Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post Christmas Shopping

Autumn and I had a date last night. Like any romantic couple with kids, we went shopping. This is what we saw...what a world we live in!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

For those of you who haven't seen this...enjoy! For those of you who is worth watching again.

To all: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Facing the Giants - Part 3

It is time for the third installment of my first attempt at a series of blogs. As I was thinking about what to write, I was thinking about the movie. I then decided I wanted to talk about conquering fears. So I guess I will give it my best.

Once again, this is an interactive blog, so view the video, and then come back and read the rest of the blog:

As I prepare to start "tackling" the Welcome Ministries, my biggest problem is fear. I understand (even blogged) that God is in control. If we give him our wholeheart and commit to doing our best that all will be good. However, there is still fear.

My friend Ron has stepped up with our helping hands ministry, and he is taking it to new levels. I know that he is clearly seeking God in the process, if you are not sure, just read his blog. My other friend, Jon, has heard God's vision for the Creative Arts of our church and he is starting to go in new directions, and it is being well received.

I, of course, want to see that same kind of "success" in my ministry. I am praying and I am seeking God...but I am still scared.

I recently read Max Lucado's book, Facing your Giants, as well as watched the movie for which this blog is about. The best way to describe what I walked away with is something from the clip above. If you watch it again, you will see right before he kicks the ball, after the pep talk, after seeing his dad stand-up for him, he says a small prayer to God asking for help with the kick.

That is the key. I know I have said it before...but sometimes I need to rehear it over and over.

Football players practice every day, run plays, condition physically. When serving in ministry we should be doing the same thing...praying daily, Seeking God, conditioning our hearts and minds. During the game, though, the football team still communicates their plays and the coach tells them what to do throughout the game. No matter how much they practice and learn plays, they still need someone guiding them during the game. The same goes for us, even when we are prayed up, have heard a vision from God, we still need someone "coaching" us during game time.

That person is God, and the only way he can do that, is by us talking to him directly throughout the "game". I guess I just need to figure out how to get that through my thick skull...condition daily for the "game"...and when it is time, start talking with God so he can coach me through it!

Christmas at my Mom's

Can you understand why I enjoy hanging at my mom's, especially when you wake up to a view like this? It is pictures like this (which of course doesn't do justice) that make me wonder how anyone can doubt the presence of God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Facing the Giants - Part 2

There is no order or theme to these blogs. As I come across a clip from the movie, or as I reflect on what I watched I will randomly send something out. I say that to explain why this next clip is completely different from the last clip. However, after reading my friend Ron's blog today, I felt like this fit well with the theme that we have all been blogging about.

With that said, it is time for another interactive blog. View the video and then return for the rest of the blog:

The verse that the coach refers to in the movie can be found in Matthew. In the NLT version, vs. 14 states, "...But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." The part of that I want to focus on is in the middle of that verse..."the road is difficult".

I talked last about giving our whole heart, which was something that the young kicker in this clip needed to learn as well. However, the reality is that even when we give our whole heart, even when we do as the Lord commands, EVEN when we are seeking God every day...the road is difficult.

Often times, I think I forget that. When things get tough, I think where is God in this. When I am frustrated...where is God? When things didn't go as I planned...where is God? As I have heard Pastor Dave say many times, being a Christian isn't easy. My friend Ron blogged the other day about sharing our faith in Christ with others, and how difficult that can be. It is often times easier to stay quiet then to stand out and stand up boldly for our faith.

Although I agree with Ron in that area, I want to focus on the simpler every day struggles. Just getting up for work in the morning, making it through a day of work, coming home having energy for the family, and then as time permits work on our ministries.

Life would be so much easier if we could just spend all our time working on our ministry and seeing people come to Christ. However, I don't think that is what God wants. As we have all heard, if life was easy we wouldn't need to rely on God.

I read a blog today that shared a statistic that amazed me. It said that 21% of Protestant Ministers pray less than 15 minutes a day. In addition, almost 100% pray less than 1 hour a day. I realize that pastors can be very busy, and in no way am I infering that they are not Godly men. However, what scares me is where I fit in that statistic, as a lay ministry volunteer. I am right in the bottom of the list.

I do go through spurts of time when I do real well and spend a fair amount of time (30min - 1 1/2 hour) a day in prayer. However, most of the time, I spend less than 15 minutes a day in prayer. I am not talking about the meal prayers, good night prayers, etc. I am referring to the quietness that we go to when we need to speak and hear from God.

It is no wonder that life is so difficult. How could I possibly get through a day, when I can't even take the time to allow God to direct me through it. Well, I don't know the answer, but at least I know what I need to work on!

How's your prayer life?

Guess Who!

All I am going to say is this....we should always be cautious about the impossible!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Facing the Giants - Part 1

After recently watching the movie, Facing the Giants, I have decided to put my Welcome Series of Blogs on hold and spend a few days sharing some thoughts from the movie. As the opportunity arises, I will even include some clips from the movie to help with my point.

Here is the first clip. This is an interactive blog. View the clip and then return for the rest of the blog:

So what did you think? Some of you have probably already seen the movie so you are familiar with the clip. Yet, how true is it. In many cases we give up in life or we give up in a situation, because we see it as impossible. Pastor Dave spoke this last sunday about Hope. We cannot even go 1 second without Hope. Yet, we can live our entire life in discouragement.

I believe that much like Brock, I tend to look at some situations as impossible. I am convinced I am going to fail before even trying and so I choose to not try. I do not give God a chance to do greatness through me...if I only would give him my whole heart. If you study the great church planters of today, or para-ministry leaders, you find that it wasn't that they had all the right skills. They weren't invincible. In fact, many of them are scared. The reality is they had simply made a choice to take what the Lord has called them to do, and give it their whole heart and let God do the rest.

Romans 8:28 helps us to understand this concept. We may not always know the reason for the situation, or why we are where we are at. God may have a plan far greater than our ability to comprehend. However, our part is to give Him our whole heart and allow him to do the rest.

As the movie shows, anything is possible when our Heart is in it...

The Things in Life we take for granted!

I was driving this morning, and noticed a man walking with, what appears to be, his son. However, as I approached them, I realized that the son is not holding the hand of his father; rather he has his hand in the back pocket of the father's pants. If you look really close, you will notice that is because the man has no left arm.

We all know someone with a disability or handicap, maybe a missing limb, a lost sense, a crippling disease. How often, though, do think about the real impact that has on their life.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to hold my son's hand as we walk. To not have the ability to wrap my arms around my wife and kids and give them a big hug when I get home. I honestly can say I don't know what that would feel like.

I can say what it feels like to come home and complain about not getting the raise I expected...or complain about someone else parked in my spot, or how much it cost to fix the roof! Especially at this time of year, with the pressure of gifts, buying presents, who do I buy for, who do I send cards to?

Today, I am going to stop and take the time to hug my family and I assure you I will be greatful for the ability to do! Further I will be thankful for everything I do have!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Simply Complicated: Unanswered prayers?

I came across a friend of mine, Ron, who began blogging with us in blogger. If you start at the beginning, he will try and tell you he is not an intellectual writer...let me say this, anyone who opens up their heart and shares their desires to serve Christ through humility...can be nothing but eloquant and intellectual. Here is a link to his most recent post. Read it and you will see for yourself how great it is. He is now on my rss reader!

Simply Complicated: Unanswered prayers?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sippin' Coffee Thoughts!

Sittin' at St. Arbucks sippin' coffee, does it get much better then that?

Of course it does!

Getting Married…Having Children...and...uhh…Eternal Salvation through a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

I blogged the other day about evaluating our selfishness and monitoring the time we give to God. Yet even after writing that and thinking about it, I sit here drinkin' my coffee. Sure I could call this my quiet time and in many aspects it is. It is quiet time away from the normal hustle and bustle, and location is not important if it is "quality" time...or I do better with noise around me. These are all valid justifications.

However my point is this, even in our quiet time with Christ, how often is that time still self-focused? I was talking with my friend Jon (probably the only one who reads my blog) about this concept. That all to often, especially task-oriented people like myself, we “schedule” time with the Lord in our calendar. We then develop our list of items to be covered during this “meeting”:

• Worship God
• Thank God for the things in my life
• Share my needs with God
• Ask for His direction
• Hear from God

Just follow the list and I will have a perfect quiet time with God.


God wants us to come to Him, and yes we can share our heart’s desires, or needs. Yet as scripture says, our Lord is a selfish God. He does not want to share us with any other gods...even if that other god is ourselves. There are times when we need to sit in total humility, in complete silence, and allow our Lord to do the talking. We need to thank Him for who He is, and not for what He has done in OUR lives. We need to make it all about Him!

My challenge to myself and to you, is to spend a little time tonight in total humility...allowing it to be all about NOT me! May the Lord speak volumes to both of us this evening!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What is your selfishness score?

Have you ever sat back and looked at yourself to determine just how selfish you are? I try not to do this that often, because sometimes I don't like what I see. However, the best thing I can do, though, is test myself daily.

Ahh, but Jason I am not selfish. I do lots of unselfish things. So do I...but on what conditions are those things done?

I like to think that I do a lot of selfless acts; and I do. As long as they are done on the conditions that I most cases. I love to help people...when it doesn't interfer with my plans. I love to give money to a special need...when I have some left over. I enjoy teaching a class, as long as it is on a night I have free.

You may be saying Jason you are being to hard on yourself (or maybe your not!). The reality is that this is not always the case, and I don't always think this way. However, it does happen, and if we don't check ourselves regularly then I think this becomes the more of the norm and less the exception.

We are celebrating the birth of Christ this month. The most selfless act every performed. It was done for you and me. As Pastor Dave said today during his message, God did it for Jason! (put your name in place of mine) The unfortunate part is that our world has turned this in to a time of what about me. What I am going to get for X-mas? What are you going to give me?

If not careful, I will fall victim to that...not only in December, but throughout the year. Therefore, I have to constantly be testing myself to see if I am living a life honoring of Christ, my family and others or am I simply living for myself.

I have listed some of the questions that I try and ask myself regularly to see if I am Christ-focused or Jason-focused:

1. Do I do ministry when it is convenient for me or for the ministry?
2. Do I help someone when it fits into my calendar or when they have a need?
3. Am I giving to any need beyond my tithe, or am I spending that money for me?
4. Is my calendar filled with things I want to do or with things my family wants to do?
5. Does our budget reflect the needs of our family or the needs of Jason?
6. Am I putting overtime in for my success or for my families success? (think carefully on this one)
7. When I shop for gifts am I more likely to spend more on myself or more on others?
8. Looking at the activities in my life, are they for my glory or God's?
9. What's more important, what I did at work today or what my family did while I was gone?
10. Do I choose sleep over spending time with the Lord?

These are the big 10 that I think about in some form or fashion almost daily. There are times when I might be an 8 or 9 out of 10. There are other times when I am working real hard to find 1.

So, What is your selfishness score? Remember, failure is not bad, as long as you do something about it. Lets try and reach 10 out of 10...everytime!

Good Luck!

Welcome Ministries Series - Part 1

As I promised in my original post, I wanted to share with you a few things that have affected me personally from reading Mark Waltz's book, First Impressions, Creating Wow Experiences in your Church.

As I began thinking about where I wanted to start I began to get confused. There were so many things in the book and at the conference that got me excited, challenged me, made me think, made me question that I didn't know where to start. So I stopped, sat back and thought. In a big generalized statement what did I walk away with. Lets start there and then narrow in on things.

Here we go...

The biggest nugget for me is this....Welcome Ministries (or First Impressions) is a process.

Ooohhh...deep isn't it! Okay, I told you last time that these were not going to be new revelations, just things that impacted me.

I have learned that we can pick any one spot or area to begin our Welcome Ministry. It doesn't really matter, as it will quickly begin to change as we learn what the culture of our church is and how it is we want to effectively reach our guests. What we think may work today, may not work tomorrow. What we don't think will work, may be the best thing we could do.

It is a process...

As with any process, there is learning curves, trials, reviews and implementation periods. During these times the ministry will be growing and learning, much like a child. We will learn about the people in our church, we will learn about the people visiting our church, and we will learn about ourselves.

It is a process...

As with any process, we will not reach our end goal on day 1. We will have to move in steps. For example, a child must first roll-over before it can crawl. It must crawl before it can walk (in most cases)...and it will walk before it can run. We may find that in a given area of ministry we have identified an end goal. However, moving straight there is not always possible due to resources, people, space, etc. So we will take the first step, then the next and so on.

It is a process...

Now with all that I have said, please do not loose sight of what our primary goal is. As with all ministries, our goal is to "do anything and everything that helps our guest see Christ". Everything else in the process follows that.

Lastly, let me say this. What a relief! What a relief to know that none of us have to have an answer when we start this ministry. I believe that as long as we stay focused on the primary goal I just mentioned and truly seek God, He will begin to direct us where to place our focus, and out of that the process will begin.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Quiet time at St. Arbucks

Quiet time at St. Arbucks.

One of my mentors...Scott Hodge...regularly calls it that. I guess I am going to borrow it, well because I think its cool.

Quiet time at strbx can be a really interesting time. Last month I blogged about seeing wreaths in starbucks and it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet.

Tonight while I was in strbx I noticed those same wreaths. One was missing and the other one was damaged. It made me think. Sometimes I feel that I treat my relationship with Christ the same way.

I put it out on display for everyone to see. Yet I don't maintain it. After awhile it starts to look shabby or damaged. If I want my relationship to stand out and shine I have to check it daily, make sure it is not broken or damaged.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bible isn't enough.

I was reading Tim Stevens blog today entitled, "The Bible Isn't Enough". I really enjoyed it. I wanted to blog on the article and add some of my own material. But Frankly, I think Tim did a great job talking about it without me saying a word. So....

Check out Tim's Blog, The Bible Isn't Enough

and enjoy a great Blog!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Follow-up on Doris

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog about our greeter Doris. If you haven't read it, go read it here first.

I had the privelage of speaking with Doris this past Sunday and told her about the situation specifically. I asked her how she did it. I am still boggled. Then what I heard next humbled me in an amazing way.

First of all, Doris was quick to correct me, it was not Bob, his name was Bill. Doris then went on to explain how when he came the first time, years ago, he had a young daughter about 10 years old and that his wife's name was Doris. She said that she has been praying for Bill and his family almost every day since then. So it was easy to remember him when he returned because she has been praying for him. In fact, she then went on to describe what the family is up to and their plans for the future, etc.

What?! You have been praying for them almost every day. Man, I get grumpy if I have to remember every prayer need for my family and friends...okay so I am exagerating to make a point. It was still a humbling conversation.

Thanks Doris for being the woman of faith that you are. I am blessed to know you!

Children at Christmas....a WOW Experience!

The other day I was trying to explain to a friend what Welcome Ministries is and what it means to create a "Wow Experience" for guests to the church. I was able to explain in detail what the ministry is made up, i.e. the different areas, as well as what the ministry would like to accomplish, i.e. the vision, mission, etc.

However, as I tried to describe the feeling one gets from a Wow experience...we couldn't match up. I could describe a wow experience, say at a restaurant or perhaps how an employee may have gone the extra mile to serve this person. Yet, I could not describe the feeling that came with that experience. I am not sure if he had never experienced that feeling, or if I did a poor job of trying to describe it (I am guessing the later). We eventually gave up that day, as I could not quite nail it down.

Then on Sunday night at our small group, my friend Steven mentioned that he would love to be there on Christmas morning to watch my youngest open his presents. My son tends to be very animated. Steven went on to describe that feeling of excitement, joy and energy that children have when they first wake up Christmas morning and see the presents awaiting them under the tree. The feeling that continues through the time of opening presents and finding out what gifts had been left for them.

As I listened to him talking, I said to myself..."That's it!". That is the feeling that a Wow Experience leaves with you. Now, we don't want to create false emotions through well planned movements and events. However, imagine the excitement if a guest, not sure what to expect, experienced a morning that surprised them with "gifts" around every corner. Gift - Someone greets them at their car. Gift- Someone helps them take their children to Sunday School. Gift- Someone gives them a "tour" of the facility. Gift - Someone cares enough to ask them their name... and remembers it after the service. Gift - The Church actually cares about them enough to make a conscious decision to prepare for their guests.

When I visit a Church and receive that kind of treatment, the best way to describe it, for me, is a kid at Christmas...a truly WOW Experience! Are you creating "Child at Christmas"- like experiences for your guests?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

So Long Self...Duh!

I was "surfing" YouTube tonight looking for cool church videos and came across this video. I have heard this song "So Long Self" by MercyMe many times. I even have it on my I-pod. Yet, tonight as I was struggling from a rough end to my week having fought with my temptations and struggles, I started listening to this song over and over. I must have listened to it 3 or 4 times. Then it hit me (or maybe God hit me...not sure). That is my problem. As I fight off these tempations and struggles, I keep making room for my old self. I make Jesus move over to the side so the old self and him can fit in. It doesn't work that way. When Jesus enters your life, he wants to take up all the space.

I know this is simple stuff, and we have all heard it before. However, I think we need to hear it over and over and over until the day we ascend to Heaven or the Lord returns for us. At least I know I do.

So, as you listen to this video, I pray that it will speak to you in a way that you need to hear, and not squeeze out some space for your old self...instead bar the door if you have to and keep the "old self" out!

God Bless!

Carry Your Candle - NLCC

Our Church played this video some time ago...maybe a year ago? It is finally posted so it can be shared. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Here is the New Video!

Here is the newest video from NLCC:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Welcome Ministries Series

I just recently finished reading a book by Mark Waltz entitled, First Impressions, Creating Wow Experiences in Your Church. I also had the privelage of meeting Mark and attending a conference he put on in Manteca a couple weeks ago. I have learned a number of important things that I think are applicable to me and how I "do" ministry.

I wanted to share with you some of the things that have impacted me the most from reading the book and attending the conference. Over the next couple weeks I will throw in some blogs about the book and what I am learning from it. I am sure I am not the first to blog on this book or on "first impressions" in general. Therefore, I am not going to try and give you profound and undiscovered ideas. I am simply going to share with you highlights that hit home with me and how they have impacted how I look at things.

So, if you are interested, get yourself a copy of the book and start reading so that together we can study some of the hidden nuggets tucked away in this book! I would love to hear what you think as well!

Is cheating okay if it is for someone else?

Okay do I have your attention? I guess it would help if I started with a brief story. Lately my wife has been a bit under the weather. We were playing cards this afternoon and while she stepped away to do something I thought about looking at her cards. Now hold on....the reason I thought of cheating was so that I could play something that would help her hand. I wanted to cheat to help her. Really!

Of course, I didn't. Like I said I only thought about it. However, as I reflected on that incident this evening while I was out and about, it reminded me of a book I read earlier this year, Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley.

In his book, Andy Stanley challenges us to cheat. You may think it is wrong to cheat. What Andy Stanley explains is that we are going to cheat. The question isn't IF we are going to cheat but WHO are we going to cheat. Andy Stanley challenges us to make that decision before it is made for us and to make sure we are cheating in the best interest of our family.

After the game of cards this afternoon, I began thinking about my decision not to look at her cards. That was such a no brainer. Just don't cheat. If it is so simple, then why is it so difficult when it comes to work and life?

We are so quick to cheat our families when work requires extra time of us because, "it is just this once"...or..."it is only for a couple weeks"...or..."it may mean a promotion". Let me ask you this, what good is a promotion if your family isn't around to enjoy it with you? I have to ask myself that question at least once a week.

So back to my question...Is cheating okay if it is for someone else? I guess you will have to read Andy Stanley's book to find out! As for me....I am going to try harder to be a better cheater for my family!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go Worship Team!

In just a few weeks, our worship team will be sharing the story of Christ in a fun and yet relevant way.

What most people won't see is what these photos are attempting to portray...all the hardwork and practice that goes in to making this a success. These people are coming and practicing as a group every week and working out their parts during the rest of the week. There is a lot of time put into set design/building, lighting, etc. All of this is done as a service to the church and to our glorious savior so that his message could be shared with the community in which we serve.

Thanks Worship Team and all the other members of the group that are working so hard to share the message of Christ.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Thanks #5


#1. The Love Jesus Christ has for me.
#2. My Wife, Autumn
#3. My two boys
#4. My Job and my boss.

and Church.

I am excited to be a part of my church, New Life Christian Center. We are undergoing what I think will be a major culture change over the next couple of years. I have no idea what it will look like. I have had a number of opportunities to talk with my Senior Pastor, Dave Larson, to try and see if God has given him a hint of what it might look like...either he is doing a good job of hiding it or he isn't sure what it will look like after the transformation (and I think it is the later). I have had a chance to talk and share with our Creative Arts and Worship Pastor, Jon Nichols, and he is as excited as myself and everyone else I talk to. Which to me means that when there is a lot of excited staff about pending change, something great is coming. That is what I am most excited about, is to see how God uses this change to bring him glory and allow us to reach out to those who do not yet know Christ. I am also thankful for the the opportunity to be a part, however small, of this exciting time.

Thank you Pastor Dave and Pastor Jon for allowing me to serve in my church!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Thanks #4

That would be my job. Since I am not in full-time ministry, and I actually have to "work" to earn a keep, I could not have asked for a better job.

God has blessed me with a job that provides a great salary, great hours, a wonderful boss who is understanding of my priorities and wouldn't ask me to change them for anything. I am able to be an active part of my church and serve in the ways that I can serve because of the job the Lord has blessed me with.

Thank you God for all that you do in my life...even when I don't always see it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Promo Video for Let it Be...Christmas

Here is the promo video for the series I blogged about the other day:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Thanks #3

Well, as we go down the natural order of things I am sure you can guess what is next.....that's right, my Job! HA! Just Kidding. The next thing I am thankful for is my two boys: Jordan and Austin!

It is amazing how a young couple could give birth to two children with no expectations or knowledge of how to raise them, what to do with them, or what God could possibly do with them and through them. Yet, each day the Lord manages to surprise me. It is amazing how the Lord can show us what simple faith should look like through our children.

I watch as my oldest (8 yrs old), who has accepted Christ as his Savior, sits on every word as I read to him from the Bible or tell him stories. As I see him in his bed at night reading his Bible before going to sleep, he is being a witness to Autumn and I and he doesn't even realize it. Watching him, renews my own faith! The best part of it...his little brother wants to be just like him, and although he can't read yet, is "reading" his Bible every night, too.

Thank you Lord for blessing Autumn and I with two Angels...

Thanksgiving Thanks #2

My wife, Autumn.

I think that every now and then the Lord allows us to see a little glimse of what Heaven will be like. For me that is Autumn. There is nothing in this world that I could imagine ever loving more than my wife; until another day comes and goes and I realize I love her that much more.

It doesn't matter what happens in my life, ups/downs or ins/outs it is all superficial when you have someone to love so deep in your heart.

Thank you Lord for bringing Autumn to me. Thank you Autumn for loving me as I am!

Thanksgiving Thanks #1

Okay! This one was supposed to go out yesterday...I got distracted. So, here is Monday's:

As a Christian, the first thing I am thankful for is Jesus Christ. Now, don't check out! At this point you would expect me to say because of his saving grace, or his unconditional love, or some other "fluffy" stuff. Now, those are all valid reasons, but for me it is a bit more specific.

I am thankful for a Savior that loved me so much that he allowed me to fail so bad in life that I realized the only way out was through Him. I am just stubborn enough to think that I could do life on my own, and would have continued that way for the rest of my life on this earth. However, my Savior refused to bail me out and I continued down until I hit rock bottom. It was then and only then that I realized I couldn't do it alone. As a result I turned my life over to Christ and allowed him to do it for me.

Thank you Jesus for ALL you do...especially when we don't think you are there!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I needed to hear this today.

I read this post from Steven Furtick's blog tonight. Let me tell you, I really needed to hear it. Here is a piece of the blog. Please visit Pastor Furick's blog for the entire post.

..."This is why your first inclination after a spiritual failure is to run and hide from God. The last thing you feel like doing after blowing it is approaching God through prayer, or through any other means, for that matter.But a thorough confidence in the grace of God and the power of the cross can help you turn the tables, and beat the enemy at his own game.

Instead of allowing your sin to drive you away from God, let it drive you to Him in repentance."...

Thank you Pastor Furick for this reminder.

I will be following this one!

I was doing some of my daily blog reading when I came across a blog entry by Tim Stevens. It was talking about Granger Community Church's upcoming Christmas Series that is using Beetles music. When I first read it, I was intrigued to read more. He placed a great youtube video of their teaching pastor, Rob Wegner, talking about how the Beetles music will relate to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Well enough of me talking. Here is the link for the Blog entry I read. All I know is I will be podcasting this series. I think it will be a nice refreshing approach to the Christmas Story.

Now that's a "Wow" Experience!

I received this email earlier today from a Staff member at our church:

Hats off to Doris! Greg talked to a man yesterday morning. He attended here 6 years ago when his friend invited him. A few months later his friend stopped attending so he stopped also. He came back about 6 weeks ago, and the first day back in 6 years, Doris greeted him with "Hello Bob." He was blown away she remembered his name after 6 years. He told Greg, "That's it, I'm staying."

Don't we all wish we had a Doris? Well, we aren't sharing so don't ask!

Doris is someone that you can be rest assured will greet you when you come in the door each Sunday. There are weeks where you can walk by and not even notice her, because you are so used to seeing her there. Then there are other weeks, where it seems like God placed her at the door just for you.

However, extraordinary events like the one in the email are great to hear. It is exciting to see how God can use someone like Doris to bring someone home, through Love and Grace. All with two words...."Hello Bob"...

Great job Doris! I am glad I get to share a church with wonderful people like you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who is that dashing Actor?

My Pastor, Dave Larson, recently did a short video as an intro to the Book of James, Chapter 2, for our current series, Full Throttle. I thought it was a neat video and wanted to share it here as well for the couple of people reading....

Is it Christmas already

What? Did I miss something? I was at Starbucks, and they were already decorated for Christmas. I thought I just took my boys Trick-or-treating. Oh well, I am sure I just don't get it.

What happened to the days when Christmas only consumed 1 month????

Cool Bumper Video

Okay. I had absolutely nothing to do with the bumper video. I didn't come up with the idea, nor did I make it, produce it, or direct it. However, I did get to view it, since it was at our church. My Pastor has blogged on it on his site. I think it is cool enough, that I wanted to include it on my site as well. So, if you haven't seen it already, here is the bumper video from our current series, Full Throttle.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Costco Parking

Last night Autumn and I went to Costco to "window shop" while our kids were at church. As we approached the typical crowded parking lot, we followed another car in. It was kinda interesting watching the car in front of us. It "felt" like they were eagerly looking for a parking space because they knew I was right behind them. It seemed as if they thought that if they passed up a good spot, it would be lost forever, because I would take it, or wouldn't back up for them so they could take it.

As a result, they picked up a spot that was pretty good, but I can't help but wonder if they didn't take the time to assess the whole parking lot situation. Once I passed the car by, I pulled right in to the second spot, directly in front of the front doors.

Now, I probably wouldn't have thought much of it a year ago....ohh, who am I kidding. I wouldn't of thought much of it a few weeks ago. Let me know if this is as true for you as it is for me, but lately as I have taken a more aggressive and consistent role in seeking Christ, I find him in the most simplest of life's parking the car at Costco.

Yet, this experience got me thinking. It is amazing how quickly we find a "parking spot" among ministries or church activities for the purpose of getting it before the "guy" behind us does. Often times I find that I if I had only taken that little extra time to find God in my actions, I would have seen that He had a perfect spot for me right up front. Instead, he gave it to the person behind me.

The ironic thing about last night, is that I was in no rush, and I was not "looking" for a spot, I simply turned the corner and there it was. I think God works in much the same way. If we just place our focus on Christ and seek him, we will turn the corner and he will have that perfect spot waiting for us, especially when we aren't looking for it.

Let me encourage you, forget about rushing around to find that right spot. Just seek God, and before you know it, he will open up the perfect spot...probably when you least expect it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blog Reader Vs. Blog Writer

I have always wanted to be a great blog writer. Someone who can write paragraphs of deep thought and questions that make others go...."hmm, I hadn't thought of that!" Yet, as I begin to read blogs from various people, many of whom I first heard of through my Pastor's blog, I have come to a revelation... I am a blog reader not a blog writer.

I receive such joy in reading others blogs. Some of the blogs are personal events or about things going on in the author's life; yet, others are from prominant Pastors or ministry leaders who are sharing about great things going on in their ministries or things that God has placed on their hearts....much like a sermon on the computer.

When I first realized that I am a reader vs. a writer I have to admit, I was a bit sad...after all, God was not going to use me as the great blogger of all times. Then I started thinking about something I read in a book by Mark Batterson called "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day". In the book, Mark talks about how God wants to use the adversity in our lives and turn it into a ministry. He further quotes 2 cor 1:4...

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they
are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Please don't read into this, I am not trying to change the intent of scripture. However, it did make me think. What I determined was this: God made me a reader, not a writer. God is giving me the hunger to read the blogs that I read. It is God who will then use what I have consumed, and feed it to others through me. I am okay with that!

So let me ask you...Are you a reader or a writer? Which ever you are be proud. God will use you to feed others, one way or another!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fear like a child...playing it safe!

Recently, my Pastor at New Life CC spoke on fear. Further, he spoke on fearlessness through Christ. Are we allowing the enemy to place fear in our life to "take us out of the game". It reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago...

We were on vacation at Shaver Lake. My family and I were fishing on my grandfather's Pantoon boat. If you know pantoon boats, the pantoons stick out the front, and act as a "step" from the dock to the boat.

Well, my oldest son (7 years old) insisted that he no longer needed me to lift him on to the boat, but that he could step off the dock on to the boat all by himself. He shared this with me driving to the docks, walking down the dock to the boat, and while standing there waiting for me to put the rest of our stuff on the boat. However, when it came time to actually step on to the boat, everything was rocking...the boat, dock, water, etc. So when Jordan went to step onto the boat, he asked to hold my hand "just in case". He stepped out onto the boat, even with a bit of fear, knowing he was holding my hand.

As I reflected back on that during Pastor Dave's message, it made me think how much my fear is like that of a small child. I pray to the Lord to "Challenge me" and "Help me to face fear" and do something "fearless". Yet, when I look down deep, I can't do it. I like to play it safe.

Pastor Dave asked us, "What has fear kept you from doing that God is calling you to do?" Frankly, I am not sure. I think sometimes I play life to "safe", when I do that I don't hear God asking me to to take those fearful steps. I ponder the thought frequently: "Am I playing it to safe?". When Pastor Dave asked us this question, I thought to myself... "Am I letting fear paralyze me?"

I believe that I am. I like to feel comfortable and know what to expect week to week. Living like this day to day, might be fine...yet, when we live this way we miss out on the great things God has for us, if we don't step out in fear through faith.

However, I am ready to make a change! Let me encourage you to do the same if you struggle like I do. You see, here is what I realized, much like my son reached out to me to hold my hand, the Lord is waiting there for us to reach out our hand to him, and let his strength help us through this fearful step of faith.

My prayer is now, "Lord, as I step out with fear, my faith in you is like a child's hand reaching for his father's for help. I am relying on your strength to lift me safely on to the boat"...

Isn't God Great!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Our Christian Walk....err, Hike!

This saturday I had a chance to do a day hike with my buddy Tom. For those of you who know the area, we hiked out of Crabtree Trailhead up to Bear Lake. What a beautiful piece of country. If you have never been backpacking or hiking in the "back country", then you have truly not seen some of God's greatest wonders.

The hike was 3 1/2 miles in to Bear Lake. During the hike, I endured a number of obstacles, followed by an equal number of rewards. The first daunting task was the first mile of the hike. If you have ever hiked out of Crabtree, the first mile or so is a steep climb up. However, when you reach the top, there is a great sigh of release, as the rest of the hike is small ups and downs.

I had to stop once during the climb, as my body was not ready for it. It certainly put me to the test. Yet, it was during this climb that God began to show me something about my relationship withhim as a Christian. This climb was very hard for me, I struggled, I had to stop and rest, but eventually I made it to the top. What a reward I received at the top, knowing that I did it! I made it. As a result of reaching the top, I was blessed with two more rewards: The chance to see Camp Lake and Bear Lake nestled among the boulders and trees of God's Land.

No one paid me to go on this hike, it wasn't part of my job, I just did it for the reward. That is the same as our Christian walk. No one forces us to become a Christian, or to become a better Christian. We do this out of our own free will. At times our Christian Walk, like my hike, can be very hard, we feel like stopping and resting, or worse, quiting. We have to make the "right decision" and "study the Word", "live by example" and any other buzz words that you may hear to describe our walk.

However, much like my hike, the rewards are worth it. Of Course, the ultimate reward...eternity in Heaven! However, much like my hike on Saturday, we are blessed with many rewards along the way....a wonderful Godly spouse, children who love the Lord, a job that meets the needs of our family, a great church to attend, so on and so on.

Thank you Lord for the many rewards in my own life that help me to stay focused on you and gives me the energy to keep working hard and hiking up the hill!

May the Lord give you the same rewards as you take on your own Christian Hike!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Why Blog?

Does anyone really know the answer why we would put our hearts and our thoughts out for the public to view? I don't really know that there is a general answer to this question. I think for each individual it may be slightly different.

Some blog as part of their business, rather as a teaching tool. For others it is a form of evangelism, or possibly away to become closer with those that aren't in our "inner circle". Who really knows?

I know, you are asking....okay Jason, then why are you blogging? I guess it is a few reasons. First, I think it forces me to take time out of my day to slow down and "smell the keyboard". Second, if I can begin thinking about life as potential blogs (much like Pastors think about life as potential sermon illustrations) I think I will appreciate and take in the things that normally pass me by. Lastly, maybe...just maybe, God can work through me and use something I say to help another brother or sister through a similar experience, or possibly to reach a non-believer that would not have been reached through normal channels.

I already feel like life has slowed down...okay that moment has passed. I guess now you understand why I named my blog Unique Thoughts of a Mundane Life. If not, I imagine you soon will.