Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Advent Conspiracy

Today our church plant partnered with my in-laws Sunday school class to bring Christmas to a single mom with 5 kids. I didn't know what to expect as far as gifts are concerned. Well, we had so many gifts that there wasn't any room left on the floor in this family's living room. There were so many gifts that I think the family went into shock. We had one of those "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" moments.
Here's a picture of all of us and the family.


I survived my first funeral. Thanks to everyone who prayed. It was an honor to be invited into a family's life to speak words of comfort.

2007 was a banner year... my first wedding and my first funeral. I guess I'm an officially well rounded minister :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New experience

I'm going to be doing my first funeral tomorrow. I'm about to leave to meet the family. Could use your prayers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Your terms

Have you ever thought about how many times you come to God on your own terms? Think about it: Do you come to God with your agenda? Do your dreams and wishes get priority in your prayer time?

But if God is God (and I think He is) then isn't that kind of arrogant? Shouldn't we come to Him on His terms? Shouldn't we ask for things on His terms (the whole Your will be done thing)?

That's my focus this week: To come to God on His terms. So what does that look like in your life? I'd love some tips.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If I were God

As you're reading Scripture do you ever have the thought, If I were God I'd...? I was reading this today and thought, If I were God I'd have struck that leader dead on the spot. How could he be such a jerk?

But then I was reminded (maybe by the Holy Spirit) that if God struck that guy dead he should probably have struck me dead, many times over. That makes me thankful for grace. I don't deserve it, but I get it anyway.

Now, if only I could develop into the kind of grace giver that God is....

Friday, December 14, 2007


Yesterday was a big (and busy) day. First it was Nathan's birthday. He turned 7. I can remember scraping over an inch of ice off my car window to drive the 40 minutes to the hospital (the drive actually took 2 hours) on the day he was born. I'm so proud of him. Happy Birthday Nathan. I know it's a day late to post happy birthday, but he's really having 4 days of celebration. It began with dinner at P.F. Changs on Wednesday, then we had the real birthday with family gifts, today we're having 4 other little boys spend the night (pray for us!) and tomorrow we're having an extended family party. Life's tough for a new 7 year old.

The rest of what made yesterday busy was that I was in meetings all day. I am so appreciative of Kermit Morris (don't you just love the name Kermit?) who gave me some great ideas, advice and challenges concerning what we're doing. I was then able to meet with some other church planters who are interested in having a Power Plant team this summer. After that I met with the man, the myth, the legend... Dino Senesi to talk about our new church, what I've learned and get some input.

I really appreciate guys that give me practical advice and honest input about what we're doing. Now I need to get back to working on the stuff that was shared with me yesterday.

Oh, I almost forgot. Nathan had his first basketball practice last night. I love watching kids play. It's going to be a fun season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Great question

Read this question in an article from Tim Stevens: Have you ever had the feeling that you were meant for something extraordinary?

I think that is a great evangelism question. We've been invited to be a part of what God is doing in the world. We were meant for something extraordinary. Not that we're intrinsically extraordinary. We're definitely not (see yesterday's post). But what God is doing in the world is extraordinary, and we were created to be a part of that. We each have a role to play in God's grand story or redemption. What's your part?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007



I finished reading Unchristian today and all I can say is wow. I can attest to the findings in this book. I've seen the unchristian perspectives lived out to the detriment of the kingdom more times than I wish to count.

I think that the first place for us to begin in changing people's perspectives is for us to say we're sorry. I would love to do a series titled: We've been unchristian and we're sorry (feel free to steal that one from me).

What I love about the book, however, is not that it gives a clear picture of people's perspectives of us, but that it gives practical ways for us to move from being unchristian to being Christian. I would share details, but you need to read the book.

A reminder

I was moved by this post from Devin the other day and have been mulling over it ever since. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else out there feel the need to be reminded daily that they need the Gospel? I need to be reminded of the essence of the Gospel and that I need it just as much as someone who is far away from God.

What is the Gospel anyway? I sometimes forget that, simply put, it is the good news that Jesus took my place, paid my debt, set me free and gave his life for me when I was of no use to him (Read here). I know that it is foolish to forget this central truth to my faith, but it’s so easy to slip back into the self-sufficient thinking that keeps us from God’s grace.

Why do I need the Gospel? Duh! Do I really have to answer that question? Anyone that knows me at all knows that I need the Gospel (I’d say the same thing about you). I mess up, fall short, get angry, am inadequate, sin, ignore God’s voice, disobey… the list could go on, but I’m feeling guilty and need to stop. But that’s why I need the Gospel. I could never save myself. I need someone to rescue me from myself. I need rescue from my selfish way of living. I need rescue from my temper. I need rescue from my “thoughts of grandeur” that elevate my ideas and my way over the ideas and ways of my creator.

Not only do I need the Gospel, but the Gospel is what people need. The problem is that most of them just don’t know they need it yet. Maybe one of the reasons why they don’t think they need it is because those of us who’ve experienced it don’t act like we need it either. I don’t want to live that way… I can’t live that way.

This post isn’t some lame attempt beat myself up and say “Woe is me.” What it is, however, is a reminder to me, and to whoever else out there is reading this thing, that we need the Gospel. Of all the times of the year to be reminded of this, (other than Easter) Christmas is the time. Jesus came to rescue us, because we needed to be rescued. We didn’t deserve rescue, but He came anyway.

This is really the reason why we moved to Spartanburg to plant a church. I want to be a part of a church that shares, lives out and needs the Gospel. Imagine being a part of a community like that! I just needed a reminder. Maybe you did too.

Let's get this party started

I'm pretty pumped because this Sunday we’re having a Christmas Party. Everybody is invited. If we’ve never met you before, you’re invited. If you’re my neighbor, you’re invited. If you’re someone else’s neighbor, you’re invited. So where are you going to be on Sunday night at 5:30? You are going to be at Jonathan’s house. E-mail us at for directions. We’ll have lots of food. See you Sunday!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little braggin'

No, I'm not going to brag about how Clemson beat USC on a last second field goal or how Clemson's going to the Chick-fil-a Bowl and USC will be at home opening up their presents of sweaters and socks... even though I could.

What I want to brag about is not a what but a who. I want to brag on Chris and Frankie. Last night these two great (yet at times a bit crazy) guys went to the mall to do some surveying. We're in an info gathering and relationship building mode, so these guys spent three hours at the mall talking with people about their beliefs, God, Church and what we're doing. They had a ton of awesome conversations with people who wanted to share opinions.

I think things went so well for two reasons. First, I think Chris and Frankie are easy and fun to talk with. You feel at ease around them. They are gifted. My wife, Liz, also has this gift...the gift of woo: winning others over. Second, they approached people with questions, not scripts or an outline or ________________ (you fill in the blank). They just started to ask peoples opinions about stuff, and people love sharing their opinions.

As a result they not only got some great information, but had a bunch of significant conversations with people who were everything from unchurched to Jewish to Muslim to looking for a church. Who knows what God is going to do because of those conversations.

So I've got to brag on and give a big shout out to Chris and Frankie. You guys are awesome. Thanks for using your gifts to contribute towards creating a church that young adults want to be a part of. Thanks for using your gifts for the Kingdom. I'm so thankful to have you on our team.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


In five minutes I'm leaving for Columbia to speak at Columbia Metro, a worship gathering for young professionals. I'm excited about the opportunity. If you read this please say a prayer that God would use me tonight.

Monday, December 03, 2007

First things first

I was reading this passage this morning about Jesus sending out the 72 disciples (yes, these 72 were other followers in addition to his 12, although the 12 could have been a part of this group). Go read it now. Did you read it? Now, what was the first thing Jesus commanded them to do?

Make sure you've read it.

Jesus sends out the 72 and his first command is for them to pray for more workers. It's like Jesus is saying that 72 is not enough. The task is too big. We need more people. Pray for more people.

This is huge for us. Right now we have an awesome team of 7 adults and 6 kids, but the task of creating a church that young adults want to be a part of is so much bigger than the 13 of us. We need more workers. Will you join me in praying for more workers?

I need to brag on those 7 adults. I think they are awesome. Their commitment, creativity and passion to create a church that young adults want to be a part of is such an encouragement to me. I can't wait to see what God is going to do with us.

Now we're praying for more workers to join the awesome ones that are already on the team. This may be you. If so check out our new blog to find out how you can be a part.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Home sweet home

After a week at Disney World it's good to be back home. I am so thankful that I got to share this experience with my boys. They were fearless. They rode every roller-coaster that their height allowed them to ride. Matthew was upset that he couldn't ride more rides. Most of the coasters we rode twice or more. We'll definitely go back, but not for a couple of years. We need to wait until Levi can join in the madness. I'll post some pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Off to Disney

Today we are off for a week at Disney World. I am so excited about spending this time with Liz, Nathan, Matthew and Levi. Liz's parents and her sister and brother-in-law are going too, which is good because with three kids I'll take all the help I can get.

My goal on this trip is to create some life-long memories with my family, so since that is the case, I'm going to be fasting from technology until I get back. That means no e-mail, no blogging, no business cell phone (I'll have my cell in case I get lost from my family wandering around "Mickey-land"), no facebook. I'm leaving my computer at home. If I take it with me I'll be tempted to check e-mail, read blogs, miss time with my family, etc.

I was really challenged by Mark's blog to leave this stuff. I challenge you to do the same when you go on vacation. I'm the only husband to Liz and the only dad to my boys, so I want to maximize my time with them.

The world will go on without little ole me. I will post some pictures when I get home from our trip so that you can join in on our fun. Until then... Adios.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Now in Theaters

I was looking through the paper this AM and noticed that Bella is playing at Spartan 16. This is a movie you need to see. I had the privilege of screening it back in April and was deeply moved. So get a date, take a group and go see Bella. You can watch the preview here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New posts to Hub City Underground

I just posted a bunch of nitty-gritty stuff to Hub City Underground. Be sure to check it out.

I love the idea of using a blog for our new churches web site for now. It is interactive, easily updatable and free. Just like our new church, it is always a work in progress. I would love to hear your thoughts about it, how we might improve, what I should add, etc. I also want to make a shameless request to any bloggers who read this to post a blog with a link. I want the google bots to swarm this thing so that it's easily searchable. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Proud dad

Nathan's doing this interactive devotional called "a child's time with God." It's pretty cool. He did day 4 today. It said: Because God is great, he can do anything! There is nothing you can ask that is too big or small. Draw a picture of something you want to ask God to do. Nathan wrote: Grow our church and drew a picture of me outside of a church. I was moved and pretty emotional. I want to see God do that too.

Survey says...

Tracy Turner (who is a great guy) let Frankie and I survey the college students at Sunago last Thursday. I really appreciate him letting us check the pulse of those students. Our goal is to get a picture of young adults who are both Christian and non-Christian. Out of 46 surveys from the other night 13 people wanted more info about what we're doing (remember, you can go here to find out more info).

Here's the deal, I want to survey your group. Leave me a comment or e-mail me and we'll get together.

Be my friend

That's right, I need friends. I just signed up for a facebook account and now I have all these friends, but I don't know if I have you as a friend (you know who you are). So be my friend so I won't be lonely.

Seriously, this facebook thing is amazing. I've contacted with people I haven't seen or talked with in years. I feel like I did when I tried avocados for the first time: I didn't know what I was missing until I joined the cult. Now I want avocados all the time.

I've just got to figure out how to use all of the cool stuff that goes along with being a facebook junkie.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sweet new blog

Rumor has it that a new church is going to be planted in Spartanburg. It's going to be a church that young adults want to be a part of. Oh wait, that's the church that we're planting! Well, instead of a website we've created a blog to keep you informed and get the word out about what's going on. So, you get to hear it first here: Hub City Underground is now LIVE. Click here to check it out. Pass the link on to everyone you know. Join the revolution.

One more thing real fast... to all of you who said it would be easy for me to set up a facebook account... well, it's not working!!!!!! For some reason it won't register my e-mail, so I've got a e-mail into their tech people. Is God trying to tell me something about facebook, or am I just an idiot who can't figure it out?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I survived

Yesterday was a long day. Speaking at SCC was a lot of fun. I really appreciate Hub's invitation and am glad I could help him out. Frankie, Chris and I left yesterday afternoon to check out Midtown. I love what those guys are doing in Columbia and appreciate their willingness to help us.

I have to say that a road trip with Chris and Frankie needs chaperones. Their wives have to come next time to keep those two crazy guys in line! I felt like I was on a Middle School trip. :) Seriously, I really appreciate their willingness to be out late, go on a field trip and learn so that we can be better prepared for launching a new church for young adults in Spartanburg.

Now I've got to go create a Facebook page. I know, I'm slow and behind the times, so it's time to catch up. Any pointers?

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Yesterday I got to hang out for a couple of hours with Dustin, Lee and Adam from Midtown Fellowship in Columbia. Those guys were great to let me pick their brains. They gave some great advice that we'll be putting into practice in what we're about to do (which I know I haven't blogged about yet, but I will). We're taking our team down on Sunday to check things out, get inspired and have fun.

The only problem with the whole day was the parking ticket I had on my windshield after our time at Starbucks. I think the city of Columbia must have gotten a discount rate on those parking meters. They are everywhere. The city must be rolling in the dough from all those meters and all the tickets from the expired meters. I'm thankful for Spartanburg and Greenville's free parking! There's another reason to not like Columbia!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I heard this quote today and thought it worthy of reflection. The church has been the most powerful when it’s had the least. - Dallas Willard

Monday, November 05, 2007

Speaking gig and prayer request

One of the big reasons we're able to do what we're doing in Spartanburg is because of the gracious gifts and support of Spartanburg Community Church. I can't say enough about Hub's kingdom mindset. Found out last week that Hub's dad had a heart attack. He had open heart surgery this morning and it looks like he's recovering well. Please pray for Hub Sr. as he recovers.

With things up in the air about his dad Hub asked me to speak for him next Sunday. I'm honored that he would ask me and am pumped about the opportunity. I had the privilege of speaking there about six weeks ago and just found out today that you can watch the message online here.

Now I've got to figure out what to say!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My little Ramone

Matthew's been dying to get a Mohawk, so when we got his hair cut today we asked the stylist to spike it up. He looks like a little punk rock start. He really wanted to shave the sides of his head and just have hair down the middle. I don't know where he gets this stuff from!!! Let's just say he got more looks than a supermodel at Sam's.

Finally, it's free!

For months Nathan's front tooth has been loose and finally it was able to break free! Pulling this thing was a bit traumatic for the entire family, but now it's out and the world in getting back to normal (last night Nathan stayed up for about 45 minutes trying to pull it himself, but instead ended up making himself nauseous with the blood and slight pain... he's just like me!).

On a completely different note I was quoted in the paper this AM. I have to relish my one sentence claims to fame. The quote's pretty lousy, but it's kind of fun seeing your name in print. Thanks to Kim Kimzey for quoting me! You can read the article here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

What's a disciple?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what's a disciple. I'm trying to develop a discipleship process for the new church we're going to launch in Spartanburg (more about that later), but I came across this post from Dave about Spiritual Maturity. I love what their three points about Spiritual Maturity:
  • Spiritual Infancy = Getting Fed
  • Spiritual Adolescence = Feeding Yourself
  • Spiritual Adulthood = Feeding Others
Using this leads to this question: What stage of life are you in? Most Christians never make it out of Spiritual Infancy. That's sad, pathetic, shameful, etc. Let's grow up (Isn't this what the writer of Hebrews meant here). Let's not be satisfied with just getting fed, but let's learn to feed ourselves and then to feed others.

Something I hate

I know that hate is a strong word, but I've got to share something that I really hate. I hate being sick. I've had this cold hanging around for for weeks. I thought it was going away but yesterday and today it's come back with a vengance. Unfortunately, Liz has been struck too, as well as Levi and Matthew. I guess we could look at it as a shared family experience. Pray that this thing will go away! There's too much to do to feel like you've been hit by a semi.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween thoughts

So I know that there are so many Christians who are anti-Halloween. We see this all the time. We segregate ourselves, in the name of protecting our kids, to our fellowship halls and church parking lots. We call what we do a "harvest festival" or "trunk or treat." We invite people to come to our church property and then we hand out candy in a safe (no witches or devil or Harry Potter costumes allowed) environment. These are all fine and good... to an extent.

But have you ever thought of Halloween as the only day of the year that you have people who may not be Christians knocking at your door. Have you ever thought that you could make Jesus look really good by handing out the best candy in your neighborhood?

I find it extremely sad that the only homes with the porch lights off are Christian's (because they are at church with their churched friends getting safe candy) and pedophiles (because the law forces them to keep their lights off). How can followers of Jesus be salt and light if they are not where salt and light are needed?

490 years ago today a former monk nailed a piece of paper to the cathedral doors at Wittenburg. He was promoting a revolution of beliefs. Rick Warren says that we've got the beliefs thing down, but now we need a revolution of deeds. Maybe the first place we could start would be to stay home and give out candy to people who need Jesus. Maybe we could get the reputation of being the house with the best candy in town. Maybe people would start knocking on our doors because Christians give out the best stuff on Halloween.

Just some thoughts that I think every year about this time.

One more thing... today is my brother's birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN!!! I was superman the day he was born. That's why he's so cool!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Clergy appreciation and John Piper

Bright and early this AM I went to a clergy appreciation breakfast that featured John Piper as the main speaker. I've heard Piper before and read a couple of his books, but that guy is smart. He repeated his most famous line: God is most glorified when I am most satisfied in him. It's good to be reminded how important it is to prioritize your love relationship with Jesus. For further reading on this you need to read Desiring God. It's tough to read but well worth the effort.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A freebie

Don't know if you're a coffee drinker or not, but I was just tipped off to this free deal. If you don't like coffee you can go ahead and register and then give me the free coffee as a gift! :) I might need more than one sample to help discern Dunkin Donuts quality as compared to Starbucks or Seattle's Best.

One more thing that has nothing to do with coffee. I read Mark's blog here where he said that church is a tag team sport. That is so true. Most people abdicate their responsibility to make disciples because they think that's the church's job, when really, church corporate should be a partner in the discipleship process.

How can the church partner? It can create safe environments where Christians can invite outsiders and seekers so that they can explore what being a follower of Jesus is all about.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Help Wanted

Just talked with an extremely nice and helpful professor at North Greenville about the possibility of getting some students to come help us. They have students who need a place to work to fill a practicum requirement. We have a place for people to work and help. It could be a match made in heaven... or just a great partnership made in the upstate.

Along those lines, if you're a college student looking to be a part of a revolution that's changing the world, then you need to be on our team. I don't want to say too much right now, but e-mail me and we'll talk.

Posts worth reading

Here are a few posts worth reading on a Friday:
  • Seth is right on with this post. Less means I read more.
  • Perry resonates with one of my values and strengths with this post.
  • Pat is so on with this post. My only problem with Pat is his blog is so much cooler looking than mine. I'm jealous!
  • Vince sums up what I want our church to be known for with this post.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What would you do?

Ok, so I've got a question. If you were given the responsibility and privilege to reach 12,000+ college students and 45,000+ young adults (single and married), what would you do? It's just a question I'm working through at the moment as I sit in Crossroads listening to Steve Fee.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pat let me read The Dip on the flight home from Phoenix yesterday (You can read Pat's blog here). I've heard a lot of great stuff about this book and was glad for the chance to read it. What was most beneficial to me was struggling with this question: What can I be the best in the world at? Or, what can our church plant be the best in our world at? I think I've got an answer to that question, but I'm not going to share that right now.

His point is that if you can't be the best in the world then you need to quit that and do what you can be the best in the world at. I loved this quote:
Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new. In both cases, it's about being the best in the world. Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other. (Pg. 4)
I decided I need to buy this book and reread it. It's filled with practical advice.

Thoughts on flying

Now I know that by posting this some homeland security person is going to read my blog and take my picture from some secret satellite and then post my picture at every airport security checkpoint or put me on someone's no-fly list, but can I just make a few comments about airport security? Let me first say that I am in favor of airport security. I believe that in the day and time we live that airport security is a good thing. At the same time I have to say that going through airport security is humiliating and left me feeling dirty and slightly abused. I know they don't mean to treat you like the Nazi's treated the Jews as they arrived at the concentration camps, but that's how it felt.

Having to take off shoes, belts, coats, while emptying pockets and exposing other "stuff" gave me the "I've been violated" feeling. And then there's that whole "No Liquid" policy, or "No more than 3 oz. of liquid and gel" policy. I know selling water for $1.50 is a crime, but come on? It it really that lethal to carry a bottle onto the plane? And what's so threatening about hair gel? I had a friend who had his gel confiscated (did the TSA folks need it?) and there was only a trace amount left in it's container. While at the same time, my FULL tube of gel, half full container of aftershave, full bottle of cough medicine and almost full container of saline solution was let through without a hitch. Is there a consistency problem? Why is gel a threat?

I think we should have rules and regulations. But I do have a problem with stupid rules. I also have a problem with stupid rules that are only enforced ocationally.

Ok, now that I've got that off of my chest, and know that I'll never be able to fly again, I feel better. But in all seriousness, I think we could use some commons sense and logic in the way we do airline security, so if you've got inroads anywhere....

So long, my next post will probably be from a prison cell.

Santa's on the plane

Yes, you read that correctly. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were both on my flight from Phoenix to Atlanta last night. It was amazing. This candid shot of the big man himself was taken by on Daniel's iPhone (man, I want one of those... so Santa... just in case you're wondering what to bring me...). Not only was Santa (complete with red bowler hat, north pole tie, red socks and read coat) on the plane, but he was waiting to use MY bathroom right after I was finished. I felt famous. How many people can say that Santa was waiting in line for them to finish peeing?

On another note, I met some great guys at Power Plant coordinator training in Phoenix. I'm really getting excited about our project here in the upstate next summer. But it is great to be home. After a delayed flight, I finally got home around 1 AM. I'll post more about the flight in a little while.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One thing after another

The past few days have been good busy. We partied down on Friday night celebrating Levi's and Grandpa's birthday. Yesterday was filled with soccer and Clemson's whopping victory over Central Michigan. I love seeing us score 70 points. Now if we can just do that again next week versus Maryland. It was Levi's first game. He had a blast. Right now I'm sitting at the Gaffney YMCA listening to Northpoint's band warm up and getting ready to speak. Too bad I don't have a voice. This should be interesting. I leave here and head straight for the airport to fly to Phoenix to go to Power Plant coordinator training. On top of all this travel I've got a cold and feel bad. Fun! Please pray for Liz since she'll be a single mom for three days. Oh... I'd better go. I've got to load my verses into their computer.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Speaking at Northpoint

Yes, you did read that correctly. I got a call yesterday inviting me to speak at Northpoint on Sunday. It's Northpoint in Gaffney, not Alpharetta :). Thanks Ryan for the invitation. It will be fun. On a side note, I'm open for speaking engagements, so if you know of anything please shoot me a line.

92 & 1

Today's a big day. We're celebrating my grandpa's 92nd birthday and Levi's 1st birthday. It's pretty wild for me to think about having a birthday party for the oldest and the youngest persons in my family. I think it's got to be a huge blessing for my grandpa. Happy Birthday Grandpa and Levi!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spiritual gifts

This morning I've been doing some self-evaluation. I think it's important to know yourself. We need to know our own strengths, gifts, weaknesses, etc. so that we can best pursue who God has created us to be.

Every so often I re-take a Spiritual gifts survey just to remind myself of my gifts and also to monitor any changes in my life. After listening to an old message from Bill Hybels I was motivated to re-survey myself. Hybels says that if we're not working in our top two gifts we'll end up frustrated, emotionally drained and less effective than we could be.

You can take a free survey here. Just in case your wondering, my top three are Teaching, Exhortation and Administration/Leadership. The cool thing about the above survey is that it gives you a pretty in depth description of the gifts you've got.

So do you know your gifts? What are you waiting on? Take the survey!

One more thing about this whole gift idea. Just because you know what your gifts are doesn't mean you're automatically at the top of your game in that gift. You've got to develop your gifts. Work them out. Find ways to put your giftedness to work. Improve! Another way to think of it is to play with the gift that God's given you.

Why can't we all just get along?

Just finished reading Peppermint-filled Pinatas. The good folks at Catalyst sent this book out. I had heard about it, but wasn't going to buy it, but when someone sends you something for free... well... it's like an invitation to read away. It's not the best book I've read, but Eric does do a good job of reminding us about the importance of real relationships with people who are different from us, people who are far away from God. The book in a sentence is: Love people and develop friendships with them.

The best part of the book, to me, was the following quote:
People who are not interested in something in general are rarely interested in a new version of it. It's like trying to get a non-coffee drinker like myself to try a Sumatran blend instead of the Colombian blend. I don't like any coffee. You could pour an entire bag of sugar and a gallon of milk into a grande cup, and I still won't like it. It's the same principle with starting a church. How can you get people excited about something that does not yet exist, especially if they don't like church to begin with?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Formula Free!

Boy, have I been inconsistent with blogging lately, but I have good news to share. We made the switch on Saturday from formula to whole milk for Levi. The transition went off without a hitch. He's such an easy baby. He turns one on Saturday and I think he's eaten more in his first year of life than his brothers have eaten in their combined 11 years of life. I'm so glad God gives us the gift of such diverse families. Things would get boring if all of my boys were the same. Their different personalities adds flavor (and chaos) to our lives.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm not normally an emotional person, but I started crying when I read this post from Vince. My passion to be a part of creating that kind of environment where unchurched people are so moved that they want all of their unchurched friends to experience it too. That doesn't mean I want us to be Forefront or Newspring or Northpoint. But I do want to be a part of creating that kind of church here in Spartanburg.

I ask for your prayers as we seek out staff and a launch team to help create a new kind of church in Spartanburg.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coming to a city near you

Well, maybe not near you, but it is coming to a city near me. What's coming?

I just got word that Greenville/Spartanburg will be hosting Power Plant next summer. I had the privilege of being the Project Coordinator for the Myrtle Beach project this past summer and now I get to do it here at home. I'm pretty pumped about having a bunch of students invade the upstate to help plant churches.

Now we need groups to register. Pass along the word. It's going to be a great week.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Ministry of Management - Patrick Lencioni

I think it's partly because I've never had any management training and partly because Patrick was hilarious, but his talk on the ministry of management was probably the most practical talk during Catalyst.

He posed two questions: Is your job fulfilling or miserable? And, what do we need to have a job that's fulfilling?

The talk really came from his new book The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. I want to get that book. The three signs are Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement. He said that we all want to be known. We all need to know that we're making a difference in people's lives. And people need to be able to measure for themselves if they are doing a good job. He ended his talk with this statement: Management is Ministry.

I needed this. These are practical, doable things. I want to be a part of creating an environment that's fun, meaningful and rewarding to work at.

Deadly Assassins

I just finished Deadly Viper Character Assassins and had to immediately post. I know I said this in an earlier post, but you need to go buy this book immediately. It is SO easy to read. It is short. It has cool pictures. But the value of this book is that it forces our minds to think about some assassins that are out to destroy our character and our lives.

They address seven assassins:
  1. Character Creep
  2. Zi Qi Qi Ren
  3. Amped Emotions
  4. Headless Sprinting Chicken
  5. Boom Chicka Wah Wah
  6. Bling Bling
  7. High and Mighty
Besides having incredibly creative and funny names, these chapters address issues that all of us struggle with. I was convicted/challenged/provoked many times as I read through this book.

We don't need to give our enemy any more fuel for his fire. I want to live by radical integrity and radical grace. I'm accepting the challenge. Will you?

The Most Powerful Man in the Room - Andy Stanley

Andy spoke in the first session out of John 13. He posed this question: What do you do when it dawns on you that you're the most powerful person in the room?

All things were under Jesus' power, so what did Jesus do? He shed his robe (his symbol of authority) and humbly washed the disciple's feet. This act of humility stunned the disciples. It made Peter uncomfortable. Then Jesus put back on his symbol of authority and told his disciples to follow his example.

If you want to know what to do when all eyes are on you, you need to follow Jesus' example: Shed your symbols of power for the benefit of those under your power. Look for ways to leverage your power for the sake of the other people in the room.

I'm still thinking through this whole issue. I'm not, by any means, even close to being an expert on authority and leadership, but when I look back on my life I see how so often I have not laid down my authority for the good of those under my authority. I see how often I have not followed Jesus' example, so it leaves me with some questions: How does this look in the life of a church planter? How does a person, who has a vision from God, life this principle out on a daily basis? How do you flesh this out in your family?

I'd love some comments or responses. (Make sure you add your name because I usually don't post responses from anonymous, whoever anonymous is)

Catalyst reviewed

Hopefully today I'll get around to posting all my notes from Catalyst last week. It was a great two days with such good content that my brain's still processing everything. That's where this blog's going to come in. I'm going to do posts from each speaker's talk and maybe share some commentary.

I need to mention something about a free book that was given out. On Thursday afternoon there were ninjas roaming the Gwinett arena handing out Mike and Jud's new book, Deadly Viper Character Assassins. I'm almost finished with this quick, but challenging read. As I was reading yesterday a thought went through my head: Character is the one thing that all of us need, but none of us want to talk about. I want to talk about it. I think it needs to be talked up. We'll see where these thoughts lead... maybe a sermon series sometime in the future? Anyway, you need to go by the book and read it. We need a revolution of Character.

I've got to mention this from the book. Mike and Jud say we need to be people of radical integrity and radical grace. I think that too often we in the church ere on the side of radical integrity but we shoot anyone that messes up. That's just plain stupid, and not to mention, unchristian. We need to also be people of radical grace. Then, maybe then, we can create a community that's safe to be real and authentic so that we can address the messes that most of us are.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Giant Panda

Today I get to fulfill the dream of a lifetime. I get to dress up as a Giant Panda and wave at elementary school students for 2 hours. Well, maybe it's not the dream of a lifetime, but it should be really fun.

I was thinking about being Patch (that's the name of the Giant Panda) this morning and this passage from Matthew came to mind. This is a great opportunity for me to be salt and light. Honestly, I wouldn't mind being River Ridge's resident Patch. Paul said to do all you do for the glory of God. I get to be a Giant Panda for the glory of God this morning! And on top of that Nathan thinks it's really cool.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Just another list

I'm in the mood to list some things this morning, so here we go:
  • 4-0... that was the score of our soccer game on Saturday. I love coaching Nathan's team. The kids are hilarious and they felt so good scoring 4 points.
  • I'm still recovering from Clemson's loss on Saturday. My friend Josh Phillips said it best: Pulling for Clemson is a curse. I mean that. It's a curse that there's no cure for.
  • These two posts (here and here) from Ben are great and I love this question from Tony.
  • Anybody else watching Chuck. We officially switched from Prison Break to Chuck last night. It's hilarious. The quote "We work with macs, we're IT artists" was so funny I'm still laughing this morning.
  • While we're on the TV talk, I love Heroes. It's a great show. I just wish it were on for two hours a week instead of one hour.
  • I can't wait to go to Catalyst tomorrow. I'm excited about going with Ryan.
  • Tomorrow AM I get to be Patch. Who is Patch? Patch is a big panda bear. Patch is the mascot at Nathan's school, River Ridge Elementary. Nathan is so excited that he's told his entire class that I'm going to be Patch.
  • Liz and I were hugging on Sunday (we only hug once a week) and we looked up and saw Matthew watching us. Liz asked him, What do you think about mommy and daddy hugging? He said very seriously, It's beautiful. Liz says he's such a sweetheart. I think we might be in trouble when he's a teenager. He's our romantic child.
That's enough for now.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Perceptions of Christianity

I heard about this book last spring at the Q conference and I can't wait for it to come out. I think it's true that Christians in America have an image problem. When you think about what we're known for it's stands in stark contrast to Jesus' words that "They will know that you are my disciples by the love you have for one another." Heck, we can't even love our fellow Christians, let alone those people around us who aren't Christians yet. I'm excited to see what conversations this book is going to spark and hope to see a change in perception that comes from those conversations.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Steph's crazy puppy

Can anyone say, "We need puppy school"? Who needs David Copperfield when you can just chew your way through the door? Maybe Steph and Chris (my sister-in-law and brother-in-law) aren't feeding the fellow enough!

I just thought this was a funny photo that needed to be shared. What would you do if this was your puppy's fault?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What if?

I was reading in Ezra this morning and came across Ezra 6 and it got my imagination going. In Ezra 6 we find King Darius endorsing, funding and protecting the rebuilding of the God's temple in Jerusalem. Get this... Darius is a Persian, pagan king who endorses, funds and protects a Jewish, God-project.

I started dreaming when I read this. What if the secular city officials of any given town/city sought after someone to plant a church in their city and then decided to fund and endorse the church plant? I know this is really unheard of and could be the source of endless court battles and constitutional discussions, but what if God touched the hearts of the secular officials in an area in such a way that they would partner with God's people to build the Kingdom?

I know organizations like World Changers, Habitat for Humanity and others do this, but what if it happened with a church plant... and what if it happened here in Spartanburg?

Who knows, I'm just dreaming, but that would surely be an amazing God-thing to be involved with, don't you think?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend Reflections

This past weekend was a full one for us. Here's the breakdown:
  • I coached my first soccer game. Actually, I'm not sure you would call it coaching. It was a mix of laughter, chaos and encouragement. It's such a blast coaching Nathan's team of first and second graders. We scored one goal. The other team scored three goals. But this is Upward, where every child is a winner, so we didn't really lose!
  • Got to watch Clemson take out NC State 42 to 20. It really should have been 70 to 20. We looked good. Now if we can take that same intensity and skill into Georgia Tech on Saturday (there's a chance I'll get to watch the game in HD on a 60 inch screen).
  • I finally got around to cutting my grass Saturday afternoon. I'm sure my neighbors are happy. To bad most of my yard is dead. We need rain.
  • Levi was sick all weekend with a bad cold and fever. Poor guy. He doesn't understand why he feels bad and is just pitiful.
  • Speaking at SCC yesterday went great, at least that's what people said. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak and help Hub out. I think you can listen online here.
Now it's off to start a new week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Boy, do I resonate with this: I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show Himself mightily on our behalf. I didn’t want merely to mark time. I longed and cried out for God to change everything - me, the church, our passion for people, our praying. One day I told the Lord that I would rather die than merely tread water throughout my career in the ministry... always preaching about the power of the Word and the Spirit, but never seeing it. I abhorred the thought of just having more church services. I hungered for God to break through in our lives and ministry.” - Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Off to Roebuck

I have the privilege of speaking at Roebuck Baptist Church in two hours. I'm going to showing some statistics about the state of the church in America and the problem therein, and then presenting a solution of investing in the Kingdom. It should be fun. I put on Khaki's. I feel like I'm dressed for a wedding!

You've got to read this blog. Out of all the blogs I regularly read, Vince Antonucci is the one that's connecting with me and speaking to me the most.

Someone paid for my lunch today. DJ Horton, pastor of Anderson Mill Rd. Baptist Church took me to lunch. I'm really excited about what God is doing at Anderson Mill and his vision for churches planting churches. Thanks for the lunch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I know that we can make statistics say whatever we want them to say, but I still love statistics. They can show us a lot.

Here's something I just came across in preparing to speak at Roebuck Baptist Church tomorrow night about church planting and the state missions offering.

South Carolina had a population of 4,198,068 in 2004.
New studies show that only 23% of SC's population is in church on any given weekend.
That means that there are 3,463,406 people in SC who are NOT in church on any given weekend.

My question is: How many churches do we need to start to reach those people? And, what do our existing churches need to do to reach those people? Sounds to me like we need to stop arguing and fighting amongst ourselves (as Christians) and start getting after the people that God cares about the most.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More speaking

I just got a call asking me to speak at FCA at Wofford on Monday night. I am so thankful for the speaking opportunities God is sending my way. It's an honor to be invited to speak at different venues and it's great for me to be able to do what I feel like I'm gifted to do while our church plant is in a time of transition.

Now I've got to figure out what to talk about... and should I wear a Clemson shirt to Wofford?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm listening

Today's just one of those days when I feel an overwhelming need, a burden to hear from God. Do you ever feel like that? It's really a desperation that comes from deep within. So I'm trying to listen. If you've got a moment, please pray that God will speak and that I will hear. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Yesterday I spend all day in a group with Glenn Smith learning about creating systems for a church. This post is just a way for me to process what I learned and to maybe get some of you thinking about systems. I'll warn you that this is going to be a long post.

As a church planter I've believed the lie that in order for things to get done (or for things to get done well) I need to do them. This is an easy lie to believe because when things start I end up playing the role of technician -- one in which I end up doing all the work. But I have to learn how to engage others in doing the work and delegate (not abdicate). The goal is to be a strategic leader who creates jobs, spends more time working on the ministry than working in the ministry and who creates and manages critical systems in the church.

The problem is that most pastors/church planters, including myself, are the system. We need to move away from being the system toward developing systems and then leveraging those systems.

The three critical systems that a church needs are an assimilation system, a spiritual formation system and a leadership development system.

An assimilation system works to move persons who are far away from God to a place where they are relationally connected to two or more attenders and towards a role where they are making a meaningful contribution to the larger group.

A spiritual formation system works to take the person who is relationally and meaningfully connected and move them from where they are to faith n Jesus and then to being a reproducing missional disciple (I hope to write more on what a reproducing missional disciple is later). This spiritual formation typically involves three factors: A meaningful relationship with one or more Christ-followers that leads to internal processing and accountability, an interactive relationship with God, and an engaging of the person's natural talents/abilities in service to others in order to accomplish God's kingdom purposes.

A leadership development system involves creating a leadership pipeline that develops leaders over a lifetime. I need to think about and process this a bit more. It was the most confusing of the systems, probably because I've never been a part of anything like it (unfortunately).

Now that I've shared these I want to get to work creating some systems so that, whatever happens with The Point or with a new church plant, that we'll have some systems in place to assimilate people into the body, grow them into reproducing missional disciples and develop leaders.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm pretty pumped about speaking at Sunago this coming Thursday. Tracy has done an incredible job creating a relevant gathering for college students in Spartanburg and it's an honor to be invited to speak.

Time's, they are a changin'

Boy, it's been a long time since I last blogged. I was beginning to think I fell off the face of the planet. I know you've each been waiting anxiously for a new post.

A lot has happened over the past week. Clemson beat FSU for the fourth time in five years, then 5 days later whooped up on LA-Monroe. Matthew went to the game with me on Saturday. It was great spending some time with him. He ate more candy in three hours than he has in three months, but he had fun! USC beat UGA... who would have thunk it?

The Point has moved into a time of retreat and restructuring. I would appreciate your prayers for me and the wonderfully amazing people that are a part of The Point. God's teaching all of us some stuff right now. Maybe when I've worked through some of it I'll post some more. Last night we looked at this passage in Hebrews. It has a lot to say to us right now. Some more changes will be coming soon, but it's too early to go there.

I've read some books on grief and grieving. I've never really thought about this, but life is filled with losses. Some are small, some are big, some involve death, some involve relationships, some involve dreams, some involve stuff... but with all loss comes some form of grieving. I think it would be fair to say that I've been in a state of grief now for the past few months... lost relationships, unmet expectations, the death of some dreams... each of these have left me, and Liz and really our church, in a state of grief. We don't want to sweep the grief under the carpet as if it doesn't exist, but my desire is to work through the grief, so that on the other side we emerge more mature and more like Jesus. Thus, the reading of the books on grief. If you know of any good books you'd recommend then post a comment. I'm learning some good stuff.

I'll end by sharing a link to a post I read on vision. I can relate to this.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hilarious #2

Here's another we've got to use.

Hilarious #1

We've got to find a way to use this.

The problem

I stumbled upon a new blog today that needs to be read. Even though I know this to be true it really hits me between the eyes. You can check out the posts here, here, here, and here.

Click and read those posts and then come back.

Did you read them? If yes then read on, if not then READ THEM.


In all honesty, I don't know what the future of The Point is going to be. It's been a tough past month losing 80% of our people. Those of us that are left need some healing. We need time to recover. We need God to renew our passion, confidence and vision (or at least I need these things). So with that in mind we're not jumping ahead. We're taking some time for healing. That's why we've got a stripped down gathering. That's why we're not doing small groups. That's why we're not doing marketing or trying to grow.

This stage could last a week or two months. I don't think we need to put a time frame on it.

But here's where all this goes back to the posts I wanted you to read. No matter what happens with The Point's future, I don't want us to be a church that just grows at the expense of other churches. I don't want us to be just the next cool church in town. I really want us to be about reaching people who are far away from God.

If you're a Christian, and want to be on that kind of a mission, then we want you on our team. We need you on our team. We need mission minded followers of Jesus who are in this for those who aren't in the family yet.

If you're just interested in the next cool place to be (not that we're all that cool... have you seen me?), or a place that caters to your needs then I could recommend some cool churches for you (you might have to drive), but don't waste my time or your time at The Point. And since I'm being honest... you might need to do a gut check, get your eyes off the person in the mirror and get on board with the mission of Jesus. It's pretty clear that the heart of our heavenly Father is tilted towards those who are on the outside more so than it is with those of us who are already in (click here for proof).

I've also got to say that I really have no idea how to do this. I suck at evangelism. I'm chicken. I don't have all the answers, but this post wasn't about answers. It's about the problem, and in order to get to the answers you've got to correctly address the problem first. So here it is.

The Eleventh

Today's a big day. Eleven years ago today Liz and I committed our lives to each other. I read this passage this morning and thought it was a great description of Liz. E-mail me and I'll tell you where you can send the Anniversary gifts :)

Liz, I love you. I am so honored and privileged to have you as my wife.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I'm almost finished reading A contrarian's guide to knowing God: Spirituality for the rest of us by Larry Osborne. This is a great read that will stretch your conventional thinking... in a good way.

I was so blown away by his chapter on Faith. I'll read that chapter again and again. I think we often confuse faith with wishful thinking or vague superstition, but his definition is great: Bottom line: God wants us to trust him--to trust him enough to do what he says, no matter how we feel or how certain we are that things will work out.

Faith really is all about trust: Trusting that God is who he says he is and that he'll do all that he promised to do. I love the part where he says it doesn't matter how we feel or how certain we are that things will work out.

Go buy the book. This may turn into a series some time in the future. We'll see.

O happy day

I'm pretty pumped. I just found out that Switchfoot is coming to the Bilo Center on November 3. It should be a great show with them and Relient K.

Add to this that Clemson football starts on Monday night and what more could you ask for?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I survived my first practice as coach of Nathan's soccer team. I thought my coaching tenure was going to be over before it began. I called the head of the Upward's league to find out about equipment and practice field and he told me that they were combining Nathan's team with another first/second grade team. He didn't mention anything about who was going to be the new coach of the combined team. I was beginning to get depressed. I was pumped and prepared to try out coaching and now the possibility seemed to be slipping away (I know that's dramatic, but I was feeling dramatic). Parents and kids started showing up, and I introduced myself to some of them. I met an assistant coach from the other team. He had a whistle and looked professional. I knew I was doomed when one of the parents from the other team said that they didn't have a head coach, so I felt partially hopeful. Then the league head showed up and told me that I was going to be the coach. RELIEF. SURVIVAL. I feel like a little kid who just got one of the coolest gifts in the world. Now on to season prep: Go Vikings!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First practice

Tonight's my first practice as coach of my son's soccer team. I'm a bit nervous. I've never coached before. Go Vikings!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not to be left out

Since big brothers got to have their picture's posted I thought we'd better include Levi. In the second picture he's trying to grab the camera.