Monthly Archives: August 2016

We Followed the Steps – Where’s the Church Growth?

This article really ministered to me today. All pastors should feel this way about their churches.

Church Growth by Karl Voters

There are no guaranteed steps to church growth. Because the church is people. And people don’t come with guarantees.

So, what’s a pastor to do? Here’s the only advice I know.

Faithfulness doesn’t help us reach our goals. Faithfulness is the goal.

Discover what you and your church are supposed to be doing, then stay faithful to that mission and ministry. Faithfulness doesn’t help us reach our goals. Faithfulness is the goal.

Keep doing healthy, contextualized ministry. Remove any obstacles to growth and health. Stop comparing ourselves with others. And quit offering excuses.

Let God bring your church the kind of growth he wants. Even if it’s not the kind of growth you want. Or the church across town has. Let Jesus build his church.

Pastors aren’t called to grow bigger churches. We’re called to makes disciples. Equip the saints. Lead healthy churches to become redemptive communities filled with passionate followers of Jesus. Reach our community and world together, no matter how many people do or don’t end up in our seats on Sunday.

If you’re doing that, no matter how big or small your church is, you’re fulfilling your calling.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Daniel-Defining Moments, New Sermon Series

Defining Moments white

September 11, 2016, I will begin a long journey through the book of Daniel at City Church Del Rio. I am super pumped for this because I believe through this teaching, we will be challenged for our defining moments for City Church.

Here is the lineup:

  • September 11, 2016 – Leadership # 1, Daniel 1:1-14
  • September 18, 2016 – Leadership # 2, Daniel 1:15-21
  • September 25, 2016 – The Wrong Way, Daniel 2:1-11
  • October 2, 2106 – The Right Way, Daniel 2:12-23
  • October 9, 2016 – The Revelation # 1, Daniel 2:24-43
  • October 16, 2016 – The Revelation #2, Daniel 2:44-48
  • October 23, 2016 – Never Bow Down, Daniel 3
  • October 30, 2016 – Dreams # 1, Daniel 4:1-18
  • November 6, 2016 – Dreams #2, Daniel 4:19-27
  • November 13, 2016 – Vision becomes Reality, Daniel 4:28-37
  • November 20, 2016 – Thankfulness Sermon
  • November 27, 2016 – Prophetic Writing #1, Daniel 5:1-12
  • December 4, 2016 – Prophetic Writing #2, Daniel 5:13-31
  • December 11, 2016 – Those who Hate God, Daniel 6:1-15
  • December 18, 2016 – Taking a Stand, Daniel 6:1628
  • December 25, 2106 – Christmas Sermon
  • January 1, 2017 – Visions # 1, Daniel 8
  • January 8, 2017 – That is What I Call A Prayer, Daniel 9
  • January 15, 2017 – Visions # 2, Daniel 10
  • January 22, 2017 – The Prophesy, Daniel 11
  • January 29, 2017 – When All is Said and Done, Daniel 12

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Healthy Churches

This is a blogpost from Dr. Thom Rainer:

The 10 signs of healthy churches 10 years from now are:
1.They have the same pastor they did ten years ago.

2.The pastor, staff, and church members have a decade of calling to the local community.

3.The church will be as diverse as the community.

4.The church will have responded to its international mission field in its own backyard for ten years.

5.The church will have had a consistent and strategic outward focus for a decade.

6.All new members the past ten years will have attended a new members’ class.

7.The church will have seen the cultural changes of the decade as opportunities rather than threats.

8.At least 80 percent of the worship attendance will have moved to a small group over the decade.

9.At least 50 percent of the attendance will have invited at least four people to church each year.

10.Every year for ten years these churches will have become more joyous and fun.

Stay in The Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Why we fight in Marriage


I revive weekly emails from marriage speaker Jimmy Evans. This was the latest email. Enjoy!

Gary Smalley is one of my marriage heroes. His books about relationships have been some of the most influential in my life. In one of his books, The DNA of Relationships, he talks about a concept called the “fear dance.”

As someone whose marriage nearly failed because of our fears, this concept really resonated with me. Smalley’s premise is that we all have core fears that impact our decision-making and our responses to circumstances.

Husbands and wives have different core fears.

Men tend to fear things like helplessness, being controlled, failure, and disrespect.

Women tend to fear disconnection, not being appreciated, not being heard, or not being valued.

In my experience, this breakdown of fears is incredibly accurate. I believe every person deals with one of these kinds of core fears.

According to Smalley, the “fear dance” consists of several repeated steps: I hurt. I want. I fear. I react. Then you hurt. You want. You fear. You react. Then I hurt, and the cycle begins again. All of us are hurting because of some issue in our lives. Because we are hurting, we want a solution.

Some people try to solve their fear by working too hard or spending long hours at the office. Some invest too much time into a hobby, or even into their children. Some overeat. Some drink too much. They fear losing control or being disrespected. They react to these feelings, and cause a separate fearful reaction in their spouse.

A perfect example of this comes from a friend of mine who is a Christian psychologist. Several years ago—in the days before cell phones—this man’s wife called him at the office to ask when he’d be home for dinner. He gave her a specific time. A few hours later, he left the office in time to get home.

But on the way out, he encountered a patient coming to see him with an emergency that involved a threatened suicide. The psychologist was a specialist in that area and immediately went into professional mode. It led to an intense, difficult counseling situation, but ultimately he saved a person’s life.

Hours later, the psychologist left the office feeling good about himself. But, of course, he missed dinner. He hadn’t been able to call his wife to let her know about the delay. He’d just saved a life, but when he got home, she was furious. It led to a huge fight.

She had been worried when he didn’t come home. She felt unimportant when he seemingly didn’t care enough to call. He wasn’t communicating with her. His job was taking him away from her. All of these thoughts sent her into a cycle of fear.

From his perspective, he felt another fear: being disrespected and misunderstood. He had just saved someone’s life! The previous hours had validated his entire career, and all he heard was about how he missed dinner.

Both saw a form of rejection in each other’s actions and reacted to it. That’s the fear dance, and it’s the cause of the deepest fights in a marriage.

We have to learn to escape the fear dance. Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Rather than let our fears damage our closest relationships, we need to give them over to God. Acknowledge your fears, take responsibility for the hurtful actions they might cause, then trust God to cover those thoughts with His peace.

Rather than fear, He will fill us with His love, with His power, and with a sound mind. With His help you can overcome your fear, and I promise it will make a different spouse out of you. What do you fear? How does it impact your marriage?

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Community

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Community is one of those buzz words churches use today. I believe with all my heart many churches do want to do church as community, but really don’t know how to do it. We are by no means experts at it, but as we continue to seek opportunities to be the presence of Christ, this was one of those times. We partnered together with the community man himself, Mr. Hector Guerra in the 10th annual Back to School Health fair and backpack giveaway. Over 2,400 people came through and to our table.

One question I asked as the families came through was this: Do you currently go to church? If they answered yes, then I encouraged them to keep on going. I never want other churches to think we want them to come to our church instead. There are plenty of non-church going people in our community that we can invite to church. As I would ask that question, I did receive some expressions indicating why I wouldn’t invite them or talk about City Church if they indeed were going to a church already.

I am friends and co-laborers with many of the pastors at our sister churches. We are all doing the same work. We are all in the same business. We are all on the same team. We are all trying to figure out how to make church relevant to a current generation that sees church as irrelevant. that is why we need to be out in the community among the people.

Thom Rainer recently posted on his blog:

The nine signs of a community-focused church are:

  1. Reaches out to community leaders
  2. Intentionality about being where the people are
  3. The community of eating out and coffee houses
  4. Helping where the community says they need it
  5. Intentionally evangelistic
  6. Intentionally invitational
  7. In the key civic groups
  8. In key political meetings
  9. In the schools

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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