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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...