Author Archives: Lane Corley

Love Stories

This February, I’ve for the first time tackled preaching through the Song of Solomon. Sounded like a great idea last summer when I was planning sermon series for 2018, but as I got to digging in I began to think, “what have I gotten myself in to!?” Ha! As I studied, I began to see a beautiful love story outlined in the relationship between the bride and groom depicted in the Song. Here it is:

  1. God is the author of LOVE, ROMANCE, SEX, AND MARRIAGE. Genesis 2:18-25. 
  2. Love is FOSTERED through God-given desire, attraction, and curiosity. Song of Solomon 1:2, 7-10; Proverbs 30:19. 
  3. Love is FULFILLED in the marital relationship between man and woman. Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:7-11; 4:9-11; 5:1; Proverbs 5:19
  4. Love can be FRUSTRATING as two people bring their differences together and experience life’s difficulties. Song of Solomon 5:2-3; Proverbs 17:1; 21:9; 25:24
  5. The beauty of Love is found in FAITHFULNESS. Song of Solomon 7:1-2; 8:6-7; Proverbs 5:18; Ecclesiastes 9:9   

Get the messages HERE or on Itunes. Connect with Bridge Church Sunday’s, 10am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville for weeks 3, 4, and 5 of this series.

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And I’m glad to be living this story out with my bride of 18 years now (valentine of 21 years). Thinking about our story, here’s my Valentine’s Day letter to my valentine:

Dear Heather,

God created you just for me. Light shined from heaven and music started playing in my head the first time I saw you. You were different from anyone I had ever met. As I got to know you, the curiosity and desire to know more about you never dulled. Separation from you scared me because it made me feel incomplete. Our wedding day still seems like the best dream I’ve ever had. My every wish and idea about love has been fulfilled in this relationship. There has never been one day that I have regretted taking you as my wife. My heart still leaps when you walk into the room and my mind remains ever curious about your heart and your thoughts on everything. We’ve faced our share of frustrations with this life, with no doubt more trials and difficulties to come. I look forward to growing old with you and experiencing the beauty of faithfulness. Thank you for being my valentine and my wife. Thank you for putting up with the frustrations caused by me. Thank you for the promise of life long love. Thank you for making faithfulness easy and longed for. Happy 21st Valentine’s day!

If Not Today, When?

Highlights from our January Message Series at Bridge Church

1In January, our church wrapped up a long study of the book of James. We took on four key topics in James that we often need to return to at the beginning of a new year in a series called If Not Today, When. The four topics were:

  1. Prayer
  2. Relationships
  3. Money
  4. Evangelism and Outreach

You can find the messages HERE or on Itunes.

Here are a few quotes or highlights from the series: 

  • Others should be one of the primary topics in our prayers. This is called intercession. Praying for other people. Praying for opportunities to serve and share with others.
  • There is no magic in prayer. It’s a relationship.
  • “If God be your partner, make your plans large.” – D.L. Moody
  • You’ll never hear an on mission Christian say – “I would love to have helped but no one asked me.” They don’t wait to be asked.
  • Why do we prioritize our physical needs? Because we FEEL them. Having compassion and mercy for others means we FEEL the needs of others along with our own.
  • Mercy means even when I know something about them or have something I can use against them or don’t really like them or have a right to hold a grudge against them, I still am willing to love them and show them compassion and grace.
  • To be a person of integrity means I am innocent in my relationships. I’m not using you, cheating you, manipulating you, or lying to you. I’m a person you can trust, because of my integrity, my commitment to purity before God.
  • Wisdom listens with the intent to build up, to help, to learn. It’s solution oriented when it comes to decisions and suggestions.
  • The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,350 verses on money and possessions. – Howard Dayton
  • God is honored by funnels and dishonored by sponges. We’re to be conduits of His blessings, not cul de sacs.
  • If you want financial freedom without unlimited resources, you’ve got to be able to say no to your whims and impulses and to live on what you have.
  • The #1 reason for financial pressure is not that we don’t make enough but that we don’t spend it wisely. Our yearning capacity exceeds our earning capacity.
  • Our clear mission from God throughout the Bible is to seek out the wanderer and do all we can to turn them or return them to the truth of the Gospel.

Connect with Bridge Church if you’re in West St. Tammany Parish on Sunday’s at 10am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville.

Reasons Pastors Fail to Cast Vision and other links I learned from this week

Charles Starnes: Planting Churches is not Optional

charles_starnesPastor Charles Starnes went home to be with the Lord on December 29th, 2017. He served as Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Slidell for 32 years. During that time the church baptized 485 new believers and added 733 other members to their roles. They also gave over $1.5 million to the Cooperative Program and other missions causes. I remember Bro. Charles as a great encourager of church planters, which included me, after moving to St. Tammany Parish in 2001 to plant a church about 35 minutes from Calvary. Under Bro. Charles’ leadership Calvary was part of planting six new churches, including the first Hispanic SBC Church on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. I’ll never forget what he said at the constitution service of one of those church plants, Thompson Road Baptist Church in West Slidell. He said,

“Everyone always makes a big deal about Calvary planting churches. Thanks for the kind words, but I just thought that planting churches and missions is what every church was supposed to be doing.”

On another occasion he said it like this:

“Everybody makes a big deal about Calvary being part of planting churches. I always say, I didn’t know it was optional.”

Grateful for Bro. Charles and his vision for multiplication and encouragement for church planting everywhere. May his tribe increase.

Five Key Relational Connections for Every Follower of Christ

SmallGroup

The Christian life is meant to be lived out in relationships. Here are five key relationships for every Christ Follower:

  1. Right Church | My On Mission Family that I pool my gifts, energy, and resources with for the expansion of God’s kingdom.

  2. Small Group | My Circle of 8-12 friends that I grow with and care for on a regular basis.

  3. Prayer Partner(s) | My smaller circle of 2-3 close friends that know my struggles and prayer needs

  4. My Mentor / Spiritual Father(s) or Mother(s)  |  Someone ahead of me in the journey that I can learn from along the path of spiritual fruitfulness.

  5. Mentee / Person(s) I am Discipling  | Someone I’m ahead of in the journey that I can help along the path of spiritual fruitfulness

These relationships have been so key for me as a believer. Looking through this list, I see faces that make me smile. So many on mission friends that have shaped me at church, in small groups, close confidential prayer partners, spiritual fathers, and now people I get the privilege of helping to grow. Not sure where I’d be without these relationships.

If you’re missing out on one of these key relationships, ask God to direct you to or send you to the right church, a circle of friends, a prayer partner, a spiritual father, and/or someone to disciple today.

Devo: The Roots of Great Relationships

TreesRelationships are the most important part of life. The ability or inability to get along with and influence people will determine our effectiveness at work, our fruitfulness in Christian service, and our legacy in our homes. So much is at stake. And we’re planting seeds through our relationships with the next generation. They are learning from us. God’s word has a great deal to say about relationships. At this point, I’ve found it better than any self-help book on the shelves. Our church is currently studying the book of James and we took some time to dig into what James says about relationships.

Three Roots of Great Relationships

A tree or plant is only as strong as its root system. And some roots are seen, but most are not. Great relationships are born out of something unseen by most. It’s the character traits that are in our hearts toward others. James points to three key roots that we must have to build and maintain great relationships:

1. INITIATIVE TAKING LOVE  | “Love your neighbor as yourself” James 2:8; 15  

This is a profound line from the Old Testament that Jesus commended, calling it the second greatest commandment. When we have needs, we work to have them met. When I’m hungry, I go find food. When I’m hurting, I go find meds. When I’m cold, I go find warmth. We take initiative to meet our own needs. Jesus taught that we should extend that to others we are in relationship with as well. The word for love is AGAPE, which is that initiative taking, self-sacrificing love that Jesus modeled for us in giving His life. He saw our great need and did what had to be done, to help us overcome our sin and death and separation from God. It’s a reminder that love INITIATES and SACRIFICES and FINDS A WAY to meet the needs of others.

One of the things I seldom hear truly on Mission Christians say is, “I would have helped but no one asked me.” To Be On Mission is to, out of love, be an initiator of ministry and service toward others.

2. COMPASSION AND MERCY | “Mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:13

Why do we prioritize our own needs, loving ourselves? Because we feel them. They are dynamic and present. Having compassion and mercy means we feel the needs of others along with our own in a dynamic and present way. And Agape love leads us to react and serve and give and encourage.

But there is more to mercy than just a feeling. The definition: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Mercy means even when I know something about them or have something I can use against them or don’t really like them or have a right to hold a grudge against them, I still am willing to love them and show them grace. That’s what God, in Christ did for us, and that’s what he desires for us to extend to others. 

3. WISDOM | “the gentleness that comes from wisdom” James 3:13

Wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective. Relationships can entangle us in worldly, fleshly thinking like nothing else. That’s why anger, abuse, and division are so prevalent. When relationships get tough and dirty, we do too. However, if I could see God’s perspective, I could see the bigger picture, the possible solutions, the deeper reasons for the conflict and adjust my life to avoid the traffic jams and potholes of anger, abusive language, and division. And God’s perspective helps us know our place as well. We should approach all our relationships from a humble vantage point that says, “I’m flawed, you’re flawed. We all need mercy, grace, forgiveness. I might as well try to make life better and easier on people. We’re all in this together.” 

Initiative Taking Love, Compassion and Mercy, Wisdom from Above. These three things applied to our relationships will bring about fruitfulness, effectiveness, and leave a legacy of peace.


Hear the audio of this study at Bridge Church HERE.

 

2017 in Corley Family Pics

Some of my favorite pics from my personal Instagram feed for 2017. See them all HERE.

2017 Pics 12017 Pics 22017 Pics 32017 Pics 42017 Pics 52017 Pics 62017 Pics 72017 Pics 82017 Pics 92017 Pics 102017 Pics 112017 Pics 122017 Pics 132017 Pics 142017 Pics 152017 Pics 162017 Pics 17

Devo: Be Strong and Accomplish More through Prayer

prayer3The book of James gives us some great truths about prayer.

  • PRAYER WORKS! James 1:5
  • Prayer works WHEN IT’S TRIED. James 4:2
  • Prayer works when it’s tried WITH RIGHT MOTIVES. James 4:3
  • Prayer works when done IN COMMUNITY. James 5:13-16

James also tells us about the power of prayer:

1. We can BE STRONG and ACCOMPLISH MORE through prayer. This is how the words “powerful in its effect” in James 5:16 can also be translated. Strength and accomplishment.

2. James puts one condition on prayers power: “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” James 5:16. To gain full advantage in prayer, one must be RIGHT with God. This points to the need of a RELATIONSHIP with God through Christ. This is how we gain RIGHTEOUSNESS (see 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18). Goodness is the best we can do, but RIGHTEOUSNESS is needed to get to heaven and to know all the blessings of life IN CHRIST, including a powerful, strong prayer life.

3. Prayer Requires Intentionality, Commitment, and Faith. James gives an example of the power of prayer from the life of Elijah. Elijah’s prayer actually changed weather patterns (James 5:17-18)! It’s a lesson in the endless possibilities of dependence upon God. As Jesus said it, “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

James says that Elijah prayed fervently or earnestly. This word proseuche is rich with meaning. Here are some ways that its definition and usage can be applied:

  • pros means near of toward – prayer brings nearness to God
  • seuche means vow or commitment – prayer is bringing our hearts near or toward God. Prayer should bring with it a heart of surrender and sacrifice and a commitment that says we are serious about our relationship, dependence, and usefulness to God.
  • proseuche also denoted a real place. The word was used by Jews who lived in a city without a synagogue to mark a place for prayer gatherings. It also was used to describe an altar where people brought gifts prior to prayer and worship. Of course Jesus, encouraged or commanded the use of a prayer closet (Matthew 6:6). 

 

Is your heart RIGHT with God? Do you have a PLACE for prayer? Do you believe in prayers power? Are you ready to give your heart to God? Then get after it, and expect to experience the powerful effects of prayer!


Get an audio version of this message delivered at Bridge Church in Madisonville HERE, or on Itunes.

 

 

 

Reaching the Unreached… the Lost Art

ReachingtheUnreachedOne of the books we gave away at last year’s Church Planting training events was Peyton Jones’ Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art. Peyton’s message to the church is to get out from behind the walls and take risk to share the Gospel. He shares many of his experiences from the field and also many great quotes and stories from church history. Find much encouragement to get started or refocused on the mission of Jesus out there, among the lost in our communities in Reaching the Unreached. Here’s a few of my favorite quotes:

  • The future belongs not to churches that can draw a crowd, but churches that can penetrate one.
  • Before the faith comes to others ears, movement must first come to our feet.
  • The Holy Spirit is always with his people, but he seems to show up with special power when his people are out of their depth. That’s because the secret ingredient for the secret sauce of power is risk.
  • We pray for more power from the Holy Spirit, but why would he pour himself on us when we continue to do nothing?
  • We may long to experience more of God’s presence, but maybe we aren’t doing anything we actually need him for.
  • Without the tuning fork of mission, the instrument of Christianity sounds off key.
  • The current hour calls for humble, broken people, consumed with Jesus, and unimpressed with themselves.
  • The litmus test of whether God is moving isn’t how many Christians you’ve crammed into a room, but the effect upon the lost.
  • If you’re going to help someone stuck in the muck you better be willing to get dirty; if you’re going to help the broken you’d better be ready to get hurt because the jagged edges of a broken life are sharp.
  • The church that weathers the future will be less dependent upon buildings, methods, and structure and more on natural missional engagements.

Connect with Peyton Jones, his podcasts, newsletters, etc. at https://peytonjones.ninja/. He’s always great with resources for church planter training and encouragement. Hope to get Peyton down to Louisiana in person for training sometime soon.

Devo: Strength, Productivity, Resilience, Success

Beyond black eyed peas and cabbage, what can you do this year to guarantee…

  • An endless source of strength
  • Productive, fruitful work and life
  • Resilience when pressure builds
  • Success and prosperity

These things are promised to the person who delights in God’s word (Psalm 1:2).

How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
Instead, HIS DELIGHT IS IN THE LORD’S INSTRUCTION,
and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams (ENDLESS SOURCE OF STRENGTH) 
that bears its fruit in its season (PRODUCTIVE, FRUITFUL WORK AND LIFE)
and whose leaf does not wither. (RESILIENCE WHEN PRESSURE BUILDS)
Whatever he does prospers. (SUCCESS AND PROSPERITY)

Psalm 1:1-3 CSB

RootsDelight means to see it as pleasurable or have a desire for it. Spending time in God’s Word can make an impact in your life. Make a plan and experience the strength, fruitfulness, resilience, and success that only God’s wisdom can bring.

 

 

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