Tuesday, December 30, 2008

30 years!

Kelsey and I just realized tonight that 2008 was both our our 30th year anniversary since we gave our lives to Christ...BOTH OF US IN THE SAME YEAR...That's cool...yep...she was younger than me when she gave her life to Jesus, but it was 1978. WOW...glad we figured it out so early in the year! :-) (At least we have 1 day to celebrate!!) THANKS JESUS FOR PICKING US...both as your kids and for each other!!

Pastor's Update...

Click on the link for this week's update...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HlUqkeGuL4&feature=channel_page

WHAT?!

I am enjoying breakfast this morning with a couple of friends and I see a call from home. I try to answer home when they call, so when I answer Jaden is on the other end. "Hey dad, I beat your record in the tank game!" WHAT?! AS IF THAT WASN'T BAD ENOUGH...I told him that maybe I should take the day off and come home and beat him...his response...no, not "yeah maybe you should!" It was "You can't beat that dad." All matter-of-fact-like...no sarcasm in his voice...just that he was speaking truth. Sooooooooooo...you got it...my 5 year old son TOOK IT TO ME TODAY AND IT HURTS!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend Reflections...

Thoughts from this weekend...
-I sure love Christmas time!
-I enjoy watching the kids open their gifts...they were very grateful this year, very fun
-Enjoyed hanging out with Kelsey's family...good times!
-The Wii is very fun...good family moments...sure would like to own one
-Hitting your head on a medal piece of the bunkbed can REALLY leave a mark!
-When a drill slips off the screw and goes into your finger...that hurts too!
-Watching Luke and Jaden get excited about their new room was priceless
-"Dad, it is better than I imagined!" (Jaden on his top bunk! Made the pain and blood worth it!)
-I like having Pastor Jim and his family visit us...sure love serving with him!
-The battle for the truth of the Word of God still rages
-The virgin birth is truly AMAZING!
-Imagine if your teenage daughter came to you and said she was pregnant...then told you that an angel told her and God did it...HOW WOULD YOU REACT TO THAT?!
-Imagine just how shaken Mary would have been after hearing the news from the angels...
-The people closest to Jesus said he was perfect...ooooooo, there is something to that!
Nothing is impossible with God! (Luke 1: 37)

Probably should state that again...

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!!!! (Luke 1: 37)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! The gift opening is done...Luke is sleeping and Chloe and Jaden are watching Prince Caspian. I'm trying to get Chloe's MP3 player going...yeah...not real tech savvy right here! BUT...we'll make it happen.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

What I want for my daughter...

I learned when I first started teaching that all good teachers are thieves...they steal great ideas from other people, make them their own and use them...This works in blogging too...I'm stealing a quote from Sam (again!)...


“A girl should get so lost in God, that a guy has to seek God to find her!”~ Dannah Gresh, author.

WOW...Chloe, that one is for you! I love you!!

Monday Reflections...


I had a great deal of excitement and anticipation going into Sunday...Just a sense that God was up to something and I wanted to know what it was! We had 3 people give their lives to Christ during the service...3! Angels were celebrating in heaven and I was celebrating RIGHT HERE! Whoo-Hoo!!

Chloe did an excellent job telling the Christmas story before my message on Sunday...since she gave me the idea for my message, I figured who better to present the manger scene than her! She was GREAT!

We looked at the wise-men...their perspective and their journey. This message really moved me...I learned a lot and was deeply challenged...easy to preach when God is working you over!! So many people quit so early in their journey with Jesus...they just shut him out...Yet the wisemen traveled for months, maybe over a year to find the person under the star. They had researched Jewish history...they had studied the stars and they just knew it was tim...I pray hard for people that are lost...people who don't know Jesus...I pray that they find him...that God puts me and others in their path to challenge them to think about Jesus...

This is going to be a GREAT Christmas...and to think that some people are going to have their 1st Christmas with JESUS being their Lord! THAT IS COOL!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Incredible Anticipation...

I was driving to the office this morning with this anticipation...a stirring inside of me...a leg-shaking-stomach turning-WHO REALLY NEEDS CAFFEINE ANYWAY-kind of anticipation...simply anticipating what God is up to right now...then I get to the office and get to pray with Richard and talk to a couple of more parents. NOW I'm praying and thinking through the message tomorrow and just can't hide the feeling of knowing that God is moving all around me...knowing that he is up to something and that I get to be part of that...he is working in so many different people's lives...just stirring them up...glad that he picked me to be part of His story..."Jesus, I plead with you to bring people to you tomorrow, both here in South Bend, in Goshen and ALL OVER THE WORLD! Blow our minds Jesus..."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome to Indiana...

Yep...we had snow...sleet...rain...THUNDER AND LIGHTNING all within minutes of each other! Gotta love Indiana...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ummmmmm...

I started out this morning with the alarm...not feeling well rested...even a touch grumpy...and the next thought that went through my head was..."Jesus, I BEG you to put your armor on me." That was it...I jumped (O.K. so I rolled) out of bed and got the kids up and started my day.

A couple of things have been weighing on me this week...one is I'm preaching on Sunday and as of the alarm this morning I had no clear direction...just a few random thoughts and ideas...nothing that I was passionately ready to pursue...the other was that I want to invite people to church this week and had only talked with 1 family...that bothered me...I wanted to seek out more people...

Jerimae and I were talking in the office this morning...SUDDENLY it hit me...Chloe last night was telling the Christmas story while setting up the manger scene...and something she said just came flooding back into my mind...want to know what it was? I'll tell you Sunday!!!! MY MESSAGE IDEA CAME FROM MY 8 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER! YES! YES! YES! That is why Jesus said..."Let the children come to me..." MAN can we learn from them...

THEN, I have had 4 people come by the office and I had the chance to talk with 3 of them about spiritual things AND invite them to come Sunday! How cool is that?!?! God is blowing doors open and think it all stemmed from a little prayer this morning, so I'd be ready for the day. I'll confess that I'm a little greedy right now...SO KEEP IT COMING GOD!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Update...

Here is my new video update...Enjoy!!


video

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning Reflections...

Thoughts on the weekend...
-Everyone is tired and that is a good thing!
-We touched over 150 kids this week...most of which we still don't know!
-Don't be so close to the meaning of Christmas that you lose the thrill
-The people of Grace, just ROCK! Amazing group of people
-Where there is poo there is life...(gross, but true! There has to be pooh to know that there is life!)
-Tonight is my last class teaching at Grace...
-I love Jesus
-I love my wife!
-I love my kids!
-Kelsey finally felt well enough to go Christmas shopping!!
-I love making buckeyes with the family...and they taste good!
-Our church people just get it
-The band was ROCKIN' on Sunday...WOW!
-We need to change our perception...
-You can only receive Jesus on the level you perceive him...
-If you see Jesus only as a baby...you won't see him as the KING OF KINGS!
-BACK UP and gain some focus.

**I CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT SUNDAY! Praying and begging God for new name to be written in the book of life..."COME ON JESUS!"**

Ugly Mugs

I love Ugly Mugs...it's a coffee shop in our office building that is owned by a church. Their pastor Heath and I are good friends. Heath gave me my first book on multi-site a few years back before I came on staff with Grace...Heath has just been a good friend...we have spent a lot of time praying, talking, dreaming...just bouncing ideas off of each other...Cool to have a like-minded guy here in S. Bend...a guy that loves this city (almost) as much as I do. (I had to write that in case he reads this!!) LOVE THAT GUY!

The church has a coffee shop and their services at the same location...GREAT atmosphere, great concept, GREAT hearts for Jesus! Sure love being around guys that love Jesus and desire to see him work here! I'm a BIG fan of Church of the Heartland and Ugly Mugs...keep doing great things!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Great!


What a day! We had around 50 parents in our office today...everyone who helped had everything set perfectly...from our drivers to the greeters...to the hosts...gift wrappers...food restockers...gift tablers (now that's a good title!)...I am so proud of the job everyone did! YES! Great to touch these families...over 150 kids. AND YOU KNOW WHAT?! We still have more toys to give away!! How cool is that!?!?! Over the next week, we get to bless the socks off of more people. NICE! I AM STILL EXCITED about what we still get to do...Whoo-Hoo!


(More pics coming in the next couple of days...most of the pics weren't on my camera!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The stage is set...








It is Christmas Store Eve...Our office has completely turned upside-down...AN AMAZING job by all of our volunteers. I'm soooooooo proud of them! Praying for each life that will be touched tomorrow..."Dear God, we have done the set up...YOU make it happen..."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When kids pray...

Tonight we had Prayer Encounter (Adults) and The Construction Zone (Kids K-5th grade) combined in our office. As you know from my previous blog we are changing our office to be a Toyland for parent to pick toys for their kids. Tonight the adults split up and prayed over all of the toys and in the main room where the people will be...I WISH YOU COULD HAVE HEARD THE PRAYERS of the children...brought a smile to my face...praying for the kids whose lives will be touched...just really cool! "God, you heard the prayers of the children...we beg you know to answer...may we encourage these families and PLEASE draw them to you...PLEASE!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pastor's Update

Click on the following link to check out this week's video update...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNqiw94FeAs

It's starting...


Our Christmas Blitz is going to be sooooooooooooooooooooooo fun! The anticipation is just growing in each of us...We were given 500 toys from a biker club in Sturgis...we gave 200 to our Goshen Campus and the rest for us. Ah MAN...I am so excited. Right now, this very minute, Kim and Danielle are transforming our office into a winter wonderland. These ladies are AWESOME! Many others are baking cookies, helping to set up, making Christmas cards and more.


On Saturday, we will be going to have parent's in our office for a Christmas experience. They will get to pick out toys for their kids, make cards, eat food and wrap the gifts. A whole experience geared to empower parents...to make them the hero. Their kids will never know who Grace is, but they'll know that their parents got them gifts. YES! EMPOWERING FAMILIES!


I am praising God like CRAZY for the amazing volunteers here that are making this happen!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I LOVE GRACE!!

A lesson in meetings...I remember when I first started on staff at Grace. We were merging our church (Hope Community...long story...I'll share it sometime) in with Grace and we were about to have the final meeting as a leadership team to approve the merger. I had set a meeting with my guys and then I received an email from Pastor Jim. His emailed said... "Guys, let's meet after Prayer Encounter on Wednesday at center court and approve this merger." He already knew the guys were for it and that they just had to approve it "officially" for the state government. So he didn't waste the guys time, just picked a time when they would all be there and did the meeting in 10 minutes or less. I QUICKLY called my guys and we met after a morning service and it took 5 minutes for approval. Don't take an hour to do 5 minutes of work!

Why share this story? Too often as leaders we set meetings and talk for an hour about something that is already a done deal! DON'T meet just to meet...don't waste the time of your leaders...Don't take an hour to do 5 minutes of work!

Weekend Reflections...

CAN IT GET ANY BETTER?!?!?! Every week I start blogging and thinking..."this was another GREAT Sunday..." Yesterday was AMAZING, FUN...let me just give you a pic of the morning...as people came in from the cold they were greeted by an 8 ft. toy soldier...then they entered into the Hub area and could high-5 an 8' tall snowman...they heard fun Christmas music in the background as they grabbed some coffee and doughnuts. IT DIDN'T STOP THERE...they would enter into the auditorium and see really cool props that Mark and Danielle built themselves...(We have VERY creative people)...they heard more music...were greeted with smiles and a handshake or hug and then settled in for a rockin' service. At the beginning of the service 4 people volunteered to get kicked out of the building and go encourage people using $40 that we gave them. They went to Kroger and gave 4 families $10 toward their groceries! FUN! AWESOME...it is so fun to encourage people...they came back at the end of the service and shared their stories...One lady they gave $10 to had tears in her eyes!! Touching!

The worship band really rocked and just took me to the presence of God...Jerimae and the gang do just an amazing job...Sooooooooooo glad that he is with us! Then Pastor Jim brought a great message on "The Dream" of Christmas...He talked about how Simeon knew that the Messiah was coming and how excited he must of been...Great quote: "Imagine knowing that you get to meet the Messiah..." That after 400 years of silence from God...God spoke to you and said, you will not die until you see the Messiah. Imagine God saying to you today..."you will not die until Jesus comes back." What kind of anticipatioin would you have every day? WOW!!!!

A few more thoughts from the message:
-Don't let circumstances wear out your joy of Christmas
-Keep the Dream alive
-How could a virgin have a baby?!?!?!
-Believe when no one else does
-Jim has seen God come through in his life before and knows that he will again (Of course that is because Jim is sooooooo old and had sooooo many experiences...PLEASE TELL him I said that!)
-Dreams INFUSE hope
-One man gave hope
-How will you give hope this week?

OUTSTANDING Sunday! Just love it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Famous Last Words...

The last words that my neighbor Chad said to me before we left to get our Christmas Tree were: "Just make sure you don't get in the ruts." And I knew what he meant! We have been going to the same tree farm for YEARS...family Chirstmas tradition. Almost had my Malibu stuck in the mud and those ruts a few years back.

So off we went...we drove back this year and I was doing great. The people who run the place said to go to the 2nd field so naturally I went to the 3rd...Went to turn in and drove right into the ruts. I took my van with 4-wheels that drive right in there...thinking..."I can do this...we won't get stuck!" THEN scrap...crunch...DEAD STOP!! UNBELIEVABLE! We were stuck...tires spinning...I put Kels behind the wheel and I started pushing...I DID NOT WANT TO GET PULLED OUT OF THERE! Wheels still spinning...patience running low...the van moved...just a inch! I jumped in the drivers seat and got that baby out of there! IT WAS AWESOME! Who needs a 4-wheel drive vehicle anyway...

We had a blast looking for our tree...snowballs flying...Kelsey falling (Oops did I really write that?!?! I have it on video if anyone wants to see it! Kidding Kels I'd never show that!)...finally had our tree and we are heading out when...the van slips into another rut and you can feel it leaning! I honestly thought we might tip over!! That is when Kels told the kids..."We really have to be quiet right now." BUT...we made it! Safe and sound and the tree is up!

Fast-forward with me a couple of hours and the tree is all set up and then Chloe (our 8 yr. old) is looking at the tree and gives the tree a lecture! TRUE STORY...she says, with her finger pointing at the tree and in her best "teacher" voice: "YOU WILL NOT FALL DOWN THIS YEAR!" IT WAS GREAT!! I'm laughing right now thinking about it! MAN...what a fun night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Those who have "it" fail often."

Craig Groeschel's book "It" is a VERY good read...every pastor should read it. The point is that churches either have it or they don't...they may have it now and lose it later...may not have it now, but they can get it...GREAT BOOK!

Right after he makes the statement "those who have it, fail often" he says "If you're waiting for your venture to have guaranteed success, you'll probably be waiting for the rest of your life." HOW TRUE...we must be willing to fail...great leaders fail...great church, that really want to impact their communities fail...they try A LOT of different things and some just don't work. So the question that gets raised is: What dream have you buried? What is something that God has just burned in your heart...a HUGE passion of yours that you have poured water on?

STOP IT NOW...Go get some lighter fluid and TRY...Risk failure, so you can possibly taste amazing success!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BLOWN AWAY!

It was about this time last year...Pastor Jim asks us for goals for our campus and I can remember writing the goals...LOTS of prayer...LOTS of thought go into the process. The purpose is if you don't have something to measure against you don't know what you are shooting for.

So, here I was last year...laboring over our goals...seeking what God wanted for our church...and I got to a particular goal on our food vouchers. I can still remember what I was thinking..."Alright, I'll put a number down God, but probably not going to happen." HONEST, that was my thought...very spiritual of me, huh?!?! You see, I wrote down $2500, but we had only given away MAYBE $200 last year...

Fast-forward to July of this year and we still had only given away a couple of hundred $...THEN CAME AUGUST...something happened...we didn't publicize it...didn't even talk with too many people and then BAM...we have given away close to $5000 in vouchers since August. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!? God has just blown us away...and our church has given every penny. People have given their Christmas bonus...sacrificed their own meals...to help people. IT HAS BEEN AWESOME! We have had the chance to pray with and feed hundreds of people in our community...God is so good...

I just love the times when God goes all Ephesians 3 on us and gives us "more than we could ever ask or imagine. "POUR IT ON JESUS!"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Decorating...

Today is my day off and the kids and I are going to put up the outside Christmas lights. Spent 1 hour just trying to untangle the lights only to find that most of them didn't work! FIGURES! Looking forward to having the kids help. On Monday night Jaden and Luke went up in the attic (mom wasn't home!) and handed me all of the Christmas boxes. Can't believe how quickly the kids are growing up...CAN'T WAIT to have the decorations up...I just love this time of the year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pastor's Updates

Whoo-Hoo...now that was fun to do!! I have been doing my pastor's updates the same way for over a year and I was getting bored with it!! I'd write my email and send pics to go with it. OH, but today I did my very first video pastor's update and emailed it...

I shouldn't admit this, but I just found out that I have Windows Movie Maker on my laptop AND I learned how to upload my own video on youtube! EMBARRASSING, BUT I'm finally entering the 21st century of technology...

Here is my first video update...(Anyone know where I recorded this?!)


video

Monday, December 1, 2008

She is...


We finished our series for women yesterday and it was moving...women just came up front to cry out to their God...to beg him to give them rest...to plead with him to be the center of their lives. I was in tears as I watched the women of our church minister and care for each other...encouraging each other and hugs. I am so thankful that I get to pastor a church of people that gets it...gets the fact that people are what matter...that the most important thing in the world is what matters to the heart of God...PEOPLE.


The picture is of Stephanie and Sharon embracing after we announced the winner of our She Is essay contest. ALL of the essays were amazing and exciting because Sharon had NO IDEA that Stephanie had written one about her. CONGRATS!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I'm Thankful For...

What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving...

-My salvation...THANK YOU JESUS
-My wife...Kelsey...I love the way she loves me...I feel blessed to have her
-My kids
-That Chloe found out who her new teacher will be BEFORE Thanksgiving!
-Our families health
-I HAVE A JOB and one that I LOVE
-Jesus said he will NEVER leave us...
-The East Race
-My parents...
-Kels' parents...
-Our families
-Friends...people who stand beside you no matter what
-Mentors
-Basketball
-The creation of fantasy football (even if my team stinks)
-LeBron James wears a Cleveland Cavs uniform
-Chloe and Jaden have given their lives to Jesus!
-I get to work with Jerimae Yoder!
-The people of our church are AWESOME!
-Grace College
-Bethel College...can't believe I'm saying that as a Grace grad, but that school has been good to our church!
-Pastor friends, who just get it...and have been through it
-lifelong friends that call at random times
-facebook...catching up with people I haven't seen in years!
-The Internet...
-Thanksgiving meal! My favorite meal of the whole year!
-Cell phones
-My neighbors...I REALLY love where we live!
-My green bullet...(my car!) even if I do HIGHLY dislike the color!
-Grace Community Church Goshen
-That my grandparents on my mom's side LOVED Jesus!
-Grandma Scofield!
-My comfortable chair!
-music
-Worship songs
-water
-That God listens when we talk...he hears us and cares

A lot more too...that was just about 2-3 minutes! Imagine what else there is to be thankful for that I haven't listed yet...my mind is just racing with things...

"THANK YOU JESUS for all the amazing things in my life..."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Reflections...

GREAT WEEKEND! The Blitz on Saturday was great...the opportunity to give 100 families the food for their Thanksgiving meal is priceless. There is no better way than that to spend a Saturday morning! Very cool and very grateful people...God is good!

Sunday, I had the chance to teach in Kidzone...to hang out with our Kindergarten - 5th grade kids. They have so much energy! Kyle and I worked together and it was a BLAST! He is an AWESOME GUY...great heart...great with the kids! Really enjoyed working with him! We talked about worship being more than just singing...that it is a way of life...that we can worship (show God worth) by how we do our homework...how we treat our parents...how we take care of someone who gets hurt...how we are thankful. Then we talked about things that we are thankful for...really cool...

Then after we packed up the theater we headed to Bethel College for The Direction...that is a time for us to build team...to talk about the past...dream about the future...work for today. AWESOME! I put everyone in groups and they had to make present what they like about Grace. Cool to hear the heart of our people...Laughter...tears...more laughter!

I just love what God has done, is doing and is going to do at Grace...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ever feel this way...

Anyone out there ever feel like you are out of your mind? (Watch it...don't talk about me like that!) One minute you are so happy and the next you are crying? Take me for instance...yesterday I had an amazing day. Getting ready to pack up those Thanksgiving meals was a RUSH! Serving with Kim, Ananda, Mark and Danielle and then everyone else that came in the evening...I just LOVED it...I was beaming from ear to ear...then, I stopped for a second and BAM...I'm in or near tears, thinking of my friend Jason and his wife passing...From one extreme to the other in a matter of moments...

Here is the bottom line in those times...isn't good that Jesus said in Matthew 28: 20 "...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

GOD NEVER LEAVES US...not in the highs or the lows...not when we are TOTALLY excited or TOTALLY worn out...GOD NEVER LEAVES US! HEY...Hold on to that!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving Blitz




A couple of weeks ago our children's pastor from our Goshen Campus (Jon) came and spoke to my class at Grace College on reaching kids for Jesus...at the beginning he had us draw a picture of what church was like back when we were kids...My picture was kids all sitting in rows...listening to a story...I used to LOVE IT! Then he asked for a picture of the church we are involved with today...this picture for me was people OUTSIDE of the building serving and reaching people. THEN IT HIT ME...I LOVE that our church goes out...away from the church building (or Movie Theater in our case!) and touches people...we don't expect them to just come to us, we want to go TO them! I LOVE IT!

So, here comes tonight...tonight we are going to package up 100 boxes of food for families...then Saturday we will deliver them...OH BABY!!!! I can't wait! Can't wait to serve people...I love that we are not fixing a meal for them, BUT empowering the families to have their own Thanksgiving meal in their homes! Whoever thought of that idea is BRILLANT! (Don't say it, "I'm sure it wasn't you Tim!" 'Cause you'd be RIGHT ON!)

Right now I look out at our office and see food everywhere...and I'm just picturing the kids and adults that will be down here tonight packing 'em up! I'm ABOUT TO EXPLODE OUT OF MY CHAIR!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Miranda...


God smiled today...actually he got to laugh, I'm sure. Not because of the pain that is happening down here on earth, but because he got to talk to Miranda face to face...I'm sure she made him smile, probably laugh, because that is what she did for so many people while she was with us. Miranda passed away this morning after battling cancer and an infection that took her life. She and her husband Jason are neighbors and friends of ours...we love them very much. My heart aches for Jason and her family...my heart aches for Chloe and the kids of our neighborhood. The kids LOVED HER, because SHE LOVED THEM! The kids of the neighborhood would swarm her when she came home...and she always met them with her big smile...I can picture Miranda...just within the past month or so...running around the front yard playing boys against the girls tag...she was NOT going to let her weakened body keep her down. She is going to be missed greatly...



I have no doubt in my mind, that at 10:20 this morning, Miranda, because of her saving relationship with Jesus Christ, was ushered into the presence of the most holy and awesome God...and at that moment, she got to hear the words..."Well done, my good and faithful servant!" I praise God that my family and I knew her...please join with me in praying for Jason (her husband) and her family...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...Part 2

I can still picture Jim, our lead pastor at the end of our communion service last night with hands raised...kneeling before the cross...kneeling silently...the music had stopped...some people had started to leave...but there he was...resting in the moment...allowing God to touch his heart...savoring every second that he could...

Then it hit me and tears are coming to my eyes right now thinking about it...We HAVE TO savor those moments...we have to wait just a little longer...to rest for a moment longer...to celebrate a while longer...because we won't always have that chance...Often we too quickly cut off the good times and the good moments...we move on to the next thing, but we have to let them soak while we can...

So I did...I enjoyed every moment last night...just let it soak...from worship to washing my good friend Bill's feet...to prayer walking...to the bread and the cup...to 1 hour of passionate worship...I just let it soak...then seeing my daughter...hands raised...singing at the top of her lungs...dancing before our God...encouraging another younger child to join her...OH...I was a proud daddy last night...my girl loves her God and love people!

THEN IT HAPPENED...the other side...the part of life that just makes your heart hurt...last night I got home and I was flying high...I sat down and had my laptop open, ready to blog...then the phone rang. Jason, our neighbor, was on the other end and told me how his wife, who is in her 20's and struggling with leukemia, has pneumonia and had 2 strokes yesterday...my heart aches for them. Miranda is a spark of light...the type of person you want to be around...every kid in our neighborhood loves her...she loves life and loves people...my heart hurts for her and her family...I have been and am continuing to pray for a miraculous healing...please join me in that prayer...

I would like to encourage you...more than that...challenge you...urge you...to savor the good moments...suck every second you can out of them...don't leave too soon...don't run to the next thing too fast...hold on to that moment...because the next corner could be a tough one and that moment will help carry you through...

Praying for you Miranda and Jason...we love you both...

Sunday Night Thoughts...Part 1







Sunday morning...AMAZING, WOW, COOL, GUT-WRENCHING, I SURE LOVE MY WIFE...WE did things differently yesterday...we had a panel of 5 women who spoke about "She is soft." No not weak...the softer side of women...the side that cries during "chick-flicks"...the side that builds up a wall so they don't get hurt...the side that is feminine...the side that longs to be taken care of...The ladies were outstanding...sharing their passions, their hurts, their longings. We had a variety of ladies with different life experiences...I've had people tell me already that they could relate to different ones who were up there. God really moved.

Alright...for my biased part...Kelsey was on the panel and I am so glad that I married her! She is just an outstanding speaker and handles herself so well...I just melt when I watched and listened to her yesterday...I'm so proud to be her husband!!

The hardest thing for me yesterday was thinking about how men could hurt my daughter...she is still so young and so innocent...I am doing everything I can to make sure that her confidence comes from her creator God and NOT from anything else!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh Yeah...

Can't wait for tomorrow and the next in our series of messge for Women..."She is...soft." I AM EXCITED...I think I say that every week, but it is just the truth...I'm leading something during the service that I have never done before...You want to know what I'm doing!?!?! NO WAY...come to Movies 14 tomorrow and you'll know!

Friday, November 14, 2008

John 10: 27-30

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

I love these verses..."no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." NO ONE!! "God thank you that my salvation is real...it is forever! I can't lose it...I can't be kidnapped away from you. I AM YOURS! THANKS YOU!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This is GRRRRRRRRRRREAT!

Check out this video...this guy is good...creative...talented...Love Stars Wars!! GREAT VIDEO!

Click the link below and check it out...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5_OSsawz4&eurl=http://sambarrington.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/star-wars-acappella-tribute/

Monday, November 10, 2008

A family thing...


I love this picture! Jaden went early with me yesterday and helped with set up for our Sunday service. He helped me fill the baptismal (otherwise known as a cattle trough!) with water. I actually left him out there to take care of it himself! Then he came and helped me unpack our kids theater and start the set up in there! I love working with my kids...last week Chloe came early and watched one of our other volunteers 3 sons-that freed him up to help with set-up. Then Luke (our 2 yr. old) helps to load the trailer about every week...just jumps right in and moves the boxes and holds the tables. IT'S GREAT! They don't even realize what they are learning! Our kids are the church of NOW and not just the church of the future! I just love serving and working with my kids...I'm so proud of them!

Sunday Night Thoughts...(on Monday Morning)






WOW!!!!!!!! Yesterday was a FANTASTIC DAY! Our service was mind-blowing...Mark and Danielle Winkle were baptized (and in a cattle trough!)...they are AMAZING volunteers in our church with a passion for Jesus. I remember praying with their brother in-law before our launch that they would come to our church...AND THEY WERE BAPTIZED YESTERDAY! God answers prayer...It was emotional as Danielle's dad baptized her...COOL! Then we had our first service in our series "She is." Jerimae and the band just ROCKED...took us straight into the presence of God...OH...AWESOME! Then...Jim was just ON IT yesterday...funny...tough...passionate... loving...here are some highlights for the message "She is Beautiful"

-My wife likes G.I. Joe more than Ken (from Barbie) I'M SOOOOOO GLAD...(Jim polled the ladies as to whether they would pick G.I. Joe or Ken...)
-Women want to know that their man will come through for them
-Every woman wants to believe that she is beautiful
-You are only as beautiful as you think you are
-THE KING IS ENTHRALLED (WOWED) BY YOUR BEAUTY!!!! (Ps. 45: 11)
-Stay in the palace and don't go to the dumpster! Women you are a princess in the eyes of THE KING...don't go out of the palace looking for a guy...STAY IN THE PALACE!
-DO NOT SETTLE...if it takes until you are 92 to find the best man for you...HE WILL BE WORTH THE WAIT!
-THE KING IS ENTHRALLED BY YOUR BEAUTY!!!!
-When you are beautiful inside, it will radiate on the outside
-There is nothing wrong with outside beauty, so long as you are taking care of your insides!!
-THE KING IS ENTHRALLED WITH YOUR BEAUTY!!!!

Please, Please, Please ladies...look at how GOD sees you and not what you or what you think others think of you...KEEP YOUR IDENTITY SET IN JESUS CHRIST!!!! HE IS ENTHRALLED WITH YOUR BEAUTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blown Out!

OK...I'll blog about the game today...Rusty...YEP! I'll say this...we stayed in it in the first half (we played the team that won it all last year) and then they ran away with it in the 2nd half I am excited about our potential though...Our guys fought to the end and never gave up...we need to play together more and get used to each other...should be decent by playoff time.

As for me...Grrrrrrrrrrr...I played every minute, but missed too many 10-15 ft. jumpers...had some chances, but just didn't hit them...BETTER WORK ON THE MID-RANGE JUMPER BOUCHER! AND I need to get myself in b-ball shape. Running distance is sure different than running the floor in basketball...So, we are 0-2 and looking for our first win!

Alright...I'm done...just wanted to update you!! Hey make sure you read the next post down from earlier tonight...It was more fun to write!!

Excited!


We are starting a new series specifically for women tomorrow and I CAN'T WAIT! It is going to be so good to celebrate women by going through the things that make them special. Our culture just messes with what beauty really is and NOW IS THE TIME TO STATE THE TRUTH. Ladies...SHOW UP...you'll be glad that you did!!!!
We are also doing an essay contest too...you can go to this website http://www.sheis.cc/ and learn more about it. $500 to the winner! We have been praying for this weekend and it is only about 12 hours away!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's been a while...

I start playing in a basketball league tomorrow...the league started last week, but we still had Chloe and Jaden's soccer games. Basketball is the game I LOVE, but since I quit teaching I have not played very much...SO I CAN'T WAIT FOR TOMORROW! Shake a little rust off and see if we can get the body up and down the floor! If you don't hear anything about the game then you know how it went!!

When the going gets tough...Take 2


Blogged about Dan O'Deens Top 5 places he runs to when times are tough yesterday...he suggested I post mine...so here you go. The top 5 places I run to when the going gets tough.

1. THE East Race at the St. Jo River...this is my "spot" to go and meet with God during these times. It breaks me out of my routines and forces me to think through what I'm doing and why. It's my spot to cry out to God for HIS help and guidance...lots of smiles at that spot...lots of tears...lots of fun too (we have gone down the East Race on rafts!)...it is my place to get a tune up so to speak or even an overhaul! And what is cool is that the city made a cement wall that perfectly fits my back...and it even has a lean to it! It was GREAT that the city did that for me!!!!

2. DIVE into the Word and Prayer...if things are tough I HAVE TO dive even deeper to God...
3. My Honey...she always gives me perspective...like my own personal prophet speaking into my life.

4. Mentors and Friends...guys that have poured into my life for years...guys that are in the church here and guys that aren't...fresh perspective...

5. Fasting...taking time to stop and focus on Christ by giving something up...food...dessert...a meal...whatever...and then seeking, pleading and begging God for help, for clarity, for peace...(have you noticed a pattern of prayer here?! That is in 3 of my 5!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good Blog...

Dan O'Deens is a pastor in the Philly area...just happened to visit his blog today and found the following post...I LOVE THIS...here you go...

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!November 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm In Uncategorized No Comments
Where do you go when the going gets tough?
TOP 5 PLACES TO RUN (Mine)
1. GOD. In you there is Life! You are my refuge and my hiding place!
2. THE BIBLE. Normally, I would say the Psalms, but God’s Word is rich, everywhere!
3. My wife. Gay is my life mate. My soul mate. She gets me and loves me. I love you Gay!
4. My ABS Partner. I have the best accountability partner and friend….thanks MIKE!
5. To silence. I just ‘get away’….anywhere is good, as long as there is no one around! (Spirit of God…thanks for never leaving me alone…you are my comforter!)
Where do you RUN?

WOW...

We passed out 50 food vouchers today during Community Hope...our church people gave $1500 in the past week for this! That's sacrifice for many of our families...well done church! Best part is a young lady GAVE HERE LIFE TO JESUS TODAY...she came in for physical food and received ETERNAL SPIRITUAL FOOD! OH YES!!!! Jerimae, Mike and I had the chance to serve and pray with all of these people. What a privilege..."thanks God for the chance to pour myself out to other people..." Overwhelming day...GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING HERE AT GRACE and I'm glad that I get to be involved in it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dream come true...


Just got word that Brady Quinn will be starting for the Browns on Sunday! I can't wait!! 'BOUT Time!!!! Beginning of a new and greater era! (OK so a greater era just doesn't take much!) SAVE MY TEAM QUINN...NOW IS THE TIME!

Sunday Night Thoughts...(on Monday Afternoon!)



WOW! What a weekend...time with family...last soccer games of the year...final team party...Judgment House...AN AMAZING Sunday morning...time with family on Sunday night...it was full but it was good!

Judgment House was AMAZING...I had the chance to pray with several people who were either needing assurance that they were a child of God or who accepted him for the first time. IT WAS GREAT! No other place I would have rather been on Saturday night than sharing Jesus with those people.

Sunday morning was great...we wrapped up our message on "Exodus...the unexpected journey" this week. Talked about God's process...

1. The Directions
2. The Journey
3. The Breakthrough
4. The Critical Point
5. The Fresh Direction

See...God started the whole thing with Moses at Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sanai) and gave him simple directions (yea right!) Go NOW to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go...THEN God says and know this Moses, you will be right back here on this mountain worshipping me AND the Israelites will be with you...THEN God takes them on a journey to be set free from Egypt...he breakthrough over and over again and they find themselves in chapter 18- right back on the mountain! GOD COMES THROUGH!

BUT...

That is a critical point for the Israelites...see they finished God's first set of directions...they are now out of Egypt...SO NOW WHAT?!?!?!?! God gives new direction on how to live...the 10 commandments...directions on how to treat people...what festivals to have...ALL KINDS OF THINGS...God took them out of the fog of what was next and gave them new directions.

So then I sent everyone out of the auditorium...I gave each of them a set of directions to follow...things like... "turn right out of the auditorium...walk forward for a while...STOP...turn around...walk backwards for a bit and stop and write down the name of the theater you are standing in front of." It was random directions...many of which were wild goose chases. The point...if we don't have direction...clear direction we are headed toward NOTHING. THAT IS NOT WHERE I WANT TO BE...

SO apply it...

The application for us at Grace is that God has brought us through his first set of directions..."to plant a church that will love Jesus and Love People and creatively connect the community to Jesus..." The church is planted, so now what?! We are at that Critical Point...the point where we need the Fresh Direction and God has started to show us that...we see that we connect well with kids and their families, so continue to focus on them...that we have done A LOT of outreach into our community and to be sure that all that we do is hitting our target of reaching the family...that we need to amp up and Raise The Bar in our team building and small groups...if we are strong on Outreach, but do not have people that are connected well and growing together we will not be able to make a MAXIMUM impact...we need to Raise the Bar in this area. And there's a lot more...I am excited to move into the phase of our church life...to see what God has in store for us and how he can make this work...AWESOME!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I love Grace!!


I love Grace Community Church! I love the people...I love what we do in the community...there is no place I would rather be in the WORLD than South Bend, IN. We have a group of people who really want to be Jesus in the community...they want to help people and OFTEN that is a personal sacrifice for them. They serve by giving $ for food vouchers...pouring out their time to the kids of our community at the Construction Zone...stepping out of their comfort zones by coaching soccer and serving people in our Blitzes...serving to set up at Movies 14...loving on people who have lost jobs/spouse/homes...And there is more!! My prayer is that God would expand our influence...allow us to impact this area in a HUGE way for him!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Life Stuff...

On Thursdays at our office Jerimae and I pass out $30 food vouchers to people. The $ comes from the people of our church who designate it for Community Hope...people can get 2 vouchers every 6-months. For the first 17 months of our church we gave away maybe a couple of hundred dollars. But in the past 2 months we have given away over $2000...Today was the hardest day though...the word is out that we have these, but we don't have any to give out this week. Jerimae had the awesome idea of providing lunch for people that came in...and that was awesome! GREAT idea on his part...we still had over 30 people that we had to turn away though.

My heart just aches...there are so many hurting people in our community...so many people and so much need...not just financially but also spiritual...emotional...physical...It is hard to turn people away and it does one thing for me...it drives me to my knees in prayer...Praying for the God of the universe to intercede for these people...for the God who holds the ultimate power to rain down his blessing on us, so we can in turn pour it on others. It is a tough place, but great place to be...I love being God's child and being a part of Grace Community Church...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A spiritual energy drink...

I was sooooooooooooooooooo excited last night. On my way to serve a Judgment House (a drama about life and death...a haunted house alternative, with a MESSAGE!) I was shouting and singing in my car...just PUMPED to go and share my faith. I couldn't wait. God really came through too...I worked as a counselor...had the chance to encourage 3 people who were believers...to pour into their lives that Jesus has them...one of those was a 13 year old who barely goes to church, but he is hungry for more. Another guy I got to talk to had just prayed to give his life to Christ...IT WAS AWESOME!! I could see it in his eyes and to be there with him when he walked from darkness to light...NO ENERGY DRINK CAN GIVE YOU THE RUSH THAT I HAD! I'm smiling right now thinking about it...That is such a fun moment...ANGELS WERE HAVING A PARTY IN HEAVEN AT THE SAME TIME I GOT TO TALK WITH THIS YOUNG MAN! HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?! I will never get tired of those kind of moments!

The Election...

I have said before that I have a few leaders blogs that I visit weekly...guys who are in love with Jesus and write on leadership and life...Tim Stevens is one of those guys...he is the Executive pastor at Granger Community in our area. This week he has posted articles about the election..from different points of view, but all from people who are Christ followers. Different takes on who to vote for. If you can only read one article...read the one from today titled: "It's not up to Washington...It's up to us"

Go check out his site...it is worth reading! www.leadingsmart.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Got an email from Tim Boucher...

Sounds wierd huh? Yeah, sometimes I send myself email reminders about things, but this was different. In my inbox was an email from Tim Boucher from Australia! NO JOKE!! This guy and I share the same name...first time, I've every "met" a Tim Boucher...kinda cool. Want to know the uncool thing...he is only 23!! I can remember back then...MAN...12 years ago...I got married when I was 23...I started my first teaching job at 23...My kids were only something I dreamed about...CRAZY!! I have enjoyed connecting with Tim...I have to say he has a GREAT name!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...(on Monday Morning)

What a roller coaster weekend...first my Buckeyes lose and then we have an AMAZING Sunday. The service was just great...Jerimae's songs...his passion...it is easy to speak after he leads! Just love that guy! Then to be able to share from my heart on Exodus 15-17...MAN...this is right where I am right now. Chapter 15 is a chapter of celebration...AND WHY NOT...God had just parted the Red Sea and then taken out the Egyptians...of course they were flying high! THEN, they start to whine and complain..."no water...no food...no water..." GRRRRRRRR...just mad me mad as I read through it...COME ON ISRAELITES, DON'T YOU REMEMBER HOW GOD HAS COME THROUGH FOR YOU?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (It was perfect by the way...I told our workers to not serve the doughnuts before the service...AND MAN DID PEOPLE GRUMBLE! Then when we talked about God providing food, we passed out doughnuts...it was a great moment...lots of people "mad" then we give them some food...the illustration really was effective.)

THEN...

I just had to do it...just had too...had to go to 1 Corinthians 10...had to talk about how the Israelites are example of what NOT to do...had to go there...It is so much easier to sit back and just examine them...to say what they should have done instead of examining our own lives. But we did it...here is the deal...we have seen God do many amazing things in our lives...yet when the trials, tests and temptations come we just start whining, grumbling and arguing with God. LET'S CHOSE TO STOP IT!

I left them with three thing...
1. STAND FIRM...be strong and don't fall into temptation
2. We can do it! NO temptation is not common to man...SO, we are not alone...we can make it through
3. SEEK IT OUT!! Too often we just give up...we want a quick and easy solution to our problems, BUT God promises to give us a way to STAND UP UNDER the temptations...so keep looking...God will give you a way out!

BTW...we got in the theater yesterday and there was new carpet! How nice of Movies 14 to give us new carpet!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What is God teaching you?

Well...what is he teaching you?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

He's 65!


Yep that is my dad doing the boogie board at 65 years old. He did a 360 degree roll too...I sure hope that I'm doing that 30 years from now! GO Dad!

1 Peter 3: 15

I have often read this verse: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason fro the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." My focus is always on the 2nd part of the verse...to be prepared to have an answer. BUT today when I read it...the first part just JUMPED off of the page. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." That is what everyone has to do when they become a follower of Jesus and what we have to do daily...to move Christ to #1...that he covers all areas of our lives...that he is set apart as Lord...as leader...as the one in charge.

DO IT TODAY...set Christ apart in your heart again or for the first time...and then fight to keep him there!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...Expectations, blown away!




Alright...I had HIGH expectations for this weekend at Kalahari. I was even a little concerned going into the weekend, because my expectations were so high. I was believing that we would have fun hanging out as a family...fun playing on the water rides...fun hanging out at the hotel...OH BUT I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THE HALF OF IT!


We (being my family...my bro's family...my parents and Aunt Judy) had the most amazing family vacation that just blew me away...from playing Flinch (a card game) in the hotel...to watching football (or Hannah Montana if you're Chloe) to water...more water...water in your nose...water in your ears...Really, really high water slides...tubes...surfing...OH MY WORD...


JUST WHEN I THOUGHT IT WAS OVER...I ran into 3 High School friends there...Two of them (they were high school sweetheart Sean and Jen!) I haven't seen in over 15 years and we see each other at Kalahari! NOW THAT IS COOL!


This morning I got the chance to lead a short devotional with the family...I focused on the kids...I encouraged them to listen only to the positive voices...to really believe Phillippians 4: 13..."they can do ANYTHING through him (Christ) who gives them strength!" BELIEVE IT...LIVE IT!


I am tired...I am refreshed...I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooo proud of my kids for all of the things that they tried...I had so much fun with Kelsey and the rest of the family. AWESOME weekend.


The pics are of Jaden surfing on the surf board...the crowd clapped for him! He made it up on his knees! The next pic is Troy going down what we called the Toilet Bowl...I was so proud of Chloe....she went down that one! (A water slide that drops from about the ceiling into that "bowl"...Hey Kelsey and my 65 year old dad did that too!) The last pic is of the whole gang...GREAT weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great day...

Today I got a tour of South Bend and Mishawaka...a history tour with Pat, he has been involved with future planning in our region for over 25 years. He went all the way back to when LaSalle first came and settled this area...all the way up to the future that is on the horizon...It was AMAZING!! A taste of the past, present and future...I LOVED IT!

The family is off to Kalahari tomorrow...indoor water park...CAN'T WAIT...3 days just hanging out with my family, my bro's family, my parents and Aunt Judy...IT IS GOING TO BE FUN!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Go Pastors!!!!

We did a lot of competitions during Wild @ Heart. One of them was a race down a dirt and rocky path...5 guys from each team were connected to a chain and had to dive under ropes together and then over more ropes...then under 2 more sets of ropes.

Our pastor team was the last group to go...the record time was 37 seconds up to that point...we beat that time by 1 second. BUT WE FOUND OUT that some of the other teams had moved the ropes back by 20 yards...YEP you got it...they moved the ropes to make it harder on the pastors AND WE STILL WON THE RACE! That means we would have beaten the best time by 5 or more seconds! YES! I didn't know that until today...I would love to have a video of the guys faces when we beat the best time AND WE HAD TO GO FARTHER! I can just picture them looking at each other like..."we can never let them find out what we did!" But we did and we are proud of it!! YEAH BABY!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wild At Heart

What a weekend...left Thursday night at 6 p.m. for Maryland...arrived after 2 a.m. and off we went for our first competition...the next 2 days just flew by. The competitions were just a blast...the pastors were a team and everyone was wanting us to lose! I'll never forget Pastor Jim taking the raft we made and sinking into the green bog with our ship...we lost but seeing him out there was PRICELESS! NICE!

Thoughts...
Friday night was an amazing time...guys just surrounded each other and prayed for each other for about 1 1/2 hours...guys shared the things that ache their hearts...a powerful time. I've experienced very few moments like that one!

On the way home Mike and I were talking about mountain top experiences...he made a profound point. He said that often these experiences prepare us for something that is to come...that it is not just about an amazing moment on a mountain, but about the something that happens. The trouble is many of us just focus on the mountain and miss the opportunity in front of us. So I am praying that the guys that went to the retreat KEEP THEIR EYES OPEN this week and in the weeks to come. God is up to something and they better be ready!

The Potomac River is BEAUTIFUL!

When the water is shallow and the rocks are coming keep paddling! We didn't do that the first time and got stuck! (Still Mark and I came in 2nd on the canoe trip!)

THE LORD IS A WARRIOR! THE LORD IS HIS NAME!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Driving Home

Ever been in a van with 10 guys for 9 hours...that is what I'm doing right now and no I'm not driving...This is FUN!!!!!!!! No showers for 2 days...tons of fun...sleeping outside...OH WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND...5 hours to get home! THIS IS FUN!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goooooooooooooooooooooal!

Tonight was the team party with my Jr. High soccer team...we still have a team banquet, but today was just a let your hair down-fun time. We played a 7th vs. 8th graders game...final score was 3-3, and I played in the game...that is soooooooooooooooo fun to play with the guys. I'll say this...when I was on each team my teams won 6-0...(I scored 2 and had an assist! Not bad for a guy who used to play goalie!) I like that! Fun time with guys...I sure enjoyed this group of guys...I'll miss them...

Going back in time...

Blogging stops today...well, at least until Sunday or Monday. I'm off to Wild At Heart tomorrow and there is no wireless connection...no Internet at all. I think I will go into withdrawal, but it will be good for me! I'll only have my cell phone so we can communicate with the other vehicles that are going... When I get there though...the phone is off too...no more communication with the outside world.

BTW...did you see the picture of the canoe trip on my last post...OH MY WORD!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to be there!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wild At Heart



2 days until we take our trek to Maryland for our men's retreat...the outdoors...tents...NO electricity...4-wheelers...guns...competition...GREAT conversation...food (ok so I only bring hot dogs!)...I just love these couple of days to hang out with the guys. Good time to really deal with the stuff in our lives and have A LOT OF FUN. Can't wait for the canoe trip down the Potomac River...BEAUTIFUL! 10 guys in our church van for 9 hours...NICE!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Matthew 10: 27-28

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can ever snatch them out of my hand." What power is in those verses...These are the verses that my class has to memorize for tonight...what I like is that Jesus says "no one can EVER..." Ever...not sometimes...or maybe never...or well I hope no one...it says NO ONE CAN EVER snatch me out of his hand. And I am so glad..."Thank you Jesus for holding on to me and not letting go!!!!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts....

Great service this morning...Jerimae and Kyle just BROUGHT IT with the worship music...Jerimae added some nice background things to our stage that really made it feel like home...NICE! Jim's message ROCKED...may we all walk with boldness...some great quotes from the message:

-Our lives are marked by God for something special
-If you are redeemed then you are good enough to be used by God
-Ignore the voice...the negative voice that tells you, you are not good enough...you can't do it
-LISTEN to who God says that you are
-God believes in us more than we do
-God has a remedy for our past
-God wanted to use Moses even though he was a MURDERER!!!!


4 Days until the Wild At Heart Men's Retreat and I am getting excited!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Leave everything on the field"

You have probably heard a coach tell his team to "leave everything on the field." Meaning...when you walk off the field today, know that you played your best...tried your hardest...did everything that you could do in the game. TONIGHT....my boys soccer team did that in our playoff loss. We lost 1-0...and my boys played with heart...with passion...they truly left everything on the field. I'm soooooooo proud of them...they put their best out there!

My thoughts tonight have gone to this...what happens to you when you put everything you have into something and it doesn't work out? AND what happens the next time you have the same chance? I'm not just talking about sports here...I'm talking about work...school...marriage...raising kids...church...how do you respond to failure or at the least something not working out.

This is a true test of your character...would we be willing to give everything again if things did not work out last time...MAN...that is hard...putting your heart back out there after a failed marriage...after a lost job...after a...you fill in the blank...may we always be willing to face our fear...face our failure and come out and continue to try...to continue to push forward and continue to risk failure...cause if we don't take a risk failing we will never taste sweet success!

I love sports...because there are so many life lessons that can be learned...so many character traits that can be worked on...and to my LaSalle Lions boys soccer team...GUYS...I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooo proud of you!

Baptism from afar...

Now this is really cool! A baptism done through Skype...done on-line...What a moment...I found this video on Tim Steven's blog...he is a pastor at Granger Community Church. (And don't get offended at his United Methodist comment 'cause Granger is United Methodist!!)

The best part of the story is that this lady was able to express her faith in Christ through baptism just before she died...What an amazing moment for all of her family and friends to remember!

Here is Tim's blog: http://www.leadingsmart.com/ and then go to his post: Can You Baptize Someone Over the Internet?

It is worth your time!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More conspiracy thoughts...

I would like to say that I have one person on my side...(well, I hope so!!!!) my daughter...Chloe is on my team. She is so curious and trying hard to help me figure out who is involved with this conspiracy...she wants to know the truth...she came RUNNING down the stairs earlier when she heard me searching for my wife's keys...IT WAS SOOOOOOO FUNNY!

COME ON PEOPLE...give me some information!! Show some honesty here!!

Big Game on Thursday...

OK...so I'm still thinking about my last post...thinking about who else is involved in the Paper Shredder Conspiracy...BUT, I should mention that our soccer team gets to play the one team in the conference that beat us this Thursday. This is probably the most competetive our conference has ever been...all 4 teams can win it, so my question to my guys is "WHY NOT US?!?!?!"

Everyone is a suspect...

Yep...got out of soccer practice tonight and my car was filled from floor to ceiling with shredded paper...I mean FLOOR TO CEILING!!! I had to drive to the dumpster IN REVERSE because I couldn't move the gear shift to drive! NO JOKE! It was backed tight!! Took 45 minutes to clean it and the parking lot...This happened at LaSalle Academy where I used to coach. The maintenance guys thought that I was just getting rid of shredded paper from my office!!!! MAN! GREAT PRACTICAL JOKE AND ONCE AGAIN IT IS ON!!

So here is the deal...EVERYONE is a suspect. I locked my car, so someone had a key...where they got the key...I HAVE AN IDEA...may even be someone that I LOVE more than ANYONE ELSE in the world. May be the previous owner of the car who was in town today! May be another coach that I coach with who has a key to the locker where my keys are...I have done a little P.I. work and found a missing key in our house though...The woman that I love is claiming innocence and that someone stole her key. THEN WHY HIDE YOUR KEYS MY LOVE?!?!?!

So, who knows something about this? Who has a picture of it...I couldn't get to my camera, BECAUSE IT WAS BURIED IN THE PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on...just click on comments and speak...share your theories...share you information...or better yet, clear your guilty consciouses...come on...I am forgiving...really I am...no really...I almost promise to never really pay you back...REMEMBER PASTOR JIM'S MESSAGE...It is time to come out of the shadows...time to step out. (Is that stretching his message a little bit?!?!)

By the way...when leaving shredded paper...make sure the name of the place that you work is not able to be seen...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pop Warner Breakfast Blitz





We had an fun time serving breakfast at Pop Warner Football on Saturday...we had a bunch of people from our church and my class from Grace College come and help. We served a couple of hundred people...why?! Just to give back to our community in a simple way...to share Jesus' love with people in a practicle way...It was fun...pancake batter everywhere...grease from the sausage...NICE! Two families visited us for the first time on Sunday after coming to the blitz...both of those had come to our soccer camp as well...Our main goal at these Blitzes is to serve people...and to let people know that we are a church that wants to be IN our community not isolated from it...Fun day!

Sunday Night Thoughts...(on Monday Morning)


What a day yesterday was...our service was OUTSTANDING...Jerimae, Kyle and Jamie led us in praising God...WHAT PASSION! Great worship! Jim's message on when will we come out of the shadows was hard hitting...passionate...RIGHT ON...too many times we sit back and don't talk with people about Jesus...don't try to build those bridges. Great message...many people came up to the front and wrote down names of people they will invite to church this week. Jim's most earth shaking quote... "We use prayer as an excuse for inactivity." WHOA! We tell people that we will pray for them, but do we ever DO anything to help them. Do we stand up and share Jesus with them or just pray that someone else does? Convicting!


I've been finishing our rabbit hutch...I DO NOT LIKE WORKING WITH CHICKEN WIRE!!!! I'll confess that I hope there weren't too many people around me watching my frustration level! Had to apologize to my kids...wife and God for my reactions yesterday! Grrrrrrr...


Good small group last night...our assignment over the next few weeks is to find where we see God working...in us...in others...through others...and then have MANY stories to tell next week! Looking forward to those stories!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts...

The leadership class that I was involved with on Monday and Tuesday was outstanding...left me really challenged me...The biggest thing for me was a rekindling of my passion and heart for the city. I LOVE SOUTH BEND...I really can't explain that to you except that God has called me here...at this time and this place...At the conference they had all of us share (all 45 of us!) what we love aboout South Bend...hearing people's stories...people new to the area...people who moved away and then came back...one man whose grandpa was the mayor of SB...What rich history...great passion. I LOVE MY CITY! So glad that God has called me here!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A win in a SHOOTOUT BABY!!!!

My soccer team won tonight in a shootout! We were up 1-0 with about 9 minutes to go...the other team scored and then we lasted through a sudden death overtime...THEN we had a shootout and won! My boys rose up to the pressure and came through! NICE! We finished the regular season in conference at 6-1-1 and over all 6-2-1...these boys have really come together as a team...I'm very proud of them!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cool Opportunity...

For the next 2 days, I get to hang out with a bunch of business leaders in our community. I am involved with Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka which is run through the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerse. For the next 2 days we will be learning about what this next year will be all about...This is all about building up our community...I'm all about that!

Here are the stated missiona and values of this organization:

Mission: To develop the capacity and commitment of people to recognize, understand, and respond to their community's trusteeship through civic education, skill building and service. (in other words that wants us to take some ownership of our community and give us the skills to do it!)

Vision: Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka will build a community of leaders with the skills, awareness and motivation to help create opportunities and prosperity for others.

I look forward to learning more of how this will happen tomorrow and Tuesday!

Sunday Night Thoughts...

WHAT A GREAT MORNING! Ever have one of those Sunday's when everything looks like it might go wrong, but plan B ends up being perfect? THAT WAS TODAY! Things were not working with our DVD...(if you don't know about our church, we are a video campus...we watch the message about 3x's a month on video...1x per month I preach live.) So, the DVD we received from Goshen was not good...to me, I see that as an opportunity not a negative...I see it as God moving us in a different direction. OH WAS IT A GOOD DIRECTION!

So, Jerimae and I went to another theater and planned a service...it was amazing...great music...just a chance to share things that have been burning on my heart about who we are in Jesus. IMAGINE...if we are followers of Jesus then we are seated RIGHT NEXT TO GOD in the heavenly realm...It's true...check out Ephesians 2: 6...That means that God doesn't talk down to us...he is RIGHT NEXT TO US!! Jerimae had amazing music picked out...I always say...let's plan like crazy, but if the Spirit moves in a different direction, throw your plan in the trash. So, today we did...

HERE IS THE KICKER: This morning when our auditorium set up crew came, I prayed for God to do something this morning that would be something we had never experienced before...something that would blow our minds. I HAD NO IDEA what God was up to this morning! Cool how God just brought this week together...GUESS WHAT: This morning was a reminder that GOD IS IN CHARGE OF HIS CHURCH not me! Thanks God...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Which one are you?

So which of these Proverbs applies to you?

"Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down." (Prov. 26: 20)

or

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts." (Prov. 26: 22)

Let's be the first one! Let's put fires out and not be part of burning negative thoughts in people's hearts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time to reflect...

We have ministerium today...a big word that means pastors from our church's district get together and encourage each other. So, after my class at Grace College last night I stayed in Winona Lake instead of going home. Class got out at 9:20 so it just made sense to stay down here. CE National has a house called the Philemon Center...a nice place to get away and focus on God...It is walking distance from where I teach at Grace College...MAN...what a night! Spent an hour in the hot tub, in the dark, just relaxing and praying...seeking the heart of God. I needed that...need to get my wife down here...she needs that time too.

Jay Bell came and spoke to my class last night...what passion and heart. He spoke on spiritual warfare. I'm so glad that I am involved with a church that talks about spiritual warfare...we know it is there and talk about it often. I will amp up my prayer life after listening to Jay yesterday...here are some highlights....

-We are at war! It's a spiritual war.
-Our battle is not against our parents, spouse, kids, boss, technology...it is a spiritual battle.
-Paul in Eph. 6 tells us what we are "against, against, against, against"
-How does God want us to respond to what we are against? He wants us to "stand, stand, stand, stand" (Eph. 6: 11, 13, 14)
-Then we need to "pray, pray, pray, pray" (Eph. 6: 18-20)
-When should we pray..."all occasions" (6:18) with "all kinds" of prayers (18) and Always keep on praying for "all" the saints.
-Must be important words if Paul keeps repeating himself!
-Listen and stop jabbering
-We need to arm each other...we need to intentionally pray for each other...for boldness, for victory, for how we see ourselves
-WE ARE SEATED RIGHT NEXT TO JESUS!!!!

After Jay spoke, Redford and Josiah came up. They are both leading ministries in South Bend. Red works with college students and Josiah has a vision for impacting our community by buying homes and placing people IN the community to make a difference...

Highlights:
-It's as simple as 4 words: "Love God-Love People"
-Bring life and hope into someones life
-God gives answers to things that seem hopeless
-Working with people across denominational lines is needed
-Leave a legacy with you life
-We are the BODY of CHRIST!
-Send me, I'll go
-Go to the people...don't pull the people out
-"local church is the hope of the world"

After getting all stirred up by these guys, I got to go hang out in that hot tub...NICE!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ooooo, that's true!

"An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips."
(Proverbs 24: 26)

Oh man...is that true. Sitting here at Ugly Mugs Cafe reading my Bible and I come across this verse. My mind QUICKLY turns to thoughts of kissing Kelsey and Oooooooooooooooo BABY...that gives me chills...that is refreshing...freeing...YEAH BABY!! I think I'll stop now! But think about it...honesty is that freeing...you know that when you have been honest there is a lightness to your step...a freshness in your relationships...you aren't holding anything back...

I'll say that I liked reflecting on that verse!

(See you tonight Kels!! :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...




Great morning today...our lead pastor Jim is really stirred up right now. He always has a lot of passion, but there is something different about this one...something happened to him when he went to Asia and met the orphans that our church supports...something is different about him...God is really stirring something up in his heart. Not sure what all of that means, but God is really working.


Nuggets from the message this morning:

-God wants us to give out of our sacrifice, not out of our abundance.

-We can buy praise for God. (By giving our time, our resources, our ability, our $...people praise God because we helped them...they don't praise us, so we buy praise for God.)

-We can't out give God

-You reap what you sow...so a lot...get a lot

-God blesses what we give?

-So, where do I spend my time? What would my wife and kids say that I spend my time on?

-Pour into people's lives

-Give your best to your family!


FUN....FUN...FUN...the rain has just been pouring down the past couple of days. After lunch, Chloe, Jaden Luke and I all went outside and played in the down-pour. OH MAN WAS IT A BLAST! I felt like I was 10 years old again!!!! Oh Baby, was that fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Small group tonight was good too...good to hang out and talk life with people...we finished "In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." Great book...a must read...Great people in our group...great hearts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rained Out...


Up early this morning...I was all packed and ready for the Breakfast Blitz this morning and got a call that the games were canceled...BUMMER! Then, got an email and a call that my kids soccer games were canceled...MAN...Double BUMMER! Free Saturday morning and A LOT of breakfast food ready for a blitz...looking for a make-up day.


Update from yesterday...the trailer is back on the van and all is well! What a crazy but fun day...lots of wild things happened, but everything came together. GREAT TIME with the kids last night!

Friday, September 12, 2008

One of those days, baby!

OK, so today was all planned out...1. get the van & trailer from the Schmidt's house 2. Buy the food for our Breakfast Blitz in the a.m. (we are serving breakfast at peewee football) 3. drop off the food at home 4. Go to the office and finish stuff for Sunday 5. Pick up the kids from school and hang with them ALL NIGHT (Gave my soccer team a break today, so I could hang with my family!)

Here is how today is going!

1. Went to pick up the van only to find that the back tire is still low on air
2. Went to Discount Tire and got the tire fixed
3. Went to get the food for the Blitz
4. Went to pick up the trailer from the Schmidt's house (didn't get it the first time because of the flat tire remember!?)
5. Went home to drop off the food
6. When I released the trailer I didn't take off the chains, so the trailer went off the block
7. Got the trailer back on the block (I'd like to say that I just picked it up...not quite strong enough!)
8. While raising the trailer the handle broke, so I couldn't raise it up any more (Still don't have the fixed...come on Mike and Mark!!!!)
9. Saw that I had yet another missed call...The Xerox guy was waiting for me at the office to fix our copier!!!! (HE WAS SUPPOSED TO CALL FIRST, not show up and then call!!)
10. Drove (at safe speeds of course!) to the office...
11. Met the Xerox Man...GREAT GUY...2 grandkids...I digress...
12. Work on the Sunday stuff
13. Copier just got fixed (1:25 p.m.), so I can run the bulletins!
Time Out....(I have to go press print on the bulletins!

So, now what?!?!?! I still have a broken trailer that I need by 6:30 a.m. Still need several things for the Blitz...AND still plan to spend the whole evening hanging with my family...Looking forward to the rest of the story!!!!