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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today was a First for Me and PCC

We made history today. We didn't found a new nation and we didn't cure a disease, but make no mistake about it: we made history. We did something we had never done before, and we pioneered something that very few have even tried in our area: We did church remotely, live, and through the Internet.

It felt GREAT. It felt like...PCC.

Today, we did church together, spread out among 400 different locations, on 400 computer screens, from Mexico to Florida, Maine, Canada, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New Mexico, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky and more. People from churches like Atlee, Mountain View, Coastal, Northminster, May Memorial, Powhatan Mennonite, Hope, Second Branch, Amelia, Swift Creek and more. And plenty of folks who were not used to going to church tuned in to check out what we had to say in the most non-threatening of environments - their own homes. There were at least 500 people worshiping together with us, possible as many as a thousand or more. It was truly remarkable.

And it was humbling. And it was one of the most powerful moments I can remember. I cannot explain it, but I could actually feel - tangibly - the presence of the others who were with us, even though we were spread out across hundreds - even thousands of miles. It felt

God worked powerfully today, and I'm grateful for it. I'm so glad that we are called to a full life, not simply a happy one.

Beth, Tony, Susan, Chad, Scott, Matias, Andy, Mary Ashleigh, Sarah - and our families - were all a major reason we were able to get the technology and the logistics to work, especially on such short notice. I know it was hit and miss for many, with the internet connection. We'll get better at this new platform. I'm sure you haven't seen the last of this from us.

Welcome to PCC 2.0.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Have Church Tomorrow at Your House!

Tomorrow, for the first time ever, PCC will be live broadcasting some worship and the message from Beth and Tony's house right to your living room! It will be LIVE!!! At 11:00am, simply go to or click here and we'll all be able to have church together, even though we'll all be stuck at home. Isn't that awesome?!

Just to be clear, we are NOT having church at the high school tomorrow. But we're still having church. You can even come in your pajamas.

Disclaimer: Now, everything we do is an experiment. We have been testing this since yesterday and will do more testing today. We are very confident that this will work. But, if it doesn't, at least we gave it our best shot.

Try it with us, won't you? There's a chat room that you can even participate in while we are doing church together. If this is a whole new concept to you, stretch a little with us and try it out. If you live in the world of super-high-tech stuff, cut us a little slack because we're still learning. Regardless of what happens, God's gonna show up and do something good!

p.s. a gentle nudge: This is the second time in 2 months we've had to cancel church because of the weather. We don't have a rainy day fund, and the total cost of these cancellations to our church is around $40,000. If PCC is your church home or if you would like to contribute, you can still give through our website, and it would be a major help. Thanks for your faithfulness.

Friday, January 29, 2010


By Sammy Frame, Pastor for Small Groups


It’s a Greek word. In the New Testament (NT) it’s the word consistently translated “church”. It’s a rich, complicated word that has some implications for you and me.

In the ancient world, before the NT came into existence, ekklesia was a civic term. It referred to city councils and other assemblies of persons who held some importance within the community and had authority over the community. The authors of the NT, like Matthew, Luke, and Paul knew this when they adopted the term and used it to refer to the people of God. They were clearly saying that our towns and cities have ‘ekklesias’ but those who follow Christ are the ‘ekklesia’ of the kingdom of God. The church is the assembly of heaven. So when Jesus says in Matthew 16:18-19, “On this rock I will build my ‘ekklesia’, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,” he means that this ekklesia, together, speaks for his kingdom. It has the authority, the power, the privilege, and the prestige.

Second, the noun ‘ekklesia’ stems from the Greek verb ‘ekkaleō’. Ekkaleō simple means ‘to call out’. Therefore, the ‘ekklesia’ are the ones who are called out. Today, to call someone out is slang for indicting them or charging them with an offense. In the ancient world, someone who was called out was someone who had been asked to a position of importance. In the Bible, then, the ‘ekklesia’ are those who have been called from the mundane and ordinary to the life of significance and purpose.

Third, we tend to think of the church as a place or thing to which you go. So, we’ll say on Sunday mornings, “Let’s go to church today.” Many of us realize that church isn’t a place you go but something you are. So, we might say, “Be the church.” The ancient Greek word ‘ekklesia’, however, referred to an assembly. It was a group of people gathered for a common purpose. In other words, the church is the assembled people of God. You’re a disciple on your own. You’re the church on Sunday morning or at small group. So when Brian says, “The small group is where real church happens,” he’s telling the truth.

So, the question is, “Are you part of the ekklesia”? Are you in the assembly? Are you called to something more significant, to a higher purpose? Are you doing this alone and thinking you’re the church, or are you living in a community where together you express the kingdom of God?

If you’re not sure, you can always get started at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Awesome Event for Teens tomorrow evening!

Got this Facebook message from Angie Frame, our Student Pastor, today. If you are (or have) a 7th through 12th grader, you should consider going to this:

Hope to see you at FOCUS tomorrow. The theme is "Hook," come enjoy gummy worms, dirt cake, enter to win a Bass Pro or Red Lobster gift card, and worship with the student band. Sammy Frame is our guest speaker for the evening. We have videos. We have student testimonies. We have a dance contest (think about the theme, and you'll figure it out). We have games.

We just need YOU to come. Hope to see you there!

If you have questions, contact Angie Frame. Her contact info is available on our website if you don't have it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Need Help Finishing the Building!

We're almost there...

We are really making progress on the building and the end is absolutely in sight! But we need your help to get this building finished. The sooner people can volunteer, the better it will be.

The question you might ask is “If the Church needed so much help, why haven’t we been told about it before now?” The answer is…HEAT! Most of the work we need to do is inside and requires a climate controlled building. After a few challenges, we now have heat.

If you can give some time to the project and spread the word so that others can help, too, I would be really grateful.

Here is how people can help. We need volunteers in the following areas:
  • Stain and seal the wooden beams for the Portico Chere (this is the big beautiful structure that is attaching to the front of our building.)
  • Sweep, scrape and clean floors to prepare for tile/carpet.
  • Sand walls and clean walls to prepare for paint.
  • Painting.
  • Lay floor tile. This flooring is in 1 foot square tiles. If you are willing to learn and are the least bit ‘handy’, we will train you. In a couple of hours you can be laying tile! The folks laying the tile need folks supporting them by toting and cutting tile, too.

No special skill is required...there is something for everyone to do! We have all the equipment and tools needed. You can bring work gloves and maybe some knee pads if you want. Wear clothes that can’t be ruined with paint or glue.

All you need to do is let us know when you can come and show up ready to work! Email Dennis Green at or call him at 400-9820. You can also call Chris Ashman at 432-8917. Chris and Dennis are both intimately involved with the project.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Lampstand

One of our staff members sent me this quote. While it pertains directly to children, it's not hard to see the application for every area of the church. I thought I'd just share it with you:

"As a Christian, you certainly have a right to an opinion, and you ought to have convictions. But as far as the church is concerned, please don’t move the lampstand away from its rightful position. Don’t use the church’s valuable resources to wage a battle that God is just not fighting. Instead of fighting Harry Potter or ______________(you can fill in the blank with our own situation), maybe we should be spending our energies helping kids become intrigued with the mystery of God who made the universe. Maybe we should turn the spotlight on the supernatural powers of a God who can do absolutely anything. If we put the lampstand where it is supposed to be, we can capture the imaginations of our children in a way where they will never lose the wonder of their Creator."

-Reggie Joiner

(Reggie Joiner is a highly respected leader in Children's Ministry)

Stay focused, PCC, on what we are called to do: Reaching people who are far from God and outside of other churches. The floodgates of heaven will open if we are true to our purpose.

Welcome to PCC 2.0!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Preparing to Move

As we prepare to move into our new building some time in March (probably early March - and we will publish an official date soon), I am personally reading the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is an incredible servant-leader who, working together with his people, accomplished what many saw as impossible - the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah had enemies who did not want the project to succeed and they worked diligently to turn public sentiment against him. But there were specific things that the people of God did before, during, and after the project to ensure it's success.

As we get ready to make this dramatic shift into our first permanent facility, there is much we can learn from this book of the Bible. Our next message series, starting February 14, will be based on this book. So, if you are not reading your Bible regularly now, why not pick up Nehemiah and read it with me. I think God will speak to you through it, like He is speaking to me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti Aid

I am thrilled to share an exciting bit of news with you regarding the generosity of the PCC community. During Sunday services we provided an opportunity to assist the Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Team as they offer aid to the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. At the end of the service, we invited folks to participate in a special offering by bringing their gift to baskets on the stage.

As of today, the total amount headed to Haiti is over $6,500!

If you were not able to give on Sunday, mark your offering with 'Haiti' in the memo line or in an envelope marked 'Haiti' and drop it in the offering basket this Sunday. You can also bring a donation to the office (4480 Anderson Highway) or drop it in the mail (P.O. Box 834). You can also donate online through the PCC website.

Your generosity is stunning. We are overwhelmed and extremely grateful!

Photo by Getty images, originally found here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More thoughts from Sunday

I promised more thoughts on today's message. Here are a notes from today and then thoughts that would be good for further study / prayer / investigation:

The scripture today was Matthew 25:14-30 and Psalm 50:9-15

1) Parable: A fictitious story designed to illustrate an eternal truth.
2) The 'talent' in the parable in Matthew 25 is worth several week's wages. It's a significant amount of money. However, what Jesus is trying to communicate goes beyond money. It is about everything that God entrusts to you - money, time, skill, experience, relationships, possessions, etc.
3) You are NOT the owner, you are a trustee.

What can you do?

1) Many people have wrecked finances and have not lived like God is the Owner. If this describes you, I encourage you to look on page 22 in your small groups catalog (we've been handing them out at church for a couple of Sundays and they are available for the next 2 weeks). On that page is a small group that will study a Dave Ramsey course on Biblical principals about money. It's intense and requires a real commitment, but if you are serious about getting this part of your life straight, this course is for you.

2) Tithe. The Bible is clear that giving away 10% of your income to your local church is the minimum standard for those who are committed to following God. Susan and I have been giving more than 10% for many years now, and we were never so free in our finances as when we released the bondage it had on us by giving it back to God. One time a friend said to me, "10% is a LOT of money!" I replied by quoting Jesus, "If you are faithful with little, you'll be entrusted with much." Some people give me a hard time about tithing. They want to argue away the Bible's teaching about it. All I can say is 'whatever'. If you are serious about your devotion to Jesus Christ, nothing will be off limits...nothing. Give and it will be given to you. Malachi 3:8-10 (NIV) "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

3) Give beyond the tithe. I make sure there is capacity to give above my tithe to help people in situations like Haiti and other disasters, give extra to my neighbor in need, etc.

4) You need to know that our church tithes. We have given a tithe of every dime we've ever received through the general offering. We live out this principal.

5) Jesus talked more about money than any other subject, including heaven and hell. He knew money had the power to really hurt people. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Hebrews 13:5 tells us to avoid loving money. One of my favorite of Jesus' teachings on money comes from Matthew 6: 19-24, where he says that it is impossible to serve God and money at the same time.

Hope these thoughts help.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help is on the way in Haiti

You can give to Haiti through PCC if you would like. We are partnering with our good and faithful friends at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, who will ensure that 100% of the donations get to Haiti. You can see them at

Or, if you would rather, you are welcome to give to PCC. Simply designate on your check or in an envelope 'Haiti' and we'll get it there for you and ensure that the donation is on your tax statement for 2010.

Tomorrow, at church, we will have a chance to step up and give there, too. If you read this before then, I encourage you to think about how you can God is calling you to help.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


We have had a long string of good news about our building for the past week. All I can say is, "It's about time!" I'm so glad. It feels really good again.

We're waiting on some official signatures on a couple of items and then I will give you the details. But moving into our building in 60 days is very realistic, and very doable. The crews are working here, even in the dark. Dennis Green put it well yesterday when he said, 'We're about to go into Turbo-Mode".

For a long time, it's been hard to see that we would ever move in....but we really are now. I'll give you pictures, etc. in the next few days as I can share the great news details.

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Need to hear your story...

We need some real life stories about people in various places on their spiritual journey. I'm particularly interested in hearing how people are moving from where they were to where they are now. If you came to know Christ, what was it like before and what's it like today - after you made that choice? What were the questions you had that you needed to resolve? Was there something that helped you get to the place where you were 'ready'?

Would you be willing to write a synopsis (long or brief) and tell me a little about your journey? If so, send it on via this blog, our FB page, or by email.

Thanks for your help.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

The second day...

If you liked day 1, let's journey down the path a little. I don't know how far I'll take this, but we'll see. By the way, I agree with the comment about the Journal we carry. It is the best and most effective consistent Bible reading plan I know, and even provides a format for how to pray each day, etc. It's very good. I know you are planning to get one on Sunday, but in case you don't have one at this moment, today is day 2 of the year. So...let's read Genesis 2 and Psalm 15. Go ahead, read them. I'll wait .......................................................................................................................


Did you read it? Good. Congratulations!

You know what jumps out at me from Genesis? Honestly - I never thought about this before: look at the things that were a part of our lives before sin. Work. Adam was to work the garden for all eternity. It wasn't his curse, it was his blessing! I think that's incredible. No wonder many of us love to work! Seriously - it's part of why we were made. Now, plenty of us overdo it, to be sure. But this is really revolutionary to me. Also, before sin, we had permission for a healthy appetite. God didn't say to Adam, 'avoid the bananas - they'll stop you up and they have a lot of carbs...don't eat the pork because of the fat content...and too much sugar can go straight to your hips." He just said, 'eat anything you want.' Not sure what the application to my life is there, except that if I would only eat natural, non-processed food, I could probably eat anything I wanted and all that I wanted. But I'm not sure about that. And, of course, the man and his wife were both naked and felt no shame. I'm kind of diggin' this garden scene!

There are plenty of questions. Why did God need to rest on the 7th day? Was God tired? We know where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers are, but where are the other two? If God knew that A & E would eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, why'd he put it there? OR why not give it a steel skin so they couldn't bite through?

I think I know the answers to some of these questions and I have other questions and I'm sure you do, too. The point is to ask them - not of me, but of God. Engage Him, talk to Him, listen. He's talking...

Don't forget the Psalm!

Update on Belize Mission Project

Thanks to all who gave sacrificially to help raise money for the youth center we are helping to build in Belize. Our partners with Calvary Baptist Church there are so excited about it. This has been a healthy relationship for them and for us, and it is a blessing to serve them.

On Christmas Eve, we raised just under $8,000 towards this Center. Way to Go! It's about 25% of the goal, and I know we can reach it. There will be special giving envelopes near the giving boxes (there is one near each door), for anyone interested in contributing towards this. Those envelopes will be there for the next few Sundays.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Begin this year well

Perhaps you have heard it said that it's better to try and fail than to not try at all. The truth is that many of us gave up on new beginnings and fresh starts because we didn't want to try again, only to fail...again.

But you will never succeed if you never try...again. You don't have to fail. This year can be different. 2010 can be the turning point for you, but it will only happen if you try.

I suggest one thing that will make a major, huge, dramatic impact in your life. You won't have to sweat for 30 minutes a day, it won't cause your muscles to ache, and you won't have to give up sweets (though all of those things could be a by-product, I suppose). I suggest that you decide that a daily dose of Bible reading and a little bit of prayer should be the new normal in your daily routine. Why not start today? I'll help. Go get your Bible. I'll wait.

Got it? Read Genesis 1 (yes, the whole chapter) and Lamentations 3:19-26. (I've pasted these below to make it easy for you)

Now, keep a small notebook or pad or journal next to you as you read. As you have questions or as things jump out at you...if something excited you or makes you mad...write it all down. This reading, for me, prompted thoughts like: What did God have to work with when he created? How long did it take? Did the angels help? What does it mean that the 'Spirit of God was hovering over the waters?' If you follow Genesis in strict order, the earth existed before the sun and moon (which don't get created until the 4th day). Given what we think we know about physics, that is impossible. Is there a way to reconcile the Bible and science on this? What does it mean that mankind was created in God's 'likeness'? Do we look like Him? Or is it something on the inside? WooHooo! God created Sex before there was sin! (see v.28)

Now, I don't want you to answer my questions...I want God to answer my questions. I wrestle with them, engage Him on them, and meditate on them. And often, God speaks through my questions. The Lamentations piece may ignite you to a fresh start, and I think many of us can relate to Jeremiah's situation.

Finally, if you need some help, there is usually a Bible reading plan in the back of most study Bibles and you can buy a 'one year Bible'. Just ask for it at Lifeway or Family Christian books or you can go to this link as one of several suggestions of One Year Bible's you can get from Amazon. You can even get a daily Bible reading app for your Blackberry or iphone.

Make this year different. Read your Bible. Pray. It will make 2010 better for you!

Genesis 1:1-31 (NIV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water."
7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.
8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so.
10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.
12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,
15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so.
16 God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth,
18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day.
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."
23 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day.
24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so.
25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

Lam 3:19-26, NIV: I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.