Archive for November 2008

Pre Turkey Day Pic

November 26, 2008

huntsville-gang

Some of the Huntsville, AL gang – celebrating my buddy Michael’s 30th birthday.  Wanna meet some the best people on the planet?  Head to Huntsvegas.

Thanks crew.  I enjoyed my overnight trip.

Pardon Our Progress

November 25, 2008

Downtown Cartersville is undergoing a little construction…ok, they’re ripping up every sidewalk possible.  As I was driving down Main St. last night, I noticed the sign, “Pardon Our Progress”.  That got me thinking about a few things.

It’s interesting how construction signs have changed over the years.  Everything now has a positive spin.  No longer do you see “Excuse The Mess” or “Work Ahead – that will cause you to be stuck in traffic” signs.  Instead, words like progress and improvement are used.  Part of me likes the positive spin and part of me feels like a politician is trying to smooth over our frustration.

Progress can be messy though.  In fact, it often is.  I think back to the various sales jobs I’ve had.  Growth was often uncomfortable and annoying.  Sales guys had to constantly make adjustments to their strategy as corporate made changes to benefit the company as a whole.  Also, this messiness can be seen in other facets of life:  Getting in to a workout routine (week 1 you’ll probably vomit…or at least hurt); Church growth can become messy as God prunes away anything not Kingdom minded.

Just as they bust up sidewalks and dig up old pipes in downtown, we too need to dig to the root of our problems or barriers.  Without it, progress simply can’t be made.

Unrelated Bonus:  My gym is getting one of THESE.  Website HERE.  (Dude, that’s just funny.)

Kinley Faith

November 24, 2008

kinleyfaith

3 boys and Kinley Faith.  God is good.
Don’t mess with her…I’ll break your face.  🙂

Big Sunday, Short Week

November 24, 2008

Had another great Sunday in preschool & elementary ministries.  Though there are always improvements to make and new goals to reach, we have momentum in these ministries right now and that’s a huge answered prayer.

> In The City (K-5th) yesterday we had Matt Moody & the band playing live.  There is a certain buzz in the room when they are there.  The kids respond very well and I love seeing them dance and jump around, worshiping uninhibited.

> I enjoyed the lesson of the stand alone series, “Bling”…but dude, I aint got no soul in me.  I’m extremely white…but looking like a fool in front of kids is always a good thing.  🙂

> We had tons and tons of volunteers available on Sunday.  That makes a huge difference, especially in Small Group time.

> Lots of first time kids in The City.  Love it.

Time to prep for Sunday the 30th.  Have 2 short days this week to get ready.  Let’s go.

Family Friday

November 21, 2008

loganartwork

Today’s blog post will highlight the happenings of my 4 great kids:

Braden (7):  Getting taller by the minute.  Attended the youth gathering (Fuel) on Wednesday night and left saying, “Some girls told me I was cute.”

Logan (5):  Pictured above with his artwork on display at the Bartow County Library.  He’s enjoying Kindergarten and Cloverleaf is doing a great job.

Kinley (4):  One word:  Sassy.  Two words:  Daddy’s Girl.  Three words:  Gets Her Way.  She’s doing a good job living with 3 brothers.

Camden (almost 3):  Getting more personality by the minute.  The roughest of any.  Asked me the other day, “Daddy, when I turn 3 can I drink coffee?”

08 Iron Bowl

November 20, 2008

bamabanner

As an Auburn grad, I approach this year’s Iron Bowl with realistic expectations.  The two schools could not have had more opposite years.  UA is playing to keep their National Championship dream alive…while AU is playing for a bowl game.  Even the most fanatic burnt orange and navy blue fan has to admit that AU’s chances are not looking good this year.  However, it is the world’s best rivarly game.  Strange things have and can happen.

Here’s my “what must happen” list in order for AU to pull off the miracle:

*  Alabama must finally have “that game”.  The game where all the pieces do NOT come together.  Alabama has been in some tight games this year…but in every one they have found ways to win.  Some facet of their team steps up:  Special Teams, Defense, Running Game.

*  Auburn must finally have “that game”.  The game where all the pieces finally DO come together.  Auburn has also been in some tight games.  They led both LSU and UGA late in the game…only to give up the lead and lose.  They are still looking for a breakthrough game in which something “clicks” and they play a complete 4 quarter game.  They are still searching for ways to win close games.

*  Alabama enters the game with a coaching staff that has turned a team around very quick.  You are crazy if you don’t think that’s impressive.  Auburn enters the game with NO offensive coordinator and a big question mark of where the head coach might be at the end of the year.  Auburn’s coaches will have to pull something crazy in order to win this game…leading up to the game they are going to have to be brilliant and somehow scheme a way to stop the nation’s #1 team.

*  The Iron Bowl gods must show favor on AU and pull some kind of vudoo stuff…after all, UA has never beaten AU in Tuscaloosa.

We are 9 short days away from one of the greatest sporting events of the year.  No matter the outcome, it will be a blast to watch it and pull for my Tigers…after all, us crazies still BELIEVE anything is possible.

Minister of Email

November 19, 2008

icefountain(random pic of the fountain outside our office)

I love my job as Family Pastor (aka Children’s Pastor) at Oak Leaf Church.  Over this first 6 months there have been plenty of challenges, moments of celebration, moments of “ruh roh”, and tons of seeing God at work.  I was thinking today about the many adjustments I’ve had in this job…things I’ve become acquainted with.  In that spirit, here are a few job titles that could be easily substituted for Family Pastor (you will probably identify with some of these no matter your line of work):

1.  Minister of Email – Seriously, there’s a ton of it.  I’ll go to lunch and have 14 new emails in my inbox.  10 are important and 4 are useless fwd’s…thank goodness the election is over.  🙂

2.  Minister of “Find Me A Babysitter” – If you work with kids, it’s assumed that you know every babysitter in your county.  It’s also assumed that you can call one up within 24 hours to be at an event that you knew nothing about.

3.  Goldfish Pastor – My clothes even smell like it.  I suppose it’s better than spit up?

4.  Minister of “Hand-Me-Downs” – Youth pastors also get this.  Have junk?  Don’t take it to Goodwill or set it on the curb, give your garbage to the kid’s ministry.  🙂  (Fortunately Oak Leaf is wanting to function opposite of this attitude.)

5.  Pastor of Saturday Night Phone Calls – (All my volunteer coaches are shouting Amen right now.)  This one is inevitable.  When you have 70+ volunteers, there’s always a percentage each week that are going to be out…but not know it til 8pm Saturday night.  (What’s ironic is when I was a volunteer I used to be that phone call!  Ha.)

Hopefully you find these to be funny like I do.  I could just as easily write a serious list of 100 different titles that use words like blessed, fortunate, awesome volunteers, and fun.

If you feel inclined, do your own:  Leave a comment with your current job title and then a subsitute title.

Bling Video

November 19, 2008

Video HERE.

Will be used this Sunday in our K-5th.  Goes over the CITY Rules…rules are the same each week, but new video is shot to fit current theme of series.  This Sunday is a stand alone series called “Bling”.

Phrase of the Day:  What you crave is fading fast.  Only pleasing God will last.
Verse of the Day:  Romans 8:8

In video:  Some Oak Leaf folk looking very silly.

Tailgate

November 18, 2008

As I was taking the kids to school this morning, I started thinking about the distance between my car and the car in front of me…and how being near or far made a difference in many ways.  I thought about how people tailgate…and how tailgating is an illustration of following Christ.  (Stay with me for a second on this one.)

1.  When we tailgate, we are completely focused on what the car in front of us is doing.  We must watch its every move.  When they brake, we brake.  When they speed up, we speed up.  When they stop, we stop.
2.  You’re so close in tailgating that you can’t see what’s up ahead.  That makes it risky.  We don’t know what’s coming…all we know is that whatever the car in front of goes through, we’re going too.
3.  Not being able to see around the car in front of us allows for less distractions.  If I had seen that they were getting off on Exit 19 and not Exit 22, I might not have followed.  After all, I think Exit 22 had better paved roads and was “safer”.  But since I was so close, I didn’t see that option.

As Christ followers, we need to follow closely (in the Word, in prayer, in service).  We must be intently focused on what He’s up to and where He’s going.  There’s plenty of risk involved.  It’s not a safe journey.  After all, we’ve given up our comfort and rights.  And there’s a strong likelihood that we could end up at a destination we never thought possible.  But it completely worth it.  It’s our passion and our calling…and we want to bring on as many as we can for the journey.

Bonus:  I will now become rich with my new cheesy Christian bumper sticker idea, “Tailgate the Lord, He Won’t ‘Steer’ You Wrong.”
🙂

Sunday, in 20 words or less

November 16, 2008

Preschool: Obey your parents
Elementary:  Jesus, our ultimate treasure (arrgh!)
Volunteers:  Will rock your face off
Next week:  Bling Series

Week in Review

November 15, 2008
  • The Fam survived a stomach bug.
  • I decided that on Sunday the 23rd I will be hosting all 3 services in our elementary environment.  This gives my hosts a well deserved break – plus, I absolutely love doing it.
  • I met with 2 awesome children ministers this past week.  One was a dude who’s only been in his staff position for a month and 1/2…extremely creative guy with a background of acting in NY.  The other was a lady with 30 years of experience.  Both meetings were VERY valuable.
  • I scared Adam Williams this morning by telling him that I heard John Parker had twisted his ankle.  He may have had a heart attack.
  • I have family members on a cruise right now.  I told them not to sink…we need their free childcare.

Conference Prep

November 13, 2008

Me and some great KidVenture volunteers will be attending the Orange Conference in late April 09.  I enjoy good conferences and think they can be beneficial.

Here are some reminders, though, that I think about before going to big conferences:

*  Don’t get overwhelmed.  You will hear 148 new/innovative/creative things that “will revolutionize your ministry”.  Try to take in just 3…and make it a goal to get ONE of them done over the next 3 months.
*  Don’t be afraid to skip a session…especially if you have a volunteer group with you.  It could be just as beneficial for your group to go brainstorm for an hour somewhere over something you just heard.  I think with any conference you can “hit a wall” and have brain overload…so take a break if needed.
*  Enjoy your time away, being out of town.
*  Try to network a little with other leaders.
*  Have fun daggummit!
*  Worship!  Worship!  Worship!  Often these conferences have great worship times…good music, good environment, and like minded folks around you singing praises to God.  Don’t you dare go to something like that and not be engaged.  Sing your guts out.  Tell God how great He is–thank Him for bringing you to where you are in your ministry…ask Him to give you wisdom on the next step.
*  Run up weird, unapproved charges on your church credit card.

The last one is a joke.  I’m just seeing if our Executive Pastor, Anthony, is reading my blog.
🙂

Sunday Recap ———– but done on Tuesday

November 11, 2008

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My top 5 from Sunday:

* Christianity is not a religion of the mind or not even just a religion of the heart, it’s a religion of THE HANDS. (James 1:27)
* In talking about being unified and not gossiping, Michael said, “Just because you disagree with something doesn’t make it a sin.”
* Don’t volunteer to simply help the church or help meet a quota…volunteer because it’s directly tied to your spiritual growth.  (As is giving.)
*  Jesus was the model for love, the model servant…he was the ultimate supermodel.
*  Believers may disagree on a lot of things, but one thing that should be indisputable is our mission:  GO MAKE DISCIPLES.  Jesus was clear on that.

Safe First

November 10, 2008

Just down the road from the church office a new bank is going up.  (Surprise right?  Another bank in a small town.  I think that makes 874 banks in Cartersville.)  I pass by this construction site every day and have been observing the progress.

What was easily noticeable about this bank build was what was first constructed.  Immediately after the foundation was poured and pipes were in place…before you saw the first piece of wood on site…a massive amount of concrete was poured.  I mean a lot of concrete.  Layers.  Lots of layers. Being the smart person from North Alabama that I am, I quickly concluded that they were pouring the concrete for the bank safe.

Makes sense doesn’t it?  After all, it’s the most important thing at the bank.  It holds and protects the main product of the outfit.  And I found it interesting that it was established first.  That everything was built around this “heart”.  This most vital aspect of a business was planted first.

It reminded me of a challenge I gave our KidVenture volunteers a few weeks back.  I read an article that spoke of the incredible opportunity we have as those who minister to children.  We are a healing place.  A safe place for kids to hang.  A welcoming place.  And it’s an opportunity we shouldn’t take lightly.  The last line of the article was, “But remember, you can not give away that which you do not have.”

It was a reality check.  For me, for all volunteers.  A great reminder that as we plan each Sunday…and brainstorm for the next creative kid idea…as we round up 72 volunteers each week…as we organize crafts and curriculum…to check our hearts.  To make sure that we are madly in love with Jesus.  That we are passionate about the mission, not just the process.  And to always remember that we can’t give away that which we do not hold ourselves.

So the challenge is that each week, no matter your place of service – kid’s check-in, security, preschool, elementary, set up, tear down – to come prepared.  No, not just your cup of coffee.  No, not just your lion print out with glitter and glue.  No, not even with your best monologue or most creative brand new kid’s worship song.  Be sure to bring a pure heart.  One fresh with God’s inspired Word.  One filled to the brim with kindness, joy, patience, and grace.

Let’s build that first.

Recall

November 9, 2008

Recall – a summons by a manufacturer or other agency for the return of goods or a product already shipped to market or sold to consumers but discovered to be defective, contaminated, unsafe, or the like.

Recently we (me and volunteer staff of KidVenture) recalled a decision that was made a few months back.  I made a decision back then to start using free Lifechurch curriculum for our elementary ministry.  That call wasn’t bad.  In fact, the current series we are using, “Rated Arrgh”, is very good.  The poor decision made on my part, though, was to completely pull the plug on our small group time.

The curriculum doesn’t have a hard focus on small group.  But, as I’ve come to find out, that’s an ok fit for Lifechurch.  They currently have a Wednesday night kid’s event that incorporates more discipleship and small group.  We, of course, only have Sunday morning.  Wisely, a few adult volunteers and leaders within KidVenture made me aware that they craved small group time with the kids so they could truly CONNECT.

Today I saw the fruit of bringing back small group.  And not just bringing it back, but making strides to make it better than ever.  I stepped in and lead a 3rd-5th grade small group.  To say it was a blast would be a HUGE understatement.  I absolutely love being in front of those kids.  I love the challenge of using creativity and personality to keep their attention.  And I love to help them connect the dots.  To show them that what they just heard from stage and on video DOES have relevance to their life.  I love challenging them to step up and make wise choices…despite what their friends at school are doing.  I love praying for them.  I love speaking to a group of kids knowing that some in the group are hurting cause they come from a stressful home life…I love speaking Scripture and truth in to their life, praying like crazy that it sticks…praying like crazy that they truly hear our adults when they say, “God loves you.  God knows your worries and hurts.  God has a great plan for your life.  You can trust Him with your life.”

Good job elementary leaders.  Way to invest in these kid’s lives!  Way to be patient as we build our volunteer numbers back up.  Way to push for a recall on a decision.  Now let’s get to know these kids better than ever and live out a life that’s full of God’s grace.

Gasoline

November 7, 2008

I’ve been pulling old footage off of an OLC video camera…so here’s another video.  This is the Gas Buydown we did back in August.

Video HERE.

08 Halloween Carnival

November 5, 2008

A group of Oak Leaf volunteers had the opportunity to serve the City of Cartersville the weekend before Halloween.  Thanks to all who came out and served!

Video HERE.

Election Results

November 4, 2008

Th Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.
Daniel 4

Extremely Observant

November 3, 2008

The other day I noticed the color in our TV had changed.  (Hint:  If you have 4 kids a lot of stuff gets messed with.)  Dana made a comment about how I pay attention to details.  I notice a lot –> The recliner moved 2 inches.  The bread moved down a shelf.  The car sounds different.  Someone changed hair style.  The KidVenture check-in station is slanted 3 degrees different than last week.  The temperature in this room is off, too stuffy.  That banner is crooked.

Part of this gift (curse) is having perfectionist tendencies.  Everything must be perfect.  No room for error.  And those of us with this “blessing” are quick to correct others and share our “perfect” opinion.  🙂

But as Dana and I discovered that the color had indeed changed on the TV and we talked about how we are wired differently (that I’m “special”…ha), I was convicted.  I began thinking about the “important” things that I’m quick to notice.  Stuff moving.  Things slightly out of line.  Items being clean or dirty.  Presentation.  And certainly observation of these things is important.  Nothing wrong with a desire for things to be orderly and nothing wrong with a desire for excellence.  But I started listing off things that hold much greater value…things that we can all strive to be more observant of:

  • Hints from your spouse that they need more quality time
  • Words from your children that reveal the need for more family time
  • The neighbor that is struggling, about to lose their home
  • The homeless guy you pass everyday on your way to work – why haven’t you stopped yet?
  • The co-worker that keeps giving us opportunities to invite him to church
  • The Bible that sits on our table
  • The creation all around us, screaming to slow down and observe…be still…be in awe…
  • God that says every morning:  My mercy is new again today, TRUST, serve, give, love

My challenge this week is to observe more of these things…not just notice that we’re about to run out of TP at the office.
🙂