Tuesday, November 16, 2010

29 Coffee: A Freshly Brewed Way to Support Church Planting

If you like coffee, and love church planting, then you need to check out 29 Coffee.  This coffee company was created to help support church planting, while providing quality coffee.

This Christmas season you can give the gift of great coffee and support church plants by going to 29Coffee.com and purchasing your gifts via their site.  Also, if your church serves coffee, this is a very practical way for them to begin supporting church planting without having to add a new budget line item.

Since I am planting in the Texas Region, then I know first hand how much all support helps.  Thanks for your consideration!

Friday, November 12, 2010

To Blog or to Vlog™

I'm wondering if I'd do better with this blog if I posted Vlog™ posts...  I'm a better orator than a writer.  However, if I ever want to become a better writer, then perhaps I should begin blogging more regularly.  What do you think?  Post your comments/votes...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Need You - Christ Community Church

As many of you know, my family and I moved to the Magnolia/The Woodlands area in June of this year to begin the process of planting a church, Christ Community Church.

God has been blessing our work and we are weekly meeting new people who are excited about our work and desire to join in.  Over the next few months we will continue meeting people and adding to our core/launch team.

Some Important Dates:

More than ever, we realize that church planting is a Kingdom project, and we need your help.  We need people who will commit to praying for and with us.  Also, we are needing to raise over $50,000 by the end of 2010 to cover start-up expenses, rental of the school, salaries, etc.

Ways that you can help:

We thank you ahead of time for your help and we look forward to partnering together with you in this ministry endeavor.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Core Group Characteristics

Recently I have been asked, “What type of people are you looking for to join the core group of the church?”  Below are a list of qualities/characteristics that I believe are important.  If you know anyone who meets these qualifications and you believe that I should meet, please put us in touch (www.c3magnolia.org).
  1. Christian – It is important at this stage of planting the church that we have people who are followers of Jesus Christ.
  2. Biblical – In order for all of us to be moving the same direction, we must all be submitted to the authority of the Lord and His Word. 
  3. Missional – Our community exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  This occurs through all people of the core group understanding that all believers are called to live on mission in their immediate context.
  4. Flexible – Church planting has a lot of twists, turns, and bumps along the way.  We need people who are flexible and willing to ‘go with the flow’ as we move forward through the beginning phases of planting.
  5. Generous – We are in need of families who are willing to be generous with their time, their gifts, and their financial resources.  During the core phase, we are not in a position to minister to the need of those who are not willing to contribute to the mission.  Furthermore, it is our desire to do our very best to avoid a consumer type church that allows people to attend and take, without participating in the life of the church.  This is important to begin cultivating now as we are gathering a core.
  6. Committed – Lastly, we need individuals and family who are willing to commit for a set period of time.  We understand that there are times where the Lord will call someone away, but it is important to have some consistency in the early stages.  
What am I missing?

Monday, July 05, 2010

One Name

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
(1 Corinthians 1:10-13 ESV)

By God's grace, many of men have gone before me in church planting, so I don't feel I have to go at it blindly.  One thing that I believe needs to be reiterated time and time again is the fact that above all else, we exist in the name of Jesus Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.  There is a great temptation that has existed for generations to divide so much that we miss the whole point of the Church based upon theological convictions.  While I value greatly theology, doctrine, and the Bible, I think that it is easy to get so entrenched in a 'camp' that we deny the existence of the Body of Christ and live as 'The Body Parts of Christ.'

Learning from those who have gone before me, I understand and embrace the importance of clearly articulating certain convictions and beliefs at the beginning of a church.  There have been pastors who have not articulated these convictions and have ended up in hot water with the people of their church because of their unarticulated theological convictions.  This is a fine line, but a necessary one at that.

Last night I was talking with a new friend who has been visiting our church for the last few weeks and we were discussing Reformed Theology and the church.  I shared with him specific convictions that we have and why I feel that it is important to articulate them clearly and often early on in the life of a church plant.  He responded with a great point, quoting the above passage, and it got me to thinking a lot about the Church as a whole and some divisive issues going on throughout.  Some of the issues of basic doctrine need to be confronted, but other areas can go too far and lead us to a place of claiming a name other than Jesus.

On one hand, it is important to let people know that you are Reformed or Calvinistic in your hermeneutic (the way you read and interpret the Scriptures), but on another hand, it is crucial that you do not forsake the banner of Christ for the banner of Calvin, Luther, Wesley, or the like.  What a tough balancing act!

I believe that we are to be a people identified first and foremost by our allegiance to Jesus Christ.  If we begin there, then we can then delve into the deeper mysteries of the Scriptures together, seeking how to "spur one another on towards love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:24).

Again, I am convinced that it is very important to articulate clearly non-negotiables at the onset of a church-plant, however, it is also equally important to not carry any other name than Jesus Christ as the identifier as a people.  If you are a 'Calvinistic' or "Arminian' congregation, begin as one for Jesus Christ, and as your family grows, be up front about how you are, but never forget whose you are.

Helpful Resource:

Sunday, July 04, 2010

We're finally here!

So, this blog is two weeks late, but I wanted to let the few of you who still read it know that we have finally made it to the Magnolia area!  God has been so good to open doors at just the right time.  I knew that while I was going through the transition, but I still seem to have short & long-term memory lapses.  Anyone else there with me?

We have decided to live in an apartment for at least a year in order to meet people, and free up time to focus on planting the church.  I must confess, I LOVE IT!  First of all, we have 2 bathrooms now (with locks on the doors!), and are right in the area we want to plant in.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying with and for us during this time!  They have been heard.

I will be writing on here more often, Lord willing!

Recommended Reading:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Better is Open Rebuke...

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; 
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” 
- Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV)

Steph and I had a wonderful time with our pastor and our good friend, Justin Hyde, in Denver, CO this past week for the Acts 29 Boot Camp.  It was an encouraging time of meeting fellow church planters, learning from seasoned pastors, and enjoying quality time with Steph and Justin.

Our assessment for membership into the Acts 29 Network was Friday morning.  There are tons of rumors and stories about how grown men are made to cry, arguments that almost get to the point of throwing punches ensue, etc.  However, this was not our experience at all.

We met with three sincere Acts 29 Pastors who truly appeared to have our best interest at heart.  They confronted me seriously about my favorite sin, busyness.  They led Steph and I through a series of probing questions helping me to see how my busyness effects/affects my own heart, my wife, my daughter, and my little seedling of a church.  I hate my sin...

Now, I could see how some grown men might be made to cry by this experience, but I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that Steph and I left the process eternally grateful to God for people who did not measure success the same way the world does and cared more for our hearts, our marriage, our daughter, etc., than our "success".

Part of my busyness has been due to necessity, as in, providing for my family.  However, part of it has been motivated by my lack of faith in God's continued ability and desire to provide for all of our needs.  I live in a constant tension of living by faith, not wanting to be lazy, and needing to provide for my family.  The assessors helped me to identify my need for growth, maturity, and most of all, transformation in this area of my life.

There is much more to be discovered on this subject, but suffice it to say right now that we need your prayers.

Please be praying for:

  1. Continued godly sorrow that leads to repentance.
  2. Someone to buy our house so that we can get settled in Magnolia/The Woodlands.
  3. Discernment about what needs to go from our lives, what needs to be added, etc.
  4. More discipline in our lives.
  5. God to continue to bless our new little community.
Lastly, if you are in the process of planting a church at any stage, I highly recommend you look into partnership with the Acts 29 Network if you align with their vision and doctrinal distinctions.

Book Recommended to me:

Saturday, May 22, 2010


My bride recently had a landmark birthday and since then has been blogging on a daily basis.  I realized that I missed blogging.  However, I thought I missed it because of my own vanity, i.e. liking people to read my grand ideas and then leave a comment, etc.  To be honest, though, that's not it.  Steph has like 4 times the amount of readers I do, and often I write and receive no comments.  I'm okay with that.

This will continue to be my personal blog, which will be a culmination of my life with God, my family, as a pastor, as an entrepreneur, etc.  If you are looking for my pastoral blog, you can go here.

Looking forward to writing more frequently.  You're welcome to join the ride!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I'm back...

Church planting, book publishing, dual living (home and lakehouse), traveling, meeting, preparing, etc. etc.... Lots of excuses, but I suppose no good reason.

I met with an editor today. Looks like I'm actually going to REALLY work on publishing my story.

More to come soon.

Monday, February 01, 2010

'Love is Something You Do' by John R. Bisagno

I am excited to announce that my publishing company, Lucid Books, released Pastor John R. Bisagno's 35th Anniversary Edition of Love is Something You Do. This is a revised and expanded (12 new chapters!) edition of his 1975 release under the same title. We are very excited about this project and feel that God will use it in great ways. Here is what people are saying:

Love Is Something You Do will change the face of marriage in America. This book should be in every library and tucked away in the heart of every marriage.” - Dr. Tim Clinton, President, American Association of Christian Counselors

"Martin Luther said “A man can become more like Christ in a marriage than in a monastery.” How true. Marriage chisels us in the image of Jesus with every decision of faithfulness and commitment. This book will help to shape you and your spouse. Let Dr. Bisagno speak from the heart of a faithful husband and effective pastor to guide your marriage to be all that God desires." - Pastor Gregg Matte, Pastor, Houston’s First Baptist Church

"Once again John Bisagno has captured the heart and imagination of his readers. In this clear concise writing, John makes a case for love as a verb. Love is Something You Do stimulates the heart, motivates the mind, and saturates the soul with helpful, holy hints." - Ralph Douglas West, Pastor, The Church Without Walls

“I had the joy of being under John Bisagno’s leadership for 25 years as he served as pastor of our church in Houston. I love and respect him and Uldine, the love of his life, so much. ” - Beth Moore, Author, Living Proof Ministries

"This is the book America's been waiting for." - George Gallup, Jr., Pollster

Click here to get your copy or request it at your local bookstore!

(Disclaimer: New laws require me to let you know that if you buy this book, I will profit financially. So, there's that.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Proverbs 18:22

"He who finds a wife
finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord."
- Proverbs 18:22

Steph and I have been married 9 years today. I love her more everyday and thank God for blessing me with an amazing, God-fearing, humble, and hilarious wife! We have so much fun together.

We are on our little anniversary get-away. Yesterday we went shopping in the Rice Village and used some of our gift cards to buy me some new clothes. We had a blast! Then we went to see a movie and finished the night by enjoying some Maggiano's. This morning we got up and went for a couple's massage. It rocked. Now we are enjoying some time at our favorite coffee shop and then going to The Melting Pot tonight.

For 9 years, here's 9 things I love about my wife:
  1. She loves Jesus. Not superficially, but consequentially.
  2. She's easy to look at.
  3. By some miracle she loves me.
  4. She's a phenomenal mother.
  5. Her laugh. If I can get a belly laugh from her, then I know what I said was REALLY funny.
  6. Her desire to disciple women and her faithful perseverance in doing so.
  7. Her passion for orphans.
  8. Her authenticity.
  9. She's my best friend.
I pray that as we move into our 10th year that we will continue to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Here's to many more.