Eyes Right

a blog by Christ follower Wesley Fryer

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The Importance of a Woman in the Pulpit

November 16th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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Today our congregation was again blessed with a Spirit-filled message about Christ’s love from our new assistant pastor, Jennifer Howat.

Since our son continues to help with sound in the sound booth, and my wife was at an education retreat with Oklahoma A+ Schools, I was sitting with both my girls in the pews today. As I listened to Jen open the Scriptures and preach the Gospel to us, I was struck by how important it is for my girls and others to see her as a woman preaching in our Sunday service. We have been members of this congregation since 2006, and Jen is the first female pastor we have had at our church. I am not sure, but she may be the first female pastor we have ever had.

Praise God that He is using Jen in our community to share the love of Jesus Christ, and that Jen is a role model for young women like our girls to see how God powerfully uses both women and men to lead his church today and in the future.

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From Foyer to Kitchen by Andy Stanley

November 15th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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These are my notes from a DVD message titled “From Foyer to Kitchen” by Andy Stanley. We watched this today at our Session retreat for First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma. This video is 6-8 years old (no longer available on Amazon) and there are several things Andy’s team has modified since. This post has a video of Andy talking about these ideas, similar to what we watched on today’s DVD.

We believe the local church should be irresistible
– children and parents should wake up on Sunday morning and say, “We want to go to church.”

We believe people who are NOT believers YET should be able to attend on Sunday morning, and want to go back the next week and check it out
– in the Gospels, Jesus was irresistible
– he wasn’t someone you could ignore or marginalize
– the Church is the Body of Christ
– our local church and yours should reflect that same thing in society

Story of explaining in Atlanta, GA
– we need more relevant environments where believers and non-believers can connect to each other and connect to our heavenly Father

This drove us to start Northpoint Community Church
– started with 6 staff
– hammered out mission statement: “Lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”
– that was our version of saying the “Great Commission”
– 3 components or pursuits:
-1 pursue intimacy with God
-2 community with insiders / believers
-3 influence with others outside the faith

Generally discipleship or spiritual growth has been relegated to a series of classes
– it meant “how much Bible do you know” (verses)

Our goal for people wasn’t an amount of knowledge or number of classes you’d attended, but the degree to which people are engaged in these 3 pursuits

Our strategy recognized we can’t MAKE someone do any of these things

All of us in the group who valued these three pursuits realized we developed those passions and routines was ENVIRONMENT
– relevant environment

We decided if we created those environments, trained people to lead in those environments, and …

Mission: Lead People
Strategy: Creating environments where participants are encouraged and equipped to [engage in those 3 pursuits]

We named the 3 environments for rooms in the house
1- Foyer
2- Living Room
3- Kitchen

These environments do three different things

Foyer environment: Where we expect GUESTS

When guests are in your home, things are different: There are things you DO talk about, and things you don’t
– you change who you are as a family or what you believe, but you tailor the environment for the guest so they feel welcome and want to come back
– we decided we needed to create some safe “foyer” environments to help guests feel welcome

Living Room environment: people start to connect as friends

middle circle (we found) is the most difficult/challenging
– everyone talks about getting people into small groups
– we have constantly updated the transition part in the living room, when people

Life for our family happens in the kitchen
– this is our ultimate small group environment
– that is where life happens
– in the foyer you feel like a guest
– in the living room you start to make connections
– in the kitchen community with insiders happens

We want everyone at the kitchen table

For adults we have 3 kinds of small groups: (that’s the only one that meets on Sunday mornings at our church)
1- starting point small groups: open group
2- starter groups: we call it “dating” – it lasts 6 weeks, gives people a taste of group life, if they want to move on together they can – targeted group
3- community groups: meet for 12 to 18 months, then they reform (they are closed groups)

We’ve discovered community doesn’t happen in an unpredictable environment
– life on life doesn’t happen in an environment where trust is uncertain

Every small group comes to an end: either a happy end or a small end
– people may go forward and multiple
– people may decide they never want to be in another group

Life happens within the church when we are focused together

Our focus to evaluate all new PROGRAMS: Does this help us move people from the foyer, to the living room, to the kitchen?
– we try to “add steps, not programs”
– need to fill in gaps, help people move toward growth…

“Your church strategy is perfectly designed to get the results you’re getting”
– so if you want to see change, to become an irresistible church, then discover what your strategy is and change it so you can talk about it intelligently so people understand what you are doing and how you do it

Question: Are your ENVIRONMENTS accomplishing the mission

3 takeaways:

  1. Would you go home and spend time clarifying your purpose / mission? What is the WIN we are wanting to celebrate?
  2. Would you go home and think through what it would take to develop a strategy? Can you put it in terms you can explain to your people? (This creates amazing synergy)
  3. Focus your environments

“Everybody wants to give their time and energy to something they understand” (you need to clarify your strategy w different terms)

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You’re An Overcomer!

November 8th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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Sarah, Megan and Alex sang again as a trio last Sunday in church. They sang, “You’re an Overcomer.”

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Rachel’s Drawing of Our Family

October 19th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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Rachel drew this in church today.

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Our Need to Rest

October 12th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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We need to carve out time each week for rest:

Mark 6:30-31 NIV

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

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T to the 4th Power

October 5th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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From Harry Birdwell’s sermon today at our church, based on Mark 5:21-43.

Trust: Faith is the frame if the painting of our lives, “knowing in your gut Jesus can & will.” Real discipleship begins when we say to Jesus, “Take control.”

Touch

Test

Tell: It is YOUR story you are supposed to be telling! Our confessions of God’s faithfulness, our testimonies of how God has and is working in our lives

Book: “The Glory of the Ordinary Christian” changed Harry’s life as a child, it focused on the power of our testimonies about Jesus to bring others to a saving faith and belief in God.

It is about telling my story to others about the love of Christ which has transformed my life.

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The Law Reveals Our Need for God

September 21st, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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These words from the Apostle Paul reveal to us our need for God. The law, given to the Jews and now to us as Christians through the Old Testament and the words of the prophets, shows us how we always fall short of God’s expectations when we rely on ourselves.

Romans 3:20 NIV

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

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Life Without God

September 14th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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These verses summarize life without God, when people choose to become slaves to sin:

Romans 1:29-31 NIVd

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

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Excited for 2015 Mo Ranch Men’s Conference!

September 6th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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This weekend I’m attending the Men’s Council planning retreat for the May 2015 Men’s Conference at Mo Ranch, which is a Presbyterian retreat center near Hunt, Texas. Amidst the busyness of our fall schedules, this is an awesome opportunity to briefly visit the beautiful hill country of Texas with my wife and have some fellowship and planning time with other Christian men.

I’ve been coming to Mo Ranch (@PresbyMoRanch) for the men’s conference for about seven years, and it’s become a VERY important part of my life. My dad has been coming down with me for the last 3 or 4 years, and it’s a non-football weekend for us to fellowship together that’s become an awesome tradition.

This morning at our Men’s Council planning meeting, our Men’s Council President Michael Brundeen shared a little about our 2015 conference keynote speaker and worship leader. Donovan Drake, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. His description of Donovan’s sermons that he’s heard in the past was incredible! Michael heard him preach on the story of Noah’s Ark, when he extended the metaphor to “who are you bringing on your ark?” The focus was on thinking about the legacy you build and shape today which will have LOTS of impact down the road. I’m not only energized to hear Donovan at Mo Ranch next year, but also subscribe to his sermon series which is available as a podcast both on iTunes and via an RSS feed. (I use the latter with the Pocket Casts smartphone app.) I’m not doing justice to Michael’s description of Donovan’s sermon messages here… but suffice it to say I’m SUPER energized to hear him. Jesse Truvillion has been our Bible study leader at Mo Ranch for many years. It will be exciting to hear from Donovan Drake and have him bring fresh messages to our attendees.

Michael also told us about Rev. Dr. David G. McKechnie, who will be our 2015 Men’s Conference keynote speaker. David has a very interesting background, prior to attending seminary and becoming a pastor, as a television news anchor. Michael said David is a FANTASTIC storyteller, and has compelling ability to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with his stories. I can’t find a podcast RSS feed or videos on YouTube for any messages by David, so if you have or find one please share it as a comment to this post. I’m VERY enthused to hear his keynote message for us at our 2015 conference.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, if you are a man I encourage you join us Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4, 2015 at Mo Ranch for the Men’s Conference. It will be a renewing and refreshing experience of fellowship and growing in faith following God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

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Follow and Walk in the Light of Jesus

August 17th, 2014 by Wesley Fryer
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This is one of the scripture passages we are considering this morning in church:

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.  Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (John 12:35-36 NIV)

Wherever we are, we are called to share the light and love of Christ. We pray for the inner life to control the outer life. (To walk the talk.)

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