Thursday, May 31, 2007

4 random things that are very important

I realized that I haven't been blogging very consistently lately. Sorry about that. You probably don't care as much about that as I do. I'd like to say I have a good excuse, but I can't make up one that's believable enough for me to write! :)

I do have some really exciting news to share. The problem is I can't write about it until after I share it with our church on Sunday. It has to do with us partnering with God to help fulfill His dream for our city, state, country and world. To all of The Point: Be there on Sunday. I can't think of anything greater to do with my life and time than join with God in what he is doing in the world.

I do want to point you to this blog this morning. I have to admit... I like to feel like I can control people's spiritual growth. I don't know why this is, but it's really just a lack of trust in God and the gospel and the Holy Spirit. Read the post and let me know what you think.

You also need to listen to this podcast on "More than Hello." These are probably some of the best tips I've ever heard on greeting people and creating a welcoming environment at our gatherings. This isn't just the greeters or my responsibility. If you call The Point your church then you are our partner in creating environments where people will want to come back.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Make the most of your summer

Time is a precious commodity. I have an opportunity for you to invest your time in something eternal. Specifically, I am looking for 10 volunteers who will invest 10-15 hours a week during the summer to The Point. E-mail me and I'll give you some more details. Don't waste your time. Make your summer count.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Last Day of School

Today was Nathan's (my kindergardener) last day of school. I was an emotional time for mom. I think is was a bit emotional for Nathan too. He had some awesome teachers this year. Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Bembenek were incredible. We couldn't have asked for better teachers for our son's first year of school. Honestly, I can't believe the first year is over. I know he won't read this, but I am so proud of Nathan. I told him this yesterday, but the reason I am so proud of him is not because of how smart he is, or that he's reading, or that he can do minor multiplication (what's up with that?), but that he is kind and considerate to his classmates and was always looking out for them before himself. Now the summer fun begins!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

pre-Birthday bash

Yesterday we had a "Pirates of the Carribean" Birthday party for Matthew. He turns 4 tomorrow. I can't believe he's turning 4. To say it was a magical day for Matthew would be an understatement. I love the wonder and excitement of kids. Nathan said that it was one of the best days of the year.

In honor of a pirate birthday here are some pictures to feast your eyes on...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A window into my world

I just found out about Ed Young's new video blog. His first post is so true. If you are a church planter then you need to watch it. If you just go to church I think his post gives great insight into the world of a pastor. I'm still uncomfortable with the whole "Pastor" thing. But I have experienced just what he's talking about. His words are a small window into my world. You can check it out here.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I've got to share a cool story that I was just told about The Point's influence. I have to admit, I often wonder, "Are we making a difference? Is God using us?"

I just heard that there is another church in town (which will remain anonymous) where the Children's minister got up on a Sunday morning and implored the people that they need to be out in the community, serving and making a difference. He then proceeded to share how he was at the mall the other day and someone came up to him and said, "We're giving away free gum. Would you like a pack?"

He then went on to explain how he was expecting this person to "witness" to him, but all they did was give him the free gum and tell him that God loves him. He was blown away by this small grace gift given in the name of Jesus.

He then went on to say that their church needed to start doing stuff like this.

Like I said, I often wonder if God is working. I know he is. I know he's working all the time. I believe that in my head, but because I don't always see him working I sometimes am a practical agnostic. But it is stories like these that blow me away. I would never have thought that God would use us to influence another church.

And I also have to confess, part of me is uncomfortable with this because I want The Point to grow, but really, it's not about The Point. It's not about any one individual church. It's about the Kingdom and us working together so that every resident of Spartanburg County, our state and our world has an opportunity to become a follower of Jesus. So, as hard as it is for me to say this, I hope that church steals what we're doing and does it better. We stole the idea from another church. And I pray that God uses things like this to unite His body and transform lives and the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My first wedding

I got a phone call from my future brother-in-law Chris asking me to officiate he and Steph's wedding in a month. I'm pretty excited. I'm a virgin wedding officiator, so I hope I don't screw it up.

Seriously, it is an honor to be asked, but now I've got to prepare. Anybody got any advice/suggestions?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Seven Questions

I found these questions on Tony Morgan's post to be worth asking myself. They're probably worth you taking a few minutes to ask yourself also.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Know thyself

Today I got to hang out with a great group of church planter/leaders (a big shout out to Cliff who actually reads this blog). Besides eating some incredible Low Country Boil (thanks to Bill) we spent a good bit of time working on and discussing the Personal Coaching Styles Inventory. Really, it's just one of the many great personality surveys that are out there.

I've taken a bunch of personality tests over the years and they are all worthwhile... to some degree. The value I find is in the self-discovery, and through that self-discovery, knowing that there are other people out there like me. Of the 8 guys who took the survey, five of us scored in the same grouping. It opened up a lot of discussion about how we do what we do and why we do things the way we do and how what we do and why we do it drives other people who aren't like us crazy.

I don't really know why I'm writing this other than to say that I think it's important to know who you are. Only then can you recognize who you are not. And only then can you maximize who God has created you to be.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

If only I were catholic

I could have a future Pope and monk coming from my family. Maybe I should convert.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A "must" read

I've been working on Sundays sermon and in my research I am re-reading a few pages in Dallas Willard's book, The Divine Conspiracy. Other than the Bible this is the one book that you need to take time to read. I say take time because it is a hard read, but thoroughly life changing. Go ahead and click the link above and order it today.

Moving into the unknown

Maybe it's just me, but each day I wake up as a church planter feels like another day of waking to the unknown. With that in mind, I love this quote from Erwin McManus:
"When you move forward on what you know, things become clearer.
When you refuse to act on what you know, all that you do not know paralyzes you."
I don't want to be paralyzed. I see paralyzed people all the time. I want to be known as a person who walks by faith, trusting God with the unknown while at the same time being obedient and moving forward with what I do already know.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Key to following Jesus

I shared last week that I'm on a journey of learning what it means to be a disciple/follower of Jesus. One thing I know for sure is that it's not about knowing more stuff. It's not information based. "The more you know" may work well for a fuzzy NBC public service announcement, but years of Bible studies and expository preaching and discipleship classes haven't really done much in the way of making true disciples of Jesus - people who live like Jesus. Going to seminary and learning Greek and Hebrew hasn't grown me in Christlikeness.

So if it's not about what we know then what is the key? It's obedience. Most of us don't like that word, but if we are going to be just like our rabbi Jesus then we need to live lives of obedience. Jesus modeled that for us. He was obedient. It even says he was "obedient to death on a cross."

So what are we to be obedient to? Great question. I think a great place to start is the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. This is where Jesus boils down how his followers should live. He says things like stick to your word, love those who aren't like you, stop worrying, make God's Kingdom your primary concern, invest your finances in Kingdom/eternal things, how to pray and don't objectify people by lusting.

I want my life to be so characterized by obedience that I can say, "If you want to know how to follow Jesus just imitate me."

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, May 07, 2007

In the Paper!

I opened up the paper (yes, I do read the paper) this morning and got a big surprise on the front page: An article where The Point is one of four featured churches. Check out the article and if you get some time write Kim Kimzey and tell her thanks for including The Point in her article.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Two in one week!

As I'm sure you can imagine. Nathan was on cloud nine tonight. We put him to bed and 4 minutes later he called us upstairs to let us know he pulled his second tooth out. No corn on the cob for a few weeks.

Spring Fling report

I must admit, it was cold and today it was wet, but us being able to serve at Spring Fling was an incredible experience. In-spite of the cold weather we were able to give out over 2500 packs of gum or suckers. That means that over 2500 people were reminded that God loves them and is for them.

I can't say thank you enough to the people from The Point who served. I also am overly grateful for the 22 people from Mt. Airy who came to help us this morning. Because of the wet weather I sent half of them to the mall to give stuff away. God opened up a number of conversational doors. We got to talk about God's grace, The Point and just how much God loves each of us.

Even with having to tear down early tonight (because we were soaked to our bones) I still feel God blessed us with an incredible experience.

FYI: I think we're going to do it again the first weekend in June. The city invited us to do our giveaway at Wings and Wheels. I'm going to need your help. See you tomorrow night!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Prayer Needed

Man am I getting excited about Spring Fling. In my excitement I fell a burden to pray and would like for you to pray with me. Pray that God will use us. Pray for God to reveal himself through us. Pray that people will see Jesus in us. Pray for God to draw people to himself. Pray for good weather. Pray, pray, pray. Would you consider taking some time, 10-15 minutes, today and tomorrow and Saturday to pray for God to use us and work through us at Spring Fling?

God brought to mind these verses out of Isaiah 64:

1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!

2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!

3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

It is my heart’s cry that people see God through our service at Spring Fling. I am so excited that so many of you are getting involved and helping.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

They liked him

One thing that was unmistakable about Jesus was that people liked him. They flocked from all over to hear him speak. And, if you look closely, you'll see that one of the groups that liked Jesus were the sinners. These were the bad folks--the tax collectors, the prostitutes. These "sinners" enjoyed hanging around Jesus... and Jesus seemed to enjoy hanging around them.

Rob Bell says that disciples wanted to be just like their rabbi. This has huge implications for us who are trying to be disciples/followers of Jesus today. People who are "sinners" or who are far away from God should be attracted to us. People should like hanging around us. People who are far away from God should enjoy being with us...and we should enjoy hanging out with people who aren't like us.

I've got to contemplate that for a bit. I want to be like Jesus.

I just had this thought: My wife is really good at this. I know that she is gifted in this area, but people feel comfortable around her and she feels comfortable around almost all types of people. She's good at caring for and loving people. She's a model for me to see this in action. Who do you know that you see this characteristic of Jesus in?

The cost

The past few weeks/months I've been working through what it means to be a disciple, or what it means to follow Jesus... what that looks like, what's required, and how to go about taking someone who is far away from God and making them into a transformed follower/disciple of Jesus.

One thing I know is that being a disciple is more about what you do and how you live than what you know. Discipleship and following Jesus isn't a knowledge based/intellectual exercise, but it's action-based where how I live, how I treat others, and what I do with my life, time, money, talents and relationships is really what Jesus would do if he were me in each of those areas.

One thing I am certain about is that following Jesus is costly, and unfortunately, most of us don't want to pay the price to really be a disciple. I read this quote by Rodney Stark, a sociologist, that I thought was worth pondering:
People value religion on the basis of cost, and they don’t value the cheapest ones the most. Religions that ask nothing get nothing. You can read the rest of his interview here.

To be a follower of Jesus costs us everything. Have we counted the cost? Are we willing to follow? Have we even taken the time to think through this or is our discipleship all about what we know?

As I work through what it means to be a disciple/follower of Jesus I'll be sharing what I learn. I would love your input and to hear your thoughts. From the lack of comments, Liz and I may be the only ones reading this. If that's not the case and someone else is reading then jump into the discussion. What does it mean to be a disciple/follower of Jesus?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Really, I can't put into words about how excited I am for Spring Fling this weekend. I found out yesterday that The Point is going to be able to set up a booth near the high traffic Kid's area. That means we're going to be giving away a lot of free suckers and candy!

I also found out that Mt. Airy Baptist Church is sending 26 people to help us out on Saturday. They are also bringing almost 9000 pieces of candy and sticks of gum! Thanks is not a strong enough word for my feelings of gratitude. It will also be good to see some old friends from my former church. I'm going to split half of them between our booth and the children's games with the city. The city needs volunteers and we are trying to respond. Some of our wonderful people will be helping with the city also.

I don't know what is going to come from this opportunity, but I am so thankful that God has opened up a door for us to serve Spartanburg and show his love and grace by giving some stuff away. If you haven't volunteered to help then I need you to e-mail me.