Archive for April, 2013

C-SCOPE and Christian Community

There is a difference between voicing sincere beliefs and belittling others in the process. One is necessary for a healthy community; the other is unproductive and sometimes destructive. Because of the current discussion on the merits, or lack thereof, of introducing C-SCOPE into our schools, I feel compelled to remind at least those of us who call Brazos Pointe Fellowship home that our discussion of this issue reflects directly on the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

For starters, while I care deeply about the success of all our local schools public and private, I don’t have a dog in this hunt, at least not yet. I, like many of you, have been reading and asking questions about it; and at some point will form an opinion.

I am troubled though, when I read “put-down speech” in the newspaper or social media from either side, or when I hear that a public meeting devolves into a shouting match. I could perhaps understand it coming from people who are irreligious or don’t know Jesus, but when a Christ follower does this, it breaks my heart. We can do better.

Romans 12:14 reminds us to bless and not curse. James 3:9 says “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” Some of those people we curse may be sitting next to us in worship. We can do better.

Respect is given, not earned. Who would ever tell their kindergartner on the first day of school to wait till your teacher earns your respect before you offer it? The same respect we wish our children to give their teachers should likewise be modeled in all our conversations as well. We can do better.

If you sincerely care about this issue or any other, let me challenge you to take the high road. Do you want to persuade people or alienate them? Most folks are won over by a positive position, not an angry one. In the end a loud voice can never compete with a clear voice. It’s okay to strongly disagree with fellow citizens, even fellow church members, but it’s never good to personally attack them. We can do better.

Live Bold,

Greg 

Slavery Still Exists

An estimated 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world. That’s more than all 400 years of the Atlantic Slave Trade that brought slavery to our shores. Also called human trafficking, modern day slavery takes many forms. Some are locked in factory compounds, some work on ships, others are home servants, and even more tragically, a great many are enslaved in the sex trade. But there is hope.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a world class organization committed to ending slavery and human trafficking in our lifetime. BPF has partnered with IJM on previous initiatives. This month we are joining them and countless other churches in a non-partisan, nationwide campaign to bring 150,000 signatures before President Obama encouraging him to follow through with his promise to make ending modern slavery a high priority in his second term of office. I’d like to challenge you to join the fight and make your voice heard.

Please stop by the Next Step Center in the foyer this Sunday and pick up an Advocacy Card. If after you read it you agree with the requests, simply sign and return it to us. We will send them to IJM’s Washington DC Office the end of this month.

Live Bold,

Greg

Next Week – World Missions Offering

Remember, we will collect our World Missions Offering next Sunday, April 28th, as a way of expressing our gratitude to God for what He’s done in our lives through Brazos Pointe Fellowship. All of it goes to mission work outside of our church. 75% will be sent to the International (IMB) and North American (NAMB) Mission Boards. The remaining 25% goes to the Texas Port Ministry, based in Freeport.

What better way to express thankfulness for our blessings than to support others who also strive to reach the unchurched around the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A Time to Express Thanks

If you see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know he had help getting there. I often quote that old East Texas proverb at weddings to help brides and grooms appreciate the role others, especially their families, have had in getting them to the altar.

This Sunday Brazos Pointe Fellowship will be 12 years old and it’s good to remember we had help getting here. Our parent church, First Baptist Lake Jackson and then pastor John Hatch, unselfishly sent us out with their blessings to give this “church for the unchurched” approach a try. And we’ve endeavored to pay that gift forward by helping start 10 churches in the years since.

But you can never say thanks enough. That’s why, beginning with our first birthday back in 2002, we decided to collect a World Missions Offering each year as a way of expressing our gratitude to God for all He’s allowed us to experience through our Fellowship. For a few years we moved the offering to the Thanksgiving season, but we recently decided to shift it back to our church’s birthday.

Here’s how it works. A portion of it is usually designated to a cause or ministry with which we are directly involved; and the rest goes to world and national missions through our partners at the International (IMB) and North American (NAMB) Mission Boards.

100% of our World Mission Offering will go outside of our church. 75% of your gifts of gratitude will go to World Missions through the two mission boards mentioned above. Most of that will be spent in overseas ministry. This year we will give the remaining 25% of our gifts to the Texas Port Ministry, which is based in Freeport, TX. Texas Port Ministry exists to provide spiritual, social and physical care to the Freeport Harbor Community. That includes seafarers, truck drivers, and local folks who work in and around the Port. TPM is the most comprehensive ministry I know of, sharing the Good News of Jesus locally, nationally and internationally.

We will collect this World Missions Offering on Sunday, April 28th. I hope you will begin now praying about your part in it. What better way to express thankfulness for the generosity that gave us birth than to support others around the world who also strive to reach the unchurched with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Live Bold, Give Bold,

Greg

April is a big month of Anniversaries for BPF!

Happy 1st Birthday to our Galveston campus, Coastal Community Church

Happy 1st Anniversary to Chris Watson, our Student Minister

Happy 1st Anniversary to Michelle Harrison, our Ministry and Missions Associate.

Happy 10th Anniversary to Kirk Willson, our Executive Pastor

Easter at Brazos Pointe

What a Day!

Thank you Brazos Pointe for the team effort you gave to make Sunday a welcoming place for the scores (probably hundreds) of unchurched who attended. From the survey we took, we know that at least 24 people stepped over the line of faith and another 16 indicated they were considering it. Here’s the survey count:

788 marked A – Already a follower of Jesus Christ
24 marked B – Began the Journey Today
16 marked C – Considering following Jesus
2 marked D – Don’t plan to become a Christ Follower
(I always appreciate the honesty of those who mark “D.”)

I got a Facebook message from a mom who said her adult child had claimed not to believe in the existence of God, but Sunday wrote “C” on her Welcome Card. That person, along with many others, obviously took their next step with God.

In all we had 1532 folks in our three worship services plus 384 children. It’s the most children we’ve ever had. News was even better at Coastal Community Church, our one year old Galveston campus. After starting the day at sunrise baptizing nine folks at the beach, they had 424 in four worship services, plus 61 children. So for the first time, our combined fellowships had over 2000 (2401 in all) on Easter Sunday!

You made it happen

  • when you invited your friends – way to pass out those invite cards!
  • when you parked in back and sat up front
  • when you volunteered to help with the Children’s Team
  • when you SHIFTED down to the 8:30 service (417 of you!)
  • when you made a great First Impression on the Hospitality Team
  • when you SHIFTED across the room from the entrances
  • when you promoted Easter at Brazos Pointe on Facebook
  • when you sang your hearts out in worship
  • when you made BPF a safe and accepting place so people like Erika – whose story you heard Sunday – could come, discover Jesus, heal and grow in her faith

The really cool news is that thousands of churches around the world experienced the same power of God Sunday as we all celebrated the Good News of Jesus’ sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection!

Let’s keep the momentum going as we begin Love Song this Sunday – a six week message series about love, dating, marriage, conflict and lifelong commitment. It’s based on a poetic book in the Bible’s Old Testament, called Song of Songs. Love Song is for everyone who’s ever been married or hopes to be married.

I’ll see you Sunday.

Live Bold, Greg

More on the Survey:

As we continue to follow up on all the Welcome Cards from Sunday I had to share a few things that made it fun to read them.

  • Some decided to grade themselves; we saw several A pluses, A minuses and a few B pluses.
  • Under the question “What is the best way for BPF to contact you?” one man wrote: My wife!
  • Still others checked email or call me – but left no email address or phone number

Thanks for keeping us smiling!