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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Resources on Sex

Today, we had a good and healthy discussion on sex. We learned just one sentence, and some of the Bible's supporting texts for it:

God made sex for only a husband and wife to regularly and passionately enjoy as an act of worship.

That is a good summary on the subject, but it's hardly exhaustive and it barely brushes the surface of all that could be said or discussed. There is so much more to say and talk about. So, let me encourage you to consider these Biblically grounded resources (click on any one of them and it will take you directly to that book on

One final word before the list. Lots of people - especially men - will wince at the thought of reading a book about sex. "I think I know how it all works" is what many will think, if they don't come out and say it. The problem, though, is rarely with the raw mechanics. Those generally take care of themselves. Sex, as God intended it, is so much more than physiological. It's the culmination of mind and body and spirit. Don't fall into the trap that says you know all there is to know. Fellas - become the student again. Ask her to be your teacher. And yes, read some books. Here's the reading list (I own and have read all of these books):

God on Sex by Daniel Akin. This is a fantastic book that covers many aspects of sex from a pre-marital and post-marriage basis. Lots of cool questionnaires help partners objectively consider themselves and each other on a variety of issues. I highly recommend this book.

Sheet Music by Kevin Lehman. Dr. Lehman's style is easy to read and very straightforward. Helps with many aspects of the bedroom, but is pretty much for husbands and wives only.

A Celebration of Sex by Douglas Rosenau. Now we're into very specific technique issues, with drawings and illustrations. Explicit discussions about positions, orgasms, sensuous massage, sexual communication, mood, anatomy, etc, and Chapter 12 - "Creative Intercourse". Rosenau makes for a very good reference book, and the truth is that every couple runs into some of the issues and questions in this book sooner or later. But it's not the book you want your 8 year old flipping through. So keep it in the drawer when you're not reading it.

Sex Begins in the Kitchen by Kevin Lehman. I think Dr. Lehman is one of the best writers of our day on marriage and family subjects. This is an excellent book that will help any couple who's love life has become stale to put some spark back in a healthy, mutually satisfying way.

For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. These books are not only about sex and intimacy, but if you don't understand and practice the principals in these 2 small books (one for men and one for women), you will likely always have trouble with intimacy, in addition to other areas. I highly recommend these books.

Finally, The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner. This book is down to earth, pretty explicit but extremely practical.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Important Topic at Church Tomorrow

First, thanks for praying for me. I really hated to be out sick last Sunday. Frankly, I liked being able to say that I had never done that in a dozen years. But I suppose the odds were against me keeping a perfect record on that. Anyway, Dennis did an awesome job, didn't he? I'm about 90% now, and doing much better each day.

And I'm excited about returning tomorrow after not teaching for 2 Sundays in a row.

Tomorrow, we deal with one of the most important subjects of our lives. It absolutely affects everyone, and most people - single or married, teenager to older adults - talk about it or think about it more than we might admit. It is very important to our culture, to our lives, to our families, to the health of our marriages and dating relationships. The topic?


There. I said it. Tomorrow, I'll say a LOT more about it. More importantly, we'll hear from the Bible about it.

If you want to stay away, that's your choice. But I can assure you of this: I'm not shying away from it. It's important. The Bible has a lot to say about it. I believe that God wants to talk to us about it. And my #1 life role - like your #1 life role - is to listen to His voice and do what He says. I feel very strongly that God wants me to teach the Biblical perspective on sex and I believe that He wants the church (OUR church) to put the subject on the table.

Whether you are single or newly married or married for decades; whether you are a teenager or an adult; regardless of your life's situation, this message is for you and will have practical application for you.

And, as is the case most Sundays, we have a very cool twist that you will not want to miss (nothing inappropriate, I promise.)

NOTE TO PARENTS: If you are a parent of a school-aged child, I completely respect your right as a parent to decide whether or not you want your kid to hear about this topic. But if I can say this as a word of advice: We're certainly not going to talk about mechanics. We're talking about what God has in mind when it comes to sex. Your teenager is talking about it and thinking about it, whether you want to admit that or not. So I encourage you to let them be a part of tomorrow's service. Younger kids (through 6th grade) are always welcome upstairs in First Steps and PowerJAM.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Becoming the girl of his dreams

By Dennis Green...

More thoughts from today’s message – Becoming the girl of his dreams!

We looked at the Apostle Paul’s teaching this morning and we unpacked some verses from the book of Ephesians. In chapter 5, Paul is very clear in his instruction for how husbands and wives are to treat one another. Husbands are to love their wives and wives are to respect their husbands.

Does that mean that wives don’t need respect or that husbands don’t need love?

No. What these verses are helping us understand is that the these are the primary ways we each need to receive love from our spouse. We know from last week that when you peel love down to its most basic form, women really want to be cherished. That’s how they best receive what we are trying to tell them.

For men, Paul is telling his readers that men don’t receive love the same way as women. God made men to be at their best when they can receive love through being respected.
What does respecting your husband look like? If you have never given this idea any thought before, that is a very fair question. How do you do it? How do you know if you are doing it well?
In church this morning, we talked about three primary ways men receive respect from their wife:

Acceptance; Affection; Affirmation

Obviously, there is a lot more to it. There are several books I highly recommend that will help you with understanding and with application.

Dr. Laura Schlesinger wrote a book called “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”. I believe it is a must read for every wife or fiancĂ©.

Dr. Emerson Eggerich wrote a book called “Love and Respect”. I believe it is a must read for every married couple for engaged couple.

These two books provide a great starting place. Our staff has many more books and resources we can recommend, depending on your particular area of interest and need. We are happy to help.

Below is a list I borrowed from Try some of these suggestions and just watch your husband swell up. If this kind of thing is new to you, HOLD ON! You want believe the difference it will make in your spouse and in your marriage.
Good luck!

10 Things Husbands Want to Hear from their Wives

Mark Twain once commented, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” I agree. There is nothing like specific and detailed praise and validation to energize a marriage. After some research here at Family First, we found the 10 things husbands want to hear most from their wives. And if we missed one, please post your idea in the comments section below.

1. “I love being your wife.”
As simple as it sounds, husbands want to know that their wives are content in their marriage, and truly enjoy just being with them. When is the last time you thanked your husband for marrying you? Don’t just assume he knows. Tell him!

2. “You’re an outstanding father.”
Deep in the heart of every man is the desire to be seen as a hero—especially to his children. Specifically tell your husband why he is your kids’ hero. And, tonight at dinner, tell your children why he is so special.

3. “I’m really attracted to you. You are the man!”
It’s a myth that women are always more looks-conscious than men. As guys’ hairlines begin to recede and stomachs start protruding, they can become quite sensitive about their appearance. Never joke about how your husband looks. Tell him he’s “hot” and how attracted you are to him.

4. “I really respect the decision you made.”
When a man makes a decision, especially a tough one, he doesn’t want his wife being critical of it or questioning him about it. He wants to know that his wife is behind him and admires his ability to make good decisions.

5. “I know how important it is to live within our means. I’m with you on this.”
Your husband is concerned about the future of your family. So that means he is concerned about taking care of his family financially. Having a wife he can rely on to spend and save wisely is a tremendous comfort to him.

6. “I’m so grateful for your spiritual leadership.”
All of us are hardwired for a relationship with God, and many men want to be seen as the spiritual caretakers of their families. Encourage your husband in his faith and for taking his role as a spiritual leader seriously.

7. “You are so wise.”
Many men are born problem solvers and relish the process of thinking through something and arriving at a solution. This, incidentally, is why your husband is always trying to “fix” your problems when all you want him to do is listen. Recognizing your husband’s mental prowess and complimenting him on his intelligence will pay massive dividends to you. Emphasize to him that you trust his wise judgment.

8. “I appreciate how hard you work to provide for our family.”
There are many things in life that your husband cannot control, but one he can control is effort. It brings him great pleasure to work hard and see the results. To directly control, and be the man responsible for creating something from nothing thrills him. Encourage his great work ethic.

9. “Thank you very much for helping me with that.”
When a man serves his wife, he wants her to recognize it. A simple “thank you” is all he needs.

10. “I’m impressed with how you handled that situation.”
Sometimes a wife will point out when her husband does not handle something well. So when he handles a particularly difficult situation well, let him know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Need some help from men!

For an upcoming service, I need some help from GUYS:

Fellas, if you have a lady in your life who has stood by you and believed in you, I want to do a cool element in church soon. We're not going to put you on the stage or make you say or do anything, I promise.

But it will be really neat. So, please send me an email to if you have a lady in your life who has really believed in you. (can be mother, friend, girlfriend, wife, or any other kind of relationship). I'll give more information about what we're doing to those who respond. You're email only needs to say, "I have a lady in my life who has really believed in me"

I need this in RIGHT- AWAY!



Cause or Organization?

One of the more tricky areas in leading PCC has to do with the nature of the church itself. Let me explain.

When we started our church, we were very nimble. Decisions were made immediately, in real time, and executed right away. It didn't take long for changes to take effect. This is important, because churches who do not respond to the changing environment around them quickly become irrelevant, which leads to decline. Why? Because all of us have a finite amount of time. Time is precious and valuable to us, and most of us choose to put our time into activities that bring the most value. And for an activity to be valuable, it must be relevant. Or, to put it in a linear form:

Relevant = Valuable = Time Investment

Relevance is a core value at PCC. We believe that God is alive and interacting with people and the world, and that He speaks through the Bible, Prayer, Circumstances and the Church. When we gather for Church and examine the Bible together, we can help people have a meaningful encounter with God that is valuable when we respond to culture in a relevant way.

I read an article about this that would be quite helpful for me in bringing some clarity to this conversation. It poses a question: "Is your church an organization or a cause?" I really liked this quote:

"In a “cause with organization,” however, the leadership’s emotional commitment to the organization itself is always subordinate to the emotional commitment to the cause. Decisions are made rigorously around expanding the cause-outcomes. Vision is visceral. Self-preservation is not even on the radar, because death-in-dramatic-attempt is more attractive than life-in-playing-it-safe."

To see the entire article, click here.

I think PCC is a 'cause with organization'. I'd be interested to know your thoughts, too.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be Mine Series

This series that we began yesterday is really exceptional, I think, and very practical. It's NOT just a marriage series. It deals with real topics that span demographics. How men and women are each wired and what they need to be the best they can be and truths about sex that may surprise you. The one day specific to marriage is 4Ever - what it takes to go the distance. And a surprise ending on the final Sunday.

So, whether you are married or not, hope to be or never will, this series has truths coming straight from the Bible that are for everyone. Hope to see you each week!

p.s. I'm really excited about this coming Sunday, and the implications are tremendous. No one should miss it.

More thoughts on STUD

from Dennis Green...

More thoughts on how to cherish your woman and become her “stud”…continued from the message at PCC this morning…

Fellas, it’s a long held point of contention for many of us…ladies, just tell us what you want and we’ll do it, but please don’t expect us to read your minds. Right?

This sounds like a pretty simple and very fair request, but I have come to learn and understand that is not that simple for more lovely among us. Ask your lady what it means to be cherished and she may not be able to give you specific examples, she just knows it when she feels it. Wow, that is helpful isn’t it?

I think I can help. What it boils down to is that feeling cherished is really a combination of all of her basic needs. Our ladies need to feel secure with us…emotionally secure, physically secure, financially secure and spiritually secure.

Our ladies need to be able to trust us... emotionally, with our fidelity, to tell them the truth and to always have their best interests at the core of what we do.

Add trust and security and you fast approach that feeling of her feeling cherished. That’s the great example Jacob set for us in the story from Genesis 29 we studied this morning.

Below are 10 practical tips that might help get you moving in the right direction. I strongly believe that if you can consistently do half of these, your “studliness” will improve greatly in the eyes of your lady.

From -
10 Things Wives Want to Hear from their Husbands

1. “Thanks for all you do for our family.” Yes, you work hard. You might even feel that your load is a million times heavier than your wife’s. But your wife works hard, too…and a little thanks goes a long way.

2. “You are a great mom and wife.” If you really want to make her day, go beyond saying “thank you” and praise her for doing a good job.

3. “Let me do that for you.” Your wife realizes you are exhausted when you get home from work. She probably is too. So offer to help out. Start with something small like cleaning up after dinner. Or, if you really want to score points, do the laundry or something else you normally don’t do.

4. “I love you so much.” Did you notice the extra words, after the “I love you?” Telling your wife you love her is a great start, but telling her why you love her, how much you love her, or that you’ll love her forever, will melt her heart.

5. “You are beautiful.” No matter her age, her size or how long you’ve been married, a woman loves to hear that you think she’s attractive. And, don’t just say, “You look nice.” Instead, use adjectives like, great, lovely, fantastic.

6. “Let me watch the kids.” If you already watch your children regularly, good job! If you don’t, think of it this way. When you offer to take care of the children, your wife gets to recharge her batteries. A wife with a recharged battery is usually more patient, kind and loving.

7. “Let’s go out tonight.” Take charge of your next date night. This shows your wife that you enjoy spending time with her.

8. “I’m sorry you had a hard/frustrating/disappointing day.” These words let your wife know that you are aware of what’s going on in her life.

9. “I would marry you all over again.” In one sentence you’re telling your wife you value your life together and that you’re committed to her.

10. “How can I be a better husband to you?” Hearing these words will either make your wife burst into tears, smile like a kid in a candy store, or, if she’s completely shocked, laugh uncontrollably. Before you ask this question, though, be ready to hear what she has to say without being defensive.

Guys, if you want to learn more or take this further, our staff can help.
Brian Hughes –
Chauncey Starkey –
Sammy Frame –
Dennis Green –

Or, call the church office at 598-1174

I am looking forward to hearing your stories!



Friday, February 11, 2011


THREE Opportunities for you to have some fun with us this weekend:

1) SATURDAY Evening from 6-10pm, the Valentine's Sock Hop & Dinner. This even is to raise money for the Belize Mission Team. Cost is $15/person, $20/couple, $30/family and includes spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and drink. Trophies awarded for Best Dancer, Best Dressed and Longest Hula Hooper! 50's/60's Theme & Music. Grab your guy/girl, bring your family and let's dance!!! I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

2) SUNDAY AFTERNOON...we will have a celebration after church to say goodbye to Chuck and Sandra Moore. A job transfer is moving them out of state. Chuck and Sandy have been extremely valuable members of PCC from our earliest days. You might know Sandy as the killer singer and worship leader who frequents the Powhatan Campus stage. We will miss both of them and will enjoy a few minutes to tell them so Sunday right after the second service.

3) SUNDAY EVENING...Teenagers enjoy one of the coolest student events ever: the McFormal! I bought my tacky outfit today and I can't WAIT to wear it Sunday night! A McFormal is a semi-formal occassion that combines Homecoming with McDonalds. So, any weird, tacky, ugly, or outdated semi-formal to formal clothing will be appropriate attire for the evening. We'll snack on some McDonald's food. We'll dance to appropriate music. We'll crown a king and queen. (I hope I'm eligible, because I'm SURE to win if I am!).

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Whether you've been coming to PCC for a short time or a long time, it may BE time to get connected!

I really believe that a person who is really actively growing in their faith needs to be doing these two things :
  • Small Group. This is where you really get to know some folks and where community happens. I like to say that small group is where real church happens. It's where folks will miss you when you don't make it. They'll often remember your birthday and show up for special occasions and be there when you struggle.
  • Serve. Every Christ follower has gifts, experiences, skills, passions, and a unique personality. These things combine and God uses them to grow you while He's growing the church. There are countless places you can get involved and be a part of what's happening. It's what you were called to do.
Whenever I hear from someone who is stuck in their faith journey, I always ask about these two areas. More often than not, someone who's faith is stagnant is either not in a small group, not using their gifts and talents, or not doing either one.

You can get connected in serving and small group by clicking here. You'll be on your way to a new season of growing!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bob Pino Funeral

Around 9:30 today, we lost a great friend. It is not very often that someone is a part of our lives, our church and our community who affected so many people. Bob was one of those rare characters who's influence is exceptionally broad.

Bob Pino's Memorial Service will be at PCC's Powhatan Campus on Saturday, February 12 at 11:00am, and a reception will immediately follow. I will post more info about how you can help (if you would like to) with food or in other ways in the next couple of days.

Please remember to pray for Jeannie and the rest of their family today and in the days to come.

A Season of Huge Growth

Last weekend, we had a fantastic evening with a couple hundred PCC'ers and talked about the up-and-coming things that are happening in our church. Here are a few highlights:
  • Latest Trends. PCC is in a major growth right now. (see graphs below)
Just for kicks, if we only grew 20% from January to January going forward (less than our historical rate above), we'll have 2,200 people every week at PCC in 36 months!

This naturally leads to a question: What are we going to do? We're almost completely out of space at the Powhatan Campus - especially for the 11:15 service. We have to have some room to grow. More ideas will take shape, but for now, here are a few things we're doing:

1) Saturday evening service. We're going to launch this in March and do it on an experimental basis. When we surveyed PCC folks a few months ago, there was a notable percentage who indicated they would switch to Saturday evenings if given the chance. If you are one of those folks, this is your chance. It will be the exact same service as Sunday morning. If folks come, and if they - and you - invite your friends - we expect to see God work as powerfully in that service as he does on Sunday mornings. If it doesn't seem to be a good fit for our purpose and our mission, we'll go back to the drawing board. However, we believe this is a great opportunity to for you to invite those you know who aren't interested in or able to attend a Sunday morning church service. Maybe Saturday night would be a great fit for them!

2) The Green Room. We have worked hard to get the big room on the main hall ready. This coming Sunday, the Green room will be equipped with great sound and great live feed. It will be ready for approx. 80 people. Check it out...I'll be in that room during our worship time this week!

3) Westchester. We ARE a multi-campus church, and Westchester has plenty of great parking and great comfortable seating. Our music there is exceptionally good, and you'll get the same message from the same pastor on the big screen. Plus, this weekend is donut Sunday at Westchester and you'll be in for a special treat on the stage.

4) Come Early. The 9:30 service has some empty seats left. If none of the other options appeal to you, consider coming at 9:30.

  • Staff Changes. It's important that we begin to think and act our size. Large and rapidly growing churches like PCC have constantly changing staff makeups. We need to get used to this. We've had some staff departures, additions, and some restructuring. More is on the way. Here are some highlights:
  • Chauncey Starkey. As the Campus Pastor in Powhatan, Chauncey is doing an increasing amount of pastor-type work. This is what we need him to do. We are taking the finances (especially the outflows) off of his plate. He will oversee facility maintenance as well as logistics, in addition to pastoral care.
  • Dennis Green. The final few special projects for our building are almost complete, and Dennis will focus on growing our Westchester Campus, staff management and financial oversight.
  • Lindsay Harris will be the Communications Director, in addition to her role as Worship Leader at Westchester.
  • Connections Team. We are really excited that Katherine Ramsey is building a new team that will focus on helping people connect into service and small groups at PCC. Sammy Frame showed us how information will flow so that people can make meaningful connections at PCC.
  • Communications. Lindsay introduced our new Texting platform, which we will roll out the entire church on February 13. She is also working on a comprehensive communications strategy that will streamline communications and make them more effective.
  • Building issues. Dennis shared a few of the new and exciting things with our building. We now have screens in the atrium, a workday is being planned, and there is a plan in the works to possibly pave our parking lot!
This is a cliff-notes version of our time at the CORE, but there is a LOT happening at PCC! I'm glad I'm a part of what God is doing!

Bob Pino

Thanks to everyone who has gone out of their way to care for Bob and Jeannie Pino. The outpouring has been overwhelming.

Beth and Tony Stoddard and I were at the hospital late last night, along with many other good friends of Bob - many of them were from PCC. All of the Pino's children were there, some grandchildren, Bob's was a big crowd. How fitting for Bob, huh?

When I walked in, everyone was singing together.

"Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. There's just something about that name!" It was heavenly, to tell you the truth.

Before I left, I had the privilege to pray with everyone as we gathered around Bob's bed...the circle was 3 people deep in some places. God was tangibly present as we poured ourselves out to Him again.

This morning, as far as I know, Bob is still with us. But time is very short now, it seems. Please continue to pray for the Pino family. Keep an eye out on CaringBridge and Facebook for more updates. You might also check out Beth's post about last night on her blog at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Money Part 3

Giving. It's the most telling - and most private - part of the discussion about what kind of treasure you are pursuing. Many people say they are sold out for God, but they give a token amount of money away. I've known and talked with countless folks who essentially said, "God, you can have my whole life - anything you want...except my money." And they wondered why they were having spiritual challenges...why God felt distant.

God doesn't want 90% of your life. He wants ALL of your life. I no longer belong to myself, to serve myself, to decide for myself. I gave God the reigns, and He gets to decide. I'm just a manager. It all belongs to Him.

So, I have come to enjoy - truly enjoy - giving away thousands of dollars every year. The money is not mine,'s God's. The minimum benchmark is 10%, but I try to give a larger percentage every year, with the hopes that one day I can give 25% or more. I do this because I want to be sure I don't look at the other 90% as 'mine'. The Bible is clear: God owns it all.

When I give, I mostly give to PCC. Two reasons:

1) I believe that the tithe (10%) is supposed to go to the local church. PCC is where I call home, and I think the Bible teaches Christ followers to give the tithe there.

2) I believe in the work that PCC does. If I didn't, frankly, I wouldn't be there. You should be at a church you believe in, and you should tithe to that church.

I DO give to some other causes. I support a child in a developing country with a contribution every month. I give to a few other causes from time to time, too. But the bulk of my giving is to my local church.

Not everyone can go from zero to 10% all at once. Many have to grow into it. Susan and I required a few years to become tithers, because of debt and lifestyle choices that couldn't be remedied all at once. But we've been tithers now for fifteen years or so, and I've never regretted one penny of it. In fact, I've increasingly enjoyed it.

Give giving a try. Build toward the tithe. And watch the stronghold that money has on your life begin to loosen. You won't regret it.

An Unusual Request

I'm not exactly sure how to ask this, but I guess the straightforward way is best, so here goes...

In an upcoming service at PCC, we'll be talking about sex. Yes, Christians actually do it. Yes, the Bible has a lot to say about it.

I'm particularly looking for married couples who made a decision NOT to have sex before they got married.

If that's you, would you send me a private message through email ( or facebook (Brian C Hughes)? I'll give you more information about what we're thinking and then you can decide if you want to be a part of it. Our conversation will be held in strict confidence.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Money Part 2

In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about money with word pictures like treasure storage and master serving; heart placement and priority seeking and worry. They're all tied together and wrapped up in this question: What part does money and materialism play in my life?

Now, if you're honest, you most likely will admit that you, like the rest of us, pursue at least some things that you don't need. I fight with this all the time, though lately I'm less focused on material things, but I'm sure the affliction will return soon enough. There is nothing inherently wrong or sinful about wanting a new flat screen, a newer car, a more modern kitchen, an updated laptop, or an iPhone. The problem comes with, "What is the price I'm willing to pay to get..."

Consider this:
  • When I buy something on a credit card, how long will it take me to pay for it?
  • When I buy something with money I have, what cause could have been supported instead? How many hungry people could have been fed? How many cases of HIV/AIDS could have been prevented? How many social injustices could have been corrected?
  • How much time will I spend earning the money to buy the things I want or to accumulate the wealth I want? What if that same amount of time was directed towards helping others, volunteering and serving? (in any number of worthy causes)
  • Is the job I have today something I love and enjoy...or am I only here for the money?
Admittedly, these are very hard questions. And you certainly have to examine your life in it's entirety, not simply on the merits of one purchase or one decision. Still, I think we'd all do well to consider these things with Jesus' words from Matthew 6 and ask God to help us be honest with ourselves about them.