Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Father, thank you for this past year. Thank you for the gift of life in 2008. Thanks for your faithfulness shown in many ways all around the world. Thanks for the many simple signs for your faithfulness and might...like the 365 times that the sun rose and set this year. Lord, even though this year was full of pessimistic reports in our world, you are a great God and the giver of good gifts. Help us to keep focused on what is eternal, not the temporal mess we may see sometimes. Our God, tonight we give you praise through our struggles, rejoice in you, trust your plans, and we know that in our weakness, you are made strong! Thank you for 2008! We praise you for all that you did in our lives and our world!
And now, our King and Friend, we place this coming year into the hands of the one who gives us life and breath. We submit to your leadership, long for your love, desire your will, adore your name, believe in your son, and yearn for your spirit's move in our lives, your church and your world this coming year. God, we ask that this year be a year of healing, hope, restoration, victory, justice, peace, and favor! And, Lord, as we see those things, may we be careful to give you all the glory.
So, Lord, take all of me, all for you! Through Jesus, our Savior and coming King, Amen.
As we were sitting here hanging out, my wife informed me that she read 67 books since March. Yes, you read that right. And the books she reads average about 500 pages each. If you are doing the math, that is about 33,500 pages of reading in 10 months! She loves reading...obviously. But, the crazy thing is that she was a reader when she was a kid and a teen, stopped when she left for college and then started again in March of this year. So, from my perspective, she went from a non-reader to a mad-reader overnight! Crazy amount of books! For the record, I read 1 book for every 10 she reads.
So, now you know our idea of a great night...Noah on the laptop, Tricia with a book, and we are one happy couple! Aren't we exciting? :-)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Well, this morning I worked on the upcoming vision series, "Unstoppable". I was able to get pretty prepared for this Sunday and even start preparation for next week as well. I am officially really excited about these next 2 weeks!! I feel God inspiring me with new clarity and new passion for a vision that was cast a couple thousand years ago. More Sunday.
Monday, December 29, 2008
- Loving Jesus
- Loving Tricia
- Loving Davis
- Vision Casting! Message, series, meetings, discernment....
- Davis turning 1
- Relationship Weekend with Ron and Trevor Hall
- Day spent with Rick Warren
- Upper Room completed and opened!! (And paid for!!!)
- Moving my office upstairs
- Pastor Mike's ministry among us. (and his quick goodbye)
- A new pulpit!
- Getting locked in my office
- Easter 2008; Revivify your passion
- Visiting Seacoast Church
- Finalizing our new Purpose Statement
- Pottery Sunday with live Potter
- International Sunday; Message in a Bottle
- Momentum Message, first ever video sermon
- Mom and Dad's 40th
- Drive Conference 2008
- Postponing my Sabbatical
- Speaking at the LCS Commencement
- I met Twitter!
- Being Garth Brooks on a cruise
- Falling in love with Corn Hole (and making our very own CCF set)
- One Heart Series
- VBS; God's Big Backyard
- Moving! (no small task)
- Cardboard Testimony Sunday
- Welcoming the Kauffman's to CCF (our new Bishop)
- Friend Day 2008
- Merging to ONE service
- Launching Sunday Small Groups (Which have been a big win!)
- Making Connections Curriculum (Go Nelson!)
- Launching our NEW CCF Website!
- Celebrating my one year Blogiversary
- Growing with our Thursday Small Group
- Growing with my Sunday Small Group
- Creating our first ever Annual Ministry Map for 2009
- Development of the Ministry Leaders Team
- Getting a John Deere!
- Attending Willow Creek Group Life Conference in Chicago
- Church Retreat
- Obama elected as President
- Habakkuk Message Series
- Christmas Party & Production; A Twisted Christmas
- Hiring Caleb as Director of Worship
- Hiring TC as Youth Pastor
- Hiring Tricia as Director of Children's Ministry
- Positive shifts in CCF Culture
- Worshiping together every weekend
- Transformed lives!!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Today was so special. Nice, relaxing morning, spreading the gift-giving out over 4 hours. 2 year old kids need a play break between every 2 toys. Lots of homemade gifts exchanged among the family this year. Cool stuff.
We then spent the afternoon and evening at Mom and Dad's. Good times. After cleaning the house up and organizing gifts...Davis is in bed and Tricia and I are spent. We're next. For the whole bed thing.
BTW- Davis's favorite gift was a $20.00 plastic drum set. He has played it. And played it. And played it. Here he is in concert...the little drummer boy:
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Well, just a few moments ago in some alone time of prayer, I feel like the Lord renewed that excitement...but in a fresh way. I felt kind of overwhelmed. Crying a bit even as I write this. I realized that I have even MORE reasons to be excited now than I did when I was a kid. I am excited today because:
- I am a Father and I will get to give my son things he will enjoy tomorrow.
- I will get to see my child smile tomorrow.
- I get to wake up tomorrow morning and say good morning to one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received outside of salvation...my dear wife, Tricia.
- I will wake up in the morning in a warm home way nicer and way bigger than I deserve.
- Tomorrow, I get the joy of knowing that all of my siblings are spreading the love, traditions, and memories that we learned when we were young to their kids. What a multiplication of love that was invested in us as kids!
- I get the privilege of spending Christmas with my parents tomorrow. I don't take that for granted. And now that I am a Dad, I can at least start to imagine the joy that they must find in seeing and enjoying their kids and their kid's kids.
- But above all of that, I am most excited when I think of all that Jesus means to me today in comparison to when I was a little boy waiting at the top of the steps. I have loved Him longer. I have seen more of His faithfulness. I have heard His call. I have watched Him work in His church. I have known his provision. And tomorrow, I get to wake up and celebrate the birthday of Friend like I have never had or will never have!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Rick Warren just recorded this video response to explain to his congregation some of the recent media surrounding his decision to accept Barack Obama's invitation. He says some pretty amazing things here. As far as i am concerned this is one heck of a response! He covers three main areas:
1) Rick re-states his long-held view on the Biblical definition of marriage.
2) Secondly, he discusses civil rights and why he believes no American should be discriminated against.
3) Rick discusses why he accepted the invitation to the inauguration. He also talks about how he will respond to the many attacks and accusations appearing in the news, and why it is vitally important to return love for hate.
I love Rick's heart and respect his Leadership. If you take the time to watch this, I would be interested in what you thought?
Monday, December 22, 2008
- Thought this was profound. Top 10 Predictable Times for Conflict in you Church. We have been through 8 of the 10 in the last 4 years! Wow! Shows how good God has been and how bad we could have been! CCF has done so remarkable adapting to change! Click Here.
- Mark's post today was soooo simple, yet so refreshing. Read it here.
- This one made me laugh today. Sent it to our finance folk for a laugh. Click here to read it. You would be surprised the types of strings people attach to what they give to the church. That's why it is better to give to GOD!
- I have had growing respect for what I see in this leader, Mark Beeson. I am finding his blog to show his steady and accurate theology and his pastoral heart. I really like him. I'd like to meet him one day. This post is the most emotional I have seen him be...but I like what he says!! Click here to read it.
- And this one particular church is the coolest church on the planet. Click here to visit it's site!
- The Skins won yesterday! Yes! It matters not (no playoffs for them). But, yes anyway!!
- In the office today. Meetings, tasks, admin catch-up and organization.
- Dedicating tomorrow to Sunday's message. Want it ready to go before Christmas Eve! As my brother often says, we have a deadline that comes faithfully every 168 hours! So true.
- Looking forward to honoring and announcing some exciting stuff about our finance department at CCF in our service this Sunday. Great things taking shape all over the place at CCF.
- Still not done developing Entry Point. This may be one of those "work til the last minute" things. I just keep wanting to improve it. Planning to launch it mid-January.
--Peace to you!
- Do not let the cultural realities of Christmas hijack the spiritual realities! Remember the gifts that matter most!
- I think that the economic temperature of our day is assisting many families in zeroing in on what Christmas is really about. They just cannot make it about the huge stack of gifts. They do not have the money to.
- This birth in Bethlehem 2k years ago was the manifested initiation of God’s master plan for humanity. To Him be the credit and the glory and the praise for this event! This is God's story! He is the main event!
- If you find yourself thinking that you are JUST YOU...normal, nothing special, usual, ordinary...Be very careful!
- God is really into using these types people. He prefers to chose people based on their faith, not their fame. He uses fisherman and little bothers. The blind and the crippled. Shepherds and hotel employees. Carpenters and teenage girls.
- Carry God's Story
- Communicate God's Love
- Channel God's Transformation
Saturday, December 20, 2008
- I LOVE to organize things! Organizing my garage today was a BLAST! Even fired up the ole John Deere and drove it up and down the street. Purred like a kitten. I looked like a fool, I'm sure.
- 3 Men and 2 babies went shopping this morning. Wish you could have been a fly on the wall.
- I used to sing in church. I gave that up to speak in church. Kinda required for my role. I would sing more, but I do not feel comfortable doing it too often....hard to explain. So, I sing once or twice a year. Tomorrow is one of those days.
- Excited about service tomorrow. Planned a 10 minute meditation entitled "The Extraordinary Potential of the Ordinary." Planned for 10 minutes....which means I will talk for 20!
- Church offices are only open 2 days this week. Gotta get er done Monday and Tuesday and then, it's Christmas Time!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
- We own about 18 acres here at CCF (5.5 that our building is on and a 13 acre plot bordering us to the back of our lot).
- The lot directly to the east of us has been for sale. (it is 210 feet of frontage, 1.4 acres and bordering us)
- We tried to buy it last year. They aren't making new land, you know. After negotiating and discerning, we did not feel like the price or the time was right for us. We kind of hoped it would stay available, the price would drop and then we would buy it. We could REALLY use it for parking.
- Found out 3 weeks ago that it was under contract to another church. Found out today that it settled.
- Saw a church van parked in front of the lot on my way back from lunch today. On the side it said "Christ Dominion Church of God". I asked to be dropped off there.
- I approached the van and introduced myself as the Lead Pastor of CCF. Turns out it was the Lead Pastor of Christ Dominion and he was meeting people there to pray.
- The man's name is Pastor Mike. He is a Nigerian Brother. His smile was warm, his spirit was full and vibrant, his heart was blessed to meet me and he oozed the joy of the Lord. WHAT A NICE MAN!!!
- I hopped in his van, we rode up to CCF and I gave him a tour of the property and building.
- The entire time he kept graciously thanking me and the Lord for this divine appointment. He said that the Lord had laid us on their hearts and that somehow we needed to connect and that God was going to stir a meaningful relationship between us.
- At the end of the visit he insisted that he lead us in a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for meeting today. He prayed the stinkin' house down! Period!
- In his prayer he prayed that through our Churches, MILLIONS would be reached. He prayed that through our ministry we would reach Africa and Asia. Now, he is talking my language. Africa and Asia are the 2 continents that we have been feeling a draw to in missions.
- Not sure where this relationship will lead. God is in control.
- But, I know that something clicked in 2 Pastors today. Something started. My slight frustration that a church was building in our front yard turned to joy today.
- Remember this day. God has a plan, we are on His journey and all things will happen in His time.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, January 4th: Unstoppable Vision
Sunday, January 11th: Unstoppable Partners
Here is the first release of the series graphic:
46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
As I read it, I almost heard Mary saying:
- God, you are an amazing and wonderful God and I worship you! (v. 46-v. 50)
- God, you are going to do your thing and it will often be unexpected and unpredictable! (v. 51-v.55)
Know wonder God chose Mary! She may have been an ordinary gal, but she had extraordinary faith and usability!
What about you? Are you ready for God to use you for an awesome task?
Be in church Sunday as we unpack this more in my mini-christmas-message "The Extraordinary Potential of the Ordinary"!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Look, there is a whole lot more that I could say about the value of hiring from within and putting people in leadership that have been faithful, know the culture and champion the vision! It is a win, win, win.
So, if you have not already heard, CCF is excited to welcome to the staff:
- Caleb Kaye as our Director of Worhsip (leading worship, production, media and many of the Sunday morning logistics)
- Thurman Custis (Pastor TC) is back on the team as Youth Pastor (leadership for 7th-12 grade)
- Tricia Kaye as our Director of Children's Ministry (leadership for birth-6th grade)
They will start January 5, 2009. Lots more info to come. Be wathing as we feature our new and improved CCF Staff in 2009!
Monday, December 15, 2008
- Hello San Antonio. You visit faithfully, but I have no clue who you are.
- Hello Falls Church, Alexandria and Springfield, VA. Not sure how this is possible, but you seem to have visited more than the state of Maryland this month!
- Hello York Springs, PA.
- Hello NYC! Not sure who you are, but see you visit daily.
- Hello Guatemala! I know it's you, Anna Mae. Excited to see you in a few months.
- Hello to the many more all over the country. I know who a lot of you are in FL, NH, SC, CA, CO, MI, GA, OH, etc...
We had an appointment to dedicate a baby in a home tonight. Well, I have been to their home before, so I knew where to go! I drove us there with confidence and then called from the parking lot to see which apartment number...but I called from THE WRONG PARKING LOT!!! I was in a wrong city in the wrong direction!! THEN, I decided to plug into the GPS and we made it with no problem.
Love my memory. Go ahead, do me wrong. I will forget in a week.
Well, here is the man behind the project...her husband, Matt, who is also a beast! By the way, he is on our Executive Board. I bet you won't find a Pastor with a "stronger board member!"
This video is fun. Check it out! I love the way that he incorporated scripture. Oh, and he made this video. Hidden talents. I will be telling our media team about this.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
- The Christmas Party was a hugs success. Seriously. Packed, buzzing, energetic, festive....what a church I get to attend!!
- The production, "A Twisted Christmas" was the bomb. Thanks Sharonda and all who were involved for a job well done!
- A more diverse and original expression you would be hard pressed to find!
- Hershey Park is fun and beautiful in the winter!
- Especially when it is in the 20's and you have 4 babies with you!
- Our weekend was packed. I like it that way. Tricia....not so much, but is getting used to it after being married to me for almost 7 years.
- I heard that there were like 25 kids at the Club 56 laser tag event yesterday. That is a lot of kids for only 2 grades!
- Great service this morning....Nelson preached and really connected. I made some pretty big announcements that I will blog later.
- I cannot believe the real relationships that have been built in my Sunday Morning Small in just a little over 3 months. We have the group over to our home tonight and it was great to have them!
- I started my John Deere in my garage tonight and set off smoke detectors. So fun!
- Santa came down our street on a fire truck tonight. Davis did not have a basket to catch that in. His face was priceless.
- My wife is so thoughtful. She is doing some special 12 days of Christmas thingy for me. So...on the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...a nice lunch at Cheesecake Factory!
- I am tired and want to head to bed.
- I have a pretty full calendar and a very packed task list for this week. Will need to prioritize and think smart.
- I am thankful for Jesus tonight! Baby Jesus, crucified Jesus, risen Jesus and the Jesus who is coming again to take us to our eternal home!
- I hope you walk with him this week as if he is walking with you and in the room with you.....because He is.....He is in your heart!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I read it a few months ago and thought...WOW!! What a provocative passage about the schemes of the enemy to tempt and destroy us. I would suggest you read Proverbs 7.
Well, tonight I found this video on a blog I read. It really caught my attention. Watch this. It will mean a lot more if you read Proverbs 7:10-23 first. Click here to read it! You may see this again later.
Based on Proverbs 7:10-23 from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.
I have received a little feedback that I share about my family too much on my blog. Very thankful for that compliment! (Note: If you don't like my sharing about my family, there are plenty of other websites for you to go visit.)
March 15: International Sunday
March 22: Spring Church Wide Small Group/Message Series Begins
April 12: Easter Sunday
July 20 - 24: Vacation Bible School
September 20: Friend Sunday
October 23 - 25: Church Retreat
In addition, there are many other exciting things on the horizon! They will be advertised in detail in the Capital & Mini as they approach. Be watching! A great year is ahead!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Money is tight for so many of us. Person after person has exclaimed that they “just do not have the money to buy gifts like they want to or used to.” Maybe we can leverage that economic reality this season and bring more much needed attention to the gifts that really matter.
Think of it…clothes wear and rip. Electronics are outdated and replaced by next Christmas. Toys are outgrown or broken by April. Jewelry tarnishes and gets lost. Appliances leak and the new model comes out three weeks after Christmas.On the other hand…family traditions can shape a child, memories carry a lifetime, time spent communicates true love, godly parents can impart integrity, the gift of God’s love extends to a thousand generations, and the gift of Jesus provides us life eternal. Give these gifts this year. They come with a lifetime guarantee and they all mean more to your family than any iPod, Xbox, diamonds or outfit will ever mean.
This Christmas, give the gifts that actually matter!
Written by Pastor Noah for the December 2008 Capital at CCF
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Read the article by clicking here.
But, I thought of you and your business. Anything for you to learn or consider here for your place of employment as you plan for 2009?
You can measure the value that you place on a relationship by the level of discomfort and awkwardness you are willing to engage to make that relationship the best it can possibly be.
The absence of tension and conflict is not the mark of a healthy relationship any more than the absence of heavy breathing and muscle fatigue is the mark of an effective exercise program.
The most fulfilling and productive relationships in my life all have one thing in common: I have initiated or endured very difficult conversations and adjustments along the way to make the relationship what it is. And the relationship is what it is-not in spite of the hard things-but because of the hard things.
Jesus modeled this well with Peter...
- When he asked him not once, not twice...but, three times: “Do you love me?” Needed to do some tough confronting and pushing for Peter to lead the charge at Pentecost.
- Then, in Matthew 16 it is even more wierd when Jesus tells Peter "get thee behind me satan!" Huh?
Do you value the key relationships in your life enough to engage extreme discomfort to keep correct alignment and focus?
Monday, December 8, 2008
I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate God for your ministry. My time at CCF has been pure oil in my open bleeding wounds. In your open doors I found care, embraces, hope, friendship and people who just "be there". I found a safe place where it was ok to be broken. I heard much needed messages of life and grace....
As I am now in-between the broken and starting my journey of healing, I know without a doubt that I could not have made it the last couple years without my ties to CCF. All I know is that the vision and heart of CCF is totally my ticket. Listening at yesterday's business meeting really confirmed that for me. When you were talking about next year's goals/missions and how you viewed this past year, I was so connecting to that, I could have jumped out my seat. I bet that would have made for an exciting meeting, huh :-).
You guys have made me feel right at home. Thank you Pastor Noah, Pastor Nelson and the rest of the leadership team for your love of the people of CCF. Many, many blessings to you guys always!
To God be the glory!