Saturday, March 29, 2008

Forwards for Christ

This morning I was listening to the Easter Message from Granger Community Church, in Indiana. Their Pastor, Mark Beeson, spoke on sharing the message of Christ in a new a viral way.

One of the examples that Mark used was the invention of YouTube. He pointed out that within minutes, hours or days, a popular video can go viral and be shared/viewed by millions. His question was this...what if we shared the message of Christ with others in the same way we share our videos, jokes etc.

They played a version of "Simon" with the entire church audience during their Easter service. So, I decided to share their message with you here. If you like this game, let me encourage you to visit their site and view the entire service for a pretty cool message on sharing the message of Christ.

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Casual Saturday

I did not realize just how long it has been since I have had a casual "sleep-in" kind of morning. It seems that over the past few months...(ok past few years) we have been going non-stop. So why the special day today. I realized the need for a quiet day with the family and insisted that it happen!

Ok, you know me better than that! We did have plans to leave first thing this morning to head up to Jenness Park near Cold Springs to spend the day with a friend of mine and his family who are currently on staff at the park. Unfortunately, his children were sick and so we decided to reschedule for another day.

I got to sleep in! Woke up to my boys jumping into our bed. We all sat together while Autumn and I woke up to a nice cup of coffee. I am really glad that our plans fell through. What a unique pleasure it is to have your kids come and jump into bed with you, fighting over who gets to lay where next to us. I realize that this will end soon.

The really funny part, is that Autumn and I could not decide what the best way to spend the day was. We have a long list of projects, we have upcoming events to prepare for...or we could jut do nothing. We chose a combination. We picked things that allowed us to just hang out with the boys while we do them.

Dads! We need to be doing more of this. No matter how committed we are to our ministries, or our jobs, our careers...take the time to stop and have down time with your family. If we don't we will miss out on them growing up! It is far more important to BE with them, than to provide FOR them!

Well, I just received a phone call from a friend with free tickets to the Stockton Thunders game tonight. Jordan and I will be able to go hang together, while Autumn and Austin go out for dinner and a movie. What a great way to end a casual satuday. How are you spending your casual saturday?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Year through the Bible...It's Like a Soap Opera!

Today my Daily Bible took me on a journey through 2 Samuel. More specifically, I read 2 Samuel 11-14, Kind David's fall. What an interesting story, it was like reading a soap opera magazine. If you are not familiar with it, let me summarize it quickly for you:

King David can't sleep so he goes up on the roof. He sees a really hot chick (Bathsheba). He decides he wants her, and because of his power he gets her. He sleeps with her, and she gets pregnant. She tells him. To cover it up, he gets her husband (Uriah) back from the military, thinking that Uriah will sleep with her, and everyone will think the child is Uriah's. Unfortunately, Uriah refuses to sleep with her, because he won't go home. He is an honorable man, and out of reverance for his boss (Joab) and his Lord, he will not enter his home.

So, David sends him back into battle and tells Uriah's boss (Joab) to put him on the front lines and stage it so that Uriah will certainly die and it will appear as though he died in battle. Once this happens, then David took Bathsheba to be his wife.

You could not write a script any better then that for a TV show or soap opera. Why do I bring that up?

King David was "favored" in God's eyes. The Lord was blessing him in many ways... material wealth, success in battle, etc. Yet, somehow this sin snuck into his life. How many times do we sit back and openly admit a few sins, but then show a whole list of things that could "never happen to me"?

I bet that if someone had come to David before this happened and told him he was going to have an affair that resulted in a child, and then he would kill the husband to cover it up, he may have said something like, "That could never happen to me, I have found favor in the Lord". Yet it did.

As I continue to struggle with a sin in my life, I have found that because of my accountability partner, I am able to fight off this sin with ease(at times). As I begin to let my guard down and think I have it beat, it comes out of nowhere and hits me hard. How did that happen?

Lastly, I want to share a brief excercise my Daily Bible had me do, and it got me thinking. Take out a piece of paper, and at the top write, "Things that could never happen to me!"

Take a few minutes and list between 5 and 10 things that you think could never happen to you...maybe divorce, bankruptcy, an affair, stealing, etc. Then go read 2 Sam 11-14. When you return take the list you made and at the top...scratch out the word "never".

We should never feel as though we are not subject to failure in any area of our life. It is only through constant time with the Lord and a good accountability partner (in my opinion) can you beat AND stay away from the sins of our lives!

If you are not already, get into the word daily, pray daily, seek God in all you do-- and share it all with a good accountability partner!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thank you!

I want to send out a BIG Thank you to all my peeps in Welcome Ministries! You guys(and gals) pulled off an amazing job with Easter Weekend. I also need to apologize. I put a limit on what I thought God could do through us. I questioned whether we had enough volunteers, was I motivating them enough, was it too much for one weekend....on and on and on.

Although the final numbers are not in (and yes sometimes it is about the numbers), it looks like a record crowd and over 70+ people accepting Christ as their savior...I learned one important thing! Stop worrying about me and get out of the way so God can do amazing things!

What I should have been saying (instead of worrying) is, "God, it is only through You that we can pull this off...but through You we can pull off anything." So for that...I apologize...and for proving me wrong....

I can only imagine what you will be able to pull off next!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

What a wonderful gift!

The other day I posted about our pastors going to a conference called Unleash. It is at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. I have already had a chance to talk with both Pastor Dave and Pastor Jon and it is great to hear how excited they both are about what they came away with. If you have read their blog you can begin to see some of that excitement. I can't wait to hear more about their trip.

However, this is nothing compared to what I had the privelage of receiving when I walked into the Church office on Monday. I can't even put it into words, so I am not going to try to. Here ya go:

In case you can't tell, sitting on the desk in the office was an autographed copy of Tony Morgan's book. It may seem kinda corny to be excited about an autographed book, but let me explain. When I heard that the Pastor's were going to the conference, I joked with Pastor Jon that he had to bring me back Tony's autograph. I am a great admirer of Tony Morgan and what he has done. I enjoy his books and his blog.

Pastor Jon attended his breakout session, and after the session, made his way up to Tony and had him autograph a book...just for me! I say this for one important reason. If you don't hear it from them or anyone else, your pastors care and love each and everyone of us and will do what ever it takes to help us find Christ and grow closer to Him. Of course, this book may not be the key to my relationship with Christ, but it does show the hearts that our Pastors have for us as a congregation.

Join me this Easter holiday in taking the time to thank our Pastors for all they do. God has truly given us a wonderful our Pastors! (and you thought the title of the blog was about the book!)

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Goal Updates

Here it is almost the end of March...for us "business folk" that means it is almost the end of Q1! As we fast approach the end, I am looking back at the goals I set for this year. Am I on track, moving ahead or falling behind.

I thought I would give you a quick update of where I am at:

2008 Revolutionary Goals

Here is an update of my goals for 2008:

Goal #1 - Read through the entire Bible:
On-track. Reading through Judges. A few days behind, that I should have caught up by the first of the week.

Goal #2 - Read 12 books:
1. Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli

Goal #3 - 10 things I have never done before:
1. ATV riding in the snow.
2. 7.5 mile hike in 1 day...and walked away from it!
3. Fly a kit with my sons...(I know a bit late, but I'm trying!)

Goal #4 - Committed Spiritual Leader:
Autumn and I are starting our study in June after school is out.
I miss a night here and there, but I am reading the Bible to the boys most nights!

Goal #5 - Say "WOW" on 1/1/2009:
Uhh...its not 2009 yet! but I am excited at what God is doing, so I can't wait for this one!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Almost like being there!

Our Pastors took time out of their week to go to a great conference on the east coast, called Unleash. I must admit there is a small part of me that was jealous I couldn't go with Pastor Dave and Pastor Jon to the conference. I was, however, excited all the more with the fact that they were going, and would be bringing back ideas and concepts that would be really exciting. I can't wait for them to share those thoughts and ideas with us.

One of the great things about reading blogs is that some of the people who's blogs I read, also attended the conference, and have already begun blogging on the conference. One of those I read is Jay Hardwick. He blogged today on some of the highlights from Perry's talk(Pastor of the church that hosts Unleash). One of the things Jay said Perry said was:

"Vision doesn't come from books and conferences; it comes from uninterrupted time with God."

This was huge for me. I tend to be the type that can't sit still for very long. If I am not doing at least 4 or 5 things at a time, then I get real ancy. As a result, I tend to put a lot of my growth efforts into books, or into attending events so "I can learn from the greatness of others".

As I began to take on the duties and responsibilities of the Welcome Ministries, I immediately went to the internet and the blogoshere to gleam the knowledge of others in casting my great vision for this ministry.

Luckily, God has and continues to use friends like Jon and others to remind of first turning to God and allow him to guide my vision. This comment from Perry was another friendly reminder of the order by which God wants to accomplish things through me.

Let me remind you too. Turn to God first, allow him to cast the vision for your life, and then turn to others on how to accomplish the God-size vision that he has given you.

Keep an eye out for Pastor Dave and Pastor Jon on the net, as I am sure they will be sharing with us soon...I can't wait!

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Sadie's Place

I have tried to not make my blog an advertisement space. I have always intended it to be a place to share my thoughts, struggles, desires, etc. However, today I am going to make an exception. I had a chance to spend my Friday sabbatical in a great coffee shop here in Turlock.

The name is Sadie's Place Cafe and Deli. It is located right next to Vito's Restaurant behind CSU Stanislaus, on Crowell. First, and most Wi-Fi, and it is screaming fast! The coffee is good (Clayton's Coffee from Modesto, CA) and the atmosphere is awesome.

Lastly, I had a croissant breakfast sandwich that was nothing less than perfection! Most of the time, I expect to receive a premade croissant sandwich heated in a microwave. Lets just say, when my friend Tom and I saw her start cracking eggs we knew we were in for something special. Is it possible that a breakfast sandwich can bring you closer to God? If so, this one definitely did it.

I have no personal or financial ties to this restaurant, but let me say this. If you are going to have coffee or a meeting with friends, please try this place. We need more places like this in our community.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Date night

No date night is complete without a stop at Bath and Body Works...especially when you have kids! I love date night. We don't have nearly enough of them.