Night To Shine 2018

It’s that time again!  The greatest night of 2018 will take place on February 9, 2018.  Night To Shine sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation will be held at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia. And you can participate!

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. The event will take place at more than 540 churches around the world simultaneously on February 9, 2018.

Last year at this event in Morgan County, there were over 110 guests with special needs that a were crowned Kings and Queens of the night! There were also over 300 volunteers who served in incredible ways as they shared the love of Christ with the guests and their caregivers! Well over 100 caregivers enjoyed a night of dancing, food, fun, door prizes, massages, etc.

I would like to answer a few questions about this event and why this is more than just a Fusion Church event.

  • What is Night to Shine? A worldwide, unforgettable prom night experience that is changing Valentine’s Day weekend from simply a celebration of love, to a celebration of God’s love for people with special needs. Guests will be honored with a friendly paparazzi red carpet, crowns and tiaras, corsages, and boutonnieres, limo rides, games, dancing, food, photos, and VIP treatment. The vision is to provide a night for our guests to shine and most importantly, for Christ’s love to Shine.
  •  Why did Fusion Church apply to host Night To Shine? We see an opportunity for not only our church but for Christians to come together to provide a wonderful event for people with special needs, their families and/or their caregivers.
  • Why is the event listed as a Fusion Church event instead of a Community event? The Tim Tebow Foundation requires a church to be responsible for the event hosted in each area across the globe. Fusion Church was willing to put their name on the line to bring this special event to the East Atlanta Area.
  • Who can volunteer?  Anyone that signs up at www.fusionchurchmadison.org that is 14 years or older. Each volunteer must attend 1 of the 2 Volunteer Training opportunities prior to the event. January 14 or January 21 @ 5:00 PM at Fusion Church of Madison. Each volunteer will need to complete a background check that is required by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Your background check can be completed HERE.
  • Who can be a Honored Guest? Anyone that is 14 years of age or older that has some kind of special need. Guest can register at www.fusionchurchmadison.org
  • Who is partnering with this event from the Madison Area? The Morgan County Recreation Department, Camp Twin Lakes (the event will take place at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge), Bizzi PhotographyZaxby’s Corporation and Chick Fil A-Madison. Many local businesses and individuals are donating time, gifts, and services such as: Hair, Nails, Limo Services, Decorations, providing DJ services, etc, etc. You can partner by contacting our Event coordinator Sherry Patrick (706-817-9582).
  • What will the guest’s parents and/or caregivers do during the event?  There will be a Caregiver Event set up w/ food, entertainment and lots of fun and encouragement! All caregivers and parents are invited to attend and can sign up when their family member registers.
  • What is the biggest need at this point?  We want everyone in our area that has special needs to attend this event. Please help us get them signed up. This is a Free Event and it is a night where everyone will be crowned a King or a Queen!  This is a Red Carpet Event and it will be an event that will bless our guests and families in a tremendous way.
  • WILL YOU PARTNER? Please consider doing one or more of the following: PRAY, Volunteer, Provide materials, Give a financial Gift!

Let me say it again- “This is the single greatest event you will be involved in 2018 if you will simply get involved!  Join us this year and let your Light Shine! If you want to know more or have a question, please call me 706-474-0688.

Here is last year’s recap video!  Enjoy!

Matt

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Thick and Thin…

October is Pastor Appreciation Month!

When I was a kid, I witnessed the friendships that my dad had with his preacher buddies! It was a unique thing to see.  Those guys went through “thick and thin” together.  They attended meetings & conferences together, cried & laughed together, golfed together and loved each other life brothers! I remember hearing my dad on the phone with those guys and them laughing and sharing their “ministry stories” and they loved each other so much. I remember hearing my dad talk about the heartache and pressure his friends were experiencing and how he walked through those valleys with them.

This past week has been one of those times in my life when God used a pastor friend to encourage me and bless me. Philip Lehman, pastor of Discover Point Church in Conyers, invited me to attend his staff retreat where I could get away and prepare and plan for 2018. I jumped at the opportunity and God honored the week as I sought His face for the next year. Philip and the Discover Point Staff were so hospitable and took great care of me while I was there.

This morning as I reflect on my time away, I am reminded that I have some of the greatest preacher buddies in the world. I’m not exactly sure why I have been so blessed but I praise God for Philip, Larry, Russ, Chip, Mike, John, Wilburn, Danny, Donnie, Jeff, Tony, Terry, Richard, Stan, Neal and many more. I should not have named names because  I have a ton of pastor friends! These guys have been through “Thick and Thin” with me!

Here is the definition of “Thick and Thin”- To be able to last through and handle the good times as well as the bad times. Thick is representative of the good times, whereas thin is representative of the bad times., Here I am…  44 years old and as I look around, I have ministry friends that I would take a bullet for just like my dad did so many years ago.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and it’s easy as a pastor to think this is about us, but in reality, it’s about those pastors that we truly appreciate! Today, I appreciate the Pastors in my life! Thanks Philip for an amazing week…

Matt

 

“Big Green Egg, Lane’s BBQ & Jesus”

I have been married for almost 24 years and for most of those years, I petitioned for a Big Green Egg. I begged, pleaded, implored, beseeched, compelled, made plea after plea after plea to my wife! In fact, I told her that if we could get a Big Green Egg(BGE) that I would do most of the cooking! I mean, I really wanted one. After many years of offering my best sales pitch I came to the realization that if I was ever going to have one, it would be God-Himself that would have to convince her because they are pricey…

One beautiful Saturday morning as we were looking out our back windows my wife said the “Unthinkable”…  She said, “Matt, you know what we need?” I quickly replied, “what’s that?” This is when she came out with the words that changed our lives forever…”We need a Big Green Egg!” I gathered up our kids, packed them in the Yukon as fast as I could (before she changed her mind) and we immediately drove (not to exceed the speed limit) to our local Big Green Egg Supplier (Thrifty Mac/Madison, GA) and made the purchase of a life time!

Since that beautiful Saturday morning, our family has had the opportunity to enjoy great meals as a result of having the right tool to cook with. We were also introduced to Lane’s BBQ a while back and their rubs and sauces have changed our lives.” In fact, we tell everyone we can about our BGE & Lane’s BBQ Rubs & Sauces! You should check them out. We love their “Sweet Heat” & “Ancho Express” rubs. Their “Sorta White” & “Southbound” Sauces are to die for! If you live in the Madison, Georgia area you can pick up these items at Farmview Market! I can’t hardly think of a day in the past 2 years that I have not told someone about my BGE and recommended the Lane’s BBQ line to someone. I tell everyone about it and I post weekly what I’ve been cooking up on the BGE. In fact, I look at it as my responsibility to share with others the stuff that is so good to me!

Last week as I was preparing to preach at our church (Fusion Church Madison) I was studying John 1:35-42 where Andrew followed Jesus. I think it’s awesome that it tells us that immediately after following Jesus, Andrew went and told his brother Simon (Peter) about the Messiah and brought him to Jesus. That’s when Peter’s life was changed by the power of the Gospel!

As I think about my life, my actions and this passage of scripture, I’m convicted that I will make it a point to tell everyone about my BGE and Lane’s Rubs and Sauces but I’m not as “All In” when it comes to sharing about the greatest blessing I have ever experienced in my life and that’s repenting of my sins and turning my life over to Jesus Christ. Folks, Jesus Christ changed my life and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to tell everyone not only about the BGE & Lane’s BBQ Rubs- I want to bring my friends, family and acquaintances to Jesus just like Andrew.

So: Next time you begin to tell someone about something that you really love and enjoy, why not add Jesus to the mix.  You see, it’s not the Egg or the Rub or the Sauce that changes your life, it’s JESUS!

ALL IN,

Matt

Night To Shine 2017

On February 10, 2017 you have the opportunity to be a part of something so much larger than yourself. You see, Night to Shine is coming to Morgan County. Our church, Fusion Church of Madison is proud to be an official host church for the 2017 Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. The event will take place at more than 350 churches around the world simultaneously on February 10, 2017.

I would like to answer a few questions about this event and why this is more than just a Fusion Church event.

  • What is Night To Shine all about? Click here!
  •  Why did Fusion Church apply to host Night To Shine? We see an opportunity for not only our church but for Christians to come together to provide a wonderful event for people with special needs, their families and/or their caregivers.
  • Why is the event listed as a Fusion Church event instead of a Community event? The Tim Tebow Foundation requires a church to be responsible for the event hosted in each area across the globe. Our church was willing to put our name on the line to bring this special event to the East Atlanta Area.
  • Who can volunteer?  Anyone that signs up at www.fusionchurchmadison.org that is 16 years or older. Each volunteer must attend 1 of the 2 Volunteer Training opportunities prior to the event. January 22 or January 29 @ 5:00 PM at Fusion Church of Madison. Each volunteer will need to bring $8.00 for a background check that is required by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
  • Who can be a Honored Guest? Anyone that is 14 years of age or older that has some kind of special need. Guest can register at www.fusionchurchmadison.org  (click on the Night to Shine tab and then click on the guest registration-fill out the registration form)
  • Who is partnering with this event from the Madison Area? The Morgan County Recreation Department, Camp Twin Lakes (the event will take place at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge) and Chick Fil A-Madison. Many local businesses and individuals are donating time, gifts, and services such as: Hair, Nails, Limo Services, Decorations, providing DJ services, etc, etc. You can partner by contacting our Event coordinator Sherry Patrick (706-817-9582).
  • What will the guest’s parents and/or caregivers do during the event?  There will be a respite room set up w/ food, entertainment and lots of fun and encouragement! All caregivers and parents are invited to attend and can sign up when their family member registers.
  • What is the biggest need at this point?  We want everyone in our area that has special needs to attend this event. Please help us get them signed up. This is a Free Event and it is a night where everyone will be crowned a King or a Queen!  This is a Red Carpet Event and it will be an event that will bless our guests and families in a tremendous way.

David Glover, founder of a ministry called Pure Ministries made this statement that I want to end with today:“Unbeknownst to them, PURE people have a unique ability to teach us profound truth. They don’t sit us down and preach to us, for many can’t speak. They don’t pridefully say, “Follow me,” for many can’t walk. They don’t say, “Watch me,” for many have never even seen themselves. But, in their usual quiet, unassuming way of living, they change us – if we let them.”

Thank you for partnering with this amazing opportunity!

ALL IN,

Matt

Bring’em In… Build’em Up… Send’em Out!

Back in the summer of 2010 was when I first heard those infamous words that came out of my mentor’s mouth. Neal Hughes spouted them out so fast – I didn’t even really grasp what he was talking about. At that time, I was serving as the Associate Pastor/Minister of Evangelism at my home church and Neal commuted in each week and filled the pulpit and provided great counsel to our church and it’s staff. It was during the interim season at my home church that our Lord gave those Missional words to Neal for me. Those words were revolutionary in my life and heart and gave me vision for my ministry.

You see, when I heard Neal say, “The local church must be focused on 3 things: Bring’em In, Build’em Up & Send’em Out”; I was rattled to the core. Have you ever heard so few of words put together that were more on point for what God has called us to be focused on? I haven’t…

Fast forward to August, 2011. Our home church, led by Neal Hughes, had voted to plant a church in Madison, Ga. Our family had heard loud and clear that we were to be part of the plant and I was serving at the Church Planter/Pastor of Hope Church of Madison. God had assembled a core group of approximately 35 people and we began meeting for weekly worship services at the Morgan County High School.

On the 1st Sunday, a middled aged couple walked into the High School cafeteria and I introduced myself to them. They said that they lived in “The Real Buckhead” Georgia. Buckhead is about 5-6 miles away from Madison. On the 2nd Sunday of our existence, they brought their son Kenny. Kenny walked in that day w/ a pair of shorts on, untucked- button up shirt, flip flops and I remember his hair being all over his head. In fact, I thought to myself, “Kenny looks like he might have had a rough night last night.”

After just a couple weeks, Kenny warmed up to me and I met him at Cracker Barrel for lunch on a Wednesday. I will never forget it. Kenny shared with me that day that he had a problem w/ alcohol and he had lost custody of his 2 children and they were now living in California. He also shared with me that he had repented of his sins and gave his life to Jesus in our worship service 2 weeks earlier. I was overwhelmed. Kenny was our first adult that came to Christ in our young church plant. Above you will see a picture of him the day he was baptized.

It was on that day, that I remembered the words of Neal Hughes. “Bring’em In, Build’em Up & Send’em Out.” Kenny became my baby. He had been brought into a personal relationship w/ Jesus and into our church, now the work really started. Well, to save you a lot of time and reading, let me say that for the past 5 years, one of my life goals was to pour myself into Kenny Dahl. I had a desire to Build him up in the faith and Send him out to his work place to be on mission.

After 5 years of walking w/ Jesus, being set free from the bondage of alcohol, a new wife-Kelly & step son-Alex, new baby-KJ, lots of heartache, loss of family members, gallons of tears, mountain top experiences, and tons of spiritual growth -I’m Sending him out…

Yep, that’s right! Today, Kenny, Kelly, Alex & KJ walked out of a mexican restaurant after a meal with our family and they are headed to Denver Colorado. God has saw fit to move his 2 children that live in California back to the Denver area and has opened a door for his young family to move there to be closer to his 2 children. Kenny sees the importance of being there for his children and teaching them the truths of God’s word.

So, instead of talking about my sadness, I choose to say that today is happy day!  I love Kenny Dahl. I loved his dad-Tim who passed away last year. I love Kenny’s mom, Diane. I love Kelly and all the kids like my own. I’ve had the privilege of baptizing Kenny, Kelly and Alex over the past 5 years. I’m so excited for their family.  I’m excited because I can say without a doubt that we have been faithful to Bring’em In, Build’em Up and Send’em Out!

Kenny Dahl- I love you and I’m so proud of you. You have made the Church Planting Journey so enjoyable and rewarding! You have been a constant source of encouragement and you are truly a testimony of the Transforming Power of Jesus Christ. I will never forget sitting at Cracker Barrel in 2011 and you telling me that you got in the wheelbarrow with Jesus. I challenge you to go the Denver and never forget what Neal said, “Bring’em In, Build’em Up and Send’em Out”!  Now–It’s your turn!

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Do You Smell What I’m Stepping In?

I was in a meeting about a 1 1/2 years ago with a couple guys and I was explaining a few ideas and points and a friend of mine said, “Matt, I smell what your stepping in.” His comment caught me off guard but then I was filled with joy that he honestly understood my point of view!

It’s been a long time since my last post and tonight as we approach another anniversary in our church, I feel like answering the top 4 questions that people have ask me since I began the church planting journey. It’s my prayer that if you read this post, you too will “Smell What I’m Stepping In”.

So here goes:

1.  I noticed that your church’s name does not include the word “Baptist” on the sign, why?

That’s a great question! I have been part of the baptist church for 42 years. Baptist is at the core of who I am. So, when we made the decision to leave the word “baptist” off of our church sign, it was a strategic decision. If you’ve had your head in the sand for the last 40 years, you probably don’t realize that baptist churches have done a few things wrong. In an effort to stand for Truth, baptist have alienated a lot of people by being unloving, harsh and hateful. Now, I do understand that all baptist have not lived their life this way but all baptist do not have to for all baptist to get that reputation.

So, we decided early on that we would much rather run people off from our church services than out at the road when they see our church sign. One lady ask me, “Matt, is Fusion Church a Baptist Church?” I said yes it is. She said, “I’m glad I didn’t know because I would have never came here if I had known.”

2.  Why does your facility not have a drop ceiling in the sanctuary?

Hmmm.  There is a deep theological reason for this! Buckle up…  Here is the answer: Because it was cheaper! You see, by blacking out our ceiling, we had more dollars available upfront to reach lost people with. Another reason is that the only roof or ceiling that was talked about in scripture got a hole ripped in it by some sold out believers that wanted their friend to have his sins forgiven and his body healed. Jesus was not upset about the hole in the roof and I don’t think He’s upset about our black ceiling either.

3.  Why do you wear blue jeans and untucked shirts when your preach?

Because the people that want a church were they have to dress up at, already have one. And the lost people that have no church affiliation may not have church clothes to wear to those churches. I want them to feel comfortable when they worship with us. The very first adult man that came to faith in our ministry came to our church because he could wear shorts and flip flops. He would have never gone to a church where he would have had to dress up. If people want to dress up they can go to your church or ours. But if they want to dress casual, they will probably come to ours before they go to yours if the majority of your church family dress up. Just sayin…

4.  Why don’t you have hymnals at your church?

Well, the main reason is that our church was a portable church before we had our own facility. Who wants to set out hymnals every week before the service and take them up after the service? Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on books that will be torn up after a short period of time when a screen and projector will last many years? Also, our Worship Pastor typically leads with a guitar in his hand and it’s difficult to use a hymnal and play a guitar at the same time.

Another reason is that through the years I have witnessed in most churches that I have been apart of having just 1 piano player and 1 organ player. Those 2 faithful servants serve week in and week out for years and years. Very few people get an opportunity to use their gifts. So, we wanted to have a full band and several different instrumentalist for each instrument. That way we expand our ministry base and are able to raise up many more servants. Oh yeah… I love a full band and live music!

I hope and pray that people who grew up similar to me in the local baptist church would have an open enough mind to see that our goal is not to destroy the traditions of the past. Our goal is simply to expand the Kingdom of God by using every possible resource and approach.

Let me close this posts by saying, as I think about my journey with Christ, I’m reminded of the open air pavilion where I was when I was convicted of my sin and repented and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. You know, every time I think about that night, I’m reminded that there were no hymnals there that night. There was no ceiling in that Pavilion. In fact, the ceiling was open and all I saw from the ground were trusses. I also remember what was on the floor… It was not a ceramic tile or plush carpet… It was sawdust! I can still smell that aroma and I’m convinced it was a sweet smelling aroma to my Lord Jesus too!

Do You Smell What I’m Stepping In?

#LETTEROFHOPE

Webster defines the word “Hashtag” as -: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet). Over the past month we have been walking through 1 Peter at our church. After reading and studying 1 Peter, I was led to name this study #LETTEROFHOPE. Hashtags enable people that use social media to classify or categorize what people are saying about the hashtag. In fact, you can go to your social media site (Facebook and Twitter) and search any particular #(hashtag) and you can see what others are saying about the topic. Several people in our church have used the hashtag #LETTEROFHOPE to convey what God has been saying to them through this study.

After unpacking 4 weeks of 1 Peter, #LETTEROFHOPE has come alive in my own heart. Actually, I told my wife yesterday that our study of 1 Peter has been the most exciting, most rewarding, most encouraging, and most challenging study I have ever untaken as a Pastor. I have discovered what true Hope looks like in the midst of Hard Times. I am excited about the Hope I have been given through the systematic study of 1 Peter. The Lord has encouraged me and challenged me at the same time.

People in our church are being transformed by the Word of God. Many are being equipped to deal with the Hard Times they experience. Several people have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and have began a journey of dependence upon Christ. Families have reconciled and marriages have been rescued. Young people have shared how God has spoken to their hearts and they are growing in their walk with the Lord. Several people have shared how God is speaking to them and leading them like never before.

Yesterday marked the 3 year anniversary that my mother in law, Dale Knight was killed in a tragic accident. I must confess that it was the darkest time of our lives. In fact, it was the hardest trial our family has every gone through and at the end of each March, we are reminded of those dark days. It’s easy to get in the “mullygrubbs” when we slow down and look back at our past hurts and how we have scars from the past. But as we have been looking at 1 Peter and the #LETTEROFHOPE that our Lord gave us through Peter many years ago, we find that blessed HOPE we need. Yesterday was a good day as our family spent it together, celebrating the life of my mother in law, my wife’s mom-best friend-baby sitter-shopping partner-sounding board, my children’s nana-gift giver-mentor and friend. Yesterday was better than last year and I’m confident it was better because of God’s #LETTEROFHOPE.

This weekend we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s Easter! As believers, we have something to celebrate! Jesus Christ is alive and we have HOPE! I pray you will find your way to a worship service this Sunday and worship our Living Lord in Spirit and in Truth. If you do not have a place where you regularly worship, be my guest at Fusion Church of Madison. We will continue walking through 1 Peter and look deep into God’s #LETTEROFHOPE!

LIFE ON MISSION,

Matt