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Tomorrow morning I'm headed up to Harrisburg, PA to be "The Best Man" (that has a ring to it) for my cousin Tim's wedding. He's marrying a wonderful woman named Kimberly.

Tim was my best friend growing up and we made a promise to each other when we were kids that we'd be each other's best man at our weddings. He served as mine in 2001 and I get the honor to follow through on my end on Sunday.

Tim is the kind of guy who in a former time would have been seated at the round table. He honestly should have been a Knight. He's a guy who has always looked to honor, duty and faith to guide him. He loves to compete and compete well. He was labled "Front runner" through a big bold headline in the Baltimore Sun after a full-page picture landed him running for a touchdown in a High School football game.

Tim has overcome adversity in this life. He's not only survived but thrived. He's a peacemaker but also firm and protective. He's competitive but at the end of the day wants to know he's right by the Lord. Tim is a hero to many and a friend to those who know him. He's as loyal as they come and if he says he's going to be there for you, his word is as good as gold. You can cash the check on Tim. He's what the Marines thought of when they came up with the slogan "The Few, The Proud".

I'm very proud of my cousin this weekend. He's marrying a wonderful woman and they deserve to enjoy every moment of this weekend. I'm looking forward to connecting with old friends from Liberty and spending time with family but I'm most looking forward to hearing "I do!" from my boy Tim.

Congrats Tim and Kim. I pray God's blessing on your future together.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, June 30, 2006

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Going away for two days gives you an opportunity to ponder things. I think God has wired me to be more of a Harriet Tubman.

I want to make it possible for people to get out of bondage, I don't really care to live with them in it.

During the terrible time of slavery in our country there became three types of African American leaders. Those who taught slaves how to keep quiet so the pain won't hurt as much... Those who got free and spent the rest of their life enjoying their liberty ... and those who got free and spent the rest of their lives trying to get others free.

Harriet Tubman chose the thrid option. She's famously quoted as often telling runaway slaves on her Undeground Railroad that once they were on the "railroad" they were not going back. Slaves who got scared were a liability and she'd often pull out a gun and remind them that the train only heads north.

Another quote that I love:
"I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

My life has a wide range of socio-economic experiences... I intend to use them to connect worlds often left unconnected and to help set captives free.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 28, 2006

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Evening Download

Today I made my way up to check out the staff of NCC and Pastor Mark Batterson.

A few quick thoughts:

- Everything from Va Beach to D.C. was flooded today.
- I love seeing new places and visiting old ones but driving wears me out.
- It took me 90 minutes to go 25 miles this morning from Odenton, MD to NCC.
- Note to self: "Don't park in front of a stop sign in Washington D.C. The police like writing tickets." Yeah. It would have been cheaper to walk in the rain.

Okay... On to NCC

- Tim Eleza was great leading up to my visit and I appreciate him taking time to make everything happen.
- Ebeneezers is a cool place to be in D.C.
- NCC has some of the coolest staff I've met
- NCC has some of the smartest staff I've met
- Mark was very kind and I appreciate his time and his ear. He gave some great cousel I hope to employ.

The Big Idea Meeting at NCC

The meeting I was in was a "Big Idea" meeting. It was a brainstorming of sorts. I won't get into much detail b/c it's stuff they are still kicking around but I did have some observations.

- A relaxed vibe among the team. During the nearly 2 hour meeting laughter was common. It was cool to see a team getting a job done and having a great time doing it.

- A casual approach to the meeting. I've been in a ton of meetings with tons of personalities. This "Big Idea" meeting was more of a brainstorming session and as such it was run very well. Mark and Joel gently guided thought but it definately came across that everyone's thoughts mattered. Some ideas were followed and others weren't. I liked how relaxed the meeting was lead. It gives permission for people to jump in and out. As a result it was very productive and creative.

- A respect for one another. The team at NCC are all very talented in their own right. I got the feeling that there is a very mature respect for each other. It reminded me of all-star sports teams from when I was a kid. You know everyone is great so you trust your teammates to make plays. Everyone is relaxed and just getting things done... not working for rank. I think this speaks well to Mark and his team for their focus. God can get glory on that team.

- Focus on the right place. The Big Idea meeting is all about communicating the Gospel in compelling ways. Mark didn't start from a cool idea and work to scripture (as I see far too often these days) but rather worked from the scripture he (and Joel) is meditating on out to the cool ideas. I personally believe this can make the most difference in how well a Spiritual point is made. You can be as creative as you want but if you start with a "cool element" and try to fluff it up with the bible... that's what you'll get. If you start with God's word however and then build creatively... you'll amplify the word, not overshadow it.

I want to thank Mark, Tim, Heather, Joel, Steph, David, Paul, Josh, Amanda, Jimmy and the rest of the crew for allowing me to join you today. I truly respect what you have done and are doing in the Kingdom. Keep up the great work!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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Ice Age: The Church

Today we hosted our first of three Summer Movie days. The theater was full of movie goers for the 1pm showing of "Ice Age". We decided a while back that we wanted to make use of our uniqueness in this theater. We expect to be doing many more of these types of outreach events.

Earlier this week we posted signs at the theater that we'd be hosting this free movie at 1pm and boy did people find out! We had a full house for the showing and everyone seemed to be pretty receptive. I LOVED seeing our people interact with so many from the community. As people were filing in we had some of our folks in the hallway handing out balloons to the kids (kind of an accident b/c I happened to have the helium tank and balloons for my message but I made a note to make this a regular thing with these movies!)

The movie started at 1:15 p.m. but we advertised 1pm because we don't know until Thursday before the day we rent exactly WHICH movies will be showing. Theyv'e promised to have a few options each time and today we decided to go with Ice Age. It was a good choice as far as attendance. Before the movie our people handed out flyers about our church and I walked around checking to be sure that no one was charged for their ticket. It also gave me an opportunity to share that we were the ones who rented the theater and allowed people to engage in conversation. Several families asked more info from that quick conversation.

At about 5 minutes before showtime I went to the front of the room and the music was brought down while I did a quick hello. I explained who we were and what we were about... I then invited them all to check out the church in the future and thanked them for joining us for the movie and ended by encouraging them to enjoy the show. What was cool was that as I finished, the audience clapped. They were genuinely thankful that the church took the time to do this for them.

Even if they don't come to the church I know that we now have a few hundred people with a positive vibe about our church in the future.

The movie was cool and people had a great time. This entire movie series will end up being picked up by one young couple in our church who answered the call a few months back when I put out a request for funds to do some outreach projects. One young couple gave sacrificially to see these movie events happen. I am so proud of our people!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Church of the Day

Today we had a nice visit from new friend Gorman Woodfin of CBN and the 700 club. Gorman is a producer for the "church of the week" spotlight. He recently spent time at NCC with Mark Batterson. NCC will be featured tomorrow on the 700 club.

Gorman checked us out today and even gave me an autographed copy of a book he wrote called 'In the Hollow of His Hand: Amazing Stories of God's Care" printed by Multnomah Books.
Apparently it's a collection of 17 inspiring stories of God's hand in the most extreme of situations. It seems to be a relaxing read.

I've enjoyed connecting with people from all walks of the Christian life. Apparently Gorman lives pretty close and he's been wanting to pay us a visit. We enjoyed meeting him and I'm looking forward to his piece tomorrow on NCC. Should be great.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 25, 2006

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June 25th- Message Audio

Today's message is online: HERE

Today's Topic: Authority

Matthew 5, John 2:18-22

I use a blade to pop balloons during my points after reading parts of Matthew 5. You hear it a little on the mic.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Great Day

Now THAT'S what it's all about! Today was a great day all the way around.

This morning we were set up and finished sound check by 9:10 a.m. which is fantabulous for us. We normally aren't finished sound check until 9:45a.m. for a 10a.m. service. Today was fantastic. Our crowd was up today with somewhere around 20 new guests today. Awesome! The signs we put out last week paid off for several families as well as just 'God Visits' where people randomly did searches online.

The message was right on today. I came out to Jane's Addiction "Been Caught Stealing" and talked about getting locked up for stealing when I was a kid. I then transitioned into the "Farting Preacher" clip. The crowd loved it. I used it to talk about how Authority figures used to get respect but today people in authority are mocked left and right. (see there... it had a purpose)

The message was on the authority of Christ and spoke to the fact that without the Resurrection, Jesus' authority on life is pretty much worthless. The very reason we can talk about his authority on everything else is because of his resurrection. We spent time mostly in Matthew 5 and then John 2:18-22.

I had some balloons on stage tapped to the inside of a big trashcan. The four balloons the audience could see the whole service were "Health", "Testimony", "Relationships" and "Morality". As we walked through passages where Jesus referenced these things and spoke with authority about them, I popped a balloon with a switchblade I had in my pocket. (I pulled the knife out and opened it first). So we got to where we heard what Jesus had to say about these things and I simply kept saying "but without authority we can discredit this". On the inside of the trashcan I had 4 helium filled balloons tapped to the inside on ribbon that had the following words: "Healty Life", "Salvation", "Unity" and "Unselfishness". I first read John 2:18-22 and spoke about how Jesus DOES HAVE AUTHORITY to speak on all of life because of his resurrection. I then went back and talked about how each of these things ties back in. Now... with authority through the resurrection, these teachings can also be resurrected... I then allowed the audience to see the full balloons represneting what Jesus' teaching could bring to our lives.

This message was one that my friend John Smith and I worked on this week together as we both had "buffer Sundays" between message series. He did a similar version.

Well, three people accepted Christ for the first time today. I'm pumped.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Looking Back

Every now and then I look back over the last 10 years and see where I've been. I had just graduated High School and I jumped on a plane and moved to Texas all by myself. At 18 years old I started working for a delivery company and got myself an apartment. That summer I thought I was in love with a girl I had met the previous year on a mission's trip of all things.

Well, I had an apartment and a job and a girl. My girlfriends father co-signed for me to get a car and that began my "adult life". The relationship fizzled and by the fall semester I found myself back home trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

I've always had this internal feeling that I was created for a great purpose. It's hard to decribe but I haven't approached many things in life thinking that in the end I somehow won't succeed. Wherever I was I always took the outlook that I can be better and I will acheive more.

Since I went to college I've always thought about my hometown. The violence, drugs, poverty and crime. I've thought that I wish it would be different. Today I started looking at some statistics about the city and found some that were positive and others that made me question if the place would make it another decade.

Anyway... I figured I'd share with you where I went to church. I google-mapped my home church from Baltimore and if you check it out it will give you a good idea of how "inner" we were in the city. I'll always have fond memories of my home church. My first Pastor passed away a year ago or so and some people have moved on or also gone to Heaven. I pray for my old church that it becomes diverse enough to reach the community in which it rests. I don't know what God has in store for Baltimore but I pray it's grand. Our cities need the Gospel.

It's great to find the part of the map where the 'yellow' is headed but so often the smartest and strongest church planters abandon where the yellow has been for years.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 24, 2006

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They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere!

Yesterday my wife comes through the door and says to me "Tally... did you put those signs up today?" The look on her face was of amazement and shock.

I said "Well, I had someone do it... but yeah."

She continued "They are Everywhere. You can't go to a light in Greenbrier without seeing our signs stacked up at the intersection."

I said "Good. That's what I wanted to happen."

You see... we're trying to use this summer to be aggressive with outreach. A big part of outreach has to do with awareness. As a small start-up church we don't have a ton of resources and we don't have a ton of people to saturate our city. But none of that matters.

When I was in college I constantly heard from Dr. Falwell that "The way to reach people is to contact them and contact them continuously." Dr. Falwell started his church and began a marketing blitz that would be considered amazing by todays standards, let alone what was going on in 1956. Within weeks of their opening, Dr. Falwell was on the speaking circut as well as radio and T.V. In addition he made his way door to door all over his town.

Once a person was contacted, they'd get a follow-up phone call and a newsletter in the mail. Every contact made received 3 contacts alone in that first week. With the newness of what he was doing and the fact that he was a 'cool' church planter (he was the only one on TV and radio)... his church grew to 800 people within that first year. He never had to look back.

We didn't make that splash when we started. If you're a church planter out there, chances are that you didn't make that huge 200-300 person splash either. Most don't. The thing is... we didn't fold either. We don't need to. We were able to manage our resources and take time to develop people from right where they were. Our church isn't full of talented people in any one particular area but we have a group of people willing to work once they see the vision.

So... this goes back to our signs. One of the things I'm going to do is to work hard to blanket this part of town with info about us. There is NO ONE who drives in the Greenbrier area this weekend who is able to deny that they read one of our signs. There are so many of them that it forces you to say "Who the heck did that?" You are compelled to look.

Granted... I've considered these disposable... the city may take them down in a few days but to me it's worth it. It's a small part of creating buzz and showing our own people that we're willing to get out there. If your people dont' see the effort, they will quit. Also... one of the things I leared from "Why Men Hate Going to Church" is that guys want to be a part of a winner. Guys want to be on a team making things happen. If it's "his" church... he wants it to make some noise. Guys would love to say "Yeah... I go to Focal Point Church." and have their friends say "Is that the one that meets at the Theater with all of those signs? The alternative is a long explination that gets uncomfortable for most guys. They'd rather be a part of a team that's moving the ball.

So this summer we're trying some inexpensive things to make some noise. We only put out half of our signs in the area right near the mall because it's a densely trafficed area and as I said they are likely to get tore down when the mowers come by. What we will do is wait a few weeks and do it again. In addition we are hosting free movies, a few cookouts and in July we're bringing in a group from Pennsylvania to help us make some noise with a gas giveaway, block parties, ice cream giveaway and they will spend the week canvassing neighborhoods letting people know about the church.

So... no excuses... get out there and make some noise. Make sure the reason people aren't coming isnt' for a lack of effort. The way I see it is that if I bust my tail to make people aware of us and they don't come... that's more on God than me. I'm going to do all I can and trust that God will do what only he can.

BTW: Ben Arment did a similar sign campaign a while back and that's where I stole the idea. It's not that signage is new.. it's that the amount of signs in one place gets the heads turning. I'll let you know how it goes.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 22, 2006

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Me, a Prophet?

This Winter I coached a kids basketball team. When the league director asked me what team name I wanted, I thought for a second and said "The Heat"

Well, tonight the Heat won the NBA Championship. They obviously have me to thank :) God wanted the kids on my team to be excited today and realize that their coach was a Prophet :)

I'm obviously joking but it was cool to see the Heat win.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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For guys like Kevin

So today at around 5:55 a.m. I'm sitting in Starbucks for our bible study and prayer time at 6 a.m. when I notice a construction worker come in and order coffee and a bagle. I couldn't help but to think of the book I'm reading right now called "Why men hate going to church" by David Murrow.

I asked myself "Self, what would it take for a guy like that to come to Focal Point?" I began reasoning that a tough guy in fatigues and a construction belt would be tough to get into church and started to get frustrated. A few minutes later though as he gets up to toss his trash he turns to me and catches my eye.

He says "So... you guys are here every week doing some kind of bible study huh?"

I said "Yeah man. We get together and check out God's word and just talk about life. The cool thing about this group is how real we are. If life sucks we say so and if things are good, we say so. It's a good group of guys."

He says "Yeah man. Each week I see you in here when I come to get my coffee. Are you from that church that meets in the movie theater?"

Surprised I said "Yeah man, that's us. How'd you hear about us?"

He said "I remember you. You did that Easter Egg Hunt a few months ago. My kids really had a good time. I bumped into you out there, my name is Kevin."

Then it hit me. I had talked to Kevin. Kevin had two cute little kids with him that day and I invested time talking to Kevin while his kids were playing at the event. Kevin continues "Yeah man... it's good what you guys are doing. My kids loved that stuff. I really need to get them into church."

Kevin went on to tell me about how spiritual things have been coming up around his house lately. His kids came across a cartoon about the crusifiction of Jesus and they were captivated asking him "Daddy, was Jesus a bad man?" He said "No... he was good, it was those other guys who were bad." Kevin then told me about how his kids were all worried about the date 6/6/06 the other day because of things they saw on TV and heard at school.

What I noticed in Kevin's voice was a sense of spirituality but (like many men out there) a feeling of having lost a leader. It was as if he once started down a path but got sidetracked along the way. I couldn't help but to be thankful that we had crossed paths again.

I asked Kevin if I could pray for him right then and there in Starbucks and he said "Man... definately, I could always use that." So this morning at about 6 a.m. I prayed with Kevin for his workday, his crew he supervises and for his family. I asked God to bless him and give him peace today. I asked God to give Kevin confidence in leading his family and wisdom to do it well." I'll continue to pray for Kevin today. It's times like this that I LOVE being able to do what I do.

A few thoughts about my experience this morning.

1. I wish more of our guys were there. At that time, I was the only person from our church there. Today it ended up just being two of us at our bible study and prayer. I want people like Kevin to see a solid group of us each week so he can see that it's not just 'the guy who gets paid to be spiritual' who is there.

2. It wouldn't have happened if I slept in. This encounter today would have never have happened if I didn't put myself in the middle of the marketplace.

3. Days like today don't happen every week but the percentage goes up each time I leave my house/office. In addition, days like today are a reward for the other days when we do it. For at least one group of patrons at Starbucks, it's not as 'strange' to see Christians read their bibles and have a good time together.

4. For us to grow, we're going to need much more of this from our congregation. We dont' live in a 'booming' area where we can expect a ton of growth for being the coolest church in town. We live in a place with a decent amount of blue collar families who have roots here. We also live in a place with a lot of military who are transient and may only stay here a few years before moving on. Our entire church will have to get active in outreach and encouragement if we're to grow significantly in this region.

5. I need to keep focusing on my own personal evangelism.

6. I need to keep reminding our church that we exist for guys like Kevin.

Anyway... if you think about it... toss one up for Kevin today. I'd love to see him take me up on an invite to Focal Point. Also pray for our men. I am begging God for a church of men who lead their families to serve and love Christ. Pray for me as the leader that I would be open to the Spirit as he leads us and that I'll have wisdom to lead our church appropriately.

Have a great Wednesday!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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Do you ever stop to think about how much God has to break himself down to be able to work through you and me?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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Note to Self

Dear Self,
Kristy doesn't like it when you tighten jars, 2 litre bottles or Caleb's drink cup too tight. Ultimately she will try to open it and get frustrated only to call you in from the living room to untighten it. Then as you flex your manly muscles you will inevitably say to her "Honey, it wasn't even tight." only to see her shake her head in disgust. You will then make some joke about how powerful you are and that you look like incredible hulk under your shirt which she will know is a lie. Then you will joke with her at the sink and ask her what she'd do without you...

On second thought.... Self... Keep tightening the bottles. Nothing on TV is better than those moments with her.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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Galatians 6:6
6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

This tidbit is tucked away in the middle of Galatians 6 between 'testing your own actions' and 'God cannot be mocked, you reap what you sow'. It's a 1 sentence admonition. An instruction. A command for the believer.

The funny thing about this is that most Pastors will never point it out to their congregation. Why? Because it appears to be self-satisfying.

This week I was blessed with a few people who practiced this verse. I got a FANTASTIC email from a member of the church who may know more about the bible than I do but said some of the nicest things about my teaching. Then I got a phone call from a guy in the church who informed me that he's been listening to my messages in his mp3 player all day at work on repeat. He said "You can make anything interesting and I learn something new each time I listen to the messages."

These are nice words but more importantly they are the brick and mortar of Pastor Esteem. They are the words that can keep a Pastor fired up about his calling. The folks who build you up are to be valued. Hang with them. Take care of them. Encourage them in return. They are the most valuable members of your team. Like it or not you need encouragement.

I'm so thankful for the encouragers in my life who in their own little way say "keep it up".

If you're not a Pastor... let me say what he wants to say to you.... "READ GALATIANS 6:6 and DO IT!"

I hope everyone is having a good week!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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Today's Message

We're working on getting podcasting. Today's message is online though and you can feel free to check it out.

Today we talked about manhood as it relates to freedom. With Galatians 5 as our main text we talk through the issues of legalism and liberalism. Both can be equally destructive when it comes to biblical manhood. Ultimately we land on the man who's guided by the Holy Spirit. I LOVE challenging our men to be Godly men. If our guys can grab a hold of this our church will completely change and be infinitely more effective for the Kingdom.

The cool part was that 3 people accepted Christ today. All three were guests. It was awesome.

Here ya go: June 11, 2006

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 11, 2006

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I'm a winner

Tony Morgan said so!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 10, 2006

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Been a long time / Goings on

Timbaland and Aaliyah had a song out a while back with that hook.

It’s been a long time
We shouldn’t have left you
Without a dope beat to step to
Step to, step to, step to
Step to, step to
It’s been a long time
We shouldn’t have left you
Without a dope beat to step to
Step to, step to, step to
Step to, step to
Freaky-freaky, baby girl uh

Okay... that was pointless except to say that is what I think about when I come back to the blog after being away for a while. To some guys the blog can be a slave driver. For some it's even caused them to throw in the towel. The pressure to have something great to say each time out leaves one feeling like a freelance reporter without the paycheck. I on the other hand have been fortunate enough not to take blogging that way. Fortunately I don't feel pressured to make announcements when I'm stepping out... It may be because I have such fantastic readers! [[shameless I know]]

Well what's been going on with me lately?

Kristy and I bought our house almost 4 weeks ago and we've lived here about three. The experience has been overwhelming to a degree. We're not yet finished unpacking (and tossing junk that needs tossing) but we hope to finish tomorrow or early this week. As you know, a move also eats away at your cashflow as you find all sorts of things you 'need' that apparently you didn't 'need' before. Finally with the house we've felt a bit in awe and thankful. We are overwhelmingly greatful for the house and how everything came about. We're looking forward to hosting people and events as we continue meeting more of our neighbors.

For those who don't know:
Kristy and I ended up buying a decent-sized condo. It honestly doesn't feel at all like a condo because of the layout and size. The thing about it is that we almost bought another one in the center of the community that was being sold by the children of an older lady. It was definately a fixer-upper. The living room had an entire wall of mirror. It needed much work. In our area however it was something that we could get into and at least begin the joy of home ownership. We put an offer in. Well, a few days later we found that we were outbid on this house and we refused to go higher so we lost that one.

Our realtor immediately came across our current home which is in the same community but at the exit and was owned by a navy surgeon and his wife who were in their mid-fourties. Apparently the wife took amazing care of the place and upgraded every detail of the home. The kicker? They were asking LESS than the place that we were outbid. God was obviously choosing to bless us and we've been so incredibly thankful these last few weeks. Honestly the home was in such great condition that all we did was paint a few rooms to our liking and that's it. We love the place and cannot get over how blessed we feel.

So that's where my mind has been lately. I've spent much of this week looking back on my life and seeing where I've come from and looking forward through the eyes of my son and seeing where life will take him. There are times in the midst of it all that I get frustrated and even angry that I can't see progress in some areas of life but then I repent and thank God for where he's already brought me.

I'm a poor kid from Baltimore who God (for his own reason) has chosen to bless. With all of my being I just want to extend that blessing to the world around me. I want people to encounter the creator and live the life I've been fortunate enough to live.

That's a little of what's been on my mind.

Everyone have a great Sunday morning... I'll talk to ya later.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 10, 2006

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So much more

Have you ever gone through a scrap book or an old box of photos? Maybe you've seen a photo online of the beach where you went for your honeymoon.

Have you ever tried to show the picture to a friend only to feel like they were less than impressed?

My wife and I have pictures from various points of our childhood, wedding, honeymoon, married life and this last year with our son.

To many people those pictures cannot be fully appreciated. The simple fact is that when I look at one of these photos, my mind searches for the file where I stored some of these memories. The photos of our honeymoon bring back the temperature, smells, sense of peace and 'right' that I felt. The photos also bring back memories of the plane ride, wedding day and all that led to that moment when the finger pressed the trigger on the camera.

I can't help but to see the striking similarity between our photos and the local church. Each Sunday we show people (through our service) a photo of an aspect of Christ. We point to him, we describe him in that picture or framework and then we leave. Those in our audience who have a thriving relationship with Christ are able to fill in the blanks. They get it. They know what the rest of the landscape looks like.

There typically are however a group of people out there who have no clue what is just left or right of the camera angle. The rest of the story seems to go unnoticed and therefore the picture holds less meaning. This is a reason why one person can walk out pumped up and another walks out only barely affected. They just don't see the rest of the picture.

This is where one of our major challenges lies as the body of Christ. We must do our best to bring people along and help them to see th bigger picture. We should work to provide our guests with new opportunities to connect. As these relationships form we will be able to allow them to see the fullness of Christ and it will help them to better understand each photo.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 05, 2006

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MMA Fight Night

So tonight I went to a local MMA fight called "King of the Ring" tonight to support one of our guys who was fighting.

First of all I LOVED IT. I'm absolutely convinced that Jesus would have been among that crowd.

(The dude throwing a kick in the picture did the same thing tonight and knocked a guy out)

(The guy on the bottom pic trains with my friend)

I thought I'd be going to basically a bar where they let untrained fighters just duke it out... let me tell you... it wasn't that at all. It was a very controlled and well-lit atmosphere. The audience was made up of a crowd of true MMA fans. They appreciated the technique and for the most part were a very controlled group of people. I didn't personally see anyone drunk (some were loose on the booze but I didn't see anyone drunk). I didn't see any fighting (or arguing) aside from the fights in the ring... and it was an event that people could honestly take their family to (assuming the family liked fights). With doctors and security noticeably present... this was as regulated as any boxing match would be.

Among all of this I couldn't help but to think... "The American Church offers NOTHING that most of the people here want."

Testosterone was in the air. When we meet each week for church most of the testosterone is checked at the door. The only time we see it in churches is when the deacons let it loose in the board meetings and dare the staff to show some. I'm connecting with the Mark Driscolls and Anthony Bradley's of the world who realize that the American Church has castrated it's men. I'm praying to be a part of the generation that ushers the men back into the church and back into genuine leadership roles in the home.

I'm praying for the day when I lead a church full of men who love Christ and fight to redeem every part of their lives. Men who will stand up for injustice and be willing to share their faith without fear. We must challenge our men to rise up and be men. When we feel like we have to turn off the testosterone valve in order to get men to follow Jesus... we're assuming that manhood in and of itself is what causes all sin. We need to challenge men to be man enough to control their behavior. Men can rise up to that level. Men need fathers and examples. God is both. Men need a reason to fight. Let's teach them that video games, pornography and lottery tickets are not worth their time. Let's show men that there is an eternal cause that needs their strength.

Okay... I'm done for now... I'm just so pumped about this issue. Jacob wrestled with God, Paul used boxing as an illustration for spiritual training and yet we view contact sports as something of the devil and 'turn the other cheek' as if it means for us to be weak quitters. I think we have to re-read the scripture without the lens of the feminized church and see what it really means.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 04, 2006

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