December 31, 2013

Read Through the Bible in 2014

As we head into a New Year, many people are making resolutions to give their best in 2014.  I want to encourage you to do that, but make sure you're living through God's power and not your own.

We can all do great things, yeah.  But the great things that we can do on our own will NEVER compare to the amazing works that God can do through us. 

Pastor William reminded us in his sermon Sunday that life must be built on a solid foundation.  And we must build on that foundation with things that will last.  As we head into a New Year tomorrow, what are you building your life on?

As a response to William's challenge, 60 people from Edgewood have committed to read through the entire Bible in 2014!  Megan and I have both joined this commitment as well.  We want to be more faithful about regularly being in His Word and living by God's power and not our own.

Whether you're going through a Bible reading plan like this one or doing another devotional study on your own, I strongly encourage you to make sure your life in 2014 starts with a foundation in God's Word.
"You can accomplish more in an hour with God than in a lifetime without Him."
If you want to accomplish great things this year, make sure you're growing closer to God and letting Him lead the way!

October 16, 2013

Philippines Mission Trip

Edgewood recently took a mission trip to share in a joint ministry with a church in the Philippines.  Megan and I were blessed to be able to join this team.

We partnered with Church of the Triumphant Christ (CTC) whose main campus is in Cainta, outside of Manila.  At this church, we were able to unite as one team to share in Sunday morning worship together.  It was a blessing to get to lead worship at this passionate church!  Our team had prepared two songs in Tagalog as well.  I was worried about getting all those words right, but they sure seemed to love them anyway!

The main focus for the trip was hosting medical clinics in poverty stricken areas.  Our team included a doctor, two nurses, and a dental hygienist.  We also partnered with more medical personnel from CTC.  The first clinic was at a CTC church plant in Antipolo where we saw 45 patients.  The second was in Binangonan where CTC is working to start another church.  This clinic was held at a factory where they currently hold Bible studies and we saw another 38 patients.  The next day, we held our third clinic at another CTC church plant in Bulacan.  This clinic saw 62 patients!

These three clinics were all a great way to see different areas where CTC is working and to be a part of the ministries there.  There were pastors and church leaders at each site connecting and witnessing to the people.

The fourth clinic was the biggest and it was hosted at the main campus in Cainta.  This clinic saw around 250 patients!  Even more amazing was that almost all of these patients also went through one-on-one spiritual counseling!  There were 6 or 7 pastors/counselors meeting with people all day long.  It was a beautiful sight to see how God was working through those meetings.

One of the main goals of this trip was to create a solid partnership with CTC in order to have an ongoing relationship for years and years to come.  I feel that we made a successful start at this relationship and would be happy to consider returning for more joint missions.

A huge eye-opener for me was to see the extreme poverty in which millions of people live.  We walked through some of their homes and it was just unreal to see how they are living.  But what was also a huge conviction is that these people still found ways to live with such joy.  Kids would light up with smiles at the sight of a simple toy.  Adults would bend over backwards to make sure that WE were taken care of during our visit.  While many of them have so little by worldly standards, they have so much in God's eyes!

I was also greatly encouraged by how highly the Philippine people value relationships.  They would share stories, carry on in conversations, and always valued others before themselves.  We get too busy in our American lives to truly connect with people.  I pray that we can realize that, find ways to cut things out of our schedules, and truly value the people God has placed around us.

Our team will be sharing our full report during the morning services at Edgewood on November 3 (9:30 and 11:00).  If you're in the area, we'd love to have you join us to hear more.

Also, here are a few prayer requests that you can lift up with us:
1. Pray for CTC and their continued ministry to reach those in Cainta and beyond
2. Pray for CTC as they desire to plant another church in Binangonan
3. Pray for Edgewood as we seek God's will for further connections with CTC
4. Pray for the Edgewood team (and others who hear these stories) to learn from this experience, be grateful for the many blessings we have, and to continue to share God's love with those around us and those of all nations!

Joint EBC and CTC Team

September 30, 2013

Worship Ministry Purposes and Goals

Over the last few months, our Worship Leadership Team has been defining our overall purposes and goals as a ministry.  This has been a very helpful foundation for us as we are hoping to set the direction for this ministry.  This is a pretty long blog post, but if you haven't heard these yet, I'd love for you to read through them.  Our Worship Leadership Team would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have for us regarding these goals.

“The Edgewood Worship Ministry strives to honor and glorify God while engaging others in the ongoing journey of worshipping Him.”

We want everything that we do to bring honor and glory to God.  Every song that we sing, every word that we speak…how we handle good situations and hard situations…we want everything to honor and glorify God.

This “journey of worshipping God” can be split into four stages:

I. Coming to a Personal Relationship with God
            (Romans 10:13-15, John 13:35)

II. Growing in that New Relationship with the Lord
            (Psalm 1:1-3, Colossians 3:12-17)

III. Using Gifts to Serve God and to Strengthen the Body
            (Romans 12:4-8, Colossians 3:23)

IV. Continuing to Worship God through Contagious Faithfulness
            (Romans 12:1, Matthew 28:19-20, Psalm 78:3-4, Luke 16:10)

As a church and as the worship ministry, we have people in all four areas of this journey.  Because of that, we cannot put our focus fully on any one of these areas.  We want people to come wherever they are to join and grow with us in the journey of worshipping God.


I. Coming to a Personal Relationship with God
This is where the journey has to begin.  You can’t worship what you don’t know.

Romans 10:13-15
Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!

Church-wide and within the worship ministry specifically, we must have opportunities to connect with people from outside the church.  Whether it’s our people going out, or finding ways to draw new people in, we have to take steps to reach out to the lost.

We do not believe that our Sunday morning services should be fully focused on reaching the lost.  They are primarily an opportunity for believers to worship.  However, we do want to provide connection points for non-believers and speak in a way that they can understand.
A better approach to reach Sunday visitors is for them to see how much we are in love with our God.  Our greeters and ushers are a huge part of this stage in helping visitors feel welcome.  However, visitors notice everything…including how all of us respond to one another.

John 13:35 says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

When we are showing love to those around us and we are passionately worshipping God, people will notice and they will want to know the God that we serve.  We don’t want people to go home impressed by our music; we want them to go home impressed by our God. 

Since Sunday mornings are not geared specifically toward non-believers, we do feel it is important to have events throughout the year that ARE focused on those outside the church. 

For the worship ministry, that would include things like NATP, Christmas Programs, Concerts, the Outreach Challenge and things like that.  These types of outreach events are important in drawing people into the church and inviting them into a relationship with Christ.   We also want to encourage our own people to live an evangelistic lifestyle in order to reach out to those around them.

John Piper put it this way.  He said that “missions exists because worship doesn’t.”  You can’t worship what you don’t know.  We must continue with these outreach missions so that more people can turn to worship Him. 

II. Growing in that New Relationship with the Lord
Psalm 1:1-3
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

Once someone has made that decision to follow Christ, we want to offer areas where they can grow closer to Him and learn what it means to truly follow Him.  For the Worship Ministry, this is a huge part of our Sunday morning services.  We want people to have their delight in the Lord and to be firmly planted in His Word.  We want the preaching and our songs to be Biblically-based and to encourage our people to deepen and develop their relationship with God.  To help new believers, we want to make sure we’re speaking in terms that they can understand and are taking the time to explain complex issues as they arise.

Another encouraging passage is Colossians 3:12–17.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

This passage talks about sharing compassion and love for one another and bonding together in perfect unity.  THEN, it talks about singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  It’s our God that unites us, but singing gives us an opportunity to express that unity.  By focusing on God and His holiness, we should minimize ourselves and our preferences.  Sunday morning’s time of singing is the only time all week where we unite together and declare the same message at the same place at the same time.  That is a powerful example of our unity in Christ.  New believers need to experience that unity and love from the Body of Christ.

Music is a tool for worship…it is not the driving factor of worship.  Our hearts and our focus on God have to be more important than the music itself.  And helping people understand that is a strong way that we can help encourage people to grow in their walk with Him.  Explaining when songs are directly from Scripture or are strongly based from Scripture can help assist this process as well.

We want people to leave our services in love with our God, desiring to grow closer to Him all week long. 

III. Using Gifts to Serve God and to Strengthen the Body
Romans 12:4-8 instructs us about the Body of Christ.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

As people grow in their walk with the Lord, they will realize God has given them unique gifts and talents.  We want to come alongside people to help them identify, use, and develop their gifts.  We need to help people understand that their gifts were given to them BY God and to be used FOR God.  And we, as a church, need to give places for those gifts to be used.

For the worship ministry, we have opportunities for those with:
            Singing abilities (choir/praise teams/solos)
            Instrumental abilities (orchestra/praise band/solos)
            Technical abilities (sound/video/lights)
            Acting skills (drama)
            Abundant friendliness (greeters/ushers)
            Administrative skills (office/scheduling)
            Muscles (stage/equipment setup)
            Servant’s Heart (cleaning/painting/etc.)
            Creativity (decorations/graphic design)
            Encouragement (we all need it!)

Colossians 3:23 is one of our driving verses and it says, “whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly, as if you were working for the Lord, not men.”  When you’re working for the Lord, you can’t settle for anything less than your best.  One way we honor God through each of these ministries is by striving for excellence.  Excellence is not perfection, but it is giving our best to the Lord.

We want to provide opportunities for people to worship Him by using their gifts.  And we want to challenge people to strengthen their gifts and continue to grow.

If people don’t make the step from stage two to this stage of serving, they will never fully experience what it means to worship God.  They will always remain as “spectators” and will likely become very stagnant in their walk with the Lord. 

We need to take whatever gifts He has given us and use them for His glory.

IV. Continuing to Worship God through Contagious Faithfulness
As Romans 12:1 states, we want to “present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is our spiritual service of worship.”

Whether we came to know the Lord yesterday or 50 years ago, we have to remember that He saved us from death and eternal separation…and THAT deserves our full praise every single day!  We want our people to look forward to every Sunday that we get the opportunity to come worship Him together. 

We need to continue challenging people to grow deeper in their walk with the Lord.  Explaining song lyrics or the story behind songs can help with this.  If it’s a song we’ve sung a thousand times, it can be a reminder of the importance and meaning of the song.  If it’s a new song, it can help us think about our God in a new and fresh way.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave us the Great Commission.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
We want to help people realize that the process of learning, growing and serving is never complete until God takes us to our eternal home.  He commands us to take what we know and share it with others.  Mature Christians should be very active in this through missional living and personal evangelism.  Two other ways that we want to be encouraging this are through mentoring connections and leadership opportunities. 

Mentoring connections are a beautiful way to take what God has given us and to pass that on to future generations.  Psalm 78:3-4 encourages us to do just that. 

Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

Leadership opportunities also give us a powerful way to keep growing.  Being a part of a group and leading a group are two totally different ways to serve.  We already have many leaders in place who oversee the greeters, ushers, drama and other areas.  These are good opportunities to use their gifts while continuing to learn and grow.  Having a variety of other worship leaders would be a huge benefit to the church and a great leadership opportunity for the volunteers.

Luke 16:10 says, “he who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.”  As we see people who are being faithful in little things, we need to give them opportunities to grow, take on more responsibilities, and transition into leadership roles.  We can only dream of the worship service we’ll have in Heaven!  Until God takes us there, we must continue to grow and be faithful in a way that inspires as many as possible to join us on that day.

September 7, 2013

How Great is Our God (Worldwide Edition)

I am liking this worship and missions combo more and more.  I love John Piper's quote that "Missions exists because worship doesn't."  I find it such a privilege to be able to serve on both sides of that statement.  One day we will all be worshipping our God together with every tribe and every nation.  But, until then, we must be seeking as many people as possible to join us on that day.

I recently came across this video from our End of the Year Worship Ministry Concert back in May and wanted to share it with you today.  It's "How Great is Our God" with a mix of English, Spanish, and Tagalog.

How Great is Our God (Worldwide Edition)

Tomorrow, Edgewood starts a brand new service completely in Spanish.  We are extremely excited about this new opportunity to better reach and serve those in our community who speak Spanish.  We are blessed to have Julio (who is singing in this video) and his wife Liana leading this ministry.

In less than a month, a team of 10 Edgewood members is taking a mission trip to the Philippines.  Megan and I are blessed to be able to join this team.  It's mainly a medical team to serve the needy areas around Manila.  However, we're also going to have the privilege of joining with a church worship team and helping lead their service on the Sunday that we're there.

Because of these two big upcoming events, I wanted to share this video with you today.  I pray it will  be an encouragement to keep striving to reach those around us until we see Jesus face to face.

August 22, 2013

Missionary Update - Hubbards

Edgewood has supported missionaries Van and Janese Hubbard for many years.  In 2012, the Hubbards moved to Sierra Leone, Africa to begin ministering there.  They are working to train pastors, church leaders, and Christian school teachers.  They have also been involved with evangelistic crusades to see new people come into a life-saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  Over a recent three month period of these crusades, they saw 511 professions of faith!

Here is a link to a video of Van and Janese sharing more about their ministry.

Hubbard's Video Update

I was personally blessed and encouraged to get to spend time with Van and Janese while they were in the Seattle area this summer.  Their faithful service and hearts for the Lord are such an amazing testimony.  Please join with us in prayer for Van and Janese and their continued ministry in Sierra Leone.

August 16, 2013

How to Frustrate Your Wife

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail with a subject line that really caught my attention.  It was from FamilyLife Ministries and the subject was, "How to Frustrate Your Wife."

They said there were two easy ways to frustrate your wife: 
1. Fail to love her
2. Fail to lead her

Thoughts on Loving Your Wife
You must love your wife to the extent that she has no doubt about it.

When shopping for greeting cards, we regularly see cards that say, “I know I haven't said it as often as I should…."  A Christian husband should never be in a position to buy that card!  We should be confident that we are regularly speaking words of love and affection.

Recently, as I’ve been thinking a lot about missions and the multi-cultural church, I’ve been reminded of a strong concept about serving and loving others.  You can’t show up in another country and just plan American-style events and expect a different culture to feel loved and served.  You have to get to know the culture and serve in a way that speaks to them.  It’s the exact same concept overseas and in our own households. 

In case you haven’t noticed, men and women tend to think differently.  That different thinking also goes into the way we show our love to each other.  We have to make sure we are showing our love in a way that speaks her language, not ours.

Thoughts on Leading Your Wife
Christian wives hope their husbands will be godly leaders.  It means taking the initiative in leading the family in engagement with God's Word both in the local church and at home.  It is our responsibility to shepherd our flock by providing for them, protecting them, caring for them, and helping them grow.

In his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Dave reminded us that one qualification of an elder is to be someone who can lead their family.  He referred to I Timothy 3:5 which says, “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?

Ephesians 5:25 challenges us to “love our wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for it.”  That’s quite a high calling!  But I hope all the husbands that read this today can be encouraged and challenged to do just that.

July 14, 2013

New Music and Missions Combo

Bud Childs has been leading the missions ministry at Edgewood for the last 10 years.  He has done a fantastic job of supporting our missionaries and ministries all around the world.  Just last month, Bud and Nan moved down to Oregon to be closer to family.  While we're excited for them, we are very sad to see them go!
Megan and I have each had a heart for missions since high school.  While the Worship Pastor role is a full-time position at Edgewood, we have had a desire to become more involved with the missions ministry as well.  Over the last six months, we have been praying for a clear direction for whether or not God wanted us to pursue Bud's role.
Through much prayer, many discussions with Bud, talking with our Elder Board, and other confirming circumstances, we felt strongly that this was God's will for us.
I am blessed to have good leadership teams for the worship ministry and for the missions ministry.  This combination of roles would not be practical without them.  The Worship Leadership Team is new, but was formed in order to share the workload of the ministry and help it to grow even stronger.  I'm very excited to have Megan, Jeanette, Ron, Jim, and Andy on this team.  Bud already had a well-established missions leadership group called the GO Team (Global Outreach) including Mark, Melissa, Wes, Dick, Pam, and Kim.  This team will be a huge asset to me as I'm getting started in the missions role.
After just a few weeks in this new role, I'm already loving it.  Edgewood supports missionaries all around the world who are seeing God do amazing things.  It is such a joy to get to know these missionaries and to come alongside them to join in what God's doing.
Please pray for me as I begin this new journey.  Pray that God will be honored through the worship services at Edgewood and through the missions work around the world.  Pray that I will be able to effectively balance time with my family and leading both the worship and missions ministries.  Pray that God will move in powerful ways and that more and more people will come into a saving relationship with Him.

May 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Theo!

In honor of Theo's first birthday, I wanted to write him this letter.  He's an amazing little guy, so I want to share this with you as well.

Dear Theo,

Hey little buddy!  I just wanted to write you a quick letter to tell you how much I love you.  You are an amazing little guy and have already been such a blessing to my life.  I needed another guy in this house and I’m so glad that I’ve got you!

As you turn one today, I want to share a few things that I already see in your life.

First of all, you have such a strong drive.  If you want something, you will work very hard to get it.  You quickly figured out how to crawl and move around our house with no problem.  You wanted to get up the stairs and, even though you fell a few times, you just got right back up and started climbing again.  Now, you are standing up constantly and will be walking and running around this house in no time.  I love seeing this in you, Theo.  I pray that it continues and that you will allow God to use this strong drive to accomplish many things for Him. 

Secondly, you have a very tender side to you as well.  In fact, I don’t get to hold you much because your Mommy hogs you all the time.  She loves holding and cuddling with you.  I can also tell how much you love your big sister.  You watch her all the time, you quickly learn how to do things from her, and you continue to sit close to her even though she loves poking you in the eyes.

Lastly, I’ve got this wild hunch that you’re going to be my drummer in the family.  You LOVE hearing and playing drum patterns with Daddy!

Your Mommy and I pray for you all the time.  We pray that you’ll grow strong.  We pray that you’ll learn how much God loves you and that you’ll want to give your life to Him.  We also pray that you’ll have a loving wife someday to serve the Lord together….and to clean up your messes!

Theo, I look forward to sharing life with you and I hope you will learn a lot of things from your Daddy.  Here are three of the most important things that I hope you’ll learn.

First, I pray that I can show you how to love God.  I want to model a father’s love so that you can better understand the love that your Heavenly Father has for you.  I will mess up.  But, God’s love will never fail.  He’s the one I want you to see and He’s the one I want to point you toward.  I want to help you understand God’s love and to teach you how to live your life in a way that shows your love to Him.

Secondly, I pray that I can give you a good example of how to love your family.  I love your Mommy more than you can understand right now.  I want to give you an example of how to love your wife someday.  God tells us to love our wives like He loves the Church.  That’s a pretty high calling, but I want to do my best to model that for you.  Learning how to honor your Mom and Dad will be important as you grow as well.  And while we’re at it, that sister of yours will drive you crazy sometimes.  But, I have a strong feeling that she’s going to be your best friend in life.  I want to show you how to love her and take care of her as well.

Lastly, I pray that I can show you how to love others.  God wants us to treat others even better than we treat ourselves.  We will meet many people that are hard to love.  But, I want to show you how to honor God and love them anyway.

Theo, I am so excited to have the privilege of being your Daddy.  I think that God has great things in store for your life.  I want to be here to help you and guide you along the way.  I love you Theo.