It's a good thing KKLA 99.5 is radio and not television or a person might actually confuse me for Frank Pastore as seen in the above picture. One of my dearest friends is the man himself "Frank Pastore" who host the Frank Pastore show as heard daily on KKLA 99.5 FM from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. here in the greater Los Angeles area. Frank has asked me to fill in for him today so he can get a little R&R.
Monday, December 26, 2011
It's a good thing KKLA 99.5 is radio and not television or a person might actually confuse me for Frank Pastore as seen in the above picture. One of my dearest friends is the man himself "Frank Pastore" who host the Frank Pastore show as heard daily on KKLA 99.5 FM from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. here in the greater Los Angeles area. Frank has asked me to fill in for him today so he can get a little R&R.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
So often I wish that Christmas was a bit slower for Pastors and staff, because it is always one of the busiest times of the year. Although hectic, I never TIRE of telling the GREATEST story on earth, the night our Savior was born! Where would we be without the love of God who willingly allowed his son to come to earth so that we might one day live with him! It's the life changing message of Salvation!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The previous week Drew had mentioned that his name meant "famous" and "manly." I looked it up, and that is exactly what I found on my internet search. To be sure, Drew ONLY mentioned that to make us laugh, which I most certainly did, because I know he likes to make people laugh. Although I was there to preach on the "Mighty God" of Isaiah 9:6, I was glad that I was able to spend time with my "famous" and "manly" friend. Drew has done such a wonderful job leading a church in the greater Dallas area.
I was so proud of how far he has come from being a 23 year old rookie to leading one of the best churches in the country. I wish you could see his campus and meet all the sweet people who attend his church. Why, just a few weeks ago, because of their support of the "sanctity" of human life, Drew was able to interview President George W. Bush, and I actually saw a picture of Drew and the President while being interviewed.
When I saw the picture, but more importantly, when I saw all the people's lives that were being changed by the power of the "Mighty One," I thought to myself that his parents named him well.
Monday, December 05, 2011
2011 has been an amazing year capped off by our fall Revival. We had an outstanding list of speakers who delivered truly inspired messages. But the revival was a result of people who had been praying for the 6 weeks leading up to the revival. And, without question, each night you could sense the power of God at work in the lives of those who were there. Looking back I am still changed and moved by the events of that week. The preaching, the music, the prayers, the changed lives and the power of the gospel. I pray that this video will serve as a reminder that it's "still not the end" and we have many souls to reach.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
So many things upon my heart today. Just thought I'd list out a few prayers in hopes that you would join me in praying for our world. First, for all our families. Couples struggling, marriages on the brink, children running in rebellion. May the Lord help men to step up and become Godly men who serve Christ, who honor their wives and who lead their family and children. May women reflect the love of Christ in all situations and give them peace and strength for the challenges of each day.
I want to pray for all the single men and woman and ask that they would remain true to God and save themselves for marriage. Lord help them not to compromise their faith or their purity. Help them not to run ahead of what you have planned for them.
I pray for children, specifically that you oh God would watch over them and protect them. So many forces in this world to lead them down the wrong path. My prayer is that you would raise up a generation of young people that would shake this world for Christ.
Next, I want to pray for all the Pastors and Church leaders and ministries in the world. God that our churches would be evangelistic in nature, making disciples of all nations and to not get swept up in majoring in the minors. Help our preachers and teachers to speak God's word in an uncompromising manner. The Word of God never returns void so help us lift high the Lord Jesus Christ and his plan of Salvation for all the world to hear.
Help Christians to get out of their comfort zone and to not worry about the cost, but the call of God upon their life. Give us boldness and faithfulness and give us a burden to become true followers of Jesus Christ. Lord, help us NOT to compromise but to live each day in complete surrender to your will.
I want to also pray for the following things
1. The flooding in Thailand and to help those trying to recover.
2. The turmoil in the Middle East, to protect Israel and bring Salvation to Jews, Arabs and Egyptians.
3. The economic turmoil in Europe and specifically those in Greece.
4. Pray for the underground church in China, for the Lord's protection and mercy.
5. For Christians in India, China, Egypt and others who are being persecuted for their faith.
6. For Americans to care more for the spiritual than the physical. We need a revival in this country.
7. For College Students in USA and abroad to not be swept away by humanism and secularism.
8. Pray for the poor and down trodden in America and around the world. Let your love be known.
9. Pray for our government that they would have a holy fear and reverence for you Lord.
10. Pray for the men and women who serve in our Military. For police officers and firefighters.
11. Pray for Hollywood and those who work in the Entertainment business to use their gifts for God.
12. Praying for Shepherd of the Hills Church, that we would reflect the church that we see in Acts.
13. Pray that every person who reads this blog would hunger and thirst for righteousness that comes from above.
14. Pray for missionaries who serve around the world. Bless them and empower them to lift high Jesus' name.
15. Ask God to provide for those who are hurting financially and help each of us to believe in HIS LAWS of planting and sowing.
16. Pray for the city of Los Angeles. It seems like the entire world lives in this city or is at least represented. From L.A. we can help change the world as we lead others to accepting and following the Lord Jesus Christ.
17. Pray right now for YOURSELF... that the rest of this day and the rest of your life that you would honor and serve Christ with ALL of your HEART.
Lord... Thank you for the power of your love and grace. May your mercy that shines upon us be forever present and may the personal relationship that we have with you be a testimony that YOU DESIRE to have that same relationship with others. Thank you for loving us and never giving up on us. Forgive us whenever we fail you and speak truth into our lives when we take our eyes off of you. Help us to repent, to turn completely to you without hesitation.
May we read the bible with passion and conviction and see our trials as blessings as you shape and mold our lives.
IN JESUS NAME,
Amen.... and Amen!
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
NACC Diversity: ‘A Giant Leap Forward’
President Dudley Rutherford said, “I wanted to show folks around the country how to put on an event and make it diverse without diversity being the theme.”
By Darrel Rowland
Dudley Rutherford admits it’s his biggest fear: That the recent increasing diversity of the NACC will fade away.
“We took a giant leap forward. We cannot afford to take a small step backward. We need to keep pressing the issue,” said Rutherford, who has led the drive to bring more minorities as speakers and to fill other key roles on the platform.
Rutherford said he already has written letters to future NACC presidents urging them to continue the convention’s blend of races and ethnicities.
“Usually we put one African-American on the stage and call it diversity,” he said.
This year’s convention had four blacks in major speaking slots, with Asians and Latinos also playing visible roles in every service.
The second verse to the third song on opening night (“Shout to the Lord”) was sung in Spanish. Before one service, John 3:16 was recited in Korean, Farsi, Hebrew, Spanish, and English. Mixed in with the usual Chris Tomlin songs were some Kirk Franklin and other tunes more familiar to minority audiences.
“I wanted to show folks around the country how to put on an event and make it diverse without diversity being the theme,” Rutherford said. “All it took was a little intentionality and some perseverance. If we succeeded in this, anybody can.”
But he worries that the people who keep the NACC going year to year lack diversity themselves.
“I stood up before the continuation committee and expressed that I have served my term and one of you has to pick up this mantle and carry it,” Rutherford said.
One of this year’s African-American speakers, Daryl Reed, lead minister of DC Regional Christian Church in Washington, D.C., was chosen as vice president of a future NACC.
During his opening-night sermon, Rutherford apologized to African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other minorities. He traced the lack of integration in Restoration Movement churches to decisions by white-controlled congregations immediately after the Civil War that blacks should leave their fellowship and start their own churches.
Nearly 150 years later, “not much has changed,” he said. “Our lack of diversity is more than a glaring blind spot.”
But without a change in heart—without a commitment from churches across the land to put minorities on their platforms, their staffs, and leadership teams—such apologies mean little, he acknowledged.
Rutherford wasn’t the only speaker to talk about the lack of diversity.
During the convention’s breakfast for Dream of Destiny—a national effort to bring unity through diversity—Scott Williams, author and pastor of LifeChurch.tv, said 93 percent of U.S. churches are still segregated.
During a workshop on growing a diverse leadership, Rob Daniels, executive pastor of Westbrook Christian Church in Bolingbrook, Illinois, pointed out that current minorities will actually make up a majority of Americans in a few decades. That means “the 21st century has to be the century of multiracial congregations” if the church is to survive.
Darrel Rowland is an adult Bible fellowship teacher at Worthington (Ohio) Christian Church and public affairs editor of The Columbus Dispatch.
Today I was honored to speak at the Ultimate Freedom Conference. A group of guys who have been saved by the grace of almighty God. We went to the front of the church to take a group photo and I wanted to post the picture to let you see some men who are hungry for the word of God. Part of this group comes out of our BREWLINE ministry in the East Valley. I am understanding more and more that if we can get the men in our city living for Christ that we can transform our homes, family and culture. Would you take a moment right now and pray for these men pictured that they would, "before their feet hit the floor" each morning, serve the Lord with ALL of their HEART. I was encouraged to see so many men who had come from such difficult backgrounds to stand and boldly proclaim their intent on making Jesus LORD.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
If I hadn’t seen it myself, I would not have believed it. At first, my reaction was… no way! And then, it quickly changed to… are you kidding?! Then, it was… this is not possible!
For a couple of years now, there has been a group of pastors who lead churches with over 5000 attendees that have joined together to discuss issues that we have in common with leading large churches. Eleven of us gathered in Las Vegas, and our host was Jud Wilhite of Central Christian Church, which averages 18,000 attendees. Dave Stone, who pastors at the fourth largest church in America, Southeast Christian Church, in Louisville, Kentucky was there. Their average attendance is over 22,000. Don Wilson of Christ Church of the Valley in Phoenix (18,000 in attendance), which was just listed as the fasted growing church in America, also joined us. The rest of the men were Cam Huxford from Savannah, Chuck Booher from Corona, Kevin Odor from Las Vegas, Tommy Politz from Amarillo, Tim Harlow from Orland Park, Cal Jernigan from Mesa, George Ross from New Albany, and myself.
The thing that made me laugh was that as everyone showed up, one by one, I noticed that they were all wearing black. Nine of the eleven were wearing black. Tim Harlow and I were the only ones that were not wearing black shirts. I actually took my dress shirt off because I had a black t-shirt on underneath my dress shirt, and so there were now 10 of us… all in black.
It really was quite comical. It was as if someone had sent out a memo, yet we knew that was NOT the case. As we sat around the room, we looked like a strange bunch in contrast to the bright lights of Las Vegas. But we were there to talk shop, not to be influenced by the culture of sin city.
For two days, it was a “yearning to learn” experience. I couldn’t get enough of listening and learning. Each pastor had questions and issues that he needed help with, and each pastor had things to share that blessed the rest of the men in black.
As I sat in that room, I couldn’t help but notice that these men had many things in common besides their black shirts. They all had busy schedules. They all loved the Lord passionately. They are all sold out on supporting and building the local church. They are all blessed with visions and goals. No one thought they had all the answers. They all wanted to be better. They all wanted to reach more lost people. They are all thankful for the Lord’s leading in their life. They all felt called, and they were thankful for the iron sharpening iron experience. They all had their own set of worries and concerns. They all loved their families. They are all looking to be better men of God. And for some strange reason, they all wore black.
Next time you see a group of guys all wearing black, don’t just assume they are on their way to a NFL Raiders game. Who knows, it could be a group of pastors who simply want to be better at leading their congregations and simply looking five pounds thinner during the process. Smile.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
1) Why do we forget our blessings faster than we forget our trials?
2) Why is it that if someone disagrees with our President they are considered a racist? I don't remember anyone using that line on the former President and I disagreed with him all the time.
3) Why don't women band together in mass and condemn pornography, especially since it reduces them to mere objects.
4) Why isn't the church more diverse when we are the one entity that's been called to reach all people.
5) How can any politician NOT understand the DANGER of our country being 15 TRILLION dollars in DEBT. That burden falls upon our children.
6) What if the BIBLE were true and the ONLY people who are getting into heaven are those in Christ Jesus (John 3:16, John 14:6) Wouldn't that change everything?
7) Do you know how many signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordained ministers?
If most of them were clergy (which they were) how have we drifted away so far from our heritage?
8) Why is the "spotted owl" more protected than an "unborn child"?
9) How can the same sun that melts butter, harden clay?
10) How can the President pass a mandatory Health Care Bill and then hand out over 1000 exceptions to certain corporations? How come you and I can't get one of those exemptions?
11) Why is paying 75 dollars for a concert or 150 dollars to a musical or 250 dollars for a family of four to attend a dodger game seem like no big deal, but giving twenty dollars to God seems so painful?
12) Why does it seem the older you are the faster time flies?
13) Why don't we spend a greater amount of time on things that are eternal, as opposed to spending most of our time on things that are temporal?
14) Why do people blame God when things go bad and yet they deny God glory when things are going good?
15) At what point did man start to believe that he himself controls the universe and not God almighty?
16) If the odds are greater that you will die by riding on a donkey as opposed to riding on an airplane, then why haven't we ever heard of someone being killed while riding a donkey?
17) Why if the top grossing movies of all time are all G and PG rated, why would Hollywood ever make an R rated movie?
18) What would happen if everyone who claimed to be a follower of Jesus Christ actually let his light shine? How much darkness would be dispelled?
19) Do you think there is a chance that our economic trials in America could be tied to a moral and spiritual problem?
20) Finally, do you think anyone cares about you as much as God? Romans 5:8
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Teary eyed, I made my way out to the memorial knowing that all of those flags, which really seem like too many to actually count, each stood for one of the victims of 9/11. They were color- coordinated. Red is for the firemen and on those that were part of the Emergency Response Team. Blue ribbons stand for the police officers. Green ribbons highlight the men and women in our military who died in the Pentagon. Yellow ribbons represent civilians who died in the towers, and purple ribbons mark those who were on one of the four airplanes.
They are NOT just numbers. These were normal people like you and I who went to work ten years ago, people who loved their families, country and community. And terrorists decided to take their lives and change our country forever.
Then live your life in such a way that it brings honor to God, to country and to those 2977 who lost their lives on that fateful day.
Friday, September 09, 2011
William Vanderbloemen writes the following...
As we stand on the cusp of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I thought I would repost this illustration about the US flag, faith, and undying hope:
If you have ever been to a veteran’s funeral, you have probably seen the casket draped in a United States Flag. I remember presiding over both of my grandfathers’ funerals and watching the servicemen carefully remove, fold, and present the flag to grandmothers at each service.
I often wondered, why do we keep the flag? Why not let the fallen soldier take it with him to his grave? Many times people send mementos to accompany the departed. Whether it was enormous treasures for Pharaohs in Egypt, or horses buried with departed generals, or even a stuffed animal with a deceased child, we have a history of burying belongings with the dead. So why not the flag for the fallen soldier?
Some years back, a friend of mine explained it to me. “We don’t bury the flag, because we believe that even though the soldier has fallen, the flag still flies.”
What a great message to have in mind as we remember the tragedy of 9/11 and celebrate the fact that our flag still flies.
And can’t you see the parallels to the Gospel?
The soldier may have fallen, but the flag still flies. We may suffer losses that are here and now, but the everlasting cause is won. It may seem like Good Friday to you on a day of mourning, but those who know the Savior know that Sunday is coming.
Take a minute today and remember the day that the we were attacked. Thank God for those who have laid down their life to preserve our national freedom. And let that theme guide you to reflect on and give thanks for the God-man who laid down His life to preserve our eternal freedom.
No matter how dark it seems now, the flag of that eternal freedom will never be buried. It will fly in the Heavens for eternity, alongside all of those who have chosen to follow the Way of the freedom giver named Jesus.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I have always wondered what would happen if the Daily News ever had a category for "Best Place to Worship" in their annual poll for Los Angeles. For some reason it had never been one of the questions listed. Well, for the first time ever they asked that question for 2011 and look what church came in on the top of the list? Drum roll............... The 2011 Readers Best Choice for Best Place to Worship is SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS CHURCH. Results will be shown in the August 26th edition of the Daily News.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
At this year's North American Christian Convention, church leaders and Christians from all over the world gathered in Cincinnati (www.gotonacc.org) for a week of learning and fellowship.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Today was a very difficult today because of 30 United States Soldiers that were killed (along with seven Afghans that were with them) in Afghanistan today when their helicopter was shot down.
No member of the Bin Laden raid team was among the dead, said a Pentagon official briefed on the casualties who was not authorized to speak publicly while families still were being notified. But he said 22 of the 30 were Navy SEALs, and a significant number were members of SEAL Team 6, the unit that conducted the Bin Laden raid and is made up of just a few hundred of some of the best-trained fighters in the U.S. military".
Saturday, July 09, 2011
It's Saturday morning, and I'm sitting underneath the Arch in St. Louis reflecting on the events of the past few days at the 2011 North American Christian Convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio, from July 5-8th. Now, as the "Ex-President" and having officially handed the baton to Rick Rusaw for next summer's Orlando convention, I wanted to share with you the highlights of UNLEASHED: The Church Turning the World UPSIDE down. Hope you enjoy reading (smile).
Not in any particular order....
1) Preaching. Every speaker RANG the bell, and each message spoke to my heart. I will forever be indebted to the speakers for the time and commitment they gave to this year's convention. If you did not get a chance to hear them, you need to find a way to purchase a DVD set of this years convention. Powerful preaching!
2) The Shepherd Praise team and gospel choir. They are anointed and blessed. They led and united our convention with worship from the heart! I love you so much.
3) Diversity! I did NOT want diversity to be the theme. We wanted to show people that you can have a convention or a church service and make it diverse simply with a little intentionality. If each of our churches simply began to be intentional, we could change our lack of diversity in a heartbeat!
4) The offering. I am still teary eyed thinking that on ONE night, we received an offering of over $123,000. And then on Friday, when I announced that we are NOT taking up an offering because we did not need one, but placed a few baskets up on the front of the stage; to see so many people come and place additional offerings in the containers made me CRY even more! It was a moving experience! The total offering for the week was just shy of $200,000. WOW!
5) The book, "UNLEASHED": Getting all nine authors: Francis Chan, Jeff Walling, Dave Stone, Greg Nettle, Jeff Vines, Daryl Reed, Phil Allen, and Mike Breaux to write a chapter in a book and to allow folks to take the UNLEASHED book and use it along with the small group DVD study questions that our church produced allows this convention to have a much longer shelf life than a typical convention. You can order a copy at http://www.callonjesus.com/ or Amazon.com
6) Having the convention streamed live for the first time ever! Stories came from around the world of those who were watching and who had their hearts touched. Thank you for all the sponsors and for those who worked on my executive team to make this a reality.
7) The exhibitors who have such a global vision for the gospel. Walking through the exhibit hall always makes me WANT to become a missionary. They are such a big part of our convention, and it's in those hallways where we meet and greet so many of our friends in ministry.
8) Bob Russell's morning Bible Study. For three mornings, he taught about the Church in Acts. He is STILL the MAN! And I'm so thankful for his participation in this year's convention.
9) Standing with the LGBT community! After preaching on the importance of defending Biblical marriage, we were a bit surprised to see the Westboro Baptist people from Kansas picketing the NACC with their HATE-filled signs towards gay people and towards those who preach LOVE like the NACC. I went out and stood with the LGBT community and told them that even though I disagree with their lifestyle, that each and every person attending the NACC disagree with the hateful signs that the protesters were carrying. They thanked me, and we stood with them. Standing for truth and righteousness with LOVE is always the balance we strive for.
10) So blessed by the MANY who made the journey from Shepherd to show their support. Everywhere I turned I saw Shepherd people who were there to soak it all in. You folks continue to amaze me with your love and support. Thank you!
11) The man who wrote the letter about giving $100 when all he had left was $1000 with $4000 of unexpected bills. Your faith and lavish giving set the tone for the miracle offering. I need to visit with you on the phone, if you are able to contact me through our church office.
12) The opening night with the past Presidents on stage and praying with those who came forward for prayer on Thursday night. Just seeing those men, along with all the host churches and my executive team on opening night was just something that reminded me of our great heritage and history. Thank you to each and every pastor and past President for your faithfulness.
13) The volunteers. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU! Everywhere we turned, we saw gracious and kind volunteers who served diligently. It was OBVIOUS that YOUR HEARTS are focused and committed to JESUS! Thank you!
14) Rapping with Anita Renfro. I am still shaking my head in disbelief over some of the things I heard that afternoon, but the icing on the cake was when she asked me to come onto the stage and rap. I am shocked there was NOT a MASS exodus from the Duke Energy Convention Center. Nothing worse than seeing a white bald preacher rapping at an afternoon session at the NACC.
15) The many stories from the local vendors and restaurants that said they had never seen so many nice Christ-like people in and out of their businesses. Thank you for letting your light shine and being UNLEASHED in such a loving way.
16) Interviewing Rick Atchley and Dr. Jerry Taylor during the President's banquet and hearing of the progress and the sacrifices that these two men have made with regard to unity and diversity. They are godly men!
17) Just want to thank the NACC staff again, the workshop leaders, the host churches, the past Presidents, the tech and service coordinators, my staff and praise team, Kay Moll and the women's program, the exhibitors, the wi-fi hot spot area and those who manned it, the banner of 6900 unreached people groups and those of you who began to pray for God to work through you to reach them, my executive team, all the churches that promoted and gave toward the convention, those of you that gave, those of you that sacrificed, Miles McPherson and Francis Chan and all our other speakers, the Freedom Riders and the volunteers. My staff and church at Shepherd. THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.
18) Lastly, my 4 favorite moments on a personal side note.
a) Handing out pizza to the homeless with Dave Stone and our families at MIDNIGHT on Thursday night in Freedom Square. I will NEVER forget that night.
b) Joining my family on Monday night for a celebration for my mothers 80th birthday. I love you, Mom!
c) Cam Huxford and I met with some pastors from Australia who came to the NACC for the first time and were looking for ideas and wisdom concerning getting churches growing and changing that part of the world. Truly UNLEASHED will have a global impact!
d) Lastly, when I got in my car, with luggage and family and shut the door, I began to weep uncontrollably, because of God's mercy in kindness in allowing me to SEE a vision and a dream come true and to see His hand at work and His spirit unleashed in one of the greatest weeks of my life.
Now, may God truly UNLEASH our church in a "Dunamis" manner!
Can't wait to see what God has in store for NEXT YEAR'S CONVENTION!
See you in Orlando!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Daryl also wrote the second chapter in the book called "UNLEASHED: The church turning the world upside down". We walked to the White House and after taking a picture with the book we walked up to the fence and began to pray. We prayed for our President, his wife and children. We prayed for congress and members of the Supreme Court. We prayed for our Country and we prayed for the North American Christian Convention and asked that God would UNLEASH his Spirit upon this nation and that we would experience that next GREAT AWAKENING/REVIVAL.
It struck me how THANKFUL we should be for the fact that we live in a country where we have FREEDOM. FREEDOM to stand on the front lawns of the White House and pray for the President and this country. WOW! May we NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOMS FOR GRANTED.
When we were finished I turned around and there was a MUSLIM man praying. At first he was down on his knees and then he started to do a cleansing. I was shocked to see him at first and then reminded myself that this is what separates our nation from other nations. That he, as a Muslim man, can pray in front of the White House too. I wish ALL MUSLIM countries would see that FREEDOM is why this man is able to pray to Allah in front of the White House. If a Christian tried to do that in some Muslim countries we would be beheaded.
Even though I do NOT believe in Allah or the Koran, I respect the Freedoms we share in America to worship as we please. If you look at the 3rd or 4th line of his placard you will see that whoever takes a picture will suffer eternal judgement. Even though I took a picture, thus stating for the record that I disagree with his theology, I came away today with an even GREATER BURDEN that we MUST use our FREEDOMS to LIFT UP THE NAME OF JESUS. The ONE TRUE SAVIOR and the SON OF THE ONE TRUE GOD!
Friday, June 17, 2011
As this years President of the North American Christian Convention (www.gotonacc.org), which will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio from July 5-8 at the Duke Energy convention center in downtown Cincinnati, there was much planning and praying over a two year window of time.
Friday, June 03, 2011
Today in our Pastors meeting I asked how many are pulling for the Dallas Mavericks and all but 2 were rooting for the Mavs. Last night, when I should have been sleeping, I was thinking WHY do I want the Mavs to win. Not to change any one's mind but simply to tell you why I do NOT want Miami to win. Enjoy.
1) Being a Lakers fan, you always want a team from the West to beat the Team from the East.
2) LeBron celebrates too early. He hasn't won YET! If he wins, let him cheer all he wants. His celebrating in front of Dallas' bench was classless. If you had ever played basketball, this is a NO-NO.
For what it's worth. I think LeBron is one of the greatest athletes in the WORLD. He is an amazing talent. That is NOT the issue. It's the extreme celebrating before the season even started and it's something I never saw in Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird or Michael Jordan. Yes I saw Magic Johnson celebrate. But it was a JOYOUS celebration of sheer happiness. Not the type of stuff we see going on today.
3) My son's name is Dallas. ENOUGH SAID.
4) Some of my favorite Pastors are from the Dallas area. This may not be important to you, but hey, it's my blog. Chris Seidman, Rick Atchley, T.D. Jakes, Caleb Kaltenbach, Drew Sherman, Barry Cameron, Jack Graham and Ed Young Jr.
5) Reason number 5 is "DIRK"
6) The head Coach of Dallas is losing his hair. I LOVE THAT!!!!
7) Blue is my favorite color. (Besides Purple and Gold)
8) Mark Cuban is finally being quiet.
9) The Cowboys have been so bad for so long, it's nice for that city to have something to cheer about.
10) Dallas has better BBQ than Miami.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
By Ronald E. Keener
Dudley Rutherford Senior Pastor: Shepherd of the Hills Church, Porter Ranch, CA.
Shepherd of the Hills is known as one of the most diverse churches in the country. The mayor of Los Angeles once noted publicly that the church is the most racially diverse church in Los Angeles, says Senior Pastor Dudley Rutherford. “I do not believe that is just because we live in Los Angeles. Right across the street from our church is another church that is all one race. There are churches all over this city that have not been successful at breaking down the barriers that divide.”
Breaking down racial barriers goes back to Rutherford’s youth, he says. “I decided to become a minister in the ninth grade, and when I was 16 years old, I invited one of my basketball teammates – a 6 foot 5, African American kid – to come to my primarily all-white church. I remember the look on everyone’s faces as they turned around and wondered who this was that had just walked into their church.
“That was the first time it dawned on me that churches should not be all one color or race. In that moment, I decided that when I had my church, I was going to make sure that it was a racially diverse church. The diversity of Shepherd is not a result of me jumping on the bandwagon a couple of years ago; I have had this burden for a long, long time and I’ve been intentional about it since the beginning, believing and understanding that the church of Jesus Christ needs to be diverse.”
You have a heart for diversity. How hard is this to accomplish?
Los Angeles is a melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities and nationalities, and this is true in every arena — politics, education, the entertainment industry and professional sports. We drive the freeways together, attend all the athletic events together, and shop at the supermarket together, but when it comes to church – even in Los Angeles – 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week.
When the church is not diverse, I see several problems with that. First, it’s a sign that we’re not fulfilling the Great Commission to go into the whole world and reach people of all nationalities. It seems a little hypocritical to me that we would send missionaries around the world to reach people of color, and yet we won’t do it in the very city in which we live.
Second, segregation sends a message to the residents of our city. When a church is all one race, it communicates to the city’s diverse residents that perhaps they’re not welcome and they’re not included in that church. Third, Revelation 7:9 explains that when we get to Heaven, there’s going to be people of every nation, tribe, people, and language worshipping the Lord together.
The church is supposed to be preparing all people for that grand reunion, and we’re not doing a very good job at that.
So what should churches be doing about it?
There are several steps a church can take to become a more diverse church. When we walk into a church of all one race, there has to be a burden in our hearts to change the flavor of what’s going on today. So, it begins with intentionality; we must be able to recognize the problem and be committed to making a difference.
The next critical step is to transform the platform of your church so that any time anyone from any background walks into your church they feel welcome based on the fact that there is so much diversity on the platform. Most of us live in cities where there is some diversity; there is at least some pocket of diversity in every city. So, when we diversify our platform – the worship team, the choir, and the guy doing announcements or the greeting – visitors will look up and see someone on stage who represents them, and they know immediately, “Hey, I am welcome at this church.”
It slowly transforms who is sitting out in your audience. At Shepherd, we found that when we diversified our platform, it actually contributed to our growth, because whenever anyone walked into our church from a different ethnic or racial background, they would see that they were welcomed right away, and oftentimes they chose to stay. It all began with being intentional and diversifying our platform.
Of all the entities that exist in America, the church shouldn’t be lagging behind in regards to this diversity issue; the church should be on the cutting edge, leading by our example. The church should be saying to the rest of the world, “Let us show you how to break down the walls that divide us racially.”
What is your personal hope?
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will move across the churches in America – especially the New Testament, Restoration churches – that somehow we would be burdened with this particular issue and make the changes that are necessary. Once your church starts to include people of all races, it’s like a snowball effect; it empowers the church to grow even beyond what you thought or imagined was possible because you’re including people from all nationalities and people groups.
And once you’ve experienced what heaven is going to be like – in the church on earth – there’s something that speaks to your spirit and there’s something that speaks to others. It speaks volumes to the community, that we care about people, that we’re not bigoted or prejudiced, that we’re not interested in serving only ourselves, that we’re not a little social club — we are truly interested in getting outside of our four walls and influencing the people of this day and this culture.
Today Shepherd of the Hills runs nearly 9,000 people in attendance each weekend, with close to 12,000 members, on two main campuses and three satellite campuses.
In working at diversity, what is “Dream of Destiny.”
1. Be intentional about making your platform/stage diverse (i.e. worship team, teaching, announcements).
2. Be intentional about diversity within your leaders, staff and elder board.
3. Make sure all promotional material, bulletins, and weekly service programs reflect the diversity you desire within your ministry
4. Fund scholarship opportunities (directly through a Bible college or through the DOD scholarship fund).
5. Host internship opportunities for prospective candidates that represent the diversity that we desire to have on our staff and in our congregation.
Your congregation was the result of a merger. How is merger a solution for where you are located?
In California there are many churches that are closing their doors because, financially, it is difficult to keep a church afloat. The land, the cost to build and the cost of living for just one staff person is much higher in California. So oftentimes, churches will consider things they wouldn’t ordinarily consider.
When push comes to shove and it’s either close the door or merge with another church, they will sometimes choose to merge. I don’t think you go around looking for churches to merge with unless you are in a desperate situation. We certainly weren’t looking for it; it came knocking at our door, and we simply decided that as long as God kept that door open, we would continue to walk through each door every day until the Lord closed the door.
You’ve said that “it’s not a sin to be a small church, but it is a sin to stay a small church.” How so?
My father has said that it’s not a sin to belong to a small church, but it’s a sin to remain a small church. I repeated that once, and it was quoted in a newspaper. Afterward, a pastor sent me a letter; he was upset, because he pastored a small church and felt I was taking a pot shot at him. He thought I was criticizing him, and he explained that he felt God had called him to lead a small church. However, I wasn’t talking about pastoring; I was talking about the church itself.
I’m fully aware that there are different pastors who are gifted in different ways: some are gifted to lead a small church, some gifted to lead a medium-sized church, and some pastors are gifted to lead a larger church. But it doesn’t matter if you have 40 people in the church or if you have 4,000, because the size of your church is not a sin. What is a sin, I believe, is if you’re the same size week after week, and there isn’t any growth in your church.
I believe God intended for the church to grow — it’s embedded within our very DNA. He didn’t intend for all churches to be the same size, but with Holy Spirit-provided synergy and energy, every church should be able to grow. Yes, there will always be hurdles, but we should be able to overcome all of these hurdles by the grace and power of God.
If you’re in a church that’s not growing, someone needs to sit down, take a serious inventory, and figure out why it’s not growing. To be a dead, dry or stagnant church is not what I see in the book of Acts where the number of believers grew so quickly that, eventually, there were too many to count. And I’m not talking merely about numbers, but about counting true disciples of Jesus Christ.
How did you change your management style as the church grew in numbers?
I think that the larger the church grows, the less you are involved in things and the more you have to delegate responsibility. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a little bit ahead of that curve. We have an incredible executive pastor in Tim Winters, and he takes so much off my plate and worries about so many things, which enable me to study, pray, preach, lead, and cast vision.
In a large church, you’re in a constant mode of restructuring and reorganizing, but I believe my executive pastor does more of that than I do. I’ve never been in a church that wasn’t in an upward trend as far as growth, and so we’ve always just stayed ahead of the curve by delegating to an executive pastor who, in turn, delegates to a very committed and loyal staff.
Southern California has been called “a laboratory of church innovation.” Has your church added to that innovation over the years?
I think our church has been very innovative. I don’t think you can pastor a church in California if you don’t have some type of creativity and innovation. Land is very expensive; it’s difficult to get in buildings and to get city permits. So, you’ve got to go to multiple services and multiple campuses in order to grow and thrive.
If you think you’re going to come into California and start a church and that it’s going to be smooth sailing, you’re going to find out in just a few short months that this is one of the most difficult areas in the country to grow a church. One reason is that there are a million things for people to do on any given weekend, especially here in Southern California.
They can go to Disneyland one weekend and snowboarding the next. They can take a relatively short drive to Vegas or San Francisco or visit the San Diego Zoo or Sea World. Here in Los Angeles, the weather is amicable probably three-fourths of the year, so families can drive to the beach for the day or go golfing or to soccer and little league games. Thus, there are always activities that compete with church on any given weekend.
You’re also fighting Hollywood – creative geniuses who produce movies and television shows – and so when people do come to church, there’s a certain quality you’ve got to be prepared to bring people in order to keep their interest.
However, what we do have is a lot of lost people who are hurting and have messed up lives. So, if you can find a way to minister to them, care for the needy, be a blessing to those who are hurting, lift up Jesus, and boldly preach the truths from God’s word, I believe that people will come. Soon, your problem is going to be finding a place to seat them all, and that’s where the creativity comes in.
‘Unleashed’: Turning the world upside down
Dudley Rutherford is president this year of the North American Christian Convention, meeting in Cincinnati July 5-8. It is a gathering of several thousand from Christian Churches and churches of Christ [ www.gotonacc.org ]. Here Rutherford talks about the event:
At the NACC, held since 1927, we gather to be encouraged, to network, to worship, to hear some of the best speakers in the country. It is the yearly connecting place for some 5,000 to 6,000 thousand churches and really gives an identity to the independent Christian church. We have no state, regional, or national headquarters, because we’re all independent. But this yearly convention is that one moment in the year where we get together.
What sets the NACC apart is that the churches that gather there are truly New Testament-following Christian churches. It’s also one of the few family conventions; there are worship, leadership, and church planting conventions, but this is a convention for the entire family. We have programs and activities for children, for junior high and high school students, for men and women, and for seniors that cover all those areas.
The theme “Unleashed” comes from the intent of my heart to have a convention that encourages the church in America to uncover and recapture the foundational principles of the church in the first century. It is my belief that every church in America needs to look like the church in Acts. So, as people come to the convention, we’re going to have nine different sermons that take us through the book of Acts. So, the idea behind the Unleashed theme is that God unleashed His Spirit upon the church in Acts 1 and 2 and the rest of the entire book of Acts, starting with chapter 3, details how God then unleashed the church upon the world. And by the time you get to Acts 17:6, the church is accused of turning the world upside down.