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they said it...x2

here are two quotes for you to ponder...

  1. “Almost everybody who doubts does so for personal reasons, mainly because they have had bad experiences with the church, Christianity or Christians. [As a Christian] you can’t just say, I’m going to give you the gospel and you’re going to hear it. You have to embody a different kind of Christianity than the one they have experienced in the past or they are simply not going to hear it.” —Tim Keller, pastor and author of The Reason for God, talking about reaching skeptics with the gospel [bpnews.net, 4/28/08]
  2. “You cannot understand the African-American preaching tradition unless you understand the African-American church and the way in which worshipers in this tradition demand that their preachers connect with them in a deeply emotional way as an integral part of their spirituality. This is true of the prosperity gospel of Bishop T.D. Jakes or the social gospel of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright.” —Susan Brooks, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, commenting on the controversy surrounding Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama [washingtonpost.com, 4/28/08]

sunday night download

here are just a few sites and thoughts to wrap up the week:
  • my boss suffered a heart attack (or really, really close) this time last week - thank God, his life was spared - he felt it occurring, drove himself to the hospital, checked in and they immediately began working on him - he was out by wednesday - seriously, some of you have been praying and i thank you! also, thanks to our Father whose hand was on him the entire time! he'll be back in the groove of things shortly...
  • spent today at our soon-to-be-church in habersham county (His Was Assembly of Praise) - great service! they've had a challenging week and several months - they had 86 people in attendance and are about 5 months or so old - looking forward to working with them in the future - great pastor and church. enjoyed some excellent mexican food and now have another mexican restaurant to my encyclopedia of fine mexican dining
  • speaking of that - cinco de mayo is just around the corner - yes, i do eat mexican on that date to celebrate my heritage
  • so stoked about speaking at the "Reach Conference" next weekend at abundant life worship center in statesboro - if you're in the S. GA. area next friday and saturday, check it out - it's free! also, really stoked that todd's helping in the conference
  • getting excited about the summer events headed our way...camp meeting/conference, moving, summer camps, moving, maybe going to YQ, moving...
  • scott hodge has some incredibly great notes on andy stanley's "vision talk" at exponential - check them out here - yes, i'll be using some of these in the days/weeks ahead - some great stuff!
  • steven has a great point about leadership - in a nutshell, live life on the lookout
  • stetzer's posted a bajillion notes/slides/pdfs from exponential - all church plant related in some capacity if you're interested
  • found out about this site for non-profits to receive discounted software/hardware/other - there's a process you have to go through to qualify, i'm working through it now - let you know how it turns out - www.techsoup.org
  • i just found this post to be real challenging and encouraging - particularly if you're facing change - the "setting" my be different, but some of the principles are applicable and transferable - which, btw, that's what a principle is - transferable!
  • church resources has a list of 15 websites you'll want to bookmark regarding graphics, etc
  • YOU'RE RIGHT! there you go, i said it - but seth says it better...
  • what's your internet love language? (i expect answers folks...please post your comments and let me know who/what you are...)...flasher? socializer? what?

friday night funny...

just found this to be funny...one of the videos they showed at the conference in between sessions...

some comments from day #1 and day #2 at Exponential

just now getting a chance to post some quick bullets on the conference - here they are:
  • from steve andrews:
  • a powerful message today - he said, "this generation is challenging the isolationist, protective, and competitive nature of christianity and church that we've had here in the west" (my paraphrase) - "why are we competing with one another?"
  • said there's a spirit of 'openhandedness in the church today' - couldn't agree more - let me say this, you will see in the next decade the rise of networks/communities while denominations will struggle to find there place in the new terrain (which are mostly already on the decline...few exceptions)
  • said we need to give the emerging generation 3 things we weren't given: 1.) permission to say "NO" - because saying no means saying yes to God's unique and authentic call that matches your DNA as a leader; 2.) GO - in other words, stop holding on to everyone - show up at church and tell them to GO...be the church, plant a church - learn from the chinese underground church which says, "every believer a pastor, every church and church planting church"; 3.) NO EGO - it's not about us, no room for ego in the Kingdom any longer - people don't care who gets the credit anymore
  • from randy pope:
  • life on life is having a suitable life product (a disciple and an overcomer) and they have to be intentional about imparting that life product
  • said if forced to choose between his church (which has planted 30+ churches) or his small group of men he disciples, he'd resign his church in a heartbeat
  • alan hirsch
  • said we must do these 4 things: 1.) recover the centrality of Jesus in HIS movement (christology forms missiology which forms ecclesiology); 2.) recover discipleship as our core task; 3.) recover the ethos/structure of apostolic movements; 4.) recover a missional mindset
  • said it's hard to live with the Lord (showed some hilarious pics of various "Jesuses" we've created: spooky jesus, buddy jesus, sunday school jesus, jesus-as-my-boyfriend/homeboy, suburban jesus(designing his cross from ikea, and most hilarious...bearded lady jesus) - the point being..."show me your jesus" - we all tend to form Him as WE see Him - instead of looking at Who he truly is - he said on the 6th day God created man, on the 8th day we returned the favor - ouch!
  • finished with "Get 'er done, mate!" complete with Australian accent - hilarious
  • andy stanley (yesterday)
  • 5 things to make vision stick: 1.) state it simply (must be portable); 2.) cast it convincingly; 3.) repeat it regularly; 4.) celebrate systematically; 5.) embrace it personally and publicly
  • said the challenge for us is to get what's in here (our head) out there (to others)
  • ed stetzer
  • i said this in yesterday's post, but it bears repeating: if you're not planning to plant churches, then you're a dead end to the great commission - that's powerful and needs to be pondered...
bottom line is this, the church is designed to reproduce - it's not an end to itself and it's not designed to keep christians safe - we've made it that way - but, playing it safe is risky!

finally, here are some other onsite bloggers - check them out as well:

Richard Schumacher

Heart & Finance Blog

www.missionalchallenge.blogspot.com

www.4kingz.blogspot.com

Paul Dixon

David Foster

Joel Johns

www.justcoachme.org

Chris Day

Brian Jones

timothyfriend.com

Hisservant.net

Adam Mayfield

Erick Bauman

do you get it?





the implications for the church are obvious...
tell me what you think...

funny stuff @ Exponential

just a couple of funny things said today...

  • ed stetzer said when he planted a church in the ATL back in the 90's he was "about as cutting edge as a pale blue dress on a polygamist's wife"
  • andy stanley said he "knew more about splitting churches than starting them"
  • neil cole in elaborating about DNA said, the "D" stand for divine truth, "N" stands for nurturing relationships and "A" stands for apostolic vision - he said most churches have the first two and need a "kick in the A" - you figure it out...agreed!

FBC orlando

exponential conference day 1 unwind

great first day...i'm tired, this will be short.
spent today in an intensive track called "Beyond the Call: What's next?" - great and succinct teaching track for me where i'm at in my new role.

today we evaluated the following regarding church planters/planting:
  1. right person
  2. right place
  3. right plan
those 3 things all work together to create...the right process!

here are a few key takeaways:
  • the biggest problems are rooted in what you DO or DON'T do prior to launch - take more time, launch slower, build the foundation right - Noah spent only 4 days for every year invested in building the ark - not a big return, but it got the boat to float! - church planters that want to last will take more time prior to launch to do the right things
  • there are four types of people: visionaries (flyers); implementers (climbers); maintainers (walkers); and complainers (snipers! - ouch) - the speaker said we needed the first three - i disagree, we need all four - the fourth one causes us to constantly and consistently come back to the vision
  • finally, finished the evening off with supper and some good company - my cousin and his wife and i enjoyed some table side guac from chevy's - love that place and the company was great

pre-conf. post

at FBC in ORL...just a few random things:
  • the house band is warming up, they sound great!
  • the church is a blend of 80s meets 21st cent - interesting...they're keeping it current though.
  • great signage all around - no problems finding my way around
  • the booths and vendors are setting up - cant wait for free stuff...giving away a wii - pray that i'll win - if i do, we have a wiiparty at my house
  • the hotel has free coffee...actually, it's more of a warmed over brown liquidy substance impostering as coffee - not good - glad i have my dew from mt. hermon (see ps. 133:3 for the scriptural reference to this great drink)
  • the hotel is good, clean, free wifi - why do hotels charge for wifi - that bugs me!
  • church planters come in all shapes, sizes and from all backgrounds - what a great tribe of people
  • it's hot in florida - yet another reason only to visit
  • when in florida, you don't look for close parking, you look for shaded parking
  • i made it here in record time...left about 5:40, got to my hotel at 1:01 - i was trying to be there by 1:00 - not too disappointed
  • my daughter's cookie pops was my supper - and a really good one - she made them 2 nights ago and prepared me a goody bag for the road - the trace adkins song does apply - "you're gonna miss this"
  • one celebrity church planter sighting - ed stetzer is in the house and making rounds to talk with the people...he's taller than i thought - hard to judge my a book cover though
  • i think the house band is playing a track from star wars...hmmmmmmmmm
  • did i mention the great signage - yes, i know i did - but FBC and Expo both have it going on for signage...FBC has the vision everywhere - lesson learned: just when you get tired of saying it, the people are just hearing it. Expo has great directional signage as well as large signs with times, etc all over the place - lesson learned: make it easy for people to connect

exponential 2008











in orlando today thru thursday to soak in some teaching from some of the foremost thinkers and practitioners in church planting - here's a link to the conference site

this afternoon and tomorrow morning i'll be going through a pre-conference intensive - here's a link to the subject area i'll be attending...

then through the conference i'll be on this track

will try to blog as i have i have time...should be a great event - the largest gathering of church planters/leaders in the US...

twitter?

do you twitter?

just trying to find out the "why" behind the twitter-craze...just don't see the value...

ask your friends if they twitter...

if nothing else...

it's fun to say...

twitter!

my first endorsement


happy to say i have first first, historical and significantly intelligent endorsement...enjoy...

one more thing...atl church planting network

meant to say this yesterday...

a recent study by a well-known missiologist (don't remember his name, if you know, pass it along) found that it would take...

31,000 new churches for the city of atlanta to be considered a "churched city" - i.e., the gospel having a significant in the impact and culture of the city

the cost for such an effort would be around 63 billion dollars...

so, today,
if you'd like to plant a church in the atl
or
have
an
extra
billion
laying
around

leave me a comment

atlanta church planters network

spent some time today in the ATL with fellow church plant-type people...i surveyed the landscape and realized that all of the people that were in the room (about 30 of us) were really doing major things for the Kingdom - then, i heard their heart - i was blown away - there were all Kingdom-minded. below are some people that i hung out with for a couple hours as we talked church planting in the atl - i learned a lot, hopefully built some bridges toward some networks that are doing it and doing it right, and in the process gained an enlarged sphere (network) of friends and associates...before i get to the list of folks that i met or remember being there...here are 4 things that must happen in pentecostal circles for us to effectively partner in these types of networks:
  1. it will take a cooperative effort on all parts for us to effectively reach the harvest. remember, jesus doesn't come back until this "gospel of the Kingdom" is preached to all people (mt. 24:14)
  2. it will take a realization that we don't have to reinvent the wheel - God is doing some things in some ways...we need to get in on what God is blessing and be a part - stop reinventing the wheel and being a silo!
  3. it will take some serious humbling on our parts (pentecostals, full gospel, whatever you want to call it) to ask for forgiveness for our arrogance in assuming because we embrace the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that somehow we are a 'step-above' our brothers and sisters in Christ who don't embrace that understanding and reality...understand, i'm proud of our heritage, i believe and support whole-heartedly the baptism of the Holy Spirit - but that does not give us license to assume an arrogant role or superior position - we are first of all brothers and sisters in Christ...IN Christ!
  4. it will take some patience on the part of those who don't embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit...patience to understand who we are...patience to embrace us as fellow heirs
now, on to the list of folks that were there...huge thanks to leadership network for pulling us all together!
  • met and talked with jim from westridge...here's a church in the atl that's getting it done! - great guys - their pastor brian was there and we sat at the same table, but didn't get to talk too much
  • randy pope was there from perimeter along with a slew of others (more later) - folks, this guy was doing multi-site before multi-site was cool - great church with over 30 church plants thus far - wow!
  • michael from oak leaf was on hand - this dude's got such a heart to resouces - check out his "behind the leaf" site for a ton of resources that he's made available to churches and church planters
  • shawn was there from mountain lake church - another great guy with a great heart to reach the atl - also at my table
  • johnny was there from atl vineyard - love the fact that they've planted many churches in many unconventional ways and johnny was man enough to admit that his pattern is not the one to follow
  • ritchie was there from avalon church - another great guy with a huge heart
  • sat beside tom and i really like this guy and what they are doing...look forward to learning more about their assessment process in the coming months

on the radar











just wanted to pass along some blog posts from others...some funny, some not so - check 'em all out...
  • steven says, "he doesn't want to hear it" - i couldn't agree more...here's a sample: "It’s freaky when everybody’s a self proclaimed expert on you. And the less they actually know you, the louder they talk about you."
  • ed talks about the challenges that pastors face in small churches...here's a sample: "If the church's philosophy is that the pastor is a hired gun, the professional, it will wear the pastor out..."
  • ccp challenges us to stop comparing...here's a sample: "God has called us to be ourselves in the situation He has given us." btw, this resonates the book i'm currently reading called "church unique" - great book thus far.
  • read scott talks about the first christian church of captcha (btw, the first impressions leader in me screams a loud yes to this post - you must read it)...here's a sample: "In your church, you’ll find captcha in noticeably different areas, but it all ends up with the same result; stopping people from participating in your church’s fellowship. Some of your church’s captcha is active and some is passive, but all accomplish the same unintended and exclusionary purpose."
  • stuff christians like make us laugh by telling just how to to send bad breath to hell (couldn't agree more!)...here's a sample: "If Testamints are a gift from God, then Fruit Stripe gum is a curse from Satan."
  • finally, on a serious note, dino outlines 6 hot topics the church must engage (lest we loose our voice and consequently our influence...what remains...in today's society...now is the time for the church to step up!)....here are the hot 6, but please read the post to better let dino elaborate: "1. The need of engaging our very own cities; 2. The need of engaging the poor; 3. The need of engaging clean water; 4. The need of engaging AIDS; 5. The need of engaging human trafficking; 6. The need of engaging our very own heart

Jesus as sanitation worker????

strange, but i don't remember jehovah-sanitation-worker as one of the names of God

shalom!

this post is a cut & paste of a daily devotional that i receive via email to my blackberry every morning...this post today was great...just wanted to share it with you - btw, you should go to the website and subscribe to these - they're the best devotionals i've come across on the web...

Today's Word
Monday, April 14, 2008

Thoroughly

For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men. 1 Corinthians 16:18

Acknowledge – How do you treat those who are instrumental in lifting you up? If you read this verse in the Greek, it might change your actions. The word is epiginosko, an intensified verb from ginosko (to know). We might think that acknowledging those who encourage us means nothing more than mentioning them in conversation or saying a few prayers on their behalf. But Paul’s choice of verbs would put that kind of thinking to shame. Epiginosko is far more intimate. It means “to know completely, to care for, cherish and actively approve.” Paul tells us that he did precisely this with the people in his life who refreshed him. He encourages his readers to do the same.

All we have to do to see the depth of this word is recall Paul’s Hebrew heritage. Every Hebrew knew that shalom (peace) was the highest priority in human relationships. That’s because shalom covered the gamut of prosperity, health, well-being and peace. If I really care about you, then I care about everything that meets you on your journey through life. If shalom is my goal for you, then I must be thoroughly involved with you. Do you need something? How can I help? Do your circumstances require my involvement? Where can I meet you? Is something or someone burdening you? What can I do? Acknowledgement is far more than a footnote at the bottom of the page giving the correct citation. Footnotes to your life won’t do much to bring about shalom. If I want epiginosko to be a reality, then I will have to act out the second greatest commandment. I will need to love you as my neighbor.

So much of today’s culture pushes us in the opposite direction. We practice distance endorsement. In a world uncomfortable with genuine intimacy, it’s far “safer” to not get involved. So, we become proxy Christians. Sure, we might make an occasional contribution or send a reference letter or a greeting card, but don’t expect us to actually pick up a piece of someone else’s life for them. After all, we have our own issues to deal with. In our world, privacy and separation are highly prized and avidly pursued. We are kings in our own castles and we aren’t about to let others cross the moat easily.

Paul would be dismayed and distressed. No wonder our churches seem less thrilling than a football game, less unified than fans at a playoff. The truth is this: we really don’t know each other – and we really don’t want to. In the Greek post-modern world, we not only maintain our own castles, we are completely occupied with internal castle issues. There just isn’t any time or energy for involvement in the lives of those outside the walls. We haven’t figured out that true Christianity doesn’t live in castles. It lives in busy streets and town squares where life is constantly bumping into other people.

Today, you can pull up the draw bridge and shut the door, or, you can care for and cherish someone who brought shalom to you. You can protect yourself, or you can provide for another. Which will it be?

Topical Index: Community

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sunday night unwind

sitting here on a sunday night...unwinding...some jazz coming through...here are some quick hits:
  • great to spend a couple days at my dad's house - love it when we can get together and catch up on life - he's a great sounding board for me and helps me process things (not sure if he knows it or not, but he is)
  • preached this morning at abundant faith fellowship in reidsville, ga - great service - great people - we felt really welcomed here and if anyone knows how to treat a guest speaker, it's them - we literally felt at home (like we'd been there for years) - great job to all the volunteers and to pastor john and selina - they've been friends of ours for a while and this is the first opportunity that i've had to minister in their church - btw, the worship was fantastic...if your in s. ga. go check 'em out
  • hoping to get the go ahead soon to redo the conference website...ready to see the next level of service that we're able to provide through that tool...
  • i'm thinking of getting a myspace....yes, again...here's why...because so many of the churches and people that i visit with use that platform and not facebook - but, i gotta say, i love facebook
  • not going to twitter - anyone else twittering? just don't see the need for it
  • looking forward to speaking at the reach conference in s. ga - it's a church revitalization conference - i'm stoked about this event
  • i'm wishing i could try some thin mints cheesecake.....hmmmmmmmmmm, from whom?
  • busy couple of weeks coming up....gotta create margin!!!
  • school is almost over....glad for my kids and wife!
  • we're moving....not so glad about the manual labor!
  • i've used a lot of !!!!!! in this post.....hmmmmm!!!!
  • that's all....good night

on the radar

here are some other blogs or posts that have got my attention lately:
  • perry challenges church leaders with 15 signs that your church lacks (or you!) lack vision - check it out here - here are a couple of my favorite points that he makes
#11 - When your youth group wants to do something you make them have a bake sale in front of Wal Mart–but when your senior adults want to do something the church covers the cost; after all, they are tithers! (And that same church will wonder why “the youth don’t come to church anymore.”)
#2 - You’ve never spent sleepless nights wondering, “How in heck are we going to do this? Seriously, I told our church we were going to do WHAT?”
  • here's a new site that i've just come across - add it to your bloglines or google reader - funny, light and satirical look at christians - appropriately called, "stuff christians like"
  • mark beeson wrote a post a while back on what a mature church looks like (a question rick warren had posed to him) - i love the response, ""The 'mature church' is the church filled with immaturity." he went on to make this statement which is so true, "the clear delineation of "maturity" is the ability to reproduce. and that my friends is why churches plant (reproduce) churches!

risk follow up





just finished up teaching about risk tonight at church...here are some key thoughts that i shared

  • the bible never calls us to a life of comfort, ease and security - rather it's discomfort, difficulty and danger
  • from the old testament to the new testament, the life of faith is a life of risk
  • talked about 3 types of risk: foolish risk; faith-filled risk; and failed risk
  • for the record, failed risk is the worst - it's doing nothing - remember the parable of the talents and the one who hid his one talent...yea, failed risk...the master returned and told him that he was a "wicked and lazy servant" - talk about a bad day at the office! hiding (or hording) the talent God has given (really, not just the talent but the opportunity) means equates with being lazy and wicked - gut check time...
  • i shared a batterson quote that has inspired me through the last few years:
    • playing it safe is risky
  • this journey of faith is LESS about doing the wrong thing and MORE about doing the right thing

one prayer

this just posted today from the peeps at lifechurch.tv...
the one prayer website is up - click here, check it out...get involved!

risk

teaching tomorrow night at FSPHC...it'll be interesting...the setting is a group of older adults, most extremely educated as well as seasoned in ministry...its a little unsettling. but God has put it on my heart to talk about risk...i'll post my main points later...in the meantime, pray that i'll communicate as God would want me to...in the way that God wants me too...exactly what God wants me too...on while you're at it...

i'll also be preaching this weekend in another of our iph church - prayers appreciated!

the blood of the martyrs

tertullian said, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

take time today to remember our brothers and sisters that walk this journey of faith under much greater pressure than we do here in the western world...pray for them, cry out to God on their behalf.

here are the top 10 countries that persecute Chist-followers:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
3. Iran
4. Maldives
5. Bhutan
6. Yemen
7. Afghanistan
8. Laos
9. Uzbekistan
10. China


you can find the top 50 by going to the open doors website here

seen recently...

wanted to get a pic, but didn't have time...

another ridiculous church sign...here's what it said,

"we don't know you"

what's that about?

maybe the sermon title?

maybe the boards response to the pastor's request for _________ (can be filled in with multiple things)?

maybe the greeter's "greet" to their first time guest?

got any thoughts?



mentioned the above initiative yesterday...here are some other bloggers that mention it on their site along with some strategy and thoughts from other leaders...

perry talks about it here and had this to say, "one of the reasons I am personally excited is that we are going to get to hear some of the best leaders and communicators speak in our church for several weeks via video…and in doing so we will be participating in something that is SO MUCH LARGER than what God is doing here."

steven talks about it here and had this to say, "The idea was so simple. The conversation went something like this:
Craig: Do we really believe that video teaching works?
Me: Yes, I think so.
Craig: Then why don’t you be my teaching pastor through video and I’ll be yours?
Me: Um, OK."

tim talks about it here and had this to say, "We are pretty jazzed about this effort. I'm grateful to craig groeschel his leadership in leading this movement. If you are a pastor or leader in your church, I would encourage you to consider joining the rest of us for this series."

churchrelevance.com outlines some other aspects of this initiative:
Aside from the sermon series, each church is encouraged to participate by:
  • Receiving an offering and combining it with hundreds of other churches to help people in need.
  • Mobilizing your church to do something ministry-related in your local community and with other local churches if possible.
  • Promoting the unified website (to be announced) that will encourage your people to fast and pray with other believers.
  • Using the free promotional resources online (including graphics, mailer templates, video promos, banners and other promotional tools).
here's a list of other churches so far on board:
and here's a list of the summer sermon series along with the pastor that lifechurch will offer: