Friday, October 31, 2008

My hat is in the ring!

I put this off for long enough, but the groundswell of support was to much for me to say no to. Here's the announcement.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It


Just finished reading It. In a few simple words, you need to read it. You especially need to read the last two chapters. I need to reread them. Not many books speak to my soul, but this did in a profound way. It has changed the way I pray for our team, our church and me. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's up to us

Leading The Charge by Cameron Strang

Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not a politically motivated person. Which is why I felt a tad out of place meeting with Barack Obama this summer. And talking to John McCain. And doing countless interviews about the faith and shifting political views of our generation.

Yet I have unwittingly found myself thrust into the political arena, a place where people are vehemently passionate about their ideologies and platforms. It’s an entire industry built around being right and proving your opponent wrong, and winning at any cost. It’s a continual power struggle and—from my humble vantage point—seems a bit flawed.

I’m someone who tries to think independently and objectively, rather than simply follow what the pundits tell me to think. Because of that, I’ve realized I cannot fully embrace either political party. Both sides of the aisle have some great ideas and goals. But both also have areas where they simply get it wrong.

I know the power of politics and the importance of the process in our world. But I also know that, historically, real, lasting change has started first at the grassroots level long before it was ever legislated. Cultural mindshifts influence Washington, not the other way around.
Many Christians traditionally have voted Republican because of their justifiable conviction to protect the lives of the unborn. Now, many younger Christians are voting Democrat because of their justifiable desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment.

The problem is, many Christians vote these convictions, but that’s largely where their personal involvement in the issues stops. Are the government leaders we vote for meant to do our job for us?

If God has given you a heart for the poor, or to see a reduction in the number of abortions, or to promote peace, or to help the sick, or to stand for strong moral values, or to be a better steward of the environment, then your personal focus needs to be on that—whether or not the President shares your same values.

The Bible reminds us to pray for our leaders, but it also talks about praying for those who persecute us. Though I can’t foresee any situation where this would be the case, what if one day every value Christians stand for, even religious freedom itself, was legislatively removed? Christians in China and many other parts of the world face this reality every day. Would it change us?

Dare I say, it might actually spur the Body of Christ here into greater action. Could it be that the loss of religious freedoms would ultimately be the best thing for American Christians because it would cause us to stand on our own feet rather than relying on the government to legislate our faith and values for us?

I’ve heard that only 5 percent of people who attend church regularly actually serve in any way. I’ve read that if every Christian in America actually tithed 10 percent of their income, we would have enough financial resources to wipe out global poverty.

There’s more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and that’s where our focus should be.

Many Christians want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, where are all of those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless of legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supreme Court justices to come along.

I’m not saying don’t vote. Do. Vote your convictions and let your voice be heard—that’s one of the perks of living in a democracy. But don’t let politics breed division, or make you see people in a different light.

If you have a passion for an issue, rather than judging someone who doesn’t share that passion or viewpoint, just go do something about it. Give your life to it. Be the change you want to see.

We need to pray for our leaders and our country, but always remember that our leaders and country do not define us. We are the generation that will shape the direction culture, government and social action will take in the next 50 years. It’s not up to Washington, it’s up to us—and I say it’s time we step up and lead the charge.

But that means with our lives, our finances and our actions every day. Not just Nov. 4.

I resonate so much with this article by Cameron. What do you think?

Quote

I'm not sure who said this, but I was listening to the church planting podcast the other day and heard this: "New churches need to pass the Catacombs Test: If it can't be done if the church has to go underground then it's a non-essential."

This really has me thinking and goes right along with Hub City's desire to keep it simple. We think we need so much to do church when all we really need is to be the church.

Our mission/vision/strategy/process for discipleship is - We exist to make disciples who make disciples by creating a church that 20 and 30 somethings want to be a part of where they can hear from God and do what he says. We don't need bells and whistles to pull this off. We don't need a lot of money to pull this off. We just need intentional relationships, the Bible and the Spirit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Christmas in Action Fall '08

This is how we spent this past Saturday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wow!

We were never commanded to plant churches, but to make disciples. Most western models of church planting are tied to raising up “preachers” to plant churches. We will never get to movement like that. Instead, if we focus on creating a different kind of disciple, not only will we get a different kind of church, but a lot more of them. - Bob Roberts on Glocalnet Blog

Monday, October 20, 2008

For the "Laird."

I'm 2

Today is Levi's second birthday. Happy Birthday to Levi. I'll post some pictures from his B-day party sometime this week for all of our family.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The progression of making a birthday cake





5 Things I'm Praying

I love the book of Acts and in chapter 2:42-47 there are 5 things that I'm praying. I just wanted to share them so that you could pray along with me.
  1. I'm praying that us, as believers, will be devoted to God's Word, to spending time together, and to each other (Acts 2:42).
  2. I'm praying that because of people's commitment, everyone will be blown away by what God is doing (Acts 2:43).
  3. I'm praying that we would be so committed to each other that if someone has a need, someone else will sell something and give the money to them. That we will be so generous that eventually no one will have any needs (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34).
  4. I'm praying that we will spend time with each other in our homes, playing, having fun (Acts 2:46).
  5. I'm praying that God will give us favor with people, and that they will beg to be a part. That others will see what we have and want it. That they will see what we're doing and want to be a part. That people will be saved every day (2:47).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Purpose series intro

We're beginning a new series this Sunday. I believe that the content to this series has the potential to completely reshape how you think about God, your life and what your life is about. Frankie did a "phenom" job on the intro.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Enemies of Unity

Like I said in an earlier post, I really, really loved Dave Ramsey's talk at Catalyst. I think it is so relevant to any person involved in any kind of Kingdom endeavor because we have an enemy who "comes to steal, kill and destroy." God really spoke to me through this talk and Dave had some great notes that I wanted to pass on. I know it's a long post, but it will definitely be worth your time (and I need to review).

Few Churches or organizations experience real unity. Only when you're on the same page do you get things done. Genesis 11:5 (interesting passage) shows the amazing power of unity. Most of our organizations do not achieve their full potential because they aren't unified.

The 5 main enemies of unity:

1. Poor Communication
  • Poor communication can take many forms, but when the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, strife sets in. You have to create communication. You must work at it.
2. Gossip
  • STOP IT!!! Gossip is degrading and will destroy a church or organization. Gossip is on the same list as sleeping with people you're not married to, homosexuality and other "big" sins. Have a zero tolerance for gossip because it destroys what you are trying to do together.
  • A successful leader develops and maintains a culture in which negatives are handed up and positives are handed down. Don't talk to people about a problem that they can do nothing about.
  • Be definition, gossip is when a negative is discussed with anyone who can't help solve the problem.
3. Unresolved disagreements
  • DEAL WITH IT!!! Unresolved disagreements happen when a leader doesn't know they exist or when that leader avoids confrontation. A leader has to have a backbone. Avoiding confrontation is wimpy.
  • A little confrontation cleanses the wound and allows the parties to go forward in a spirit of unity.
  • When you are aware there are hurt feelings and/or disagreements, act quickly and decisively. An indecisive leader is not a leader.
4. Lack of shared purpose
  • Lack of shared purpose is caused when the leader doesn't restate the goal, the vision and mission early and often.
5. Sanctioned Incompetence
  • It has been said that sanctioned incompetence demoralizes. Deal with incompetence.
  • Team members will eventually become demotivated when someone else on the team can't or won't do their job and a leader will not take action.
For the sake of unity in the entire group, the leader must go to battle early and often with any of these enemies of unity. When unity is valued in the culture, the team will also act to keep these enemies from the gate.

Thoughts on the past few days

First, I want to give a shout out to Frankie who spoke/taught for the first time yesterday. He did a great job. I'm looking forward to him doing it again... soon! We had a great crowd.

Our Hub Group last night was really good. We has some great, real discussion.

Catalyst was great last week. Thanks to Pat and Kevin, Frankie and I could go together. I love learning. Personally, I thought Seth Godin and Dave Ramsey had the most relevant talks to my life. Dave's talk was on the 5 enemies to unity. I'll post more on it later, but it was powerful. And we came away with like 5 free books! Love free stuff!

Built a bunk bed on Saturday... well, I should say I assembled a bunk bed on Saturday. The boys helped. They actually did more work than me.

Levi turns 2 in one week. I can't believe he's going to be two.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I forgot to tell you about this

I can't believe it's Wednesday and I haven't shared this. Well, here it is. The past few weeks we've been collecting diapers, wipes and gift cards to give to this local family that is in need. We had a ton of stuff come in. It was cool watching people come to our gathering carrying diapers. But not only did we collect that stuff, but we gave our entire offering away from this past Sunday to help them with medical bills.

Wanna know how much you gave? Here it is: $609. That's incredible. We're a tiny new church, but people gave $609 this past Sunday for us to give away to meet a need.

Thanks to everyone who gave. We'll be doing this again.

Off we go

I'm pretty excited to be going to Catalyst tomorrow and Friday. Thanks to some extremely generous friends both Frankie and I will be able to experience an amazing leadership conference together. I'm praying that our brains will be as sponges, soaking up, drinking in, and devouring all the learning that we can.

Speaking of Frankie. I know he would appreciate your prayers... even if you don't know him. He's going to be preaching at Hub City's gathering on Sunday. It's his first time, but I've been working to coach him and he's got some great content. He's going to do great. (If he doesn't I'm going to punch him in the throat!). No, seriously, I think it will be a great morning and it's a great opportunity for me to invest in developing him into an incredible communicator. :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

MUST READ (for guys)


Calling all teenage and college-aged guys. Stop what you're doing right now and go buy this book. Read it. Read it again (it's funny and short and has pictures). Then go buy copies for all of your friends who are guys. This tiny little book holds a wealth of insight into that all-confusing, sometimes frustrating mind of... girls.

If you could find a manual for understanding the opposite sex, would you read it? I'm almost 100% positive that you would. Well, this is that manual. I can't wait for my boys to read this when they are about 13 or 14 (or for Matthew, 7).

I know this book is called For Young Men Only, but seriously, I think this is a book for all guys. If I could have read this back in High School it would have been more than helpful.

I got two extra copies to give away. One I gave away to a friend of mine in his twenties. He said it has revolutionized his life. I know those are strong words, but aren't you just a bit curious? It's worth the investment of money and time. Go to www.foryoungmenoonly.com for more info. I still have one more copy to give away. Shoot me a comment if you're interested.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Great reminder

I came across this quote from C.S.Lewis last night. I've read it before, but thought it worth passing on:
Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down.... Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours. (Mere Christianity, 167)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

National recognition

I know this is really crazy, but you need to go here and listen to Joseph Michelli's podcast titled "Opportunity on Uncommon Ground."

I was blown away and honored to be the focus of the podcast.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What I'm learning about being a disciple.

Our small group/Hub Group is spending this coming year studying the life of Jesus. Actually, all of our Hub Groups are studying the same thing. What we're doing is going through Jesus' life, looking at stories and learning how to be a disciple and how to disciple. Today I spent some time reflecting on our first two weeks and what God is teaching me about being a disciple.

We first looked at this story and then at this story. So far, here's what I'm learning about being a disciple. It boils down to three things:
  1. Hearing Jesus' voice.
  2. Trusting he knows better than me.
  3. Doing what he says/obedience.
This leads me to ask two types of questions.
  1. Am I hearing from Jesus, trusting him and doing what he says?
  2. Am I helping others to hear from Jesus, trust him and do what he says?
That's just a bit of what I'm learning about being a disciple. I'm sure there will be more to come.