Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Reflections

We visited "The Summit" yesterday in Ohio...the church meets in a a satellite church of a larger campus in Canton, OH...they have about 80ish people...launched back in September...some of their launch team is heading back to the originally campus...AND yesterday was the start of a new series called "Church Exposed." A push for their campus to be fully supported...fully staffed with volunteers from their community...It all sounds soooooo familar!

I met their pastor and just LOVE what God is doing in that place! He has a HUGE heart...the people are VERY friendly...they had NO IDEA I was a pastor and I had at least 3 people come up to us and intro themselves! YES! This church gets it! There is a GREAT spirit and atmosphere about the felt a lot like home for me...I just love the theater setting...they had solid worship...we have A LOT more kids, but they have A LOT more teens/young adults. It reminded me of where we were about a year...year and 1/2 ago...God is working in that church...I could just sense it! PRAYING FOR THEM! Tough road ahead with many from the original campus heading back, but they are on the right track!! "Greater things are yet to come in that city..."

Great week...crazy week...

I'm back! I was taken back last week when I was unpacking the van at my parents house and realized...I left my laptop at home! OOPS! Monday-Wednesday last week I was meeting with pastors in the Akron area...learning from them, while Kels and the kids relaxed at my parent's neighbors pool. IT WAS AN OUTSTANDING AND crazy week...learning a lot...spent A LOT of time with family...saw some old friends...hung out on the Portages Lakes on a boat for 4 hours (THANKS BILL AND ERICA!)...saw my nephew's baseball game (fun storm after the game!)...swam...swam some more...did more swimming with the kids...THEN we had a gerbil die...our bunny had babies (we didn't know it...must have "happened" when she got out of her cage one night...some wild bunny was a daddy...) while we were gone and all 3 bunnies ending up dieing...our hampster got out of her cage...out for 4 days and then showed up last night (there were tears of JOY in our house last night!)...Crazy week...GREAT WEEK...I am READY to get back at it this week...guess it was God that I left the laptop at home...I need to do that more often!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Yes...Yes...YES! What a morning! From set-up to tear the motorcycle in the auditorium to Colin cutting his toe while competing in Dad-Fest (It might be good to mention here that I won the Dad Fest competition this year...I'll say more later!) me SHOUTING LOUDER THAN I EVER HAVE during the message. (I must say...I am PASSIONATE about dad's pouring their time into their kids...GET OUT OF THE STINKIN' CHAIR...OFF THE LAPTOP...AND PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS!) It was GREAT!

The Dad Fest competitions were the best ever...I just love watching the guys compete...Men LOVE competition...we had three rounds and I happened to come on top! (NO IT WASN'T RIGGED AND I DIDN'T PRACTICE!) What made it even sweeter was in the last round we had to change a car with the tire...and then put it back on...While I was putting the tire back of the guys grabbed one of my lug nuts and took it about 20 ft away...So, after I got the first 3 on I had to run and get that one and put it on...AND I still won! But the award goes to Colin and Andre and Bill...Bill is 60 years old and comes in a tie for 3rd place...GOOD JOB O'BLENIS! Colin and I partnered up for Round Two and the parking lot wheelbarrow race...He was in flip-flops so he ran barefoot! He really ripped up his toe, BUT HE NEVER QUIT! LOVE IT!

I love seeing men pour everything into what they are doing...the guys did that today! They gave their best and in the end...that just feels good!

Friday, June 19, 2009


It is time for Dad Fest on Sunday...I think this will be the most fun we have ever had at Dad Fest...Bodies might be flying on Sunday morning...GET OUT OF THE WAY! Guys LOVE competition and we're going to give it to them!! OH YEAH! 4 teams...small hallways... CAN'T WAIT! I love how guys compete...and we usually don't even need a prize! (BUT we will have 1 on Sunday!) I cannot wait!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The beginnng...

I was on Sharon Perry's Facebook page the other night and she had posted pics of our first soccer camp with Hope Community Church...This was at a time in the church when we only had 16 adults and 6 kids in the church...(3 of the kids were mine!) We had about 25 adults just a month and a half before the camp, but things were "falling apart" (at least in our eyes!)...1/2 the team had left the church plant in May/June...we were struggling...holding on to the fact that we sensed STRONGLY that God wasn't finished with us yet...

Then we had the camp and 16-18 kids showed up...3 made decisions for Christ...we worked our tails off...And I believe with EVERYTHING IN ME that when this group of 16 people said "Let's do this" it laid a foundation for what we have experienced over the past 3 camps...and what we are experiencing in our church! I praise God for that group of faithful men and women...most of which knew NOTHING of the game of soccer, but wanted to invest in their community for the Kingdom of God. It wasn't long before that group of 16 jumped in with some church called Grace Community and less than a year later started a 2nd campus...I LOVE HOW GOD WORKS!


The Week After...

Soccer Camp is by far our largest event of the year...90% of our people get involved...we pray HARD for something GOD-SIZED to happen...something that is bigger than we are...and last week it happened...with over 120 decisions for Christ...over 400 kids...more than 100 volunteers...9 baptisms on Sunday...150 at our service on Sunday...GOD MOVED...

So what happens the week after? You pray and pray and pray for God to show up and he does...THEN Monday comes and there is this spiritual/emotional/physical...ugh...that happens. I have been PRAYING hard for our people to push through the UGH! To remember all that God did last rest as they can and to THRIVE inside of dive...I have watched families just take a nose dive after an amazing week of touching lives...WHY? Because "the enemy" HATES what you did and wants to stomp you down.

TO THE PEOPLE OF GRACE...I am praying for you to STAND UP UNDER WHATEVER is thrown at you this week, because OUR GOD will give you the strength to do that! I am sooooooooooooo proud of all of you! VERY PROUD and I look forward to seeing you tonight at the Blumes for a post-camp hang-out time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Perfect People Allowed...Dads...

Hey everyone...what is a message that dads need to hear? Share your comments...if you could say anything to dads right now, what would you share? How would you encourage them? How would you challenge them? What are important characteristics that dads should have? Give me some feedback on it...I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where do I start?

Do you know how easy it would have been for me this morning to jump right in to my to do list...CAUSE IT IS LONG! I was on my way to the office this morning and thinking about what my next steps were...THEN IT HIT ME...If I am going to pray and pray and pray for God to change lives...If I am going to pray and pray and pray that God will blow us away with what he does through Soccer Camp and our services on Sunday...THEN I BETTER PRAY AND PRAY AND PRAY and thank him when he answers above all that we ask for!

So I did, I read Psalm 136 today and then made up my own Psalm 136. (NO, not to replace the old one, just something for me...don't worry I'm not adding to scripture!!)

Here is what I wrote...(hey, I'm not a poet, so just run with me here!)

Give thanks to our faithful God...
his love endures forever
For he is there through everything
his love endures forever
By his grace we have overcome
his love endures forever
For pulling us up from the muddy pit...
his love endures forever
For teaming me up with Grace
his love endures forever
For giving us a new, fresh DNA
his love endures forever
To God who always provides
his love endures forever
To the God who sold the old church at just the right moment
his love endures forever
To the God who brought Jerimae!
his love endures forever
For creating the world
his love endures forever
To the God who saved 100's through Soccer Camp
his love endures forever
To the God who has allowed us to see over 300 decisions for Christ in 2 1/2 years!
his love endures forever
For giving us breakthrough in marriages
his love endures forever
To the God sho has sent us down the river (and that's a good thing!)
his love endures forever
For God's breakthrough in Andre and Lisa THIS WEEK
his love endures forever
For 120+ decisions for Christ at Camp
his love endures forever
For allowing us to be on the front-lines of ministry
his love endures forever
For 9 BAPTISMS on Sunday
his love endures forever
For our largest non-holiday Sunday EVER
his love endures forever
For the most amazing group of people to LIVE church with
his love endures forever

"Thanks God for all that you are doing through YOUR imperfect, BUT redeemed people! I love you!"

Friday, June 12, 2009


Tonight is the final night of soccer many kids have been impacted this week...lives changed forever...We have had adults come to Christ this week too! THEN all of the safe and fun soccer that has been played. I love to see the kid's smiles tonight when they receive their medals. Love the excitement on their faces. MAN...I can't WAIT to get out their tonight and get this camp rolling!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Forgetting what is behind...

Hey...did you notice that my last post didn't have a title? It was because I really couldn't sum up my frustration tonight for canceling camp...BUT NOW...I'm going to forget what is behind and press on to the most fun night of camp...Friday is CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT (I have already completed most of the final game schedules tonight) and Closing Ceremonies...IT IS GOING TO BE FUN!! I can't wait! Whoo-hoo! (ahhhhhhhh...feeling better already!)
We canceled our camp tonight...ran with the best info that we the time we canceled it had been raining for a while...looked like (on radar) that there would be a short clearing and then more rain...So, I canceled camp for tonight...first time we have ever canceled didn't rain!! (And still hasn't rained!) This is one of those times when, if it rains-you're brilliant...if it doesn't-you're an idiot! LOL! Sometimes as leaders we must make a decision with the best information we have and then live with how it plays out...

Best day Yet...

Amazing night at camp...The Spirit of the living God is moving like crazy! WOW! Decision for Jesus...families being impacted...the best volunteers in the world! "Thanks God for allowing me to be involved with this!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soccer Camp Day 2

Good 2nd day of was cool outside and still no rain! I just love looking over the camp and seeing all of the kids sitting in small groups...talking about Jesus and seeing our volunteers pouring their lives into other people..."Thanks God for this week..."

I have spent most of today working with the youth group from Wooster, OH that has come to help us...these students are WONDERFUL! The energy and spirit that they bring is a huge boost for us...We went to a church in Keller Park today and helped Pastor Ryan...LOVE Ryan and what he is doing through that church! Very Kingdom minded!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

God may have laughed...

Soccer Camp started out with a BANG last night...literally! During set up we had to tear some things down because we had a storm...then while we were under the pavilion waiting for the weather to stop, it was pouring down rain AND the sun was out! I have to think that was God's way of showing us once again that he has a sense of humor! We had prayed and prayed and prayed for good weather for camp...Does God tease his people?! Because I think in a fun sort of way he was smiling up there saying..."Hey Church...remember who is in control!" The sky at that moment was light colored and didn't look like it should be raining...AND THEN, the weather was PERFECT for our camp...God did it again this year...the weather reports said thunderstorms all day, but we had perfect weather!!

THE BEST PART?!?!?! Because of the good weather we had 400 kids and 10 give their lives to Jesus!! I NEVER get tired of seeing people walk from darkness to light! NEVER!

Great God, beautiful night, FANTASTIC volunteers! "Thanks, God!"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Reflections...

First I watched a run through and I had a tear in my eye...then I watched the 2nd run through and I cried a little...then I watched it during the service and just cried and cried...cardboard testimonies...simple and so powerful...just a few words on a piece of cardboard, but paragraphs and paragraphs of meaning behind them. I was deeply moved...I love our people...I love that we are all growing together...I love that they seek after God's heart..."Hey, Grace Community...thanks for sharing your hearts with all of us touched my life!"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Can't Wait...

BTW...tomorrow is one of those new memory days...AND I CAN'T WAIT for the morning! New series..."No Perfect People Allowed"...get to see the people of Grace and get to celebrate Jesus with them...Oh, it's going to be a GREAT ONE!

Let's remember...

It is soooooooooooooooo easy to get caught up in what is happening today, that we forget about how God provided yesterday...I don't want to be a person who lives on the stories of the past...I want new stories...stories of how God has come through TODAY and not just 5 years ago. BUT, I want to make sure that we all remember and share stories of how God has moved...a subtle difference, but an important one. I long to be in the mix of what God is doing in South Bend, IN...the state of Indiana, The U.S. AND the world...AND I want to remember how he has moved in the past and continue to celebrate those things...

So along those lines...It has been 2 months since my trip to China...time sure does fly...thinking today of the impact that MANY of you had praying for me and supporting our team and me...I am overwhelmed tonight, thinking of the people that now get to read the Word, because people stepped up and supported me...I can't wait to hear stories someday of how God used YOUR prayers and support to make a difference on the other side of the world...THANKS...I celebrated you tonight and thanked God for you!

2 Days until Camp

The countdown continues...2 days until soccer camp...excitement is building! I CAN'T WAIT to see what God is going to do during camp...

Friday, June 5, 2009

I'm sick of it...cause it just breaks my heart...

I just finished reading Mark Beeson's blog called "33 years ago today." And it was moving! He speaks of his relationship with his wife...33 years of marriage! The post is VERY well written...beautiful! 33 years they have spent together...I praise God with them...

Then I found myself crying in the office...actually there are still tears in my eyes as I am typing...But...they aren't tears of is a deep ache down inside of me...a longing of some sort...It comes down to a longing to hear more stories like Mark's...more stories of couples that are thriving...more stories of couples that are willing to put in the work that is needed for their love and marriage to not just make it, but to thrive. I am longing for couples to stop throwing in the towel...stop shutting down...I heard last night of a couple that is ending their marriage after 25 years...25 YEARS! PEOPLE we must not give up...we must work through things...Don't you EVER give up! WORK THROUGH IT and do it with God AND each the heart of God...walk through the pain...say you're sorry...confront the sin...YOU CAN DO IT with the stregth of the Holy Spirit of the living God and the people God will put there to help you...YOU CAN DO IT!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stepping Out...

I love our soccer camp...Love seeing kids playing...hearing and learning about Jesus...AND I love seeing people step WAY OUT of their comfort zones...people willing to invest their lives in kids...people willing to step up and coach a team that normally wouldn't come near a sport! I think God must look down from heaven...see this team of people investing themselves and smile...I know that I do! I'm so proud of this group...LOVE being their pastor. They are stepping out and kids lives will be changed for eternity because of it...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Luke!

Luke is growing up! My little man turned 3 today...It was so fun tonight watching him rip open his gifts and then running around with his new toys...He had so much fun! I love his passion for life...his daring attitude...his willingness to try anything...AND I MEAN ANYTHING...even if it will cause harm to himself. He is learning so much...I can't help but wonder tonight what he will be like as a teen...young adult...grown man...I can't wait to see...I pray every day that he will come to Jesus...that he will passionately follow him and be the leader that God has wired him to be. I love that little dude! (Hey...I'm starting to get nervous too...cause he and Jaden are growing up and soon...they will really give dad a run for "champion of the world!")

HAPPY B-DAY LUKE! (BTW...check out that cake that Kelsey decorated! My kids are spoiled!!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Reflections

GREAT Sunday...We finished our End Times series with a BANG! WHY?!?! Because in the end we REALLY get to win...EVIL is taken care of for all of eternity! Satan sees his doom...God takes his vengeance...VICTORY!!!! We ended the message with worship song...and the band just moved us into worship...I was in tears as I prayed to close the service...just thinking of what is to come...thinking of all that God is going to do for us...thinking of the opportunity that I will have to fight evil with him ONE LAST TIME! I CAN'T WAIT! AMAZING morning...Amazing worship...Amazing people here at Grace! YES!!!!