DENIAL: a refusal to believe or accept something as the truth.

We heard the fire sirens before we realized what was going on. They grew steadily louder and louder, and next thing you know they began streaming into the parking lot. What's going on? Why all the commotion?

Directly out in front of the church was a disabled vehicle. The fuel line had ruptured and left the car stranded on the shoulder of the road in a pool of gasoline. While there was no visible flames, the fire truck was positioned in a way where they sprayed the hood of the vehicle continuously to be certain. Emergency responders also poured kitty litter type bags of containment sorbent in all directions around the vehicle to be certain the threat did not spread.

All the while, the driver refused to leave her vehicle. She simply could not come to grips with what she was experiencing. As wild as this scenario may seem, denial is something that every business, organization, and individual deal with at some level. What everyone else can see easily in you, is a blind spot for yourself.

Oftentimes, as in this illustration, denial is driven by fear. Fear of past failures that have tripped you up, or fear of future failures that can freeze you up. Celebrate Recovery has been effective helping people break the fear choke-hold of denial by pointing us back to Christ. These truths are not just for those in recovery, but are consistent for every believer to grab hold of. Here is what the acronym DENIAL stands for:

Disables our feelings
Energy lost
Negates growth
Isolates us from God
Alienates us from our relationships
Lengthens the pain

Our denial keeps us in the dark but remember, God's light shines on the truth. 

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

Walking out of your denial is not easy. Taking off that mask is hard. Everything about you shouts, "Don't do it! It's not safe!" But it is safe here. Safe in the arms of Jesus. We invite you to discover your place in Christ today. I'd love to show you how. Perhaps today is the day!
Pastor Milo
@milowilson



The Church is established as an outpost in a dark world. We must hold firmly to the Gospel.

[DISCUSSION GUIDE] [OVERVIEW][AUDIO] [INSERT] [SLIDES] [SERMON] [iTUNES]



In the first chapter of The Book of Titus, the Apostle Paul is focusing his instruction on the kind of leaders that God desires. Leadership is very important to God because people are very important to God. God understands that the quality and caliber of leaders will help decide the effectiveness of his people, church and mission. 

At Randall Church, we have just made a hire for an additional ministry assistant. Vickie Flannery joins our office staff, answering phones, sending emails, and will spend a lot of their time connecting with members of the congregation. The ministry assistant must have the key quality of being a "people person," and because the job is mostly a service-oriented role under another's leadership, the quality of being supportive is essential. 

However Anna Windermere, author and writer for the Miami Herald reminds us that character is essential to leadership at any level. "A ministry assistant must have the quality of devotion to God and a desire to keep walking the Christian path. The assistant needs to be in integrity with the religious mission of the ministry or church for which she provides assistance." 

Using Titus 1:6-9 as our backdrop for the ultimate target in leadership, I see three leadership lids at any level that will keep a person from being successful. It should not be a surprise that they all have to do with an individual's character. In our culture, it seems charisma, skill and power often trump character. In God's world however, character counts above all the rest.

Three Leadership Lids At Any Level
1. Don't lead your family well. 
2. Don't lead yourself well. 
3. Don't lead a trustworthy life

Wherever it is you are employed, wherever it is you volunteer, wherever it is you hope to have influence on others, your leadership and effectiveness will be decisively capped if you choose to live under these three lids.  Don't waste this opportunity. Don't waste your life!

Because you have been transformed by Christ, you have a strong belief in the trustworthiness of the Gospel. And, because you trust Jesus, you are able to encourage others with this message. The rest of your life is committed to helping people find their place Jesus. You mentor them in Jesus and you help them mentor others in Jesus. You help your spouse, your kids, your neighbors, roommates at school, and co-workers find their place in Christ. It becomes the great priority and passion of your life.

If you feel you are stuck, or you just want fresh eyes and someone to help you put together a plan for the next 6-12 months to break through these lids, then we would love to partner with you.

Character counts. Leadership matters. The time is now!

Pastor Milo
@milowilson

Imagine that you and I met recently, and had a great first impression. This may have been at the grocery store, a work connection, or a school sporting event where we connected well and even our spouses interacted in a friendly manner. I

Imagine that I invite you over for dinner, and because of this first meeting and it's positive feelings, you enthusiastically say yes! We agree on a time and you plan to bring the entire family over one night next week. The night comes, and you leave your home excited for a nice evening with new friends. For the sake of illustration, this is where things begin to go wrong... 

First, the address I gave and you put in your GPS puts you on the wrong side of the Thruway, with no ability to exit. When you do arrive 15 minutes late, the porch lights are off and the driveway is full, leaving you still unsure if this is the right location. 

When you ring the bell, I take a long time to answer it, and when I finally come to the door, my greeting is halfhearted at best. Next, it is clear that dinner was started without you, which is ok given your tardiness, but the general disarray of the home makes you unsure if I was expecting you to make it for dinner at all? Dinner conversation is strained, as it appears I am more interested in telling you about myself than I am in learning anything about you.

Sound pretty bad? Yeah, I think so too. Hopefully you have not ever experienced a dinner invitation like this fictional scenario I set up. Sadly however, this isn't too far fetched for what a family can experience when they decide to visit a new church this weekend.

I spent this week as a parking lot greeter for our church's VBS program. I had a great time interacting with many of you, your wonderful kids, and your numerous comments about "finally seeing the Pastor do something around here!" :-)

Being out there, and interacting with people was a great reminder of 3 things that most people forget about a parking lot whether it be at a church, at a soccer tournament, or at a elementary school function. 

1. People decide in the parking lot. 
2. People care when you care. 
3. People love to be loved!

This weekend, how can you be intentional about being kind and hospitable with others from the moment they drive on to the church campus? I don't mean everyone has to put on a reflective vest and carry an umbrella. I do mean however, that if we are not conscious about positive human to human interaction in those first moments, the rest of our time together is hard to recover.

Are parking lots the most important facet of our ministries? Absolutely not. Not even close. But they can be used of God toward making an eternal difference. 

I am a difference maker.

Pastor Milo