When people think of hearing from God they often assume God begins and ends with a booming voice from the sky and he asks them to perform a miraculous act or a great act of sacrifice. The reality is less dramatic but no less powerful.
“He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore.” -Luke 5:3
In this passage Jesus meets Simon Peter who came in from a long night of fishing and began to clean his nets. I’m sure he was tired, frustrated and maybe a little dejected. Think of all of the energy burned, time consumed and the sleep he could not have because he was trying to put in an honest day’s work. After all of this, a carpenter with a crowd and a Messiah complex asks him to take his boat back out. He’s not asking for a paid ride. He’s not bartering, begging or promising a gift, he’s simply asking for a simple act of obedience. “Can you push your boat out from the shore so I can teach this crowd?”
Simon had options. He could have said no. He could have gone home. He could have complained about his life and gotten angry (we know it was in him to do this). But in spite of his bad night, in spite of his lack of funds, in spite of being tired and cranky, HE OBEYED.
Above: Captivate Church is reaching people because men and women like those in the photos above continue to not only hear God’s prompting but they take up the call to simply obey. Simple obedience is changing lives.
I believe God will speak to you today. There’s a great chance He will not be asking for you to conquer a nation or suffer death. It’s more likely He’s going to ask you to be generous to someone in His name. He may ask you to give someone a ride. It’s possible God will ask you to reconsider your attitude toward your mate. I don’t know how God will prompt you today but here is what I do know, Peter’s life went on to be a powerful testimony of the gospel. Peter went on to become a world-changer. It all started with one simple act of obedience!
A few months ago we started to do “coffee talks” at a local independent coffee shop.
We stole the idea from Tadd Grandstaff
and Pine Ridge Church
. As you can tell from the pics below we moved this month’s gathering to “The Empire: Starbucks” because of some repairs being made to the independent up the road.
The concept is simple. If you’ve started to attend Captivate Church in the last 8 weeks, we’ll buy your drink. If you’re a part of Captivate we’d like you to come and welcome new families to the church. It’s a simple but effective way of getting people connected who may never realize others share similar interests.
From our staff’s perspective we know a lot more about families in our church than they usually know about one another. We typically spend time during the coffee talks getting to know recent additions to the church and then going across the room and introducing them to someone who share similar interests.
Last night we had a volunteer fireman who is also a police officer get introduced to a full time fireman and then later in the evening I introduced both of them to a college student who is taking the fireman exam in about a month. These guys had a connection based on fire fighting that they may not have realized just by attending services each Sunday.
When people come to the church they find out that we exist to send them on mission for Christ. Anyone attending Captivate for more than a week understands that. What we as a church understand is that in order to be fulfilled while on mission our people need the feeling of connectedness with one another.
When you look across the room at a stranger and then you find out you share 15 years of an interest (hobby, job, unusual workout routine, etc.), you instantly have a 15 year bond with this stranger. He/She knows many of your frustrations, hurts, pains and victories. Then when they talk about the mission of the church together, they now have some common language already built in to unite together and get a task done.
No one likes to feel alone. The only thing worse than being alone is being alone in a crowded room.
(random photo: myself and Mr. Jim McBride, Executive Pastor of Sherwood Church)
Great Partner Churches:
Their Pastor, Dr. Michael Catt is a great leader who is passionate about Jesus, the local church and revival in the hearts of God’s people.
The true test of a leader however is several levels down from the church office. Dr. Catt leads a church that is one of the most passionate group of Jesus-followers I’ve ever seen in my life. They have been beyond generous to us in Baltimore and I can’t thank God enough for the impact their church is having in my hometown. God is using Sherwood in ways they may never know in order to advance the Gospel.
Some of the ‘Great People’ who make Captivate Church happen have never even been to a service and most will never travel to Maryland. The great people of Sherwood Church in Albany, GA are not unlike the great people of a dozen other churches who contribute to make Captivate happen. Individuals who give their tithes and offerings to their church to advance the gospel and then their Pastors send some of those resources to places like Baltimore where we need the supply line to keep going to battle every day over souls. These are some of the great people who make Captivate happen.
Thank you Dr. Michael Catt, Mr. Jim McBride and Mr. Jim Jewell for investing in Baltimore through the ministry of Captivate Church.
Great Captivate Attendees:
Last night my wife and I sat down with eight recent additions to Captivate. Seven of them (to my knowledge) are believers and one accepted Christ this past Sunday.
This group is a breath of fresh air. They all didn’t know one another prior to last night but they all were connected through one of the couples who started coming to the church. As I talked to them about their stories and as they responded to the vision of Captivate Church I can tell that these are solid people who just want to see God move in their lives and through the life of their church.
A few quotes from last night that caught my ear:
“I appreciate when you give high standards because it lets me know you’re serious and you value the church.”
“I expect to serve, service in the church is a built in part of being a member.”
“Our son is going through a hard time and he watched Captivate online. He wants to get things together and after seeing the sermons online he’s moved down here to come to the church and get things right in his life.”
As we got to talk to these families I got the sense that God was doing something I prayed for many months ago. I started to pray that God would send us missionaries. I asked God to send us people who were NOT connected to a local church but who would come in attracted to our mission of reaching Baltimore with the gospel, not come in to try to make us something different. As I heard story after story last night I couldn’t help but to feel like God is bringing us some great people to build a great church. I’m so excited for where we are and where God is leading us.
We’ve been able to add some believers to our mix who love Jesus and love His Church without losing sight of our mission to reach people with the gospel. We baptized two on Sunday and saw one come forward to receive Christ. We have several more baptisms lined up for September 12th. God is doing a great work and we’re honored to be part of this church.