Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Christmas gift I forgot to tell you about!!

Davis is Walking! He is up to 15 steps!! He started on Christmas Eve.

Something Clicked!!

I am doing what I love to do on Sunday afternoons...piled up in my recliner watching football. Today is a little different because I have the laptop on my lap trying keep tabs on scores around the NFL this last week of regular season play! I am parked here until late tonight. Good times!

While relaxing, I thought I would throw this quick blog up. This morning rocked (even though we were 100 under regular attendance...that used to bother me a lot more than it does now)! I feel super encouraged. Something clicked! If you know me well, then you know how nervous I get before I preach. It usually lasts from Saturday evening until the end of second service. I am always nervous to public speak and even more nervous to speak to people on God's behalf. I carry my fear in my belly all Sunday morning. I hope that never changes, because it is a physical reminder of who is REALLY speaking, anyway. Well, this morning I wanted so badly to just share my heart about 2007 and where I feel God wants to take us as a church in 2008. I just wanted to start the sharing. But, I wanted people to link start to catch the feel of it. I really feel like that happened today. I had a LOT of very positive feedback after the service. It seemed like people were connecting and engaging. Today was simply a start to a long journey of discovering and building around our purpose. Many people have not even began packing their bags yet for the journey. There is still plenty of room and plenty of time for you!! We are just getting started. But, it was a good start. Something clicked. On a personal note, I felt more comfortable and confident sharing my heart and vision this morning that I have ever felt since arriving at CCF. Maybe it was the fact that I had everyone move to the front half of the room...or maybe it was the stool I sat on. Smile. Are you coming along? Very special days are ahead for us!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hail to the Redskins!!

OK, I am so stinkin' excited that the Redskins are even POSSIBLY alive for the post season. Tomorrow's game against Dallas is immense. If we win, we are in the playoffs! Who'd of thunk it? It is so big that they even changed the time to 4:15 FOR ME...because it works a lot better for my schedule. I am stoked about the game tomorrow. If we win, I will blog my joy!! If we lose, leave me alone.

Where did the week go?

Can someone please tell me where this week went?! I woke up and it's over! Why do the tough times crawl and the good times run? It was a great week with my family, but the clock has just rolled. With the offices only open 1 day this week (Thursday) and being out of town yesterday...guess what I am doing today? Preparing my message for tomorrow! This is the first time that I have done my message on a Saturday since becoming a Pastor!! I'm at the church plugging away and just stopped for a lunch break. This one is really in my heart and head, just need to get it to the keyboard.

In case you ever wondered...I preach from a"manuline" (my own made-up word). That's half outline, half manuscript. The majority of what I will say when I preach is on the paper, but it is bulleted/outlined...usually 4-6 pages typed.

I am looking forward to a great service tomorrow. I am also looking forward to our first Youth Pastor Search Team meeting, which is also tomorrow. Pray for this team as you think of them. There names will be listed in the January Capital in case you are curious about who will be assisting in the interviewing and selection.

--Good Saturday to you!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Going to visit a friend...

Early tomorrow I am taking the long trek to Cresson, PA (400 miles round trip) to visit a friend in Prison. It is a commitment that I know that Lord wants me to keep. However, I have been fighting a cold and I want to drive all that way I want I want a hole in my head. Please pray for me if you read this tonight or tomorrow that I may have a safe and effective trip. This is a dear friend from college...a guy with a rough life and a great heart that made some poor choices. Your choices are more powerful than you know!! Today, this friend is making choices every day to use his imprisonment for good. I am always inspired by his perspectives. I actually think that his future is as bright as the promises of God!! I will spend 3-4 hours with him tomorrow, and then head back home.

What is Discipleship?

Here is a simple start to answering this question:
  • Dictionary Definition of a Disciple: One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. (best synonym in my opinion: follower)
  • Luke 9:23-- A Disciple is someone who would deny himself, take up his cross and follow Christ.
  • Baptized in the faith and Obedient to Christ's commands are the descriptors of a Disciple in Matthew 28. Note the idea of "obeying Christ's commands".
  • Reminder: Greatest Commands are Loving God and Loving People! (John 15 and Mark 22)
  • One who is committed to the SPREAD of Christ.
Becoming a Disciple means:
  • You act like Jesus would with the attempt of spreading His teachings!
  • You treat your spouse right
  • You talk to your kids gently.
  • You stop going places that you know set you up to sin (Bars, clubs, etc.)
  • You change the way you talk.
  • You change the way you think.
  • You live a life pleasing and acceptable to God, doing away with sin with the help of the Lord.
  • You live for Christ Monday- Saturday as well as Sunday. (He is a part of your week and your home)
  • You are engaged in the spiritual disciplines and are being challenged to grow!
Being a disciple means:
  • You are faithful in attending your church.
  • You are involved with and plugged into the ministries and vision of your church.
  • You are committed to giving financially to your church.
There is so much more...but this is a start. Begin thinking with me...What is Discipleship?

Setting the Stage

On my heart my message for this Sunday. The way that I feel the Lord leading is for me to set the stage for our vision series that I plan to preach the first several weeks of January. The title of the January series will be "Simplify" and it will flow out of a lot of my previous blogs (see below) and much of our processing over the last year. This Sunday (the last Sunday of 2007), I want to set the stage for that series.

Here is what I am bouncing around in my mind and heart...

7 is a number of completion. Look at the creation account. 8 is a number of new beginnings. I wonder what God may have finished in you and in our church in 2007? I wonder what new thing that God wants to do in your life or in this church in 2008? I can see the trail of newness being forged already in many ways here at CCF. I sense that it is time to head back toward the basics and to focus our VERY LIMITED energy and resource on the things that matter GOD! I welcome your comments in preparation for Sunday. Just click on "comments" below.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My First Haircut

This afternoon we took Davis to get his first haircut. As you can see in the picture, he also got his first lollipop! That must have been why is he was so good. He got a little certificate and we kept some of his hair in a bag for a memory. It was fun. It is so cool living out all these "firsts" with our little guy.

Great day with my babies today...back to the grind tomorrow.

Note: My barber's name is Suk. She is from Korea. She is so cool and she did a great job!! I keep inviting her to church. I will get her there one day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Great Christmas!!

Walking past my parents' home office and saw this computer here and thought I would take 2 minutes away from the noise and post a blog. We are between Dinner and Dessert and just got back from a walk around the neighborhood. There were about 8 of us. We looked like a gang! Davis and his cousin Brayan both got a little buggy that they get pushed in. They loved it! This has been a truly wonderful Christmas for us. Being with family has been a joy. Davis must have heard Santa's sleigh land on the roof because he was up at 4:30am ready to rock and roll! Any of the other 364 days of the year and we would have been getting him back to sleep. Not today. It's Christmas. We laid around, laughed and then got up to do gifts. What a different holiday when kids are in the picture!

If you are reading this, Tricia, Davis and I hope that you had a splendid Christmas!


Monday, December 24, 2007

I like this quote

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

- Maya Angelou

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Inspiring Site!!

This morning's service was very special!!! I have enjoyed replaying it in my head a few times this afternoon. I loved the sight as I looked out. It was inspiring. A packed room (we needed almost all of our 375 available chairs), beautiful Christmas colors and a real sense of the joy of Christmas in the air.

What a special community we are a part of! Loads of kids, youth, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, even a few 80's & 90's with us today. White, black, Hispanic, Asian, African, European, Middle don't want me to start naming specific countries because we'd be here all day. Folks with annual incomes ranging from $15,000 to $200,000. People from more denominations than you have ever heard of...all gathered in one space center their focus on one thing that we all share. JESUS! Is there a better call under the sun? What a joy to serve as the Pastor of this church. Lord remind me of this sight in 3 weeks when I want to pull my hair out. Smile.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Like Father...

If you've been to my house, you know that I love my recliner! Have one in the family room and one in my bedroom. I was just kicking back in my recliner a few minutes ago and I remembered this kids recliner that we saw at a store yesterday. We plopped Davis in it and I snapped a picture...always have my Treo on my hip for moments like these! It was too cute. Check him out! Chillin' in the father, like son.

Day with Good Friends

Holidays are a great time to slow down and spend good quality time with people that are important to us. Since I am blessed with a lot of family in the area, we obviously will spend a lot of time with them. But, before we get into family is a Friend Day for us! This morning was spent with David & Tracy Wenzel. They are great friends form VFCC. Tricia and Tracy are best friends and I have known David for 25+ years!!! Did I just say that? I am having a moment. It is always such an honor to spend time with them. They are high quality people.

This afternoon the Zieg's arrive. Jake, Michelle, Nathaniel and Brayden. I have been friends with Jake for 22+ years (next door neighbors when we were growing up). I went to High School with Michelle. We are gonna spend the evening with them. It's a full day of exchanging gifts and exchanging kids (you hold mine, I'll hold yours). Good Times.

OK, wanna hear something wild. I hooked Jake & Michelle up in High School because I thought they'd make a good couple. Then, Tricia and I hooked Dave & Tracy up in college because we thought that they'd make a good couple. Now, both couples have been married nearly 5 years and have kids..and BOTH ARE AT OUR HOUSE TODAY!! If you need us to play matchmaker, just give us a call. Smile.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Preparing to exit the Blogosphere

Tricia took Davis to work today for her Christmas party with the kids. This gives me a chance to tie up a few last things with the church, buy my last present and be back here when they get home. Over the next 5 days, I will be intentionally shifting more focus onto my family as we celebrate the Holidays together...our fist one with Davis! I won't be blogging much over the next few days and when I do it will be about family and fun! Not church. Need to disconnect (except for preparation and leadership for 3 special Christmas, finishing up my Christmas reflection for Sunday, returning some calls, dealing with a situation Guyana that unfolded last night...ok you get the point.) Lemme see what I can crank out and then, I am disconnecting for the Holidays. My "break" starts today.

See you Sunday at Church & Monday for the Christmas Eve Service at 6pm.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fresh Vision, Part 4 (Being Disciples/Building Disciples)

The passion of my heart (and the heart of the Pastoral Team at CCF) is to:


That's our passion and that's our purpose.

But, How do we do it? Where do we do it? When do we do it? How do we measure it?

But more important than any of that even do we communicate it and get people to embrace it and help us live it? We need you!

It took me a long time to get here, actually. But I arrived somewhere that I now am so jazzed about that I cannot wait to bring loads of people with me to this place.

So, here it is. I was actually driving down 197 in Bowie when these ideas flooded my mind. It was just fresh clarity to what we had already been feeling. I pulled over to write. I will never forget it.

How do we love God? Most effectively? Most passionately? Most powerfully? Most intimately? A GOOD Christian might say..."oh, we worship Him, praise Him, magnify Him, exalt Him, obey Him, serve Him, seek Him, on and on and blah, blah, blah....and that's how we love God!" Pump the brakes! OK, I am sorry to sound harsh, but that's too long of a list, too churchy, too complicated, too demanding for most busy 2008 CCF attendees, members and guests who need their lives to be transformed, not informed. So, I ask the question differently now...what is the top, premier, primary, number 1 way that we can LOVE GOD. I say it is this: BE DISCIPLES! To follow hard after Christ as committed Disciples. There is no greater LOVE GIFT that we can offer, than our lives transformed and lived out as disciples all day, all week, all month, all year, all of life. BE DISCIPLES!

So, that sets the stage for the second question. How do we love people? Again we could compile a lengthy list of ways that we communicate love to others. We can give gifts and spend time and encourage and hug and kiss and feed and clothe and on and on and on. But again, the series of answers leaves me well informed of your ability to show love, but not transformed with power. So, it is as clear to me as anything has ever been that the number 1, top shelf, primary way to LOVE PEOPLE is to BUILD DISCIPLES. Just like being a disciple is the greatest gift we can give our God, building disciples is the greatest gift we can give people. Period. There is no better way to show love. When you build disciples, you are transforming lives for now and eternity. What matters more than that?

So, I hope this is taking shape for you. I see a cool logo or visual in the making!

Purpose: Love God & Love People
By: Being Disciples & Building Disciples
Through: Large Groups & Small Groups

I am looking forward to writing more on:
  • What is discipleship? Who are disciples?
  • Purpose of Large Groups.
  • Purpose of Small Groups?
  • More...
Stay tuned in and I would love your feedback and comments.

New Ministry Opportuunity at CCF!

Be among the first to see a new ministry opening at CCF! Perhaps it is for you. Maybe it is for someone you know and you need to tell them about it.

CLICK HERE to check it out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Ghost Town

Gotta tell you about something wild. This evening, Tricia, Davis and I went out to grab some dinner at Three Brothers in Bowie Town Center. Two minutes after we got our food, the power went the entire Town Center. At least we were able to eat first, but we could not do drink refills because the fountain drink thingy runs on electric. Anyway, here is what I thought was wild. It was obviously eerie to see the Town Center basically blacked out at 6:30pm. It was also wild to see the people scattering. Hundreds of cars trying to leave at once to go shop somewhere else (that had power). It looked a concert just let out. But was more crazy was to think of the HUGE amount of money that those stores were losing every minute, every second. There they were tonight...6 days until Christmas and they cannot ring out a single customer. Wild experience.

Cannonball Baptism

This is rather funny. Someone just sent it to me. Hopefully none of young people get any ideas. This kid got a little TOO excited to be baptized! Enjoy.

A Picture of a Great Team!

Yesterday was Pastor TC's last Staff Meeting with the Pastoral Team. Today he and I have an exit interview and he passes along files and stuff. It will be sad to see him moving out of his office. I have really appreciated the opportunity to work with this brother. Well, I insisted that we have one last photo op together as a team when we ended Staff Meeting yesterday. I mean, what a unique team of leaders. Look at our diversity! And it worked! It worked great! Only God!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Powerful Patience

WOW!! Check this out! This morning in a phone conversation with Pastor TC, he made mention of a verse that he recently read in Proverbs 16 about the power of patience. I liked what he said. So, I decided to look it up and check it out. Here is the verse. This thing will preach (hint hint):

Proverbs 16:32 "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."

How many times have you wanted something really bad?? You wish it could be now! You don't want to wait. You don't want to slow down. This proverb reminds us of the power of patience. If you will just be patient and control your spirit, God will do His thing! Your patience is stronger than your strength! Wait. Hold on.

Remember, people (of course people other than you) are slow to hear God and even slower to respond. Things take time. It is amazing when we decide to slow down and give it (whatever it, relational, etc.) a week, a month or even a year!

There is power in patience. I have seen this in my own life in the last few months. Better is a patient man than one who takes a city. Chew on that.


Lots of Resumes, Process Underway

We have began aggressively advertising the Youth Pastor opening at CCF for the last few weeks. Personal friends, members of CCF, connections (locally and nationally), and the internet (church staffing resources) have helped generate us lots of resumes already! A few look really good.

In case you are curious and want to weigh in or participate, here is how the hiring process works. The Board finalized it just last night. We are assembling a Search Team in the next 2 weeks. It will be made up of Pastors, a few youth leaders, a few parents and a few youth. The search team will look at the resumes that seem to fit us, interact with candidates, conduct interviews and decide on who they want to recommend as CCF's next Youth Pastor. After they have made a selection, the Executive Board will meet the candidate, conduct a final interview and make the hire. Our Goal is to make a selection by the end of February. If the Lord directs our steps faster, then we will go with Him. If it takes longer, we will wait on Him. But, it is important to set goals. Please be praying with us about the process, our youth and the person that God will call to join us here at CCF!

If you or anyone you know (that meet the criteria) want to be on the search team, email me in the next few days at

If you know of any good candidates, have them send their resume to


Monday, December 17, 2007

Fresh Vision...Next entry coming soon

I want to write. I really want to write! Writing has become quite sacred for me. In many ways, a spiritual discipline. I wanted to write today about our PURPOSE as a church in 2008 and beyond. I want to dream more. I want time to reflect and do some thinking. So, what's stopping me? The demand! The clock! The meetings! The task list! I've got too much on my plate to manage right NOW, that I cannot possible think too much about LATER! One of my friends in ministry privately (but lovingly) dealt with me last week about my earlier post entitled "Pastors Report". He said it screamed one do too much!

So I ask you...will you pray with me? Will you pray with me that I might continue to say no to more and say yes more often to the things that I really need to be using my energy for. I am getting better. I promise you I am better than I was. But, it is certainly a continuous journey. In 2008, I want to really work at "Only doing what only I can do!" God has called me to Lead this church and Pastor it's people. All this other stuff I do can go to............wherever, whoever!

Anyway, I will be posting more about vision real soon. Keep checking back. I am also looking to solicit some helping spreading the word about my blog. I will explain more later.

This has been a typical crazy busy Monday with loads of meetings and such. Executive Board Meeting tonight. Pray for the Board here at CCF as you think of it. We can always use it!


CCF Website

This image pops up as soon as you land on the CCF website. Check it out sometime. Let this also serve as the first of several reminders to bring your family and friends out to our Christmas services!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Progressive Dinner

For the second year in a row my family did a Christmas progressive Dinner together. It was today! One thing about my family that is really cool and HIGHLY unusual...Mom & Dad had 5 kids. All 5 are married and all 5 live within 15 miles of Mom and Dad. That is the unusual part! I am thankful for my family. I am thankful that this evening, we all shared in a privilege many people never get in a lifetime...all kids together in one house...or in the case of our Progressive Dinner...all kids together in 5 different houses (in 1 night). Cool Stuff! Our family has issues just like any other family, but all in all, we are a dynamite family with lots to be thankful for. My prayer is that we will find ways to be an example and blessing to other families.

Warning: As number of babies increase, volume in the house increases as well.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Packed House, Great Party

Friday today, so my day off. Was on Daddy duty. Grammy helped as always. Well, I wanted to be sure to report that I went to the emissions inspection station again...this time with the right vehicle. Smile.

Just got home from the church Christmas Party! It was a great night. About 200 people came out tonight (record attendance for a CCF Christmas Party). If you were there, it was good to see you! I tried to spread the word about this blog a bit tonight as I mingled with folks. Many people I spoke to have never read it. I would love for more people to begin reading it. I believe that it has the potential to be a meaningful resource. Can you help me spread the word?

Highlight of the night had to have been Ike leading the 12 days of Christmas as we all lined the Worship Center and sang it together. Good stuff. ...And Davis hung all night...a late for the little man.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

World Class Athletes in Our Small Group

We just had another GREAT Small Group tonight. We love our Small Group. We want to see it grow more in 2008 and we have some cool ideas. We are finishing up a video series called Secrets of the Vine. Are you in a CCF Small Group? If not, you will be in 2008...if my prayers are answered!

OK, so our Small Group has World Class Athletes in it:

First....I have been meaning to brag on Sioux-z Gary. She and her husband Matt are in our Small Group and are World Champion/ World Class powerlifters. Check out this video of Sioux-z in Austria just last month. She is amazing.

Sioux-z Powerlifting Video

Second...there is Henry. Every Small Group recently has included a game of darts after the closing prayer. Here is Henry throwing a MEAN DART tonight. What a machine he is!

Do you have plans tomorrow night?

If not, and your local...

I look forward to seeing you at the:

Annual CCF Christmas Party
at 7:00pm

There will be:
  • Food
  • Games
  • Food
  • Fun
  • Food
  • Karaoke!!
  • Dessert
  • Music
  • Dessert
  • Friends
  • Dessert
  • Laughter
  • Food & Dessert
See you tomorrow at 7pm! By the way...Tell someone who may not know about it and BRING A FRIEND!!

Jump on in!

Are you ready to take a leap of faith? Are you ready to jump on ministry at CCF? From now on, you will find ways to connect from my blog to ministry opportunities available at CCF. Just click away, make your selection and make the contact. When we all pitch better look out for what is going to happen! CLICK HERE for the latest ministry opportunities. The list will be growing!

Ministry Opportunity

There is a new ministry opportunity at CCF.

If you are here.

Time is running out...this one is temporary.

Attended a Conference...for FREE

Let me tell you what I did not know about my day today when I woke up...

I did not know that I would be attending a conference!!

I had a 7:30am breakfast meeting with a friend and local church planter, Ben Rainey. I ended up spending the whole morning "in a conference/training seminar!" He recently was equipped with a load of tools from a church planters conference he attended. He just shared LOTS of it with me this morning. I learned about:
  • How to monitor the traffic on our church website
  • The value of a dynamic website (instead of static)
  • How to monitor the traffic on my blog
  • How to make a short video for my messages...really easy...and FREE
  • How to rip clips/chapters of DVD's properly
  • How to get free stock photos and videos (that I used to pay for, btw)
  • How to send beautiful mass emails to our church about upcoming events (and then track if they get read)
  • The value that working off of 1 computer would offer me.
  • How to walk...
  • How to breathe...
OK, maybe not that bad, but I feel like I learned a year's worth of church-assisting technology in 1 morning. Thanks, Ben!

FYI, CCF provides monthly financial support to Severn River Church under Ben's Leadership. They are a church plant in Severna Park/Arnold. Pray for them.

A Good Quote for the Season

My Administrative Assistant and friend, Jaye Lindo texted me these words last evening after a school concert for one of her daughters. She made it up. I thought it was good and very appropriate for this season of concerts and services and Christmas songs.

"Singing touches the heart through the ears."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fresh Vision, Part 3 (Our Purpose)

What kind of church do I want to attend? What kind of church do I want to lead?

Short answer: One that is Jesus Christ-centered & Biblically-focused! What is your answer?

How would I know that a church is being Christ-centered and Bible-focused?

Short answer: It is living out what Christ and the Bible teach and model. What is your answer?

What do Christ and the Bible teach and model?

Short answer: Love God, Love People, Make Disciples. What is your answer?

What happened when people in the Bible and under Christ’s leading loved God, loved people and made disciples?

Short Answer: People were changed, the church grew and God was glorified (which is his number one goal by the way)!

I have been called to full time Christian Service. I love and believe in the local church…so much that I have committed my life to it. Right now, I happen to be at Capital Christian Fellowship in Lanham, MD. If I was in China, I would feel the same passion that the call of Christ for His church must be lived out.

My heart’s PURPOSE for CCF is that we:

Love God & Love People! That is our purpose!

A few questions immediately come to mind:

What does it look like to love God?

What does it look like to love people?

How do we do it? How do we accomplish our purpose?

Where does it happen?

Short answer: The way that Christ and the Bible teach us to and the way that the early church accomplished it (effectively I might add). We accomplish our purpose through Large Group Gatherings and Small Group Gatherings!

That said, we need to unpack what LARGE GROUP GATHERING means and what SMALL GROUP GATHEING means. In order for us to buy the vision, we need to know what they each accomplish, how they align with scripture, how we do them most effectively, how they impact how we “do church”, how we measure their success, and on, and on, and on…

We will get there. Soon I will be posting more about vision. Specifically about Large Groups and Small Groups and how they promote our PURPOSE as a church.

Feel free to post comments or email ideas. I would find tremendous value in hearing from you. If you are a part of the CCF community, you will be urged/invited to engage this dialogue as a church community very soon! Again, I am writing my messages for the first of the year here. Thanks for reading in for the sneak peak.


Fresh Vision, Part 2 (Simple Church Book Review)

One of the most influential books that I read this year was entitled "Simple Church" by Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger. Of the many books I read this year, it will have greatest impact for implementation in ministry. It was just on time for me. I was urged to read it by Dennis Gingerich, Lead Pastor of CCF in Florida (this church is Mennonite and's like us on steroids). Anyway, it was one of these books that I just had to do a book review on when I was done. Did this months ago, (pre-blogging) but now I need to assess how it will enter into my message series at the start of 2008. Title for that series later...may ask you for ideas...

So, here is a report of what I found most helpful in this book. Enjoy:


Simple works! People respond to simple! Jesus Knew it and He still knows it!

Apple knows simple! A simple little apple with a bite out of it on the front of any product speaks with a loud voice. Whatever the device is, if it has a bit apple on the front, you can bet it is SIMPLE to use and very functional.

Google knows simple! Google offers practically nothing on the on a page that can find you practically anything in the known world. One click, no clutter, and changed the world of computers as we know it.

Graphic designers know simple, Papa Johns’ knows simple, interior designers know simple, marketing gurus know simple…VIBRANT & GROWING Churches know simple!

If anyone know simple- It’s Jesus. He stepped into a complicated and cluttered religious scene. There were hundreds of laws and do’s and don’ts and Jesus shows up and gives Matt. 22:37-40, the Greatest Commandment; Love the Lord and Love your neighbor!. Jesus then said that ALL the law is summed up with this love!

…It was also Jesus who said “My yoke is easy, my Burden is light

…It was also Jesus who SIMPLY summarized our mission as a church for us. We need no meetings or committees to figure out what the church should be up to. Jesus went ahead and figured all that out for us when he concluded Matthew’s gospel with the words… “Go into the world, make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey me.” That is your mission!

  • Love God
  • Love Others
  • Make Disciples (which I would suggest IS loving God and others)

More thoughts on the book:

Simple church leaders are designers of opportunities for spiritual growth. While complex church leaders are programmers running ministry programs. Only God is the producer of growth. But like the Apostle Paul, simple church developers are expert builders (I Cor. 3:10) who have skillfully designed an environment where life change can occur.

To have a simple church, you must design a simple discipleship process. The process must be clear. It must move people toward spiritual maturity. It must be integrated fully into your church and you must remove the clutter from around it.

Comparing 2 random churches for the purpose of illustration:

First Church:

  • Around for 40 years, great reputation, known for annual Christmas program, excellent staff.
  • Church has not had any crisis, but has just been at a standstill for 5 years
  • Has many documents, brochure, booklets, mission statements, purpose statements, vision statements, strategy statement…all different from the other…and all LONG
  • Each ministry even has their own vision & mission….
  • After extensive reading, we are very unsure of the focus at First Church.
  • Lead Pastor is excited about “all the great things” happening and doesn’t want to throw cold water on staff, but feels disjointed and that everyone is going a different direction.
  • Pastors struggle to articulate vision and can barely decide how it’s lived out.
  • After interviewing church leaders about what the focus of their church is, they get a myriad of answers… none of which match the brochures read before the visit.
  • If First Church isn’t sure of their “What” then their “How” is not even on the radar screen!
  • If the purpose is hazy, the process for making the purpose happen cannot even enter the picture.
  • First Church pushes at least 8 major program in just 7 days
  • The calendar is the main topic of staff meetings
  • They always look for All Star, very gifted staff…they are known for this.
  • Each staff member is superb at building their area of hire, however they are not focused, unified and promoting ONE vision.
  • Announcements: LOTS! All with a “this will change your life, if you come” tone and great passion from Pastor (infomercial without a 1-800 number)
  • Lots of busyness, lots of activity, just does not fit into any big picture, because there is no big picture!

Second Church:

  • Not well known, no renown staff members
  • Been around 20 years and grown a lot
  • Similar number of Newsletters, Brochures. Quality & Graphic design similar…
  • One major difference emerges ... there is only 1 statement on everything… Just One.
  • There is one overarching theme
  • Cross Church is about “Loving God, Loving People & Serving the World” …Simple
  • After interviewing the Pastor at Cross Church, they find out that it is all set up that way on purpose!
  • After interviewing key leaders at Cross Church, it was discovered that they all eat, breath and sleep the purpose… It is in the DNA-Love God, others and serve world.
  • Announcements at First Church: 1) After church, there is a guest reception for first-time guests, 2) There is a new members’ class next week for those interested in joining, 3) For those ready to try a Small Group---- Go to the Small Group booth in the hallway today.
  • Lots of focus, clarity, simplicity.

Final summarizing thoughts about the book:

Book Definition of a SIMLPE CHURCH: A simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of Spiritual Growth.

An extensive research project was launched with the goal of seeing if there was a relationship between being simple and being effective. General Finding, in simple language: churches that are vibrant and growing are simple!

Expanded Definition after research: The leadership and the church are clear about the process (clarity) and are committed to executing it. The process flows logically (movement) and is implemented in all areas of the church (alignment). The church abandons everything that is not in the process (focus).

Change of Plans...Need to Write

Here's the deal. I am going to post a lot today. You have been appropriately warned. Again, lots of this stuff is going to turn into upcoming messages.

I had planned to work on Masters Work today, but I have too much floating around in my head about Vision and ministry at the church that I cannot seem to disconnect. Hence, I just made an executive decision about my day (maybe I should have run it by some people and got their permission good Noah).

I need to do some thinking, reading and writing today. I need to get some stuff in my head out and organized. Then, I will feel way better! I will have to pick another day to write papers. I have already been pounding at it (church-related stuff) since 6am, so who am I kidding. This is a work day, not a school day.

Will be writing more today. The first of the year is coming fast and I have a lot to think through before then.

By the way, writing is becoming increasingly sacred for me! More on that later.

Pastors Report

Last night I talked to my Great Uncle in Georgia. While they would love to know what is going on in our life, they are quite disconnected. No internet, no computer and no idea what a blog is. While talking to him, I thought "hey, i guess I could print and mail it to him." Isn't there a place where you can mail a post office or something, smile. (I predict that mailing things...other than large objects...will one day be a think of the past.)

Anyhow, every year I prepare a summary of the year and submit it to the members of the church. We call it a Pastors Report. It tells a lot about how I spend my time and what I do. Some of you may find it boring to read. No offense taken, trust me! Others of you may find it interesting to see where I focus my energy. Below is a shorter edition of my pastors report for 2007 that I recently distributed to the church. Happy reading...or not!

What I Do…Basically:

1. Faithfulness to Spiritual Disciplines
2. Caring for/shepherding people
3. Primary Communicator/Preaching
4. Lead Vision Casting/Goal Development/Strategic Planning
5. Lead Pastoral Team (Staff Meetings, development, etc.)
6. Plan Sunday Services
7. Provide care and support for each Staff Member
8. Maintain Personnel Policies
9. Shared preparation and leadership for Executive Board Meetings
10. Teach Discovery 101 (new members class)
11. Leadership support for many ministries of the church
12. Counseling
13. New Visitor Follow-up
14. Welcome New Members
15. Baptize New Believers
16. Foster church growth
17. Maintain church attendance records and numbers
18. Maintain Church Calendar
19. Maintain Preaching Calendar/Schedule
20. Speaking Engagements outside of CCF
21. Leadership for Annual Budget Process & Fundraising
22. Lead a Small Group
23. Involvement with the Mennonite Churches of Guyana & other missions
24. Marry, Bury, Dedicate, etc.
25. Special Event Planning
26. Prayer Emails
27. Attend Conferences, Trainings, Seminars, etc.
28. District & Conference Involvement
29. Maintain Local Networking Relationship
30. Maintain Mentor and Counselor Relationships (personal growth)
31. Continuing Education (Masters)
32. Electronic Infrastructure Creation, Organization and Maintenance
33. The Capital (with lots of help)
34. Electronic Road Sign
35. Staff Website Liaison

Ministry Highlights:

  • Salvations/Rededications
  • Baptizing 21 people into the faith!
  • Welcoming 72 new members into the fellowship! (over 100 people completed Discovery 101 in 2007)
  • People Growing and Being Discipled
  • Launch of Small Groups (Pastor Nelson’s Leadership)
  • Continued Growth in people & giving!
  • Ministry to our youth and children!
  • Africa Missions Trip
  • Youth New Orleans Missions Trip

Highlight Statistics:

  • CCF realized a 13% increase in average Sunday attendance in 2007. (averaging 360)
  • CCF experienced a 17.5% increase in general fund giving in 2007! (just under $9,000 a week)
  • CCF Currently has 253 Active Members.

Some stuff I enjoyed doing in 2007:

  • Spent more time at home (I think…ask Tricia)
  • Built and maintained connections with lots of great leaders, mentors and friends in ministry.
  • Started Blogging!
  • Preached 44 messages
  • Married 5 couple
  • Dedicated 8 babies
  • Took my second trip to Guyana
  • Went on a Vision Tour to China
  • Attended the Mennonite Delegate Assembly, San Jose CA

Master’s Degree Progress:

  • Completed Church & Clergy Legal Issues (3 Credits)
  • Completed Specialized Studies in Pastoral Counseling (3 Credits)

(Completing a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministries degree from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary taking classes at an extension campus in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. I am 4 classes and a project away from being done!!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Through The Years...80 of them!

Since, we learn well with images, here are the 3 physical locations that Capital Christian Fellowship (formerly Cottage City Mennonite) has met at from 1927-2007...WOW...80 YEARS!!!

Cottage City Mennonite Church, Cottage City, MD (1927-1995)

Capitol College Auditorium, Laurel, MD (1995-2004)

Capital Christian Fellowship, Lanham, MD (2004-Present)

Fresh Vision, Part 1 (Where to from here?)

Last month, we celebrated 3 years in our new building. Our move to Greenbelt Road brought with it a lot of excitement, energy and growth momentum. If you look at where we came from as a church, and then you look around now, it easy to think "we have arrived." It would be natural to think that THIS is enough! We have experienced such a big portion of blessing, that we should just sit back and baste in it.

But, hold on...pump the brakes!!! Here are a few key serves that have guided us as a church over the years and they speak to our future more than they do our past:

Ephesians 3: 20-21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Habakkuk 1:5 "Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I do not know where to start to share my vision for this marvelous church. The favor of God has been so deeply at work in this congregation, that it is almost impossible to communicate it! And when we try, we certainly will leave out or forget many of the things that He has done to communicate His favor. So, while I love to tell the story...I often feel the Lord say, "move ahead because you aint seen nothing yet"! That's vision! Looking into a bright future and dreaming with God about where HE wants to lead us.

In the next few weeks, I am planning to post a lot about vision for CCF for 2008 and beyond. Much of what I post will become my message series for the first few weeks of the new year (so you are getting a sneak peak). I will title the posts about vision "Fresh Vision, Part whatever". There is a lot inside that I need to get out and I look forward to using my blog to do it. Some of these posts in the weeks ahead will be long. Warning.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Now Hiring!!

Anybody have any ideas for how we can be most effective in the hiring process for finding a new Youth Pastor? Anybody have any ideas of a good candidate? Among many other things, we need a candidate who can effectively reach, relate to and disciple primarily urban African American teens. That is our context, our county and our current kids. They are great kids, but as with any kids, they need to know that their leader can understand them and relate to them.

Do you have any fresh ideas as to where we could advertise the open position?

Send feedback, ideas and possible candidates to

We are also looking to hire a Part Time Worship Leader.

Can you help us spread the word on both of these positions?

What it's all about...part 2

OK, as if yesterday wasn't cool enough (see yesterday's post), I got this incredible email from Tricia this morning. It reminded me that we are BOTH IN "THE MINISTRY!!" In case you are reading this blog and do not know wife Tricia is a first grade school teacher at a local Christian School. Here is a direct quote from Tricia's email this morning.

"No amount of money in the world could have paid me today. My Muslim student came to me after Bible Class today in tears and told me she didn't want to go down there (hell). She doesn't know what God to believe in. I told her that the only God that will get her into heaven is Jesus. She said she wanted to ask Him into her heart but was scared because of her parents. I told her that this is between her and Jesus. She can keep it between them. So, she asked Jesus in her heart right then. I am so happy!"

Is this cool or what!?!? Friends, God is in the business of saving souls and there is nothing more rewarding than partnering with Him in that!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What it's all about

Some Sunday mornings I just don't feel like I am in a groove and don't feel like I am communicating as clearly as I can. However, I am finding an interesting pattern in ministry. The Sundays that I feel like I am off are without fail the ones that the Lord is ON. HE is always on! When you ground out, he hits a home run. At the conclusion of the service today, 3 people indicated that they wanted to make a first time commitment to Christ. After service this morning, I had the privilege to lead a seeker into a first time commitment to Christ. I invited one of our lay leaders (a Lady) to join with me as we led this broken, open-hearted lady into the family of God. It was one of these powerful conversion experiences where you just know that the Holy Spirit is at work. This is what it's all about! Lord, teach us to be faithful as we disciple this and every new believer.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Buy Your Own Presents

An elderly widow decided it was too much trouble to get all of her kids and grandkids Christmas presents, so she decided to send them a card with a check in it. A few days after she mailed all the cards, she discovered she forgot to include the checks in the cards. Imagine all those kids opening a card from Grandma with a note inside that said, “Buy your own presents.”

It pays to be properly prepared...especially at Christmas. I am preaching tomorrow about preparing our hearts for Christmas. This is super important at a time of the year that we prepare so much other stuff...our homes, our traditions, our favorite foods, our decorations, our schedules...what can we do to prepare our hearts? I will use the short joke/story above as an intro to draw folks in.

The Capital

Every month at the church, we publish a newsletter called "The Capital." Some of you may want to check out what we are up to at CCF this month. If you are a part of CCF, I'll see you there! If not, enjoy seeing what we are up to. Click the link below to connect to December's edition. I will likely post this every month. The Capital includes loads of cool stuff. Enjoy. Click below:

December Capital

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Classic

This one is a classic. It's Friday, so I am on baby duty...or shall I say Baby privilege. This morning I decided that I would pack Davis up and we would go get the Emission Inspection done on Tricia's Sienna minivan. We headed out and drove all the way to Annapolis to the inspection station. It was when we pulled in that I realized...WE WERE IN MY AVALON!! Tricia was at work WITH HER MINIVAN!! Kinda hard to get an emissions test done on a vehicle I don't have with me.

I love useless trips to Annapolis...especially with gas prices so low!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Participated in the burial service for Jaye's father today. It was held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It was my first time there and it was an astounding sight and neat experience. All of the stones are identical except for the words printed on them. As we walked through the snow to the graveside area, I read some of the date ranges engraved on the headstones. One of them read "1981-2007". One of them read "1905-2007"! Aren't they both moving in their own right? The level of respect and honor for the family, the 21 gun salute, taps being played in the distance and the layer of snow across the field all added to the emotion of the experience. It was moving to see the value that they communicated to the family.

I was glad to be able to be there to support Jaye. My brother came along and we were able to grab lunch with a buddy in Northern Virginia before heading back to the hood. It is not too often that I am down that way.

Upon arriving back to the church, I was able to meet some nice folks here in the building. An Amish family. They are here setting up for an Amish wedding taking place here at CCF tomorrow. They are sweet people! One of the men was outside shoveling the remaining snow and ice on our property when we pulled up. Servants!

Anyway, I will wave to you on TV from my seats near the field at the Redskins game tonight! Yeah, baby! Headed to the game in a few hours! Skins vs. Bears.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


  • Most important thing in a marriage: communication
  • Number one cause of divorce: communication
  • Most difficult thing to live out in relationships: communication
  • Thing that pays the most dividends in relationships: communication
  • How to win and keep friends: communication
  • How to keep your congregation happy and committed: communication
  • How to keep you board unified and functioning well: communication

I am happy to report that this week has been a week of increased listening and learning. It began at the Business Meeting Sunday and continues. Tonight, the board landed on some excellent ways that we can increase communication to each other and the congregation.


Davis Moving Company Inc.

This is Davis moving furniture around last night!! What a little entrepreneur he is...gonna start his own business.

It's Snowing!!!

I know of people that read my blog in Florida, California and even China. Not everyone is local. So, you may find it fun to know that IT IS SNOWING!! We are receiving our first significant snowfall of the season. And yes, for Washington DC 1 inch of snow is significant! It's pretty out there. The only thing better than this is when it snows bad enough for everything to shut down....we would have only needed 2-3 more inches for that to happen.


(Off-site today doing message; Burial at Arlington tomorrow for Jaye's Dad)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

If you don't have something nice to say...

If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't day anything at all. That is my theme for the day. I guess I should mind that advice and not say anything at all.

Have had a few losses recently. Actually had a few big wins today...too complex to get into right now.

You win some, you lose some and some get rained out. But know this...God is good! He is good when you win one. He is still good when you lose one. And he is certainly good when one gets rained out, cause you never know...that may have been the one that you would have got injured in! :-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

An Early Morning Word...continued

More about the word on my heart yesterday morning...

"If you will be here for ME, I will be here for you!!"

There are lots of reasons that people choose to affiliate with the local church. Allow me to share a few:
  • The people are friendly.
  • My family goes there.
  • My friends go there.
  • It's close to my house.
  • I like the music.
  • I like the kid's ministry and youth ministry.
  • There are good looking women at that church. ...or men.
  • I like the preaching.
  • I like the Pastor.
  • They are not money hungry.
And you can think of many other reasons... After a while of being at a particular church, many of us begin to really feel attached to the people or the leaders. Slowly, we can begin to go for reasons that won't stand forever.

I sensed that the Lord wanted me to encourage our community that we are not here for Pastor TC. We are not here for Pastor Noah. We are not here for any of the other things that I mentioned above. WE ARE FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

I thank God for the promise that JESUS will build his church and the even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. No change in a community and no Pastor leaving of arriving will ever interrupt what God is doing in His church. I have always been comforted by the fact that if the gates of hell can't prevail against the church , then we sure as hell can't either. I told the youth the other night, that they are not here for TC, they are here for God and he is never resigning!

If we will be here for HIM. HE will be here for us...regardless of the loss, regardless of the transition, regardless of the storm. He will be in the boat as he was in Mark 4:35-41 and He will get up and say to any challenge..."Be Still. Be Calm" and it will obey.

A Resignation impacts a Community

While, I am really enjoying blogging, sometimes it is really frustrating because there are things that I cannot write for the world to see. Sometimes those confidential things are the things that I need to process out and think through the most. Anyway, one of those things have unfolded over the last several weeks. For several weeks now, I have been processing a BIG change at the church. Our fantastic Youth Pastor, TC submitted his resignation to me. TC senses God's call to affect inner city un-churched people through other creative channels. We announced it to the church yesterday. (Not before lots of tears, questions, sharing it with the Pastoral Team, sharing it with the Board, and sharing it with the youth this past Wednesday.) After communicating the announcement in our services yesterday, TC and I preached a message about transition. I sensed that it really helped the community swallow more easily the news of an upcoming transition that none of us are happy about. I am going to deeply miss working with Pastor TC. Our entire church is going to miss him so much as well.

As I was preparing for the official announcement over the last week, I found myself laboring over it. How do you say it? When do you say it? When does it fit best in the service? How do I bring a sense of security to the community? What is the balance between celebrating TC and being hopeful for the next leader? Well, THEY DON'T TEACH YOU THIS IS SCHOOL! I have never had to do anything like this before. Where is the book on this one? It was so difficult, regardless of how it may have looked to those who were there. It was one of the harder things I have ever had to do.

My sense was that God was as we know Him to be...faithful, present, and speaking to us as a church. It seems as though the church did a good job of accepting the news and the encouragements that TC and I shared about the realities of transition in our message. We have a strong church, for which I am thankful. The presence of God made all the difference yesterday. The Lord has a future for TC and CCF that is as bright as the promises of God!

CCF is Hiring! If you know anyone that would be a good Youth Pastor to an urban youth Ministry, encourage them to send their resume to me at