Thursday, January 31, 2008
Yesterday, I mentioned Randy cutting their hair. It was really cool. They were so thrilled...you would have thought that he had given them a million bucks. 8 of 15 got their haircut. I wanted to share a picture with you. Saw a couple regular readers at the church tonight. They remarked that I had not posted today...they thought I was asleep all day. I wish. I was lucky enough to get a morning nap. My bed is calling me soon!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Today, in my quiet time, I decided to read verses about ministering to the needy. 2 verses emerged as ones that set the tone well for why we would engage in such ministry:
"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Matthew 25:35
Recently, you may have read me talking about my last Master’s Class. Well, it was a counseling class and one of my final projects was that I had to develop a “hypothetical seminar” that I would lead in a local church setting. I did it on Grief recovery. I have been meaning to post a bit of my work here on my blog. This may minister to you or you may want to pass a pearl along to someone that is dealing with grief (if you find a pearl).
- MOST people know very little about how to deal with death and loss in their own lives or the lives of the people around them. It is incredibly healthy for you to equip yourself with a basic knowledge of grief recovery before death strikes. If one does not have that chance, it becomes crucial that they do so after death strikes. There is no reason to go through such deep pain without the comfort and power of basic understanding.
- When people experience death they are plunged into a place that is often painful and difficult. Even though it is not a place they ever wanted to go, people enter a journey of pain, adjustment and hopefully healing.
- A journey through grief is often a long, difficult and unpredictable journey. Knowing that from the outset saves you the pain of wondering what is wrong with you!
- The grief journey is as unique as the people that go through it. It requires patience, understanding, time, support and effort on your part.
- Forget what you heard! Time is not as easy a healer as we make it out to be!
- Don’t worry about letting people down. How you grieve is not up to anybody else. They do not know what you are experiencing. They are not going through what you are.
- Make a commitment to accept that your journey through grief is unique to you. It will not necessarily be the way that you thought it would be. It will likely not be like anyone else’s either. If you believe that, you will save yourself the hurt and negativity that accompanies comparing yourself to others.
- The nature and duration of the death and the level of relationship that the grieving person had with deceased make a huge impact on the intensity of the grief journey.
- Make a commitment not to place additional pressure on yourself to do ANYTHING too early. Do what you feel ready to do when you feel ready to do it.
- Embrace the power of empathy! This applies to your personal grief journey and the journey of those around you. It is essential that you are receiving the ever-so-important gift of empathy from the people around you. It is equally important that you are extending it to those who are grieving. Empathy is what people want and need more than anything else in their journey through grief. The problem is that they don’t often know that!
- Don’t be searching for fast fixes. Take it one day at a time. If there was an overnight solution, you would have heard about it by now!
- Keep the memories alive! It is ok, really!
- What is the most important thing you need to do? Something! Do something. Understand that there are many resources available to you! Here is a great starting list:
o Scripture, Prayer & Presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit
o The healing power of Christ
o Your Family
o Your Friends
o Your Church
o Your Co-workers
o Support groups in the community or the church. One of the most popular church support groups is Grief Share at http://www.griefshare.com/
o Great Books!
o Christian Counseling
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Do you want to know who we are going to hire? Yeah, me too. Keep praying for us. Here is how we have been praying...Lord, you have already selected our next Youth Pastor, so please help us listen to you so that you can lead us to them.
Monday, January 28, 2008
If you have not seen it, I guarantee you that you will be surprised by how cool it is! I am so excited that I went upstairs to see it 3 different times today. The paint is done, the carpet is in (fun carpet, I might add), flat screen TV'S abound and the sound system will be finished within the hour. I will post a pic soon!
Grand Opening TBA...
Sunday, January 27, 2008
- Got back last night from a great time in Lancaster County with the family. That is such a cool place to hang out. Relaxing. And the way of life of the Amish always does something to my world view. It's hard to explain, but it's good. Great bonding time, too.
- Davis can now say 5-10 different words, is walking all over the place, climbing stairs, backing off of furniture and his favorite thing to do is to play ball. So fun!
- Church was great again this morning! Attendance has been low the month of January. Not sure why. But, unity and energy have been high. We have had some great services where we have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and for some reason the numbers have not sidetracked me like they would have a few years ago. I want to be faithful to developing and impacting who is there! I will let the Lord deal with who is not there (and making sure that the bills stay paid...sometimes less people means less money...not sure what today's offering was, but we have been low this month).
- I have always said, "numbers are not the vision, but they are a product of the vision!!" We look at the numbers and watch them, but they do not always define the health of where we are.
- We are hosting Safe Haven homeless ministry at the church all week. Pray for this to be a time of great ministry to the men that will be sleeping in our facility.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Oh, by the way, I wanted to let you know that miracles do still happen! I got my recent masters project back. I got an "A"! Modern day miracle, trust me.
--Love to you!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I will be spending time with Rick Warren and and other great leaders on February 4th, Lord willing! I am excited for this.
(In case you do not know Rick Warren, he is the Pastor of Saddleback Church and the Author of the Best Seller, "The Purpose Driven Life.")
Pray for Kenya! We have received word that the situation in Kenya has become increasingly serious. We learned from EMM (Eastern Mennonite Missions) that Clair and Beth Good (Friends of Pastor Nelson and EMM leaders in Kenya…he spoke at CCF last year) are there, but earlier in the week were restricted to Nairobi. Sunday they were to fly to some of the church areas where the unrest was greatest. When they arrived they found 1,260 people in a camp; removed from their homes. Over 1/2 were children. The conditions described are very bad. EMM is trying to collect $100,000 to send. So, CCF will be participating not only through prayer, but we will be taking up a special second offering this Sunday for this purpose.
The good news is…Pastor Nelson just told me that political leaders have met today and they are negotiating for peace. That may be taking a turn for the better, but the humanitarian needs still exist. Be praying!
(There is info on EMM's website if you click here.)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
We do not see each other enough (as a people of God) outside of a context that has an agenda. Something powerful happens when we gather together with no agenda and allow the Holy Spirit to set the agenda.
Think about that. I thought that was good stuff. There is almost always an agenda. When is the last time that you gathered with people in the church just to be together? The early church may have done so regularly, even daily. No agenda, no purpose, no hurry. I am afraid that even in our families this is an issue. Are there times (often enough) that you are just WITH your family? No agenda, no activity, no purpose that caused you to join other than to be together. The Holy Spirit might just do some unique things if we experienced more non-agenda'd togetherness.
I miss Tricia and Davis. Can't wait to see them! Will be back late tonight.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Love to you from COLD Virginia.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I am not sure whether I will pick up Internet access while I am away or not. If I do, I will holla at you when I check email. If not, I will be out of the blogosphere for the next few days.
--Much love and don't freeze out there!!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
For His returning we watch and we pray
We will be ready the dawn of that day
We'll join in singing with all the redeemed
'Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King!!!
Thank God for the hope of eternity!!
I also want to thank the Lord for His presence during our message time. Sometimes I feel like I am just rambling and not sure that I am connecting or making sense. There is lots that I DON'T know. Welcome to leadership. But there are a few things that I do know. I do know that people are engaging these last few weeks!! There is eye contact and non verbal communication during this message series and especially this morning that is showing me that people are engaged with what is being shared. I am incredibly thankful for that. As a leader and a Pastor, I want so badly to cast vision that ends up settling deep into the hearts of people. 'Cause Vision is just a dream if people don't help live it into reality! I have to remind myself that I plant or water....God brings the increase! I will keep casting, planting and watering...God will move the hearts. He is so good at it after all!
I could type a long time today....my heart is full of joy for what God is doing in HIS church! But, I'll stop, because they say people don't like to read long blog entries (one of the things in my Dummies book). I will end with this and keep typing somewhere else, smile.
One last thing...
Mark my word: Something is happening at Capital Christian Fellowship right now! Something special. Something new. Something deeply spiritual. It won't all be a walk in the park, it will take patience and we may lose a few folks, but it will shape the future of this great fellowship in a way that we will never regret! I believe that one day we will look up and see a church packed with disciples who are loving God, loving people and making disciples! Write that in your book.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I don't write as much on weekends. And you don't read as much on weekends. Saturdays and Sunday usually have half the hits that Mondays- Fridays have. I am not sure whether I don't write because you don't read OR whether you don't read because I don't write. Either way, it is a reality.
...Just one of the things that I am learning as I become more acquainted with the Blogosphere.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Oh, and I had him come up on the stage and talk to the crowd before I sang one of my numbers.
The snow caused us to cancel our Executive Board Meeting last evening allowing me the extra time to finish up my work. It is all done now, baby! The feeling is so good!
Thanks for all of your prayers, comments and encouragement. I heard from several of you.
I got one email with this quote....so appropriate:
"If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done around here!"
Now, off to an extended sound check at the church for our Southern Gospel Concert (which is tonight at 7pm!)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I just took a break to check email and to post this and tell ye who read this today to send one up for me!! ...to finish this assignment and to be healed from the disease of procrastination that haunts me academically. If it is church or ministry stuff, I will get it done early. If it is schoolwork....forget about it....until that day it is due.
--In need of divine intervention!
A good friend of mine encouraged me last night with these words: "Cursed are procrastinators among men!"
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We are blessed that he sleeps 12 hours a night, but we hate that our evening with him is over at 7:30pm. At least we get Mommy and Daddy time. Being a parent has been so fun for us! Waiting on #2!
I am getting very excited to see who comes and to hear what they have to contribute. I am expecting some very good stuff to emerge from our time together.
This will be our first of many of these events!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Growth because...Lots of people coming and joining into membership with only a few of them connecting, embracing a shared purpose (if there is one) or being discipled.
Here is the kind of church growth we do want:
Growth because...The people you have (Jesus started with 12) are connecting, embracing a shared purpose, and being discipled and it influences many people who are unchurched or dechurched to join in and do the same (Jesus now has 2 Billion)!!
Saturday, February 9th- Sunday February 10th!
Providing leadership for our weekend will be Dr. Ron Hall and his wife Linda. Dr. Hall and Linda have been married for 27 years and have three sons. Ron Hall is currently in his ninth year at Valley Forge Christian College serving as a full time faculty member and Church Ministries Chair. Prior to this he pastored and planted churches for eighteen years. Dr. Hall’s specialty is life and relationship development. His doctoral work surrounded relationships among individuals, families, Christians, non-believers and churches. He has worked with thousands of couples and students on relationship issues.
Saturday, February 9th:
9:30am-11:30am- Specific Session for Married Couples! Fresh tools and hope for a healthier marriage!
1:00pm-2:30pm- General Session on healthy communication and relationships. This is a session for all! Teaching will apply to relationships at home and at work!
7:30pm- Evening of Inspirational music with Trevor Hall, Acoustical guitarist (will post more details about Trevor and this event in a later blog)
Sunday, February 10th:
8:30am & 10:30am Morning Services, Dr. Ron Hall will be sharing a Biblical message on the theme of “Equipping for Healthy Relationships”
Also, there will be more music from Acoustical Guitarist, Trevor Hall in both morning services.
Look forward to YOU being a part of this special weekend! Start inviting people now! Direct them to my blog for now or plan to pick up a flyer for the event this Sunday!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Here is why I share this...
It is so difficult to know whether people are tracking with and connecting with our new simplified purpose statement that I have been preaching on for the last few weeks. I see eyes that look engaged. I receive a note or comment here and there indicating commitment. That let's me know where 5-10 people are. And that's great! But, what about the other 300-400? Are they feeling it? This is another one of those unmeasurables that I am talking about! Will know in time. By fruit!
Lord, it is so incredibly important that we move in sync as a community at CCF! Unify us and rally us around the shared purpose of LOVING YOU and LOVING PEOPLE!!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I am tired tonight! We walked the mall and the lake today. We exercised enough for 3 days...need to exercise enough for 300! I could so go to bed right now, but I would rather watch my second NFL playoff game of the day. Last night, I was tired, but I preferred to be with my girlfriend...until 3:00am!!! We stayed up like we had no sense!
Anyway, do you ever feel frustrated when you get tired? I mean, there is so much cool stuff we could accomplish if we didn't have to sleep. Such is life. And don't get me wrong, I love my sleep as much as the next guy. I hit snooze as many times as you do.
Friday, January 11, 2008
You may wonder...why a bookstore? Well, we are really enjoying the planning stages of preparing for my sabbatical this summer. Every 4 years the church gives me a 2-month Sabbatical. It is hard to believe, but 2008 marks my 4th year at CCF (and the start of my 5th). Tricia and I have been enjoying going to bookstores and reading and dreaming about where we will be spending our time away. We know one thing....we will not be in Maryland (for 2 months)! Wow! This will be wild!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I figure if I keep saying it and sharing it, some of us might just start living it. It is really consuming me recently. I have to admit something to you. Right now is the first time in my life that I have ever had such a clear vision! If someone would ask me my vision for CCF 3 years ago, I cringed. Because I was embarrassed. I didn't really know. What a shame! What kind of Pastor doesn't know the vision for the church he is leading? Well, today I was interviewing a candidate for the Youth Pastor position and he had a list of questions. His first question was "What is your vision for CCF for 2008?" Joy filled me! Seriously! I could hardly wait to answer him! I know what it is now!
I wrote the following today in preparation for Next Saturday's discernment morning. If you are a regular reader, it is the same wine in a different glass. Remember, learning is repetition!
Over the last few weeks, we have begun hearing in our messages about the need to simplify our purpose and focus as a church. As I have stated, I believe that these are tone-setting messages for our year and years to come! We have heard that “simple” works and people gravitate toward it. We have also began to take a true look at the way that Jesus illustrated that. He delivered to us 2 simple summary statements that captured what was most important as our purpose and our mission as a church. These 2 statements are known as the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission (Matt 22 and 28). They basically say Love God, Love People and Make Disciples! Scripture is clear that the greatest gift of love that we can give to God is to be His Disciples (and all that entails) and the greatest gift of love that we can give to people is to influence them into becoming disciples (and all that entails). When we look at the early church in the book of Acts, we saw a model and means by which they accomplished this and GREW! It was through Large Group gatherings in temple courts and Small Group gatherings house to house (Acts 5:42).
Understanding this, what would happen if CCF were to simply and clearly define our purpose as:
Loving God & Loving People
(by building disciples through large groups and small groups)What would we have to start doing differently?
What would we need to stop doing?
How would we all share in this purpose and begin to spread it and live it?
These and other questions are what we will be doing at our morning of discernment and discussion at table groups next Saturday at 9:00am here at CCF!
I SO hope you are there! This will begin to determine our future as a church!
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
The home page of our current CCF website now has:
- A new link to my blog.
- An advertisement for our upcoming Southern Gospel Event.
- A NOW HIRING link about our open Youth Pastor Position.
- A Link to our January edition of "The Capital", a monthly publication of CCF.
In case you wondered...THERE ARE ALWAYS OPEN MINISTRY POSITIONS AT CCF!!!! Always! There is SO much that we dream of that we cannot do because we do not have people to make it happen.
You wanna help?
For a list of some current ministry opportunities at CCF, CLICK HERE!!
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Comment as much as you would like!! Myself and others enjoy seeing what you have to say. Big thanks to those of you who already do. If you have something negative or private to say or you are unsure as to whether other people or myself would appreciate what you are writing, then be on the safe side and email it to me. Up until now, almost everything that you have said or emailed has been comment-worthy and I have thought to myself..."I wish they would have put that up for others to see".
(I chose to write this encouragement today, because last night I received an outstanding email from a regular reader. She is on staff at a very large and reputable church in PA and she sent me an email explaining that her church is launching a vision, purpose and series of messages that is practically identical to ours! It was encouraging and inspiring! These are the types of things that are great for people to see.)
I appreciate your comments and your reading!
We are just finalizing the details of it today. I will post more information as it takes shape. Stay Tuned!
Monday, January 7, 2008
Anyway, one year ago today, we were at the hospital having a LIFE TRANSPLANT. Truly, our life has not been and will never be the same again. I have learned so much from Davis already. Here are a ten things that he has taught me in my first year as a Dad:
- You can stare at a person with marvel every day without it ever getting old!
- Babies aren't afraid of heights...or counter tops.
- You can love someone else way more than you love yourself.
- Early mornings and late nights are a great time for relationship building (and Barney).
- Leaving work with stuff undone is well worth it if a baby crawls to you when you walk through the door of your house.
- Marriage gets better when you share in creating a life together!
- Diapers leak after 5 hours (especially when Mommy is at work).
- One of God's most overlooked miracles is the way that he forms new life!
- Slow down, because the clock won't!
- My parents must have been machines to have raised 5 as close in age as we were!
“Here is where we must begin just like Jesus. It will be slow, tedious, painful, and probably unnoticed by people at first, but the end result will be glorious, even if we don’t live to see it. Seen this way, though, it becomes a big decision in the ministry.”
--Robert Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Here is the word I felt penetrate my spirit in a strong way over the last week and this morning...
Jesus has already determined our vision (or as I want us to begin saying at CCF...our PURPOSE)!! That solves the questions of what and who? No meetings needed to decide that. Just teaching scripture!
The part that Jesus left us to determine with the help of His Holy Spirit is HOW we do it? Given our context, our place in time, geography, our culture and demography...how do we live out God's purpose for us?
Note: For summarized edition of Jesus' vision for His followers and for his church, see the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). If you don't have the time to link to those verses, it just says to LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE & MAKE DISCIPLES!!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Headed to bed. Our niece, Brianna flies out at 6am tomorrow...gotta love a 4:30 airport run. Will head from there to church! Hoping for a great day of continued vision casting tomorrow!
Friday, January 4, 2008
Notice who is in charge of the remote! Like mother, like son!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
(If you really want to see the new home page, email me and I MIGHT send you the link...not posting it here though. Don't hate!)
Well, while writing the following stuff came out (among other things). I thought I would post it. I hope that it has some shock value on Sunday. That's my intention.
Here is an excerpt/preview from my message this coming Sunday:
First of all, know that I am preaching to this chubby guy right here FIRST and the rest of you can have your toes stepped on or your heart impacted as you wish.
- We are too busy!
- We run too much and too fast.
- We are expecting ourselves to handle way more than we are built to handle.
- Do work right! You have to keep the job or get the raise! If you don’t keep the job or get the raise you will be judged by everyone in your life…because life is all about what people think of you.
- But you gotta stay in this miserable high pressure job anyway whether you like it or not because you have a $2,000+ mortgage payment, loads of bills and ZERO options but to keep doing what you are doing.
- Spend time! Buy this! Buy that. Be kind. Help with the homework. Be patient. Get overwhelmed. Stay strong. Hide the truth. Be open and honest. Family first.
- Get to ball practice. Late for band practice. Christmas concerts…3 of them and you want to sleep through all of them. Family first.
- Text, email, call, deal with emergencies at work….tell your fam you'll have to hang out later. Family first.
What about the fun? The things I like?
What about my friends?
What about the church?
- Be there Sunday.
- Stay after for a meeting.
- Get home late.
- Be here Wednesday…Halftime is great! So is REAL Teens. So is Bible Study. So are Small Groups.
- Come to this event…be at that event.
- Support your church...by being here every time the doors are open…..because that is right and holy…unlike prioritizing your family or your health….or your intimacy with Christ.
Whatever you do….no matter what….STAY BUSY…keep life packed, complicated, complex and overscheduled….so that time can fly by until you die.
I hope you have caught on to the effect and impact that I am trying to make…
Allow this video to further convince you…I am sure you will relate to something in it…..It is called "THE SPIN CYCLE."
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
On work. Off work. Is it a holiday? Is it a trash day? Stores close early. Stores open late. Church on. Church off. School open. School closed. With Christmas and New Years both falling on a Tuesday...Wednesday has become the new Monday. Are you confused yet? Yeah, me too.
I am ready for calendars and schedules to get back to normal. Oh, by the way...only 43 shopping days left until Valentines Day...just go to the store this week and the Valentines Stuff is out already! Ugh!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.
"One reason I blog is because it helps me remember what I should not forget. So every year I go back and re-read my blog as a way of reflecting on the past year. It is amazing how many priceless memories would have been forgotten if I had not blogged them. Lots of memorable moments in 2007."
I totally agree with him and I may start a similar practice. I have only been blogging since September, so I don't have a full year, but here are a few special memories in just 4 months of blogging my memories!
- Seeing TD Jakes Speak
- Learning Golf
- Learning work and home boundaries
- Davis and his ambulance ride
- Redskins Games, wins, & losses
- Masters Work & VFCC
- Talking about sex at Lanham Christian
- Learning balance and boundaries...part 2 and 3 and .....
- Remodeling our bathroom
- Holiday memories...Thanksgiving in the mansion, Christmas with the fam and the church
- Davis dancing, walking, and growing up
- Vision Development for 2008
- And More...
As I look back over 2007, I see the hand of God in our lives in so many ways! Frankly, I wonder how we would have made it through losing Tricia's father without the joy of Davis in our life. We feel like we can truly say of 2007 that the "Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord!"
I am really looking forward to a bright & beautiful 2008 in our home and the church. I hope that your year is as bright as the promises of God!!