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November 25, 2014

Are You Good At Praying?

Last night we kicked off our 28-Day Challenge with a Night Of Worship And Prayer. I asked the audience, “How many of you are good at praying?” Out of 1,200 people attending, I think I counted 5 hands that were raised.

Prayer can be a real challenge for most of us. Here are 4 simple tips I shared last night to help you pray:

1. When possible, pray out loud. There’s something about speaking the words – it allows you to focus your words and it feels much more like a conversation in your heart and head if you speak the words out loud.
2. When others are praying out loud, agree with them. Don’t check out mentally when someone else prays. There’s power in praying together. Engage in the prayer and even agree verbally with the one praying.
3. Don’t be afraid of silence. God speaks to us when we are silent. Remember, prayer has more to do with changing you than it does with changing God! It’s okay to sit in silence and let God speak to you.
4. Music really does set a tone for prayer. Worship music playing in the background helps me set my heart in the right place as I pray.

As we enter this season of celebration, I hope these 4 tips allow you to “get good at praying!”

November 24, 2014

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. We wrapped up our mini-series, Get Ready, yesterday. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. The level of preparedness indicates the level of priority.
2. You’ve got to come into this season with a whole ‘nother level of expectation believing that God wants to do something great or else, listen, you will devalue and dishonor what God wants to do in this season.
3. Jesus wanted to do more in their midst but He couldn’t because they weren’t ready for it.
4. I want Jesus to be amazed at how much belief we have.
5. Get Your Heart Ready
6. What could God do in me this Christmas if my HEART was really ready to receive it?
7. Get Our House Ready
8. What could God do in my church this Christmas if the HOUSE was really ready for it?
9. Through a simple invitation you will play a part in telling the greatest story known to man.
10. The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a church whose heart is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. Let’s be that church.

Don’t forget about our 28-day Challenge including the Night of Worship TONIGHT at our Newport News Campus!

November 21, 2014

3 Reasons NOT to miss church this Sunday!

I love every Sunday at Waters Edge Church and I want you there to experience it every week…but this week has a little bit of the extra-special boom sauce added to it! Here are 3 reasons you do not want to miss church THIS Sunday:

1.  We kick off our 28-day challenge to get ready for Christmas! I’m going to tell you all about how these next 28 days can transform your Christmas season and transform our cities this Christmas. This Sunday is the make-or-break message for your Christmas celebrations.

2.  Christmas music! I know some of you are anti-Christmas music before Thanksgiving, so don’t worry, we’re not going to overdo it! But if you like Christmas music, you’re going to love the end of our services Sunday.

3.  FREE Starbucks Grande Peppermint Mochas with added chocolate curls and extra whipped cream for everybody! Actually, we’re not doing that – that’s 410 calories that you don’t need! So instead, we’ll save you the calorie count and serve you FREE Krispy Kreme doughnuts or Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and a few mints!

November 19, 2014

Video Update… Get Ready!

November 17, 2014

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. Yesterday, Stu kicked off our mini-series called Get Ready and it was awesome. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. I do believe that this series can be the make or break series for your holiday season.
2. Apron / Chair / Balloons = Preparation / Expectation / Celebration
3. You can’t come into this season without preparation and expect for it to be meaningful in your life.
4. Expectation fuels hope in our lives.
5. When you place your expectations of you on somebody else, it always leads to frustration.
6. I just want to give you permission today to lower the expectation of you and raise the expectation of God and watch and see what might happen this holiday season.
7. When you have preparation mixed in with expectation it always leads to celebration.
8. If you want to get ready this season, then you have to make a conscious effort that the celebration in your life, the celebration in your home, the celebration of this season, isn’t wrapped up in presents, p-r-e-s-e-n-t-s, but it is wrapped up in Jesus’ presence!
9. Something about this season causes all of us to forget who’s in the manger.
10. You get ready, you get your heart ready, your soul ready, your spirit ready, your mind ready, your house ready, your friends ready, your family ready, you get our cities ready, our church is going to get ready, for God to do something new in our lives this season.

November 14, 2014

4 Questions To Ask About Your Spiritual Growth

Like anything in life, your faith should be growing, advancing, and moving forward. It’s easy to let your spiritual growth get put on a back burner as you grow other areas of your life, but that would be a big mistake! Nothing advances and grows the other areas of your life quite like advancing and growing your spiritual life. Here are 4 questions you need to ask TODAY about your spiritual growth:

1. Am I further along than I was 6 months ago?
Faith is a journey, so we’re not looking for perfection today…we’re just looking to be further along than we used to be. Are you practicing spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible reading with more consistency than you did 6 months ago? Are you more patient, more kind, more generous, and more loving than you were 6 months ago? What ways have you grown over the last 6 months?

2. Are my relationships with others healthy?
Nothing impacts your relationship with God more than your relationship with others…and nothing impacts your relationship with others more than your relationship with God. Evaluate your relationships and it will help you evaluate your spiritual growth.

3. Am I plugged into and active at my church?
I just heard one of my friends say, “Saying you’re a Christian but you don’t need the church is like saying you’re married but you don’t need your family!” I couldn’t agree more! Your involvement and participation in YOUR church can tell you a lot about your spiritual growth. Are you connected, invested, and bought in?

4. Am I engaged in and excited about God’s mission?
If you’re not investing in others and inviting them to Jesus, you’re not growing spiritually! There’s nothing greater in this life than being used by God as part of His mission to bring His lost children home to Himself.

November 12, 2014

Video Update… Get Ready!

November 10, 2014

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday, from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. I hope you made it to church yesterday for the finale of 5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith. And I hope you are pumped for our upcoming series, Get Ready! Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. Providential Relationships is the 5th thing God uses to grow our faith big.
2. God intersects your life with somebody else’s life and the result is growing faith.
3. Our relationship with others impacts and influences our faith in God.
4. “He gone!” (check the service out if you don’t get this reference! haha!)
5. The reality is this – we seldom make dumb decisions alone.
6. Isn’t it fascinating the Bible says get around wise people, you get wise, but it doesn’t say get around foolish people and you get foolish… it says this, get around foolish people, you’re going to get hurt.
7. Every relationship you have has either a positive or a negative impact on your faith.
8. No relationship is spiritually neutral.
9. Be Intentional
10. Be Available

November 6, 2014

Guest Blog: Preach It!

My friend Carlyn blogs at carlynsworld.com.  I love her perspective on Sunday’s message about how giving grows your faith, so I asked her to guest blog today here at StuHodges.com.  Enjoy! 


Preach It!

Last Sunday our Pastor talked about money…….. in church! The nerve!
The Bible talks about money all the time so why do people get so mad? Bring it!

If you have been around my poorly attended blog any amount of time you know I enjoy the topic of money, so last Sunday was one of my favorite sermons. I wanted to high-five everyone around me but apparently money isn’t everyone’s favorite topic. I was going to write a blog about money but I already have…. a bunch.

So I thought I would share my favorites here and here and tell you why I LOVE to give. I’m not big on hugs, but I am a fixer and it’s hard to be a fixer without money. I love to give but giving is hard without money or so I thought. Here are some fun facts about giving in my life in no particular order:

-I am honestly skeptical of 95% of non-profits (sad I know but do your research), I know how my church manages money and I know my gifts are in great hands.
-There is no better feeling than giving. Whatever I gave up to give won’t give me that feeling, guaranteed.
-I worked a job on commission and never got paid until the year I started tithing.
-God has never let us down, He says to give and I trust that.
-I have seen the love of money DESTROY people, businesses and families so give it away before you fall in love with it.
-Someone before me gave to a church and it forever changed my life. I am forever thankful for giving to the local church.

November 5, 2014

WEC Is Below Average!

I dropped the bomb on Sunday and you could hear a collective groan across every campus…we are below average! That’s not easy for me to admit and it wasn’t easy for most people to hear. However, when you compare WEC’s per person giving to other churches like ours across the country, we are in the bottom of the bottom 10% of churches. The numbers don’t lie. We are below average! If that bothers you, good! It bothers me too and so here are some thoughts that might help you:

• Comparison is unhealthy if it results in guilt. Guilt is not the goal. The purpose in comparing to other churches is to set a benchmark. For example, I am 5’7” tall. A healthy comparison for me is to compare my weight to other people of the same height. It sets a benchmark. If other people of the same height weigh 175 lbs and I weigh 290 lbs or 110 lbs, it might indicate that there’s a problem…a problem that I need to address. This comparison of giving just highlights that there’s a problem that we need to address to become healthier as a church.
• We reach un-churched people! I thank God everyday that we are a church that is accomplishing our mission. Because we are a church aggressively reaching un-churched people, our per person giving will always be lower than churches that are primarily reaching churched people. Giving is a journey and a process and we have learned to be patient with people as they grow and mature in their faith. We value the process!
• If increased giving equals growth, we have a lot of upside potential for future growth! I am glad we haven’t arrived. I am happy that there’s still work to do and growth to occur and steps of faith to take! We know there’s an area that God is stretching us, and we are excited to be stretched.
• WEC’ers are generous people. WEC’ers never disappoint when there’s a need to be met, a special offering to be given, or an act of kindness to be shown. Per person giving doesn’t measure total generosity. I love that our church gives school supplies like crazy to meet needs in our community and canned food that stocks the Peninsula Rescue Mission for an entire year!

If you don’t like being called below average, neither do I! I love my church and so do you and we’re proud of what God is doing here. For the record, we’re going to grow our giving – but in case you’re wondering, I think we are above average in just about every other way!