March 19, 2007 — Leave a comment

Luke, my 6 year old son, made a casual comment last week as we were driving down the road. He’s such a great kid. I can’t believe how fast he is growing. More than anything I’m proud of his huge heart.

Isn’t it strange that we go to church in a school, and we go to school in a church.

We have decided to homeschool Emma & Luke, but they do attend a co-op for homeschoolers one day a week at a local church. Our church meets in an elementary school. Jenni and I have never thought about the irony, but apparently Luke was thinking about it. I love the mind of a child.

Unleash was Awesome

March 16, 2007 — Leave a comment

We got back late last night from the Unleash Conference. It was absolutely amazing. What I love about Perry’s preaching is that he is not afraid of speaking truth, even if it steps on your toes. I felt like he was speaking directly to me in both of the main sessions. We must continue to lift up the name of Jesus. If we preach Jesus, then people will be changed!

Check out outlines of Session 1 and Session 2 from Tony Morgan. I also got to talk with Tony at the conference. He’s a great guy who has really inspired me as to what a Christian blog should be. The comments are really flying in on Tony’s blog about the main sessions. When you don’t hold back, not everyone will like it. I loved what Perry had to say and I appreciate his courage to say it.

The Breakout Q&A sessions were good as well. I’m sure the NewSpring staff was tired of being asked, “how do you get volunteers?” and “how do you get the money?”, but they kept on communicating the importance of vision. People don’t give of their time or their money to a need, they give to a vision. My only problem is that I wanted to be at all of the breakouts. I think they will put the transcripts of the breakouts and the messages on their website soon. I hope so, to see what I missed in the other breakouts. When they do get them up, I will definitely link to them. I attended the breakouts on “The Volunteer Experience” and “The Creative Process”. Jenni attended “Creating Excellent Experiences for Kids” and “Creating Community in Church”. We learned a lot that is transferable to where we are as a church.

The music was off the hook! I think my insides are still shaking from all the subs on the stage. If you measure the Worship time by the amount of chill bumps, then this one was near the top. I truly felt in the presence of God. The singing really opened my heart to what I needed to hear. I like how they have worked some contemporary songs into their set list. It reminds me of a statement that I heard someone make a long time ago. “What is Christian Music? When did the music get saved?” If the lyrics support the point we are making and are Biblical, and if the song connects with people, then why not use it in church? Makes sense to me.

I also spent some time talking with Pastor Ken Nienke from Fellowship Community Church in Salem, Virginia. I look forward to taking a visit to his church and spending some time with them in the near future. Ken’s a great guy and their church had a very similar start to ours. They are also part of the SBCV, which I think is a great organization. I’ll have to share some of my background with them in a future post. It’s great seeing how Fellowship is growing and reaching their community. I have met and been inspired by their youth pastor James Tippins several times in the past. Check out his blog if you haven’t already.

And finally, Perry made the comment that the sermon begins in the parking lot. From the time we registered on Wed. night to the time we left Thursday afternoon, we were constantly engaged by NewSpring’s incredible volunteer staff. They were there to help us find where we were going and they were great at letting us know how excited they were to be there. And most of them had to take a vacation day from work to help with the conference. They definitely have set the bar high, and it gives me something to really think about as we move forward as a church. They definitely made us feel welcome and I want to thank them for the giving of their time to make the conference successful. Well done!

Off to Unleashed

March 14, 2007 — Leave a comment

After work today, Jenni and I are heading down to the Unleash conference at NewSpring Community Church. It’s about a 4 hour drive for us. We can’t wait. I really want to see how they are making a difference in their community. It’s exciting to see a church that is growing and is committed to reaching and growing people in Christ. I look forward to hearing from Perry Noble and crew about what they have learned. I’ll post some of the highlights when I get back.


March 14, 2007 — Leave a comment

Emma’s basketball season is officially over. I had an absolute blast coaching her team. There were only 5 girls on her team, so they all had to play constantly. The girls listened, they helped each other out, they had fun, they showed sportsmanship, and they played as a team. I think they won about half their games, but we didn’t keep track of wins & losses and neither does the Upward league that we played in.

One example of the team spirit is one game that sticks in my mind. We were up by 10 points going into the last quarter, but the other team started making a comeback. Our girls were still out there having fun. The other team got within 2 points and there was less than a minute left. Our girls weren’t worried, and they were even trying to get two of the younger girls the ball so they could score. The other team stole the ball and scored at the buzzer to tie the game. Our girls weren’t upset, they were happy that everyone got to score. That’s teamwork and that is sportsmanship.

The awards ceremony for the league was held last week. They only give out one award for the coaches, one for the boys, and one for the girls. It is the “Christlikeness” Award. The boys and girls awards both went to kids from our church, and I was humbled and honored with the coach award. It really was easy coaching the girls that I had, they were great. But the awards show the kind of people we have at our church. Isn’t that what “Missional Living” is all about. When people see Christ living in us and working in us throughout the week, they are drawn to what God is doing.

Our youth group is heading to WinterJam next Sunday after church. I wish more concerts were set up like this for youth groups. There are several different bands and styles, so there is something for everyone. You also just pay $10 at the door. I don’t have to worry about sign-ups and collecting money and all that stuff. Just show up and go. We are leaving right after church and hanging out at the mall in Charlotte for a couple of hours. This is a great trip to invite friends and teens who are not connected to a church or youth ministry. It will definitely be fun. Just let me know if you plan on going, so that we will have plenty of transportation available.

Another Missional Quote

March 12, 2007 — 1 Comment

I know preparation is important when preaching, but it is awesome to see God work and speak through the message when that preparation isn’t an option. It helps me to see my need to depend on God, and not just rely on my own abilities. Here is a quote I used for my message Sunday. I honestly can’t remember where I pulled it from. It was late, but I think it fit in perfectly with what I wanted to say. This doesn’t negate the need for a pastor, but it does show the importance of equipping the church.

Most believers are convinced that it is the pastor’s responsibility to bring people into the church as well as into the kingdom of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Scripture is clear on this point. Pastors were given by God to the church to equip the people to do the work.… Sermons are not God’s primary method for reaching people. People are His method for reaching people. What kind of people? Men and women whose lives and life-styles have been deeply affected by the truths of Scripture, people who have discovered the wonderful Spirit-filled life.

God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with “surviving” and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life.

God’s method for reaching this generation, and every generation, is not preachers and sermons. It is Christians whose life-styles are empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit. People are the key to reaching people!

From The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley

Today has been good. No, that really doesn’t describe it, today has been awesome. There are some days when God just shows up and lets you know that He is in control. Today was one of those days.

We had a guest speaker scheduled for church today that was going to talk about our church’s upcoming mission trip to Nicaragua. We have been looking forward to hearing Dr Donald Gillette from Because We Care Ministires. But late last night, right before going to bed I got a phone call. Dr. Gillette was stuck in the airport in Atlanta because of a canceled flight. That meant we needed a message and that meant I was the one who probably needed to preach on short notice. That is where this blog played an important role.

I have always wanted to keep a Spiritual journal. I have tried it several times. My main problem is that I hate writing. I enjoy getting my thoughts out of my head, I just don’t like using a pen and paper. Most of the time I can’t read my writing, and I seriously don’t like to do it. So that has caused me to struggle and stop trying on several occasions. I then tried journaling electronically on my pocket pc. That worked alright for a while, but it does get old using a stylus to write. I have tried typing on my computer, but I found it hard to keep it going consistently. Until I started blogging. Blogging has taken on the role of a Spiritual Journal for me. It lets me post about books I’m reading, struggles I’m having, and things that I am learning. So when I needed to preach on something, my mind immediately turned to what I have been blogging about lately.

I was able to look at some of my posts about Missional living and form that into a sermon. Hopefully it was coherent, but it felt good to preach on something that I am passionate about. As a church, and as believers, we must get out of the mindset that Christianity is all about Sunday morning. Sunday morning is a great time to come together and worship and celebrate and be equipped. But there are 6 other days when we are living in the world, when we are coming into contact with people from all walks of life. That is when we have the greatest opportunity to share Christ and let people see the hope that we have within us.

So this morning went great, and tonight we had a great youth meeting. I love how are teens are starting to open up and share and really learn and grow. God is good. It feels like one of those times when we just have to hold on, because I know God is taking us on an incredible ride.

Check out my message here

The God Challenge

March 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Maybe you have heard of the blasphemy challenge. I won’t give them the honor of linking to their site, but they are challenging people to post youtube videos of themselves denying the Holy Spirit. It is a misguided and sad challenge that has become very popular. It has already been featured on numerous web and tv stories. Watching some of the videos really bothered me. It bothered me that so many of the people were teens. These are people that have been burned by church and by Christians, and have completely turned their backs on God. But it also bothered me that the devil was getting all the publicity for this story.

It also bothered some guys I know here in my hometown. So they did something about it. They created a website and a “God Challenge” to allow people to post videos of what God has done in their lives. This is a brand new site, so help me spread the word about it. It’s another way to redeem technology that has been used by the world and let God use it for His Glory. Check it out.

We can’t stand by and watch any longer. The challenge has been made…our God is real…the time is now. Testify. Visit GodChallenge.com for more information.

This site has videos of real people who have struggled with real problems and have a real account of an experience with God. There are no judgments about your life. No cheap impressions of Christianity. Just normal people offering you a glimpse of their struggles and triumph through Jesus Christ.

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