Thursday, April 30, 2009
Title: "Staying Connected When I am Feeling Low"
We are going to look at Elijah and Paul. Two examples of guys that knew a thing or two about depression, anxiety and feeling low.
In I Kings 19, Elijah goes through some full blown depression stages. This Sunday, we will examine this and see how God handled it.
What is the best response to depression?
How does God treat it?
What role should medicine play?
How do we balance practical tools and spiritual power?
See you Sunday! Hope that we learn a few things together from scripture!!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
For example...I KNOW that there are some CCF members and partners are out there that work in the Information Technology field. Are you one? Do you know one? If so, reveal yourself or rat someone else out. Please come out of the wood work.
We are looking for some people that will join Perry Lynch on our IT Team really soon! Are you out there? You will be assisting by responding to trouble tickets from the staff along with a team of other IT folk!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here and let us know! Come on, you can do it. If it is not you, snitch on someone else that you know is an IT guy or gal!
New Service Endings:
After years (literally) or not really being satisfied with how we close our services at CCF, we have finally landed on a plan that is consistent with our vision and that I am very, very excited about. At the close of every Sunday service, the church will be invited to respond in one of 3 ways:
- Love God! Stay in the Worship Center, at the altar or at your seat. Pray alone or with a prayer partner. Connect to God, love on Him and experience his love. The Worship Space will be dedicated to loving God at the close of each service!
- Love People! The lobby, the halls, the parking lot, local restaurants and your homes are great settings to love each other and build relationships. We will ask that those wishing to connect in relationship will head out of the Worship Center and go for it! It is our vision and it is sacred! Love on each other, church!
- Live as Disciples! Discipleship is about following after Jesus and taking steps of growth in Him. Each Sunday we will encourage those people wanting to take the next step in their relationship with God and CCF to head out to the lobby and connect with our EntryPoint coaches at the EntryPoint Lounge.
New EnrtyPoint Lounge:
When you come into the building this Sunday, you will see an attractive EntryPoint Lounge in the opposite corner than the Welcome Center. There will be couches, lamps, and a comfy place to hang out along a BIG EntryPoint Banner. You will not miss it. Coaches will be there to assist people after every service.
It is thrilling to watch the way that our vision is positively impacting everything that we do!! See you Sunday!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Here are a few things that I have read about and been told about, but seeing it happen before my eyes has been more powerful (in a good way). Again, I am still testing some of this, but I am beginning to think that:
The more open and communicative leaders are (even about bad stuff), the less suspicious people are of them. This is one of the reasons I blog! People just want to know what's up.
The bigger a church gets, the smaller the business meetings get! One Lead Pastor recently told me that when they were 50 people, 50 people came to the Business meetings. Now that they are 1,200, 20 people come to the business meeting. And this is a very healthy church, trust me!
The more a church grows and produces fruit, the less people feel the need to be involved in every decision. When trust increases, need for control decreases.
Basically, here is my developing theory: If a church is healthy, the more it grows, the less people feel the need to be involved in vision decisions, ministry decisions, business meetings, etc. The larger you get, the more people want to just be discipled, make relationships and help make the vision happen!! They trust the leaders more and let them lead (unlike many small churches where people think that they need to do the leading and make all the decisions themselves). Let me know if you find a healthy church of over 500 with a congregational rule where the people make all the decisions. The larger you get, the fewer people are at the table to make the decisions, but the right people must be there!
Disclaimer: this post is not intended to advocate for dictatorial leadership, which is not Biblical, rather it is advocating for healthy leadership where the right people are at the table at the right times. Additionally, good leaders are always listening!!
It is an account of a Mother's conversation with her kids about sex. Thankfully, Tricia and I are still a few years away from this. Enjoy.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I continually advocate that we leverage technology for redeeming purposes. I am sick and tired of handing things over to the enemy for his use. We need to hold on to all that we can for the glory of God. We are all in trouble if we just start handing everything that the enemy wants over to him. The heck with that.
Let me just say this straight up! I feel that online social community and networking is allowing relationships and connections to form that are meaningful and pleasing the Lord! I am loving connecting with people on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, etc. I am seeing the online tools being used to grow relationships, evangelize and encourage each other throughout the week.
More on this later....
(By the way...are you on Facebook? Invite me to be your friend, if we aren't already friends!!)
You can buy it at church over the next few weekends.
Or you an purchase it online by clicking here!
For five decades, J. David Eshleman’s passion has been to bring unchurched people to healthy congregations. By encouraging and equipping believers and pastors to reach out to neighbors in the communities around their church buildings, Eshleman has helped numerous churches grow from a few dozen members to, in some cases, several hundred. This book challenges congregations to make disciples not just around the world but in their own backyards.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This video is compliments of Jeff Coats and so very special to me. Saw it for the first time in the service this morning. They called it the prequel the the call. Here it is. Enjoy.
Colossians 1:3 says "I thank my God every time I think of you."
Well, it may not be totally true to tell you that I thank God for you EVERY time I think of you, but certainly MANY of the times.
Here is what came to my heart again this morning. It risks sounding so Cliche, but here goes: This ordination this morning would not be happening without some of the people that the Lord has placed in my life. This morning I want to say THANK YOU!
- Thank you Tricia, my love. This is what has continually been on my heart as I anticipated this morning. People are not going to move forward in fruitful ministry without the love and support a godly spouse. So, here is my deal....Proverbs 31 poses a question: "A wife of noble character, who can find?" The answer: Noah can!! And he did!
- Thank you Mom and Dad for funding the start of this journey and for shaping me as a boy and for STILL shaping me as a man and for as long as you live.
- Thank you sisters and brother (if I do not clump you together, this post will become a book). I am unusually blessed to have one brother and 3 sisters within ten miles of me. They have been ridiculously supportive in this journey. Many trips to PA, many Sunday and CCF, a wedding in NY. A special shout out to my brother who has stood beside me in ministry as one heck of a right hand man. When it comes to ministry, the dude often knows what I am thinking before I do!
- Finally, allow me to just list some of the people that I am deeply thankful for that have shaped my call and development as a leader. Even though I will not write much here, each of these people have been tools of God in my life:
- Bill Fuergeson (Childhood Pastor)
- Dorothy & Francis Furgang (Elder couple that sowed into me as a child)
- David Eshleman (needs no explanation)
- Lew Good (needs no explanation)
- Keith Battle (HS Teacher, now Pastor)
- Pam McComb (HS Teacher)
- Glenn & Helen Hurst (MY CCF Youth Leaders)
- Angie Williams (one of the many that prophecied ministry over my life)
- Paul Lynn (My College Dean of Men whose role I later filled)
- Dan Mortensen (VFCC Supervisor and VP of Student Life and Friend and Mentor)
- Paul Mutchler (Pastor and Ministry Friend)
- Jaye Lindo (See last week's post..Yall don't know how Jaye shapes me)
- Nelson Okanaya (An amazing teammate who has balanced and complimented my leadership and discipled me as much as I have him!)
- Thurman Custis (TC has been a more important part of this CCF ministry season that he knows)
- Joel Arata (everybody needs a friend like this....especially every Pastor. Joel has not missed a beat in my life over the last 15 years!)
I just have to say THANK YOU!
"I thank my God every time I think of you!" Col. 1:3
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
- Set apart by God for a purpose even before birth. (Jer. 1:5)
- "Called" into Christian Ministry at 12 years old at an altar in Lanham, MD.
- Call was confirmed by many people throughout the next 6 years! God was afraid I would forget that I had to go into ministry.
- Never gave 10 seconds thought to any other option. I was to give my life to God for his purposes.
- Looked at Christian Colleges.
- Went to Valley Forge Christian College.
- Worked at Valley Forge Christian College.
- Served as Associate Pastor at CCF.
- Serving now as Lead Pastor at CCF.
- The story is still being written.
This Sunday, April 26th, I will be ordained. Two popular questions have been:
- What is ordination?
- I thought you were already ordained?
Ordination in the Mennonite Church is is an event announcing the confirmation of a lifetime call to ministry (no ring, no robe, no throne chair). It is done after the leader has served faithfully for a period of time, not fresh out of graduation. It takes place once people have observed the leader leading and can affirm that the call of God is truly on them and at work! It is happening at the invitation of my Bishop, Glenn Kauffman and with the blessing and enthusiastic affirmation of CCF and our Conference. The first week of June marks 5 years of ministry at Capital Christian Fellowship.
Sunday will be a meaningful day for me, Tricia, my parents, the church and some of you who are friends that have walked with me. I consider this experience Sunday to be a high honor and I would love to have you there. If you can come, come!
David Eshleman will be preaching. He is my Pastor as a teenager, my predecessor, my former bishop, the man who allowed me to preach for the first time in 1996 and he is my friend!
Thanks to each of you for the role you have played in this whole thing!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Something personal that I have never written here: God told Jaye that she was to work with me. Yes, me. Not CCF. I am STILL not uncomfortable with that. Why me? Who am I that the Lord would send someone to me? Well, after 4 years of squirming in that, I have a lot more peace. I am strating to see why! Jaye is my right hand woman, left arm, my brain when I need one and a joy in my life!
A few more shout outs to others at CCF in administrative seats:
- Michelle Ferando, Bookeeper! She is rocking it in her role! So thankful for Michelle!
- Anna Mae Hess, volunteer receptionist who is as faithful as an employee!
- Brigitte Young, volunteer receptionist. Servant and blessing to us time and time again.
- Carrol Grizzle, Treasuer. Learing the ropes and doing it well!
- Hope I am not missing anyone. If I am, then consider yourself appreciated!
Rich and Sadie are totally devastated as we cannot begin to imagine. They are waiting on more info about the bodies. I am waiting on a call back about what we can DO (other than pray). But, here is what we know we can do. We can pray fervently and passionately for Sadie, Rich and this entire family and situation. The oldest daughter was a Loyola Student. That campus needs prayer for peace too. They all need the peace of God, because they obviously lack understanding. Who would understand this?
I read several of the news articles. Here are 2 that seem to give appropriate information:
Click here for one on MSNBC.
Click here for the one in the Baltimore Sun.
With a heavy heart for a couple I care a lot about,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I am not sure that I believe that there is such a thing as "falling in love". And yes, my wife knows that I think this! (I DO believe in romance and passion and dating your wife and all that good stuff). I hear people talking about "falling in love" and "being in love" all the time and it leaves me frustrated. I hear single people rationalizing stupid decision because they are "in love". I listen while married people tell me that they are just not "in love" anymore. What the heck is that supposed to mean? I think that this way of seeing love is stolen fresh out of Hollywood and off the radio and it's fake.
Falling in love? Makes it sound like you just sort of trip and accidentally land in a big fluffy pile of love. Yeah, ok, right (read sarcastically). I do not believe that real love is discovered one day by accident, but that it is lived out every day on purpose! Truly loving your spouse is shown through years of strong commitment, sacrifice, integrity and faithfulness to the promises you made. True love is not an emotion, a feeling, a goose bump or physical arousal. It is waking up everyday and loving your spouse the way that Jesus loves you. And then doing it again tomorrow. Whether you FEEL like it or not. True love is not based on butterflies and thrill, it is based on doing life with integrity even when those things are gone....and loving doing it!
Here is my personal opinion of what "falling in love" means:
- We just met.
- We have probably been together less than 6 months.
- I am passionately attracted to them and wanna fly when they touch me.
- We have not started fighting yet.
- This feels more thrilling than the other person I was with.
- It's great to finally feel what they feel in the movies and on TV.
Single people: Wait one year before you determine whether you are "in love."
Married people: Do not chase a Soap Opera love story for your marriage. It is not the way it is nor should it be! If you are getting "bored in your marriage," there are a lot of great things to do to liven it up. Longing to "fall in love" again and finding that somewhere else will ruin your life, not liven it up!
What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment.
Monday, April 20, 2009
- Do not share it with anyone and just do it because this idea is so good that there is no chance that we could be wrong.
- We share it and get defensive or hurt if someone challenges it in any way for fear that they may shut it down or stop it. (So, we trump them...making the fact that we even asked them nullified.)
- Builds relational integrity. It shows people that they matter. That what they have to say matters. That you are a listening leader.
- Your vision just gets better. People find holes that you missed. They anticipate challenges with you before you are put on the spot with them later and look like a darn fool.
- Then, they own it with you. All someone needs to do is assist with even one small adjustment to an idea or a plan and you will be amazed how they feel connected to the project and advocate for it. Then, it's bought by many instead of being sold by one!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
- Preached the 3rd of our 6 "Staying Connected" messages this morning! "Staying Connected" is our spring message and small group theme. Today was on "Staying Connected When Relationships Go South."
- We hung out in Galatians 6:1-10. Talked about how we support each other in burden sharing. Some burdens are meant to be shared, some are meant to be shouldered and some are meant to be shed. Lord, give us the wisdom to know when to do which!
- Visiting Reid Temple this morning was a great experience! A few brief comments....it is a Methodist Church! Not sure how I forgot that, but it was liturgical, traditional, say this, chant that, stand, sit, reading, prayer, etc. But mixed into all that was great media, an amazing facility, a warm welcome, and a gospel choir that made me want to weep and dance in the spirit. WOW!! I lie you not! They were fantastic!
- I am pretty excited that I will be ordained next Sunday. I feel love and affirmation from the church and the conference. Thank you for that! I plan to write about my call to ministry soon.
- I have 2 short and 1 long paper due 4/27 to complete my current Masters Class (the one I was at in February). 4/27 is next Monday. My goal: to complete and submit all 3 papers by this Tuesday night at bedtime. Pray for me please that I meet this goal.
- I am sleepy! I need a nap. Gonna do that now and then dive in to paper writing.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Make a BIG DEAL out of the SMALL THINGS, but the RIGHT THINGS!
That does not mean, make a big deal out of their mistakes. That does not mean overreact unnecessarily when they mess up. I am not an advocate for the whole mountain out of molehill thing.
Here is what I mean:
Ooh and ahhh with them over their firsts! First zoo trip, first Ferris wheel ride, first honor roll, first time on the stage at church or school...you get the point. Make a big deal out of small things. Why? Because they ARE a big deal to our kids!
It's the same thing that the Lord does for us. He regularly says..."If it is important to you, then it's important to me. If it is a big deal to you, then it is a big deal to me!"
Well, this morning, Davis experienced his first sunrise at the beach with his Daddy. We ooh'd and ah'd and made a big deal out of it! I LOVE SUNRISES! Here are a few of the pics. I love the one that I accidentally caught of the bird. God is so good to show us his glory every single morning.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
- Drinking 4 liters of the DISGUSTING slimy crap solution was terrible!
- I could have set up an office in the bathroom last night and this morning. Is that TMI?
- But, the procedure was a breeze. I got knocked out and took an awesome nap while the doc did his thing.
- Woke up feeling violated. ;-)
- They did find a Polyp. They removed it and it will be tested for cancer. I will know more in 7-10 days. They seemed to think that it will not be cancerous.
- Otherwise, all is well!
- I am tired, will turn in early and wake up good as new tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Every time I see any doctor or am checked out, I hear the same thing. Everything looks great, Mr. Kaye. Great vitals, BP, etc. You are just fat. Loose weight! (Well, they do not call me fat....they call me obese....which, by the way sounds worse if you ask me). I feel like I have been hearing that since I was in the womb. Been heavy my whole life.
Well, over the last few months I have been having blood appear in my stool semi-regularly. As a result, the Doc is having me get a colonoscopy tomorrow. Needless to say, I am not too happy about it. Clear liquids only today. Nothing at all tomorrow. And the procedure is not until tomorrow afternoon. Anyway, I think that everything will be fine. I feel normal. Do I look it? ;-)
In addition, I have a bulging disc and a herniated disc in my spine. Every so often my back really acts up on me. I live with some minor pain most days.
Why am I sharing this with you?
- So you know this part of me.
- So you can pray with and for me.
- So you know why I am walking funny some days. ;-)
- So you can encourage and push me to take care of myself. I am not afraid to be honest about my health and I am not defensive or hurt when people push me to be healthier. I know that it is because you love me.
- To model transparency. We all have issues physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. We just share them so little that people think that they are alone.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
- Abundant Life Church is building at the corner of Forbes and 193...just 2-3 blocks up the street on the same side as us.
- Christ Dominion Church is about to start building in our front yard! They bought the 1.5 acres for sale immediately to the west of our entrance (yes, the land that we had placed a contract on in 2007...they did not accept our offer).
- I really WANT to connect to the leaders of the Abundant Life Church, but have not made the connection yet. If one of you want to help make that connection for me, that would be great. I want to speak to the Pastor.
- I have already connected with the Pastor of our immediate neighbor. You can read all about our meeting by clicking here and reading my post about it from a while back.
- Why so many churches?
- Will this hurt us?
- Aren't there too many churches in one area?
- What do I/we think about these new churches going up around us?
- Are we upset over this?
- The truth is this: my original reactions and feelings were not as positive or Christlike as they should have been. God has dealt with me.
- Now, I am thrilled that they are moving in.
- Would to God that every piece of land for sale in this city, state and nation be sold to a church!
- Until there are no lost people in PG county, we need more churches!
- These churches are not being built by accident. They are in God's providence. I am pretty sure that God was not surprised or jealous when they broke ground.
- They are not our competition, they are our companions.
- If I have any influence over it, we will be networking and ministering together for the glory of God! Who knows what is ahead.
- We will welcome them to our neighborhood and share our findings. They will learn from us and we will learn from them.
I say this: lots of different people will require lots of different churches to reach them all!
So, keep building!!!
Why should we place our hope in Jesus?
- Because Jesus always gets the last word.
- Because God did.
- Because we live to die. Christ died to live.
- Because you are going to die soon.
- Because over 2 Billion other people have.
- Because the Bible tells us to...over and over.
- You got a better option?
- Because Jesus is always undefeated!
- I Peter 1:3-5
- Matthew 4:10
- Romans 6:4
- John 10:10
- Job 6:11-13
- Romans 15:4
- Psalm 119
- Romans 15:13
- What you see as dead, he sees as alive. What you see as impossible, he sees as possible. What you have given up on, he still believes in. What you see as grim, God looks at with hope.
- Jesus won at the temple, the town, the cross, the grave, my life, your life and he will win for all of eternity!
- With him, there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have become hopeless.
- Buddha is not coming back for his disciples… he’s in a grave. Mohammad is not coming back for his disciples… he’s in a tomb. BUT my God is coming back for me and you and He is ALIVE!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This is the first quiet time I have had since church let out. Glad to be resting for a little while before bed. I am actually sitting here listening to worship music and rejoicing in God's grace! My heart is full of joy tonight. I want to share a few of the reasons why.
- The service this morning was fantastic. Best Easter I can ever remember. Lives were given fresh HOPE!!
- EntryPoint was off the chain again. That is an every week thing, though, honestly.
- The worship team led great and looked great, but more important than that, they worshiped! So we worshiped!
- Somehow the Ushers got (almost) everyone a seat! We were packed in tight this morning.
- We had 457 people in Worship this morning. Numbers are not the vision, but we believe that they are a product of the vision.
- With that many people, it is as if i can't tell you 10 people that I actually "saw". That is the challenge of a crowd like that. It looked like a sea of people.
- Finally, the greatest highlight for me was this: I prayed all week that people would turn to Jesus for the first time or for the first time in a long time in the service today. That prayer was answered!! The altars were full of people putting new and renewed hope in Jesus!! The stories are still flowing in. Thanks Jesus. You said that is you be lifted up, you will draw all men unto you. Thanks for keeping that promise.
- (I will post a skeleton of my message notes soon.)
We played the Golden Girls theme song this morning while we filled out our connection cards. This song rocks, huh?!?! Well, when we were done, I showed the picture of the Golden Girls on the screen and said that Nelson, Caleb, TC and I were the Golden Boys!
Then...I got this image emailed to me from Matt Straughn a few minutes ago (Matt was one the vocalists on the stage this morning. Good guy!) Thanks, Matt. We'll just let Caleb, Nelson and TC find this on here soon.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
In sports, undefeated seasons are VERY RARE! We've got the 72 Dolphins and of course the UConn Women this year. But, in most sports it is not really even possible because the length of the season.
People go ballistic over undefeated teams or teams that have undefeated seasons! They get whack! They brag and carry on for years! They make history.
When Jesus was on the earth, he was undefeated..and he STILL IS!!!
- Jesus was undefeated in the temple.
- He was undefeated by his enemies.
- He was undefeated by the cross (even though it seemed as though he was defeated).
- Heck, he was even undefeated by the grave!! He rose! And tomorrow we celebrate that!
- He has not lost a game yet!
- There has never been a season for him that was not a perfect season.
- He will not be defeated by your issues, challenges or circumstances.
- You will not stump him.
- He will outplay us on either side of the ball!
- If you think that he is losing, he is probably bluffing.
- If you think that he is aloof or falling asleep, he is probably waiting on you to wake up and get in the game!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
- Last Sunday was Palm Sunday marking Jesus's triumphal entry.
- Then, some traditions celebrate Holy Monday (Fig Monday), Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday).
- Today was Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) marking the last meal that Jesus shared with the Apostles and the institution of communion as we know it.
- Tomorrow is Good Friday...the day that we recognize, mourn and experience the death of Jesus and it's meaning in our life and eternity.
- This Sunday is Easter...the day that we celebrate a Risen Jesus and the power and plan of God that raised him from the dead!
- Stop...and reflect on what this week represents.
- Think...about how much God incorporated you into His master plan.
- Read...the events of this week in the gospels and ask the Lord to show you new things.
- Listen...to what God wants to communicate to you this week. He is speaking.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
One of the greatest joys of my service at CCF has been learning to know the strengths and gifts of the different cultures in our church. Here is one thing that I have learned: Typically, Africans know how to name their kids!!! The names have meaning! They connect to stories of life. They connect to faith. They proclaim the hand of God in a family. Sure, they are often hard to pronounce and promise to be misspelled, but they have intention and meaning.
Here are the names of Ike and Uche's 2 kids:
Chiemerie- God has won the battle.
Somglie- Come and rejoice with us.
Dubem- Lead me, oh Lord.
Zimchikachim- Show me the God that is greater than my God! (Then, they said: “And we have been waiting....and are still waiting. No one has shown us yet!”)
Well John, Mary, Mike, Sue, Bill, and all of my other American friends...do you think this is as cool as I do?!?!
- We all know that people say "kids need you to be consistent." Let me just say this...PEOPLE are right. Consistency works. The less we waiver, the less he waivers.
- Hollow threats are ineffective, but oh so popular!!! "If you don't stop, I will _____!" "If you do that one more time, I am going to _______." If what you said is true....and you will do what you said, then use that approach. If you are not going to get up off your butt and do it, then it is better to keep quiet. Hollow threats are broken promises. No one respects promise breakers. Not even a 2 year old.
- Eyes, voice and tone (out of relationship) are almost always a far better discipline tool than belts, spoons and hands (out of reaction). Nothing would please me more than for Davis to respond to my look or my words so that I never have to escalate my discipline response beyond that. (Keep dreaming, huh?)
- Praise the good things way more than you correct the bad ones! If you have that flip flopped, you are not looking for the good stuff, but watching for the bad. It is your bad programming, not your kids bad behavior.
- Sing together as a family. May feel cheesy, but it is worth it! They are kids! (We sing "Jesus Loves Me" on the reg.)
- Explain things that they probably don't get. They may get some of it now and some of it later. But they gotta get it somehow. Don't wait til they are ready...whatever that means.
- Make big deals out of small things. We went crazy over all the different shells yesterday. As if we had never seen one. Remember, they haven't.
- Free toys are the best toys. Davis will find 2 small rocks (too big to swallow) that he likes and play with them for 3 days. Then a stick. Then a leaf. Then repeat. That is stewardship at work in a 2 year old!! LOL!
What do you think of these ideas? You seen any of them at work? Do you have other things to throw into the conversation? Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Who do you know that does not know God?
How do you know that needs to turn back to God?
Who do you know that does not go to church?
Are you bringing them with you?
Will you pray with us that God will move on Easter Sunday at CCF?
- Having a great time here in Miami!
- Melyssa, Adam and Graciella have a beautiful life here. So very happy for them.
- They are really rolling out the red carpet for us.
- Walked South Beach, Lincoln Mall, and Ocean Drive today. If you know much about it, you know we saw some sites. But, it was not as bad as people make it out to be.
- Went to Little Havana, (Calle Ocho) for some Cuban dinner and Cuban coffee.
I am very excited to go to Fellowship Church, Miami tomorrow morning (Ed Young's Miami campus). Will have my heart and my legal pad open. Will share about it tomorrow.
Friday, April 3, 2009
We will be at their home. This is it. Not too shabby, huh?
And this is Graciella Mia:
Tricia informs me that I have never been to Miami. So, here goes. Will hit you up from the Sunshine State.
(I usually do not cut and paste an article, but I just came across this on Ben Rainey's Blog. This article in washingtonpost.com is about Pastor Mark Lehmann of Cornerstone AG right here in Bowie. I used to attend Cornerstone and even interned there in 2000. CLICK HERE to read the article or read it below.)
Some prayer controversy occurred today in the Maryland Senate.
Senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) chastised the pastor of a Bowie church this morning for including too much Jesus in a prayer that opened the day's proceedings. That pastor is now speaking out, saying he was confused and disappointed by the criticism.
Both the House and Senate open each day with a prayer. In the House, delegates take turns doing the honors. Senators invite clergy from their districts to offer words. The prayers are generally ecumenical, occasionally mentioning God, rarely mentioning Jesus. Guidelines advise those who offer the prayer to try to be sensitive to the many faiths of the elected leaders who take part.
Today, Pastor Mark Lehmann, a guest of Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George's), led senators in a lengthy prayer. He quoted King David, he referenced the apostle James, he expressed thanks that senators could put "trust in the hands of a changeless God" in changing times.
He concluded, "We humbly ask these things in the name of the name that is above all names, the matchless name of Jesus our Savior. It is in His name that we pray."
As he descended from the rostrum, Miller piped up. He asked that Lehman's remarks not be journalized--that is, saved for posterity. Then, with annoyance, he asked the secretary of the senate, "Do we see these things ahead of time? Do we?"
Lehmann says, yes, in fact. This is the third time he has prayed in the Maryland senate and, knowing this very issue might come up, he submitted his remarks at 9:30 a.m. and was sure to stick to his prepared text.
"I told them up front that I have to do that--that's how I pray," he said. "To me, to deny Jesus is to deny my faith."
Lehmann said waiting in the Senate lounge before coming to the floor to offer the prayer, he noted a painting featuring a large cross and the words, "the founding of the Maryland."
"To me, if there were ever a time in our state history when we needed help from above, it's now," he said.
Lehmann said he is unlikely to pray with the Maryland General Assembly again.
UPDATE: Lehmann wrote us this morning with a clarification. He'd be happy to lead the Maryland senate in prayer again, if he's allowed to do so in Jesus' name.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
My Sister, Selah and my Brother in Law, Randy have been approved to foster or adopt. They were willing to take kids on a whim if needed. That happened. Today! 3 hours after the first phone call, Naylin and Anthony showed up here. Here they are:
I am so happy for, proud of and excited for Selah and Randy! They have their hearts in the right place. They want to Love these kids while knowing that the length of their impact is in God's hands. They could be here a day, week, month, year or lifetime! Very excited to know that there are 2 sweet babies upstairs asleep and the the Hunt's can start sharing that love they've got! Uncle Nonie and Aunt Tricia are here to help too!
I do think that most of us experience moments that God asks us to lead out in courage. For some, they may be rare. They may be isolated. For others, they may be more often Sigh.
Can I be honest? My life has been chock full of doing difficult things, saying difficult things and making hard decisions in leadership. I could just list them! Because they are hard to forget. To be honest, it is often one of my biggest frustrations with God! Lord, why do you keep electing me to be the person to do the hard thing or say that hard thing. Can you share the wealth with others, God? ;-)
Over and over again, I find myself in a place where I am faced with a decision or meeting or action that requires a lot of courage. In fact, I am facing one today! Let me tell you how I know that I am facing a big "Courage Move" in leadership:
- I avoid it.
- I delay it.
- I try to talk myself into other approaches to take that are less scary (knowing full well that it aint right).
- I make sure that this thing really shouldn't be done by someone else (so I don't have to).
- I devise plans to "soften" what I know I need to say or "fluff up" what I need to do.
So...here is my advice to you:
- If you have not done something in a while that requires some extra courage on your part, you are probably avoiding something that you should be doing. Check that!
- Pay attention to the cautions above and start doing the right thing when you know it is the right thing....not just when you feel like it. If you wait until you feel like it, you may never do it.
- God is going to get his thing done with or without you. Show him that he can count on you so he doesn't pass you up for the next assignment!