Thursday, May 29, 2008

11 days until soccer camp

WHOA BABY! We are down to 11 days and looking forward to soccer camp...took time today to prayer walk around the park where we will have the camp...just picturing kids and their families...coaches...small group leaders...volunteers...getting excited about the opportunity to spend a week sharing with kids about Jesus and putting on a GREAT camp...Our volunteers are amazing! I feel sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo blessed to have such a great team!! 255 registered with about another 50 kids that have turned in forms...praying hard for these kids and their families...

Lifelong learner...

Competetion amoung churches can be VERY unhealthy, but it happens A LOT. Many pastors get VERY jealous and discouraged of other churches that are successful...

Pastor Bob Combs is a mentor of mine...I did an internship with him over 10 years ago and have stayed in touch. One of his many (please don't tell him I said may go to his head!) nuggets of truth was that church leaders need to not worry about competition...instead they need to use each other. At the time Pastor Bob was pastoring a church of 500ish people and a neighboring church was about 10,000...He told me that he decided to not worry about how much bigger they were and to use them. If they had conferences he went or sent his guys...he used them as a resource instead of worrying about competing with them...WE'RE IN THE SAME GAME HERE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

That lesson has really stuck with me...the bottom line is...our pride should NEVER get in the way of what is best for the Kingdom! We need to look past ourselves and be willing to learn from other people who are doing things better than we are...Here in our area we have one of those churches too...Granger Community Church...the church is dynamic, relevant, growing church that is reaching people for Christ. They have thousands of people and are impacting our community. I LOVE THOSE GUYS! They do TONS of training seminars and I finally have the opportunity to go tomorrow to one on empowering volunteers. I want to use Granger to train me and the leaders of our church...Think about it...I can go there and learn and I don't have to pay for airplane tickets, hotels, or car rental...people will come from all over the country to learn from these guys, so why wouldn't I!?!?!

So my encouragement is this...LEADERS...if you have a church or business that is doing things better than you are and they're close to you...GO LEARN FROM THEM!! And stop worrying about how much bigger they are than you! You'll be glad you went...

Monday, May 26, 2008

A service, an anniversary, an accident, a hospital visit, family time and the 1st water fight!

The past 36 hours have been eventful...Yesterday's service was Jerimae lead worship I was in tears...just sensed the presence of God. AWESOME! After lunch yesterday, Luke, our youngest son, fell and split his ear open! It looked like he had an ear ring in and it got torn out! NASTY! A hospital visit and 3 stitches later we were home...(he is doing GREAT by the way...climbing, running, getting into EVERYTHING!)...then we went over to Kelsey's parents house for games with the family...good stuff. AND yesterday was our 12 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!! AMAZING HOW TIME FLIES! 12 YEARS! Then to finish off the holiday weekend we had our first water fight! IT WAS A BLAST! felt GOOD today to be sweating! I was just sitting in the sun and felt good...Good-bye to the longest winter ever! BRING ON THE HEAT!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Recharging my batteries...

How do you recharge your batteries? When you feel like your emotional gas tank is low, what do you do? I used to listen to slow...deeply meaningful always left me feeling worse...NOT ANY MORE! Two things the past two days that have helped me clear my head...The first...tearing off my brother in-law Stu's roof! WHAT A BLAST! We ripped off 2 layers of shingles and I loved EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Another way I recharge my batteries is to play with my kids. Chloe had her birthday party today with 9 kids...We had to punt because the Healthworks Museum was closed...we went to a HUGE playground and ran...played hide and seek..ran some more...then we came back and ate cake...went back outside and made an obstacle course...OH IT WAS FUN! I needed that today...just hanging out with my kids...amazing how some physical exercise and playing around with my kids makes me feel better...

Rest in Jesus...

God has a mysterious way of working things out. I was to be on my way to China on Thursday...instead I had the opportunity to give a pinhole of hope to a hurting family. A family that desperately needs God's peace. The funeral Thursday was something that I will not soon forget...hundreds of people gathered to mourn for Haley's many tears shed. My prayer is simple...I pray that each person there grabs ahold of Jesus. It seemed to me that Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 11 for this family..."come to me you who are weak and burdened and I will give you rest." I beg God to have these people come to him...he will give them the rest...may not answer all of their questions, but he will give them rest.

Imagine how different our city would be if the adults and teens that came to Haley's funeral would grab Jesus and hold on...hold on with everything they have...imagine if they would make the choice to treat each other with respect and to work through their differences..."Come on God, open hearts and eyes to you and have them take the step to come to you!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008


In about an hour I will be going to a funeral for Haley, a beautiful, smart, talented 16 year old young lady that committed suicide...I will be talking during the service and I have to say this is one of the hardest things I have had to do as a pastor...Haley had so many people that loved her...the lines were long for over 5 hours last night at the viewing. I have one goal today...I don't have answers...I can't say why...BUT I can give hope...hope because Jesus said that he will give rest to ANYONE who comes to him. matter how badly the family is hurting, no matter how many unanswered questions her friends have...Jesus is there waiting...waiting to give them a peace that is unexplainable...

"God I pray...that each person there today would see the love you have for them...that you want them to come as they are...with their pain, questions and hurt...God, comfort these teens and family

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why do we wait?

I was thinking back on yesterday morning and this past week...why do we wait to have people baptized? Story after story in the Bible says that a person gives their life to Jesus AND THEN THEY WERE BAPTIZED...not years later...not when we have seen them come to maturity...RIGHT THEN...and WHY NOT?! When we first have our kids we want to introduce them to everyone. I think God wants the same thing...he uses baptism as a way to introduce his kids to the world..."HEY WORLD...THIS ONE BELONGS TO ME!" Cool huh?!?!

I thank God that I got to experience something yesterday that blew my mind...a real Ephesians 3: 18-20 moment...that God DID more than I could have imagined. 7 people least 3 that gave their lives to Jesus THIS WEEK...YES!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

They went home wet!!

WOW! When God moves...RUN WITH IT! We had 2 planned baptisms this morning...after Pastor Jim spoke on baptism in the message today, we had 5 more people get baptized! Yes they went home wet!! 3 of them gave their life to Jesus this week...PRAISE GOD!! What a morning...what a movement of God...Glad he allowed us to be apart of it...

Friday, May 16, 2008


Last night I had the opportunity to pray with a young lady as she gave her life to Jesus. amazing to be praying with someone who is now living for Jesus. A great part of this is that at least 6 other people from our church have poured themselves into her...AWESOME! The body of Christ working together to reach people...YES!

Here is the don't have to be a SUPER evangelist to share Jesus with people...You have to be YOU! You have a story about how God has changed your share it! Share it! Share it! God will use wasn't too many years ago that I NEVER had the chance to pray with people as they received Christ. I had a time of prayer one night in our basement confessing to God through many tears that I sold him short...that I felt that I couldn't or that I didn't think people were ready...and many other excuses. God has changed me since...BOY AM I A WORK IN PROGRESS, I have had the chance to pray with 11 people over the past 1 1/2 years as they gave their lives to Jesus...I only share that because I AM LIKE MANY OF YOU...I struggled to get the words out...struggled to ask the questions of people...Struggled to just open my mouth...BUT God has decided to use me anyway...I AM SO GLAD THAT HE HAS!!

Do you need to confess? Do you need to ask God to open you up to share? DO IT! You will be sooooooooooo glad you did!

Philemon 6..."I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Chloe!

8 years ago Kelsey was just about to deliver our beautiful daughter Chloe...I remember that day and how angelic she looked when I saw her for the first time! I sure love her and am SO PROUD of her...she loves Jesus! THAT IS THE BEST...and she loves me! OH...nothing like the love of a child to make you feel like you can take on the world. Had lunch with her today at school...SO PROUD of her! (Did I already mention that!?!?!)

The pic of Chloe and me before the Daddy-Daughter Dance this year...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Playing Wii

OK...have the youth groups Wii at my house right now. Haven't returned it after Mama Mania yet...Did the "fitness" test on it last night and was rated as 61 years old! (The test was Went through training last night and this morning and now I'm rated at 28 years old! OH YEAH! A little practice and I shaved off 33 years!
Have to return the Wii today 'cause they need it for Youth Group tonight...good times bowling with the whole family on it too...Jaden beat me by 2 pins in the final of our family tourney on Mother's Day...I came back and beat Kels with the first family 200+ game THEN SHE GOES AND SCORES A 220+ GAME last night!! We had some good family times...make me want to own one!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom...your kids need you!

Yesterday I preached on 6 things that kids need from their moms...

6. Discipline them...train up a child in the way he should go...

5. Listen to them...STOP and listen!

4. Let them must let them out of the nest and let them explore

3. Respect him...respect their dad

2. Pray for them...ALL THE TIME!

1. Love God...The most important point is that God loves you mom. Loves are NOT known to him as someones wife...someones mom...he knows you by name and wants a relationship with YOU! Please know that today...GOD LOVES YOU!

Moms are AWESOME and carry so much...what a great day celebrating them...Here is a pic of me and my mom...

What a team!

As portable church you sometimes get some curveballs thrown at you...this was us yesterday...Jerimae our worship pastor was on vacation...Michele our computer tech was gone for the week...AND Colin our main man in charge of set-up got sick and couldn't make it!! YEAH BABY! So, our team has one of two choices...shrivel up and die or hit the challenge head on! OH MY...the team NAILED IT and with 15 minutes to spare!! Dave, Dave, Kyle, Travis, Jeff, Chloe & Jaden all helped with set up...Tim brought our trailer of equipment that Colin has at his house...Sharon even tried to get in the office to get us another projector, but couldn't get in! It was AMAZING! CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY but amazing! The service rocked...we had 2 projectors running...a Wii set up...a live message...Moma Mania games...gave away prizes...played more videos than we ever had during the live message! WHAT A TEAM! I feel sooooooooooooooooooooooo blessed to be with a group that just steps up and makes things happen. GREAT JOB! (And this is only mentioning what happened in the auditorium and not even what the team did outside the the nursery, preschool and Kidzone! WE ARE BLESSED!)

Moma Mania BABY!!

NOW THAT WAS FUN!! We had a competition during our service with our moms! THEY ARE A COMPETITIVE BUNCH!!!! All moms could enter the game and had to run down to the front and toast some English Muffins...The first two that had their muffins pop up advanced to round 2...matching a basket of socks...BUT we blew a fuse with the toasters!! Isn't that perfect!?!?! Really! Moms are always adjusting their plans...SO ladies were RUNNING down the halls of Movies 14 looking for places to plug in the toasters...It was GREAT! They ended the time with 2 moms boxing on a Wii! MY WIFE WON BABY!!!! OH YEAH!!!! What a blast watching moms have was cool!
Lots of stories from yesterday...LOTS! GREAT MORNING!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Moma Mania in the morning

WOOHOO! I can't wait for the morning...we have some fun and exciting things planned for fun. The message is going to be "Mommy...I NEED You!" 6 things that kids need from their videos to show...AMAZING is going to be AWESOME! My prayer is that moms get some rocket fuel to boost them up...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mama Prayed

OH MY WORD...just listened to a song called "Mama Prayed" by Jeremiah Olson...our worship guy at our Goshen campus. I am in tears! THAT IS MY MOM! She has prayed so faithfully for 38 years for her kids...I doubt that a day has gone by when she didn't. I am so thankful for her prayers...for her spiritual guidance in my life. LOVE YOU MOM!

Here is a link to the song:
(Once you are on the site click on Music, then click on "Mama Prayed" You'll be glad you did!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bible Reading

My Bible reading has been ROCKING MY WORLD these past couple of days...2 Corinthians 6: 15...I no longer live for me but for Jesus who died for me...Is that hard for anyone else to live out?!?!?! Is that hard for anyone else to do day after day?!?! On a blah day, when it's raining, your back hurts and your sleep is less 'cause your son has a just don't "feel" it that day...Let me challenge all of us this way...How did Jesus respond in those times? Heb. 12 says that he put his focus on the future...on the FACT that he would be sitting next to the Father one there it matter what is weighing on matter how you FEEL...get your mind to the future when you will see Jesus...I KNOW, I KNOW you don't feel like doing that either...BUT DO IT ANYWAY. Tomorrow, you'll be glad you pushed through today!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Time to focus...

Our staff meeting today was spent walking through the woods, praying and enjoying nature. We walked quietly for a long time...just listening...just allowing ourselves time to just was good! We ended at a the Bible...went out to the sand bar...(My jeans were still wet 3 hours later!) It was great...good to remember that being a pastor is not about a to-do list...not about what I want...not about what the other guys want...but about what God wants to do in Goshen and South Bend/Mishawaka...Good morning!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Soccer Camp '08

YEAH BABY! I am neck deep in soccer camp info...we are doing a camp again this summer. (June 9-13) We do it free for the communmity and last year we had 400 kids and over 100 decisions for Christ! MAN, God really moved!!

I have such an amazing team to work with...people really step up and volunteer to help with this. Here we are...a church of 80-90 people putting on a camp for 400! I LOVE IT! Being involved in something God-sized...lots of details to be worked through, BUT the eternal touches that we get to make...AMAZING! I anticipate God doing something mindblowing again this year...GO GOD!

Sunday Thoughts...Pray

Ever had a "friend" that just talks and talks and never actually listens to you. They only seem to care about what is happening in their life and not about you. Yesterday we talked about prayer during our service...we talked (actually we did more than talk, we prayed too!) about not just praying requests but listening to God...hearing him speak to you. We need to slow ourselves down enough to not just bring requests to him, but to listen to him. He wants a relastionship with us...relationships are give and stop today and listen!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Taste of France

Tonight we had a "Taste of France." Our missionaries, Dave and Sue Griffith and their daughter Jessica took us through a night in French culture. Food, manners, just gave us a taste of the culture that they serve in to reach people for Jesus. It was a fun night hearing their passion for the French people and enjoying the food and conversation.

Jessica shared about a coffee shop that it being started in France. OH MY WORD!!!! I am sooooooooo excited for her. I could just feel her passion and calling to be the manager at the coffee shop...I wish I had $40,000 to fully fund her myself! I pray HARD that she gets all of her support and reaches MANY French people for Jesus...I have no doubt that she will!!


Friday, May 2, 2008

Just go...

Last night...We were at the office last night and I turned my head for 15 seconds...then all of a sudden I see Jaden SPRINTING down the hall of the office...I follow him thinking..."JADEN YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T GO DOWN THAT HALL BY YOURSELF!!" I turn the corner...ready to give him "the talk." That's when I see Luke our youngest about to go out the door and into the office building alone...Jaden had seen him going down the hall and just sprinted after him to protect his brother! HE WAS LIVING OUT MY LIFE VERSE FOR HIM!! 1Corinthians 13 in daddy translation..."Jaden is patient, Jaden is kind...he doesn't envy or boast...Jaden is not rude or self-seeking...Jaden ALWAYS protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Hey boy challenged me last night through his example to be a protector. To always be alert and see people who are hurting or heading the wrong way and to go SPRINTING after them. Jaden knew that he didn't have time to tell daddy what was happening, he just needed to go and go now! Luke could have ended up anywhere in our office building...Guys, let's have open eyes to people that need us and let's not hesitate to help...just go...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

He caught one!

OK...Jaden's first game is done and he caught a ball! I was so excited!! One of his teammates threw it to him and he caught it! (OK, the throw was from a few feet away, BUT HE CAUGHT IT!) I was excited...It is so fun to watch my kids grow up!!

I wish that this post could have said "he made it!" But Lebron James didn't make it and the Cavs lost game 5 last night!!! STINK!

I am thinking about prayer this week and how awesome it is that the all powerful...invincible... amazing...awesome...faithful...victorious... Savior of the world God has time to listen to me! YES!

(Welcome to how my mind works...three very different thoughts all in a few short minutes!)