Archive for May 2008

Out & About

May 31, 2008

Stayed home for most of today, but then had an eventful evening.

+ Me and the staff boys met at 5pm and put out some Oak Leaf Church road signs. My two oldest assisted me. We successfully dodged cars. 🙂

+ While putting up a sign near Walmart, I ran in to a dude that lives in my neighborhood. I’ve invited him several (dozen) times, but have laid off for awhile. He mentioned something about how he thought it was cool when we were in the theater. I told him we are re-launching a campus there. He said that was cool and that when him and the fam return from their summer trip, he’s coming to visit for the first time.

+ After the road signs, Dana calls to say her car won’t start and she’s stuck at the store. Me and the my 2 oldest boys go up there and jump the car off and drive it to an auto store. Yep, bad battery. While standing in line, a guy strikes up a conversation with me and reminds me to “take pictures and cherish em while their young.” He proceeds to tell me that his oldest just graduated high school. I ask him some questions about where his son is going to college, etc, and then asked him which high school his son just finished. He said Woodland High School. My 6 yr old then jumped in on the conversation and said, “Hey, that’s where we go to church…” Good job Braden.

+ Going back to the jumping Dana’s car off part of the evening: A nice gentlemen stayed around to make sure it would start. He gave me some advice on how to line up my cables and told me some stuff about a car battery that only a really smart person would know. (My guess: He was an engineer.) After helping us out…it took forever for her dead battery to get charged enough to crank…this guy whips out an invite card to his church. He was from Cartersville First Baptist and he was an IT dude there. He knew some of our friends from there and we shot the breeze a bit. Very cool guy.

+ And Dana is one step closer to having a full fledged office of her own. It has now been painted. All the junk is out of there. A few decorations to come. Most importantly: Her hard earned diploma will be hanging on the wall.

No Cheap Image

May 30, 2008

In Sydney, a light show is being staged to mark this week’s Fifa Congress meeting in the Australian city. The images of international football legends are the largest projections ever cast onto the bridge.

I think college towns need to do this. That’s just cool.

Sausage Biscuits and The Call of God

May 30, 2008

We need to be careful. The Call of God on someone’s life, to go do a specific thing, should never be reduced to a formula. It can’t be minimized to any certain, similar set of circumstances. Why do I bring this up? Well, I just think here in the Bible Belt, especially, we have been known to (either intentionally or unintentionally) say, “THIS is what it looks like to be called in to the ministry”…or “THIS is what you must do next.” Now, over the past 10 or so years, I think we’ve had less of that. And I think that change is good.

The specific call to ministry looks very different for many people. If you pulled 10 people in the same room, you should hear 10 unique stories. Don’t get me wrong, there will be similar parts of each story. But how each individual arrived at knowing they were supposed to do f/t ministry will be (should be) unique.

God’s timing amazes me. For starters, it’s rarely our timing. I knew in college that I wanted to do f/t ministry. In His providence, He placed me around amazing followers of Christ that lived and breathed ministry. One of the simple ways (among many others) that I knew I would be in f/t ministry is the fact that I could rarely ever read Scripture without imagining how I would present it…thinking of illustrations….getting so fired up over a passage and thinking, “I HAVE TO go tell everybody about this. This is rich! They gotta hear.”

But the road and process of getting in to a f/t ministry position was not want I had originally planned. It was longer than I expected. It was more confusing than I expected. It was doing something that I never expected – working with kids (and loving it!).

Bonus #1: Everyone is called to do ministry. Some are specifically called “in to” ministry, to lead and serve the church. But, EVERYBODY is called to minister.
Bonus #2: About the sausage biscuits…umm…yeah, I just like em. That’s all.

Where Ministry Happens

May 29, 2008

There’s a lot of good stuff happening on a Sunday morning. After all, it’s our front door. And it’s planned and prepped for and prayed over and tons of energy is put in to it. But as Michael and other staff has been saying for a long time, you’ll miss the point of it all if your experience never goes beyond a Sunday morning. In other words, you will not get to where God wants you to be if you simply just attend on a Sunday morning. (That’s true of any church, anywhere.)

Over the past several weeks, I’ve THOROUGHLY ENJOYED being in the community, not having to commute 40 minutes south of Cartersville. I’ve enjoyed connecting with people and hearing their story. I’ve enjoyed the random run-ins and connection times. And I loved getting our Journey Group cranked back up last night. In these gatherings, both planned and spontaneous, ministry (life change) is happening. Meeting people where they are, conversations come easier.

Nothing new here, I know. Just a reminder that we should all be gathering, throughout the week….planned and spontaneous….constantly praying, and sharing, and praising our Great God, and learning together, and caring for each other….going beyond the Sunday morning.

Wednesday’s Question

May 28, 2008

Assuming you grew up in church, what was your favorite part of church as a kid, and why?

Extra Credit: Assuming you go now, what is your favorite part?

You have permission to not give a “churchy” answer. 🙂

Very Strange Post

May 27, 2008


Yep. Strange indeed. What you are looking at is one of the new tires that was installed on Dana’s suburban today. Why am I boring you with this ridiculous post? No good reason. 🙂 Just a slow day in blog world I suppose. Ha.

But here’s the main point (as if there is one): These are LT tires – “light truck”. The previous tires were passenger tires and did not carry the weight of a 98 Suburban well at all. I feel that I’ve successful converted her Kid Carrier in to a real truck. Ok, not really. But I have decreased the likelihood of the car hydroplaning off the road during rain – dude, you should have seen the baldies we were riding on. Not good.

Less Has Been Better

May 27, 2008

I’ve watched far less tv lately, mainly due to getting acclimated to my new job. Lots of work to do. I figured I wouldn’t miss it much, and I was right. Less is far better.

One reward for watching less tv is less frustration. Take tonight for example. We return from being out of town, get the kids to bed, so I flip on the news (first bad idea). It was CNN (much worse idea). They had a special on the War in Iraq. It seemed to have some interesting footage and a decent storyline. But in less than 5 minutes, they managed to tick me off and insult our troops. They were reviewing one of the major parts of the War – the fight for Fallujah. The journalist spent less than 3 seconds talking about what our troops accomplished there and the sacrifice they made and just how well they dominated a very difficult situation…and instead glamorized the Fallujah fighters and talked about their martyrdom – and it really wasn’t even what the journalist said, but how he said it. His eyes were lit up and he almost seemed excited about what the enemy had done. It bordered praising them.

I try to stay out of this junk. Everyone knows how slanted most of the media is. Everyone knows CNN leans left and FOX leans right. No bigee. Not new news. But I get beyond irritated when someone would rather praise our enemy’s efforts instead of THANKING our troups or giving credit where it is due. Perhaps I’m not being fair since I didn’t watch the whole report. But what I saw in 5 minutes was downright disgusting.

"Roughin" It, Part II

May 24, 2008



It’s still in me. That’s what has been on my brain since returning from our fishing extravaganza. You see, I grew up fishing and hunting…and basically ALWAYS being outdoors – anything from riding bikes to wiffle ball games to bee bee guns and slingshots. That was the norm. And somewhere between college and working on my Master’s and doing Sales and now f/t Ministry…you do that kind of stuff far less. Oh, I know, the whole growing up thing. Yeah, I get it. But, I’m determined to do far more stuff outside now. It does something to your soul. I’m gonna get over the fact that my allergies and some of my kid’s allergies are bad. We’ll fix it somehow. Being outside all day – especially after months and months of doing inside work – renews you like crazy. My dad and 2 brothers are big time outdoorsee dudes…and though I ended up being the different one (Biz Degree), my roots still scream within me – go jump in a stinkin’ lake and get your stinkin’ hands dirty! (Or something like that.) 🙂

After this weekend, I’m now going to convince the Oak Leaf staff to allow me to start an outdoor service – preferably when it’s storming and dangerous. Hmmmm…the kid’s area would be a bit of a challenge…

"Roughin" It

May 24, 2008

Just returned from a fishing trip with my two oldest and my father-in-law. We went away 2 hours south to a family friend’s place – a hunting camp basically. We got dirty with 4 wheelers, worms, fish, and being in the woods. And then we really “roughed” it up with the cabin we stayed in – central heat and air, normal beds, normal bathrooms, kitchen, dishwasher, and Direct TV. Ok, ok, you got me – we basically stayed in a house! Ha.

Now it’s time to get cleaned up and get ready for church tomorrow. Lots of cool stuff to look forward to.

HEY GEORGE!

May 22, 2008

I was picking up church supplies from a school supply store yesterday and they had a table full of clearance stuff. Included on this table was a stack of free posters. I nabbed a few for my kids, included was good ole George. I just think it’s funny and had to share.

What should I do with him?
(Keep it clean.)

Anywhere, Anytime

May 21, 2008

Read a good article in Christian Living magazine yesterday, while sitting in Chickfila – “If Only I’d Known”, by Lisa A. Rice, co-author of For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid. She mostly talks about her journey over the past several years in writing some books and the struggle of publishing, etc. Here’s the quote that made me say YES!:

“I’m so glad our Christian Living publisher didn’t read the magazine statistics, which inform us that most periodicals don’t make it even one year! (Thank God we’re on our fourth!) And I’m even more grateful that, from ancient days in Israel to today in America, God has never felt threatened about dismal stats or His ability to accomplish His purposes in any economy or environment.

Juicy Gossip on My Pastor

May 21, 2008

One of my Pastor’s kids is spending the night at our house tonight. Hey, four kids is crazy, why not add one more, eh?! As any good staff member would do, I am taking full advantage of the situation by asking their kid a ton of questions about good ole Dad. So, for all the local chit chat clubs and blogs and whoever, here’s what I’ve dug up so far:

He’s a good daddy who plays ball and reads books. He loves Jesus and talks about Him a lot. He encourages His kids to do the same and tells them to invite their friends to church, all the time. He’s made mistakes and owned up to them. He wants nothing more than to see hundreds and thousands of people in this community come to faith in Christ and he stretches the staff and volunteers hard, pushing us to give our very best for this Kingdom Agenda – a cause worth giving our everything. He’s been known to buy designer jeans. BOOM, told you I had juicy stuff!

The above text was not derived from asking any questions of the Pastor’s kids. No interrogation took place. Simply put, it was a cheesy way of saying I’m glad Michael is our Pastor, he’s doing a knock out job, and he’s a leader that can trusted and followed – no matter how crazy his ideas may seem sometimes. Also, no animals were harmed in the making of this post.

"Say Your Prayers"

May 20, 2008

If I told you that my 3 yr old daughter walked up to my wife and said, “Say your prayers”, you would probably think, “Awe, how cute!” And she did…but it was much different than you think. Early this morning, Kinley walked up to Dana with a brass look on her face, holding an Iron Man weapon, and in her best “mean” (Cowboy-like) voice said, “Mommy, say your prayers”, as she pointed the weapon right at her. We both, of course, laughed and then questioned her on her new found battle declaration. She claims to have learned it from a boy at preschool…who is “not very nice”.

Hope you enjoyed the quote of the day.
🙂

More Important

May 19, 2008

Immersed now for a few years in the churchplanting world, I’ve become very familiar with certain terms and phrases:

Vision, Structure, Leadership, Model, Energy Drinks (had to throw that one in there), Blog, Growth, Expansion, Campus, Team, Serve…

I was reminded tonight though, that while these terms are all fine and good, they are simply a vehicle to deliver far more important things. I was reminded of this when I heard how one of our volunteers connected with a middle school student who is dealing with tough issues, including cancer in the family. It made me stop and think of more important terms:

Hope, Life, Cancer, Sickness, Care, People, Strength, Relationships, Bonded in Him, Salvation, Faith, Love, Truth,…Jesus.

We must never get so caught up in methodology and strategy (doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, though) that we forget the Cornerstone of our life – why we do what we do and to whom God has called us to serve and invest in.


new blog

May 18, 2008

when i decide to spend some time on it…and can think of something really cool to do with it, i’m going to start www.iLiveForSundays.com.

currently, all i can think of is a gathering place for anyone involved in ministry to kids & families – a gathering place of great stories. not a huge place for resources, but rather current, uplifting God stories from staff and volunteers from all over.

(and for the naysayers: yeah, i know, we live for God, not Sundays…please go bug someone else. I’m just saying we get so geared up and prayed up and prepared and pumped for each Sunday, as we await the opp0rtunity to pour God’s love into kids and families…especially those coming for the first time…so this blog speaks to that – to encourage those tired with reminders of why we do what we do.)

any suggestions?

Best Rehearsal

May 16, 2008

As I was driving my 6 yr old to school this morning, I heared him whispering something in the back seat. He seemed to be rehearsing something so I questioned him about it. “Um, I’m just practicing what I’m going to say to my class…you know, that Space Thing…and inviting a bunch of kids to church.”

That’ll get your blood going – hearing your 6 yr old intensely rehearse (on his own) a personal invite, asking his friends to come to church with him.

To find out why he was so motivated, be sure to be at OLC this Sunday morning. An interesting Kidventure announcement will be made.

Joys of beginning…

May 15, 2008

…difficulties of continuing.

Took a great road trip yesterday to North Alabama. On the way back, I was RRP’n it (Random Radio Preacher). Sometimes I do it just for a good laugh…you get some crazy stuff on low AM stations in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes I’ll force myself to listen even though I disagree (completely) with what the dude is saying. And then other times, you find something good and encouraging.

I caught about 5 minutes of a guy talking about the joys of beginning and the difficulties of continuing. I believe he was talking about one of Paul’s letters…encouraging the church to stay strong. He brought up a real simple truth: All kinds of areas of life have this formula.

– We have the joy of a newborn…and then reality hits (diapers & teenage years) and it can be a struggle.
– We have the excitement of a new job…and then we learn all the office gossip and true picture of what’s happening.
– We celebrate buying a new home…and then a few short years later are hit with the first big repair.
– And in our faith, we have these new movements of God…a new thing happening (perhaps churchplanting)…and yet so many hit a wall…maybe a trial comes along…and we yearn for the freshness and excitement all over again.

If your looking for a grand finale, sorry. 🙂 The radio cut out about that time. I imagine, though, that he talked about perseverance. Continuing is a must. The God who started the work will be faithful in completing it. And within the difficulty of continuing, and remaining holy and pure and steadfast, our trust in Him is renewed and an even greater joy is found.

The MAIN LESSON though: I’m praying someone will give me an ipod so I can download some good sermons. 🙂

Highlights

May 13, 2008

Yesterday was great. I love the diversity of my days now. Quite different from sitting at a desk all day long. Some quick hits:

* Extended staff meeting. Very energizing. Talking about reaching people is downright fun.
* Talked to a great friend about ministering to college students.
* Saw the movie Iron Man.
* Sat through a 30 minute presentation about youth & sports…had to do it so my kids could play t-ball. I expected it to be a complete bore, but it wasn’t too bad. Did you know that 25 million kids participate in sports…but by the time they reach 13, there is a 70% drop out rate?
* And one of the best parts of the day: I got a call from one of our 5th grade students and her mom – wondering if she could go to the youth deal on Sunday morning since she was going to be bringing her friend who is in the 8th grade. Hmmm…let’s see…should I have been a stickler and said, “No! Promotion Sunday is not for another 2 weeks! You must stay in your area!”? Uh, no. I said, “Absolutely! If you are bringing a friend to church for the first time, you can ABSOLUTELY go with her to her specific area! And by the way, GREAT JOB on inviting your friend to church with you! Keep it up! See you on Sunday!”

Good stuff.

She’s All That..

May 13, 2008

Very Proud

Have a Great Monday

May 12, 2008

Great Question

May 12, 2008

Jimmy gave a great challenge to the graduates on Friday (at Dana’s graduation). We served under Jimmy when living in KY. Side note: He’s from the same church/hometown as Michael, our pastor.

He told a story of when he was getting his seminary degree…how a professor, who had a brilliant mind and had written several books and had received accolades and was experiencing success in his work, had gone home to visit his grandmother. During the visit, this professor was telling his grandmother of all the recent things he had been involved with and she pulled him to the side and said, “That’s wonderful honey…but do you love Jesus more?”

Jimmy then challenged the students to not let their education go to waste. He reminded them of 1 Corinthians 13. Are we loving Jesus more, because of our work? Are we loving the church more? The lost? People? Is our love for Christ ever growing?

The grandmother got it. That’s great wisdom…and a very important question to be answered.

Congratulations Kentucky!

May 10, 2008

Thank you KY. Thank you for increasing your speed limit to 70…like normal states. When I lived in your state from 2000 – 2005, it was at 65 – and dude, that was frustrating. So coming back to your Bluegrass state over the past few days, I was delighted to see the increase. Congratulations!

proof

Divine Dress

May 9, 2008

I was at a local department store the other day, buying a white dress shirt. Yep, didn’t really have one…I think I threw the the only one I had out the other week when I did some late spring cleaning. Two other quick points about this: 1. Funny how I haven’t needed one for quite some time – THANK goodness for churchplanting. 2. I was needing one for Dana’s graduation tomorrow, now only 11 hours away! So I’m blogging from the 24th floor of The Galt House, overlooking the Ohio River.

Ok, back to the story. I was buying a cheap, white dress shirt to wear with my suit for Dana’s graduation. I found one I liked and then went hunting for the right size. As I was digging, I noticed a slight variation from one shirt to the next. (Most people would have grabbed the first one that was the correct size, but I’m a stinkin’ perfectionist and detailed and picky….sorry.) To keep it short, I eventually had three shirts lined up on the table. Here’s the deal: They were all the exact same shirt – same size, same name brand, same style, all pinpoint collar, etc, etc. But I couldn’t help but notice that the color seemed slightly off on one…and one had more stuffing in it (whatever that white flimsy paper is called that is used during Christmas)…and one had lint all over it (I ruled that one out fast).

So as I’m observing this phenomenon (bored yet?)…and reading the tags to be sure I’ve grabbed the same shirt…I noticed where the shirts were made. Here’s what I saw:

Shirt #1: Made in Honduras with US fabric
Shirt #2: Made in Thailand
Shirt #3: Made in Vietnam

Well, isn’t that interesting? I don’t think I had ever seen that. EXACT same shirt, but here were 3 of them – in the same bin at the store – all from 3 different places, one stacked upon the other. I grabbed the one I thought “looked best”…yeah, I know, how much difference could there have really been?

Leaving the store, I had a thought. Huh, we are kind of like that, aren’t we? We all have the same marking. We have all been “branded” by the same Maker. We “wear” the same symbol and carry the same name: Christian, Follower of the Way, Believer. Yet, though we carry out the same purposes, we have distinct differences. Also, we are all from different places. This also makes us unique. So, same Maker, same Branding, same Marking, made for a same divine purpose…yet uniquely different and uniquely called.

Question(s) of the Week

May 7, 2008

Is my life unfulfilled since I have no iPhone?
Are they worth the hassle?
What was your first cell phone?
Who is the best wireless company? (There’s no debate on this one…hopefully you pick the right one. ha)

Stories

May 6, 2008

One immediate result of me getting to hang in Cartersville now, being on church staff, is getting to hear more stories….stories from our volunteers, stories from strangers, stories from kids and parents and leaders and new Christians and long time followers. Everyone has a story. And over the past 48 hours I’ve been blessed by hearing a few. I always walk away from it with a renewed awe and thankfulness for God. The stuff He pulls us through…and forgives…and how He raises up what is considered lowly or poor – and for His glory, renews it and then uses us to change the world, one relationship at a time.

So, share your story. (Even if you think you have a “boring” story of being saved an early age…no such thing as a “weak” testimony.) And listen to other’s stories. Be encouraged and appreciate the greatness of our God, who is ever pursuing.

Sunday Night Extravaganza

May 5, 2008

* I’m learning how to use my first Mac. 2 months from now, I’ll love it (especially the media stuff). Right now, though, I feel like a first grader sitting at a computer. No, seriously.

* Big week this week: My first week at the church office. (I’ve heard staff meetings are like a circus….just kidding, I’ve heard their like a zoo. ha.) At the end of the week, Dana is graduating from college! She started working on her degree a decade ago. Four kids later, she’s walking with diploma in hand. I’m VERY PROUD of her! Her degree is Christian Counseling and she will begin working on her Masters in the Fall. She’s going to be a great, great counselor (already is).

* I want Oak Leaf to become known as “That Kids Church”.

* I want kids to follow Christ and then serve other kids in the community.

* Will tell you later this week about a new site I’m starting in June. Bought the domain name already, I think it’s going to be a cool deal.

* Did anyone really think the Hawks would beat the Celtics? (Answer: no)

* I met another Auburn fan at Oak Leaf this morning. I feel better about my decision to work there. 🙂

* OUCH

9/20

May 2, 2008

I attended “Donuts for Dads” at my 6 yr old’s school this morning. What I saw there reminded me so much of the healthy tension that exists in many churches, including ours. Especially in church planting, we talk about being outward focused, placing our energy on reaching whoever is not present. Yet, we are to be disciplining and equipping believers, being sure their faith is maturing. I somewhat experienced that this morning. Here I was sitting with my 6 yr old son, enjoying a nice fat free donut…wait, that’s way off…a nice, dripping wet, TASTY donut (much better) and enjoying my time with him. And while doing my best to give my attention to him, my heart was still being drawn to the scene around me.

There were 20 kids in the room, only 9 dads. Now, I realize that many dads had to be at work. I realize many had obligations that simply made them unavailable. In fact, 9 out of 20 is probably not a bad number. However, when the teacher said a little schpill about fathers and then handed out some stuff and then asked the kids to go hug their dad….my heart just sunk. It’s just how I’m wired. As I’m hugging Braden and giving him my attention, there was that healthy tension of observing the other 11 kids that looked around…feeling out of place. While some of their stories are simply, “My dad is at work,” I’m sure many have a much more painful story. And I desperately wanted to know their story. I desperately wanted to make sure they got a hug too. I wanted to break out in a Sunday morning lesson, OLC style. I wanted to grab the different supplies in the room and create illustrations, telling of the Heavenly Father that loves them immensely (I probably wouldn’t use that word with them though, ha) and has a great plan for their life and how in troubles, they can always turn to Him.

How was this tension resolved this morning…and how is it resolved in the church? Well, great question. For me, at least this morning, I did the best thing I could do on the spot: I helped the teacher by serving the kids. I didn’t ignore my son, but I got up to help pass out donuts and juice and napkins. (She was going solo, without her teacher aid.) I then was able to give the kids, if nothing else, a smile-a laugh-an encouraging word-and listened to their random talk.

Overwhelmed

May 1, 2008

No, the good kind. I’m back from this conference…but I’m not on a conference high. I’m overwhelmed for other reasons. I’m simple just amazed/dumbfounded/shocked/amazed (I already said that one, didn’t I?) /perplexed/humbled/motivated by God’s Providence and Grace and Mercy (new every morning). God has done some amazing things in my life recently and I’m simply amazed at how He never lets go of us, He never gives up on us…we can run to the mountains, we can run to the depths of the sea…but we can’t escape His Will, His calling on our life. He forgives. He renews. He loves, and then loves some more. He is Faithful when we are not. I’m simply overwhelmed tonight at His loving plan and how He blesses His people, his chosen people, with so many good things when we deserve the exact opposite.

My response to this kind of love and pursuit of our Loving God?
Glory to Him! Glory to Him! Glory to Him!
Have all of me, have all of me, have all of me.