I'll be out of the blogosphere for a few days as my family and I go on vacation. I'm certain that I'll have some great stories when I return. Stay tuned!
One goal I’ve had is to be able to do 20 pull-ups. For those of you who are not familiar with a pull-up: grab a bar over your head, just slightly wider than shoulder width, and pull yourself up until you can see over the bar. Do this without kicking your legs or rocking your body. These are called dead hang pull-ups.
I worked out today and wanted to see my max before I leave for vacation. I was able to knock 20 out, almost 21. Quite an accomplishment for me. Now I must determine if it was luck. If not, then on to 25.
Crazy thing about reaching our goals – we have to press for more. What are you pressing for?
Technology is pretty incredible. Currently I’m sitting in on a webinar sponsored by The Big Idea. Some good info and neat presentation, as well as great motivation.
One thing I've been taught is that leaders are learners. How are you learning? If we’re not learning, we’re going backwards, and we’re not becoming everything God intends for us. Learn. Ask Questions. Read. Webinar. Blog. Whatever it is, learning moves you forward. By learning, you lean into your future.
I think tonight I’ll just dump my thoughts:
• Baptisms in the lobby between services were incredible!
• The band knocked it out of the park today.
• It’s time to begin praying for your 1 Life. More details to come.
• Simply Summer is going to be Simply Super! (Alright, that was cheeeesy).
• Acts 2:46-47
• I’m going to New York on vacation. I’m cautiously optimistic.
• I can’t believe our July 8 topic of “The Secret” has generated so much buzz.
• Charles Lowery’s message this Sunday will save A LOT of marriages.
• I can’t wait to hear the feedback on the new iPhone.
• God is big, I am not (listen to this morning’s Podcast).
• God does his most amazing work when the odds seemed to be stacked against us.
• God’s agenda is His glory.
• We need to pray big. Quit praying that the price of gas would go lower than $2.50, and start praying something ridiculously large!
• Take a risk. Enough said.
Had a great opportunity to meet with a good friend of mine who now is on the worship staff at Newspring Church in Anderson, SC. Justin Land attended Stonecreek in the past, and his wife Rachel worked on our staff. Justin was formerly the lead singer in a rock and roll group called Honestly, and I was disappointed when they stopped creating.
I learn from Justin when we meet, and I honestly believe that we’ll be hearing so much from his ministry as he sings, writes, and creates. He taught me a lot about worship in the time we were together yesterday.
Christianity is no longer life changing, it’s life enhancing (from Dangerous Wonder, Michael Yaconelli).
At Stonecreek, we say it this way: Our goal is not to make your life BETTER, it’s to make your life MATTER. Certainly, the principles of Christianity are life enhancing – service, stewardship, etc. But people can do that without following Christ. What we offer is not the road to an easier life. In reality, following Christ may make life harder. But it will make life matter.
It will matter because we will be making a difference. Not just for now, but for those who come after us. It matters because deep down we’ll know, I mean know, that we are operating how we were created to operate.
Our lives are intended to matter - to God, to us, and to others. There is something that God has created for you to be and do. Find THAT. That is LIFE.
Call the other what you want: life enhancing, better, easier, it's all tips and technique theology – it all leads to the same place. Death. Only following Christ leads to life. Changed life. Eternal life.
Enhancements are for body parts. Transformation is for people.
Can't wait until Sunday.
One of the guests we are particularly excited about hosting at Stonecreek during Simply Summer is Mike Foster from theporntalk.com. Mike has an innovative approach to ministry, and this topic is serious. He's bee on Fox News and CNN just to name a few, to discuss this topic.
Some people would say, why would you hit that topic on Sunday morning? Aren't there more relevant topics like money and family? If you don't think this is a HUGE issue, check out this article. I don't know about you, but I want to spare our kids the pain and devastation that comes through pornography. I can't make their choices, but I can equip them to make the right choices.
You don't want to miss any of our summer line up. Every parent needs to hear this message. Bring every teenager you can get your hands on. Offer them free food, it always works (smile).
Invite your friends, bring your kids - it may save their lives....
I read some stats about pastors the other day that caused me to stop and think about my vocation a little bit. You can see the post here, but the bottom line is that 1500 pastors leave their churches every MONTH because of burnout, conflict, or moral failure. 70% suffer from depression. Even beyond that, 80% of pastor’s spouse’s wish they would choose another profession.
That is some serious junk right there. I'm sure it can be attributed to many causes. It may be just the spiritual warfare side of it, or a lack of training, etc. One area where I have been trying to guard myself is through self leadership. I’m currently reading Ordering Your Private World again. This book does a great job of helping a leader develop the private strength necessary for such a public calling. When our private world’s are in order, we’ll have more capacity to deal with the outer demands of life.
If I had a camera that could tape a snapshot of your private world, what would it look like? A teenager’s room, with dirty clothes and shoes thrown all over the room? Or a neat office, with books in their place and pens in the drawer?
Leading every church has it's challenges. I'm grateful that there have been no days over the last 15 months where I wished I had different challenges!
There were two components from yesterday’s message that really got a lot of comments. The first one was regarding my upcoming July 8 message dealing with the best selling book and DVD, The Secret.
This is a very popular book, and capitalizes on some easy techniques and logical thinking. Because it is so popular, we’ll take some time to discuss the methods of "The Secret" against what the bible has to say. Needless to say, you don’t want to miss it. Our creative team has already met on this, and we’re confident you don’t want to miss the first 5 minutes…
There was one other item that got a lot of comments, and yes I did say it. As I pointed to my biceps I said, “I am required to carry a permit for these guns…” Why did so many people laugh?
Happy Father’s Day. It’s been a pretty solid week for me. God has been teaching me some new things, and re-igniting my passion for doing what we do. Some of the highlights:
Lunch with Gary Lamb. Gary is the lead pastor at Ridgestone Church in Canton, meeting at the Riverstone Theater. Gary’s a unique guy, with a passion to see disconnected people come to Christ. We had a good lunch together, and I learned some new things and remembered some old stuff. Hebrews 10:24 says we should spur one another on to “love and good works.” Being around Gary always does that. (Well, o.k. Gary, at least the good works part :)).
I read Bill Hybels book Holy Discontent in 2 readings. I’ve heard his message on this topic, and the message was a turning point in my life. I really dug the book, and highly recommend it. His point is that deep down in all of us is something that “wrecks” us. One thing that we MUST do something about. He gives some good pointers on finding that “thing.”
Baby dedication was today. I love babies, especially when someone else is in charge of changing their diapers. We hold parent/child dedication twice a year, and it’s a time for parents to commit to raise their children in a manner that points them to God. Parenting is a tremendous responsibility, and we need all of the help we can get.
I challenged Dad’s today to take leadership in their homes. Not the macho “man-up” message, but more of stepping into God’s role that we are supposed to take in the family. In 20 years, when our kids are making career decisions and raising their own kids, they won't care that we spent a ton of money chasing them to all star games or cheerleading competition. They'll be glad if we showed them how to include God in their lives. I took time at the end of the service to pray over our dad’s.
Anytime you call out a particular group, you leave out another group. My hat goes out to single Mom’s, who wish they had father’s in their home to help raise their kids. These situations happen for different reasons, and it is always difficult. I have a heart for single Mom’s, and I hope in the future Stonecreek will be a place that will always help single Mom’s with their unique needs.
Check out this link by Seth Godin. Really makes me think how responsible we are for the message of Christ. For those of us who are following Christ, we have been given a HUGE responsibility to spread this message.
It matters to God, because it is His mission, not ours. It matters to others, because God makes His appeal to them through us. We have to take responsibility for those around us who have not heard.
As a Dad, I have to take responsibility for showing Christ to my kids. I stink at that sometimes, but it is MY responsibility.
Happy Father's Day.
I am still seized by Acts 2, specifically verses 42 thru 47. It's crazy to me the impact of the believers having "one mind." Notice that their "one mind" drew people to follow Christ. I don't notice anything about their global warming policy, or stance on divorce, or how many parking spots they had - even though I'm sure they had thoughts on all of these issues. They just realized their priorities. "One mind," literally they were racing along in unison.
I can't believe that being in unison meant that they agreed on everything - liked the same food, or music, or preaching, or coffee, or college football teams, or had the same sleeping patterns. Their "one mind" had to do with a single-minded devotion to Christ and seeing that message catch FIRE. Stonecreek, this fall we're going to work on our "one mind." I've learned some things over the last few months, and I can't wait to see how we can put them into practice. We'll have impact in Milton, Georgia, the United States and around the world. Start praying for "one mind" and what your part will be!
I’ve had some hip problems for close to 6 months. I’ve done some physical therapy, and it seems to be getting better. I can jog on a flat track, and it doesn’t cause too much pain. Prior to injury, a long run for me would be anywhere between 8 and 10 miles. Today I ran 3 and was pain free!
The only problem, I didn’t stop at 3, I ran 4…
Why are we like that? Why don’t we know when to stop? God gives us pain to know when to slow down or stop. Sometimes we ignore the signs. This leads to further injury, burnout, or worse.
Do you have signs in your life that are telling you to slow down or stop? I’m not talking about going on vacation. I’m talking about the pace of your life. If you’re a Dad, what do you need to stop this week for Father’s day?
Stop at 3, don’t go 4. It may mean the difference between running 5 next month, or not running at all…
I am working out of one of our temporary office locations at Starbucks on Windward Parkway. I’ve been to a lot of Starbucks, and the experience is generally consistent – good coffee, friendly “partners,” and consistent atmosphere. This one was a little different, as in better, so I took a few minutes to contemplate why.
The “partners” are glad to be here. They may be faking it, but it is clear they are glad they are here, and want me to be glad I came by today. Their energy in serving, while a bit cheesy (“what’s up buttercup” greeting), was fun and energetic. There was a ton of messages on their message boards (“Can I recommend a Quad Venti Hazelnut Sugar-Free Nonfat Extra Foam Latte”). They wanted me to buy some water so they could help provide drinking water around the world. The “partners” clearly had one mind as I’ve talked about before. This experience definitely brightened my day from the normal.
That’s the way church should be. We should make people glad to be there because we are jacked up about being there. Jesus gave us life, nothing is more important. As we move towards the Fall, we are going to increase our intentionality for the Sunday morning experience, so that we can have greater impact for Christ. We'll be unrolling a 4 pronged strategy for having impact in our community and around the world. Our mission is to connect with people and lead them into an authentic and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Watch for details coming on August 5!
Just got back from seeing the kids who got back from middle/high school camp. They had a great time and we had some great stories come home. My prayer is that they are able to use this as a stepping-stone in their spiritual growth and take that to their homes and schools.
God rocked my world Friday morning. He asked me to explore my motivation for being a pastor. What does that mean! Certainly I do it for the people, right. I mean, what pastor doesn’t serve to reach people and help them walk with God. Or maybe I do it because I am called and I cannot do anything else. Maybe I do it so I can see a successful church and bring some validation to my life. Maybe I do it for a paycheck. Maybe I do it because I can’t find anything else to do. Maybe I do it, well, you get the picture.
I’m sure there are some noble motives in there. But maybe, just maybe, others can creep in when I’m not looking. I’m looking forward to exploring this. I know what I WANT my motivations to be – 1) obey God 2) reach people. I think I will find that I must intentionally order my life around these priorities, and guard against defective motivations in my life.
What’s your motivation?
I am captured by Acts 2:46 - the believers had "one mind." I've talked about this before, and I CANNOT get it out of my head. How does this look in 2007 Suburbia?
This week is a major planning week for the year, and we are gearing our strategy around this passage. The believers had one mind, and they reached so many for Christ. Can you imagine our church as we march with one mind? I cannot wait.
We have had the best 3 days of planning that I can remember. Our series' are strategically aligned through the next 12 months. Our ministry calendar is taking shape to reflect this strategic planning. It rocks. We'll be able to put more creative energy around our message. The message we have is so important, and our goal is to make every Sunday a God-experience that you do not want to miss.
This week our middle/high school students are in camp. Please pray for them and that they will meet God in a unique way. Ken and I are on the way to be with them for their first session, and I'm praying that God raises up some students with a passion to see their friends follow Christ.
Ken and I just got back from visiting the students at Bigstsuf camp. Is wow overused? The worship was incredible, and I am confident that many of them will come back changed. Keep praying for them, that when they return they will be on fire.
This week is one of our major planning weeks for next year. We’ll lay out our series and most of our strategic initiatives. I would appreciate your prayers for us as we pray and do some planning.
Our next series will be on Gideon: Use What You’ve Got. I really dig the story of Gideon. Some of the questions and doubts that he had creep up in my life frequently. He was at times afraid and cynical of God. You would think that God would frown big-time on that. Strike Gideon dead. Lightning, maybe, or just a parasitic worm that debilitated him. I mean, that's the way we treat people who doubt us. But as we will see, even through our questions and doubts, God pulls through. He gives us next steps.
The basic truth of the story of Gideon is that we have what God will use. We just have to use what we’ve got in the way that God expects.