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Who's You One?

Cross Equals Love Who’s Your One?
Who is your one?  As you read this blog, I want you to be thinking and praying for the one person you want to see have an Encounter with Jesus for themselves.  I am partnering with you, I have my one that I am praying for and believing God will bring him and have an amazing encounter with him this Easter.
Why One?  Luke 15 begins with three back to back stories by Jesus – Parables, as we call them in church.  All three center around the same theme – Lost and Found.  The last one begins in verse 11 – is about a Lost Son, or The Parodical Son. It is an amazing story of a son who left home under bad circumstances, and a father who just would not give up.  Just like our Heavenly father today. He never stops looking and waiting for his son to return.
The second is the Lost Coin. (vv. 8-10). A lady loses a coin – must have been pretty substantial for her.  We know this because she cleans the entire house and searches until she find it – then she celebrates.
I wa…
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Palm Sunday - Cross Equals Love

Palm Sunday! The day when the crowds of people shouted in the streets, laid down palm branches, and called Jesus the Messiah.We see the story played out in the Gospel of John.inJohn 12:12- “The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Palm Sunday! A day of victory, celebration and festival. During this single event, over about 3 days, we get some of the best soundbites from Jesus.This was a “CNN Breaking News” frenzy:We have people laying their coats and palm branches for him to ride in on so he didn’t even have to touch the ground.It was like us rolling out the red carpet.He is cursing fig trees, weeping over Jerusalem, chasing out those selling goods in the temple for personal gain, Jesus taking a whip and turning over tables…This is primetime news stuff – Jesus at the …

Circles - (By Deidre Turner)

My wonderful wife, Deidre, sent me this e-mail a few years ago and I posted it to my blog then. I felt compelled to repost it today, I hope it brings some light on your life, I know it has mine.
I live on Spring Street. The same Spring Street in Hot Springs, AR that my parents lived on in 1972 when I was born. I know, I know, what’s remarkable about that? Lots of people live in the same town that they were born, right? Lots of people live in the same town their whole lives. What’s remarkable is that I left. Well, more accurately my parents left 28 years ago. They moved 1,200 miles away to Maryland. I was raised there. I grew up there. There was my home – not this place of southern remote quaintness that I don’t quite get. What I get is right outside of Philly- Delaware bluntness. 
You see, I was never coming back here. Graduated from college, got married, moved to Florida 3 years later, had 3 babies, co-pastoring a church, living it out. I was never going to live in Arkansas! Are you ki…

No Perfect People Allowed

I was shocked, confused, bewildered, As I entered Heaven's door. Not by the beauty of it all, Nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven Who made me sputter and gasp-- The thieves, the liars, the sinners, The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade Who swiped my lunch money twice. Next to him was my old neighbor Who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought Was rotting away in hell, Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, What's the deal? I would love to hear Your take. How'd all these sinners get up here? God must've made a mistake.
And why's everyone so quiet, So somber - give me a clue. Hush, child, He said, they're all in shock. No one thought they'd be seeing you.
I think we all fit in this category from time to time. We all "Think of ourselves a little higher than we ought". But I have learned that God does not look at the outward appearance, but the hear…

Sailing and the 10-10 Challenge

We have just an article in Leadership Magazine, called 10-10. IN it, we are challenged to spend 10 minutes a day in prayer, 10 minutes a day in the Bible, pray for 10 people to be saved, and be involved in a small group with 10 other people. In a world where the average Pastor does not pray or read their Bible daily, wouldn't it be awesome if we had an entire church that became committed to setting aside time to be with Jesus?
John Maxwell says that the way to grow an organization is to grow the people, and the way to grow the people is to grow yourself. As a church we must be committed to starting at home. We are growing ourselves first.
God has given us a vision for Hot Springs, to Occupy Every Street, but that will only happen as we prepare ourselves for the moving of the Spirit. Louie Giglio said, on a Catalyst Podcast, that his job, as the leader of Passion Church, was to "keep the sails up". He said there are two ways to move a boat, you can paddle yourself to death …

Welcome Home

Welcome Home
Welcome Home!  A statement that has become very familiar in the church world, but also in the business and marketing world.  We see furniture stores and TV stations saying This is Home, Welcome Home, and many other versions of this statement.  I believe it is because this simple statement has struck a chord in the lives of so many. At the end of the day, no matter where we go, and what we do, we all want to be able to come home.
At Encounter Church, the church that I pastor in Hot Springs, AR, we use this phrase to welcome guests and attendees alike.  We want it to be a place that truly does feel like home. A true home, loving, respectful, and compassionate. That may or may not be a description of the home you grew up in, but man I know this, we all wish it was.
In ministry, as well as life, we have a very specific and strategic plan to help make that happen.  Now, I personally echo Andy Stanley and feel that true spiritual growth happens best in the context of Small Grou…

Let's Talk Money

So, let’s talk about money and giving.  Let’s do it from the context and perspective of our story at Encounter Church and how your giving has, and will continue to make an impact on the lives of people in Hot Springs, as well as nations around the globe. After more than 20 years in pastoral ministry, I know that few things bring more tension in a conversation than talking about money. In fact, most people never talk about it unless they are in trouble. But I think we need to have a healthy understanding of how ministry is funded and the part we play, the part God plays, and where the money is going.
“Where’s the Money Going?”
The finances of any church should not be based in fear, or tension, because our finances are really just a story about us and about where we are going as a church. Our budget, as a church, is a tool we use to manage the incredible gifts we have been given and to live boldly in the calling of God in this community. For example, you cannot talk about finances, and w…