Your Best is Excellence

 

For over 10 years now I have worked with audio/video (a/v) in various settings.  It started as a curiosity.  My wife is a talented musician and I love hearing her play and sing.  She comes alive when she worships and there is joy that comes across her face whenever she is using her gift.  I noticed early on that when we went to bigger churches or other places with professional sound,  it sounded much better than what our small church (not New Bethel) did.  I thought, “I’m a smart guy, surely we can do better,” and started learning.

Over time, I found that my love for tech and gadgets is a good fit for being a “sound guy.”  I love learning about it, talking with others about their rigs, and seeking out advice from people who are doing it “right.”  Yes, part of great sound is quality equipment, but there is a lot that can be done with knowledge and a shoe string budget.

Had I been in a big church, there would have been people to teach me.  I could have shadowed professionals and learned the craft before flying solo.  This was never a real option for me. I saw a hole, and said, “Hey, I can fill that hole,” and dove in.  I couldn’t produce excellence, but I did my best.  I’m much better, after ten years, than I use to be.  I still don’t have the best equipment, but I am able to bring great sound to New Bethel – most days.  I am now able to share some of the things, with others, that I have learned over the years.

Something that comes up often in groups I have been part of, is waiting to launch a new feature (like webcasting in the tech world, or a ministry in Church) until everything is perfect.  I agree 100% that anything I do should glorify the Lord and not distract from Him.  However, we can miss opportunities while waiting for what we see as excellence. If the small churches I had been part of waited for $1000, $10,000 or $100,000 budgets to have their sound and lights ready for service, I would have missed all of the great personal ministry I received as a new believer.

Currently, at New Bethel we do not have a webcast.  We do offer a podcast of our messages here.  We do use Periscope to broadcast our services live.  Originally, it was just a cellphone, on a stand, pointed at the stage.  All the sound came from our main speakers and through the small mic on the phone.  It sounded hollow and could be hard to hear at times.

Many bigger churches who use Periscope, Facebook Live, or similar use real video cameras, converters and computer software for their casts.  It sounds and looks a lot better than our broadcast.  We still us the cellphone camera, but now feed the audio from our sound board.  This makes our services much easier to hear and now provides our best.  Many a/v folks would have said our Periscope feed wasn’t excellent and still isn’t.  I’m okay with that.

You see, what we are providing is our best.  The purpose of our Periscope feed was never to share the gospel with the world.  It was set up so members of our church family could still join with us when they couldn’t be with us in person.  We have members that serve our community in the Sheriff department.  We have members that travel and share His love all over the country and world.  We have members who are chronically ill or take care of family members who are.  Simply, we have members who are out doing the stuff and can’t always make it to the building for service.  We wanted a way for them to feel connected and be blessed by our corporate service where ever they might be on a Sunday morning.  Periscope provides this opportunity.  If others view our feed and are blessed that is great!  In fact we have had 2 or 3 families visit New Bethel, because they found our Periscope feed.

If we would have waited for all the gadgets to provide an excellent broadcast, we would still be waiting.  Those families might never have visited.  More importantly, our family would still be missing out on what has become a blessing to them.  Just as I learned to improve my abilities as a sound tech over time, we will continue to improve our webcast.  Until then, we continue to provide our best even when our best may not be viewed as excellence.

So why am I telling you all this?  It is not a plug for Periscope.  It is not an excuse for, or to explain, our limited Periscope feed.  It is because the same thing that can be said about our best video service, can often be said about our Christian walk.

Matthew 28:19 tells all of us to go and make disciples.  The Church is supposed to be a place where we train up believers.  We read in Ephesians 4 that, the Church, is to “equip the saints” for the good works. While we are to be trained and equipped, there is no “level” of Christian excluded from Matthew 28.  We are all supposed to go and make disciples.  Yet, in addition to fear holding us back, often believers are waiting to be excellent.

I know this post reads as if I am knocking “excellence.”  I am not. 2 Corinthians 8:7 tells us to excel in everything.  Excel – to be excellent.  In fact I often quote Colossians 3:23 (NASB) “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,”.  If I am doing unto the Lord, then whatever I am doing, I will do with excellence. I just think that what we sometimes see as “excellence” is different from what God sees.

Going back to Periscope.  Excellence can look like a professional set up for webcasting.  Yet I believe what we do now at New Bethel is excellence.  Can we do better? Not right now, but we will.  We are bringing our best to our family, in service unto the Lord.

In our lives we can almost always do better. In our walk with Jesus, I assure you, we can all do better.  But why does that have to stop us from doing our best now?  It shouldn’t.  You may not always have the answer when you share the Gospel with the world, but you should still share it.  There are people dying every day, condemned to hell, and the Church has people sitting around waiting to be excellent.  People who think that because they are new believers, uneducated through seminary, haven’t read the latest books by the current hit mega church pastor, or any number of things, that they are unqualified to share the message.

When the truth, the truth is you are already called to go and make disciples.  Can you be better equipped?  YES!  So do something about it.  Read and study to show yourself approved.  Find a good bible study to be part of.  Shadow and learn from those further down The Way than you are.  Do these things and at the same time make disciples.

There is a hole, Jesus saw it and told us about it in Luke 2:10 (NASB) “And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” and you need to fill it.  We need harvesters.  Dear Lord, we need laborers (this is not said in vain, but a heartfelt cry). You are called to be one.

Stop letting what you see as excellence stand in your way.  Know that your best IS excellence.  Your best will bless. Your excellence will become more excellent over time, but if you never jump in and say I can do better it never will.  You may have read that last sentence and thought, “Yeah, but I can’t do better than those already doing it.”

First, when I started doing sound, there were lots of people doing it better than me.  There still are.  None of those people did it where I was or where I am now.  There are lots of people who can share the Gospel better than you, but there is no one doing so where you are now.  Second, you sharing the Gospel is better than people going to hell.  You are better than the devil. Third, and most important, as a Christian making disciples is what you are made to do.  There are natural born singers, mathematicians, chefs and many other professionals.  There is just something in them that makes them great at what they do.  It is what they were made for.  You, beloved, are made to share the Gospel. With Holy Spirit in you, you are a natural evangelist.

So go live your purpose and be who you are made to be.

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New Bethel Weekly – Christmas Edition

As I prayed about what to write for this edition of New Bethel Weekly I was continually taken back to my 10th grade math teacher.  I don’t remember her name, but I remember something she did.  The last day before Christmas break she closed her classroom door, told us to put everything away, and began to speak to us.  She laid out the gospel, prayed over us, and then offered the gift of salvation to anyone who wanted it.  This was in a public school, and she had printed letters for any student to take to the principle explaining what she did.  Then she shared why she did it.

When I was her student she had been teaching for 18 years and had been sharing the same message for 10 years.  Her 7th year of teaching two of her students committed suicide over the holiday break.  She had no idea what was going on in their lives, there were no clues that she picked up on, and she didn’t know if they were saved.  Her message wasn’t an attempt to “win souls” but rather an attempt to save lives and hopefully touch that one life that felt worthless and unloved.

You see Christmas is an amazing time.  Families come together (I’m in Georgia with my family as I write this), gifts are shared, and an overwhelming feeling of love tends to fill each house.  For many, this season is a reminder of our salvation.  Some, however, do not know this peace.  When they look at the lights, festivity and family, they feel empty inside.  There is no hope.  If you are reading this and know that this is you, you are not alone.

Jesus loves you.  Every story in the Bible, every Sunday message, every door banger and Bible thumper, every song about Jesus on the radio today, is a message of love.  The best part is that love is for you personally.  If no one except you said yes to Jesus, He still would have given His life for you. This is the promise of the Christmas manger, Jesus’s life for yours.  A promise fulfilled with His death and resurrection.

With the acceptance of Jesus, comes hope, joy and love.  You no longer have to walk alone, the burdens of your life become shared. Best of all, Jesus is someone who has your best interest at heart.  However, He loves you just as you are. Jesus isn’t about control or manipulation.  The things He asks of His followers are designed to bring freedom and peace.  He does not want your daily decisions driven by the next fix (whatever that vice may be).  He shows you places in your life that keep you from accepting unconditional love, and helps you overcome them.  He moves you from a place of fear and suspicion, to a place of love and trust.

There is hope today, right now for you.  Not only can you have a friend, you will gain a family.  No matter how different we look, or act, the message of the whole Church is simply this: Jesus loves you and so do we.  If you are lonely, depressed and need some help, there are some great people at 1-800-273-8255 (The National Suicide Prevention Line) waiting to talk to you and help.  If you need a friendly word of encouragement or want to talk more about Jesus call me at 919-618-8127.  If you want to experience the hope and love of Jesus then pray right now:

Dear God in heaven,

                I come to you in the name of Jesus.  I acknowledge to You that: I am a sinner, I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived and I need your forgiveness.

                I believe that Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

                You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

                Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul.  With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.  This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

                Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins.  Lord Jesus, transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

                Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.   AMEN

Ever week, I close the weekly with I love you, this is not an empty or cute statement.  Among the many things Jesus has done for me, He took my cold heart and filled it with love.  He truly has given me a love for each of you.  I will not be at New Bethel this Sunday, but if you read this and chose to give Jesus a chance to love you, there will be people there Sunday, 10:30am, who would love to welcome you the Family of God. I love ya and Merry Christmas to all.

 

Blessings,

~Allen Wilson

 

New Bethel Weekly 12/17/2015

It is finally here!  The New Bethel CHRISTmas Extravaganza is finally here!  Okay maybe extravaganza is “selling” it a bit too much.  Still, this Sunday is our special Christmas Celebration Service which will kick off at 10:30am.  There will be a covered dish fellowship following service.  Thank you to everyone who has signed up to bring a dish. Pastor Boris is asking that everyone who is bringing food to please have it at New Bethel by 10:15am so you will have time to join us for the full Christmas Service.  There is still room for you to sing up, we are a little light on vegetables and drinks, so click here to do so.

It has been a very unique year for New Bethel, with some exciting changes.  For those who have stood with us and helped through a few transitions thank you. For our newest members to the New Bethel Family, I know it can seem chaotic at times (transition can bring some chaos), it is my prayer that through it all you have seen the love and grace that defines New Bethel.

I’m writing my year end close now, because this is the last traditional weekly of the year. I hope you will stay tuned for a special Christmas and New Year’s edition of the Weekly.  I want you to know it has been a huge blessing to serve you, and with you, this year.  Thank you for the love and support you have shown and given me through the year.  You are awesome!  I love you and look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with you this Sunday.
Blessings,

~Allen Wilson

New Bethel Weekly 12/10/15

Thank you to everyone who is working to make this Christmas a wonderful time of year for New Bethel.  I would like to say thank you to With Love From Jesus (WLFJ) for donating the big awesome tree that now sits in our sanctuary.  It is beautiful.  As a reminder this Saturday is New Bethel’s partnership day with WLFJ.  We meet at 9am at their Raleigh location, 421 Chapanoke Rd. Raleigh NC 27603.  This is a great time to minister to the community, and give of yourself.

Our new Courageous Youth leaders, Nick and Keisha are asking for all the Courageous parents to stay after service this Sunday for a quick meeting.  The meeting will last about 10-20 minutes. If you are unable to attend please email Nick, villarreal.nicholas@gmail.com, for details.

A new stop has been added on our Christmas trail.  The Cary Vine group is inviting everyone to go caroling!  They will be at Smithfield Rescue Mission Wednesday December 16th, 2015 at about 6:45pm.  There will also be a carpool meeting at New Bethel at 5:45 and leaving promptly at 6pm.  You are welcome to join either the car pool or meet at the Mission.  Smithfield Rescue Mission is located at 523 Glenn Street Smithfield, NC 27577. For questions please contact, Andrea Mathews amathews3842@gmail.com, or Martha Ellington ellington5106@bellsouth.net, thank you.

Our CHRISTmas celebration is just 10 days away!  New Bethel you are doing an awesome job with the sign-up sheet.  Thank you to everyone who has already agreed to contribute to our Covered Dish.  There are still a number of slots open, such as veggies and side dishes, to be filled.   For those who don’t like to cook, we still need drinks, ice, and paper goods. Also, our clean-up team only has Mama Linda Wiggins, she could really use your commitment to helping with clean up.  To sign up click here, or go to www.perfectpotluck.com  use last name: wilson and password: 7777.  Thank you, I love ya, and I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.

 

Blessings,

~Allen Wilson