of smoke but no fire. Thom encourages us to trim the fat and get back to church as it was in the beginning, simple and effective.

 

Up the Middle Church
Matt Keller

When our team was in the planting process we went through this book then did it again in post-launch-life. It continues to be a yearly read and study. Matt Keller does a great job at combining the principles of vision with the realities of marketing strategies and a life-giving way of life. Definitely worth reading… then reading again.

 

The Circle Maker
Mark Batterson

Not as much a how-to book as it is a faith inspiring book. Mark dares you to believe in the impossible which is pretty much the name of the game when it comes to church planting. It’s also great to read his true life church planting success story.

 

Sun Stand Still
Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven has become a rather polarizing character in the modern church world.  I love him and what God is doing through His life.  When God first spoke to me about planting a church, I was like a fish out of water. I had no idea what to do, where to start, or what to say. I didn’t even know how to articulate what God was doing on the inside of me. People would ask what was going on and I would say, “I don’t know. It’s just different.”
Reading Sun Stand Still changed all that. It gave me a vocabulary for the revolution happening inside my heart. It taught me how to have faith for impossible dreams. I learned this phrase, “If your prayers aren’t intimidating to you chances are their insulting to God.”  Using the lessons from Pastor Steven, my wife and I began to believe for big things and God has not disappointed.

 

Other honorable mentions are:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell
Good to Great- Jim Collins
Courageous Leadership- Billy Hybels
The Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective People- Steven Covey
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni

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A Letter to RLC
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Letter to RLC>>>

Hello RLC! What an amazing start to a beautiful week. There are 4 things I want to share with you today:

1.  HUGE shout out to all the amazing RLC Dream Team for living the dream with us this weekend! It’s such an honor to be a part of a church where we can love one another and growth together. You guys are the best!

2. Big Shout Out to everyone for helping us move the sound equipment to the other side of the room last week. You guys are all awesome. Extra shout out to Bill Jarobe! You’re the man!

3. What an amazing time we had learning about having a “STORY WORTH TELLING”.  The first part of our new series was entitled “I Decided to Start”.  What’s the one thing you can start in order to move toward the Story you want to tell?
At the end of the worship experience I showed you a video of CARDBOARD TESTIMONIES. Below is the video again.

So, what is it? What’s the one thing you can do to really live the best Story possible?
How are you doing so far?  I’m so excited to be moving forward together.

4. Don’t forget about the Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt coming March 29th, 6:30pm at Preston Miller Park. It’s going to be huge! Make plans to attend now. If you would like to be part of the volunteer team making this annual event happen, email the coordinator here.

That’s it for now.

Can’t wait to see you this week at a life group or AWANA. Let’s live our story well this week!

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Why Life Groups? They Help Grow My Relationships

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They help me grow my relationships.

Hebrews 6:1-3 NLT

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

1. Grow my relationships with others. Life is so much better together. Psalms says, “Oh how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” However most of us don’t experience a lot of unity. When we get to know each other and build relationships we slowly earn ‘buy-in’ into each others lives. Our opinions carry more weight because we have time invested. We slowly build trust. These are the people who can truly become life-changers. They can speak into our lives with weight and clarity because we’ve both taken the time to get to know each other and understand our complex life situations.

2. Grow my relationship with myself. There’s an old phrase which simply says, “Know Thyself”. Most of us have no idea who we really are. Mainly because we all have blind spots. There are certain things about myself I either cannot see or choose not to see. Either way, they are there whether I like it or not. Life Groups are a place where someone else who has ‘buy-in’ can show me these blind spots. Maybe I have untapped potential in a my life but have never noticed it. Someone else can point it out. Maybe I have a anger problem but don’t really want to address it. Someone else who I trust may be able to talk to me where my wife or kids wouldn’t dare.

3. Grow my relationship with God. The best way to get to know God is in the context of a group.  Life Groups should never take the place of your personal daily devotion time. However, in a group you can study out the Word of God and discuss what you find. You can relate a spiritual understand and apply it to real life situations. You can even request godly wisdom from others around you. When you are around other people who are pursuing God, your going to move farther.

 

Life groups help me grow in my relationships.

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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to RLC>>>

Hello RLC! It’s great to be back at it writing the weekly wrap up we call “A Letter to RLC>>>”. Today I have six things to share with you:

#1. What an amazing first week at our new location on Scottsville Road! It felt great to stand and talk with everyone following the worship experience and not having to hurry and tear everything down. We will miss the theater but we are already enjoying the benefits of being stationary. This facility is going to be a great way to impact our community, begin small groups for college and high school students, be a staging point for outreach, better band rehearsals, etc, etc,… The sky is the limit when we begin to work together. I cannot wait to see what’s just around the corner. 2013 is going to be a year to remember!

#2. SHOUT OUTS!!!  If I began saying THANK YOU to everyone who made this past weekend at our new location possible, I’d run of room before I ran out of names. Therefore let me simply say THANK YOU to everyone. You know who you are. It doesn’t matter what you did, big or small. Without you it wouldn’t have been possible. Every chair, light, truss, carpet, bags, platforms, etc, etc, etc—- that was moved, cleaned, and placed was all done for the glory of God. Thank you for making it all possible.

#3. Two people committed their lives to Christ Sunday! That never gets old! Let’s pray for them this week as they begin their journey toward Christ. At RLC we don’t want people to do life alone.

#4. I’m so proud of all those who have committed to taking the fasting journey. RLC began an increased time of prayer and fasting last week. This Sunday was the completion of the first week. It’s such a joy to be surrounded by people who are serious about taking their relationship with God to the next level.  I’ve made a personal commitment to not only taking the journey with you but also blogging about it everyday. —>Here is a link to it.<— For all those fasting… keep it up! Don’t quit. You’re accomplishing more than you know.

#5. This weekend Upcoming Series is something I’ve been excited about for a while now. It’s called Soul Detox. Did you know that we are not a body with a soul but rather a soul with a body? We all know that body needs rest, relaxation, and care. However, when is the last time we did that for our soul? In this series we’re going to unpack what it means to ‘detox’ your soul.

#6. God gave us a place. It’s up to us to fill it up. Invite. Invite. Invite. So far this year God has really been speaking to me that our church is in a great place spiritually and physically to move forward. We finally have a location which will allow us to move out and up toward everything God has for us.
However, none of that just happens. There’s not going to be a GreyHound bus pull up next Sunday with people marching off in a straight line saying, “What must I do to be saved?”
Sure it’s possible but not really probable. The real way people are going to come to Real Life Church and experience our life-changing atmosphere is when we invite, invite, invite.
The responsibility is ours to invite. It’s God’s responsibility to speak to their hearts.  We plant the seed. God makes it grow. I’m committing to inviting more people.  How about you?

Why wouldn’t we want to ask people to come to a place where they can find hope, freedom, and acceptance?

I love you RLC!
Can’t wait to see you again this weekend or at a life group this week!

 

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Day Four: Journal Your Journey

How was Day Three? Stay Strong.

One of the most rewarding disciplines you can have in life is a habit of consistent journaling. Some people do it via a blog. Some keep a journal on their Ipad or computer. Some have these colorful pads with multi-colored paper inside. Still others use a regular spiral notebook. It doesn’t matter. What makes the difference is the journaling or writing of your life’s journey.
Many times I’ll look through the past years of my journal and realize how much I’ve forgotten. I didn’t remember the time when God brought a financial miracle into my life. I’d forgotten about the time when this happened or that.
It can be so encouraging.

You can see David kept something like a journal through his song writing.
World changers like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan all kept consistent journals or diaries.

In its most simple form, journaling is writing out your time on Earth. You’re spelling out your legacy. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Sometimes just a sentence will do like, “Nothing happened today.” The important thing is keeping up the habit so when life does become challenging and you need a place to vent, you pick up your pen instead of railing at the first person you see.

A journey you definitely want to remember is this one, your fasting journey. It’s great to write in it every day and watch your progress. While you’re praying, write down anything that comes to your mind as God speaks to your spirit. Write down a key verse while doing your daily Bible reading. It will cause you to look back on this time with great memories.

The journal I have chosen is called Day One Journal. This journal syncs with all my tech devices so I can write wherever I am. It doesn’t matter whether you find something online or write it out by hand. You owe it to your future self to write out the blessings and struggles you face today. It was mean more than you will ever know.

Below is an article from one of the architects of the modern journaling movement. His name is Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. He pastors an amazing church in Hawaii and leads them every year through reading their Bible and journaling every day.

Why Should I Journal?

by: Pastor Wayne Cordeiro

Some people say, “Wayne, I read the Bible, but I don’t journal. Should I journal?”
“Yes.”
“Why?”
Well, partly because in the book of Deuteronomy, God required Israel’s kings to write out all of His Word in their own handwriting, then read, every day, what they had written. He mandated this practice, He says, so that the hearts of the kings might not be lifted up above their fellowman and would not become prideful.

If God made this a daily requirement of Israel’s kings, then I think it’s not too much to ask of the King’s kids. Regular, prayerful time in the Bible keeps our hearts from straying.

How about other reasons? For one thing, journaling will help you when the tests come—and they will.

Also, as a communicator, I counsel people to journal because I know that the more you learn to write, the better your communication will be. You become better able to take tangled thoughts and articulate them. You develop the ability to compose your feelings and ideas in an effective and powerful way. When you’re called upon to stand and speak, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively because you’ve learned to write.

Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Reading maketh a full man; conference maketh a ready man; and writing maketh an exact man.” Today, we’d say that writing makes us more precise thinkers.

As you write, you become a wordsmith: “Hmm, this adjective doesn’t work; this adverb is better; this turn of a phrase is better.” Writing teaches you to do it on the fly. One practical serendipity is that one day, when you begin to speak extemporaneously, you’ll also start to wordsmith on the fly. You’ll say in your head, This phrase works better than that, and this is better than the other. In nanoseconds, you’re wordsmithing. The regular practice of journaling will be a tremendous help in developing your communication skills.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Check online for online journals
  • or Grab a notebook
  • Commit to writing down your journal entry everyday for the remainder of your fast

OTHER RESOURCES:

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Day Two: What Fasting Is? What It Is Not

Welcome to Day Two

How did day one go?

During the next 20 days you are going to have a lot questions and experiences with God. Some of the greatest benefits may not happen until after your fast is complete. I can’t wait to hear the stories of how God does amazing things in your personal life, family group, work atmosphere, and beyond.

At Real Life Church, we believe anything you fast can provide spiritual benefit. While fasting is mostly attributed to food, anything you do with a desire to move closer to God will be honored by Him. I personally think it would be easier to fast food for a month rather than go without my coffee and facebook updates. Maybe you’re like me. Anything you cannot do without for even a day might be something your addicted to. Wouldn’t be an awesome thing to tell God, “You’re more important to me than ______ (fill in the blank). Therefore as an act of worship I’m ________ (not going to  drink any caffeine or even look at social media) for 21 days. Instead I’m going to talk to you and drink in your Word.” WOW! Think what that could do for your relationship with God.

ACTION STEP:

Before we go any further, I think’s a good idea to define what fasting is for you and what it is not.
Below is a portion of an article about this whole topic. Check it out then take a few minutes to define exactly what you are fasting, why, and how long.

The rest of this post was taken from the Christianity section of about.com.

What Fasting Is

In many cases, a spiritual fast involves abstaining from food while focusing on prayer. This can mean refraining from snacks between meals, skipping one or two meals a day, abstaining only from certain foods, or a total fast from all food for an entire day or longer.

For medical reasons or personal preference, some people may not be able to fast from food altogether. They may choose to abstain only from certain foods, like sugar or chocolate, or from something other than food. In truth, believers can fast from anything. Doing without something temporarily, such as television or soda, as a way of redirecting our focus from earthly things toward God, can also be considered a spiritual fast.

The Purpose of Spiritual Fasting

While many people fast to lose weight, dieting is not the purpose of a spiritual fast. Instead, fasting provides unique spiritual benefits in the life of the believer.

Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer’s focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God’s help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.

What Spiritual Fasting is Not

Spiritual fasting is not a way to earn God’s favor by getting him to do something for us. Rather, the purpose is to produce a transformation in us—a clearer, more focused attention and dependence upon God.

Fasting is never to be a public display of spirituality—it is between you and God alone. In fact, Jesus specifically instructed us in Matthew 6:16-18 to let our fasting be done privately and in humility, else we forfeit the benefits.

While Old Testament fasting was a sign of mourning, New Testament believers were taught to practice fasting with a cheerful attitude.

Lastly, it should be understood, spiritual fasting is never for the purpose of punishing or harming the body.

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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to RLC>>> It’s A New Day

Hello RLC!!!

What an amazing weekend we had!
It was awesome! Hope everyone is having a great New Year’s week. Here are 4 quick things I wanted to share with you this week.

#1- Big shout out to Jamey O’Connor. Great job sharing the Word of God with us. Loved his points. Very quotable, memorable and applicable.

#2- Since being a Christian there have been times in my life when I’ve made sincere steps forward in my walk with God. It’s always come during times of fasting.
Let’s be clear. Fasting doesn’t change God. It changes us. It quiets our noisy lives so we can hear Him more clearly. If you haven’t already you should start thinking about taking part in the Fasting Challenge starting January 6th. There’s more info on the Real Life Church website.

#3- You are vital in helping us get the word out about the BIG NEWS! Tell everyone you know about RLC’s opportunity to take the next step toward the Vision God has given this great move of God.

#4- THE BIG NEWS. It’s a New Day for RLC! We will be relocating quickly. The first day at our new location is on January 13, 2013 is the big day!

Keep reading my blog and watching the website for updated info as it becomes available.

Greater things are on the way!!! It’s so awesome to be a part of Real Life Church!

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Merry In Between

Is it just me or does it seem like the week in between Christmas and New Year’s is sort of a ‘no man’s land’?

The Christmas to-do is now over but you can’t really get back to life as usual because New Year’s is on the way. Well at least that’s the way it is where I’m from.

So, from my house to yours… Merry In Between.

Hope your Christmas was as full of joy and excitment as the guy in the video below. If not, don’t worry. There’s still one more holiday coming up.

 

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Church Planting Resources
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Social Media Ideas

When your planting a church, one of the biggest Elephants in the room is… no one knows you exist.
No matter how much you believe in your church, no how great you are, no matter how great your team is the truth is if they don’t know you are there what good is it?

Advertising is reminding. You need constant reminders to remind people you are there and you are doing well.

Here are some ideas to help you get the most of social media.

Which ones to utilize.:

  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • LinkedIn

How to use them:
FACEBOOK:
Create a Facebook Page
Create Events like crazy
Friend people from your local area so your posts show up on their feeds
Post something everyday if possible to keep yourself in the feed

TWITTER:
Post something everyday if possible
Encourage people to tweet your message quotes DURING THE SUNDAY WORSHIP EXPERIENCE
Make every post link back to your website if possible to continue to drive people back there

YOUTUBE:
Take video of everything: Worship Experience, Team Members, Growth Track sessions, events, etc, etc, etc.
As long as it’s in a positive light of your church video it.
Then you can use it for the other social media venues.
Do a weekly announcement commercial.

VIMEO:
Same as YouTube

Check the stats. More than ever social media is how our world connects.
The more available and connectable you make yourself, the better.

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