Tag Archives: City Church

Ordination Service

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This Sunday City Church Del Rio will have the privilege of ordaining 4 pastors into the gospel ministry. 2 of the pastors are on the ministerial staff of City Church, while one is on the mission field, yet very active at City Church, and the other pastor is an interim pastor in Eagle Pass.

in the short history of City Church Del Rio, we have been blessed with so many opportunities to honor God and this is just one more. Ordination of these 4 men will be a milestone for us, and I believe will set City Church up as a church who recognizes the gifts God has already bestowed upon those going into the ministry and those already in the ministry.

I will be preaching from Ephesians 4:11-16, titled Set Apart to Equip the Saints.

E.V. Hill, pastor of Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA. for 42 years before he died in 2003, said this: “I had one of those purple haired older widow ladies that was always sitting up front at every church service.” She was always speaking back to me as I preached. She would say things like ‘Amen, and Alleluia, and preach it.’ But the one thing that I admired about her was this. Whenever I decided to get off the path of keeping Jesus lifted up, she let me know. This is what she would say: “Get Him Up There, now Get Him Up there.”

As pastors we are to “Get Him Up There,” which means that we make sure Jesus is the One being exalted, and no-one else.

As you minister where you are I pray you always have someone in your life to remind you to “Get Him Up There.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Acuna, Mexico, 1 year after the tornado of 2015

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On May 24, 2016, A small team from Texas Tech University traveled to Acuna with our Missions Pastor, Shon Young, my family, and Arvin Mendez, the Pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Acuna, MX. We are photographed here standing one on of the devastated areas, but now it is a beautiful park area.

We haven’t forgotten the people or the community of Acuna. We have continued to be in prayer and give support to those in need.

Monday, May 25, 2015 was not your typical Monday. The day began with heavy thunderstorms with a magnificent lightning show. The smell of coffee began to permeate the house, and breakfast was about to begin, when I was asked from a friend via text if we had power on at our house, since they had not. I said we did and we invited them over for coffee and breakfast. As we finished up around 9 am, I received notice if I seen the pictures of the tornado damage in Acuna, Mexico which is 6 miles to the south of us. I had not, so we started an internet search and the pictures were very alarming.

13 people had been confirmed dead, and many more hundreds were injured. Reports were coming in and there were missing people. As I was there I was interviewed by a Mexican news station. I was able to speak with a few of those who lost everything and they conveyed to me that the tornado lasted a brief 10 seconds. I later found out that it was only 6 seconds, and it was in fact an F5 magnitude.

Here are some pictures from that day:

May Jesus be the King of Acuna, as recovery is still taking place.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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1 Peter

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This was the last sermon of a 9 week journey through 1 Peter. What an awesome part of our New Testament!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

City Church Del Rio

Living Life in Humility, 1 Peter 5:1:11

Introduction—Today, as we complete our series through the book of 1 Peter, I want to recall to mind some of the great passages of this epistle.

1 Peter 1:3-43 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

1 Peter 1:15-1615 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:2323 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 Peter 2:2-32 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:24-2524 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 3:15-1615 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 4:8-10Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:1616 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

1 Peter 5:6-7Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:1-11

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud

but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

  1. God is looking for humble leaders, verses 1-4
  2. In church, the need for leadership is great. As a pastor, I am always on the lookout for who might be a good fit for a place of service that we have as an opening or possible ministry either currently or down the line.
  3. I want someone who fits the description that Peter has laid out here. Someone who is humble
  4. Verse 1—Peter says I need you to come along side me. You have been a Christian now for long enough, it is time to be in partnership for Kingdom work.
  5. Elders are peacemakers, prayer warriors, teachers, leaders by example, and decision makers. They are the preaching and teaching leaders of the church.
  6. City Church will be an elder-led church when we finalize everything in our by-laws and constitution.
  7. For those of you who are here reading this text, you may be saying to yourself, I am glad I’m not an elder or shepherd or overseer, the 3 different types of ministers. But I say that if you have anyone under you care, this still applies if you remove the word elder and place you name in the sentence.
  8. You see, you can’t just get out of doing the will of God because this may not be directly addressing you, but it does indirectly address you.
  9. Verse 2, as leaders, we are to watch over the people in our lives because we get to, not because we have to. We do it because God wants us to not so we can gain some sort of credibility with God, but we do it with eagerness.
  10. In verse 3, Peter says that you should not take advantage of the position God has placed you in. He calls it lording over them. This is what I would call taking advantage of someone. No one is placed you your life to be your servant.
  11. Verse 4, one of those verses that always remind us that we will be accountable to God for they way we treat people. If we are ungodly and unChrisitian to those under our care, don’t expect Jesus to come in and tell how great you are for treat others poorly. Instead, be humble, willing, and eager to serve and please God, so He can say, well done good and faithful servant.
  12. All of us should be on a place to leadership not just in the church but in our families. We should pursue it with all humility.

Illustration—Hudson Taylor, who was a missionary to China, was scheduled to speak at a Large Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary in eloquent and glowing terms. He told the large congregation all that Taylor had accomplished in China, and then presented him as “our illustrious guest.”

Taylor stood quietly for a moment, and then opened his message by saying, “Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master.”

We should be so humble as to live our lives in the same manner.

Application—Are you a person of humility? Are you at a place where you are struggling to be humble? It is hard to be humble in today’s context, because society has asked you to prop yourself up and place yourself on full display for the world to see you. We scream to the world, “look at me, look at me.” Humble yourself before the Lord today.

  1. Living your life in humility means waiting for God, verses 5-7

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud

but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  1. Verse 5, Peter is speaking to you who are young. Believe it or not, you can learn from those that are older than you.
  2. Sometimes we may not look like we know what we are doing, but we do. Sometimes.
  3. In the act of humility, we are to clothe ourselves in humbleness toward each other. That means, we are to get dressed in humility everyday so that when those people come against you, talk about you, or don’t even like you, you are ready to be a humble servant.
  4. I have said this before, but the same thing applies when we dress ourselves with the full armor of God. Peter says to dress yourself with humility.
  5. We are told why it is very important to be a person of humility. God doesn’t like proud people or boastful people. He opposes them.
  6. But if you are humble, God will show you favor.
  7. Do you want favor from God? Then live your life in humility.
  8. Verse 6, Peter’s great testimony of this entire letter, to me, is summed up in this verse 6.
  • Peter knew first hand how to be boastful and proud. He messed up a lot. He was always opening up his mouth only to stick his foot in it. So when he writes this verse for us, he manes it with all his heart.
  • Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. In the Old Testament, God’s hand represented both discipline and deliverance. We are to expect both as we live in humility. We need the deliverance of God, but we also need His discipline.
  • The reason we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God is for Him to lift us up in His due time.
  • I don’t know about you, but when we live in God’s timing, our lives are so much better. We are in total alignment with our Creator.
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

9. Verse 7 is a verse that can give you all the peace you need from God. Give God all your anxiety because He care immensely for you. He cares deeply for     you.

10. He cares a lot about you and your situation or circumstance. All means-all of your anxiety, all of your worries, and all of your woes. Give it to the Master who cares for you.

Application—Are you waiting for your due time? Are you anxious? Please give it to God today, and see if He doesn’t care for you. Humble yourself before the Lord today.

  1. Living your life in humility will allow you to take a stand, verses 8-9

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

  1. Verse 8 is a challenge to us be on guard and awake. Too many times we (the church) are caught sleeping and unaware of what is going on in the world.
  2. Satan is the master at devouring Christians. What I mean by that is this: It seems when times are tough, Satan wins. We back away because it is too controversial to take a stand for fear of __________, you fill in the blank.
  3. Verse 9, gives us the confidence we need to stand.
  • We resist Satan. The way we do that is by making sure we are deliberately placing things in our lives that are ungodly. Media, movies, and music. I call those the 3 m’s. If you can refrain from getting involved in those three things that can be very harmful, you are resisting. There are some movies, media, and music that are what I call neutral, they neither are godly or satanic. There are just for entertainment, and there is nothing wrong with good, clean, entertainment. We need to to relax at times, so this can be a form of that.
  • We stand firm in our faith. We don’t compromise just because someone is offended at Jesus. Remember, it is Jesus they are holding a grudge against.
  • We have confidence knowing that we aren’t alone in our stance. The worldwide body of Christ is also suffering with us, but as we stand together, we gain our strength.

Illustration—Curt Schilling fired from ESPN for his stance against anyone of any sexual orientation using whatever bathroom they choose based on their feelings of who they are.

Application—Are you living a life that stands for something? Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord today.

  1. Living your life in humility brings great results, verses 10-11

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

  1. Lastly, as you live a life of humility, you will experience great results!
  2. In verse 10, Peter sums up his epistle: In the end, God, who is rich in grace, will restore you to give you strength, a firm stance, and steadfast.
  3. This verse is a promise of diving aide. You have Jesus by your side as you journey through life. He is in the restoration business. He will take something that world has discarded and make it fresh and new again.
  4. Verse 11, reminds us to always give all the credit to God. Let everyone know that it is all Him that gives us the power to carry on!

Application—If you aren’t getting the results that God wants you to have, don’t quit. Don’t give up. He will restore you! He will give you the strength to stand! Surrender your life to Him today!

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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On Sunday, Feb 21, 2016, I will begin a new 9-week series through the book of 1 Peter. I keep asking myself, what is it that I most enjoy about preaching through a book series? Why do I continue to believe it is important to preach in this manner? As I pondered, I believe it gives me a great deal of focus about what to do next. I know many pastors enjoy the thrill of wondering what God will reveal to them for their next sermon based on current world news, but I am leery about that method. Right now, the news is so political, I don’t want to get into a political sermon series (could turn out that way). I would much rather go through a book, and allow God to help me help others in dealing with Scriptures in the total context of a particle book. This is called expository preaching. It consists of a verse-by-verse approach.

Ed Steadier of Lifeway recently wrote a part 1 of a 3 part series on this topic. You can read part 1 HERE

Here are my upcoming sermons for City Church Del Rio:

1 Peter 9-week Sermon Series, “Encouragement for a Chosen People”

Feb 21, 2016, Living Life with Hope, 1 Peter 1:3-12

Feb 28, 2016, Living Life in Holiness, 1 Peter 1:13-25

March 6, 2016, Living Life as a Chosen People, 1 Peter 2:1-10

March 13, 2016, Living Life in a Strange Land, 1 Peter 2:11-25

March 20, 2016, Living Life in Harmony, 1 Peter 3:1-8

March 27, 2016, Living Life in Resurrection Power, 1 Peter 3:9-22 (Easter)

April 3, 2016, Living Life for God, 1 Peter 4:1-11

April 10, 2016, Living Life in Suffering, 1 Peter 4:12-19

April 17, 2016, Living Life in Humility, 1 Peter 5:1:11

Stay in the Light, 1 John1:7,

Pastor Larry

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5 Reasons Pastoral Tenure Could Increase

 

 

 

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As we move into our next phase for City Church, I am enthralled about the possibility to have a long tenure here. Although I am not a millennial, I feel a connection with this group and count them as peers. I realized that they have so much to offer churches in the way of leadership. They do not lead like my generation. They lead as soon as they see an opportunity. My generation (busters) sees a need and forms a group to pray about if we should have any connection with that need. While we wait, the young millennials have already moved in and helped.

City Church is a vibrant young congregation just 4 weeks into its birth. More than half our staff is 30 years or younger with years of experience already! We are a blessed church ready to minister to the city of Del Rio!

Beginning January 3, 2016, the Lord has opened up an opportunity for us to meet in another church’s facilities. What a huge answer to prayer. We will be meeting at Livingstone Worship Center where my good friend Pastor Martin Seca leads. He is just as excited as we are. There staff has been such a blessing to us here at City Church! We can hardly wait to move forward as we have already outgrown the house in which we meet. Last Sunday, we had 48 people in church, and this Sunday expects to be more.

As you read this blog, would you pray for God’s will to guide us as we seek Him first. We know His New Testament church is a growing church, so we are praying for God to lead us in this quest to evangelize Del Rio, Texas.

Thom Rainer wrote:

The five reasons pastoral tenure could increase are:

  1. Pastors want to invest their lives in a community.
  2. Pastors want more stability for their families.
  3. Pastors don’t measure ministry success and fulfillment by numbers and size.
  4. Pastors are starting new churches.
  5. Pastors are leading church revitalization.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Church Planting 2015: Who Attends and What Attracted Them

Successful new churches share four factors, LifeWay Research finds.

Church Planting 2015: Who Attends and What Attracted ThemNorth American Mission Board
A 2014 church plant worships in a South Dakota school.

Protestants are planting new churches in America faster than their old churches are closing.

More than 4,000 new Protestant churches opened their doors in the United States in 2014, outpacing the 3,700 that shuttered, according to estimates by LifeWay Research based on input from 34 denominational statisticians.

And American church planters say 42 percent of their worshipers were unchurched while 43 percent switched from an existing church, according to LifeWay’s 2015 National Church Planting Study, released today.

For the study, the Nashville-based research organization analyzed 843 churches started since 2008 by 17 denominations and church-planting networks, including: the Assemblies of God, Baptist Missionary Association of America, Center for US Missions (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod), Christian and Missionary Alliance, Converge Worldwide, Evangelical Free Church of America, Free Methodist Church USA, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Texas District, New Thing Network, North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention), Presbyterian Church in America, Project Jerusalem, Path1 (United Methodist Church), Southern Baptists of Texas, Vineyard Church, and The Wesleyan Church.

“In winning new converts to Christ, church plants are light years ahead of the average church because of their focus on reaching the unchurched,” said executive director Ed Stetzer.

Successful church launches have several factors in common, the study found:

  • Meeting in a public space: New churches that meet in schools have significantly higher worship attendance, report more first-time commitments to Christ, and are more likely to become financially self-sufficient than other church plants.
  • Focusing on outreach: New churches offering sports leagues, social gatherings, and children’s special events are significantly more likely to attract previously unchurched people than other startups.
  • Supporting their leaders: Adequate compensation and health insurance for the church planter are linked to higher worship attendance and a greater likelihood of financial independence for the new church.
  • Starting more churches: New churches that invest in church planting and launch at least one additional new church in their first five years report higher worship attendance and more new commitments to Christ.

“Healthy new churches have an outward focus from day one, communicating every month that the goal is to be a multiplying church,” Stetzer said.

Though some pastors bristle at new churches coming into their community, they have much to learn—and not much to fear—from the startup down the street, Stetzer said.

One lesson is the value of time-tested methods. While most church plants use the Internet for outreach, 77 percent say word of mouth and personal relationships are the most effective forms of publicity, while only 6 percent say social media is most effective.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of new churches (63%) say Bible study is their primary small-group activity.

“It’s not the most innovative things that matter most. It’s the nuts and bolts,” Stetzer said. “An existing church can take notice and ask, ‘Hey, are we doing those things? Are we making sure people in the community know we exist? Are we inviting people to come and making them feel welcome and all those things a church plant does?’”

Instead of siphoning off members from existing churches, new churches can attract demographic groups that may be largely unreached by existing ones, Stetzer said. Sixty percent of church plants aim to reach a cross-cultural or multiethnic group of people.

“It takes multiple methods to reach a diverse population,” Stetzer said. “The United States from its founding has been a very diverse population. A one-size-fits-all church has never been part of the American equation. As much as ever, we need different approaches to reach different types of people.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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