Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, June 26, 2009

Some ideas on Series

Beth wrote on my wall on Facebook (you should be on facebook if you are not) and referred me to a Batterson Blog post. But if you went beyond the post and read the comments, there were some AWESOME ideas...Here are a few that I think would really work well and speak to a need. They are NOT my ideas. I put them in blue and then I ask you a question below:

Week 1: Tithing (90% blessed is better than 100% cursed)
Week 2: Sabbath Day's Rest (6 Days blessed is better than 7 days cursed)
Week 3: Serving (the world measures success by how many people serve you, but God measures success by how many people you serve)
Week 4: Grace (we're saved by faith, but works matter)

"What I Wish Someone Had Told me" it's a walk through some life lessons out of proverbs.

"Crave" about craving the things of God. Making lots of sensory ties with food for this one.

"Karma". Basically disproving this secular theory with biblical truths. (BRIAN: what if we did 3 weeks addressing 3 'new age' kinds of topics: Karma, Reincarnation, ???)

Doing a series called Crazy in August...focusing on our crazy calling, our crazy mission as a church (it's our anniversary), and showing crazy love to our community.this will lead us into September, where we're doing a series called Amazing Grace, where we will basically present the gospel. The idea is for these two series to go hand in our people up about our mission and challenge them to invite, and then follow up with a series built on the Gospel.

Some of these are very workable for us. Do any of these really strike you? Why?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

School's Out

Continuing my study in Colossians, I found this a great and practical teaching for me today.

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. 7 You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

This is The Message again and it is so beautifully written. In the actual translation, Paul doesn't say 'quit studying the subject', but the essence of what he says is 'you already know the material - you already have the information' I like the way Peterson (the message) puts it. What good is more Bible knowledge if we don't apply what we already know?

Start Living! I am going to really take this text to heart today...putting the focus of my heart on this: Jesus is Lord, He's got my back, He knows and has arranged for my future, and my job is to live in the present. And I have decided: I am going to live in such a way that my life overflows with thanksgiving!

How about you? What would it look like if you applied the truth of Colossians 2:6-7 today? Will you take the challenge with me?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm reading through Colossians. A good friend, who is also a pastor, inspired me to study under Paul the Apostle as he teaches the four chapters that make up this short book. I think I'm going to teach a 4 week series on it at PCC late this summer.

When I study scripture, I almost always study in the NIV translation. But I absolutely love to hear the way Peterson puts the essence of the text in The Message paraphrase. Listen to these verses, as Paul talks about Jesus:

So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. 20 Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross. (Colossians 1:19-20, MSG)

Wow! Every broken and dislocated fragment in the entire universe is made whole and complete and right in Him. And then He fits us together in harmony and with life and vibrancy. How can today be a bad day when that truth is revealed to us?

I've been struggling these past few days. This was a word from God for me. How about you? Does this scripture help you or encourage you in any way?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Joseph Freeman And The Knoxville World Changers Team

Check out the first post from the Knoxville World Changers team! Click here to read Joseph Freeman's God story!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

World Changers Team In Knoxville!

Want to encourage the Knoxville World Changers missions team? It's easy to do via email. Simply click here and scroll down to 'E-couragrams' and follow the instructions! Getting an e-couragram is often the highlight of the day for these folks, who are working hard on construction projects, coming back to worship and encountering God through service in powerful ways. Encourage them!

It only takes a minute! Click here, follow the instructions for 'E-couragrams' for the Knoxville, TN World Changers project - and be part of changing the world!

Here are the people who are serving in Knoxville - pick a few and send them an encouraging note!

Andy Heberle
Angie Sposa
Joe Sposa
Lance Broughman
Becky Edwards
Craig Pace
Sarah Wingo
Tanner Iglio
Katie Rusch
John Rusch
Marshall Broughman
Jen Hall
Kelsey Hall
Amber Scott
Andrew Basic
Joseph Freeman
Nikkie Oliver
Paul Meyers
Hayley Engles
Travis Wagner
Elijah Schiarelli
Jared Schiarelli
Kayla Riser
Joe Lachance
Morgan Salyer
Kasey Ogle
Matt Turner
Matt Jones
Marc Chewning
Will Kottmann
Zaida Kitami
Sydni Brawley
Shannon Brawley
Ben Wolf
Myra Fillben
Jarrett Henderson
Holden Ramsey
Jackie Heberle
Erik Edwards

Friday, June 19, 2009

Watching God Connect The Dots

Guest blogger Jeanette Brannan has a few encouraging words about the mission work going on in Tanzania. Be sure to attend the Tanzania HHF concert on Saturday, June 20th at Powhatan High School, featuring the John Ivins Band, Offering and PCC Band members!

It’s so fun to watch God work His plan and for me to be just a spectator! After all, that is the BEST plan of all, and it seems so easy for Him. That is exactly what is happening with the beginning stage of the 2010 Tanzania Mission Trip! Already 12 people have expressed a serious interest in going, and 8 of them were, I’m convinced, sent directly from God to me without my doing a thing or knowing anything about them!! (I like that kind of leadership!) So far we have two doctors, five nurses, two contractors, and three of us who don’t have any claim to fame but outright passion for serving Him. What He has planned next, I have no idea, but I’m leaving it up to Him since He is doing such a great job!

It’s fascinating to see God connect the dots! Months ago – long before the mission team started forming – we planned the benefit concert on June 20 for the purpose of raising money for the UHAI Medical Clinic. Even before we began to sell tickets to the concert, people came simultaneously from “nowhere” expressing an interest in going on the next mission trip. Most of these people had not, at that time, even heard about the concert! He plants the seed for the concert to benefit the medical clinic and then brings doctors and nurses to go to the clinic!!! Of course, he knows we will need people with other backgrounds and interests, so He brings them too! How awesome is God!

Not everyone is called to go on a mission trip, and if you think that’s you, perhaps you can support the medical aspect of our mission by attending the concert on June 20, at Powhatan High School at 7:00. (If you feel you are called to go on the mission trip, you can also attend the concert!) The money we raise will help to purchase medicine, medical supplies and equipment for the UHAI Medical Clinic.

See you at the concert! And/or see you on the mission field!

For more info, check out this post by Jeanette about her recent trip. Check out the Tanzania HHF website here!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

myquestion: Why not King James?

I'm working through the myquestion answers. Here's the one I want to tackle today:

Why not King James?

I have gotten this question in various forms many times. The issue comes out of a church tradition that teaches that the only real, true Bible is the King James Bible and that all other Bibles are lesser translations. Some churches teach that any translation other than King James is evil and an attempt to alter scripture. This is simply untrue.

In order to grasp the truth, you have to know a little history...

Until the Protestant reformation of the 1500's, the all Christians in the world essentially were a part of the same church: The Catholic Church. There were no denominations. There were no non-denominational church. Everybody was Catholic if they were a Christian. And, if you were born in a Catholic state (like England), you were born Catholic. Essentially, everyone was considered a Christian because they were born into that church.

In the Catholic Church to that point, there was only one Bible language: Latin. You speak German? Too bad, the Bible was in Latin. French? Sorry, Latin Bibles only. Only priests had Bibles and every Bible was in Latin.

Once the Reformation came, though, protestant denominations formed, like the Lutheran Church and the Church of England (the Anglican Church). In 1611, the King James Bible (that's not what it was called at the time) was finished. It was, among other things, an attempt to introduce a solid, accurate translation in the language that was spoken in England at that time. People in England spoke King James English (Old English), not Latin, so a Bible was produced that was in the vernacular.

The reason I don't use the King James English Bible is because I don't speak King James English. Further, archeology continues to uncover truths that give us a better handle on language interpretation, making the modern English translations generally better (in the opinion of many scholars) than one that was developed 400 years ago.

To argue that the King James Bible is the only Godly Bible is to prompt the question: What did the church use, then, for 1600 years before the KJV came to be? Was there no good Bible? The answer is that there was a good and Godly was in Latin.

The King James Bible is a good translation, but I don't speak that language. We don't tell someone in France to use the KJV. We tell them to get a Bible in French. Likewise, I want a Bible that is a good, solid translation in modern English - the language I speak.

For more information on which Bible to get if you want a new one, go to a post I wrote a while ago by clicking on this link:

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Vow of Purity

Vow 4: The Vow of Purity. I promise to confide in you and not hide from you.

Many of the references in this series came from the popular book, Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy and Karen Evans AND from Craig Groeschel's messages that were also based on that book.

Some notes from yesterday's message. I hope they are a help to you:

First, the books I referenced were For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. Both are available on Amazon and other places. They are easy to find.

Second, the text we discussed was:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:24-25, NIV)

Hebrew for shame: to be ashamed; to feel completely worthless.
To have No Shame = naked, transparent, intimate, genuine, authentic, valued for who I am.

Third, and finally, here is the graphic I developed and used:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Disregarding Jesus' teaching?

One of the questions we received some time ago was this:  

Why don't followers of Jesus' obey his teaching in Matthew 19:21?  
So you won't have to look it up, Matthew 19:21 says:  Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  (NIV)

This verse must be read in context.  The preceding verses tell us that "...a man came up to Jesus and asked, 'Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?'" (Matthew 19:16, NIV) Jesus tells him to obey all of the commandments and the man responds that he has done that, and asks, "What do I still lack?"  Only then does Jesus respond by telling him to sell everything he owns and give away the money.  Matthew goes on to tell us that the 'young man' walked away in despair because he was very wealthy.  

In my opinion, the person who asks the question, 'why don't followers of Jesus obey this teaching' is confusing two different kinds of Biblical accounts.  Sometimes, Jesus spoke universal truths and commands that were to transcend time.  Matthew 28:18-20 charges all followers of Jesus, regardless of time or geography, to go everywhere and make disciples of everyone.  That is a command.  He tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek the Kingdom of God above everything else.  That is a command.  He tells us in John 15:9 to 'remain in' His love.  That is a command.

But there are other times when the teaching is not directly and literally to us, but rather to a particular person at a particular time in a particular circumstance.  He tells Peter to throw his nets out for another catch (twice), but we don't interpret that as a call to go fishing, do we?  We interpret it as an understanding that Jesus has the ultimate power in this world.  Or we see it as analogous for the fact that we should be willing to throw our nets out and trust God to bring people and resources into our lives.  I could name a hundred other examples.  When he told Peter to throw out his nets, that was not a command to be literally taken to all of us.

Likewise, Jesus' call to the rich young man to sell all of his possessions and give away everything is not a command to all of us.  I believe that Jesus looked into this man's heart and knew that the thing that had come between him and God was his wealth and his stuff.  We know this because he didn't take Jesus up on the offer, but rather walked away sulking.  So, what good is that text in my life?  Lots.  It tells me that I need to probe around and find anything that is standing in between me and God and divest myself of it.  Pride.  Career.  Money.  Ambition.  Laziness.  Whatever it is, it's got to go - or at least I've got to relate to it differently.  God has to be first.  That is the lesson of the Rich Young Ruler*.

**(Luke tells us he was some kind of ruler)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Can a witch believe in God?

This is one of the questions we received when we did the 'ask your question' day...

Is it possible for someone to be a witch and to believe in God?

To answer this question, I would suggest that we don’t just consider witches, but any person who subscribes to any other faith, or no faith at all (like an agnostic or a spiritist). The real question is: Is a person who is not a Christian capable of believing in God? Let me refer to Paul’s words:

Romans 1:19-20 (MSG) But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.

I believe that it is possible. Indeed, many people of other established religions and many people who have no real faith position at all still believe in God or at least that some Divine Being exists. I would argue that their picture of God is incomplete or imperfect.

Now, I know this is offensive to some. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or inconsiderate, even though some folks will feel this way. But I think I make a good point: to argue that a Muslim and a Buddhist and a Hindu and a Christian and a Wiccan all worship the same god is to offend them all. You may think you are being respectful and tolerant, but the truth is that such an attitude is just the opposite. Allah and the God I know are not the same. Any faithful Muslim would agree with that statement, by the way. One of us is right, but we can’t both be right.

I have bet my life and my afterlife on the premise that Jesus is who He claims to be - namely, the most complete picture of God that we can possibly know.

So, respectfully, I argue people who believe in God in any form may have pieces of truth, but they do not have the complete picture. Only through Jesus can we really know God. Jesus said it like this:

John 14:6-11 (NIV) …"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

I think that God’s best for us – for all of us – is found in and through Jesus Christ. People who say that they believe in God but don’t believe in Jesus may, in fact, be telling you the truth. But they don’t know THE Truth. Truth is a person. His name is Jesus.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Leadership Event Coming!!

From our very first day, Powhatan Community Church has invested in our leaders. We know that without a dynamic, passionate and skilled leadership, the church cannot accomplish all that God wants for us. Our premier leadership event each year is the Leadership Summit. During this 2 day event, we hear incredible speakers, develop new skills, gain new information, solidify our focus and grow closer together as leaders. I look forward to this time with you as much as I look forward to anything during the year. If you have not been to a Summit with us before, I assure you will not regret going!

For this year’s Summit, we are doing something a little different. We are going to attend at Spring Branch Community Church in Virginia Beach ( It’s a 2 day event, and we’ll spend one night in a hotel. Below are the details. Take a look and get back to me as soon as you can as to whether or not you can attend.  You can reach me at brian at PowhatanCC dot org.

Speakers this year include Tony Blair, Carly Fiorina, Bill Hybels, Patrick Lencioni, Henry Cloud, David Gergen, Bono, Tim Keller, and more.  Click here to see the speaker profiles.

  • Date and time: August 6 and 7. We’ll leave early in the morning on the 6th. You’ll be home around 9pm on the 7th.
  • Cost: The registration fee is $135 per person. This is a huge discount over the normal fee because we registered super early, are a very large group, and we are a WCA member.
  • Hotel: We are reserving a block of rooms at a nearby hotel. If you share a room, the cost per person will be approximately $50.
  • Meals: PCC will host and pay for a dinner Thursday evening. Other meals will be your responsibility. 
  • Money is due: Immediately to reserve your spot. It is non-refundable once your space is reserved. (We pre-registered 25 slots, but they are quickly filling. We can get more, but will need your registration fee in order to do so).
  • How to register: PCC is a Willow Creek Association (WCA) member. In order to get the group rate, you must register through us. Email me or Lori Wheeler to get signed up.
Need Info?  Go to for more information about the Summit. Of course, you can ask me, Lori Wheeler or Chauncey Starkey if you have any other questions, too.

For those who have been before, how about posting a comment here and tell us about your experience!

Hope you can go with us!


10B4 For May 31