Archive for July 2006

pReVieW pArT dEuX

July 26, 2006

HERE is the video of our 2nd preview service at Oak Leaf .

Thanks again for the words of encouragement and prayers. God truly blessed it.

Quick stats:
*Around 240 total showed up.
*60% of the people who filled out comment cards said they were not involved in church. (Exactly who we are trying to reach!)
*5 indicated they prayed to receive Christ!

Looking forward to kick off in August.

1 gray nose hair

July 25, 2006

Found one last night.

Just thought you should know.

(trying to generate comments)

Ten Cent Prayer

July 21, 2006

Ok, this has been a topic beaten to death on blogs before…but since I’m a new blogger, here’s my quick thoughts.

Church signs are a funny thing. I don’t want to bash them, like many people do. That’s too easy. Sure, most of them are way too cheesy. Sure most of them seem out of touch with the culture around them. Ok, sure, we know that. But let’s not completely rip apart well intended people for doing something that they think might grab someone’s attention.

Having said that, though, let me comment (respectfully) on one I saw in North Georgia last week…a church sign that prompted this blog. It read, “God doesn’t give thousand dollar answers to ten cent prayers.” A few thoughts quickly came to mind when I drove past the sign. First, like many many many church signs, I don’t believe a statement like that is going to bring the masses in. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe unchurched people in that immediate area are coming in droves b/c of their sign (ok, I’ll stop being sarcastic). 2nd, the statement itself really bugs me. To me, it conveys two things: First, it says (and this may be stretching it), “You can’t pray well. Don’t you dare give one of those short meaningless prayers. Don’t expect anything from God unless you really really really mean it. We know how to pray, you don’t.” Ok, that last sentence was definitely stretching it. Also, to me, it conveys a wrong message. God does answer our ten cent prayers! And yes, he does amazing things with our “shifting sands” kind of faith (Caedmon’s Call reference). When I drove by it I thought, no way, we are supposed to come to God like a child. Completely reliant. Completely needy. Completely dependent. Right? Faith like a child, right? The whole statement just bugs me. What does a thousand dollar prayer look like? Better yet, what does a million dollar prayer look and sound like? Do I need some kind of schooling to learn how to pray like that? Sorry, but I think there may be a few more important things that I can be sharing with the community around me than “don’t be throwin up those teeny weeny prayers of yours.”

And if you’ve never seen it – you can create your own church sign – click HERE

Need a Ride?

July 17, 2006

Ok, I know all you cool cats out there are just dying to buy a used minivan! Especially you 20/30 somethin year olds!

All joking aside, click HERE to see the van we are selling.

Walmart, Santa Clause, & The Golden Gun

July 14, 2006

Just stay with me on this one.

Last night. Late. 10pm-ish. Making a Walmart run to purchase a trampoline for our oldest child Braden, who will be turning 5 on Sunday. (Really, though, we’ve wanted one for all the kids {4 total!} for some time now.) So I get a guy in sporting goods to help me load it on a dolly thingy and take it up front, pay, and then I meet my new best friend.

Vidal HAS TO BE the coolest Walmart employee I’ve ever met. The guy can tell some stories…super nice and courteous as well. He was working as the greeter/buggy organizer
and I asked him if it would be possible to get some help loading my 2000 pound (not really) trampoline in the car. He asked a cashier to page someone for carryout. It took about 15 minutes – no joke – for them to get organized enough to locate a free warm body to assist me…so I took advantage of the situation. During this time I learned that Vidal is originally from New York…sweet NY accent by the way. He has many tattoos and a “rough edge” about him. He is former military…discharged from the army at age 20…he did something with missile testing. Young guy, no, but in good shape. He has 12 grandchildren. We discussed the mechanics of a trampoline…the best we could…his English is around 80%. He told me of the time he saw a “300lb kid” destroy a trampoline. We both laughed. With his permission, I took a picture of his gold gun with my camera phone. It’s real gold, he says. He once had a gold grenade, but he proudly gave that to one of his sons. He also has a gold knife necklace. (I’m definitely going to be on Vidal’s good side…always!) So to sum this part of the story up, Vidal, I enjoyed meeting you! Vidal is a super cool guy who treated me like a valued Walmart shopper. I look forward to going back for more stories and maybe see more cool necklaces.

Then I met Jim…the best Santa Claus in Bartow County. How do I know this…was Jim in costume? did I see him performing his Santa duties? did I measure the length and fullness of his Santa beard?….nope, didn’t have to. I know he’s the best b/c I saw his heart. More of that in a sec. Jim works f/t at Walmart and also f/t for the City of Cartersville. Jim is the guy who helped cart my big purchase to the car. For the past 7 years, Jim has played Santa Clause all throughout town. 7 years ago, Jim started doing something phenomenal that God laid on his heart. Every Christmas he puts on his costume (when he’s not working one his f/t jobs) and goes around to as many needy children as possible, delivering to them a free present and a huge santa hug and smile. Let me restate that: HE GOES TO THEIR HOME. Since he knows the City so well, and also through word of mouth, he knows where to go…he knows the kids who without him, would have no Christmas. This project of his has grown over the years. Last year he gave out 630 presents. This year’s goal is 1000. Jim is busy this time of the year. He’s filling his storage shed with donated gifts and gifts he has purchased with donated money. He prays over all the gifts and continues to pray that God will allow him to reach more children this year. I told Jim about Oak Leaf’s involvement in partnering with the Salvation Army to help out with their Christmas Outreach Program…and that we would LOVE to help him as well in reaching his goal…being an incredible bright spot in these kid’s lives. Also, we are praying for Jim’s bride of 38 years. She has diabetes and is awaiting an operation that could help.

I love divine appointments.

Wonder how many I’ve missed in the past few days or weeks by not slowing down and taking a sec to look around? Food for thought.

Southern Livin

July 12, 2006

I love the south….ok, specifically, the “deep south.” Kinda funny how not too long ago I wanted nothing but to leave my Sweet Home (Alabama). I was bored of it…or so I thought. Back in 2000, the wife and I moved up to Louisville, KY for seminary. Why KY? Well, to us folk here in the deep south, that was northern livin’. No, really, I thought we were movin up north. Come to find out, it wasn’t quite the north…but not quite the south either. What made it not quite the south was the fact that there are restaurants there that DO NOT serve sweet tea. What a crime! My conclusion of Louisville, KY, was it is just about as far north as one can go but it still be the south (let’s say…82.79% southern).

I suppose growing up on 2 acres, surrounded by cotton fields, 2 neighbors, dove hunting and fishing…I always wanted to go see the “big lights.” Wanted to get away. Having lived in a few semi-big cities now, I better understand the appeal of the slow south. We are lovin’ Cartersville, GA. The appeal? Well, you are still country living, but close enough to the action. I like being close to a big city like Atlanta…especially with young children…lots to do and see and visit. 7 years ago, my opinion would have been completely different. Couldn’t wait to leave. Now, despite that I’m not a hunter, or big fisherman, or a mud riding addict…I still love it here.

Ministry: Yeah, I think in some ways it is harder to witness in the south. After all, everyone here is a “Christian.” (Simply means you grew up near a church or someone in your family was on staff at a church or you “walked the isle” when you were 1.5 years old.) Perhaps that has been the main appeal over the last 20 years or so to plant churches in Seattle, California, etc. In certain places like that, you have a 90% unchurched people group…most who have NEVER been associated with church at all. In may be “easier” to share Christ with people of that kind of background because there is no wading through Christianese talk…their blunt with you…nope, don’t believe it, don’t need it, next! (I realize these are general, broad statements.)

So, despite a few frustrations every now and then…I don’t think I would trade my good ole south. And by the way West Coast and North…it is true…we DO have the best college football down here. Sorry, you will never understand until you experience it every Fall. Well, gotta run, time to go fight ATL traffic.

My Home’s in Alabama,
no matter where I lay my head
My home’s in Alabama,
Southern born and Southern bred
– Alabama

Using Your Head

July 10, 2006

Now THIS is something you don’t see every day in a soccer match.