Monday, November 30, 2009

Guest Blog (Eric Hawthorne)

This weeks guest blogger is Eric Hawthorne. Eric is our creative pastor and I must say that he does a fantastic job! Thanks Eric for all that you do and for your passion for Jesus!

I find it odd that Curt would ask me to be a guest blogger because I have my own blog to contend with. But, since I never blog there, why not blog here. That kind of sounds like a Dr. Suess Book.

A few weeks ago, Johnna and I were riding with some good friends to a Clemson football game and I was asked a deep and profound question. "What's so good about the iphone?". Well rather than answer this question in this blog posting, allow me to share with you what I realize looking back on the conversation. I have recognized that I have become an advocate for products and services among my friends and family. There is nothing new about this concept, some call it word of mouth and others call it bragging. If you pair my love for all things Apple with my passion for consulting others about the latest technologies, I would say I have a pretty powerful testimony. It doesn’t stop with the iPhone either. I recently found myself proclaiming Kasasa Checking the best investment since gold. Even while I write this, I fight the urge to explain what Kasasa checking is and how it works. The question I'd like to pose is simply this; what are you an advocate for? Or better yet, who are you an advocate for?

If you know Jesus, then you should be spreading the word of Christ. Not just saying; "hey, Jesus is awesome", but rather being passionate about God's word as though you believe in what you're doing in your life. You should be unable to stop talking about his grace, mercy, and love. So much that people around you actually see how amazing Jesus is -> to be quite possibly so convincing that others believe in your product, your service, your savior.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Blog (Meredith Haynie)

This weeks guest blogger is Meredith Haynie. She is an awesome follower of Christ. She joined in with Oasis about 10 months before we actually launched. So she's been part of the core group almost from the very beginning. Here is what she had to say about what God has been doing in her life through Oasis.

Oasis Church has changed my life in more ways than I could ever explain. Before finding Oasis, my life (during my college years) revolved around partying, drinking, and going out. I made decisions that I still don’t understand how God could ever forgive me for or why He would. Even though I was doing these things I still claimed to be a Christian. During that time being a Christian, to me, was simply believing in God and calling on Him when I had no one else to call on. God was not number one in my heart and He fell pretty low on my list of priorities. Looking back, I now realize that not a single part of me was acting like a child of God, I knew Him and knew what He expected of me but I was too wrapped up in the “fun” life to worry about God. That “fun” life began to take a toll on all aspects of my life- school, family, relationships, etc. For years I continued this party life until one day I could no longer deny the need for some major changes in the way I was living. I stopped the partying and drinking and began to try and rebuild my relationship with Christ. I knew I could build it back up to a certain point on my own, but to get where I wanted to be with God I needed a church and a church family that could help me through the difficult, trying times.

For way too long I didn’t find a church home, I tried to do it all by myself. Not because I didn’t want to find one, but I never felt confident enough to go to a new church by myself because of the fear of looking like an outsider. However, about a year ago, a friend and I were talking about church and I was telling her the issues I was having with finding a church in Greenwood when she told me about Oasis and invited me to come. I decided to go the next Sunday. This decision has proven to be one of the most amazing and life-altering decisions I have ever made.

That first Sunday, a year ago, when I walked into the Oasis service I knew I was finally where God wanted me to be. I felt so accepted and welcomed by everyone. But more than that, I felt God’s presence. I realized immediately that these people were REAL. Their love for God was real and their desire to bring people closer to God was real. It was not a show like I have seen before; it was real people simply doing what God had called them to do. I have never been as happy as I was that day, when I knew I was finally doing what God wanted me to do.

Since that first Sunday, my relationship with God has grown immensely. Because of Oasis I am truly experiencing God’s presence in my life now. I smile just thinking about Him, I love talking to Him, and I have the most amazing, indescribable feeling knowing that He is right there with me no matter what. I now know what being a Christian really means, but more than that I know what it feels like to be a true Christian, no other feeling in this world can compare to the feeling I have knowing I have given my life to Christ. Oasis gave me a second chance and a new life, a life that revolves around God and fellowship. Without Oasis, I don’t know where I would be today. Not only have I developed a new, deeper relationship with God through Oasis, but I have also made wonderful friends who I know I can count on for years to come. Oasis has shown me what God is all about. Being a part of Oasis has renewed my spirit, my faith, and my love for life.

God is so incredibly AWESOME! He knew exactly what I needed in my life…Oasis Church.

Oasis, as your pastor, I want you to know what a difference your love for Jesus and your love for others is making in the lives of people. Just keep being real! Meredith, thank you for your love for Jesus, for all that you invest in Oasis, and for all that you invest in my children!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Sum-up.

"You can be a christian with out being a fanatic." Really?! Seriously? I've heard this statement before, and every time that I hear someone say it, it gives me chills. Why is it okay to be fanatical about something as long as it doesn't have eternal significance? Perfect example... Sports. Now I love painting my entire body orange or garnet just as much as the next guy, but let's face it, most all of us have an easier time with fanatical behavior at a sports event than in our morals, actions and beliefs. Today was our second week in our practical atheist series. A practical Atheist is someone who says that they believe in God, but they live as though He does not exist. Here are a few thoughts from today. The basic mindset that we sought to challenge is "Hey, you can love Jesus without going crazy about it."


-Christians have a distinct ability to make God want to puke.

-Jesus gave everything for us, but we don't want to give much of anything to Him.

-When it comes to Jesus, here are a few things that we are stingy with; time, money, possessions, family, relationships and much much more.

-Lukewarm Christianity is an oxymoron.

-Yes, I did say nipple today in the message...Sorry, I didn't know that it is a "bad word."

-Listen to the podcast from today, I feel sure that it will challenge you. and click on podcast.

-Our volunteers are AMAZING!

-I don't really think that nipple is a bad word.

-People's lives are being changed because there are people in Oasis church who choose to love!

-I'm so looking forward to this weeks guest blogger. One Miss Meredith Haynie.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Morgan Hanna (Guest Blogger)

So this week's guest blogger is none other than my own beautiful wife. Here's her thoughts.

I was 17 years old when I went on my first missions trip. Lake Russell Baptist Church took a leap of faith and sent 3 fearless leaders on a van with 13 teenagers to New Brunswick Georgia to do missions for Golden Isle Ministries. I remember it like it was yesterday, the not so air conditioned gym, where we slept, ate and showered. The wake up calls from our cook at 5:30 am came way to early because our nights didn't end until well after midnight, yet, we made it. We moved our ministry from place to place, setting up our sets, making things from scratch, working our fingers to the bone to get things "just right" because we had to give God our best. From that trip on, our motto was "set it up, take it down". To this very day we all know exactly what that phrase means, it is engraved on every single part of our being because we knew what it meant to pitch in and give it all for God's glory. The phrase seems silly and yes we still get so tickled thinking about those amazing adventures that we sometimes wet our pants from laughter, but that phrase is now one of the reasons Oasis Church means so much to me.

Portable church....whoever heard of a portable church? I never had until my crazy, insane, Christ following husband informed me that a portable church is exactly what Oasis would be. Now, 10 years after our first mission trip, Curt and I and the rest of Oasis is setting up and taking down, just like God had planned for us so many years ago. I'm not sure I can explain this because I am terrible with words, but being portable has taught my kids and I a valuable lesson in what church really should be. Church isn't a building.....seriously??? YES, seriously! Church is the body of Christ, the people who gather together, worship together, fellowship together. Church is about forming relationships with new people, inviting them in and then sending them out to continue the cycle. Church is NOT about the color of the walls, the flowers in the vestibule or the size of the auditorium, church is your congregation. My prayer is that Oasis NEVER has a permanent building.......we don't want to be content, we don't want to become complacent! If every single church we plant is portable, then so be it. I'm prepared to "set it up and take it down" for the rest of my life, are you? Oasis is preparing me for the next step and even though I am uncertain of what that step may be, I know that God is preparing my heart and the hearts of those who need to be reached. Thank you God for allowing me the opportunity to serve you in this life, I am so unworthy.

My wife is so amazing! To this day we still laugh about "set it up, tear it down." We had no Idea what God was preparing us for. Morgan, I love you so much. I am blessed to the nth degree to spend the rest of my life with you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Sum-up.

Today was awesome! The highlight by far was that one person at Oasis Church gave their life to Christ today! That is so freakin' awesome! That brings the total to 4 people who have given their lives to Christ since we launched 14 weeks ago! I feel like we have been going for years and yet I feel like we just started last week. I am sooooo full of excitement for what God is doing in our presence. Steven Cathcart led worship today and I must say that he did a fantastic job. I've known Steven for years and I love him dearly. He has more musical talent in his pinky toe than most people have in their whole body. I absolutely LOVE that he has a desire to use his talent for God's glory. Today we began our series entitled "Practical Atheist". What is a practical atheist you ask....? A practical atheist is someone who believes in God but lives as though He doesn't exist. A recent Gallup poll has shown that some 94% of Americans believe in God or some form of God. Yet, how many people actually live as though they believe in Him? This is a huge issue in the American church. Here are a few random thoughts from today.

-So many of us claim to know God, but our actions tell a completely different story.

-God expects us to strive for perfection, but He doesn't expect us to attain perfection... That's what Jesus is for.

-Someone gave their life to Christ today!

-We can so easily miss who God is due to our blind conceit.

-Our volunteers ROCKED IT OUT today!

-I love our volunteers!

-I love our staff!... As always, I'm am looking forward to this weeks staff meeting.

-Hell is one person less crowded today!!

-If you are really all in with God, instead of fixing your life, He will ruin it... In a really good way!

-We have got to understand what it means to fear God.

-If you missed today, listen to the podcast. then click on Podcast.

-We saw salvation take place first hand today!!!

-Many people made a renewed commitment to God today! AWESOME!

-I absolutely LOVED the new bulletins today. Eric did a fantastic job on them.

-I love how our volunteers own the call that God has placed on their lives.

-Jesus took on YOUR SIN!... Yes YOURS!

-If you are coming to Oasis next week BRING A FRIEND!... or 10, it could change their eternity!

-Remembering a quote from this week, "People aren't looking for friendly churches, they are looking for friends." Oasis, it is soooo imperative that we be completely real with people!

-We've got camping for cans coming on Dec. 4-5th!

-God is AMAZING!