Archives For Brandon Cox

Our Creator designed us to be creative. And out of our inborn creativity come forth plenty of good ideas, but an idea is only as valuable as its successful implementation. In other words, brainstorming is good, but completing ideas is even better. Charles Lee, the founder of the Ideation Consultancy and many other brilliant ideas, helps leaders cross the finish line with well-developed good ideas.

Good Idea. Now What?In his new book, Good Idea. Now What?, Charles presents a guidebook that is very thorough, but also very readable. It’s a book for leaders, for thinkers, and for creators. It’s written in such a way that the reader can join in at any point, like a reference book. But it’s also a journey that can be followed on a pathway to creative growth. Here’s what Charles has to say about the book…

Going from inspiration to execution is hard work. Many steps stand between a good idea and the hit product, profitable company, or social change you envision. Your initial “aha!” moment provides the key to begin this process, but it’s…

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HarvestI recently wrote about defining the favor of God, and I defined it as enjoying the undeserved kindness of God. I also said you can spot the favor of God when you see that He has sovereignly chosen to bless something or someone for the purpose of bringing Himself glory. His favor is never for our enjoyment alone – it is always intended to be shared with others.

In the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Gabriel comes to deliver the message that the Holy Spirit would conceive His Son in her virgin womb, and that He was to be called Jesus. Astounding! Impossible! After the angel explained that nothing is impossible with God, Mary reacts, and there’s a HUGE lesson in her response…

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

~ Luke 1:38 NLT

Did you catch that? Mary was humble and highly favored as a recipient of God’s gracious gift. But she was also confident and even enthusiastic about what God wanted to do in her life. This is a point at which…

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MalcoThis past Sunday made the fourth week in a row we’ve worshipped in a local movie theater with January 15 being our official launch. We didn’t intend to launch in a theater. I fact, we spent a great deal of time looking at retail spaces, but eventually landed at the Malco because of space, price, and availability. There’s a part of me that fell in love with the idea before we moved in, and has remained attached to it since.

Advantages of Meeting In a Theater

We know that we won’t be in the theater forever. We’re already looking around for our next home, but we’re enjoying some great advantages in the meantime, such as…

  • The rent is great, especially since we’re only paying for a few hours per week instead of the whole week. For us, it’s $650 per week, which gives us access to three theaters.
  • The decorating is done. It’s not what we would do in our own space, obviously, but it’s something we don’t have to think about.
  • We don’t have to stack chairs.
  • There is a cultural barrier between the church and the community around the church that is…

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Velocity 2012I remember Shawn Lovejoy telling the story of how, when they had their opening service at Mountain Lake Church, he totally forgot to take up the offering, and they couldn’t meet the following two weeks because of ice. I love guys that are real who pour themselves into others, and that’s Shawn. He and his team host an annual conference for church planters and Angie and I have officially purchased plane tickets – so there’s no turning back!

If you’re a church planter or a church planting enthusiast, you’re going to want to hear from Derwin Gray, Geoff Surratt, Pete Wilson, Brian Bloye, Artie Davis, Ron Edmondson, Aaron Coe, Justin and Trisha Davis, Matt Keller, Mac Lake, Tony Morgan, Ed Stetzer, Jud and Lori Wilhite, Scott Williams, and more than a dozen other leaders.

The conference is in Cumming, GA (an hour from the Atlanta airport) on February 27th and 28th. If you’re not aware of Velocity, you are now. I hope to see you there!

Check Out Velocity 2012

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Favor of GodThe phrase “favor of God” seems to be growing in popularity, and I’m glad. It’s a biblical phrase – a good phrase. But it’s often misunderstood. I once heard a guy talk about finding a parking spot right up front on a busy shopping day because of the “favor of God.” I pictured in my mind the pregnant lady with triplets who had to park a football field away because of the favor of God upon this Pastor.

A recent story from LarkNews (satire, by the way – don’t start an email rumor mill – it’s fake) highlights our western view of God’s favor…

Christian family blessed through others’ misfortune

NEW CASTLE, Del. — Sam and Victoria Gutman have always been smart shoppers, but they have gone to another level during the recent recession, buying automobiles, computers and more from distressed owners.

“God continues to bless us,” says Sam. “All things really do work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. We’re living proof.”

Last week they bought a Lexus coupe from a man who…

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Revival in 2012Back in the olden days (the mid-1990′s) I preached a few times at a small church (averaging 12 each Sunday) in eastern Arkansas. They had a rotation system that determined who would take the visiting speaker home for lunch, and one day my lot fell to two elderly ladies who made awesome roast beef!

As I sat in their living room visiting after lunch, they brought out some photo albums from the church’s history. I was amazed to see crowds of people stuffed so tight into the little white clapboard building that they were spilling out into the yard around the church with small groups gathered around each window leaning in to hear a loud evangelist thunder forth the gospel. The next few photos were of the mass baptisms they conducted in the White River – dozens had come to claim Jesus Christ.

Some argue that “revival” isn’t about people being saved but about the church coming back to life. I agree, but the byproduct of the church coming to life is nearly always that lost people knowing and claiming Christ as Savior to the glory of God….

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Exponential ConferenceGod has certainly used a battle with cancer to help Ryan and Jessica Woods to understand how God can use them to lead a Grassroots Conspiracy in downtown Vancouver, Washington. In Exponential’s Stories of Sifted, Ryan tells his story…

God has not promised me another day, I do not believe he has promised healing (though I do believe he can bring it!), but he has made an audacious claim to restore beauty for ashes, to give joy instead of sorrow, praise over despair—he has promised to tell a beautiful and redeeming story in our life and our death. And that is exactly what I have experienced him doing. The timing of my sickness was such that it seemed to interrupt our work of initiating a new gospel movement in downtown Vancouver that we are calling the Grassroots Conspiracy. But the reality that we have had to deal with is that the gospel movement has not been interrupted, rather it has been given a new canvas for fresh interpretation. Our ministry here is almost exclusively focused on those who are very far from faith, who have never set foot…

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Why Church Planting?

By Brandon Cox

SproutObviously, I’m passionate about church planting. On the blog of the Acts 29 Network is a great article that echoes my heart about the matter. It’s an adaptation of a writing by Tim Keller, and it really reflects the reason why we’re planning on planting out of Grace Hills as soon as possible.

The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else–not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes–will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial…

It is a great mistake to think that we have to choose between church planting and church renewal. Strange as it may seem, the planting of new churches in a city is one of the very best ways to revitalize many older churches in the vicinity and renew the whole Body of Christ….

New church…

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Global Church Planting SundayI’ve become convinced that healthy churches reproduce and unhealthy churches don’t. I’m also convinced that the key to fulfilling the Great Commission throughout the world is church planting. Therefore I can say with certainty, regardless of your denominational tradition, that your church should be directly involved in planting other churches.

On February 12, 2012, many churches will come together in a time of prayer, giving, and commitment to church planting, and your church can participate too.

Global Church Planting Sunday is a special Sunday set aside the second Sunday in February every year, where churches around the world come together to celebrate the church and focus on the planting of more churches.  The date of the very first Global Church Planting Sunday is February 12, 2012.  Any size church can participate and all of the materials needed for this Sunday are available for download free of charge.

via Church Planting Sunday

Dynamic Church Planting International and Outreach Magazine have partnered together to sponsor this global event, and they’re offering a

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Pastor, You Must Read IT

By Brandon Cox

ItIt is a really great book! It is all about “how churches and leaders can get it and keep it.” What is it? Though Craig Groeschel never really defines it, he does offer this clarifying list:

It is what God does through a rare combination of these qualities found in his people:

– Passion for his presence

– A deep craving to reach the lost

– Sincere integrity

– Spirit-filled faith

– Down-to-earth humility

– Brokenness

There are a few books I’ve read in the last decade that I would add to my list of “must reads” for leaders. Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader, J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, and Paul Chappell’s Guided by Grace, plus almost anything that John Maxwell guy has written. And now, I’d have to add It to the stack.

Groeschel helps us develop a good understanding of it, and while he never makes an attempt to attach too much familiar verbiage to it (which is purposeful, to keep us…

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Grace Based LivingEven though none of us actually plays by the rules (according to Romans 3:10, 23), we still try rather hard to do so. We’ve all sinned and fallen short, but in our broken condition, we just keep on plugging away in hopes that in eternity all of our trying and fighting and working will somehow qualify us for heaven in God’s eyes.

Most of us find ourselves living a rules-based life. We have an assumption that our Creator will someday evaluate our performance to see if we’ve measured up to His standard. If we’ve been mostly good, we’re in! But Scripture is clear that God has already evaluated our performance. And the bad news is that He has already concluded that we don’t measure up. So that issue is settled. We can stop trying, stop fighting, and stop working.

When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he expounded significantly on the subject of the grace of God. In chapter five, he proclaims that, “since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith,…

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ChangeIs it even possible to really change? Millions of people must be asking that question, especially as we face another new year. You may already have a list of areas of your life you’re going to change. Whether they are “resolutions” or not, you’re hoping you can make it this year.

ONE GREAT TRUTH: Change is possible. In fact, it’s God’s plan for all of His children to change us into the image of Christ, but we have to be ready first – prepared for His use through repentance and renewal.

Saul made several promises not to try to kill David, but failed to keep any of those promises. David repented of his adultery and a real change was made in his life. What’s the difference between the two? I believe both wanted to change, but David did so in the power of the Holy Spirit through real contrition and repentance, while Saul was attempting to control himself in the power of his own will (and his own flesh).

Claude King shared a great illustration of this principle on his blog about 2 options for being filled with the Holy Spirit (video below). The…

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