Thursday, July 31, 2008

$250,000 later...

OK, so it wasn't that much...BUT OH MY WORD...we went to the fair yesterday and it is easy to just blow through the money! UNBELIEVABLE! We even got in free!! Chloe is in mini-4H this year, so she had a parade with her bunny...she was soooooooooooooo cute in the parade. She dressed up like a princess and was just BEAUTIFUL...MAN! Then off to the rides and food...I'll confess that it was worth every penny. KELSEY rode the Screamer...round and round and round she and Chloe went...I was very proud of her for that. Chloe road on the swings and the BIG swinging boat by herself, while I stayed with Jaden...she was up to the challenge...AND YES I LOVED my elephant ear!!!! Powered sugar all over me...Fun day!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...

I led worship this morning for the first time in 2 years! I really enjoyed it...except when I messed up the words!! I enjoy having the privilege of leading a group of people to experience open the door for encourage them to passionately worship God...Kyle shared his heart today and did a FANTASTIC JOB...I forget that this young man is still 18 or 19 yrs. old...Colin played keys today and he is really, really good! Loved the morning!

Today was the first time in over a year when the DVD of the message froze and I had to finish the really worked out...what a moving message on trusting God when he hasn't come through yet...Thinking of Abraham and they were promised a child and God waited 25 years to come through!!! 25 YEARS!!!! Bottom line...we can trust God to come be there for us. He will come through for you...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Triathlon Results!

Chloe and Jaden were in a Kid's Triathlons today in South Bend. They have to swim 25 meters, ride a bike for 1.3 miles and run 1/2 mile. The Parks Department puts it on and does an OUTSTANDING job. There were over 450 kids involved and they all completed the swimming leg in 1 1/2 hours...great organization!

This was Jaden's first Triathlon...he was in last in his heat after the swim and then it was like the movies! As he left on his bike leg of the race I whispered in his ear..."Go catch all of them." I can picture him riding off with his head low...pedaling as hard as he can. THEN at the end of the bike leg...HE HAD CAUGHT AND PASSED ALL OF THEM!! Then during the run he had a GREAT battle with another runner...had to tie his shoe twice and still beat the boy. Then he beat him in the last 20 yards...he ended up in 3rd place in his 5 & 6 year old age division! MAN!

Chloe did a good job today. She improved her time from last year by 1 minute 20 seconds. That is significant improvement! Very cool...I was very proud of her too in how she responded to Jaden. I know she was disappointed with not doing better, yet she really did celebrate with his top 3 finish...that showed a lot about her character!

I was a proud daddy today watching my kids compete...

Friday, July 25, 2008

When God moves...WATCH OUT!

Last night at a youth conference in Ohio, our lead pastor Jim Brown spoke on touching our world. He challenged the teens to give their $ to impact people they will never truly live out what James said is true care for orphans and widows. The prayer was that $15,000 would be raised for Feed My Starving Children and that would be enough for 100,000 meals...the students came up and gave over $70,000!!!! AMAZING...INCREDIBLE act of God in the lives of these teens! Click here for the article about the conference!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A step back in time...

I'm helping to lead worship on has been 2 years since I had done that...before that I did it every week for over 10 years! I find it interesting how God uses us...uses our skills and abilities...the thing I most love about leading worship is planning the order and flow of services...seeing how the Spirit wants it all to come together. I still do that quite a bit with our services, but I don't sing or lead the music. It will be fun to lead on Sunday...I just rehearsed with Kyle...he loves Jesus and has a passionate heart for God...the Spirit just oozes out of him...Great to work with...easy going...

Sunday is going to be a BLAST celebrating Jesus! I CAN'T WAIT!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What kind of steak do you want?

I LOVE steak...LOVE IT! A couple of years ago I received a $100 gift card to LaSalle Grill...An amazing restaurant in South Bend and yes, Kels and I spent all of it in one visit. The steak there is AMAZING, mouth is watering right now thinking about it. At this restaurant they take their time cooking the food...they grill it in a wood fire! WOOD! (I think my mouth is watering!)

I was thinking about church...about my relationship with Jesus...and I want a LaSalle Grill steak kind of relationship with Jesus. I WANT THE BEST! BUT I want it right now! I don't want to wait for the grill to be warmed...I don't want to get the wood just right...I want to throw the food in the microwave and have it RIGHT NOW! Are you with me?!?!? We want the amazing steak taste...we want the amazing relationship with Jesus, but we don't want to take the time to see it happen...

So, I live it with this...let's enjoy the process...let's learn to enjoy the journey of life...enjoy how God is slowly making us into the BEST person we can possibly be!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...(on Monday)

What a weekend! The Hillrich's were in town...Dave is a friend from High School and our families haven't gotten together for about 4 years! That is 3 more kids between the two of us! A house full for sure...We had a good time standing in MAJOR lines at the zoo...playing at the house...grilling out...talking...catching up...GREAT FAMILY!!!!

Services yesterday were good...GREAT ATMOSPHERE! We changed the whole theater this place for nursery area...It was GREAT. We have the best volunteers on the planet...many were there extra early to make sure that we got everything moved..THEN we had to be out of the building extra early because of the new Batman movie...and we were out!! AMAZING JOB by everyone.

I love the new set much more personal...more comfortable...very nice and very glad we made the change. Atmosphere is just a huge deal...the biggest difference at the theater is having the hub area (the gathering area) right inside the front doors. It made everything feel so much closer together...NICE!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Talked with Ron Boehm today...he has been a mentor of mine for several years. He is very involved with church planting and just knows which questions to ask...which buttons to push. He knew me before I was ever a church planter...I remember him asking me once..."Have you ever thought about planting a church?"

I had a great conversation with him this morning...spent an hour on the phone just sharing what God is doing in my the life of the church...good to get a perspective from someone who is not directly invovled in what we are doing here in South Bend. MAN...I have a page of notes of things to think through...steps to take...I always walk away challenged and encouraged when I talk with Ron...he is a man of wisdom...I am so grateful that I have people who have been down the path before that I can go to and learn from...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

King Solomon...wisdom

Read 2 Choronicals 8 & 9...I would have really liked to have talked with King Solomon...He has often flown under the radar for bible favorites are Moses & Peter...Nehemiah is rising on my list too...But today Solomon grabbed my attention. Kings and leaders from ALL OVER wanted to spend time with Solomon and hear and learn from his wisdom....that is the kind of person that I want to be around...can you imagine world leaders wanting to sit down with you, so they could learn...that says something about the man.

So, that sparked in my mind the importance of mentors...I have guys in my life who I know I can go to and gain wisdom. Some of them I don't get to talk to very often, but I know that when I do, I'm going to be encouraged, challenged and I'm going to learn something. I THANK GOD for these men in my life...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


What do you struggle with? What keeps you up at night or consumes your thoughts? What do you worry about? What questions do you have about God? About life? What gets to you at the core of who you are...something that makes you say "Something has to be done about that!" What just stirs you up? Ever wonder what God is up to and hope that he will use you? Ever have a dream so big that you just figure it could never happen?

Ever have a time in your life when you are just wrestling...struggling to see the light...the truth...the path...YET you know it is just don't see it yet. MAN..that explains my last few weeks...searching, but not yet finding...seeking, but not yet seeing...crying out to God...begging and pleading with him for his direction...I'm so glad that he listens...

DO YOU FEEL THE TENSION IN THIS POST? ME TOO! I don't like the wrestling matches of life some times...but I know that this is a good place to be...Why? Because it is here that I learn how to trust God see him work in a way that will blow my get to know him in a new and fresh way...

More on this Sunday morning...

Monday, July 14, 2008

I want to experience that!

I was reading in 2 Chronicles 5 today...verse 13 says: "Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: 'He is good; his love endures forever.' Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God."

HOW ABOUT THAT!?!?! They couldn't perform their service because of the cloud...What kind of praise was that!?!?!?! I want to experience that! THAT is a WOW moment!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...

Dave and Sue Griffith will be heading back to France Tuesday. They have worked with us since February and have been HUGE in helping us...their friendship and how much they have helped us has been priceless! I am excited to hear how God is going to use them!!

AMAZING service today...the praise band just ushered me into the presence of God...I was FLYING...Pastor Jon from our teaching team spoke on spiritual gifts...on of the big comments for me was when he said that we are the Jesus people see on earth...we represent God...What a major responsibility!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What we want vs. What we are willing to work for

I just finished reading a few blogs... Mark Batterson from D.C., Perry Noble from New Spring Church in South Carolina and Tim Stevens from Granger, IN. I limit my blog reading of church leaders to those three guys...I respect their leadership and LOVE what they are doing for the Kingdom. I just don't want to get consumed with blog reading ('cause that can be an addictive behavior!) and I want to live it LIVE right here where I am.

So, what is my point?!?!? After reading their blogs today, I left thinking about What do I really want? What is it that I really want in life? I'll tell you that I want to see 1000's of people in my area come to Jesus...I want to see 10 campuses of Grace Community Church around this region...I want to see our campus EXPLODING with salvations, attendance, baptisms, marriages being restored, people stepping out in faith, people turning from addictions, my kids growing up in a church that loves Jesus and loves each other...that sees many people coming to Jesus...and on and on...

But to be honest sometimes it is all about comfort! Sometimes it is to have the chance to sit in my chair and escape into movie or TV land. So, it hit me...Am I willing to work for my dreams? Am I willing to sacrifice whatever God asks of me? Phew...tough question!

Friday, July 11, 2008

OB 2

Another great day with OB! Today I had them out in the community on a spiritual scavenger hunt...sounds strange...we had them go out and look for different people and talk with them and share their faith as they had opportunity. They had to find people who worked in coffee shops or had a t-shirt with their team on it or a grandparent...

They came back with great stories and heartbreaking stories...stories of people who already have faith in Jesus...stories of people who want nothing to do with Jesus...stories of people who God is seeking out...these students have done an outstanding job helping us this week! I praise God for the opportunity to know them and to serve with them!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Operation Barnabas is with us this week...they are a team of high schoolers that go around the U.S. serving in church...leading park programs...well, helping churches in ANY way possible. The group is helping with our Goshen campus' soccer camp and then coming over to South Bend for 3 afternoons. THEY ARE AWESOME! Today we had them doing a water blitz...simply giving people free water and a card about the church...simple...a simple way to practically share Christ's love with people. The students were EVERYWHERE passing out water and praying and talking with people. They are amazing young people. Tuesday they went to Hope Ministries and served lunch and helped in a warehouse...these students know how to work!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Check out the guy on drums!

Oh, it felt like High School all over again! Jerimae got me to play on Sunday...what a blast! That is the 2nd time I've played in about 2 years...FUN! You have to be careful of the cameraman! The other pic is of me finishing off a doughnut!! (It was chocolate and really good!!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Night Thoughts...

I probably should call this 4th of July weekend reflections...we had a BLAST Thursday night setting off fireworks here in our neighborhood. My bro inlaw Ed does an AMAZING JOB! I performed my first wedding ceremony Saturday...outdoor wedding...BEAUTIFUL yard, beautiful wedding...Great showing of God's new beginnings...

This morning Jim spoke on being filled with the Holy of his comments was a quote from a worship conference that said: "Your character needs to match your calling." What a HUGE quote...for me that means that no matter how many dreams or goals that I matter how much God moves and how many AMAZING things that I get to experience...My character has to be above all of that. "God...may I be that man...the man that is the same in private and public, at home or at church...wherever I am may I reflect you."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Deep water faith in the shallow end..."

What a great quote...that even when I'm standing in shallow water, that I would still have deep water faith...that even though I have limited information, knowledge, money, time, education or whatever...I can still trust that God is going to come through...still believe that God WILL do more in me than I could ever ask or imagine...WHY NOT?! Why not believe that God is going to do amazing things in your life.

A lady in our church resently lost her job, may have had cancer return, was about to lose her apartment, BUT God came through in the 11th hour, just before the deadline and provided a job, she doesn't have cancer and she is able to keep her apartment...ISN'T IT GREAT HOW GOD COMES THROUGH! YES GOD!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To obey is better than sacrifice...

God wants all of us...not the stuff we do for him...he wants our minds...he wants our motives...he wants what no one else can see...the things inside of us...the times when we watch TV and know we should turn it off...the times when we're at work and know that we shouldn't be wasting time...God wants our attention...he wants us to look to look at talk to him...It's not about Sunday morning or small group or whatever is about being in love with the almighty, awesome God and showing that in ALL THAT YOU DO!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

South Bend Pastor's Unite...

You thought this was going to be a very spiritual post didn't you! And yes there is a group of SB pastors that meet to pray and encourage each other...but this is a new kind of unity! I was reading on Sam's blog...a fellow SB pastor, yesterday about how he had almost $2000 charged to his credit card by someone else...THIEVES! Then today, I'm on my way back from the wedding rehearsal and Kels calls to say that someone used our debit card at Walmart in ORLANDO to buy over $900 worth of stuff...what a headache! Sam I feel your pain...Looks like a conspiracy against SB pastors...Sam...we must stand together my friend!!

The good...

Did my first wedding rehearsal this afternoon...I am excited about this couple. They both have kids and see this as a new beginning. God has grabbed ahold of each of them and I believe that God is going to use them! Cool family...

Here's the other thing...the rehearsal only took 45 minutes! It's going to be an outdoor wedding and I get to wear shorts! NICE!