Friday, May 15, 2015

Hungary for More

Last week, I was in the country of Hungary with a contingency of Reformed Church in America pastors. We are partnering together to launch congregations on the campuses of the University of Debrecen. We strategically chose this country because it already has the largest reformed presence in all of Europe. There are actually more reform congregations in Hungary than in North America. The planting team of pastors in Hungary are highly gifted and relational in their approach. They have a gathering of approximately 160 students on the main campus, 30 students on a second campus, and 20 students on a third campus. Our hope is to start these groups out as Bible studies and then morph them towards weekly worship. Our visit with the church planters was very encouraging for them as well as for us, but there is so much to do in order to reach the nations. People in Hungary generally think of a building when they think of a church. They think building, and the buildings are very old and dilapidated, except for the ones that are historic landmarks in which the government has helped sustain the structures. We have a 6-year commitment to this project.

On the last day of our adventure, we went to the historic city of Budapest, home of some 2 million people and much larger than any other city in the country. We saw some of the historic sites and were joined by an RCA missionary in Budapest who was able to serve as our tour guide and we were able to encourage him in his work there.

Gang, I'm really fired up for this Sunday's message. I have so enjoyed preaching on the book of Nehemiah and we will again ask the question, "What is your wall?" Join us and bring a friend!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Prayer Retreat

This past Monday and Tuesday, I spent time at SpringHill Camp with staff members from Centerpoint, Vanguard North, and Vanguard South. We experienced a prayer retreat that was second to none. One of the greatest joys in ministry is having such a positive, mutually encouraging relationship with our granddaughter congregations. The Vanguard family of churches is well versed in the power of prayer. Often when I pray with such heavy weights in prayer I feel like I'm just getting my learner’s permit, but the only way you get better at any enterprise is practice. I believe that God is stirring a renewed passion for prayer amongst our staff, and in our congregation, which gives me great hope for the advancement of the mission God has called us to.

I'm excited about being able to teach again this Sunday. I hope the message is useful in enabling us to be more aware of the opposition against the great work God has called us to, along with all of the provision that He promises. Hope to see many of you on Sunday.

On Tuesday, I'm getting on a plane with five other RCA pastors whose congregations are partnering together to plant a series of churches on university campuses in Hungary. I will have my eyes, ears, and heart open to expecting God to speak to me during this interesting trip.


Jeff Porte

Thursday, April 16, 2015

GLS, Multiplication, and House of Cards

Yesterday was interesting. I was encouraged by the response of the staff toward the Summit challenge I presented them with. We have committed toward each bringing 10 people to the Summit. If we are able to achieve this goal, the staff themselves will have brought 150 people. I believe that is within reach. I also made three weeks of To The Point videos promoting the Global Leadership Summit. I really want to see the worship center with over 600 people this year!

The monthly meeting that I have the Multiplication Team of our classis was very encouraging as we strategized with our four current plants on goals for this coming year. We certainly have some top talent planters in our region within the RCA.

 Last night, my oldest son Michael and I watched another episode of "House of Cards". I like political drama. This is one about the president and watching how he interfaces with his cabinet and other powerbrokers on the Hill. There are great leadership lessons to be learned - even from fictitious dramas.

I've listen to nine different messages this week, including my own from Sunday. I've made it a discipline -  as arduous and painful as it is -  to listen to myself after every message.  One of the messages I listened to gave me some clarity about heaven.  I've always been a little fussy about how the new heaven and new earth coincide with the current earth and current heaven.  It has been interesting.

Today, I have to write the second half of the message for Sunday. I am hopeful that the words that are shared will be a catalyst toward more intentional prayer on behalf of CP.



Jeff Porte is the Senior Pastor of Centerpoint Church in Kalamazoo, MI.  He keeps it classy by proudly sporting his Global Leadership Summit shirts. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Teaching elder Tom Wolthuis exchanged his earthly tent for a building made by God. Our hearts go out to his wife Mary and their sons Michael and Steve. Tom has been a great source of encouragement to me having served shoulder to shoulder as a teaching elder for six out of the last 10 years.

This tremendous loss to our church family is a great reminder that death has lost its sting because it is temporary. I have lost many things...but make no mistake....Tom is not lost...we know exactly where he is.

Devil beware, I'm bringing the gospel guns a blazing come Sunday.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Wall

I woke up at 3:30 this morning praying and thinking about one of our currently serving elders, Tom Wolthuis. He is coming under the care of hospice as, medically speaking, there is not more that can be done for his battle against cancer.

Earlier this fall, I performed the funeral services for two of our elders who were also actively serving. It has been a difficult year in the life of our congregation. As I think about Tom, I don't have good answers for what to say to this dear family who has been a part of this congregation for several generations. I am grateful that they are involved in serving the church. I am very grateful that they are in a small group, so I know that fantastic care is being extended to them. There are many things to be grateful for in the middle of this challenge.

But I must admit that whatever attack our enemy has been extending against our congregation and her leaders has only served to make me more urgent to share the gospel and call the church to prayer.

I would advise Centerpointers to be prepared and continue to invite people in your circle of influence to our new series called The Wall. In preparing for Sunday, I sense the Holy Spirit wants to say some strong, convicting words into the life of His church. This series will challenge us to consider "What's your wall?"

What wrecks you?

What issue causes a "holy unrest" within?

What ignites your passion to DO SOMETHING?

It might be sex trafficking, abortion, racism...

It might be children who need a mentor, creating a culture in your company of compassion, or coaching young moms how to raise Godly kids.

You do not want to go to your grave leaving undone what God is tapping you to do.

THE WALL....a 7 week series based on Nehemiah 1-6.


Jeff Porte is the Senior Pastor of Centerpoint Church in Kalamazoo, MI.  He is also a proud Dad of four pretty cool kids.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Final 4


It is hard to put into words how much fun it was to be at the final game in Indianapolis. I scored free parking and free hotel for five nights so I feel that my Dutch soul was ministered to in very specific and beautiful ways. It was a wonderful memory to be able to bring Terri and David.  I spent most of the day writing the message for Sunday and I am eager to be able to share with our congregation, even as difficult as it is to hear, that we have become "comfortably numb".

I listened to three Willow Creek messages last night and found myself convicted, challenged, and comforted from God's Word through Bill Hybels and Steve Carter.

I want to encourage each of you to utilize the advantage of social media to engage people in this blog and I promise to keep information updated and hopefully, not boring.

 One of the highlights of our time in Indy was talking with David about  businesses where we experienced both great customer service and poor service. It is so refreshing to be around a student of companies and hearing his reflections on why one company succeeds and another fails. I have no question that he will succeed in business. And I trust he will retain his commitment toward creating a for-profit company that provides needed goods and services in developing countries. The only thing better than such conversations was the Chick-fil-A  sandwich and chocolate chip cookie they make which absolutely must be part of the menu in heaven.

 Invite your friends to worship on Sunday and be prepared to have your comfortable lifestyle blown up by the unchanging Word of God.


Jeff Porte is the Senior Pastor at Centerpoint Church and recently told his team that mowing his lawn was "fun".  Hear more from Jeff by downloading the Centerpoint Kalamazoo app in your iOs or Android app store.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Reflections

As I sit out on my back deck I'm reflecting on how I saw God at work in my life over these last few days with the help of my huddle, and in particular, Brad Baker. I'm trying to become more alert at seeing God in everything. So here are some of the ways in which I experienced God in these last few days.

  • I felt His love, warmth, and encouragement as Brad Landrum washed my feet with not only water, but tears, and with a hug that followed expressing our mutual love and locked shields as we continue in this great fight.
  • I experienced Him in having a private communion with my wife where we not only shared bread but prayers of confession and gratitude for what God is doing in the life of our family.
  • I experienced God on Saturday, playing Frisbee in the parking lot of Lucas Oil Stadium, as we became friends with everyone from every school.
  • I experienced God again as I had to admit that the Michigan State Spartans needed a miracle and it never came.
  • It's hard for me to put into words the deep joy of being able to preach the Gospel to a full church at both services and to watch the Spirit touching the lives of young and old as they came forward to be baptized.
  • I was able to baptize with Jason Zimmer, a number of people from Northpoint.
  • I am grateful for the extreme joy of seeing the fruits of God moving His church towards planting churches who plant churches or the joy of baptizing with Pat and Brad a gal who has found a turning point to be her church.
  • I experienced God in the Easter Egg Hunt with all of my great nieces and nephews and knowing that next year Brielle will be out there opening eggs.
  • I experienced God again having my immediate family hanging out, laughing, and eating Chinese food and I experienced Him again when we watched Son of God on Netflix.
  • This morning I experienced God while riding hard on my training bike; going nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
  • My discipleship huddle has helped open my eyes to see Jesus more clearly. So as Terri, David, and I go back down to Indy for the final tonight I'm actually going to wear red and cheer for Wisconsin.
    I trust that you will see God this week as well, as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

Jeff Porte is the Senior Pastor of Centerpoint Church and a diehard college hoops fan...even if it wasn't Michigan in the Final Four.