Important Announcement About the Future of The Gathering

It’s hard to believe that The Gathering was four years old last month.  Where has the time gone? This has been one of the most fun, rewarding journeys of my life so far.

Since it has been awhile since I’ve really focused on the nature of the church, the meaning, the why the church, and therefore The Gathering  is important, I decided today to talk about just what is the church?  I’m not talking about the institution or the denominational flagship.  I’m talking about the church taught in the Scripture.  What is it?  What is its nature?  Why is it important? And why is it so many people opt out of going?

I also talked today about what our future looks like.  What are some of the ideas that are driving our vision and mission?  The Gathering mission is simple: helping people connect to God and each other for the purpose, ultimately, of changing the world.

I addressed people with the question about whether or not The Gathering would ever seek to have its own building; and if we did, where would it be and when would it happen?

I truly believe, without reservation, that the church is the hope of the world.  When it’s done right, there is nothing like it, no organization that can take its place nor do its job.

To all of my friends out there who love Jesus but somehow have lost touch with His church, I beg you to get a bigger vision, to not let some disappointments, hurts, conflicts, and even a church split keep you away from the Bride of Christ.  You are needed. Your gifts, your talent, your love, your joy, your own personality is needed in the mosaic of redemption.

Doing Today What You’ll Be Glad You Did Tomorrow

We finished our “Moneyology” series today, the last installment on how to save and invest for the long term.

It sounds odd to be talking about saving and investing in church.  It’s only true because of the woeful neglect we’ve given to teaching the biblical concepts of money, abundance and truly God-blessed achievement.

Today we talked about the four principles of investing: withholding, willingness, watering, and waiting. We also talked about the three areas in which you should gladly and consistently invest; particularly those areas that bring about the most long term benefit.

One of the greatest days is when you wake up to realize that you’re not just a consumer, you’re not just a debtor, but you are, before a good and generous God, a wise manager. The day you embrace the fact that there is one source in many resources is the day your job, your friends, the economy, or anything else will lose its strangle-hold on your joy, your happiness, and ultimately your future.

How to Avoid the #1 Money Mistake

I’ve had an overwhelming response to our new series called “Moneyology.” I knew people were hungry to learn the basics of how to win at life with money.  And all that’s been confirmed with the buzz that’s going on around The Gathering.

Today we talked about spending; some of the reasons why we spend against our own self-interest.   If spending is a good thing, it’s a God thing when we spend our money in ways that are helping and productive.

We asked the question today, what kind of spender are you? We identified four kinds of destructive spenders and what motivates them.

We also talked about the three principles you need to ingrain in your life that govern and inform your spending habits.  Also I printed on the outline today 10 spending pledges and 10 spending promises.  Listen to the talk here, and see what you think.

You can go to, go to the media archive and download the outline and fill it in. Print out the pledges and the promises and keep them with you as a reminder as you go through the week.

Getting to the Gain Side of Giving

Today at The Gathering we continued in our current series, “Moneyology: How to Win at Life With Money,” with installment number 3, the Bible’s teaching on the essential nature of generosity.

Today I gave 10 reasons why I tithe.  A lot of controversy surrounds tithing.  As a matter of fact, most Christians don’t practice it.  And yet it’s a fundamental teaching of Scripture.  So today we talked about practical reasons why we tithe; the benefits that come and can only come through generosity.

Today we talked about this single principle:  that all the wealth and goodwill that gets created in your life, is created in the principle of joyous generosity.  What you have to give to the world, how you give it, what needs you meet, what wrongs you right, what service you render, alone determines what kind of prosperity and what kind of joy you have.  Learn more about it as you listen to today’s talk.

How and Why You Can Earn More Money

Today at The Gathering we continued with our series, “Moneyology: How to Win at Life With Money” by talking about the first idea you must master if you’re going to enjoy your God-given blessings.  We talked about earning money the old-fashioned way: by working.

Every day on TV in editorials from commentators we hear about the demise of the American work ethic.  The idea that work in and of itself is a virtuous, noble act is losing ground in our culture.

In order to give you a biblical foundation on which to base your work life, we talked about the seven solid biblical reasons why we work.

We also talked about, when we employ these principles in our lives consistently, there are certain things we can expect. Which simply means when we work for the Lord and when we work like the Lord, we can expect a sure reward from the Lord.

We ended our talk by asking the question, “What is your earning potential given your understanding and engagement in work as of today?”  We asked three questions to allow an understanding of what your earning potential is.

The attendance-based compensation world is going away.  And for that, I say, “Yea God!”  Today we’ll help you understand what’s replacing it and why it’s good news.

Moneyology: How to Win at Life With Money

We launched the new year at The Gathering with a timely study on money; not just preaching for it or against it, not begging people to give more of it, but really stepping back to get an understanding of what the Scriptures really teach about money, and how we can use it to win at life.

We talked about the four basic resources God has put into our life.  We talked about the three things money can never, never, never do no matter how much it you have.  And then we talked about its nature so we can understand what money is.

If you listen to today’s talk, download the outline, fill it out, and study it together, you’ll have a solid, fundamental foundation on which to build a life that can win.

Today @ The Gathering: How to Put the Past Behind You For Good

It’s hard to believe this is the last Sunday of 2010.  For some of us this has been a pivotal year: good things have happened, breaks have gone our way; while for others, it’s been devastating.  Some who have worked a lifetime have lost it all.  Others who had good jobs and stable careers have found there is no security and stability in any man-made thing or institution.

So as we launch into the New Year, we talked about how to deal with the regrets of the past and make resolutions for the future. We’re not going to just change our own heart and attitude, we’ll literally change what we’re able to achieve in life.

Life is moving by.  It’s not going to stop.  You can either launch into it with great resolve, or be drug into it with your regrets and live this life like you’ve lived the last one.

Join us next Sunday @ 9:00 and 10:30 AM as we begin our new series entitled, “Moneology: How to win at life with money.” We’ll talk about the five things you must master about money to make it work for you

Christmas is More Than You Think

Today @ The Gathering we completed our series, “Yea God” with a talk entitled, “Yea God; You Love Outsiders and Underdogs.” If you think Christmas is not an epic idea that has revolutionized the world, you need to think again.

Today we talked about why the ultimate insider, Jesus Christ, appeared on the ultimate outside, both in the manger and in a garbage pit; one in His birth, one in His death, and also an empty tomb.  These are epic ideas that have shaped the world in which we live.  The question is, is it shaping yours?  Have these profound ideas and the realities they bring into focus really captured your life and set you free to make something of yourself?

God not only knows you and sees you; He cares.  And He’s proven it in the Christmas story.

With God, Waiting is Never Wasted

Today @ The Gathering we continued our current series, “Yea God! The 8 Things You Won’t Learn About God in Church,” with installment number 7, “Yea God; With You, Timing is Everything.”

I really enjoyed speaking today, more academically than I usually do; in other words, talking about history and back-story to the gospel.  I felt it was important because oftentimes we dismiss how significant and important Christmas really is by dealing with all the day-to-day commercial aspects.

It scares me sometimes that those of us who call ourselves Christians really have a sentimental attachment to Christmas rather than a theological, spiritual one.

So today I really talked about the importance of timing:

  • the timing we’ve got is everything
  • waiting is not wasted
  • circumstances are not random
  • clarity is almost never possible, but certainty is

There are things that you can know about how God will absolutely respond in certain situations because He has told us ahead of time who He is and how He responds.  And He’s illustrated it not only through the five important people of the New Testament, but the five essential covenants.

If you’re frustrated, feel left behind, or forgotten by God, you feel like God is late, or that His motives toward you cannot be trusted, today’s talk is just what you need to hear.

I Believe All Things Are Possible With God

Today at The Gathering I gave a talk entitled, “Yea God: With You, All Things Are Possible.”

I wonder if we still believe that, even those of us who call ourselves Christians, that truly nothing is impossible with God.  Today we talked about the three things that God cannot do.  Yeah, there are things God can’t do. And you need to know what they are, because if you get these wrong, your relationship with God is going to be distant, difficult, and disappointing.

We also talked about the three things you can’t do no matter how much you believe in God.  No matter how much faith you have, these are the things that if you spend your life doing, you’ll waste your life doing the wrong thing.

Greatness Comes From the Most Unlikely Places; Maybe Even You

Today at The Gathering we continued in our current series “Yea God: Eight Things About God You Can’t Learn in Church” with “Yea God: You’re Partial to Rednecks and Rebels.”

It’s hard to predict where greatness comes from.  We think we know.  We think it’s in education, family pedigree, or just plain luck.   And yet we know exactly how God defines greatness and the kinds of people He can and cannot, will and will not use to do amazing things.

Two of the greatest enemies of the 21st Century man are not work and challenge, but boredom and apathy.  If you want to break out of the rut you’re in and find out the kinds of qualities God is looking for to elevate a person to genuine greatness, then check out today’s talk.

As You Go Into Thanksgiving, Are You Counting Your Blessings?

Today at The Gathering we continued in our current series “Yea God: Eight Things You Can’t Learn About God in Church” with the installment entitled, “Yea God: You Give the Best Gifts.”

One of the saddest tragedies I’ve ever witnessed (and I witness it way too often) is a person who has everything in the world for which to be thankful, except the power to be so.  Their attitude reflects a sense of entitlement; that somehow God owes them a pass in life.  Today we talked about the attitude above all attitudes.  That’s the attitude of gratitude.  One of the most amazing Scriptures in the New Testament is often overlooked.  It simply says, and I quote, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.”

No matter what happens, which means all of my circumstances get interpreted in light of Who God is, rather than interpreting God in light of the circumstances.  So today we talked about God’s best gifts.  Think of this.  The Scriptures teach us that every good and perfect gift is from above. It comes down from God.  Everything that you have is a gift from God. You have one Master Donor and He’s in a good mood, and so should you be.

So today we talked about seven of God’s best gifts.   If you’re going into Thanksgiving down, depressed, really glad that this year’s almost over, trying hard and getting little results, finding it really hard to count your blessings and see much to be thankful for, take these seven points I made today and let them readjust your attitude.

How to be Sure You’re a Christian: Today @ The Gathering

Today we continued our series “Yea God!” with the installment entitled, “Yea God: Your Way is the High-Way.”

I’m afraid sometimes we go to church and assume too much.  We assume we understand what the gospel is, or that we even hear it.

So today we took a step back just to make absolutely, positively sure that we are not just going through the motions; that we have a true, life-changing, eternity-altering relationship with God.

We talked about some of the things people rely on to make them Christians that will fail them in the future.  And then we talked about the five steps to make absolutely, positively sure that you are on the High Way, the right road back to God in full redemption.

If you know someone who is questioning their faith, whether or not it’s real, genuine, and life-changing; whether their connection with Christ is more than just religious activity, today’s podcast is for you.

Yea God; You’re a Creative Genius With Mud: Today @ The Gathering

Today @ The Gathering we continued our current series with installment number two, “Yea God; You’re a Creative Genius With Mud.”

What I attempted to do was to simply, logically walk through several steps that we need to understand, comprehend, and embrace, if we’re going to think about God, not just logically, but with wisdom.

There are seven steps starting with, there is something rather than nothing.  Have you ever thought about just looking around you and realizing the order and majesty, and yet in stark contrast to that, the ugly and distorted? How can these two radical ideas exist in the same ecosystem?  On the one hand, this is a good world, and on the other hand, something has gone desperately wrong.

One of the issues that we dealt with today, was the nature of man.  Are we just simply animals who have evolved up to a higher form, that our minds and hearts are just chemical responses to our bodily functions? Or is there something more to us?  Were we created by God like the rest of creation and yet very, very different?  What is that difference?  What has gone wrong as we try to live out the uniqueness of man on the planet?  If we are created in the image of God, why are we so harmful and hurtful to the planet our Creator has given us for our survival?  We  addressed all these answers in the introduction of courageous dissent.

One of the common misunderstandings about Christianity is that it calls people to conformity, to blindly obey their spiritual mentors, leaders, and teachers.  And yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Jesus Christ was not compliant, nor did He get along with the religious establishment. We’ve tried to make Him a blond-haired, blue-eyed, limp-wristed, white guy who just tried to be nice.  And yet it was Jesus, Himself who said He’s come to not bring peace, but a sword.How can these two messages exist in the life of one person?

But be careful before you dismiss Him. For 2000 years we’ve been trying to get over Jesus, away from Jesus, and yet He still abides.  Over one billion people on this planet follow Him as Lord and Master.  If you don’t understand why, this talk will give you a good introduction.

God Isn’t Some Distant Idea, Like You’ve Been Told: Today @ The Gathering

Today @ The Gathering we started a brand new series called “Yea God!” For the next 8 weeks, we’re going to focus on the nature of God: who He is, what He offers, and how we relate to Him in a real world, on a day-to-day basis.

Today we started by reminding people that just because we hear information at church, at school, and other places, doesn’t mean we learn it. We have to add the practice of the things we hear.  Here is the formula:  what we hear and put into practice over time, these are the things we learn.  The things we learn this way is called wisdom.  And wisdom is one of the most important things in the entire world to have.

So we talked about the wisdom that understands that God relates to us as a Father.  This means that God is not remote or removed, that He doesn’t know what’s going on in our lives as a father would.  But it also means God is not your buddy.  Oftentimes we use familiar language: the man upstairs, the big guy, the big kahuna.  None of these are appropriate because God is your Father.  And as such, you owe Him respect and honor.

In today’s talk, we gave practical ways you can relate to God on a personal level, so that your faith becomes more than just theory or something that you were raised in as a child.  God offers a relationship: a father-son, father-daughter relationship; the most intimate relationship you can have.  All you’ve got to do is reach out by faith and take it.