Friday, August 08, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The whole message is good...it's Louie talking about the grace of God. But, if you are limited on time, skip about 50% in to the message and listen to the real life story of a college student. Louie is reading from her journal. Listen all the way to the end.
Amazing amazing story.
Amazing amazing God.
Amazing amazing grace.
The 2nd event was the open house at my kid's school on Tuesday night. Chatting with other parents and teachers and school officials stirred something inside me (I don't think it was the Rockstar I drank). I'm just praying like crazy that God would allow us, Oak Leaf, to do HUGE things with schools. Yeah, we are still a young church plant. Yeah, we have limited resources. But I think it's possible to show our appreciation and partner with schools and teachers in real, tangible, creative ways.
So, teachers: On your first day back today - please know you are APPRECIATED! Thanks 100 times over for investing in our kids. And while complaints will start flying around shortly...facilities too old, public this, private this, budget shortage on this and that, not enough room, etc...on this first day back let me say that you are SUPPORTED. There's tons of parents in this community that give a rip and want to help - A LOT.
So my challenge to myself and to every parent is this: get involved, say thanks to the teachers every week, make a difference...and if there's something you don't like about the school you're sending your kids to, then help change it.
Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. :-)
Have a great first day everyone!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
#1 (Chance to Criticize)
What do I see? Um...duh, a bunch of goobers. No, make that idiots. Those neighborhood kids are always out there fishing...don't they know there's probably only 2 fish in that pond?!?! Worst yet, they are fishing at the hottest part of the day? Who taught them to fish? EVERYONE knows you are suppose to fish either early morning or late afternoon. Dumb dumb dumb.
#2 (Chance to Complain)
Great, more teenagers, out alone, near the neighborhood...they probably just vandalized the pool and are now smoking weed, all under the cover of "fishing".
#3 (Chance of Opportunity)
Hmm, interesting. It's 96 degrees right now. Why in the world are they fishing when it's sooo hot? I've seen those kids out and about before, I've never said hello. Hmm, the bigger question: I wonder if they've ever had anyone teach them how to fish? Perhaps the biggest question: I wonder if they have a dad that's around? Statistically, I know the odds on this one - 50/50.
I hope we have more and more professing Christians "seeing" number 3. And when observed, I hope we have more believers acting upon the Spirit's prompting...whether it's praying for the kids or being more aware of hurting kids all around us or having courage to speak up and getting to know your neighbor. So, today, where you are: WHAT DO YOU SEE?
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Join the insanity: Saturday, 8am, House of Rock on Tennessee St. in Cartersville. Bring tools, weapons, explosives...wait, cancel explosives.
Topic: Not sure.
Length: Who knows.
Too busy to blog right now, catch ya later.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
doing local stuff with wife
eating at new places
she talked me in to seeing a chick flick last night
on the way out of the theater a dude said, "hey, there's another guy!"...he was glad that another guy was forced to see the movie as well
i responded to his comment with, "man, i need a college football game bad!"
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
After the event, he seemed fine and was acting OK...but as a precaution, we heeded a doctor's advice and drove him to Children's Hospital in Atlanta for a CT scan. The report came back 100% good-to-go. Yep, huge relief! They said more than likely it was a "post traumatic seizure", resulting from him falling in to the shelf. It appears to be an isolated event and not any indication that he will be having any more seizures in the future.
A big THANKS to our Journey Group friends and others who prayed for Braden, watched Logan (younger 2 out of town), and helped get my car back home. It was GREAT knowing we had some immediate support when faced with an emergency.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Suicide, Anger, Help, Teenager, Family Problems, Drugs, Confusion, Questions, Counseling, Hope, Addiction, Gun, Divorce
Sunday, July 27, 2008
- I left my belt at home today so Jody, our Campus/Journey Group Pastor, hooked me up with an extra one he had in his car. Hanz,however (I call him and Mitch Hanz & Franz), is somewhere around a 31 or 32 waist. I'm no big dude, by no means...but goodness, I barely made the first hole in the belt!
- Had 69 kids in the elementary 3rd service. Place was hoppin'!
- Met a very cool family that was visiting for the first time. They have 3 kids and just moved in to town. I absolutely LOVE that part of my job. Meeting new folks and getting to know them and introducing/handing them off to our wonderful volunteers is crazy fun!
- In approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes it's time for some baptism at the lake and some flag football.
- Tracy Kase, Assistant to the Lead Pastor, did the welcome this morning. She's a rockstar.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Good luck little girl. I pray you survive your 3 rough brothers and overprotective dad. :-)
Take a moment to shine:
Friday, July 25, 2008
One of my favorite scriptures to pray is Psalm 19:14. I love it because it asks God for help in choosing words words wisely, having pure motives...and it proclaims that He is our source for help, our only true hope - our ROCK & REDEEMER! I find myself praying this a lot. Good stuff.
BONUS: This is the verse in Chinese. :-)
耶 和 華 ─ 我 的 磐 石 ， 我 的 救 贖 主 啊 ， 願 我 口 中 的 言 語 、 心 裡 的 意 念 在 你 面 前 蒙 悅 納 。
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Every Sunday afternoon drive home, I begin to process. I think. I think alot. I say a prayer. I say a thanks. I sometimes focus on how tired I am. I sometimes think about how much I sweated from 5am - 2pm. (I then thank God for clinical strength deodorant.) I think about the highs and lows of the morning. I think about the new families I met. I think about our City Host's doing a terrific job of bringing energy to our elementary kids and how they shared God's love. I think about the worship service, setup crew, staff, incredible volunteers,....ministry.
This past Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed with one thought: The 2 person camel we had walking around the KidVenture Check-In area. Ha, just kidding. What was truly on the brain was PRAYER. The prayers of thousands that prayed for a successful move back to the theater. The prayers of staff and volunteers and family members and other churches. The prayers of 70 year old grandmothers who might not get the "style" of Oak Leaf, but they love Jesus and want others to find Him. Faithful Prayers. Audacious Prayers.
So on the drive home I pondered. I thought about the importance of prayer. I thought about us fasting last Thursday, about us asking God for something that we were incapable of doing ourselves. And I thanked God for answering our prayers.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Note: If your team is not in the SEC...well, I just feel sorry for ya. :-)
For all you UGA bulldawg fans: Imagine for a moment that this Fall UGA decided to close Sanford Stadium. That's right, done. No games there. Maybe it was a crack in the structure. (Blame a GT engineer, right?) So let's say for the football season you had to play all your games at some neighboring stadium. I don't know, just pick somewhere. And this somewhere facility was nice, and it seated plenty of people, and it had concessions and restrooms,...and after all, it was the same players, cheerleaders, and coaches...and you still enjoyed rooting on your team. But, it was no Sanford Stadium. It just wasn't the same as "playing between the hedges."
I hesitate to make such an analogy because God is not contained in a building or limited by our ideals of "good church" or "good location". But, today - WE CAME BACK HOME. Oak Leaf Church was made for Carmike Cinemas in Cartersville, GA. Who knows for how long but for now, it's where we are supposed to be. Sure, it was the same worship and same teaching and same crazy terrific KidVenture volunteers that we had at Woodland High School. Nothing has changed. But there was....well....there was just something about this move back home. A draw. A fit. A belonging. Most importantly, an obedience to God.
If I'm being honest, I had my doubts. Would it really have the same energy? Would new, 1st time guests really show up? Should we try to recreate something from the past? But all of that was laid to rest within the first 30 minutes of being in the building (5am-5:30am). And as more and more SUPERB volunteers showed up, I sensed that it was going to be a special day. What's that? Kinks to work out? Well, sure. No doubt. But when you run out of 1st time guests bags, you have to bring in chairs for your 3rd service, you see a bazillion new faces, your KidVenture check-in station is rockin' (thanks Kim D.), and someone you had prayed for accepts Christ on your first day back in the theater....well, it's quite simple - you're home.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Some dudes in the South drive pickups. Some dudes drive cars with bumper stickers that say "No Fear". Some have shotguns hanging on the gun rack.
Me? I have a stuffed dolphin staring at you through the side window.
Welcome to Children's Ministry.
- It's required of every employee to say "Have a fun day" after they serve you.
- I missed the park rules that said you must have a tattoo to enter. :-)
- I used to be self conscience about walking around with no shirt on. Not any more. :-)
- Food C+. Coke quality D-. Water and smiles A+.
- By far the coolest water park I've been to. The rides were worth the wait in line.
Wonder if we could plant a church there?
Before moving to Cartersville to start Oak Leaf Church, I worked on the staff of four different churches as a youth pastor. In fact, my first job at a church came as an 18-year-old freshmen at Florida State University. I worked in this small Baptist church, which was comprised of about sixty senior citizens and four teenagers. I was in charge of the four teenagers.
I had no idea what I was doing, and I made a ton of mistakes. But throughout college and into my twenties, I gave my life to reaching and teaching middle school and high school students.
On more than one occasion, I heard an adult say something like, “You know, we need to invest in these teenagers, because they are the future of the church.” While the sentiment is good, the statement is false. I don’t believe that teenagers are the future of the church…I believe they are the present.
Throughout Scripture, God used young people to accomplish His purpose. David was a teenager when he brought down Goliath. Josiah was eight years old when he became an Isrealite ruler. And Mary was probably a teenager when she was entrusted with the baby Jesus.
Spiritual maturity is not measured by age. I’ve met 14-year olds who were better Christians, more in tune with the message of Jesus and more passionate about serving him than the deacons who ran their church. There’s no little Christian cagegory in the Bible. You don’t become a pre-follower. No…teenagers can and should be fully devoted followers of Christ.
This fall, we are kicking off a new student ministry. It will have a new name (Fuel). It will have a new location (The House of Rock). Middle School and High School students will meet together every Wednesday night and I will be teaching. Matt Moody is going to lead worship. I’m excited about giving some of my time to this important ministry and teaching students truths from God’s Word in a way they can understand.
Pray for the student ministry at Oak Leaf Church.
1. That the best leaders and volunteers in our church would serve in this ministry. (By the way, I’m leading a meeting on Wednesday night, July 23, for anyone interested in helping with the new student ministry this fall.)
2. That students far from God in Bartow County would be radically saved.
3. That later this fall, or early next year, God would bring us the right full-time youth pastor.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Logan (5) was really really really wanting to go outside the other day. Dana kept telling him no, not now. Knowing he needed someone to watch him while out there...and knowing Dana could not at that time...he eventually said, "Hey mommy, God can just watch us."
Confession: I'm the Family Pastor at a a church and my 2 yr old's favorite word when he gets mad is "stupid". Man, I got some work to do. :-)
From Michael's blog:
Today is Thursday, and I’m asking everyone to fast and ask God to do something huge through Oak Leaf Church. Check out yesterdays post for information on the fast. If you can’t do it today, you can choose another day.
Today’s prayer request come from Will, our Creative Arts Pastor. He writes…
We have made the word “worship” synonymous with the music we sing on Sunday morning and forgotten it is a lifestyle and a mindset that extends far beyond the boundaries of a one hour experience on Sunday mornings. If we really want to see people taken from where they are to where God wants them to be, we must first be willing to accept that mission ourselves, transform our worship into a daily outpouring of God-honoring words and deeds, and let that journey become the blinding light the community is drawn to.
Take time today and pray for these specific requests:
1. Those who attend Oak Leaf will continue to make the connection between the sunday morning experience and their everyday life by shaping their habits to unashamedly and openly reflect the life-changing nature of Jesus Christ.
2. For every person that authentically carries the light of Jesus from Oak Leaf church into the community, ten people chose to show up on Sunday to see what makes that person so different.
3. The creative artists at OLC set such a standard for excellence in using their gifts to worship God, the entire arts community and culture in Cartersville is redeemed and reshaped to bring God glory.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Today’s prayer requests come from Jody May, our small groups pastor.
As we have already seen there are some big prayers being prayed for right now in our church. We want to be the church that has a great Sunday experience for adults and children. We want to see numerous people come to Christ of all ages. And lastly, we want to be a real church for real people, especially those who do not have a relationship with God…’yet.’
The way I see it Journey Groups will be leading the way in our efforts in, “Leading people from where they are to where God wants them to be.” They will be the backbone of our church by Reaching out to our community, Connecting with one another for strength and guidance, and Growing in their relationships with God.
Here is the prayer for our Journey Groups this year;
1. That we would have 25 groups in the fall. This is a huge step for us and would be an increase of 40%! This would be a representation of 60-65% of our adult attenders. What does this mean? It means more and more people will be in a place that is conducive to their spiritual health and to the health of the church.
2. That our Journey Groups will lead the way in reaching out to our community. That they will be all about inviting friends, neighbors, relatives, anyone to their groups, always striving to include. That they will invite these same people to church whenever they get a chance. And most importantly, that they would be the hands and feet of Christ in their community. That they would complete some type of outreach event once a quarter.
3. Lastly, that our people our so on fire for others, that every group has to multiply in February in order to handle the amount of people living life in a Journey Group.
I know that God is going to be doing some incredible things here! Please be in prayer with us as God takes this ministry to the next level.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Reaching kids and families is not a secondary thing at Oak Leaf. It’s not an afterthought. And KidVenture (preschool & elementary) is not a low priority. In fact, it’s a top priority! God has called us to impact kids and parents in Bartow County and beyond. We are on a mission to see thousands of lives changed!
Today, please pray these three specific prayers for KidVenture:
1. Let Oak Leaf Church become the first place hurting families turn to in a time of crisis. Our prayer is that we become known in the community as the healing place for families. Through counseling, providing basic needs, or whatever the situation calls for, we want to reach families at the point of their need.
2. That our church would reach thousands of children through the public school system. We believe thousands of kids will come to faith in Christ over the next several years. And we believe this will be a direct result of Oak Leaf’s involvement in the public school system. Inviting kids to KidVenture on Sunday morning is great…but we must do more. We must go to where they are. Pray for the right strategic partnerships with our local schools. Pray that the right doors will open so we can take the Gospel in to the schools.
Monday, July 14, 2008
As I talked about on Sunday, I’m calling on everyone connected to Oak Leaf Church to pray for us as we get ready to move to the movie theater. Each day on this blog (and on the blogs of all our other staffers), I’ll talk a little bit about what we’re doing and give you three big prayer requests. If you know Christians in other churches, please ask them to pray. If you’re a church leader or Christian from another city, we covet your prayers. In addition to praying some specific prayers this week, I’m asking everyone to fast on Thursday. I’ll write more about that tomorrow.
This morning, I want to ask you to pray for what happens on Sunday. Sunday is the time when most people will experience Oak Leaf Church for the first time. So, we spend a lot of time throughout the week getting ready for Sunday, preparing for the guests that will come over to the house.
We don’t want Sunday morning to just be a church service. We don’t want it to be just another sermon or just some more songs. No…we want God to show up and speak to someone. We want somebody’s life to be radically changed with the power of the Gospel. We want to offer hope and encouragement.
And we don’t just want to family to come through the front door…we want to invite guests. In fact, we’re expecting them. When our volunteers are setting up lights and stages and kids equipment at the theater, they do so knowing that today will be the day that a “one” shows up.
Maybe it’s a mom who has been praying for her prodigal son for two years and he’s finally agreed to come to church. Maybe it’s the single mom who hasn’t been to church in years because the last time she went, she felt guilty for being a single mom. Maybe someone has been praying for one person for so long and today is the day they are coming to church. If that was your somebody, you would have wanted us to go all out to present the message in the most creative, relevant, and inspirational way possible. That’s why we work so hard on Sunday. Because somebody is coming to church that day.
Today, focus on praying for what happens on Sundays at Oak Leaf Church.
1. Pray for the new series that starts this week…”SuperNatural.” We’re talking about angels, demons and spiritual warfare. As I study this stuff, pray that God would speak through me.
2. For the hundreds of “ones” who we want to see come to Oak Leaf Church and meet Jesus. We didn’t start this church to give religious people a God-fix…we came here to see Jesus transform the lives of thousands of people.
3. For people to “come and see.” We believe the movie theater gives people a great opportunity to invite their friends, neighbors and co-workers. Pray for people to come check out church at the movies.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
- Today at the Leaf was great! Elementary kids enjoyed the surprise of a space ship cake. Thanks to Tiffany Nash for making a great cake! (Shhh...I had 3 pieces.) It was a great fit for ending our space themed series, "Starlight Station." For the past eight weeks we learned about the life of Joseph, and about being a servant leader.
- The adult service had a tall oak tree on stage as a sermon illustration. But, elementary had a space ship cake...so we are better. (ha)
- As you can see by the waterfall that Tommy & Jody are admiring, we had a bit of rain on our last day at Woodland High School. (Can you say monsoon?!) Our setup/breakdown crew are absolutely amazing. Driving home today, I was thinking about the setup dudes I've gotten to know over the past few months. These guys are stinking amazing. And not just cause they show up early and stay late and carry 500 pound items on & off a truck. But because they have a great huge heart. And they've become a tight nit group. It's OLC's version of men's ministry and it's rad.
- Once again, OLC volunteers have blown me away. Everyone knows the huge task ahead as we stretch ourselves to 3 services and move back to the motherland (movie theater). Over the past several days, I've had old/current/and new volunteers STEP UP and say "count on me!" for volunteering at the movie theater. The momentum is building and I am completely stoked! Thanks everyone for making such an important investment.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Top 5 pre-game thoughts:
- During our practice setup this morning at Carmike, I assisted some dudes in setting up the stage (big huge pieces of stage). My good buddy Wade pointed out that carrying heavy stage might not be my spiritual gift. :-) I was a good bit slower than most of those studs. (No big deal though, I reminded Wade that I was better at Texas Hold'em.) :-)
- The heart of KidVenture is going to become partnering with parents. In other words, I want everything we do to center around the idea of inspiring/educating/resourcing parents to TAKE IT HOME - disciple their kids at home, building faith at home. Yesterday, Dana came up with a great name or slogan for this push and I AM PUMPED ABOUT IT! Can't wait to reveal it....in the next few months...so ya gotta wait. :-)
- I've had 3 smiley faces in this post thus far. That's way too many.
- Tomorrow we bid farewell to Woodland High School. We have a cool surprise for our elementary kids and our preschool kids. The only hint I can give is this: I hope nothing blows up.
- Two words: Kids & Families. One word: Invest. Can't wait til tomorrow morning!
"Anyone who welcomes a little child on my behalf is welcoming me."
Friday, July 11, 2008
And since I'm under Rule 53 as I type this, I must now shut my laptop and get back to the kiddos and hot wife.
Hope to see my OLC friends at the practice setup at Carmike tomorrow morning, 7am.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
My buddy Mitch caught me this morning. In light of my post last Tuesday, YES - I'm a hypocrite. Sorry, I'll try to live better.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Perhaps it was a slip. Or perhaps it's just a common statement used in our society and he decided to pull it out of the ole brain. Whatever the case, I think I'm going to be careful to never use this phrase. Essentially want you are telling someone is, "Uh, yeah, sure...I'll file that away - WAY AWAY - in the far depths of my mind...somewhere around the trash bin." I don't think the guy really meant anything by it, but it was a great reminder that we need to choose our words carefully. Keep me in the back of your mind? Uh, yeah, thanks....I think. In other words, what you are saying is there is a fat chance I will ever hear from you again. Make that 100% chance that you are not calling me back, right?
This particular situation brought to mind other topics: sugarcoating, being blunt, how to be straightforward yet graceful,...I will blog later about those. Right now, they are in the back of my mind. :-)
Bonus: I just thought of THIS song.
Monday, July 07, 2008
We have a surprise for the kids this Sunday. No, not an astronaut. No, not a bounce house. No, not a moon rock.
Hint: It involves fire.
Why I Really Dislike Alabama Fans