Thursday, December 23, 2010

Change

Thursday December 23, 2010- The word “change” is a powerful word. At the very thought of “change” varying emotions of fear, anxiety, excitement, anticipation, caution, can be felt depending on the circumstances and context in which the thought of “change” occurs.
We all experience change. While you are reading this you are changing. During these next few minutes about ½ million cells in your body are going to die and be replaced with a half a million new cells . You are being made new just sitting here. How awesome is that!
Our skin replaces itself every month. Your stomach lining undergoes a complete change in 5 days. Your liver every 6 weeks and your skeleton every 3 months. Change is natural. Our bodies are continually changing. It is the natural aging process where we gradually get older and hopefully wiser. saac Newton’s First Law of Motion states “everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.” Everyone reading this either has experienced, is experiencing, or will experience change by forces impressed upon you. It could be PCS, ETS, change of career, change of position or responsibility, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a loved one, deployment, redeployment, etc. One thing that is constant in our lives is change. As we experience these varying types of change sometimes we don’t handle it very well. Sometimes we become “testy”, or angry, sometimes simply unbearable. Sometimes, depending upon the situation, we may even lose hope. We can learn how to cope with change in a positive manner by the example of a young teenage boy named Daniel.
In approximately 605BC the lives of the Israelites were turned upside down when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Defeat itself is humiliating but what was even worse was the looting of the Temple. The holy vessels used in worship were taken and placed in the shrine of a pagan god. Also, some of the citizens of Jerusalem were taken into exile in Babylon. Four of those mentioned here are young teenage boys named Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They are now living in a foreign land. They are living in a foreign culture that did not care about the things of God and offered them opportunities to do things and participate in things that they never imagined. They were far away from their families and anyone who would have provided supervision or guidance. Lets learn from Daniel how to cope with change. In approximately 605BC the lives of the Israelites were turned upside down when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Defeat itself is humiliating but what was even worse was the looting of the Temple. The holy vessels used in worship were taken and placed in the shrine of a pagan god. Also, some of the citizens of Jerusalem were taken into exile in Babylon. Four of those mentioned here are young teenage boys named Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They are now living in a foreign land. They are living in a foreign culture that did not care about the things of God and offered them opportunities to do things and participate in things that they never imagined. They were far away from their families and anyone who would have provided supervision or guidance. Lets learn from Daniel how to cope with change.
I. Look Up
The first thing we need to do when coping with change is to LOOK UP. Take your eyes off of your circumstances and “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” When we focus upon our circumstance we are taking a world view that is short sighted and distorted. All we can see are our immediate circumstances. But when we focus upon God and who He is and who He says we are then we gain a biblical view of the world and we remember that our citizenship is in heaven and whether I am in Germany, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Houston, Texas or wherever any of us claim to be from we realize that we are just passing through as we pursue God until that day when our pursuit is over and we have arrived home with Him.
A great story of change is this...

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest warriors of all time, was holding court one day when some military officials escorted before him a young soldier. This young soldier was caught running away from battle. Alexander the Great said, “Soldier, tell me your name.” The soldier replied “Alexander.” Alexander the Great said again, “Soldier what is your name?” The Soldier replied “Alexander.” Once again Alexander the Great asked, “Soldier, what is your name!?” The soldier replied “Alexander.” Alexander the Great then said, “Either change your conduct or change your name.” God says to us, “What is your name?” “Christian.” “What is your name?” “Christian.” “What is your name?” “Christian.” Either change your conduct or change your name.
God gives each of us a new name when we accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Our name is changed to Christian, Child of God, forgiven, redeemed. We become adopted by God the Father and we have an inheritance awaiting us in heaven. Nothing anyone says or does to us can change who we are because God has authority over all things and He says we are His.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ambassador: Being In Church vs. In Christ

Friday December 17, 2010- Now, you can be “in church” and not be a new person. When a person is in Christ, you are changed. It is possible to be “in Church” but not in Christ. Not once in the whole Bible does it talk about the importance of being “in Church.” Not once. The primary religious experience is always to be in Christ. I know all kinds of people who are “in Church” and still are very self centered; who are in church and still are impressed with certain kinds of people; who are in church and they still really delight in the sins of others. But when you are in Christ, this is not true of you. The power of life is found in being in Christ, not “in church,” and you and I need to understand that. When a person is in Christ, he or she is a new person. This is the primary message of the Christian faith.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Credibility


Monday November 22, 2010- This is a really cool thing I saw earlier. It is from a credibility strategy from Graham Jones called, "The Credibility Pyramid" Anyway Here are some thoughts...
1. Knowledge (10%) – There are some really great thoughts here,knowledge is only given 10% of the process but it is nevertheless the foundation. If you don’t know what you are talking about, you have no credibility no matter what else you might bring to the mix.

2. Focus (15%) – The next level up according to Graham is focus which constitutes 15% of the total credibility. Focus describes the process wherein people do not deviate or go off target. This is the part of the process where the sprint becomes the marathon.This does not mean that you need to bombard other people with huge amounts of details and information in order to be considered credible. It is more about being clear and consistent in the information being presented than the amount of info.

3. Enthusiasm (25%) – The next component on this pyramid of credibility is enthusiasm. This has an allocation of 25% which is fairly high. We probably call this passion more often than not. We view enthusiastic people as being far more credible than those who are not.

Perhaps it is because we feel that if the person can’t be enthusiastic about their own topic then he can’t be believing in his own words. Of course this can be unfair. There are some people who are too shy to speak up never mind appear enthusiastic.

4. Care and Concern (50%) – Possibly the most surprising component of credibility is the top part of this pyramid. It shows that 50% of your credibility is associated with your care and concern. If you show that you care about your audience you will be able to gather up half of the momentum towards strong credibility.

This means that when building up your credibility you have to show a huge amount of caring and concern for the interests and well-being of your team. No matter what you are trying to do , whether build a blog, build a team, sell a product or even just hold a conversation on a social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook, if you care for your people you build credibility.

It seems that a small percentage of your credibility is knowledge, add to that focus and enthusiasm and you only have half of what makes up your credibility. The other half is all about caring and concern for the other person’s well-being.
Just wanted to share this. I thought it was awesome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Uniqueness in Leadership



Thursday November 18, 2010
-
Over the last few weeks I've been studying the defining qualities of leaders. Many people try to take what works for one person and apply it to their life in hopes that it will work for them as well(not a smart move in most cases). I've found that what has worked for mentors and inspirations of mine doesn't work so well for me. I think the reason is simple. I'm not them. But here's the good news. I don't need to be. God created every person different for a reason. And just because you are a leader doesn't mean you have to act a certain way to be effective. There are people who were born leaders, and there are those who have learned leadership. Some have "charisma", and some don't. Here's what I am finding in life and in my studies of scripture: Leaders are people who have followers. Here are some biblical examples of leaders. They are all different.

Adam(Genesis 2-5) Administrator- An administrator is accountable to a higher authority, assigns roles, and shapes culture through unwritten rules.

Noah(Genesis 6-9) Navigator- A navigator has vision for a preferred future,is vision oriented, through living they show the way.

Abraham(Genesis 11-25) Father/Symbol of Unity- Represents identity, mission, history, and tradition.

Joseph(Genesis 37-50) Dreamer and Planner- Is an optimist about dreams and the future,is courageous,is resourceful,thinks creatively verses critically.

Moses(Exodus)Community Builder- Builds personal and structural relationships,delegates,caring,promotes a common cause, extremely patient.

Aaron(Exodus) Communicator- Charismatic, concise, pleasant

David(1st&2nd Samuel) Celebrator- Monitors and celebrates common achievements,reconciles crisis, acknowledges achievements and admonishes lack of responsibility.

Solomon(1Kings)Decision Maker- Makes things happen,evaluates progress,sets the bar, makes people accountable.

Isaiah(2Kings 15) Servant- Ready, compassionate, available, dedicated, assertive.

These are all very different types of leaders. They were all very effective in their roles and have left a stamp on the world today. Here are some things that they all knew...

1. Popularity is not leadership, results are.

2. Leaders are highly visible. They therefore set examples.

3. Leadership is not rank, it's responsibility.

Here are some things leaders do...

1. They are extremely tolerant of diversity and do not carbon copy. But they are totally intolerant when it comes to a person's performance, standards, and values.

2. They aren't afraid of other people's strengths, they praised them.

3. They aren't sayers, they are doers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Freedom

November 3, 2010- My wife and I have a beautiful little puppy(actually she's not a puppy, but a 10 year old bichon). Anyway, a few days ago I was taking her for a walk(the puppy)and thinking about all the stories my wife told me about her breaking loose and running wild anytime she got off her leash. Now I'm not the type of person to be rebellious but I just wanted to see if she was still like that. So while we were on our walk in the backyard I unsnapped the leash. Guess what? She didn't run. As a matter of fact, she didn't go anywhere. She ventured a few steps away, but when she saw she was no longer on the leash, she came back over and stood right beside me. Now I wouldn't try this alot(probably never again) but I did see a correlation between that puppy and many Christians. We have been restrained for so long, that when the leash is unsnapped on our lives and we are set free, the freedom is so uncommon, we tend to linger close to the very things that kept us restrained for so long. I know that isn't the way we need to act, but it's the way we do. Now look at this bible verse in relation to this and see if there is something different you need to be doing. Galatians 5:1 "1For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
There is a reason we have been set free. And the price that was paid for that freedom was very high. If you need to be freed from something today, I want you to know that freedom is there for you. And once you have been set free, stand in that freedom. Don't linger, walk in a new life, a better life, a free life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't live in Resilience


October 13, 2010- What is the temperature of the team that you work on? Is your team in survive mode or is it in thrive mode? Resilience is a great quality in a team, but if you are not careful, you will find yourself living there. I am tired of just surviving. I want to thrive, and I want our team to thrive as well. Here is what I'm talking about.
Have you ever witnessed a wining sports team or a well-rehearsed orchestra and then felt the commitment and energy the team demonstrated? What you saw was more than just teamwork – it was team synergy, a phenomenon that occurs when a team achieves greater results than the sum of its parts. Using learning instruments, hands-on activities, and an interactive team simulation, teams gain a clearer sense of direction, clarify roles and responsibilities, improve operating processes and bolster both interpersonal and inter team relationships. Any team can experience these benefits if they are willing to go the extra mile. The benefits are incredible, and it produces momentum. Here are some tips that we are working on as a team. Maybe they will help you as well...

1. Set a positive example.

Leaders are scrutinized all the time. If you are a team leader make sure that you "walk your talk." Don't just "talk" quality, "live" quality! And when you make mistakes, share them with your team. My personal strategy is one of transparency. People make mistakes, and when people know that everyone falls, they tend to see getting back up as possible. Leading this way allows people to fall forward and it allows the leader to demand excellence.


2. Give support to create trust.

Leaders must create a feeling of trust in order for their team to succeed. When someone makes a mistake, leaders can discuss what went wrong and then problem-solve for solutions. Yelling at an person in front of his or her peers doesn't work. It only decreases morale and reduces self-esteem. Sir Edmund Hilary, and Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, took to their graves the question of who reached the summit of Mt. Everest first. Norgay said, "It was a partnership, Sir Edmund and I, we together, from start to finish." This is the key to team success's and failures.


3. Develop an open line of communication.

Create an atmosphere where employees can communicate ideas to you. Convey these ideas to the entire team. A common complaint from people is that they feel uninformed. Quality teams share their vision from the team leader on down.

Memos(or emails) are especially helpful. Now is the time to enlist the administrators on your team. Suggest they communicate the team's goals and strategies. 360% feedback is a very effective strategy. Productive teams are willing to be honest with each other. Team members evaluate leaders, leaders evaluate team members, and team members evaluate fellow team members. We all have blind spots (characteristics and traits that others can see but we are not able to recognize ourselves). Think of constructive feedback as a gift. This technique takes some serious training, and when it is done correctly, the team grows together.


4. Have productive meetings
Meetings waste time. We have a weekly staff meeting to get everyone on the same page and to incorporate the strengths of the whole team. But we don't have meetings just to meet. This requires people to be self starters and competent in their prospective areas. And when you have that attitude, people bring more to the table, and the creative juices flow.


5. Assess strengths and weaknesses.

Knowing where the team excels and what are it's weakest links is one of the strongest elements of a quality team. It can prove fatal when teams skip over their weaknesses. Teams need to constantly ask themselves: How can we improve, and what areas need strengthening? Teams need to find out what they can do to get that competitive edge. Constant improvement is mandatory for quality teams to excel.

Now all I have to do is practice it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Think about it...


September 29, 2010- We recently(yesterday)had an incident at the church that has everyone in a frenzy. Today, however, I was reading a post that I thought was funny and VERY relevant. Here it is...
In 2008, Pixar announced that they were going to be making a movie called “Newt” about the last two blue-toed newts on the planet and their adventure to save the species. The film was referenced at a couple of Pixar events since that initial announcement too. Hard-core Pixar fans were really looking forward to something original coming from Pixar with most of other movies in process at the studios being sequels. (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters, Inc. 2 were slated around Newt.) Then, suddenly, in May of this year word leaked out that the entire film had been canceled. No explanation was given but the cancellation was confirmed and the film became the movie that never was.

Surprisingly, today, Pixar put a bunch of pictures of the artwork from the film on their Facebook page. The description on the photo album says “As most of you already know, ‘Newt’ is no longer in development at Pixar. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t share some of the Pixar artists’ amazing artwork with our Facebook fans!” This is a very interesting move. I can’t recall a time when a studio has released something like this on a canceled project, especial so close to the cancellation date.

As leaders, I think there’s a lot we can learn from this whole thing.

1. Not Every Project Makes It
You know it and I know it but it’s good to hear that even a company as successful, creative and prolific as Pixar has to scrub a project every now and then. The truth is that every swing at the bat can’t be a home run and Pixar did the right thing to kill this one project to protect their stellar record if they thought it wasn’t up to par.

When you consider that this film had been “in production” was on the “official schedule” and had been announced in big ways AND the fact that they had to move other films up in production to cover the hole this film was going to leave, it’s easy to understand that this wasn’t an easy decision for them. However, they did the right thing even though it was a hard thing to do.

Folks, sometimes, you’ve just got to rip the band-aid off, kill the project and move on. Refuse to let one project (no matter how much you’ve invested in it or love it) take the whole ship down.

2. Celebrate the Artists
The fact that the movie needed to be canceled didn’t mean that people didn’t word hard on it. I’m sure that folks were pouring themselves into this like any other Pixar endeavor and the fact that Pixar decided to post some of the astounding artwork on their Facebook page acknowledges as much.

Guys, just because you have to kill something doesn’t mean that you can’t spend some effort praising the hard work that people put into it.

3. Reward the Fans
Pixar could have swept this thing under the rug and never acknowledged it again but instead they effectively just said “hey, the film didn’t make it” and they rewarded the fans with a little bit of what did work from the project.

Again, the temptation is to distance ourselves from things that don’t work but I bet someone in your organization might find some value in knowing what you’re trying to do even if it doesn’t pan out. I think the Pixar fans now feel closer to Pixar and have a bit more respect for them because they’ve been so open about this whole thing. Sure, some people are disappointed but the greater lesson is that Pixar cares for and shares things with their hard-core fans. To that end, this was a big win for Pixar and the fans.

Perhaps we should be more open with our committed core folks about what is and isn’t working and allow them to see that we are willing to sacrifice certain projects and programs for the greater good and our most important mission.

You can check out the entire set of amazing photos here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Capsized Chrisianity

Wednesday September 15, 2010- I have been reading a book by Mark Batterson called "Wild Goose Chase". It's an awesome read by a man who has become one of the most prominent voices of our generation. Anyway, in his book Batterson talks about something he calls inverted Christianity. Upon reading this section of the book, it made me think of a mindset that so many Christians have today. He nailed it, but I think a more appropriate labeling would be Capsized Christianity(not because of the literation)but because of the danger of it. His point is, we accepted an invitation to follow Christ, but instead we tend to invite Christ to follow us. Here's a quote from the book.

"If you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you're following the Spirit, but you have settled for something less--something I call inverted Christianity. Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God's purposes, we want Him to serve ours. And while this may seem like a subtle distinction, it makes an ocean of difference. The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty..." Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson

The reason I say it is better to say capsized Christianity is that running on empty(feeling empty) is the same as treading water(you can't keep it up for long). Being capsized is dangerous business and at that point we are going to need to be rescued. We have to kill the selfishness and the sin in our life. We have to flip-flop the invertedness and chase after the Spirit of God. The stress levels will go down and then and only then can we say, "In Him, we live and move and have our being".

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thin Places

Tuesday August 31, 2010- Today was an interesting day in our weekly staff meeting. Out discussion drifted to what Celtic Christians refer to as, "thin places". First let me say that the thin places referred to are places where God(heaven, divinity)seem to touch earth. We began our discussion talking about Moses's experience at the burning bush. That had to be a place that was seared into his brain forever more. Just think back to the first real experience you had with God. It's pretty memorable, isn't it? This prompted us to think back on our personal thin places. The places where we have had undeniable touches from God. I've had thin places in church, walking in the woods, and even driving down the highway(it's much safer than texting). But the cool thing is that these thin places are real. We know this because God is sovereign and He's omnipresent(He's everywhere)but these places aren't definable because of God's location as much as by our awareness of His presence. Therefore, we are more sensitive of Him and these places become Holy. So where are your thin places? Think about it. And if you are feeling separated or distant from God right now, maybe all you need to do is, go back to your thin place and spend some time in God's presence.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Get your feet wet


August 12, 2010- This weekend is the last message in our series called, "God Talk". It has been an awesome time of seeing our relation with God through conversation. Many people have come to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. That alone makes everything we do worth it. Next week we begin a series called, "Mixology". I'm really excited about what God is going to do in this series. We are going to discuss the misconceptions that cause us miss out on all God has for us, simply because we don't have the correct view of theology. Hence "MIXOLOGY". Now some of these talks will not be based on theological stances that are so grey and controversial, but more along the lines of things that cause us to miss the most God has for us. Here's one example. Many of us view faith as a waiting game. If I have faith for something, then I need to just wait, and wait, and wait some more. But that is a misconception. How would you act if your waiter in a restaurant just stood there, not doing anything. Would that do you justice? That is how I view waiting on the Lord. When the children of Israel were going to cross the Jordan river, God gave instruction to Joshua to tell the priest.

" And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' "

Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD -the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing."

Did you see that? The water stopped flowing after the priests stepped into the river. They didn't wait until the water stopped to walk, they stepped in. Many times God is just looking for someone who isn't afraid to get their feet wet. So what are you WAITING for. Get your feet wet!

Thursday, August 5, 2010



August 5, 2010- This weekend The City Church is having a special service that you don't want to miss. God Talk is a series on experiencing the power of prayer. And this weekend our focus is on children and young adults that are starting back to school. What better way to start the school year off, than praying for God's protection and favor in the lives of our children. Come out and join us inn praying for our children, teens, and young adults before they begin this school year. This will be a great opportunity to see things happen when you pray. Hope to see you Sunday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stages

Friday July 23, 2010- Man, I'm so excited about this weekend @ The City Church. I get the opportunity to preach the last message in our series called "Stages". This series has been such a time of growth for me as well as many that have been part of the journey. So I want to take a few lines and recap what we've gone over. Stages is a series that covers the many phases(Stages) of the life of king David. Here are a few.
The Pasture of Preparation- David not only fought a lion and a bear, he had to learn to walk through a lot of mess(sheep are messy animals).
The Tent of Training- Spear pressure almost got the best of him(people throw things at you).
The Field of the Fight- If we do what God wants us to do, for the reasons God wants to do them, we will be unstoppable.
The Campaigns of the Chariots- People are funny. The same people who shout “Hosanna” will also shout “Crucify”.
The Cave of Conflict- David had 2 chances to kill Saul. “It’s the things no one else sees, that produce the results everyone else wants”.
The Palace of the Privileged-
• The palace is a place of anointing
• Your anointing is cultivated trough “purity” and “holiness”
• Your gifting can get your foot in the door, but it’s your character that keeps it there
The Balcony of Boredom- Idle time will fight against the plans God has for your life(accountability is a must).
This week we are going to discuss The Seat of Significance. Can't tell you what we are going to talk about, but I will say you don't want to miss this Sunday @ The City Church.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prayer of the Visionary

July 13, 2010- I really want to share something I saw on a post earlier. Is vision something you think about and follow? Is it a struggle? If so, please read this
beautiful prayer from Richard Rohr:

O loving God, we thank you for bringing us the rivers and streams of this world. May the rivers we know be an image of the stream that you want to flow within each one of us.

Teach us now, take away all fear, dare to let us believe that we could really be a small part of a reconstructed society, that we could build again. Take away our own cynicism. Take away our lack of hope. Take away our own anger and judgments.

We thank you for the faith and the desire that is in our hearts. You have planted it there. Now help us to preserve it, protect it and increase it.

We long for vision, good God. We need vision and we know we will perish without it. Help us open each new day to a new meaning, to a new hope, to a deeper desiring.

Show us your face, loving God, and we will be satisfied. We ask for this in all the holy names of God. Amen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

Monday June 7, 2010- If you were asked, "What is the greatest quest of mankind?", what would your answer be? You might say, "solving world hunger, the aids epidemic, or world peace". But I truly think the greatest quest of humanity is the pursuit of happiness. So how do we find true happiness? People have attempted for thousands of years to attain it. Some have, while others have failed miserably. But to be able to grasp happiness, we have to understand what causes true happiness.
First, I want to look at this from a natural(or secular) perspective, then from a supernatural(spiritual)one. Large amounts of scientific research have been done, only to come to a conclusion that can be found in scripture from the beginning. First, let us look at it from a scientific standpoint.
On New Years day 1998 three psychologists came together in Akumal, Mexico to discuss this very topic. Martin Seligman, Ray Fowler and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi(pronounced "cheeks-sent-me-high")were the very men to take on the scientific quest for the pursuit of happiness. One year after their conversation, Seligman and company gathered again in Akumal for the first annual conference on "positive psychology". In the years that followed the conference, the evidence for what makes people happy began to flow in like the Gulf breeze. So what did they find? This may surprise you. More money doesn't make you happy. Once our basic material needs are met, additional money does almost nothing to raise the level of satisfaction in our lives. How about education? Surely another degree at a better institution could make me happy. Again, research showed that a better education or even a higher IQ didn't equate happiness. How about the fountain of youth? In a culture who has made adolescence an art form, surely youth would make us happy. Nope. Older people, studies show, are consistently happier than young people, and showed less bouts with depression. Well what about the weather. Surely sunnier climates like Florida or California would make the difference. Again no difference between Californians and Michiganders. Go figure! So what does cause happiness? Dr. Edward Diener"Dr. Happiness" conducted a survey in 2002 along with Seligman. Students who tested with the highest levels of happiness and the fewest signs of depression all had one foundational thing in common: significant social ties to friends and family.
In other words, connection is the key to happiness. Awesome!
The reality of this innate need for connection is often most clearly revealed in the experience of dis-connection.Dropped cell phone calls, the loss of a job or career opportunity, a breakup, the death of a loved one- each kind of disconnection alerts us to the fact the we were meant to connect.
Now lets look at this through a different lens. It has been here all along. Look at Genesis 2:18 " The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Pretty simple isn't it. True happiness is in our connections. Any questions?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Prayer

May 13,2010- A couple of years ago our team saw Craig Groeschel speak @ Catalyst '09 in Atlanta,Ga. His topic was from his book, "IT". I know I've been talking alot about this book, but I read it about a year ago and then my wife read it recently. I want to share a Franciscan prayer that Craig prayed at the end of the book. My prayer is that many will read this and continue to pray this prayer over our lives.


* May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

* May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

* May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

* And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


Amen!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Innovation not Limitation


April 28, 2010- Last night I was roused from my recreational TV watching by my wife in the other room. She has been reading the book IT by Craig Groeschel. The reason she yelled for me was there is a section in the book that she knew I would find very relevant for my life(what a great wife I have). Anyway, the passage in the book was talking about the old adage, "What God guides, He provides". Now many of us in ministry hold fast to that saying, if for no other reason, it increases faith. But what was so interesting was that Craig said that he and his staff had come up with another angle of approach to that saying. Here it is. "Sometimes God guides by what He doesn't provide". WHAT? Yep. Look at Acts 3:1-6 1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
What if Peter would have had money to give the man? We don't know the outcome, but what if? However, when Peter wasn't able to give the man what he wanted, he was able to give him what he needed. What are you facing? Lack of finance? Closed doors? What wall are you facing that seems is too tough to get around? Maybe God is trying to show you something. Maybe He has not a natural solution, but a SUPERNATURAL one. Here's the quote that rocked my world. "Your greatest innovation might come through your greatest limitation". Wow! Just a thought.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wheat

April 15, 2010- One of the biggest struggles I've had in Christianity has been the fact that everything isn't cut and dry. What I mean is when we do good, we don't always get good in return. Many times we are taught that(be a good person, and everything will be alright). The problem with that frame of mind is... the Bible!!!! You see we can be having our absolute best day ever, and our worst day ever, all in the same day. In Matthew 13 there is a parable about the wheat and the tares. Matthew 13:24-30
24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Check this out; the man sowed GOOD SEED! Then while his men were sleeping the enemy came in and imitated the harvest by planting weeds among the crop. There is nothing wrong with rest. We all need rest. But the when the bad comes up in the good, it's not because we were resting, it's because the enemy has come to imitate God's plan and to destroy His plans for your life. Second, know that there is going to be bad days in the midst of our good days. Our problem is...we always feel the need to fix it. "What can I do, how can I fix it, Who, what, when, where can I go?" But that's not the answer. God shows us specifically what we need to do in this situation. NOTHING! What? Yes. Nothing. God says let the weeds grow up with the wheat. Then when the harvesters come, they will separate the wheat from the weeds and they will handle disposing of the bad. My prayer is that we all learn to wait on God in the midst of the bad as well as the good.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter

April 2, 2010- It's Good Friday! Only 2 days til Easter and it's the greatest opportunity for us to be the church. Invite someone to church this weekend. Most people who attend church now, do it because they were invited by a friend or family. They came to church, found a relationship with Christ, and now they attend regularly. So please don't miss the opportunity. And if you are in the Auburn, Al. area this weekend, come check us out here @ The City Church. We would love to share in this special time with you as we present Christ's life, death, and resurrection. You ought to come check it out. Happy Easter!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inspection of the Lamb


March 29, 2010- This morning, a tremendous revelation was illuminated for me and I have to share it here...
God instructed the children of Israel concerning the purity of the lamb which would be sacrificed at Passover: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats” (Exodus 12:5).

There could be no spot or blemish. Nothing!

The inspection process, from the very first Passover, was extremely thorough to guarantee a lamb that met the strictest of standards set by God.

The Lamb of God, without question, fulfilled every criteria. The Lamb of God is perfect. He is without blemish. He is holy, righteous, and just: “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

In fact, if you look closely through the Scriptures, you will see that before He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), Christ Jesus actually went through seven distinct inspections:

Pilate inspected Jesus, and in John 19:4 we read, “Pilate therefore went forth again and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.” No fault!

King Herod inspected the Savior. Jesus, by King Herod’s own admission of Christ’s blamelessness, did nothing worth of death (Luke 23:13-15).

Annas, father-in-law of the high priest, inspected Jesus. Annas obviously found no fault, for he passed Him along to his son-in-law (John 18:12-14, 24).

Caiaphas, the high priest, inspected Jesus, as reflected in John 18. Again, no blame could be placed on the spotless Lamb of God.

The centurion inspected the Master. The commander of the Roman soldiers, when it was finished, gave the awe-filled result of his crucifixion scrutiny: “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

The thief hanging beside Jesus inspected the Lamb of God closely during Christ’s final hours on the cross, and this common criminal made a powerful confession that propelled him into an eternity with the Savior: “But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward for our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Luke 23:40-42).

Seven inspections came and went. Seven confessions pointed to the irrefutable fact that no one could find fault in Him. As proclaimed truthfully by the thief, the fault is in each of us. We are to blame.
But check this out. When a person would bring the lamb in to the priest, the priest would inspect the lamb for flaws, not the person. Now that my friend, will preach.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Snares of...

March 26, 1010- You would think everyone would want to take a walk with God. Many are already walking with Him and are enjoying the journey.If you are one of these people I have a word for you today. In our walk with the Lord we experience His bountiful peace, grace, and serenity. That's a beautiful thing. The problem is, on this journey there is an enemy that wants to knock you off course, break your legs, or even take us out. Here are a couple of things I see that can cause us to get out of step with God and if we don't get them under control, it could end bad. The worst thing about it is that religion can become a snare as quick as anything else. Here's an example...
1) Religious Activities- We can become so engulfed with our everyday activities that we miss the reason we do them. Our ministry becomes our focus, when it is people for whom the ministry was created, that get neglected. We can never be so busy with the work of God, that we miss the God of the work.
2) Religious perspective- Christians are known more for what they are against, than what they are for. That in itself is a huge problem. When God is taking us to new, higher levels, we tend to look down on others and tell them the way to go up is don't do's. You can't do this, you can't do that. People can get so over whelmed by the don't do's that they freeze up and no forward motion happens. So please remember the best way to stay in step with God is to avoid the snares of religion.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Promised Land

MArch 22, 2010- The past few weeks have been pretty crazy. We are moving on 4 church plants over the next few months and a few of the staff members are on the trek of reading the bible in 90 days, so I haven't taken the time to post any blogs. However, the Lord really has rocked my world with a passage of scripture that I can't get away from no matter what I do. So I thought I'd post some thoughts on it before I preach it this weekend. We are all at a crossroads. And at that point, we have to make a decision. Will I stay where I am, or will I take the next step. The problem is this. We all need to take the next step, but if we are not careful, we will be paralyzed by the church. Here's the problem. The church has become so concerned with what not to do, that we forget that the focus should not be on that but on what we should be doing. When our concern is on what not to do, we become afraid to move therefore we just stand still. That is not where God called us to be. He called us to be mobile. Not necessarily geographically but internally. In Genesis 12 God called Abram to leave his people and his land and go to a place God had prepared for him. The problem is this. God didn't tell him where the place was. He didn't give a detailed spread sheet of what it would look like. He just said GO. Many of us are in the same boat. We get frustrated without all the details and just give up. But check this out. Later in scripture God comes through with the promise of a son in Abraham's old age(yeah He changed his name) He provided a ram in the bush for Abraham on the mountain. God was with Abraham in all his steps. But after the miracle on the mountain, Sarah(Abraham's wife dies). When Abraham goes and buys a tomb to bury his wife, he buries her in Canaan. In the steps to bury what is priceless to Abraham, he doesn't even realize he has already entered the Promised Land. The question is this... Where are you today?

Monday, March 8, 2010

B90X cont.


MArch 8, 2010- Sorry about last week. It has really been hectic trying to do my job and keep up with this B90X reading plan(blogging has fallen back). I really think anyone in ministry should try this plan. It really helps to put things in perspective! Anyway, I know I'm yet to even explain what this plan is. Here's the deal. The way I found it is through lifechurch.tv and youversion(the online bible they made available). So for more info, just click the hyper-links above and you can join the movement. It's totally worth the journey.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

B90X


March 3, 2010- Well, it has begun. Today is day 3 of B90X. Come join us..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Embracing Change

February 18, 2009- Yesterday I read an interesting article on the subject of CHANGE. Change is necessary. It says we aren't staying in the same place, and usually as long as the change is positive, it means we are growing. But the problem with change, is that a human being is wired for comfort, and change pushes against comfort. We all search for a place in which we are good at what we do and that is where we like to stay. I am the world's worst at that. But as of lately our team is going through some change. God is calling us higher. He is calling our church higher. And the simple fact is, that's uncomfortable. I find myself wrestling with change and comfort. I, like anyone else, desire to do great things, but that is a road few travel. But for today, I have chosen to take the road less traveled. I want to be all I can be, and I commit to not only work through the change, but to embrace it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What is a Dream?or a Dreamer?


February 11, 2010- The team really had a good time with me this week. Pastor was the one who had the idea when we went to check out a building for one of our church plants earlier in the week. Here's the story. When we were walking through this building I began to see not what happens next, but what happens after what happens next. I began to see ministry possibilities. Now rest assured I wasn't the only one seeing things like this. Everyone did. But I was the one who got stuck with the label "The Dream Bug". Any time you get photo shopped it makes you uncomfortable, but this was a horrible photo. The thing is, dreaming is good. We all should be dreamers. So I found some examples of dream bugs that I want to share.
First, we find Jacob in Gen. 22:10-22. He sees angels going up and down a ladder to heaven and God gave him a huge revelation through a dream. It changed his life and the course of the world. Then we find Joseph in Gen. 37. He has a dream that his entire family would bow at his feet. Sounds arrogant but later he interprets dreams for others which leads him to a leadership position that leads to his family seeking food from none other than him. Lives changed! Then in the book of Daniel 4:19-37 Daniel interprets dreams that lead to favor, faith, and guess what? Lives changed! Then in Matt 2:12 the wise men(or Magi) were spoken to in a dream and told not to return to Herod. Dreams are everywhere, and so are dreamers.

Freud, of course, did not link dreams to the holy, which he regarded as an illusion. He worked to put dream interpretation on a scientific footing, transposing the religious dimension of dreams into a psychological reality. Dreams were taken to be disclosure of the denied part of the self particularly the self’s repressed desires.

Though he transposed dreams from religious to psychological realities, Freud nonetheless utilized an interpretive method, which involved a patient probing of multi-layered meanings and the inscrutable, enigmatic dimensions of life. Dreams, like ancient texts, require imaginative interpretation in order for us to receive what they disclose.

Freud invites us to the work of "archaeology,’ of uncovering the origins of the self in the unconscious, But Freud’s interpretation of dreams is also anticipating what the self may become. The eschatological dimension of a dream may lead to wise choices, like that of’ the wise men in Matthew, or to the choosing of an alternative future, as in the case of Jacob.

Another kind of dreamer, perhaps the greatest dreamer of the mid-2Oth century, is Martin Luther King Jr. His "I Have a Dream" speech of August 1963 represented a defiant political stance couched in religious rhetoric. It is important that the address was presented as a dream:

I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day all people, no matter what creed or color will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . . . I have a dream that my son will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! . . . I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

Dream interpretation, so Jewish in its imaginative attentiveness, pertains to psychological matters and the reality of repression. But it is not limited to those concerns. Dreams concern larger realities and possible futures. There are many voices in the night, not all of them noble. Among them, however, is the voice of the holy God, who "plucks up and tears down" what we have trusted, who "plants and builds" what we cannot even imagine.

In a nutshell, here it is. Within the dreamer are hidden truths that disrupt the status quo, that stretch the human capacity, and create new possibilities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Activate


February 10, 2010- Lately a problem I have been dealing with is the call and limitations of a leader(very long story). But I have had to have several talks with leaders who seem to have a problem leading. I know it sounds elementary but the situation is bad at times. Anyway, while reading a book by Nelson Searcy called Activate,
I ran across a truly amazing principle. I am not the leader I should be! The principle was this. An average leader see what happens next(me), an excellent leader sees what happens after what happens next(where I want to be). Here's the deal. If you are a leader remember this. If the presentation of the Gospel doesn't appear to be worth our time, effort, planning, and preparation, then how can we expect it to be worth the time of those we are leading. The principle is simple. If you are a leader... LEAD!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Breakthrough

February 8, 2009- We have just finished a 21 day fast here at the City Church. Usually a time of prayer and fasting is very calm, refreshing, overall great. This time however I experienced a different angle of fasting and prayer. I literally fought a spiritual war over this 21 days. Now the great thing is that God was so close during this time. But we fought hard against resistance and intimidation from many directions. There were times when I thought, "why even do this"? I had a really hard time physically(because of the poor eating habits I had acquired) and a tough time spiritually(because of the poor study habits I had acquired). But just when things looked like the fight was just too tough, a breakthrough happened. Isn't that just like God. He perfects our faith through times just like this. He disciplines us through the obedience to His word. And through it all He is right there by our side. Fasting is TOUGH! Remember the first test on mankind's faith was about what they put in their mouth. Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of porridge. Even Jesus was tested in that area. The devil visited Him in the desert during a time of fasting, and told him to "turn those stones into food". The spiritual tests will always come during our fasting and prayer, but never fear! Your breakthrough is coming.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Convoy of Hope Haiti Update

January 23, 2010- The relief efforts are amazing. Proof that there is Hope!!!!
video

Monday, January 18, 2010

21 Days


January 18, 2009- Today is the first day of our 21 day Daniel Fast at The City Church. Every year great things happen in the lives of the people in our church. This year however, we have been prompted by God to start several new campuses. In fact, we made the commitment to plant 100 churches over the next 5 years. That seems too big for us to do, and as a matter of fact it is, but with God all things are possible. So pray for us and join us in this 21 days of fasting and prayer. 2010 is going to be a great year!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pants on the Ground

January 15,2009- I'm not really sure why, but this was so catchy to me that I wanted to share it...
video

Monday, January 11, 2010

Change

January 11, 2009- I've noticed that the word of the year is change. Why is that? Has the world come to the place that things are so bad, that change is always the solution. Change is good, and unless we are willing to change, we will die. Let me illustrate. When you are born, your body will ingest dairy(milk to be more specific), but you can't eat a steak. It just doesn't work! But as time goes on and you grow up, milk will not sustain you, it takes a more varied diet to give you the nourishment you need. In a nutshell, you need change. But to want change for the sake of change is unhealthy. When I came to Christ, I changed. I made commitments, promises, and even attempts to change my actions and my life. But all I did was convert. The change comes from God. So if we want change, God is the one we need to ask. Then, and only then, will change come.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WalKnDude » Courage Wizard of Oz Lion wants Courage » Planet Netopia

Don't miss this weekend @mycitychurch. Second message in the enCOURAGEment series. Do you have it?




more about "WalKnDude » Courage Wizard of Oz Lion...", posted with vodpod