This morning a friend from the blogworld stopped by. Her name is Julie. Apparently Julie has been reading my blog for a while. Julie is on staff at my friend Robb's church and their service is on Sundays at 5 p.m. so Julie decided to join us with a friend.
Julie walked in this morning with a Venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks FOR ME!! How cool is that?
She said that she went back into my history and pulled up a post where I mentioned that being my favorite drink.
Now that's how to brighten up my day right there!
We had a cool morning with a bunch of new faces so the morning started off right and just kept going in the right direction.
Thanks so much Julie! You're appreciated.
Today we had our second game. Again I wish I could report a score... It seemed pretty close but I have NO CLUE of how things turned out. Again... the kids got snacks and wondered how they performed. I assured them that they did a good job. At this age range (1st and 2nd grade) I have to push them to be aggressive but once they get it turned on they are fun to watch.
Anyway... For some crazy reason we had the privilege of having a brand new ref. Literally this was his first ever game. This poor guy was so out of place. I'm planning to find out if they have a training program or if they just tell the new refs to just play it by ear. Every problem I had today really has everything to do with training (or lack thereof) and so I don't blame the college student ref... I blame the Athletic Director.
Tonight I began thinking about the various things I said to the new ref today while running up and down the court frustrated with how pitiful the game was being called. Before I get into the quotes please know that I was NEVER upset with an "US vs. THEM" issue. I'm not talking about being frustrated b/c the ref is costing you the game... I'm talking about being frustrated over BASIC and sometimes HAZARDOUS issues.
So here are a sample of my quotes to Mr. Ref and what occurred to me as some spiritual application.
1. "Stop coaching my kids and pay attention to the play. I have 2 assistant coaches, I don't need another... what we need is a referee!"
- This statement was made after watching this new ref literally stand over my kids telling them where to pass the ball. I was like "What?????" His job is to ref, not coach.
- This occurs in church so often. Boundaries are crossed in life by so many people that it carries over to ministry if you don't watch it. Someone is being asked to perform a task and yet they have a tendency to mess with everyone else's job without taking care of their own. We have to be sure to give people clearly defined roles and then encourage them to focus on their task at hand before wandering into other people's yards. In this case we want them to ref, not coach.
2. "You are the ref. You have the whistle. When you're out there, take control of the game."
- This was a big part of the conversation at the end of the game. Several times throughout the game he was so timid with making a proper call. He'd blow the whistle and then if play kept going he'd act as if he didn't blow the whistle. I suppose he was afraid of interrupting the chaos.
- As leaders in the church God has handed us the whistle. Sometimes we have to make calls that some people will be mad over. Fine. Work hard to make the right calls and at the end of the day be honest when you made a mistake but c'mon... during the game... when everything is moving... Make a freakin call already!
- We have so many Pastors in our churches who have the spine of a Jellyfish. I get so frustrated that the American church is often led by guys who choke on their whistle instead of using it. God gave you the authority to lead so lead in a way where you can confidently say "Thus sayeth the Lord." If you can't say that... keep your mouth shut. But if you've gotten with God and believe that this is the direction he wishes for you and your church to go... Blow the whistle and make the call.
3. "You're going to get that kid hurt! Are you just waiting for him to bust his head before you stop play?"
- I had a kid who's shoe came untied. The ref literally walked over to my player, told him to tie his shoe under the basket and then the ref kept the game moving. All around one of my boys bodies are flying chasing after a ball while one of my first grade boys is one one knee trying to tie his shoe.
- Again... As a Pastor we have to protect the flock that we are given to shepard. Sometimes we must protect people from themselves and poor decisions. Other times we have to protect the church from those on the outside. Above all else there is one last protection I believe we must guard against. We must protect the church from damage by it's own members on the inside. Gossip and backbiting should never be tolerated. So many churches have an 'ignore it and it will go away' mentality. Guess what. It doesn't. I believe that the church should be led of the Spirit of God and under the direction of Jesus Christ and blessing of the Father. To do that we cannot tolerate inward disunity spread by someone claiming to give out prayer requests about "Sister Beth's wayward teenage son". The church must be a no Gossip zone. Since the church is a people and not a location then that about covers it... God's people shouldn't be allowed to keep playing ball when there is danger on the court. Pastors, blow the whistle to protect the players in danger.
Anyway... It was a fun day and the kids had a blast. They show improvement each week and I love seeing them succeed. Infinitely more does God want to see his Church successful in reaching the lost in this world.
Bloggin' Ain't Easy...
...but this guy has makes it look that way.
Steven Furtick is a dude from Charlotte who is kicking tail and doesn't have time to take names. This church has BLOWN UP and in reading this guy's blog you can see some of the reason why.
I came across this church before they actually launched when I was contacted about helping them set up a blog. One of their designers contacted me about some html stuff she needed help with. I gladly assisted them and thought nothing of it. This church, Elevation, has turned out to possibly be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) success stories in church planting history.
Many of the huge growth churches (1,000 or more in a year) were from guys who had very deep roots and deep pockets when they got started... Although I don't know their entire story I don't think this is the case with Elevation. It just seems like they kick tail with execution and are passionate about preaching the word.
Anyway... go check out Steven's blog from today. It's fantastic insight for people looking to get great mentorship from larger church Pastors.
Get ya some!
A little while back my friend Tadd posted about a tool called "Snap". Effectively it's a little piece of HTML that you drop into your site and it gives a screenshot of any link on your entire site. When the end user (YOU) hoover over a link, "snap" gives you a screenshot of the page you are being directed to. It's just a cool interactive tool that brings your blog to life. I'm not a paid advertiser but I'd say you should go check it out. While you're snooping around go hit up my boy Tadd's blog. He's well on his way to knockin this church plantin' thing out of the park!
Quick, open a new tab and get to your bloglines account! There is a NBOTB and his name is Daniel Floyd. Daniel is Pastoring a church plant that he took over after it had been going for about 8 months. I've heard Daniel speak a few times at some state wide church planting stuff and he's done a great job each time. I connect with the dude and his frankness when approaching life and church issues.
It's often uncommon to find someone with some common sense. Daniel has it and a lot more. Go check out his new blog. Tell 'em Tally sent you.
Signs of the Times
Tonight our 1st and 2nd grade basketball team had their third practice. I would love to tell you that our first game on Saturday was successful but THEY DON'T KEEP SCORE.
That's my first "sign of the times thought".
In an age of being Politically Correct it seems that keeping score is bad for the kids self esteem. I think its a load of garbage. Do you know what makes a kid smile the most in practice? Putting the ball through the net. The kids work hard on passing, dribbling and playing defense but at the end of the day I see my kids smile the biggest when they make a shot. At the end of the game the other day one of my kids said "Coach did we win?" I said "Sure, you can say that." I couldn't say "yes" or "no" because the league doesn't even keep score.
So a sign of the times... don't keep score b/c you might hurt feelings. The reality is that kids like boundaries. They like being shown how to properly shoot a basketball. They like when we breakdown for defense. They like parameters. By not keeping score we are not helping the kids with their self esteem, we are showing them that it doesn't matter if you put the ball through the net or not... as long as you get a snack when its over.
My second "sign of the times" comes from the same sort of arena. Today during practice I had 3 of the 6 kids present tell me "Coach, I'm tired." This was only 15 minutes into practice AND I DON'T RUN THEM :)
I joked about this with one of the parents at the end of the practice and she said "Yes, all they do is sit in front of the T.V. and play video games.
Two thoughts... That's wrong. We shouldn't let kids waste away in front of games. The second thought is kind of ironic... you know what happens in every video game? They keep score. Kids at 7 years old know if they won or lost. You know what? Video games sales continue to soar. Having boundaries isn't the problem... Not having them is.
Tale of 2 emails
I'm not getting into linkage but today I got an email from two different sites that offer resources to other churches.
The first email I got was from an organization that has gone the 'shareware' route by distributing images, video clips, etc. for free. They wrote to ask for feedback on the usefulness of their site. They want the resources to not only be free but of high quality and easily distributed.
On the other hand I got an email this evening from a larger organization who sells their material. After following a link I came to a video that they are selling for $30. The video is just over 2 minutes long!
While I have ZERO problem with an organization charging for their materials... I can't understand how the church has gotten to the point of taking USED materials and repackaging them to charge other churches $15/minute for a downloadable version.
If the marketplace used that that price structure as a guide, Talledega Nights would cost $1,815 to buy on DVD.
So I'm in the middle of a mind dump from this morning. Although I enjoyed the meeting I'll just go ahead and tell you a phrase i want to be ripped out of the vocabulary of Pastors unil they pass a test to be able to explain the definition... the phrase: "Post Modern"
I can't tell you how many times I heard "We are going after the Post Modern's... you know... the twentysomethings."
Post Modernism is not an age-range or any other demographic... Lets keep them seperate. It's a way people think/reason. Usually smart people apply post modern reasoning to their life and now adays it's the confused person who also fit this catagory. Post modern is Madonna doing an album of techno music while dressed as a cowgirl on the cover. Post modern is also the lawyer who loves figuring out how to use the law to get to his desired end. It's the creative type who asks "what box?".
Please... if you're going to start a church... understand that you don't have to claim to be 'post modern' to justify doing something different from the church where you currently serve.
One of the funny things I heard today was being a church that was "Post-Post-Modern". I laughed inside because as my friend pointed out "Isn't that cyclical? Isn't that just saying that you're modern again?"
Why do we feel pressure in Christianity to come up with new words to make our idea sound cool? Okay... I'm finished... Just call me "Post- post" now I'm going to hit "post".
If you're a church planter who's ever felt like you couldn't make it, this post is for you. I met a guy at a church planter's meeting today who said that at one point his church owed the city a total of 6 months worth of rent for the school in which they met.
What was the total you ask?: T-w-e-l-v-e-T-h-o-u-s-a-n-d-D-o-l-l-a-r-s
That's right... his church plant had a rough patch where they had to beg the schools to let them stay "just one more week" over and over until the church got enough traction to gain enough momentum to pay the city back. I asked him how much he still owed. He said "Nothing... today we keep them paid plus they have $800 of our money as an act of good faith for the future. We want them to know that it was a crazy time and we're solvent enough now to not let that happen again."
A second guy at the table said that his former church plant was renting a section of a strip mall when they got 3 months behind in rent. The owner of the mall asked if they wanted to use more space. The Pastor said "Sir, we can't afford the space we have." The owner said "I didn't ask you that... do you want it or not?" Apparently not long after that the owner dies and the Pastor is brought in to discuss the meeting space. The owner had written into his will that the church was to take the deed of the entire strip mall. Crazy huh?
Anyway... I thought it was cool to hear crazy stories of church planting because now both congregations are thriving and God's Kingdom is rockin' because of the tenacity of these churches to keep moving forward in spite of adversity.
Today I attended a meeting with Christian Pastors that actually left me in a positive mood. This meeting is a cross-denominatinal group of Pastors who actually see the Kingdom as more than their own church/denomination/"ism" or anything else...
The egos were very limited and the openess was genuine. I did not hear a bunch of whining about how hard planting is (although it is). I didn't hear one churches statistics (although some are growing like a weed). What I heard was a group of guys (and some of their wives) who -no matter how different- embraced the idea that they were a part of something much larger than themselves.
This meeting was the first of what everyone hopes to be is a continuing resource for planters of all denominations. We all believe in the One Jesus, One Church, One Heaven, etc. We disagree (I'm certain although we didn't talk about it) over many perephial issues but the conversation focused on what we can do together. I don't care what denomination you are, you still have to set up a church if you are portable. It seems that this meeting will be less of a lecture and more of an interaction. It will be less about titles and more about outreach and shared experience. We've all decided to meet again for 3 consecutive months while trying 3 different approaches to the meeting. This will keep the meetings fresh and provide some experimentation.
The Pastors who set this up are actually doing a good job of listening. I trust and hope that they will continue to ogranize this around what is best for these planters and less about what one-track system they want others to support. This city is huge and we need all types of churches to get it done.
For some of you this post may be pointless... but for me its theraputic because I HATE MEETINGS... especially pointless ones. If this goes the direction that most of the 30 people in the room want it to go, it will be a healthy addition to my calendar once a month. But then again maybe there are some of you who love pointless meetings...
With my recent review of "The Blogging Church" and my subsequent post with my son playing in his room, I've recently used Google Video for the first time.
I'm not sure what the problem is but in both videos the quality isn't nearly the same as the quality I've uploaded. With the Blogging Church book review I nearly almost did not post the video due to its lack of clarity. The video of my son is done on my treo so I give google the benefit of the doubt on that one.
So I ask you the great and wonderful reader. Have you experienced any such problem and if so, is there a way to give the video to Google so that the quality is vastly improved. It's quite possible that my settings on the mac were off when I hit "share" but maybe I'm missing something else.
I love this boy. Today I took some time off and took Caleb out for a daddy & son day. We went to the library, then the mall where they have an indoor playground and finally we grabbed a late lunch. This video is Caleb playing in his room once we got home.
It looks like I'm going to be making my way down to God's country and rubbing elbows with the Mad Babbler himself, Mr. Gary Lamb. I'm nearly certain that you can find me at the Churchplanters.com Conference on February 26 & 27, 2007 in Cumming Georgia at Mountain Lake Church.
I don't even know if Gary remembers this but I believe we first spoke in May of '05 when I posted on my blog that I was going to Atlanta for a couple of days. Gary just wrote out of the blue and said "Have fun dude. Next time let us know earlier. I'm about 30 minutes from NAMB, I'll show you Hotlanta in all its glory." I remember sitting in the hotel the next morning thinking "People around the country actually read this thing." It was cool.
So Gary... I'm letting you know now... I'm headed to Atlanta again! Are any of you out there in blogdom headed down to the Churchplanters.com Conference?
Get Tally in your Inbox!
A few weeks ago while visiting a friends church a member and employee came up to me and said "Hey, I read your blog all of the time!" I thought "Crap... quick... what have I been writing?" but she assured me that it's been all good. (Whew.. in the clear)
After church we all grabbed dinner at a local pizza joint and this wonderful (she must be, she reads the blog) woman proceeded to tell me that she did have one beef with my blog. She said "You know how Mark Batterson sends his blog to people via their email address?" I said "yeah". She continued "Well... I would like to see yours that way too. I don't know how to set up one of those feed things and its just so much easier if I can open my email and get the post from the day."
Your wish is my command.
In reading Tony's post from today I was reminded of this amazing and brilliant (she must be, she reads my blog) woman's request. With a quick request in to Tony and his very kind reply I have now added two features three functions below my picture to the right.
1. Email- I had an email link before but must have neglected it when I changed the layout a few weeks back.
2. Feedburner feed- Many of you follow me through a feed on the backend of the site but up until now I have been neglecting my duty to provide you wonderful souls with an opportunity to subcribe at moments notice. Problem solved.
3. Email Subscription- Your wish is my command. Tony pointed me to FeedBlitz.com where I was able to install a fancy gaget and customize in no time.
So there you have it fine readers (you attractive, charming, wonderful, loving, caring, responsible, encouraging, faithful, bold, pure, strong, joyful readers)... Tally is here to serve.
Now if you're not subscribed... do it now. Make your life easier.. you can find me at a conference and buy me a coffee (Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha at 150 degrees) to thank me later!
Just read the best post I've seen in months.
I don't want to screw it up by typing more words so go check it out here.
Video Above: The text below is mainly for those using feed readers.
I've really enjoyed reading the new book by Brian Bailey and Terry Storch. "The Blogging Church" is not only a great primer for those who are interested in making their church a 'Blogging Church' but it is also a terrific read for the experienced blogger.
Brian and Terry run the gammot on tools and tricks as well as providing great insight in how not to use a blog. One of the benefits to this book is that it takes into consideration the end users and their varied levels of experience. I can't say enough about how effective they combine basic information with stories of application, inspiration and any other 'tion' you can think of.
The novice will be given enough information to drown them if they try to absorb it at one sitting. The experienced blogger will gain a new perspective on just how influential their slice of the internet experience could be when used properly.
Brian and Terry hit the ball out of the park with this first-of-its-kind book for the Christian world. I highly recommend this book for anyone even remotely interested in understanding blogs and their potential impact for the Kingdom. If you're a current blogger who wants to gain a positive reputation for your blog this book is a must! If you've been around for a few years like myself, I believe you'll walk away with a deeper appreciation for just what you do on a daily basis after reading what Brian and Terry share in this timely work.
I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of the "The Blogging Church" today.
I am now sending this copy up to Reston, VA to my good friend and a man quoted many times in this book... Mr. Ben Arment.
Books, Books, Books
Tomorrow I will be posting a review of Brian Bailey and Terry Storch's new book "The Blogging Church". It was passed to me by Tadd and I'm sending it on in the morning. By the way... the book hasn't been too many places but there was a streak of brown on the edge of the pages... I'm not trying to start anything but Gary had the book a few weeks ago in a unique place.
In addition to reading "The Blogging Church" this week I've been going through Craig Groeschel's "Confessions of a Pastor" like it's going out of style. I'll do a full review in a few days but I can go ahead and tell you to go pick it up. Craig has done a great job of making me say "Ohh yeah... go get'em" along with a little "Crap.. did you have to read my mail like that?" It's easy to read in a good way and it's refreshing to hear from a man with his level of influence in the Pastoral sub-culture of Christindom.
Once I'm done with Craig's book I think I may take some time to read something political. Before reading these two Christianish books I read a Real-Estate book and "Out of the Shadows" by our new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. It was a good look at the last 5 Presidential administrations as they relate to the various security agencies. Pretty cool stuff. I learned a lot more about why we have such a beef with Castro.
That's where I am right now regarding books so if you have something that's not "Christianish" that I should pick up just drop me a comment or email and let me know.
When Tony Morgan speaks...
I don't dare to say I 'know' Tony Morgan. I do admire him for sure and I read nearly all of what he writes (even soap reviews). At the "Buzz Conference" last year Tony was gracious enough to answer some questions I had and like any good leader he took great interest in my little part of the world. He's even sent me a signed copy of one of his books. He's a good man.
Recently Tony started to talk about big news coming on Friday (today). Now I've learned that if Tony says something is going to be big... he means HUGE.
Check out Tony's thoughts on his transition to Perry Noble's home of Anderson, S.C. and Newspring Church.
As you do, take a look at Mark Beeson's comments here.
You can also see Perry's comments here.
I remember a year or so ago when Fellowship Church made a splash by rearranging almost their entire executive leadership team. Youth guy moves to Worship, Tech to Campus Pastor, etc. From all accounts everyone was doing a great job before the move but there was wisdom in change. In a regional event I attended around that time Ed Young said that he wanted people to have a fresh perspective... to tackle problems in new ways and propell the church to move in ways it hadn't yet dreamed. Apparently from all acounts it has worked.
This looks to be a similar move. An incredibly talented leader who's been with his church for over 8 years and who loves what he's doing and the people he's doing it with obeys God. God leads him in basically a horizontal move to share his experience and wisdom with another great team.
Each of the churches involved and the leaders who guide them are amazing at what they do. God is obviously at work in both bodies and I'm excited to see the future of these ministries.
I respect and appreciate Mark, Tony and Perry for making such a public transition as graceful as it could ever be. These are men that many Pastors look to for leadership and through this experience they are each leading the way in showing us how to transition well. Thanks guys.
Sometimes you learn lessons of loyalty when someone goes out of their way to stab you in the back. Other times it's when someone prevents them from doing so. I saw both today.
If I was a Pastor of a transitional church (a church making the move from traditional to modern), I know where I'd be Feburary 8-10th.
A college friend named Mitch Corn recently commented on a post where he used an adjective that about sums me up... "tenacious". He's right.
Asking myself why I may be that way I came to this conclusion:
I've seen far too many quitters.
Let me be transparent for a moment. We've had many many reasons to quit. I've had several job offers each year since we started... but God hasn't freed me to move on. So I won't.
Church planting is difficult. And? It's also difficult to Pastor an established church (If you are actually trying to do anything) or transitioning an established church. It's difficult to lead, it's difficult to follow.
The only thing that isn't difficult is laying around on your blessed assurance while taking orders from people who have no clue and no calling. I'm sorry... I may have less stress in my life and a bigger paycheck but that would be a boring existence for me. I'm not called to be a babysitter.
Church planters... at every level of ministry there will be problems for you if you are busting your tail to rescue the lost. We have to quit crying about our situation and get to work. I LOVED being around Robb yesterday because his story parallels mine in so many ways. Faced with the option to keep people and give up the vision or to keep the vision and lose people, Robb chose what countless other planters choose. As a result it's tough... but do you know what his message was on? Getting it done! Moving forward. Changing the world. Rescuing those far from God. Church planters can't be quitters.
Why people quit because things get difficult makes me scratch my head. It's confusing to me. Somehow many of us have bought into this idea that God is only in something when it's easy. Well meaning people have come to a place to believe that when the Holy Spirit is present there is no difficulty. "Smooth sailing when the wind of the spirit is in your sails." That's crap.
I've learned that anything worth achieving is difficult. If you get into church planting because you thought it was easy you are stupid and you should get out now and quit dragging your family though an ego-driven lie. Unless you're called by God to do it and you have counted the cost you will be in for a surprise. Most plants fail for a reason.... it's a hard task. If you're not a planter and you think I'm out to lunch... go plant a church. Heck, even some successful church planters I know are Pastors who left other church plants or who shut down a failed plant before starting work on their current (and gloriously successful) one. This successful one isn't their first rodeo. My point is that they didn't quit planting... they learned from their mistakes, got mentorship and got back to work.
I think it's sad when people look with ignorance to successful church stories without having the background knowledge of these men. Every one of them have unique stories of providence, failure, difficulty and a life of relative obscurity to back up their current success. Church planters would do well to recall the lives of obscurity led in scripture before God poured out his bounty on their faithfulness. God doesn't normally give snot nosed and inexperienced men what they long for... it would drown them. But he does bless the faithful, the strong... the tenacious AS LONG AS they are dependant on Him.
I read something by Oswald Chambers the other day where he said "God wants your reach to be further than your arms so that he can make up the difference." That to me describes what a man of God should strive toward. We can't stop reaching just because our arms are tired... we can't let doubt overwhelm us to the point of failure. We must be faithful and tenacious.
I've heard of too many church planters who quit far too soon. They believe that they aren't doing anything of value. They start to believe that the Holy Spirit is leading less than he once was. These planters are not helped at all by denominational agencies who use them in photo-opts for magazine stories and then pull the plug without much notice. They certainly aren't helped by larger churches who assume because a church hasn't grown to a certain level that the Pastor must not be worth much... They aren't helped by the larger church who comes in and offers the Pastor a job without ever first working to see how they as the larger ministry can help the church plant succeed in areas in desperate need of a healthy and growing church community.
So... yeah I guess I'm tenacious.... but I like to think of it as faithful. If you're considering church planting... be tenacious. Why? Because the Holy Spirit doesn't produce anything less...
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." -2 Timothy 1:7
Mitch, thanks for the encouragement and the healthy reminder.
Shaula has a great post I wanted to pass along. Shaula is Robb's wife (of Epic City Church in Norfolk, VA) If you're church planting/thinking of planting/curious about planting or just want to hear what it's like in the church planting trenches... go read her blog.
Church Planting Lesson from U2
Interesting tidbit from U2 by U2. The band was finishing the October tour and was in the middle of recording their third album, War, but they did not have enough money to finish their tour. Paul McGuinness, their manager, decided to put the expenses on his personal American Express card. When they returned home, there wasn't enough money to pay the bill and he got his card taken away. It's encouraging to me to see the biggest band in the world had such difficult struggles several years after being signed to a record label. They persevered, and the rest is history.
I'm part of an EPIC
EPIC City Church. Robb is a pretty creative dude and a great communicator/storyteller. He's a guy you know is going to bring it no matter what day you drop in on him. Tonight was no exception.
I'm always impressed with how much Robb does to create a story of a service. As a church planter Robb also has (in my humble opinion) done far more with far less than anyone I know. He's a guy who every church planter needs to visit because once you see how good their services are you will smack the first person blaming a lack of excellence on money. Okay... I'm off that soap box for now.
I took a ton of notes tonight and left having met with God and inspired to live out his word. Rob will likely become my Pastor at least once a month as his church meets at night and I enjoy visiting churches on Sunday nights.
TONIGHT'S meeting was held at Central Baptist Church in Norfolk because EPIC'S new warehouse facility was flooded from the rains we've had around here lately. God is moving among the people of Epic and I was honored to be among them tonight. Not to mention I met Judy tonight and apparently she reads my blog which makes Epic cooler by proxy.
One other thing... I've visited other churches on the fly and at a few I'm treated with the Red Carpet until I tell them that I'm a Pastor of another church... then I get the cold shoulder and 'the eye'... It's like people are thinking I'm a spy from an enemy camp.... THIS WAS NOT my experience tonight with EPIC... I was even invited to join some of their peeps for dinner. Lots of love to go around among the people of Epic.
Thanks Robb. You're the man. Also... to my new EPIC friends... keep it up... God is working and you're doing a great job! Trust me, I don't just throw encouragement around.... you guys really are in for a great year.
We started our new series today on finances called Mythbusters. Today's myth... "Stuff Matters". The podcast should get up tomorrow.
Something funny happened to me during the service (okay... other things funny happened but this is something I will share right now). Usually I keep my Treo at the sound booth during the service but apparently today I left it in my pocket. I'm friends with THE Ben Arment. Ben is programmed into my phone on speed dial and his name is obviously an "A" and listed at the top of my list. During the message today the keys in my pocket bumped my phone and called Ben. Today when Ben got to his phone he got a few minutes of my sermon in his voicemail.
Ben... Can I get an AMEN?
This upcoming year is what I'm calling a 'make it or break it' year for us. We've developed a cycle of seeing positive things happen during the year and then taking a big hit in the fall. This has happened each of the last 3 years. Up until now I haven't had a team around me to move the vision forward. This year is different. This year everything in lined up and primmed up for us to see the return on our labor. I'm pretty pumped about 2007.
Our team is more developed with the addition of my friend John to our area as well as Adam who leads our worship department. In addition to these guys I have 'ol faithful in Calvin who serves as an administrator. With these guys working with me each week we finally see a full-fledged team formed at Focal Point Church. I'm excited to see it.
Keep us in your prayers this year. Thanks in advance.