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What is plan B?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2010 by mikekeaton

i am posting my notes from a message i shared with our church back in 2007.  seems like old news i know but really it’s not.  this message has been used by God to launch a focus and passion at our church ever since it was given.  many  people are no longer living for themselves and are giving their lives away for God’s Kingdom to love on the “least of these”.  i thought to share it again here for various reasons, but mostly b/c i think the Lord wanted me to b/c of the way He led and dealt with me and our staff and elders at a working retreat this past weekend.  i hope you enjoy it…if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them…blessings…

What is Plan B!

1 John 2:6 – Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. NIV

-I have been asked in recent months what is plan b if the old winn Dixie bldg. that we have been talking about leasing as a new worship space doesn’t work out.  What is plan b?

-this question has launched an avalanche of questions in my heart about the future of Crossroads.  Many of which I to this day still don’t have answers to.  There is a constant tension within me that never goes away.

-walking as Jesus walked has wide applications for us:  our strategy, our style of leadership and ministry= servant leadership, servant ministry…Jesus’ ministry was crowned with characteristics like compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love, grace, meeting needs, practical help and teaching.

-the plan b question has launched other questions, like where is Crossroads going to land as some sort of permanent home.

A week ago, pastor in our community told me to enjoy the temporary meeting location (school) as long as we could, he said, “once you get into a building, people have a tenancy to get settled in and to put their stakes into the ground”.

-as I drove back to work from that meeting I just cried.  B/c I in no way ever want to be settled.  I in no way ever want to feel like we have arrived or that we don’t ever have to work anymore  -now I just want you to know I am in no way interested in us ever getting a bldg. if we think for one minute that we have finally made it and we don’t need to work anymore.  -I am not interested in us having a bldg. that is just open one day a week for us to gather and worship.  How self serving is that?  It cannot ever be about us!!  This is why we are changing the name of the no more set up fund-no more set up is about us, so we don’t have to set up, but Reaching Walton, is all about reaching our community and we must start here, right here.

-as I said a few weeks ago we will never be rewarded with much if are not faithful with little.  We will never be rewarded with reaching unreached people groups on the other side of our globe, if we don’t reach those right here in front of us.  We must start here!!

Acts 1:8- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV

-we must have a strategy to reach our city, our county, our state, our world

-the plan b question also led me to ask, what is Crossroads Church going to be known for???  Are we going to be just another casual, contemporary church that has slick graphics and cool music, or are we going to be known as a church that is changing lives and destiny’s forever?

-what is our attitude toward reaching people?  We should want to help people realize God’s love and to see their lives genuinely changed forever!!  -we are a disciple-making church, which means we meet people where they are and help them take their next step toward God.  Everyone has to have this as their own personal mission– to be and build disciples.  -But!!!!  There are too many church people who are here for themselves.  Do you actually realize that there are people who think they were saved for themselves?!  They think the church is here strictly for them.  Such pride!!!???

-we have it all backwards, so many church people look for a church that is what they want b/c its all about them and when the pastor doesn’t preach a certain way or the church is going a certain direction they either threaten to leave or go ahead and leave.  “growing churches don’t try to keep people they reach people” Who were any of us saved for??  Were not saved for ourselves, Not for our glory but for Gods’  -so my logical question then is how do I glorify God– by giving my life as a living sacrifice to him, through a life of worshipful service– Jesus said:

John 17:4 – I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. -NIV

-we too will bring God glory on earth by completing the work he gave us to do.

-we must live with the attitude that if no one else will, who will?  we will!!!  We cannot depend on the church down the street to fulfill our mission, it is our mission, we must work at it, all the time, and unlike a mission trip mission, this one does not have an end date in this life.  It never ends.  We are always on mission!! -People matter to God, and we must pursue them b/c they need to know of His love.

-to do this we are going to have to get down and get dirty.  We are going to have to get close to people, and they are gonna smell, they are gonna be dirty, b/c their lives are gonna be all screwed up with immoral living, addictions, selfish marriages, messed up parenting skills, irresponsible with their finances, worldly values, bad habits, and foul language, and the list goes on and on…..

-if we are going to “walk as Jesus walked” we are going to have to have a ministry mindset like Jesus, one of compassion, care, and help for those who have no one pleading their case,  the ones that are close to the heart of God, b/c he mentions them over and over in the bible.  -if we are going to “walk as Jesus walked” we must minister to the ones that are close to the heart of God, the poor, the widows, and the orphans.

Deut 10:18 – He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.-NIV

Ps 68:5 – A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows , is God in his holy dwelling. -NIV

Deut 16:11 – And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name — you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you.-NIV

Isa 10:1-2 -Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,  to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. -NIV

James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -NIV

Lev 25:35 – “‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. -NIV

Deut 15:11 – There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.-NIV

Prov 21:13- If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor , he too will cry out and not be answered. NIV

Isa 1:17 – learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless , plead the case of the widow. NIV

-I read this quote recently:

Dino Rizzo, Lead Pastor of the Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, LA:

“if we are going to be like Jesus we… we have to really care for people, we have to be committed to helping the people who can’t help us, we have to be the real deal”

-he went on to say, and I love this:

“we believed early on that if we would take care of the ones nobody wanted, God would give us the ones everybody wants to have”

-to reach the ones that are close to the heart of God, we are gonna have to be ok with being up close and personal, we are gonna have to be like Jesus, we are gonna have to be willing to spit in the mud and pick it up with our hands and rub in someones eyes.  -in other words we are gonna have to be willing to get our hands dirty– you cannot make a disciple from a distance, its up close and personal it’s involvement in someone’s life, you got to get emotionally involved.

-the alternative is to sit back and be critical of others, judgemental, prideful, self-serving, all the things Jesus yelled at the Pharisees about!!!!

Realize you are the method! -there is no plan b, b/c you are it!!

Matt 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -NIV

Be the method -if we don’t, who will???  Who??  —you, me, us, we

-what I am talking about is going to take more, more from everyone.  More sacrifice.  More money, more time, more people, more commitment, more energy, more focus, more everything.  -making a disciple is not easy.  It is hard work, but nothing is more rewarding than to see a person that you are investing in cross the line of faith and then begin to grow.  -who is in your life that you are intentionally making a disciple of????  Face and a name???—are you authentic????

-we are at a turning point.  We must make a decision.  Who is Crossroads? What are you gonna be known for?  Not what is mike gonna do, the office or the staff, but you.  I want to make a difference in heaven.  I want to take as many people there with me as possible.  You need to make a commitment today!  Become a disciple maker of all people groups and more specifically the poor, widows, and orphans!!

Next steps:

1 – become a follower of Jesus, a disciple, today

2 – commit to prayer and fasting for the future of Crossroads

3 – give more of my time, treasure, temple and talents for the mission and vision

4 – start seeking to be discipled or disciple another person

5 – commit to helping crossroads figure out how to reach the poor, widows, and orphans

Pray for our Country!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2010 by mikekeaton

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” -NIV; -Mark 3:24

I was watching the news this morning and listened to the spin doctors express their views on the economy, President Obama’s popularity, and the fight for the Senate and Congress between Democrats and Republicans that will all climax this November.

I will admit, I was troubled.  Not so much by the “news” related to all those issues but by the division of our country and they way elected officials are fighting for power.  I do not presume to be smart when it comes to politics, so there is a lot I don’t know, but, our country is in trouble.

We do have a need for politicians and the goals they have for the people of our cities, counties, states, and country.  But there is a greater problem here that goes way beyond a quest for power of control of “seats” that I don’t hear anyone addressing.  I am not surprised by that though, because the issue is primarily a spiritual one and since our country has separated politics from religious beliefs, then one can understand why this issue is not being addressed.

The issue is unity!  In the above passage, Jesus clearly states that we are in a bigger trouble than we are admitting.  we will not be able to stand over the long haul…not because we are broke, even though that will have an effect, but mostly because we are a “kingdom” divided and such kingdoms fail.  what a sad reality.

in a lot of ways we are hoping for the republicans or President Obama, or even Democrats, or some other entity (stock market, etc.), to make the difference for the long haul for our country.  Not going to happen!  since America has divorced itself from God, we have made money our God and no man can serve both.  “

“God and money are total adversaries.  It is totally impossible for anyone to be totally committed to financial matters and have a hope of any serious commitment to God”-Gordon MacDonald

When ever we have a surplus of money we:

1- are always on the cusp of drifting away from God.

2-we have less to pray for and less of a dependence on Him.

3-are tempted toward the “myth” of self-sufficiency.

4-are forever fighting pride and losing humility.

These thoughts from a book I am reading right now resonate with me and with what I listen and watch on the news as it relates to where we are in our country.  It’s disheartening!

We must pray and pray hard for our country, our leaders, and ourselves, to return to God so that times of refreshing might come – Acts 3:19

Prayer Retreat

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 by mikekeaton

hey all, i’m out again a few days this week on a personal prayer retreat.  I’m seeking the Lord for wisdom and direction in my life and the ministry and leadership of Crossroads.

I welcome any and all prayers, Thanks!

MK

on mission in Romania!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by mikekeaton

don’t forget to check our teams blog site for daily updates!!

Mike

Post Script

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 by mikekeaton

Yesterday was a powerful day at Crossroads Church!!  God is doing so much and its so exciting to see Him work in so many lives and in so many ways!!  Our Family Pastor, Jono, started the day off with recognizing our grads!!  they were awesome and we are all so proud of them!  It was very encouraging to hear their stories and what God had been teaching them over the past year.  The video was GREAT!!  The Baptisms were awesome too!  I love Baptism and hearing the testimonies.  Its’ always an exciting experience!!  Worship was great, Ephesians 6:17-18 was great, Holy Spirit was working powerfully.  With the exception of the air conditioning, or I guess I should say, the lack of A/C, the day was great!!

We had one of our elders and a couple of his children over for lunch b/c his wife and other children are in Russia finalizing an adoption.  We had a huge lunch, my wife is an awesome cook and it was great and topped off with strawberry shortcake for dessert!!  YUM!

Our Daughter showed up at worship and surprised us (came in from College) and we enjoyed hanging out with her and one of her friends during the afternoon.  It was great!!

The evening rolled around and we checked out one of our community groups semester end party/cookout and enjoyed hanging out with them…it was great.  Love That Girl!!

Like I said, yesterday was great!!  A very encouraging day.  I am so grateful for God’s working in our lives.  He is so Good!!

Be blessed today!!  -MK

Christ was not even a Christian

Posted in Learnings, Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 by mikekeaton

how does that title catch you?  does it bother you?  is it hard to say?  what feelings does it bring up in you?

if you are like me when I first heard it, you don’t like it.  Of course you don’t have the benefit of “context” that I did.  I read that statement in a book our staff just finished reading by Dave Gibbons, “The Monkey and the Fish” .

The book is a great read!  I really recommend it.  Just click on the book image and you can order your own copy.  It really talks a lot about what the church is going to need to be in order to be effective in the future.  It resonates with me and helps me deal with a lot of what has been churning within me for some time now.

so, back to the title…Christ was not even a Christian…to that I say, thank God!  I like the word Christian because it’s biblical.  the followers of Jesus were first called Christian at Antioch because they resembled Christ and those who knew of Jesus, followed Him and remembered how He lived saw these people and said they look like….Christ-ian!

Our culture has skewed what it means to be a Christian so much that someone who goes to church can say they are a Christian.  to that I say, ….well, I can’t say that, many wouldn’t like it.

To many, being Christian is cultural.  People will take on a certain church’s philosophy, dress standards, separation issues, entertainment standards and then call themselves a good Christian.  Basically, I call these things religio-sity, church-ianity, and far from the Revolution Jesus came to start.

Jesus was about love and grace.  He was about those 2 things so much that He transformed those around Him and they were about love and grace so much that others looked at their actions and attitudes and said, that looks like…Christian!

I want this so bad for the church today, especially the church I lead, Crossroads.  I saw it happen yesterday in our whole worship team just before we went out to lead our church in worship.  I was privileged to experience “christianity” in a powerful way with them and then what God did was amazing in our worship service, God’s spirit descended and He was moving in people’s lives.

It was Kingdom of God.  I don’t ever want to be “Christian” if it is not about love and grace, not about Christ.  He wasn’t, why would I or anyone ever waste time, just coming to church?

MK

Recruit & Release!!

Posted in Learnings, Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by mikekeaton

We just got back from a week in the woods!!  We went camping as a family with some other friends at Red Top Mtn. State Park.  We had a great time!

The park is located on Lake Allatoona.  So, we were able to get a little fishing in while there.  We did not catch much, which was weird b/c we used live bait and artificial lures, which is strange to me since it’s Spring.  But as my friend Keith says, “that’s why they call it fishing and not catching”!  – (btw-i hate it when he says that!)

My 10 year old daughter caught the only fish and it was just a bream about the size of the palm of her hand.  She thought it was great and honestly, i did too.  Instead of keeping it, we supported the “catch & release” philosophy (which is always easy when they are small, right?)

i am learning a new leadership lesson along the same lines.  I call it “recruit & release”.  I am trying to constantly tell our ministry leaders (volunteer and paid) to build their teams!  lead their teams!  multiply their teams!  the best way to do this is to “recruit & release”.

A leader has to constantly be focusing on two paradigms- getting more people on the team, and getting more people owning the team for a team to truly be a team and for us to be fulfilling the mission Jesus gave us – Multiplication Discipleship!

I am learning that if I don’t ask more people to take steps into serving that growth will be slow.  I am also learning that if I don’t let people “run with the ball” so to speak, growth will be even slower!  So, it takes both, Recruit-build the team, get people on the team; and Release– multiply the team, get people to own the team!

What a tremendous joy it was to see my young daughter be so excited about her catch, honestly, to her, the size of that fish didn’t matter, she caught one-she was happy!  It was also exciting to hear her be the first to say “let him go daddy”.  She beat me back to camp so she could tell her mom and everyone who could hear about her “catch and release” experience.  So it will be with any leader who is able to brag on God and tell “glory stories” about the fun in ministry that others are having b/c of their “recruit & release” experience!  join in on the fun of building God’s Kingdom!!

love ya lots,

MK

Great and Sad Day!!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 by mikekeaton

Today was a great day at Crossroads Church of Walton County!  We are doing this “MAN” series right now called, on deMANd, its all about leadership is on deMANd, and today was about romance on deMANd.  how fitting right?!

Well, it was an awesome day!!  tons of energy, great attendance, praise and worship was amazing (our band is awesome), and it was great.  if you missed it, go online and listen to it.  We gave out the top 10 leadership decisions men make b/c ladies want to be led- it was funny.  we recognized the marriage that had been together the longest, 46 years!!!  AMAZING!! And we recognized the newest of newlyweds, 4 days married!!  Incredible!!  we gave out special gifts to widows and single moms and dads, we had a Newcomers lunch, with the highest attendance ever, close to 40, PRAISE GOD!!

On top of that I got to love on my ladies, who are, my wife, and my 2 daughters.  I love them with all my heart.  I made them all cards and got something unique for each one.   For the love of my life, my wife of 25 years this year, I made her a card and wrote out 100 things I love about her on strips of paper she is to read each day for the next 10o days and we are going away to a bed and breakfast next weekend thanks to my staff for the christmas gift.  I got rach a stuffed animal and extra large hersheys kiss, and i got meg some roses and since she didnt come home this weekend, i went to her and surprised her at her dorm then we went to eat and talk.

After all that I still got to see the end of the Daytona 500, what an awesome, great day!!

As great as that was, there was some sadness as well.  I found out about another family Satan is destroying within our church.  Breaks my heart!  I hate the Devil!!  I HATE THE DEVIL!!  Sometimes men and women can be so dumb, thinking that their at odds with the other person, or the other spouse is the problem…that is sssoooooo not the truth, we are at odds with the devil, his demons and his schemes, not each other, just read Ephesians 6:10.  So Sad!!  So Sad!!

I am not going to let that take from the day though!  It was still a great day!!  I hope you had a great day too!!

with love,

Mike.

Daniel Fast – Day 8 Devotional-“Because of Grace”

Posted in Daniel Fast 2010, Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 by mikekeaton

Yesterday was a great day!  our morning worship was amazing and powerful, great attendance, and the stories I am hearing of what God is doing in people’s lives are just so encouraging.  I am so thankful that God is revealing to people how to live for His kingdom.  Living for His Kingdom is truly the only way to be happy, find fulfillment, be satisfied, and not the opposite, depressed, anxious, stressed out, unhappy, and on and on!

The membership meeting was a huge success as well.  God is providing incredible unity in our fellowship right now!  He gets all the praise for it.  I am so thankful to be a part of a spiritual movement like a church but in particular, like Crossroads!

I don’t know about you but I have really been captured by all that is going on in Haiti.  The devastation is just unbelievable.  I can only imagine how helpless the people feel and overwhelmed they must feel.  Their situation is just so large!  I told Ang last night that I wondered if this is what Jesus meant when He said “their will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilences, etc…” to mark the end of days and the end times.  ?

Well, in the verses in Prov. today we were told to “not withhold good to those it is due, when it is in our power to do something about it, do not say, go and tomorrow I will give it”.  I couldnt help but think of the people in Haiti as I read these verses.  I know there are many reasons that I would give and that others would give to not do something, reasons like, “I dont know any of those people there”, “there problem doesnt touch me”, “I have my own problems”etc, etc.  But, living for God’s kingdom and just being a Christian, won’t let you or me live with those reasons/excuses.  The text in Proverbs won’t let us either.

But instead of being “guilted” into obedience, I wish we were just moved with compassion like Jesus, who “looked upon the crowds and saw they were helpless”.  I also wish we were just moved because of grace!  O, that the Lord would move in my heart and yours to be compelled because of the love of Christ that He so freely bestowed upon us, “freely we have been given, freely we should give”

I want to encourage you to give toward our church’s efforts to help those in Haiti.  Today we are designating this day as a special focus day of prayer and fasting for them and we also are partnering with Samaritans Purse with financial contributions for Haiti relief.  You can donate online at our website, or drop a check in the mail or come by our office.  Either way, give, not because you have to or feel obligated but simply, because of grace.

Have a great day connecting to our Lord,

Mike

its’ a spiritual thing

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2008 by mikekeaton

i recently had lunch with another church planter / pastor friend and learned alot.  this is something i like to do, meet with other pastors who are at levels beyond myself and learn from what they are learning, what questions they are asking and challenges they are facing.  i do this b/c i  have an unquenchable thirst to grow as a leader.  it really is almost fanatical. 

Well, one of the things i learned (actually, was reminded) in that meeting was growing as a leader is a spiritual thing.  Yeah, there are practical ways to grow in leadership, read books, attend conferences, etc, etc, but ultimately, its a spiritual thing.  God will perfect in me, what He began in me.  He will do this as i continue to walk with Him, pursue my personal relationship with Him, spend time with Him in His Word and prayer, and just drawing near on a daily basis. 

it’s funny to me, how just about everything in life boils down to some really basic things and this is no different.  Growing as a leader boils down to some really basic practices, reading the Bible and Praying.  i love to journal, fast, memorize and meditate on Scripture too.  it all boils down to spending time with the Lord.  the more i do that, the more he grows me, the more Holy Spirit leads me, the more i discover, the more i grow as a leader.  i will continue the other things too, conferences, podcasts, books, but ultimately, its a spiritual thing. 

i hope you experience the same.