Christmas @ North Park

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I hope you are planning to join us for worship this Sunday at North Park.  If you grew up in a family that hardly if ever went to church, if you did happen to sneak in a Sunday, it was likely during Christmas or Easter. One has to wonder how many families that do not normally darken the door of the church would be willing to do so this coming Sunday, simply because it’s the Sunday closest to Christmas.

Do you have family in town for the holidays or do you have family who do not normally attend worship? Even those that do not have the joy of knowing Christ as Savior tend to enjoy being with family this time of year. This is a great opportunity to invite your family to attend worship as a family so that they can hear about King Jesus.

This is also a great Sunday to invite friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers to worship. Christmas like Easter is one of two times a year that people may be more open to an invitation …. what if they are sort of expecting it or even better what if they want you to invite them? I can’t promise that. You also won’t know until you ask them.

Here are the two opportunities you have to invite people to this weekend:

10:45 a.m. Morning Service- We will sing Christmas carols, we will study Matthew 2:1-12, and we will partake in the Lord’s Supper.

6 p.m. Candle Light Service- A great time involving singing, God’s Word, and lighting candles to signify how the Light of the World now calls us to go and be the light as He shines through us. This service will also have a hot cocoa bar. Who doesn’t like hot cocoa?

Hope to see you this Sunday!

The Big Move

Picture taken from http://www.thermocromex.com.

As we get ready to transition out of Summer and into Fall there is another transition happening in our families life. On September 9 I will preach my first sermon as Senior Pastor of North Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. This is an exciting time for Kristi and me. As with any move it is bittersweet as we will say good-bye to friends and ministry partners of the last few years here at MeadowBrook. This move is something God has been preparing us for and we are confident in His leading. I am thankful for the investment MeadowBrook has made in our lives over the last few years as I served on staff. My time at MeadowBrook has been an eventful time as I have gotten engaged, married, and now we are expecting our first child December 1. I have also finished my seminary degree while at MeadowBrook, made lasting friendships, and had the privilege of teaching God’s Word to students on a regular basis. As this chapter closes and a new one begins we are grateful for God’s leading and for this new opportunity.

North Park is a church celebrating its 90th anniversary. Several years ago the church sensed it was time to relocate from its original location in the Colonialtown area of Orlando. A Navy base located only about 3 miles from downtown Orlando was relocated and a developer bought the land the base had been on. It was on this land that a new area was built from the ground up, this area is called Baldwin Park. Baldwin Park is located in the heart of Orlando and is full of young families. It is in this beautiful area that North Park bought property and relocated.

When I preached in view of a call at North Park we were welcomed with open arms by a loving people. We are excited for what God has in store. We were grateful for the display of support and the affirmation of God’s leading given by the 100% vote on that day. As we prepare to pack up our lives and move to Orlando we do so with great anticipation of the days ahead. It is my hope that North Park will be a body of believers used mightily by God to make disciples in Orlando and around the world.

As we move here are some ways you can pray for us:

1) Pray for Kristi and the baby, that they will be comfortable, healthy and the doctor transition will be effortless.

2) Pray for wisdom as we seek to balance a new life with a new baby, a new city, and a new church family.

3) Pray for North Park and my leadership there as we establish new relationships and begin a new day of ministry.

4) Pray that Jesus will be glorified in all these changes in our lives and family.

We are having a … SON!

My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
(Proverbs 23:15-18 ESV)

Kristi and I are thrilled to announce that Baby Malone is a boy … a son. We are excited and humbled that God would entrust us with a child and are looking forward to raising a son that will live for King Jesus by God’s grace. It is our hope that God will save him early and use him how He sees fit.

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3 Years and Big News

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This past Thursday Kristi and I celebrated 3 years of marriage together. It has been an incredible journey. God has truly blessed me with an amazing wife and we love doing life together. We were also excited to officially announce last week that we are expecting our first child around December 1st! We are looking forward to having another Malone along for the journey! We are thankful and blessed.

By the way today Kristi’s Fashion blog Sprinklesonmystilettos.com was featured on WordPress.com! Check it out!

GLO DNOW 2012 in Huntsville/Madison, AL

I had the opportunity this past weekend to have the privilege of preaching at a DNOW in the Huntsville area that included 9 participating churches. These Student Ministers put together a great even and Summit Crossings Church in Huntsville had a great worship center to host the event. The Museum did a great job leading worship for the three services. I love doing events like these, and when they are well put together like this one it makes them a breeze! Thank you Madison Student Ministers for inviting me to preach to your students! Below are a couple of iPhone pics from the weekend.

Below is a pic of the table I got to preach from at Summit Crossings. It was made from a stump that was found on the current church property. It’s awesome.

 

Seminary Graduation

In December I had the opportunity to complete a milestone that seemed I had been working toward forever. On December 17th I graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with my Master of Divinity. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive this degree and thankful to be … done! Below are some pics of the big day.


Faddish Faith

Fads exist everywhere, music comes to mind. Do we expect to hear Justin Beiber or Keisha songs being played on over the air waves 20 years from now on a classics channel? Fads are not only in music they are obvious in fashion as well.

Image via wikipedia.com

I remember as a 7th grader the awesome fad (in my 7th grade opinion) of “tight rolling” your jeans. This was true art in middle school. It was taking the jeans pants leg and pulling it out to the side and folding it over and then rolling it where the jeans fit tightly around the ankle. This fad was being rocked at its peak if you could pull it off with a pair of white Guess jeans with the triangle on the pocket. It was incredibly awesome. Unfortunately, this fad did not last. If I tried to pull that look off today I would probably sit alone a lot at public functions. It was a fad. It was cool for about 15 minutes and then it was just silly, and now it is a tad embarrassing.

If you have heard or seen any statistics over the years you know that for many teenagers their faith is a fad. For some it is simply something they toy with in high school, abandon in college, and for some never return to. Thankfully, it is not this way for all. I personally was saved at 17 and God is still growing and teaching me today. However, the sad reality is that for some their faith is simply not genuine, not lasting. It fails to produce lasting fruit. Some blame the church for this. They blame the church for pushing people away, being legalistic, unloving, judgmental, and uncaring. While the church is full of imperfect people who make mistakes daily, let’s not fail to realize that the church is not the author nor the finisher of faith. The bottom line is that Jesus is Savior and Sustainer, and he finishes what he starts. God certainly works through His people and the Christian community is the context in which our faith is lived out but Jesus has never had to say “oops.” While the church needs to seek to be loving and authentic and it needs to concern itself with those that wander from the truth; we must remember that for someone to have an enduring faith that is not merely a fad it must be genuine faith. So, we need not only ask questions about how we treat people but also how we share the message. In emphasizing life change are we also emphasizing that this only comes through believing the gospel? Are we truly preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? We can talk about “turning a life over to God” or “living for God” or “being on fire for God” but those are generic terms that do not communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ that is essential for true life change.

Some music is classic and will be played for decades, some fashions never go completely out of style. Genuine saving faith is not a teenage years fad, it is a lasting transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit when one truly believes the gospel. Let us not settle for anything less in our churches.