Friday, October 26, 2007

friday night ramblings...

Chelsea is rocking Kelyn to sleep and I have said my good nights to the girls (I added a pic that we took a few days ago ) so I thought I would get on here and get some thoughts out from the week. Last week we went through the loos of a great friend Imilse Watts. Imilse is the mom of one of my leaders in our student ministry. This week I have been thinking a lot about her and about how her family is adjusting to her being in heaven. Is that not wild to think, she is in heaven, wow - that is our hope as a follower of Christ. One thought from last week was that we experienced the funeral First Baptist Clarksville. It was just as she would have wanted it because it brought three churches (FBC, Grace, and Exit One) together in one room and celebrate Jesus and celebrate Imilse. WOW, for one hour we all sat down together as one and it was so great to connect with so mant people. Many time I wonder what divides us as churches and as denominations, we allow it to happen for what ever reason. It was great to lay all of the differences aside and be together as one. I have so many friends at First and I am grateful for being able to serve there for over 3 1/2 years. I am also thrilled to be doing ministry at GCC but it is so sweet to look around and be reminded that followers of Christ are one. We should support and pray for each other...we should seek to stop divisive talk and thinking...we should find ways to encourage one another. Pride leads us to think much of ourselves but Christ asks us to be less so He can be more in our lives and churches. Imilse helped us to be able to get there last week, thanks again Imilse...

This coming weekend we have our first retreat at relevant student ministry. Crave is one weekend for kids to get ways and just work on CRAVING God more than the things of this world. it is gonna be so incredible but I am so thankful fora team at GCC that has enabled us and encouraged us to do this right. For a first retreat this is gonna be amazing. I am thrilled to see what God is gonna do and maybe after next weekend I wll be able to share some about it. My hearts desire is that teens will connect with God in a pwerful way. They are gonna have a great time but I hope the Holy Spirit does work in their hearts that is long lasting and intense.

This weekend, hoping for a UT ad Titan win! As bad as the vols are I can only say GO VOLS! You lose and win with your team. The Titans, well it has been a fun year. We will see how we do against Oakland. Hoping for 5-2!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

starbucks or walmart?

Before I write this "church thought" out I wanted to celebrate the fact that a dear saint and good friend, Imilse Watts, is now loving life in Heaven today. I am both sad and happy for her at the same time. She will be so missed here by her friends and family. Imilse was one of the most encouraging people I ever met, she was a prayer warrior, she loved people and loved Jesus. Her husband and two daughters Cassandra and Katrina are so amazing and she loved them dearly. Imilse had battled with asthma for years and hated when it kept her from ministering to people. She hated being sick and not feeling well. I con only imagine right now that she is breathing deep and catching up with Cookie Prine! Oh man, Cookie and Imilse together, for those of you how know that combo you can only imagine. Imilse, we love ya and will miss ya.

I had a thought about church life the other day and I wanted to go ahead and write it out. it is not new but I finally grabbed on to it. In my church life I have moved from leading in a church culture that tried to have a "wal-mart" philosophy of ministry (LOTS OF OPTIONS!) to a starbucks way of church (A FEW GREAT OPTIONS). Walmart has everything, tries to sell everything, tries to compete with everyone. Starbucks tries to sell coffee and create an atmosphere for their customers and employees that makes you want to be there. I do not even drink coffee and I love the place. It dawned on my that in my current ministry role I am striving to create an environment that looks a lot more like Starbucks rather than Walmart. At relevant student ministry or Cross Street, or grace Acres, or the gathering at GCC, or community groups at GCC...we just do a few things well. We are trying to focus on just a few things and get those right. Again, new things dawn on me all the time right now, this new way of ministry, new way of church has been amazing but now I am trying to figure out why I am serving, loving, living different in community. It is great to be able to focus...not just talk about it.

I wonder if people are looking for churches that strive for excellence in what they do best, unique, creative places to gather in community. This could be why we need churches to re imagine what they can be as a community of believers. Different churches are going to reach different people looking for different things. No one church has all the answers, all the perfect environments. The one thing that is for sure is that it is a new day in church life for new and established churches. Hopefully we can seize the shift and see God brought greater fame! Our God reigns!

Monday, October 8, 2007

winning is great!

the vols won, the titans won...

good times!


Saturday, October 6, 2007

from CATALYST posted late...

Catalyst Blog October 5, 2007

Spent the last two days at Catalyst…a leadership event for young leaders, well church leaders, well business leaders, well just leaders. It is just a place for leaders who love Jesus Christ to gather and think through how we can lead the church, our business, and our families. If you follow Christ you realize that none of us have it together, none of us are qualified because when we place our lives alongside Jesus we never can match up. Jesus still comes along us and says come on….let’s do this together. The great thing is we only have to see HIS PLAN, and Jesus always has a plan. The plan of Jesus looks so different from any other plan we can find but yet it always leads us to love God and love People, it is simple but complex and calls us to yield everything to this idea because it is all consuming. WELL – enough – it is great to be around leaders who love Christ and are trying to live for Christ and get on His plan.

I am in the conference right now and God has brought up so many things ONCE AGIN. God never seems to leave me alone when I get to hear folks talk about leadership. Right now John Maxwell is talking about adding value to people every day. WOW, Am I doing that? WOW, that is all I can say. Several moments have been huge but Francis Chan asking us if we were still understood the fact that God has made no mistake with where he has placed us as leaders. God knew, Jeremiah 1 makes it clear that God has made no mistake where he has placed us and we do not lead because of any other reason than God has given us the chance. God has called me to say or do the hard thing because he has placed me and He has the plan. There was something God was doing in the room because we all tend to assume we are so important and we have developed our influence, we have made it and all the time GOD is leading the way.

Rick Warren sat in a chair on stage and called us to a second reformation, a reformation of not creed but deed. A chance for our generation, for our churches to change the world. We can change the way people see the church, we can change the image of what people assume of Jesus. Saddleback has launched the PEACE plan…our churched can embrace the call of Jesus and live lives that will look like Jesus. I find myself being drawn to that place. I am not sure what it will look like but I am in.

For me I am more worried about what Jesus is thinking about my life and ministry and family rather than what PEOPLE (the people I am supposed to impress) think. God has placed me in a unique place of doing ministry with people I love and I will lay my life down with in the name of Christ. Our family at Grace is amazing and we are getting to rethink church and living out our faith. My wife has supported me every step of the way in my journey with Christ and we are on the same page – we are dreaming dreams together and loving Christ together. I am also a dad – well I am just trying to serve my girls. I feel like I have the chance to live with no chains of religion or people pleasing (yes I struggle there) Well we will see what happens, this is just where I am right now. Let’s live in the freedom of Christ…freedom to love, freedom to serve, freedom to LIVE in the moment.