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moving on...blogging by bullets

been a while since i did a 'blogging by bullets post' - here it goes...
  • christmas day is over...the reality of God's Son becoming a man lives on
  • i packed up the christmas stuff today - first time ever i've wanted it put away
  • well, i packed up MOST of the christmas stuff - i was a fool to think i'd remember all the little boxes each little ornament came in - i tried...got the tree away, the light monster put away, the floor vacuumed, the decorations put away...but the ornaments stumped me...they looked quite good spread out on the entertainment center waiting for my wife to come home
  • next major challenge...packing up my office! that'll begin soon - and hopefully be done quickly
  • i'm going to begin a series of weekly meetings with my son next year as he moves toward 13 years old - i have about 5 or so challenges for him to meet and if he does (and i'll make sure he does) then we cap it off with a "Man's Meal" plus a very special gift from me to him to commemorate his 13th birthday...
  • regarding the gift, i've spent months praying about what to get him and feel like i finally have the right thing - literally, i want this to be such a special moment in his "manhood" that he'll always remember
  • regarding the "Man's Meal" - it'll be at my new favorite restaraunt - fogo de chao
  • we had a great christmas together as a family - i love this season - the kids got some really great gifts, and they both made some very special gifts for my wife and i - really love those!
  • leaves, leaves, leaves - they are everywhere! - so far, i've spent about 16-18 hours outside blowing and picking up leaves...it never ends! still more to be done!
  • as i move toward a new season of ministry, i'm really getting more and more fired up about it!
  • i've begun praying some big prayers as i move into this new season...i'll blog more about it in the coming days
  • bowl season is here - i really hate to see college football come to an end in a couple of weeks...watching cmu come back to tie up the boilermakers with about a minute left - gotta love college football

Merry Christmas

another year...another Christmas

God had a plan...He has a plan...it begins with Christmas...the gift of Christ, the Child, the Messiah, the Anointed One...it proceeds with the life of Christ that's available for everyone...

i love this season, i love the gift - yes, i'm not worthy, none of us are - but that's the way the Father loves us...

merry Christmas

illustrations everywhere!

since my wife's not been doing too much walking lately as she recoups, i've been doing most of the grocery shopping and man are there some great illustrations just walking around your local grocery store...
  • there's the parent with the out of control kid...the thing i notice is that this usually is precipitated because the parent has no self-control!
  • there's the parent walking around in her pajama bottoms...ok, just GROW UP already! this one bugs me, if i want to see you in your pajamas, i'll invite you over for a pajama party (don't hold your breath!) - put some stinking pants on and dress like an adult!
  • there's the parent that pushes the cart then jumps on it to ride the cart down the aisle...what are you thinking? i know you have a small infant in a carrier in the cart, but why act like one
  • there's the parent that can't say "no" - this one bugs me, but you know what, in life there are going to be plenty of "no's" - so practice now! stop letting junior or juniorette have their own way and filling your cart up with every little thing they pitch a fit for just to appease them - remember that you're the adult, you're the parent...be one!
ok, rant over...
now to watch some college football

dumb church signs...

rachel does a great job at these, but i had this thought the other day when i saw this sign
"one week without prayer makes one week"

my thought...
does...
"one pea make one pee"

ok that's random and dumb, but then again so are many of the marquee church signs that i see...

sunday night mind dump (on wednesday...)

been wanting to just download some things from my mind...lot's and i mean, lot's going on right now...here are some highlights in bullet form.
  • first, i had to do several fist pumps cause i finally got the cctv to work - no directions were included, it was trial by fire (literally, well, not literally, but trial by wire...try this wire here, try it there...in the end, it works...still) - now to have time to do the install
  • been a sad few days. my grandmother passed away on dec. 14th, just 12 days shy of her 85th birthday. what a rich heritage i have...the legacy of ministry through that side of my family is amazing...literally there something like over 20 people involved in ministry on that side of the family. it was a sad moment, my sister and i did "thinking 'bout home" (i think it's a talley's song...yes i have to say i knew the song and it's one of the extreme few southern gospel songs i remember because it's a great song). my brother in law played amazing grace at gravesite on the harmonica...thad can rock the harmonica! great job dude! we laughed, a lot! we cried, not as much because she's now Home where she wanted to be.
  • the baton passes from one generation to another and another with her passing...this is something i've been chewing on for a few days now - i'm determined to carry the baton to the finish and pass it on to someone else.
  • really excited that jenny's taken the position of preschool director - she's going to do a jam up job!
  • i've started packing, well trying...
  • jan 6th is my last day at cotn - on jan 7th i begin a new season of ministry that i'm quite overwhelmed about - it's an exciting opportunity to work within my denomination to help church planters and pastors. i'll technically be the administrative assistant to the bishop for the state of georgia...my portfolio will include a lot of areas that i'm really passionate about...
  • for the record, i didn't look for this ministry opportunity...just like at cotn, it came to me - much easier to let God open the doors than to try and force one
  • also, for the record, there's no other reason or opportunity that i'd want to leave cotn than for something like this!
  • tonight was our last wednesday night at cotn...sad on the one hand, excited about the future on the other hand - we leave behind some great people, great memories and a future that's bright for cotn
  • jan 6th is the date set for the first service in the new facilities - my last sunday there - really excited that i'll be there for that!
  • Christmas is here! i love this season - i love the memories, the children, the moment!
  • our kids (and their awesome leaders) did a great job last sunday in the children's christmas play!
  • my wife is wrapping gifts - i hate wrapping gifts - shhhhh! she doesn't know it, but i've sneaked her's in for her to wrap as well

playing in another league

so, today, just a few hours ago, coach bobby petrino phoned in his resignation to falcons owner arthur blank...here are a few thoughts...
  • first, i haven't followed the nfl that much this year - i find myself really enjoying the college competition (and even the georgia high school competition even more)...that said, i wouldn't consider myself a 'die-hard' falcons fan - in fact, not really a die-hard fan of any team
  • second, petrino phoned in his resignation - i'm really disappointed with this...sure, we've probably all walked away from a job or ministry, but to do so over the phone and not face to face...classless! (sorry petrino, i had great hopes for you - you're an offensive mastermind)
  • third, this is nothing new...there have been coaches in the past that have rose to the nfl from the ranks of the collegiate level...only to find it too tough, too demanding, or maybe just too different, to hang around - they eventually return to the college level and coach, but not without first tarnishing their image and letting people down
BUT, here's the real purpose of tonight's post...when you're playing in a different league...it's different!

there you have it, simply...different.

you can't depend on the old ways of motivation (example: pro players are motivated by money, college players are motivated by passion, vision, coaches, etc).

you can't depend on your own methods (sure some will work, not all though). you are IN A DIFFERENT league - that means expectations are different, demands are different

...and, as in most things in life, when you move to a different league, it takes TIME to learn to be a winner! overnight successes are rare and typically temporary

...when you make the decision to move to another league - or, move to another level, it's in the moments of transition and difficulty that resolve and determination are demanded

the ironic thing is that we see this in not only in petrino - but also in blank - he played in the retail league, was a winner and became a multimillionaire in the process(having been the founder of home depot)...now he's playing in the league of professional sports...let's hope he has the patience and business-sense to be a winner in it...not sure how much damage the ATL can suffer...spring training can't get here soon enough!

pray for the church!

just came across this news tonight...this is a time to pray. if you're involved in ANY way with the ushers, leaders, pastors, etc at your church, this is a call to be prepared!

it seems that tragedy has struck YWAM and the campus of New Life Church - this is a not-so-subtle reminder that our enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy - we must be the Body of Christ that responds with grace, love and compassion, but we also have to be the Body that stands ready to give our very lives...that day, unfortunately, is upon us now

they said it...

i believe that only one power exists on this sorry planet that can do that (transform the human heart). it's the power of the love of Jesus Christ, the love that conquers sin and wipes out shame and heals wounds and reconciles enemies and patches broken dreams and ultimately changes the world, one life at a time. and what grips my heart every day is the knowledge that the radical message of that transforming love has been given to the church.
bill hybels, couragous leadership (and excellent leadership read)...


america's other addiction

was at a Christmas party and was talking with a couple of other people about bottled water - i mentioned an article i had read recently about america's other addiction (politicians are fond right now of saying we're addicted to oil...another issue for another day)...anyway, here is a link and below are a few fast facts - it's a lengthy article, but really interesting...
  • Americans spent more money last year on bottled water than on ipods or movie tickets: $15 Billion.
  • Thirty years ago, bottled water barely existed.
  • We--a generation raised on tap water and water fountains--drink a billion bottles of water a week, and we're raising a generation that views tap water with disdain and water fountains with suspicion.
  • The amount of bottled being transported is equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers...per week - talk about fuel consumption!
  • 1 out of 6 people in the world have no dependable, safe drinking water
  • 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi.
  • If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.
read that last one again...sobering!

dumb phone conversation...

me: i'd like to cancel my long distance phone service
them: as required by the fcc, you'll need to set up an account password so that in the future we'll be able to access your account
me: there is no future, i want to CANCEL my long distance service
them: as required by the fcc, you'll need to set up an account password so that in the future we'll be able to access your account
me: ok, i have to set up a password in order to never use your service
them: yes
me: ok
them: the password has to be 8 characters, at least one of which must be a capital, at least one a lower case, and one a number


needless to i finally got rid of the long distance service...and i have the account passworded so that i can never use it again...

following up

first...i apologize for the use of abbreviations...btw (by the way) it's a habit...

so, cctv=closed circuit TV - it's what we'll have installed in all the nursery/preschool rooms, as well as check in and on the playground. to bring larry and the rest of you up to date...it's a process (tech speak for it's not working exactly as it should - it's working exactly as it shouldn't...figure it out)

to follow up on another post from a long time ago...i posted almost a month and a half ago about a church that's meeting in a bar (since that time, i've found out about others that are doing the same...) - you can read the post and find the article here...here are my follow up thoughts and thanks to the couple of people that responded...great interaction and comments!...my thoughts...
first, the article doesn't give us enough information to really be able to understand the vision of the church or the heartbeat of the pastor for lost people - so, we don't have enough to go on at this point which is too bad...

let me say this...i have no problems with what this pastor and his leaders are doing as far as reaching those people that don't know Christ or perhaps have a previous relationship with Him. the only thing i have an issue with is the communion element that is in the service...my issue is that is such a sacred and thoroughly Christian event that for someone that don't know Christ, it could be misunderstood - or, it could be a stumbling block for someone.

that said, i do agree that it's a shame that bar-owner sees this as a way of drawing business...but what can we expect - he's a businessman, not a believer (at least that's not indicated, we don't know).

so, let me wrap up by stating why i have no problem with this - this pastor is going where the people are; it does not appear that he's inviting his local church to come "party" and listen to a sermon, it appears, he's going where the party is, and bringing the sermon to those that need it. while it's true that Jesus did spend time in the synagogue and temple, its also true that he spent his time in the marketplace of the common man, at the well (hmmm, wonder if the woman at the well is the type of person that would go to a bar today? - just a thought...), he spent his time at the shore and in the countryside...in short, Jesus went where the people were.

finally, vince had a couple of posts on his blog awhile back on this...i don't normally copy text straight from another's site, but this is such a cool story - here it is...

Tonight is our service in the bar (and we wouldn't mind your prayers). Yesterday I heard about something I had somehow missed.

There's a bartender/waitress at this pub where we're meeting who is very pregnant. She used to be a stripper. (Let me make it clear that I have this information second-hand. I have seen her wait on tables, but I have never seen her strip.) Apparently there's not much call for pregnant strippers, so she had to find a new job, which is why she's now at the pub.

Anyway, a couple of our Forefront ladies decided to throw her a surprise baby shower. So a few weeks ago they showed up early on Tuesday night, with all kinds of presents for her! (How awesome is that?!? No offense to any one else's churches, but we have the coolest people on the planet!)

So, as you might expect, this lady is all shocked and surprised and grateful. But then she tells our girls that no one else has thrown her a baby shower! Not her stripper friends, her bar friends, no one. The only baby shower she's had is the one a few Christian women from Forefront threw her; women who had met her just a few times.
Also, he had this post that had a great last line - please, go read it!

cctv

today, I learned how to set up a cctv system...tomorrow, i'll learn how to install it.

my blog...my rant

ok, gotta tell you i was disappointed that kentucky couldn't muster the manhood to finish the job...they had AMPLE opportunity. BUT, what i'm even more disappointed in is the AJC...i check the headlines last night before going to bed and they read something like..."No SEC Title Game for Dogs"...no, they couldn't put in there that the Dawgs put the smackdown on the tech football team...then this morning i check again and it says something to the effect of "Dogs' streak rolls on, though SEC title out of reach" come on ajc just admit it...your little pet in the ATL called tech lost AGAIN for the 7th time...

here's my headline for the day...this is what i want to read as the headlines since we're in a drought...

"Georgia Beats Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Tech(ATL) so ALL THE WATER GOES TO ATHENS" or "Athens owns the Southeast, they get all the water!"

okay, rant over...comment if you'd like...

they said it

"I do enjoy encouraging people. I do enjoy trying to help people succeed. I don't feel like I need anything personally to make myself feel good. Some people might have to be the play caller. I don't think I have to be that at all. I enjoy trying to help coaches succeed. I enjoy trying to help players succeed on and off the field. That fires me up."
Coach Mark Richt

i encourage you to re-read the above...this is the essence of leadership in any situation...corporate, educational, volunteer, etc...it's about others...helping others succeed...not having to be in control...seeing the big picture...

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to swear their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in holy scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.“We know that by his divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people.“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Signed: A. LincolnOctober 3, 1863

thankful

part two...
  • again, my wife!
  • my Savior
  • my redemption
  • the life i have in Christ
  • the Holy Spirit
  • friends
  • long-lost friends that i come across occasionally
  • my amazing kids
  • laughter
  • my dad
  • my mom
  • my step-mom
  • my brothers and sisters (including the ones that i got when i got married)
  • my cousins (much laughter always follows)
  • our church
  • the fact that i get to serve on staff at our church
  • our pastor
  • the other leaders i serve with

thankful

first in a series of posts...
  • thankful for my wife
  • my God
  • my life
  • my kids
  • another day
  • georgia winning on saturday...finish the drill...one to go!
  • coffee
  • sleep...good night!

christmas gifts for Christians...



ok...so i don't really want one of these...although an ipod or iphone would be really cool (or an imac)...but just in case you're wondering...one of the gifts that i enjoy the most is starbucks gift cards - i somehow feel less guilty when the $$$ doesn't come out of my wallet...

Pray!

got a call that my grandmother had been admitted to ICU-i just ask you to pray for me and my family-we need strength. It doesn't look good-thanks for praying.

Test

Testing moblog!

win-win

great day today...my son's last game was today...we showed up w/only 9 players! a 10th got their shortly after start - so for the entire 70 minutes we plated 11 vs. 9 or 11 vs. 10 - at the end of the day we had won the game 5-2 - he played the best game of his life at keeper having only one goal scored on him and stopping about 4 or 5 direct shots on goal. he played about 55 minutes in goal and made me an extremely proud dad!

45-20! - blackout! - success!
georgia proved to the nation today that they can take a few hits (very rough opening of the 3rd quarter) and get their head back in the game! great game today dawgs!

gut check

so the last few days have been a reality check...here's what i took away from it all

God is faithful
i love my wife more than ever
i take way too many things for granted
people all around are hurting
busyness robs me too often of the chance to enjoy the moment


the end of a dynasty

they fought a valiant fight, they left it all on the field of conflict, they sacrificed their eveything...
but...
in the end...
they lost.

my daughter's team lost their semi-final game tonight 8-5...things started out great as we were pitted against the #1 seeded team (undefeated, very good players, very well coached) and quickly went up 2-0...but it wasn't enough to carry the win - a great season that ended 4-4.

HOWEVER, on a side note and one the greatest moments in the game and season was when my daughter scored her 2nd goal in as many games - in fact it was the first goal of them game...

it was a thing of beauty...fast break, defender putting pressure on her, 2 v 1, she followed her initial shot, it was deflected, she was there and put it in the back of the net!!!!

way to go daddy's girl!!!!

curious

so, i came across this article from a blog i follow, curious what your thoughts are...do you like it? disagree? agree? repulsed? offended? what?...i'll weigh in after i have a few comments

Here, the bartender and God lend an ear

swarm

props to my daughter's team (The Swarm) that just won their 2nd game in a row coming from behind...today we (i'm one of the the coachs, so yes, "we") were down at one point by 5 goals - we came back to win 12-10 in an overtime win for the first game of the tournament...game 2 and 3 on thursday

on the radar...

just wanted to pass along some blog posts from bloglines that have caught my attention...they're random...check 'em out...

wow!

that's about all i can say...wow!!!

42-30...for the record, i was pulling for the dogs all the way...really want to see them in the sec championship...

props to richt for firing his guys up...the 30 yard penalty at the open, should've been a 15...regardless, it was worth it...the nrg level was through the roof...and that was just in my house!

what really matters about church...MICE!?!?!?!?!

the following is a re-post from dr. george wood - the new general superintendent of the assemblies of God. this post is a letter written to 6 young leaders in the a/g...i love the fact that he intentionally sought out these 6 key leaders and thinkers in their movement to build relationship, start a conversation with them and plan for the future. it's re-posted from the future a/g site...read on...(btw, i've bolded some key statements that resonated with me...that's my emphasis)

Tory, Brad, Mark, Jeff, Paul, and George!

What a great joy to have a day with you on Tuesday. I so appreciate the time and effort you spent. It was an enriching day for me, and I so appreciate all your wise counsel.

I only wish every young minister in the AG (and every older one too) could have been in the room with us, and maybe with the suggestions you've given me we can make that happen in cyberspace.

I want to repeat what I said to you about one of my favorite sayings. It's from Deng Xiaoping, chairman of China after Mao Zedong died. Deng instituted economic reform in capitalistic ways and incurred the ire of the Maoists. Deng Xiaoping responded by saying, "I don't care if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice!"

That's how I feel about how we do church. The New Testament itself shows us there are various kinds of churches. I'm not concerned about how we do "church" so long as we are "catching" people for Jesus. Issues of governance, service styles and times, formal or informal dress, types of buildings, days of worship -- are not the important issues. The important issues are: "Is the church seeing people come to Jesus, are they being filled with the Spirit, delivered, healed, restored?" We must, in the Assemblies of God be more concerned about end results than fussing with one another over means.

I appreciate the spiritual energy, creativity, and vitality that young pastors and ministers bring to our Movement, and I trust that in these days to come we can be yoked together in better ways to advance the mission of Jesus in our world!

Blessings!

George O. Wood
General Superintendent

guess where i'll be on jan. 13th?

24!

...trailer is online!

...like what i see...c.t.u. is gone...tony is back...

check it out...

www.24 trailer.com

they said it

Speaking to a conference at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, LifeWay Research head Ed Stetzer said: Comeback churches exhibited three common faith factors: a renewed belief in Jesus Christ and the mission of the church; a renewed attitude of servanthood; and a more strategic prayer effort.

"You can't love Jesus and hate His wife ... you know the church is the bride of Christ,"

randomness

  • what happened to the rockies?
  • went to zoo atlanta with my daughter...so much fun. it rained most of the time we were there but it's the humans that have issues with the rain (btw, i'm very thankful for any rain we're getting right now)
  • last weekend i ran into 2 friends i hadn't seen in many years. one's a church planter whom i haven't seen for probably 3-4 years; the other, a former co-worker that i haven't seen for 14-15 years. here's what i noticed...they look so different (guess i do too)...
  • we're closing in on the grand opening of our new facilities: nurseries, preschool, hospitality room, cafe, more bathrooms (and all the women said "yeah!"), a lobby, and, oh yeah, a new sanctuary - it's really beginning to take shape and come together - pray that during this last homestretch of prep everything comes together
  • excited to see our kids christmas production this year - i'm hearing so many great things about how it's going
  • we got back from vacation and you know what? we were relaxed. we've been guilty in the past of trying to cram too much into the "down time" - we're learning! now we build in down days when we vacate together. usually at least three - the day we arrive, the day before we leave and a day in between - these days are spent just chilling, taking it easy...
  • really enjoying the role of assistant coach on the two soccer teams i'm working with...haven't decided if i'll take over next year or not. one coach wants me to go ahead and step up and lead the older team...just not sure...gotta pray about that one.
  • ready for spring training - miss the braves.
  • what will happen in jacksonville...and why does meyer want to keep the annual border-state showdown down there (duh!)? this much is for sure...tebow is a force to be reckoned with...awesome qb and he loves God
  • i have some blog posts that i've tagged to refer to from here - that'll come in another post...perhaps tomorrow

they said it

We don't need to fear power; we need to follow the example of Jesus. By doing so, we break the power of self-centeredness in our leadership. (Andy Stanley)

they said it

Learn to act your wage. The Bible teaches that a foolish man devours all he has. If you spend all of your income, you're a fool. (Dave Ramsey)

they said it

Society can be divided into seven spheres of influence. If you want to engage a society and shape it, you must take part in every sphere. The church has made a mistake of being involved in only one aspect of society-the spiritual arena, while abandoning the others like politics, economics and business, education, media and entertainment, and sports. (Pastor Sunday Adelaja)

woe unto e

we're having email problems again...if you're trying to touch base with me that way, please be patient...

they said it

It's embarrassing for me to tell you this, but I've done way too much ministry believing in God, but acting as if it was all up to me. (Craig Groeschel)

undone

was reading through the prayer that Jesus prayed for His disciples this morning in john 17...verse 4 captured my attention, thought i'd share a nugget w/you...

"i brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do" (jn 17:4)...

i've read this countless times and just haven't seen what i saw this morning...

we all have an assignment...a ministry...a purpose...a "work" given to us...

and the deal is...it's not about the "work"...

it's about the assignment...it's about "that thing" God has called you to do, equipped you to do, enabled you to do...it's really about...obedience...

it's also about completion...finishing the "thing"...the "work" God has called us to...and doing so in way that brings glory to God...not leaving it undone

time in the old city

so we got back late this afternoon from a much needed vacation to america's oldest city - st. augustine, fl.
i had visited many (MANY) years ago with my spanish 2 class (don't ask me to speak the language, i was senora garriga's favorite student, so i didn't do much). really cool to take my kids to the castillo de san marco, play a little put-put, stroll the streets of the old city, go to the beach and deal with red tide, take a tour on the red train, visit ripley's, eat at osteens (literally, the best fried shrimp i've ever had!!!), spent a day catching up with some family and friends down in central florida. one of the highlights was going flying with all of my family. we all got to sit in the pilots seat and do a little hand's on flying, checking out the space coast, flying over patrick air force base, seeing the VAB from the air...these are all things i've grown up around and had seen from land, but seeing my old middle school from the air as well as all of these other things really puts a new perspective on things. also got to tour the newest facilities for kld youth foundation - an organization that my cousin leads youth outreach for.

however, the best time was just spent not having an agenda, sleeping late, enjoying all of our meals together as a family, watching my kids play in the pool (there was another homeschool family that had taken the week off so they had someone to play pool volleyball with). building memories, making disciples, living life together - this was a great week!

understanding more about God through my kids

i had a conversation a few days with another dad...we were talking about how the time literally flies when you're a parent...
my son's 12, my daughter's 6...fast forward through the time-span of her life (6 years) and in that time my son will be off to either college...or interning with a ministry somewhere...or whatever else God has planned for him. i've tucked my kids into bed the past couple of nights and walked out of their room and literally had the thought..."there's going to be a day when i can't tuck them into bed because they'll be gone"...yes, i've been moved to tears almost every time. i've got to admit...i love being a parent! i learn so much about our Father God through the process of growing as a father. here are a few things i've learned along the way:
  • in a crowd, i can hear my kid's voice, cry, concern, or whatever - God hears us
  • they can hear mine - we can hear God's voice
  • my love is always growing and my affection for my entire family is always deepening - God's love is never ceasing
  • my actions toward them speak much more loudly than my words - He gave His Son - the greatest action of all
  • i use my words everyday to tell my children 2 important things: 1.) i love them; 2.) i'm proud of them for __________ (i find a specific reason each day to be proud of my kids) - i think God does the same - do we hear Him tell us He's proud of us and He loves us?
  • they know without a doubt i love their mom - my bride - and i'll do anything to protect her and reassure her of my love - God does this also - He's jealous for His Bride - the Church - and he'll protect her and reassure her of that love
all of these things recently have just been placed back in my thoughts or brought to my attention in a fresh and new way - it's been a great reminder.

they said it

"Stop copying what everyone else is doing. Start listening to the Spirit of God in your own life. Seek what God is saying to you. He put something in you that he didn't put into anybody else. Be compelled by the Spirit, deo pneuma." (Craig Goreschel @ The Leadership Forum - 2007

late nite download

  • tbs minus the braves just doesn't seem right!
  • i'm watching the rockies and padres and no one wants to win...they've played 162 regular season games and ended up tied...now they're tied in the bottom of the 11th...i think they should both sit down and let atlanta take their place
  • i found myself pulling for auburn to upset florida - yes, i need prayer! i'm a gator fan, but i really want to see the dawgs have a shot at the sec title game (just the game, don't think they can beat lsu) - perhaps i've been in georgia too long! plus, if they play in the sec championship game that means "the head ball coach" won't be playing and him being shut up is always a good thing!
  • i'm enjoying being an assistant coach in soccer - not nearly as stressful for me and i still get to teach soccer to kids
  • update: 2 out, man on 2nd, rockies with RISP
  • important stuff: there've been a bunch of people asking Jesus into their lives at church - God is up to something!
  • 2 kids asked Jesus into their lives in kid's church; 4 rededicated their lives - our God is way cool!
  • i've eliminated about 30 blogs i follow - just got to be too much and people weren't speaking into my life - they were updating me on their families (kinda like i'm doing...) - anyway, a little less weight to carry
  • congrats to pastor anthony and jessi on the birth of baby bauer - they call him jack, i call him bauer!
  • the atl football team got a W - way to go guys...now maybe they won't have to give away tickets to get people to the dome
  • my hard drive crashed on our laptop at home - pray for resurrection...please...
  • if you think of it on tuesday, please pray for my grandmother who's having knee replacement surgery
  • dawgs sounded dominate on sunday...
  • update - now headed to the 12th inning...no one wants to win and i'm going to bed soon

innovate 07

there are some great posts being written coming out of the innovate conference up at granger...i visited granger right after coming on staff @ cotn (not this event, another training event) and i've got to tell you...these guys (and ladies) are getting it right. now, not everything they do will fit every culture of every church, but there's a ton of simple, practical teaching here that we can all learn from...here are some recaps that i've come across: (most of these recaps are from daveferguson)

mark waltz gives 5 simple ways to drive guests away: (in a nutshell)
  1. make guest services just one more church program (must be in the DNA)
  2. make it all about your church members (must target newcomers - intentionality!)
  3. make sure that everyone follows the rules (the main rule is the golden rule)
  4. take any willing person on your team (not everyone is wired to be on your team, they belong elsewhere)
  5. assume your team members 'get it' (vision...repeat...vision...repeat...vision...get the point!)
check out dave's recap here

rob wenger taught about making your message sticky - read about it here

cool tools

i try to take time every now and then to pass along cool things i've found...here are a few...
  • jott - i use this almost every week...it's really handy...i use it to record things to do tomorrow that are pressing and i might otherwise forget. they are adding new features so check it out...
  • youversion - from their website...A revolutionary online Bible that enables community and collaboration like never before. Choose from various translations and read Scripture in a fresh, new way. Take personal study notes, and discover and contribute audio, video, text and images. With YouVersion, you will find communities of people exploring and interacting with God's Word. it's still in beta testing, but it's a neat tool - sign up to become a beta tester and soon it'll be public (and free!)
  • bloglines - this is how i read all the blogs that i follow - another good one is google reader. i started with bloglines, but if i had it to do over, i'd use reader.

they said it

"The curious thing is that the further you are from God, the more arrogant you are allowed to be. But the closer you get to God, the more humility will drive you down to the ground." (Erwin McManus @ The Leadership Forum - 2007)

on the radar...

here are a couple of post clips from other bloggers...
1. Religion says, “be good. Jesus says, “be honest.”
2. Religion says, “change.” Jesus says, “be changed.”
3. Religion says, “perform.” Jesus says, “bear fruit.”
4. Religion says, “obey me.” Jesus says, “follow me.”
5. Religion says, “divide up.” Jesus says, “unite.”
6. Religion, again, says “obey.” Jesus says, “repent.”
7. Religion says, “be right.” Jesus says, “be real.”
8. Religion says, “caught ya.” Jesus says, “go and sin no more.”
9. Religion says, “try.” Jesus says, “trust.”
10. Religion says, “do.” Jesus says, “done.”
(from david foster)

A Franciscan Benediction:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. from jeff

i wonder

now that the dawgs played an amazing game against the roll tide, we're ranked 15th by the ap! way to go dawgs! however, the really amazing thing is that we're now ranked ahead of south carolina (who's ranked 16th) - i wonder...is spurrier whining about this?

they said it

If you don't find your purpose, I don't think you will every truly be satisfied." (Tony Dungy @ The Leadership Forum - 2007)

all we need now

let's see, we now have julio franco back with the braves (age 49), morten anderson back with the falcons taking over the kicking duties (age 47) - all we need now is dominique wilkins back with the hawks and we'll be complete!

they said it

"The best leaders are usually on the back row, and you have to take time to notice them" (Ed Young @ The Leadership Forum - 2007

"it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give"

the title of this post is from an article written by tony snow - for those that don't know, tony was once a fox news anchor and newscaster. he was then invited by president bush to serve as the press secretary which he did so with humor, integrity and humility. tony's been re-diagnosed with cancer after he took the position of press secretary.
this article is excellent...gotta tell you, i really like this guy as a person and someone in the public 'eye' - if you know someone who's dealing with terminal illness there are some great points made in the article which perhaps you can share with them in love.

they said it

"Wanting to quit is a sign of success because successful people are the only ones that can quit. Quitting is a sign of success." (Tommy Barnett @ The Leadership Forum - 2007)

learn, message, systems, criticism, rock and roll, vomit and 'nice'

man, there's been a bunch of really good posts from a variety of people on a variety of topics...i'll share some of those in a moment. but first...

i heard something this week that totally related to why i read blogs and learn from others...imagine, if joshua could have woke up every morning and spent just a few minutes with moses...picking his brain...finding out what he was thinking(like here!)...asking for his wisdom(such as is demonstrated here!)...asking for correction...seeking council - well, with the advent of the blogosphere, we have that opportunity - no, not literally reading moses' blog (or joshua's), but there are some great leaders in the body of Christ that are downloading what they're learning, how they're leading, what they're going through, they are challenging, they are rebuking in some cases, they are sharing, they are being real - they are being relevant! btw, furtick is the one who shared this concept in one of his blogs which is one that i really enjoy reading and learning from - face it - the dude is in his late 20's and he's leading a church of over 2000 people that's less than 2 years old - there's got to be something that i can learn from him - so i do! do i agree with it all? heck no! do i want to adapt it all? don't be ridiculous! does it take a little time? of course! is it worth it? priceless!

so, here are some blog posts that caught my eye this week...
  • there's a conference that takes place annually called MinistryCom - don't have any real desire to go, especially when much of the content is posted on blogs such as this one and this one
  • here's a thoughtful one by franquiz...really, have never thought about this much, but gotta say i agree with a lot of this - sermons and systems - check it out
  • when your're in any position of leadership (it does not matter...parent, ceo, team leader, coach, team mom, room mom, sunday school teacher, cfo, board member, deacon, manager, etc.) you'll face criticism - here are two great posts on this topic - both were posted on the same day, several days ago - one's a short quote, one a bible story parallel
  • here's a series of posts from vince that deal with having God's heart for people...don't take that statement lightly - question: why does the church exist? - here's a hint...it's not for the Christians! really well thought out and articulated posts...'are you willing to sacrifice?'...'lost'...'can you imagine'...'the wind resistance of vomit' (this guy is a new-to-me blogger but has some incredible things to say - add him to your reader or bloglines - also, be sure to read all of his posts ALL THE WAY through - you'll be challenged!)
  • for some humor, check out this post about the first church of rock and roll airheads - btw, if we're focused on calling our brothers and sisters (in Christ) names such as r-n-r airheads, we need to go back have some vomit sprayed our way (i told you, check out vince's post to better understand!) - there are lots of comments on this post so if you have time, check them out too.
  • ok, here's one last one that is graphic and controversial - consider yourself WARNED! - controversial mainly because the church has avoided almost entirely the subject of sex - but, if you're going to read it, read it all, it's really about more than just sex - once you get to the last paragraph - let me know if you agree - it's time to stop being 'nice' - 'nice' is over!

authority and prayer

read an interesting and short article by che ahn called "the seated place of authority" - i want to recap and share just a few important takeaways from it...

  • "too often we see ourselves as human beings with a temporary spiritual existence. the truth is, we are spiritual beings with temporary human experience."
  • i no longer pray toward heaven as an earthly beggar but from heaven with godly insight
  • the greatest example of this is in matthew - "your kingdom come, your will be done" - the literal meaning of this from the greek is "come, thy kingdom. be done, they will"
  • Jesus knew his purpose: to bring heaven to earth
  • just like salvation, our privilege in prayer comes not from our having earned or deserved it, but from having been given it

where were you?

really like this song written about 9-11-2001 by alan jackson...here's a link if you want to watch the video

"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

just so you know

yes, i'm glad mnf is back, but i gotta be honest i like al and john on sunday nights!

blogs on the radar

here are some blogs worth the read:

lessons from the front 9 nine

so i celebrated a birthday with little fanfare which is actually the way i enjoy it...a cake, a few cards, a couple of gifts and being with my family and close friends.

it's caused me to stop and think...actually, i think crossing every 'decadel year' does (i.e., 20's, 30's, 40's, etc) - this one was the 40's - now that i'm 40 i've been told the following: 'you're old'; 'you're over the hill'; 'now that you're old you'll get some r-e-s-p-e-c-t' (my favorite one by far...that was a good line). nonetheless, it's caused me to pause and to reflect for a while on what have i learned in this first 40 years...some writers refer to what i'm in now as the 2nd half of life ...personally, i'm hoping its the first period (for your hockey fans out there) and not the first half...

i've wrapped up the front nine, the first 40, the first 'half' (although i'm going to hope for longer!) and here are some important lessons that i've learned:
  • like golf, keep your feet firmly planted, your shoulders square, your eye on the ball, and your head looking down - translated, stay rooted in God's work, have confidence that God's at work, know what God's purpose is in your life and keep your focus locked on the target. miss any one of these and you've frustrated your swing and your momentum - as it is in life! remove God from any equation, any situation, and circumstance, any trouble, any plan, anything and you've lost the ability to live in the moment (see my last post)
  • like golf, a few practice swings is not a bad thing. when i show up to the course i always get a bucket of balls to establish my rhythm, loosen up and get the 'bad shots out' - haha, i only wish that were true (the last statement) - but here's the deal, as in golf, there are going to be some 'bad shots' - some balls that go astray, some things that land in the wrong place, some opportunities that you missed - however, it's not then that we give up - it's then that we evaluate, consider the options, learn from our mistakes and continue to play the game. think for a moment, how many tournaments has tiger woods won on the back nine? i'm not sure the number, but i would say it's probably a lot. sure there are some situations where he can go into the last day of a tourney having locked in the lead, but more and more, we're seeing him and others pull it out in the back nine - that's why there are 18 holes in golf thankfully and not just nine - there's always the 'back nine'
  • like golf, look to the next hole - in other words, don't dwell on the past, the mistakes, the blown two-put. there are times where we really blow it. the important thing when approaching the next hole is to forget the mistakes of the previous hole. sure, you learn from your mistakes - but you don't repeat your mistakes - either physically or mentally!
  • like golf, there are some things out of you control. back in the spring i played one day just after they had aerated the course - this translates into terrible putting situations. but it's what i had! sometimes it's the wind, sometimes the heat, sometimes the cup is moved to a difficult location on the green. in all of these instances, some things are out of our control - the important thing is to realize which ones are in our control and which ones are out of our control.
  • like golf, enjoy the company. golf, for me, is less about the rules and the final score (because i stink at it) and more about the experience and the fun (yes, it can be fun with the right attitude - which i don't always choose) - the great thing about golf is that it's more fun with more people - i remember the one time in south florida when i played with 8 other guys - yes we were slow, we took all day - and yes you're not supposed to do that - but it was slow, late in the day and no one seemed to mind - so 9 of us took off playing one hole at a time - good time! life is more fun when you're not alone. this is of course true and a really good reason to one day marry, but even if you're not married, it's just more fun to be with people.
  • like golf, know when to lay up - truth is there are some days (and even some weeks!) where not everything can get done. i just don't have the drive to accomplish everything that needs to be done because there's always one more thing to be done - so, i have to know when to lay up and take the safe shot - that, in turn, prepares me for the next shot - in other words, do what you can do, don't burn out, take the shot that sets you up for the next shot
  • on the other hand, like golf, you have to know when to take risks - again, referring to tiger's play, the man knows how to take a risk and he's always comfortable in it because he knows his limits and his capacities. too often we're only aware of our limits...

sunday night download

been a week since i created a post...sorry to all of those that have asked why i haven't blogged lately - i've gotten out of the blogging rhythm and will try to do better in the coming days. in fact, i had about 8 other posts from others that i had flagged to reference on an upcoming post - i got tired of looking at them, so this is all just me...so, here's what's going on...

blogging by bullets:
  • braves are looking hopeless at this point in the season - it'll be a miracle if they make it to the playoffs (yes, i believe in miracles!)
  • dawgs, in retrospect, didn't play as poorly as they looked. after i looked at the stats today, they really stood a chance at several points in the game to be back in it - coach richt said it was a game of "missed opportunities"
  • on that note, missed opportunities, life can be full of them! our speaker was talking about how our walk with Christ is not a 'day-by-day' thing, it's not an 'hour-by-hour' thing - IT IS a 'moment-by-moment' thing - good stuff! i've spent some time thinking today about that statement and the missed opportunities - i want to be a person who is 'led by the Spirit' - who doesn't miss the opportunities, who realizes relationship with Christ and others for that matter, is a moment-by-moment journey!
  • today was an aweseome day at cotn - our attendance is on an upswing, more importantly, i believe the last 3 Sundays we've seen someone come to receive Christ in their life! i really feel like our worship and praise has been taken to a new level the last few weeks - the people seem hungry to receive from God - our pastor is placing more emphasis on the harvest than i have ever heard or seen him do in the past - great things are happening - truly, i believe this statement - the best is yet to come!
  • the myers girls can flat sing! loved the whole service!
  • i think i've gone a full week without hearing about the whole vick thing - for that, i'm thankful!
  • alyssa had her first game yesterday - they didn't exactly win, but the kids played well for the most part - i love coaching and am involved with both of our kids soccer teams in an assistant role
  • the a/v stuff is going up in the new facilities and it just looks like it'll rock - don't know if it will but it sure looks cool - as a guy, heck yea, i'm impressed!
  • both josh and patrice were sick on friday which caused me and josh to miss a MUCH anticipated trip to charleston - i owe it to him and will make it up to him at some point. sounds like our rangers and parents had a great trip. josh and patrice are better now - thank you God!
  • was going through some things a couple of weeks ago and read this statement - (my paraphrase)..."there are two things that can hold someone back that's leading from the 2nd position: 1.) it's not the leader above us, it's the spirit within us; 2.) i can't remember :) - all that said, i've been asking myself the question, am i holding me back?

sunday night download

it's been over a week and a lot has happened so let me recap in no certain order several things:
  • the dawgs won today (well, yesterday, but i just watched my tivo version today after church) - way to go dawgs - nothing like two victories in a weekend.
  • the braves are blowing it - being swept by the mets - not good! hate to say it, but i think it's over with for them this year.
  • spent a couple days with my sis and the new niece - so great to see maddie (or is it maddy, mad-E, mady, etc.) great to hold her and when she starts crying give her back - which wasn't much thankfully...she knows a good uncle when she meets one
  • the gators won - way to go - yes, i can pull for both...watch this...
  • tech won - really, i'm only glad because i don't like notre dame, now if someone would beat usc
  • ian brought a great word today - this is stuff i've been hearing for over a couple months, glad our church got to hear it today - great job ian!
  • rachel and the worship team rocked it today - great job
  • our pastor is in india - keep praying for him
  • i turn 40 this week - hmmmmmm, does this mean i'm getting old (just so you know, i'm blocking all comments on this post)
  • best buy sent me a b-day card. how did they know...yes, best buy, s'bux and barnes and noble could quite possible be 3 of the greatest places on earth
  • 35 people got saved in middle school here in jefferson on friday!
  • the church ministries conference a couple of weeks ago was awesome - still pondering some of the things i learned.
  • i have vacation in a few weeks...and as of right now, no plans...better get on that!
  • my wife is incredible and i love her more than ever!
  • i'm off tomorrow - i like that!
  • that's all and good night...

the generational exchange

just read an article called, "the generational exchange" - it's really a sermon transcribed from a few years ago in denver at an A/G general council - amazing message!

i'm going to link it here and suggest that you set aside about 10 minutes to read through it all...really good stuff...here are my takeaways (these are directly from the message/article):
  • There is titanic distrust among the generations.
  • The older generation is looking for someone in whom they can deposit their faith, or as Paul puts it, they are looking for someone in whom they can deposit the trust of the full gospel (1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:20). However, they are reluctant to make that deposit for fear that their faith, their church, and the trust will be diluted, altered, or even forsaken.
  • The younger generation needs the church to provide a consistent example in an ever-changing world. At the same time, they need the church to stop forcing cultural and geographical man-made convictions onto their faith and calling it gospel. In my lifetime, I have noticed that the church now readily accepts many things it once called sinful. Our students are confused.
  • So, one generation is reluctant to give and the other is reluctant to receive.
  • I feel caught in the middle — hearing both the valid complaints of the young and the valid concerns of the old. Maybe this is where I am supposed to be, in the middle, reaching one hand out to the young and the other out to the old, asking the young to give their respect and the old to give their blessing.
  • Today’s young people can stand tall only because they are standing on someone else’s shoulders.
  • The church has attempted to create an environment that will keep the younger generation coming back to church, and in the process has made doctrine a dirty word.
  • But Jesus is doctrine.
  • The cry of Esau is the cry of the younger generation: “Please, bless me too.”
  • Some say the youth are rebellious; I say they are revolutionaries. There is a reformatory anointing on this generation. They are the reformation generation. They do not want to be normal. They want to be abnormal. They do not want to be natural; they want to be supernatural.
  • The DNA of this youth culture matches the DNA of the Pentecostal churches. All we need to be is what God called us to be — a church of the Spirit.
  • The youth in this generation do not want normal. They want what is supernatural. This generation has railroad spikes through their tongues and piercings over the rest of their bodies. Someone speaking in tongues will not scare them away. They will probably say, “Cool. Finally, this is not a normal church.”
  • Churches need to maintain excellence: the yard needs to be manicured; the orchestra needs to be in tune; our sermon needs to be well prepared; and the service needs to be well organized. But if God does not show up and breathe on us, all we have done is put on a nice show.
  • Part of the tragedy is that the older generation is looking for the God of their past and are reminiscing about the good old days, while the younger generation is looking for the God of their future. Both will miss Him because He is not only the I Was for the older generation or the I Will Be for the younger generation; He is the I Am for everyone.

have a seat

long day, up at 4:30, coffee, breakfast, quiet time (it's REAL quiet at 4:30!), in the truck, to statham, picked up anthony, to church, picked up 2 26 foot u-hauls to tackle the ATL traffic in - feeling real manly now...arrive at destination, sit for close to 2 hours while their loaded with 600 incredibly comfortable and wonderful to look at chairs, back in the trucks, back through the ATL (much easier 2nd time through), stop for mexican because lunch is now at 11:30 since i've been awake so long, back in the truck, 'up the road', at church, it's amazingly freaking hot today! - not sure what the max was, but it was hot! almost 3 hours of unloading (it was hot, and we had obstacles, like regular sized doors, not dock doors to go through)...did i mention it was hot?

now i'm @ home, vegging, listening to xm cafe, reading through bloglines, wondering why my eyes are doing weird things (perhaps it's age, nah, probably been awake too long!)...

bottom line: lives will be changed sitting in those chairs and every ounce of sweat, time, energy and finance will be worth it! i can't wait to see God dealing with people in those chairs, changing their lives, restoring their marriage, the babies dedicated to God, the marriages, the baptisms, the deliverance, the salvations!

...i typically have a tradition (yes, jeff, i used the 't' word)...that is before i preach, i like to go through and pray over the seats for the people that will be there - can't wait until i have time to get back to church to pray over the new chairs

this is what i heard...

this is what i heard...
during my devotion time this morning i came across these verses...
  • The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Cor. 10:3-6
  • God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Ephesians 6:12
what do you wrestle with? is it the neighbor who plays music so loud you can't sleep? is it the kid in your class with tons of ambition and energy that seems to outmatch your patience and understanding? is it the 'that thing' that was spoken about you but you know isn't true? is it the past? is it the present? the future? the circumstances you're in financially at this moment in your life? is it what you feel God is calling you to? is it something you missed in the past? what is 'it'?

this is what i know (btw, there's so much in these verses, that my recap of the key takeaways doesn't do justice to the tons of truth in these verses, i suggest you re-read them for yourselves and see what God speaks to you):
  • there's an onslaught attack from hell on God's family!
  • read that again...it's undeniable!
  • i have no need to attack another person
  • this isn't a game
  • i don't fight like the world does
  • there's no time for family feuds w/i the Body of Christ
  • life isn't easy
  • this is life or death for every encounter, every obstacle, every person
  • i HAVE been equipped
  • God wants me strong
  • it's up to me to pick up the tools God has given to me
  • i can be used by God to build lives
  • every loose thought, emotion and impulse needs to be shaped into the life Christ wants
this is what i heard..
i then read through chapter 2 of the book of haggai...check this out:
"'So get to work, Zerubbabel!'—God is speaking.

"'Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!'

"'Get to work, all you people!'—God is speaking.

"'Yes, get to work! For I am with you.' The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! 'Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I'm living and breathing among you right now. Don't be timid. Don't hold back.'

this is what i heard..

God speaks, that spoken word is a call to action - not passivity, not relent, not postponement, it's a call to now. what has God spoken to you? what is the word He has given you? He's speaking and He's with us! He's also "living and breathing among you right now" - don't be timid, don't hold back...it's life or death for people


what if?

this post...keeps being rehearsed in my mind...you see, i never want indecision to be the reason (excuse) for failure...i'd rather strike out swinging than strike out looking, i'd rather fail with intent than with regret, i'd rather attempt great things for God (and know that i'll fail along the way) than to attempt NOTHING for God (and end up BEING a failure)...

what if?
what if the painful decision i refuse to make stands between me and what God wants?
what if?
what if the paralysis of analysis locks me down?
what if?

as i Christ-follower, parent, father, and leader, i'm faced with many decisions - some hard; some easy; all, however, require attention, effort, and action...
my prayer... that those decisions i make daily won't be stalled because i refuse to make them...

the five dysfunctions of a team

just finished reading the book by the above title...excellent read...below is my recap and key-takeaways from it...
  • this book is a leadership fable - it's about 85% fictitious story with characters and a storyline that seem real. the author (patrick lencioni) has surely encountered almost every character in real life and every 'conversation' and 'situation' as well in real life. this is a business book. content warning: patrick is a Christ-follower and has spoken in numerous leadership and Christian conferences (including this year at catalyst) - however, this is a business fable so there's a some language in the text. as for credentials, patrick has consulted and trained thousands of senior level executives - the fable flows from countless hours of consultation and observation
  • the story is easy to follow. the chapters are short so it's real easy to pick up with a couple minutes here or there and knock a chapter down. it took me about 6 days to read this and maybe a total of 2 hours - most of my read time was 10 minutes here or there. the characters (fictitious) are easy to understand and you're sure to see yourself and your teammates in some dimension.
  • here are the 5 dysfunctions in order....i won't go into detail about what each is - go buy the book - it's an easy read and it will help any person involved in a team setting (denominational; secular; educational; ministry; coaching; leadership; business; non-profit; volunteer)
  1. Absence of Trust
  2. Fear of Conflict
  3. Lack of Commitment
  4. Avoidance of Accountability
  5. Inattention to Results
  • each of the above correlates with the others in a model...the foundation of the model (a pyramid model) is the first one
  • viewed another way...each of the words that i placed in bold text above are ESSENTIAL to the healthy functioning of a team
  • finally, the website for patrick lists some add'l resources such as a webinar

lessons from the diamond

the swerve website has 5 great (and short) posts on leadership lessons learned from the diamond.

head here and start with the first one- below are the other 4 posts:

post #2

post #3

post #4

post #5

this is what i heard...

dream!

listening to the pastor from this church this morning...in bullet form, here are some thoughts:
  • joseph shared his dreams with his brothers - not a good thing - they hated him more
  • joseph shared his dreams with his father - again, not a good thing - his father rebuked him
  • those that were closest to him, were those that rebuked him and hated him
  • when God gives a dream, be cautious who you share it with
  • warfare comes not because of who you are, it's because of the dream inside of you
  • his brothers created conditions around him to blind him to what was inside of him - they threw him in a pit
  • conflict comes to try and destroy the dream inside
  • the dream doesn't concern your present, it concerns your future - we focus on the circumstances of the present and become distracted from the future
  • the brothers then wanted to convince the dad that joseph was dead
  • their goal was to remove him from the portion of his inheritance - not only were they trying to kill the dream, now they were trying to kill the man (in his father's eyes)
  • when trouble comes it's purpose is to get you to doubt who you are - not what you do - who you are!
this is what i heard...rick, the dreams are the focus! forget the attacks, forget the frustration, forget the past - focus on the dream and press forward.

vote!

here's a chart to help you evaluate candidates in the upcoming election (which is really a long way away, but now's the time to pray and study the candidates!)...

http://www.2decide.com/table.htm

btw, the election next year will help shape the culture in which you: raise children and grandchildren; work; establish a career; continue your education; go back for an education; educate others; seek health care for you; for your parents; minister to those without hope; do life!

this is what i heard...

decided to start a new series of posts about what i'm hearing from God - some of these will be based on Scripture, some will be based on how God uses His Body to speak...i've heard this statement before - God is always speaking, we just have to learn to listen - so, with that thought, this is what i heard:

was reading through the first few chapters of nehemiah this morning. this is a book that i love to read again and again. there are so many principles that we unpack from this book that i could start a lengthy series of posts on it - but, at least for now, i'm not going to. this morning when i got to chapter 4 of nehemiah i heard God saying, "serving me costs a lot and just when you think you've given your all, opposition will come and you'll have to give even more than at first" - let me set it up...

nehe and his posse had been hard at work, building the wall and the gates (i wonder if malkijah volunteered to rebuild the dung gate or if it was some sort of cruel joke - i'm kidding here :) ). great progress was being made, the people were diligent, God's favor had really been given to nehe and he was "finishing the drill" (for all the dawgs out there) - nehe was getting it done! then in chapter 4 sanballat and tobaih start up their ministry of encouragement (jk!), the wall is half way done and they plot to take nehe's plan out. on top of this, and get this - it's KEY - the people begin to complain about the circumstances! they fuss about how tired they are, they complain that there's too much in the way of them to make progress (actually, it says their strength was giving out and there was too much rubble - not the barney kind though). get this: three issues here...1.) they complain; 2.) the complain about being tired; 3.) they complain about the 'stuff' in the way.

i'm' thinking at this point that nehe is replaying in his mind all of the history of 'grumbling' and the bad that it brought...i'm thinking nehe must've wanted to throw in the towel...to tell the people to stop their whining, suck it up, man-up and get the job done - but that's just what i'm thinking - instead, nehe reminded them that this was a "GOD-THING" - he reminded them that their FOCUS had to be on God, not on circumstances...then i love what it says..."we all returned to the wall" - they got back to the "GOD-THING"

isn't this the case? (it is w/me) - that when we get our eyes off of what God has called us to that we start the complaining and grumbling! that we loose focus on the "GOD-THING" and start focusing on the way we feel ('i'm tired' they said). that we begin to look down (that's where the rubble is) instead of ahead (at the wall)! think for a minute...where's your focus? down (rubble) or ahead (THE thing God's called you to)?

this is what i heard...rick, ministry isn't easy, it's tiresome, it's exhausting, it will require singleness of intent and heart, you will have opposition, press forward, don't look down at the rubble, look ahead at THE thing i've called you to

dropout, easy mac, social justice and 'hell' in SC

i posted a couple of links in the last week or so to davidfoster.tv and have gotten a lot of feedback regarding it - seems that some of what he says resonates with some, not so much with others...so, as long as the controversy train is going, and i'm really enjoying reading and re-reading some challenging posts, i thought i'd link some others that are 'on my radar'

here's the deal, one of the reasons i love the blogosphere is because it challenges me - if you look at my blogroll, you'll see that i read a variety of posts (marketing, tech, business, leadership, organization, pastors, church planters, children's ministry, friends) - the posts that i love the most are those that challenge me and those that share what God is doing in people's lives. so, as you click through and visit the following posts, realize that i'm not posting them for the sake of controversy, rather for the sake of confrontation. controversy, in my opinion, is no more than dueling opinions with no end in sight - confrontation is face-to-face; it's a challenge to the 'norm'; it's an unsettling of the routine for the sake of examination and POSSIBLE change - enjoy

  • 'hello, my name is church-dropout-guy and i'm coming to your church tomorrow' - is another in the series of posts by foster that looks at what it feels like for a guest to attend church - realize, please, that not all of these statements apply - he ministers in nashville which has a very different vibe than your city (probably) - that being said, i really like this statement: "Bottom line: give me hope, the hope that comes from the gospel’s good news about God’s lavish grace. Help me to understand it. It’s my shallow understanding after my conversion that’s kept me a child in my faith. This time around, help me go deeper, but make it simple. I get confused easily."
  • futrick knocks another one out of the park - caution: this will challenge many people - i like this statement: "You know, I don’t mind helping my 2 year old eat his Easy Mac. But if he can’t pick up a fork and bring the food to his mouth by age 20, we have a problem." - you gotta read the rest
  • travis does a great job of putting the issue of social justice in a nutshell for the church (great post travis). i like this statement: "How can we indulge in our portion without even giving a thought to the oppressed around the world and in our neighborhoods?" also, head over to ncc and check out what they're doing to address this and put it on the radar for their congregation - great idea!
  • perry's church had a 'hell' of a sunday - so great to see anderson, sc, reached for Christ and the creativity with which newspring is reaching out with - way to go newspringers! 110 people saved! ENOUGH SAID!

to quote...

one of the movies i enjoy watching over and over is 'gladiator'...less than 8 minutes in there's this quote:

"what we do in life...
...echoes in eternity"

i love that quote!

why church...watch this video

for those that may read this on a feeder or google reader, click through and watch this video...

interesting stats

was doing a little research for the 30606 zip code where our church is located today...here's what i found out:
  • 66% of our population is between the ages of 6-46
  • 6% of our population is 6 and under
  • that means that a full 72% of the people in our demographic zip code are under the age of 46 - that's a large percentage (it's roughly 6% higher than the US average)
  • approximately 37% of household have NO 'faith involvement'
  • the average age in 30606 is: 36.3
  • 34% of household are single parents
  • the hispanic/latino ethnic group is projected to grow at almost 21% over the next 5 years
  • millennials are the largest generational segment at 34% (born b/w 1981-2001)
interesting stuff (at least to me) - so, what are the implications of these numbers as they relate to cotn?
off the top of my head, i see several:
  • ministry to single parents is needed now more than ever
  • ministry to the hispanic/latino ethinic group is needed more than ever
  • 40% (almost HALF!) are under the age of 25 (add the millennials to those under the age of 6 - 'Generation Z') - thats a lot of children, youth and college/young adult ministry opportunity!
  • we need more churches - it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of pePublish Postople (Christian of course is what i'm referring to) - i don't have the stats to prove this, but i believe it'd be safe to say that if everyone showed up for church on a sunday morning, we'd run out of room (speaking of all the churches)
keep in mind that this reflect only the 30606 zip code - it'd take all day to run the number on all the zips that we reach - but what this points out is some simple facts for those close to us - what do you implications do you see for these numbers?

liberation athens

below is a post from facebook for all that are participating in Liberation Athens...don't forget! Friday, 8pm corner of Washington and College in downtown athens. my final word: EXPECT!


Grace and peace to you all in the Name of Christ!

As we all continue to prepare for our meeting together this Friday night, our total focus is on our Lord Jesus Christ. For we claim to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified! He IS our life! We are not meeting to hear a famous band play, or even a famous speaker or preacher, we are gathering AS ONE to meet with our God and King. It is our earnest desire for the Lamb of God to receive the reward of His suffering. Beloved, this is just the beginning of what God is doing in our midst. He is at work and our expectation is in Him. We know that this is not just an "event" or another activity to be a part of. We believe He is at work and His people are being moved by His mighty right hand. We know that His work first begins in His people.

We praise Him for all of His children that He has used over these many years. We are grateful for His grace and mercy that we live in such a time as this. As we continue to seek His face, long for His Kingdom, plead for His mercy, obey His commandments by the power of His Holy Spirit, confess and repent of our sin, God will surely revive us. We know that when He is at work and we join Him, everything changes. Come to Athens Lord Jesus! Come and cleanse Your Church! Raise her up to boldly proclaim Your Gospel. Come and redeem Your city!

We also want to communicate some logistics:

1) Please be on time. In fact, be early! Park in the deck to save time and gas!

2) Bring camping chairs to sit in.

3) Please come expecting God to move-being flexible to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

4) Remember we need to be careful to honor our authorities and obey all laws.

5) Come in a spirit of prayer, expecting, waiting and listening!

Liberation Athens