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Running A Church


We are doing our Christmas series this month on worship.  I was going to blog about worship today, but I really liked what Perry Noble, a pastor in South Carolina, had to say about worship.  Here it is…

#1 – Repentance - Where there is no repentance there may be an emotional experience, but it’s not worship! Worship does not become worship until it IMPACTS the WAY WE LIVE!

#2 – Intellectual – We’re called to worship the Lord with our minds by renewing it and fixing it on Him. (Colossians 3:1-2)

#3 – Emotional - Worship is overwhelming when we realize how deeply we were entrenched in sin, how helpless we were and how incredible it is that Jesus would rescue us.  (The reality of Romans 5:8 BLOWS ME AWAY!)

#4 – Intentional - No one accidentally follows Christ…if we are going to worship Him, it will be done purposefully!

#5 – Relational – Worship impacts every relationship we have, it is impossible to be a fully devoted worshiper of Christ and be a jerk to your wife or try as often as possible to take advantage of the opposite sex.

#6 – Financial – Until following Christ has impacted our finances in a sacrificial way we are not followers of Christ. Would you like to see the primary object of your worship…look at your checkbook.

#7 – Unconditional – (and NOT situational!) Worship is consistent, 24/7, not just when I feel good or God is giving me all that I want.  If we worship only when things are good, we do not worship God…we worship a genie!

Let the Holy Spirit speak to you about one of these areas and allow Him to deepen your experience with God this Christmas season.

and tagged with worship, Perry Noble, Christmas, experience


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We’ll have special combined services during this special time of year! Christmas Eve Service will be at 6 p.m. and Christmas Day Service (pre-school classes provided) will be at 10 a.m. We’ll enjoy a family service, and don’t forget to come a little early and bring your camera for pictures with Santa.

A study was done by the religion writer for the Minneapolis Star And Tribune; she found 68% of Twin Cities churches will have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services this year. Christmas falls on Sunday. This is a great opportunity for us to show our children that we celebrate the birth of our Savior over everything else Christmas has become. After a great time of worship and the Word, let’s head home and celebrate with family and friends. Bring on the presents!

See you Christmas Day.


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Just finished a great staff meeting today. My definition of a great staff meeting is when it lasts less than an hour, and we accomplish something. After the meeting we had lunch together. The staff and I are really excited about our worship, and really feel God is stirring hearts in a new way. Please keep praying for Pastor Gina as her leadership in the area of worship is drawing us in closer to the heart of God.

The month of December is focused on worship and the journey of the wise men. We don’t know how many wise men there were on the journey, but three has always been the guess, since there were the three gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh given to Jesus.

We are prepping for our holiday services! Christmas Eve service will be at 6 p.m., while Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays. We will be having one combined service at 10 a.m. each of those days and are looking forward to making them extra special. If you are going to be in town, plan on coming to our special services, and use this opportunity to communicate the real reason for Christmas. God bless!


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Blog #6

There are times when we just feel great: when we feel physically strong, spiritually alive, and see life clicking on all cylinders.  In this past month I have been growing more and more into this feeling every day. God has moved greatly in my life to strengthen me and give me vision for the journey. And at the same time I am hearing from other people that God is speaking to them too. They like the direction the church is going and feel we are on the brink of something we have been wanting for a long time. I encourage you not to sit back and wait for people or God to come and invite you in. Jump into worship, jump into saying hi to others, and just jump into seeking God and His peace in your life.  I believe we are at a point in God’s plan to make a difference in people’s lives by simply caring and offering places of friendship. We want to inspire you and help you experience an authentic, life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christmas happens on a Sunday this year, and I believe this gives us the best opportunity to make a statement to God and our children that He is the most important thing to us this season. We will have one service, starting at 10 a.m., and we want to make it a great event. That will also be ALC's 20th anniversary at this permant location. If you haver any ideas how we can make a Christmas celebration special for everyone, please email or Facebook me!

Lastly, this is Pastor Darren’s last Sunday as a staff member with us.  He is sensing God’s call to plant a church east of us around the Stillwater/Oakdale area.  Darren has served us faithfully these last eight years, as he came with me when I became the Lead Pastor here at ALC.  The first year he served as Adult pastor, with no pay.  I honor him greatly for his love for God and the Church.  We will miss him and miss the impact he has had on many lives.  This Sunday he will be preaching, and we encourage you to bring a card and honor him as we have a fellowship time with him after our 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. services.  You may see him around from time to time as he works the next 12-18 months in preparing to do the work of planting a new church.  He needs your prayers!  May God Bless Pastor Darren and Maisa and their family!


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Blog #5

With everything going on in our country (especially the focus on the need for jobs), I am seeing more and more people in a state of hopelessness.  People are looking for someone with answers, someone who can give them hope, someone who knows what to do. This is when people of faith are most needed, to step in and let other people know that there is One who is sovereign. It is not often that we hear or use that word anymore, but it is a word that needs to make a comeback.  Sovereign means in control and it also means making decisions.  It is time to trust the One who is sovereign but also remember that God is good.  Jesus was explaining how good his Father was and how that affects our prayers.

Matthew 7:7-11 says, Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.

Lets step into the gap that people are finding themselves in and pray to a Sovereign God who is also good and is looking to answer the prayers of His people. He especially loves prayers that allow His kindness to lead people to repentance.

God Bless!


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Blog #4

It’s Monday, so how was your weekend? This could be part of a normal conversation you have when you see the people you’re around the most. Your bosses, co-workers, and even faithful customers will want to connect with you again in some way. So what do you say to them? Hopefully something happens at church that you can throw into that discussion from time to time: something you learned, a good point given in the message, or even a great discussion you had with someone in the foyer. I encourage you to look for the gems to pass along to others. Find something that others can apply in their lives. Inspire them and leave them with a thought or principle that may help them feel better and even be better.

If you didn’t hear the message yesterday as we started our series on the book of the Bible called 1 Corinthians, I encourage you to listen to it on our website. It will help you understand how the grace of God works in our lives and how you can know when God is speaking to you. It is a wonderful thing to know when God is really trying to speak to you, encourage you, and let you know he is with you.

Lastly, this year Christmas falls on a Sunday. We are looking at doing one 10 a.m. service that day. We want to make it special and a big event for the people that come. As a staff we have talked about some ideas, but we are really interested in what you think.  Go to my Facebook page or email me, and let me know if have any ideas of how we can make this extra special for you and others who might come. Thanks! God Bless!


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Blog #3

Yesterday was a nice day for us as a church. We started new service times of 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. and had a good split of numbers in each service. There were 87 adults in first service and 139 adults in second service. We also announced the hiring of a new worship leader to replace Jeremy Carlin; her name is Gina Zarletti, and she will be starting on October 16.  Gina comes from Wisconsin and graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis. If you sing or play an instrument please let her know. We would love to get you involved.  

I hope the point of yesterday’s message is still carried with you throughout the week. If you are in Jesus Christ, there is no black-mark against you: God will hear your prayers.  We must not pray out of our own goodness, but pray out of the ability and power of God.  Make sure your prayers count on how big God is (the largeness of God, according to John 8:16), and not how righteous you are. Remember that Jesus never prayed based on his own goodness, although He could have.  He prayed according to the greatness and plan of His Heavenly Father.

If you haven’t yet, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  Just look me up by name and you will find me!

Also, don’t forget about Light the Night, Sunday October 30 at 6 p.m. We need people who want to impact families to get involved that night by helping with games and food.  Also we are in need of funds to make this happen: $3,000 to be exact. We want to impact our community with this event!

and tagged with Gina Zarletti, Light the Night, new service times


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Blog #2

I hope this week you have a new sense that God is with you! I’d like to recap Sunday’s message with a reminder about burning the candle at both ends – we may burn brighter for a time, but it can’t last long. We can find energy to use simple words every day that glorify God, make choices that show we trust Him, and handle the trials of life with the peace that God will work it all out to the good.  

Starting this Sunday our first service will begin at 9:30 a.m. We are also beginning our month-long focus towards our next big event called Light the Night. This will be a great month to invite visitors and will culminate Sunday October 30th.  During the morning services we are asking you to invite people to Big Sucker Sunday where every child in Kindergarten through 5th Grade will get a big sucker, and is invited to wear costumes to church (hopefully no ghouls, goblins, or witch costumes). That evening we will have our Light the Night event for kids with games, candy, and activities. We are asking folks who don’t have small children to assist that night to and help (with games, food, etc.).  We need all of ALC to join in to make this outreach successful.

On Halloween night, we would like you to be free to reach out in your own neighborhood! Be the neighbor that gives out the best candy on the block! Hopefully you will get to meet your neighbors and be able to bless people on a day that many use for other purposes.    

You may have heard that Sunday School is changing to second service. That means if you want to attend Adult Education classes, plan to go to first service in the sanctuary starting this Sunday, October 2. It’s also important to note that Children and Youth Sunday School will remain during first service. Make sure to send us your feedback on this change during the next couple of weeks. Remember the word God gave us… new, better, different!


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The First Blog

I would like to say thank you to ALC for all your prayers and support.  At church yesterday many of you brought great energy and excitement about the new mission statement of the church.

Mission Statement: to inspire people and lead them to authentic, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ

We will consistently lay before you the direction and plan of where we are headed.  Make sure you visit the blog once a week, and you can also follow me on facebook (Steve Finton) and twitter (@stevefinton).  

In staff meeting today, we discussed moving Adult Sunday School to second service. That would help with having enough workers in preschool and hopefully find some more people going to first service. Send me feedback on this if you'd like.

Also, we are planning a big month in October. Starting an event for the month called “The Next:  Light the Night”!" We are going to encourage each of us to jump on board and invite people throughout the month and do a big Event on Sunday, October 30. We will be having the kids wear their costumes and have some big giveaways for them and visitors. That evening from 6-8 p.m., we will hold the “Light the Night” event and have games, food, and tons of candy going.  It will be our biggest one ever.  We want to get everyone involved and have lots of your friends and family attending who need a connection with God. We are doing this event a day early so more people will come and also so you can be around your neighbors on “Trick or Treat night” so they can see you and identify your house as the one that gives the best candy.  We need to take every opportunity for good works, and we are excited about this. More details will be coming this Sunday. 

God Bless!  Pastor Steve


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