Tuesday, April 29, 2008

J-Dawgs career starts tonight

Yes ladies and gentlemen, my boy J-Dawg (Jaden...yes I have nicknames for all my kids!) baseball career starts tonight. After two years of Parks Department t-ball, he has moved up to Southside Little League t-ball. Can't wait to see him running the bases tonight! Should be fun...

I should also mention that my 2 soccer teams were the only teams practicing out in the rain last night! That is the best soccer weather...rain...mud...and, well, maybe just a little cold...I think I had as much fun as some of the kids. We had 3 of 8 girls come and 5 of 6 boys! The little dudes ran around for 45 minutes and didn't stop...muddy hands...some muddy clothes...it was GREAT! We had the whole place to ourselves...probably because no one else was crazy enough to practice...I'll confess that even with freezing cold hands and wet clothes, I would do it again tonight!!

Good Quote...

Larry Osborne (pastor in CA) gave a good quote last week: "God likes to use the wrong people to do great things." Think about the 12 disciples...a tax collector, some fishermen, all kinds of men from different backgrounds...that many people would have written off. In our culture we look for the best-educated, most-experienced person for a job. But Jesus looked for men who had willing hearts and were teachable.

Think about this for you...No matter who you are or where you have been, God can use you...that just has to encourage you!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Progressive Dinner...I mean Church!

Ever been to a progressive dinner? Our neighborhood has done a couple...at one house we had appetizers...another the main course...another dessert...Well we sort of did that at our services on Sunday. As a video venue our church relies A LOT on technology. On Sunday, just minutes before the service our video projector would not come on! So, that means no words during the songs AND NO MESSAGE 'CAUSE WE SHOW THE MESSAGE ON VIDEO! So, like any good portable church we went through the worship songs and announcements with Jerimae (our worship guy) prodding us with the words AND THEN just like a progressive dinner, we went to another room for the message...we moved everyone out of the theater to the kids theater down the hall and watched the video! What flexibility our people had...the message was AWESOME and it needed to be heard on Sunday! The kids were flexible, our kids workers were flexible and our adults were flexible! GREAT JOB CHURCH! When something out of our control happens it creates some of the best memories!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Looking back...looking ahead

I body surfed for the first time in my life on the last day of the conference. Phil (church planter from Indy) and I went to Cocoa Beach after the last session and rode the waves...I have sunburn to prove it! WHAT A BLAST and what a great way to finish our long week of classes.

Looking forward to our morning tomorrow. I am excited to see what God is going to do...Jim is preaching on situational ethics and Jerimae has been ON FIRE the last few weeks with leading worship. I CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm Back...

Back home from Florida as of 2 a.m. this morning...I had to make the drive from Indy home so I could see my kids before school...MAN, I love my family...Great to see Kels and the kids.

A common theme this week from all veteran pastors...
1. Be sure to take care of your relationship with God
2. Be sure to protect your family time
3. Be sure to do your very best in your ministry
And in that order...it is so easy to mix up that order, but I long for the day when my kids are grown that they will say that they knew that I loved them and was committed to spend time with them. AND I pray that Kelsey will say the same thing...that she will know how much I love her by how I act and by what I say!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Andy Stanley spoke yesterday at the conference...good stuff...very engaging speaker. He was speaking on vision and the importance of making it clear...something that is simple and that anyone can understand. For me our church is one that wants to "Love Jesus and Love People." That is it for us at Grace...we can work that out and see how that looks, but we want to simply love Jesus and love people...maybe not so simple sometimes...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just Kidding...

In my last post I said that I LOVE church planters...then I thought about it...actually I don't...want to know why? I played 8 planters tonight in miniature golf and lost! I HATE TO LOSE!!!! 7 of us were separated by 4 strokes...I missed a par putt into the water from about 3 feet away...Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr....that hole put me 3 strokes behind the leader...I never recovered and finished 4 back. MAN!!!!
I saw on the web tonight that the course we played on was voted Florida's best! The pic is part of the course...Cool...

Conference Day One

Great day today at my conference in FL...My session today was with Mark Batterson from National City Church in Washington D.C. Mark wrote the book "In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." GREAT BOOK...I read his blog often because he has a lot to say on multi-site church and leadership...

Take-aways from today...
1. I LOVE hanging out with church planters! These guys love people...love Jesus...love to be on the edge...
2. If it's worth preaching it's worth podcasting
3. The unchurched don't know what an offering is, so explain it
4. You don't want to preach because you have to...you want to preach because you HAVE TO!
You want to preach becasue it is just pouring out of you and not just because it is your responsibility...so stay fresh!!!!
5. Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you
6. I LOVE hanging out with church planters! (Did I already say that!?!?)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First soccer games of the season...

Today kicked off the soccer season for both Chloe and Jaden...although we don't officially keep score the boys and girls sure know if they won or lost! Very interesting that the adults say "the score doesn't matter" yet the kids really care about if they win or not.

Chloe played the best she has ever played today! They didn't win, but she really hustled and went after the ball. She played goalie well too...Best part...she is competitive! She was not happy that we lost...it shows that she cares...it shows that she wants to see positive results from her work. So, we got to talk about how to deal with defeat...good teachable moment.

Jaden's team is very talented...they really play hard and are quick. There were even a few passes! Fun to watch...Jaden score at least 2 goals and hustles all the time...

What a fun morning!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Ever have a moment when, although none of the circumstances change around you, you feel completely refreshed...like you have been given the deep cleansing breath that you needed? I can't explain why, but that was last night for me...being in the city at night...praying and talking with Colin just refreshed me. Today I feel a renewed passion to reach South Bend-Mishawaka for Jesus...To see MANY, MANY people's lives changed. I'm believing Ephesians 3: 18-20 right now more than ever...God CAN DO more through us than we could ever imagine.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Exponental Conference '08

I'm headed to Orlando on Sunday night to go to a church planting conference...I think it is VITAL for all pastors and church leaders to attend conferences as much as possible so they keep learning...if we aren't learning we will get stale...YIKES! I want to stay fresh!!

One of the sessions that I'm going to will be for "post-launch" pastors...I'm reading a book right now about church planting landmines...actually that is the name of the book! GOOD STUFF! I look forward to connecting with other church planters...learning from guys who have been doing church planting for a long time and hanging out with a bunch of guys from our Fellowship of churches...many of whom I don't know...it's going to be stretching and fun...

I just hope there is a little time to drive over to the ocean!! It has been YEARS since I have seen the Atlantic! (Of course that is not my focus :)

I love the city...

I'm sitting right now in downtown South Bend waiting to meet with Colin...a friend from church. As I'm sitting here I have already seen 4 people that I know and see many others in groups of people sitting and walking together...I was praying for our city and I realized..."I LOVE THIS CITY!" I love it for all of its beauty and warts...when our office was broken into a while back I wrestled in prayer over whether or not to be downtown...is it safe? The parking stinks...blah, blah, blah...but there is something inside of me that says "This is right where the offices need to be for this season of time...don't give up..." BUT this much I know...our city needs Jesus, and needs him BADLY! Tonight I am feeling that same passion, that same excitement that I had back when we first started planting this church...and it feels GOOD! Will you stop right now and pray for the South Bend-Mishawaka area? Plead with God to move in his people to share his love and in people who need to hear about his love!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Daddy's Barber Shop"

There was a comment on my last entry about "Daddy's Barber Shop" and let me just say this...OUCH! Why? Because I remember saying that a lot as a kid when dad would cut my hair. I learned quickly that when he said to sit still, I probably should 'cause he wasn't very steady! All of a sudden..."OUCH! That was my ear dad!!" Of course I was sitting perfectly still as any 5 or 6 year old boy would. (Is it wrong for a pastor to stretch the truth like that?!?!?!) Oh the days of daddy's barber shop!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Could have been bad!

Got my hair cut last night, but the razor clip slipped off as Kelsey was approaching my head...Soooooo I had this nice HUGE "hole" in my head...OK not a hole just a crater! OH MY...I have the shortest haircut that I've ever had...UNBELIEVABLE! I told Jerimae our worship pastor that I was trying to be him. (He completely shaves his head!) What would I look like completely bald? Sure glad I didn't have to find out!

Run and run FAST!

There is a time to stand up against temptation and there is a time when standing against temptation means RUN and run fast! Run in the opposite direction. I hear too many stories of men that are tempted and give in to sexual temptation...guys, protect your minds, guys protect your marriages, guys, protect your future...GUYS RUN AND RUN FAST! Our God, our wives and our kids deserve our best. RUN and Run FAST!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amazing night 2!

OK, so if you have kids you can probably relate to this...last night Chloe, our oldest, went through the service with Kelsey and me...She wrote down pages and pages of prayers...she read every verse...she prayed for her lost friends! THEN we get home last night and she asks to wash her brother's feet!!!! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! I was flying...she wanted to serve her brother...MAN...the faith of a child just keeps bringing me to tears. I pray HARD that my kids will faithfully live for Jesus...not just know Jesus, but passionately live for him their whole lives. Last night was a dream come true for me...

Amazing night!

"The Experience" was all that I hoped it would be last night...people hanging out and celebrating the love feast...can you imagine that one day we will be sitting with our Savior and eating together!! COME ON! That is going to be amazing...then our time of prayer was mind-blowing. We ended it with putting our praises and prayers in a bowl before the cross...GOD HEARD OUR PRAYERS...we prayed over the city, while we were looking out the windows at downtown South Bend...we prayed for our lost friends and family while we looked out at empty tables and chairs...just visualizing lost friends sittng in those chairs after they give their lives to Jesus...then the bread and the cup...a chance to remember. WOW! I was in tears several times during the night...YES!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Pothole Got Me!

Yes, it is true...I hit a pothole today and because of that I bought two new front tires! I was trying to make it through the winter (which has been about 6 months long this year!) without buying new tires...I made it to April! STINK! I was hoping to make it 'til fall! Oh well....just have to love the streets of South Bend after a long winter! STINK!

Have I mentioned how excited I am about tomorrow's services?!?!?! I CANNOT WAIT FOR TOMORROW MORNING AND TOMORROW NIGHT! It's going to be AWESOME! (Just had to get my mind back on good things that are coming!) If you don't know what I'm talking about then read Friday's post!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Experience God...Experience communion...Experience emotions-tastes-smells-tears...Experience the Spirit of THE LIVING GOD...Oh...we are to experience God...not just learn about him-not just talk about him, but experience him...enjoy him...talk to him...cry out to him...love him. Are you with me?!?! I want so much more than to just know of God...I want to know God...to know him in spirit and in truth.

I CANNOT WAIT for Sunday night...we are going to have a communion service that I want to call "The Experience." A chance to experience God in many different forms...in eating together, in washing each others feet, in confession, in praise, in crying out to God to move in our friends-coworkers-classmates-families-even our enemies lives...to take the bread and the cup and remember...remember what Jesus did for us...to experience laying the stuff we do wrong, the things that weigh us down, our city, our country, our lost friends and the things we are thankful for before the cross. Then, passionately crying out to God with our worship...I CANNOT WAIT for Sunday night...It will be an experience of meeting with God..."Oh God meet us there...we need you!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good friends are hard to find!

I was back in the office today and found out that on Sunday I got the blame for toilet-papering the other staff members' offices. As much as I'd like to take credit...IT WAS THE YOUTH GROUP! Now they have nailed all of us and the war is on! Payback is sweet, oh youth group...payback is sweet!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Last day...

Last day of vacation today...it has been fun to hang out with the family...I feel refreshed! Only bummer is that I didn't get to run in the nice weather because I twisted my knee last week...turned a corner when I was running, hit some mud, twisted my knee and fell...BUT the rest of the time was great...


Watching "Empire Strikes Back" with Jaden
Playing hours of Star Wars and even Barbies! (should I admit that?!?)
A fun date day with Kelsey...(Olive Garden & watching "National Treasure"...good movie!)
More playing with the kids outside...
Playing with the stray puppy we found...(jury is still out on whether or not he will stay with us!)
The backyard worship service was cool...
Played a little more outside!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Backyard Worship Service

1st day of vacation was GREAT! Beautiful weather and all! Right now we are getting ready for our backyard worship service...everyone is bringing a song, or a verse or a Bible story...then we are going to set some family goals for the rest of the year...should be fun!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Time for the family!

I love Mark 6: 31..."Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, 'Come to me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." I don't know how quiet of a place it will be with 3 kids, but for the next 5 days I'll be on vacation!! Time to just be a husband and dad and hang out with the family...lots of swords/balls/wrestling...and a DATE NIGHT WITH MY WOMAN!! I CANNOT WAIT! My cell phone will be off...my laptop will be shutdown...(except to check espn.com & ohio.com for sports news, of course). Great time to get refreshed...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

God's timing and the walls of Jericho

I love how God works...he always leads his people to a verse in the Bible or to a conversation with someone that meets you right where you are. I was thinking this morning about raising money for the missions trip that I'm going on...wondering where and how God will come through with it all for me and our team. Then, I did my reading for the day which included Joshua 6...and that is the story of the walls of Jericho coming down...talk about a leap of faith! Our team has to raise a total of $28,000 (10 of us going on the trip...which there is still one spot open!!) but the Israelities marched around a city belieiving that God would come through. And guess what he did! I look forward to encouraging anyone and everyone on our team...GOD WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU! I can't wait to see how he does it...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

God works through kids!

Tonight I came back from running 3 miles and my daughter walks up to me with a handful of cash. She says: "Dad, this is for your trip." Chloe knows that in May I will be heading to Asia to pass out Bibles to people who don't have the Word. She has been saving her $ to buy a Webkinz or something else...the money she gave will buy 9 Bibles!

BUT THAT ISN'T ALL...Jaden comes to me with $5 of his own money...he wanted to give too! They brought tears to my eyes! I am so proud that they get it...Those two love Jesus and want to obey Him...I pray that the Bibles that are purchased will land in the hand of a person in Asia who needs Jesus...someday, Chloe and Jaden will be able to meet those people in Heaven...WOW, imagine that...

Exponental Conference '08

I am so looking forward to the Exponental Conference this year. www.exponentialconference.org There will be hundreds of church planters from all over the country hanging out and learning together. I can't wait. One thing I love about this conference is that they are bringing in a variety of speakers from a variety of backgrounds. There are so many different methods to planting churches and therefore reaching people for Jesus and this conference gets that. We are a multi-site church, but that is definately not for everyone! Not every guy would be able to engage a group via video...our lead pastor is amazing (don't tell him that 'cause it'll go to his head!) and he really engages people even on video...The point is...there are MANY different methods to reach people for Christ and the key is...PLANT CHURCHES for the Kingdom! (The conference is good too 'cause it's in Florida!!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stinkin' Rain...

MAN! Yesterday's weather was bad and I had to cancel our first soccer practices of the spring. I'm coaching my son's U5 and daugther's U8 soccer teams. They were sooooooooo disappointed. BUT the cool part was we went down in the basement and practiced soccer! We had a BLAST...dribbling, passing, playing games and we didn't break anything!! I love coaching and CAN'T WAIT for the first practice tomorrow night!