Saturday, January 31, 2009
Football wise...Pittsburgh is determined, they have a TEAM, they have great defense. Think Mike Tomlin is an amazing coach. Willie Parker is going to run for days. I have too many friends who are real Steeler fans. I have never met a true Cardinal fan, do they exist outside of Arizona? If they do exist they were ashamed all season as the Cards floundered in the weakest division in football. The run ends Sunday with a Steeler victory then we all get ready for kickoff 2009. Go Titans! Who are you picking Sunday...I really want to know!
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I am thankful for the work TWLOHA is doing. Thanks for running into the darkness and bringing light and hope!
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Love that passage! I do not pretend to have all the answers about spiritual growth but the passage and John's book remind me that growth in never isolated. It happened in community together with other believers. Why? Maybe so that we are always reminded that as we grow we are not better than others but in desperate need of other people because we can not live out the life Jesus modeled without community. The Christian faith is not just about a PERSONAL eternal destination it is just as much about bringing God's kingdom into reality here on earth even in our lives. The idea that we will begin to think, live, give, serve, and love like Jesus blows me away and calls me to change in my own life. Growth happens as we care about our fellow man as we care about ourselves.
John says about Gateway community in the book...
"For this reason, our primary goal from day one has been to connect people into small group communities. We teach people how to be a unified community, building up one another in love, using their gifts to serve others in response to the leading of Jesus."
Could Ephesians 4:11-16 be a road map to helping people discover spiritual growth? For me it helps. This is the mission of the ministries we lead and the door is wide open to discover new ways to help people encounter community and become more like Christ. What an adventure!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
How many students are plugged into the life of the church we serve? (are we a part of the local church we serve or just leading a teen church within an adult church)
How are we helping students to see the adventure of living for and through Jesus?
How are students connecting with and experiencing community at all levels, young life, fca, the environment we lead, home groups, etc.? (teens need community and there are multiple ways to connect with teens, our program is not the final answer)
How many students are serving?
How are we supporting an encouraging parents to be influencers in their teens spiritual journey?
Are we willing to stop supporting programs, environments that we are having to manufacture energy for? (many of us try to DO so much we have no time to BE with anybody in healthy relationships)
Student ministry is always changing because the teens we are reaching live in a changing world. I pray we will be willing to adapt our STUFF to reach teens for Christ and help them to live in and through Christ. What questions are you asking when it come to serving teenagers today?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Last week I showed the girls the Photo Booth program on my Mac and they loved it, really loved it. Who doesn't like making their head look like a stretchy mess on a computer screen. If you want to see our first collection just go look on my facebook page. It has been a busy week. Just the fact that I missed posting yesterday will let ya know it was a crazy Thursday. Sure I have a few things to knock out this weekend but I am really excited about being with the family. I just need to slow down for a few days...make some more pictures, HA.
In office news - The GCC office is officially moving over to the MAC, wow it is a glorious day. Now we can all make stretchy head pictures!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1
My friend had every right to throw that teacher under the bus and cause a major stink over what was said and done. He could have fired back and been confrontational. He chose to respond with respect and patience. He chose the gentle response. Sounds like something Jesus would do. There is a time to confront. There is a time to respond in tons of different ways. We must know the God does care about the response we choose. How we respond to life determines the outcome of so many situations. No matter what we just need to respond well. Thanks to my friend for the reminder.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So there ya go...Bayne's thoughts on planning. Go plan and trust God. One thing is for sure, your plan will change but having direction will make a huge difference in your life.
Monday, January 19, 2009
- What are we about at Grace Community? Go listen to the podcast from this week. Good stuff, in fact God has been really blowing us away these past few months. We are so grateful that God is allowing us to be able to serve Clarksville.
- When I saw our attendance this week I almost passed out. In fact I thought it was a mistake. Thanks to everyone who did the GRACE SQUEEZE to move to the middle seats in the gathering. I think our next move will be to ask some of our leaders to sit in the front 2 rows to free up seats in the back for guests. Good problems to have. Thanks GCCer's for being flexible!
- We had a huge challenge in our set up process Sunday and Katrina Watts handled it so well. I am so proud of our family ministry staff. They just rock it each week. Thanks to our set up and tear down volunteers, you are amazing and we could not do this without you!
- Cross Street Live is coming up on Feb. 8. This will be our second family production. Hope to have a promo video ready this week. We will see!
- Terrace Crawford got a new job, way to go T, I know you will do a great job!
- Staff planning day this week and a few lunches with student pastors in the area. I am looking forward to connecting.
- the Viva Catie concert is next week. This is a concert we are hosting to raise money for cancer research. Yes we are taking action and yes we can make a difference. Pray for us as we get close to this night. Go to www.relevantstudents.com for more info
- We had our second community group meting last night. It was great!
- watched 2 movies this weekend with Chelsea, Valkarie was great and wathed the new Hulk on DVD, it was great also.
- FINALLY - it was hard to not see the Titans in the championship game against the Steelers. Congrats to Steeler and Cardinal fans. It will be a fun Super Bowl.
Friday, January 16, 2009
The second is this commercial...Thanks Pete for the pic, this is a HORRIBLE idea and if I ever walk into my house and see on of these I promise to burn it on the spot...Yes it is the dreaded SNUGGIE, use a blanket people not a blanket poncho!!!!
Have a great weekend and order a SNUGGIE so you can knit on the couch and be warm!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I was in college and my pastor invited me to join the staff at Shelbyville Mills Baptist Church and experience ministry from a staff perspective...what a huge OPPORTUNITY before I left for seminary (grad school for pastors, it is kind of boring at times well for that matter all school is)
At First Clarksville I got the OPPORTUNITY to create environments for middle school students...camps, service, Bible Study groups, events...I learned I loved to create environments and work with teams of volunteers!
At First Norfolk I was given the OPPORTUNITY to serve on a creative team with my pastor and several on the staff as we worked to shape the service flow each week. Great to learn how to contribute in the creative process with a group of leaders.
Now at Grace Community I have been given the OPPORTUNITY to experiment, create and shape environments for kids and teens. I have been given the OPPORTUNITY to create from the ground up but this current OPPORTUNITY is shaped by all the people that gave me opportunities in the past and invested in my life. I am the person I am today because of the opportunities I have been given over time. I am so grateful people have believed in me along the way and given me a chance to lead. It is so important to remember when we give other chances to lead in our current ministry or organization we are a part of that persons journey. We don't just give people "jobs" or "responsibilities" we give them OPPORTUNITY to make a difference. Who are you giving OPPORTUNITY to right now?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
- We each need to be coming to God in prayer with the details of our life! How can we gripe about life when we do not talk to God about real life stuff. Problems at work, hard times with family, the money crunch going around. We all really need to ask God to be a part of the details of our life. Just been reminded of this so much lately.
- Chelsea and I had a great time last night in our new community group. Kids loved playing with their friends more. So glad God has allowed us to connect with this group of people.
- Proud of the Titans not blaming the loss on the refs and that terrible NO CALL on the delay of game in the 4th quarter. REFS, TERRIBLE job but our tram lost that game. Titans are a class organization.
- Proud of our family ministry team here at GCC and the volunteer staff. SUNDAY and last Wednesday WAS GREAT and you made it happen. Thanks for investing in the lives of kids and teens each week.
- It was great to see so many folks at Grace Community Sunday. It dawned on me that in the beginning people came to grace because of the buzz and invitations of friends. Inviting people i so important but now people are coming back because of significance. God is doing significant things in our hearts. Thanks God.
- Last week we had some warm weather and we got to hang out with our neighbors on the best street in America. We love our neighbors, can not wait for warm weather and cookouts! BOOOOOOOO WINTER!
- Go Eagles, my playoff hope!
- check this commercial out from New Spring Church / AMAZING COMMERCIAL!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
- go to timeout at least 15 times for hitting someone
- sit down in the road and get her pants soaked while we were puddle hopping outside after rain
- pick up a bottle of Fred Flinstone vitamins and eat like 8 of them...WOW
- take a permanent marker and color her hands and get some on our coffee table, still on the hands, it is off the table!
The off season starts now, lets resign Kerry and # 92 and lets get a new weapon at receiver and try again in August. Go Titans! Great year, HARD loss...
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
January 1, of whatever year you are in will GREATLY effect the momentum of the ministry you lead.
We had our first night back since fall last night. It was a great night. Really, God was at work. The new series, the band, lifegroups went well. This is what was different last night. Every year, in every student ministry I have led the kids come back from Christmas break and they are in the MID YEAR FUNK. In years past when January came I would run to my office after the student gathering and want to QUIT wondering what happened! What did we do wrong! I promise I picked up on it last night. It is just hard for teens to engage. There are so many factors for our community BUT no matter what, things are different when Christmas break is over and it is like this every year. Fall is an amazing time of the year with tons of natural energy and momentum in the lives of teens. Make the most of it and be ready to deal with the different vibe in January. It just takes a few weeks to gain the momentum back and it will never be as strong in January- May as it is in September. Ministry in January-May has some great opportunities but also different challenges. Just be ready for it!
One of the ideas we are experimenting with and carrying out at relevant is calling kids to a bigger dream, the dream Jesus had for His followers. It is a risky dream. It comes with cost. It might be hard BUT asking kids to invest their lives in things that matter is really what each of their hearts long for. We all long to see our life count, to stand out, to do something that is significant. This month we are freeing our small groups up to adopt causes (bloodwater, International Justice Mission, fixing the Homeless problem, Toms Shoes etc...). The kids get to pray as a group and go after the cause they want to fight for. It flows from their heart! This month we are going to do a huge benefit concert to raise money for Cancer research...why...why not just hold a rally with some games and a speaker that makes kids feel guilty and promise to do stuff. BECAUSE CANCER KILLS KIDS EVERY DAY AND CANCER SUCKS AND WE CAN FIGHT THIS FLIPPING DISEASE and our faith demands we take action. Jesus is calling us to care more about compassion that our "youth room" our extreme winter conference, our little party. Events are not bad, youth rooms are not bad, but Jesus is calling us to influence a generation for His fame and His plan.
So I ask...what are the teens your leading dreaming about. Lets dream some big dreams! Lets allow teens to make a difference. Lets lead teens to the gospel and then release them to LIVE the gospel!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
While traveling, I listened to podcasts from three of the most well respected pastors in the U.S. All three started by explaining what their church was not. I’ll paraphrase what they said.
Pastor One: “We never water down our message. We don’t preach a seeker sensitive message.”
Pastor Two: “How many of you have been to boring, dead, traditional churches? Churches like that shouldn’t even exist! I’ve got some news for you! We’re not your grandma’s church!”
Pastor Three: “We don’t preach topical-feel-good, entertainment sermons at this church. Most churches are into tickling ears and making people feel good about themselves, but that’s not us!”
My Rant: I’m thrilled you are passionate about your style of teaching and church! It is very likely a true reflection of your gifts and calling. I pray God blesses your church in every way.
But don’t build your church on what you’re not!
If you do, you’re training the people at your church to believe your way is best and everyone else’s is inferior. Who cares what you’re not?! Be who you are without making others look like they are less.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Stemming SBC Membership Decline
LifeWay Research recently reported that the SBC had declined in membership. The SBC growth rate has been slowing for decades but last year was the first year of decline in a long while--but trends say that more will follow.
The SBC I care about is in decline. Yes, it's part demographics (i.e. we're historically rural and such regions are in numeric decline) and ultimately changes have to be made at a local church level. But, many believe there are issues the convention can acknowledge and address to help turn around the decline. Denying the facts won't help, nor will a theological left turn, but there are things that need to change to reverse the decline.
When the news came out, some in the SBC stuck their heads a bit deeper in sand saying, "We're doing just fine, thank you!" They believe trying harder without change is best. Besides, they say, the SBC is not shrinking as fast as liberal denominations--which seems to me like bragging that our sunset is brighter than theirs.
On the other hand, some "finger waggers" will propose that the answer is to move leftward theologically. Yet, regardless of one's theological views (and that is important), no evidence exists to support that a leftward shift will grow a denomination--generally, the more liberal a denomination is, the faster it is declining.
Yet, a growing number of us believe that change is needed in the SBC. Let me suggest a few of those needed changes.
First and most importantly, the SBC must refocus on the gospel. The convention has become big, bureaucratic, and distracted by so many things--from politics to boycotts to programs. In the process, we have, at times, lost the focus on what was once the main thing: being, doing, and telling the good news locally and globally. We must return to our "first love" (Rev. 2:4), Jesus, and then show and share his message. We need gospel change.
Second, the SBC must address the continued loss of leaders. Ongoing denominational conflict has hastened the depopulation of young leaders. Furthermore, ethnic leadership remains mostly absent after decades of ethnic change in America.
Yet, such change will require an openness to other approaches to church and ministry from different cultures and generations. Openness will be difficult since preaching against other ways of doing church still gets the "big amen" at the SBC meeting-- even though the "Amen Corner" is getting older and smaller every year. If we share a common theology, we need to hold out a chair and ask new generations and ethnicities to sit at the table of leadership. We need leadership change.
Finally, infighting must not define the SBC. It is public knowledge that Baptists do not always settle their differences amicably at the convention or local church level. If "Baptist" and "bad-tempered" are synonyms to the average American, the trend toward decline will only accelerate. We need a heart change.
Can the tide be stemmed? Yes. Will it? Realistically, the "odds" are against it. But, I am one who believes that if we obey God's leading, He can continue to use even an imperfect people like Southern Baptists.
Monday, January 5, 2009
How we value health determines our work out plan for 2009.
The value we place on money determines how generous we will be in 2009.
How we value our wife determines how we communicate with her!
How I value the Titans determines if they will be Baltimore Saturday....oops that slipped out!
The incredible thing about this line of thinking is that we get to influence what we value. We can choose to place value on what we want and God allows us to choose. I can choose to value my time with God. I can choose to value other people. I can choose to value things that do not come naturally to me that God is calling me to value. Maybe instead of working on our 2009 goals we should first examine what we hope to give value to in our life first then make the goals. Just something to think about...
Friday, January 2, 2009
- somebody had a dream to do things "their way" and started a new restaurant
- every "dive" started with a risk...there is not a shortage of restaurants anywhere!
- every "dive" does something unique that makes it stand out
- every "dive" has a few things they do and do well, none of them do EVERYTHING!
- people who come say they have a great experience each time they come back
- people tell others about the amazing food they get at the restaurant, the product is real!
- the "dives" stay packed because they deliver and because PEOPLE CAN NOT STOP TELLING OTHERS ABOUT IT!
So....what makes your "dive" stand out? I am done here I am going to finish this episode on food network!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Watching the Rose Bowl today and watching Joe Paterno coach from the press box, never coming to the field during pregame, never going to the locker room at the half, never interacting with his team, made me ask as a leader how long is too long. Can a great leader stay too long at the helm of an organization, a team, a company, a church? I feel leaders can stay too long. Leaders never stop leading but our titles and roles change and must change as we age. There is an art to passing on leadership to the next generation. There is a time to move on and age is only one factor. The roles we have are a gift from God and from the people we lead. None of us get to say we have earned our position and we get to stay as long as we like. That way of thinking places our wants and wishes ahead of the organization. All of us need to finish strong and we need to plan to finish strong! If we are blessed to lead an organization long enough we also need to pray through how we empower the next leader also. SO, can a leader stay too long? what do ya think? Has Coach Paterno stayed too long?