Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
- We laughed.
- We learned.
- We sipped coffee and punch.
- We ate cookies.
- We watched.
- We listened.
- We played.
- We sang.
- We reminisced with old music.
- We danced.
- We went home.
For the team of you that not only made this happen, but made this happen with the highest class, I say Thank You!
See you in the morning!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Seeing as how this is our last Sunday before we leave for our Sabbatical, we have decided to invite ALL of you over to our place for a little drop-in open house.
Open House at Pastor Noah and Tricia's
Address: 12405 Stonehaven Lane Bowie MD, 20715
This Sunday, 4pm-8pm
Stop by for a few minutes! We love you and want to give you a hug!
Whole church welcome!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A Sabbatical is an extended time of absence from a position or role for the purpose of renewal or other specific purpose. For pastors, it is a time off intended to encourage spiritual refreshing and renewal for continued long term healthy service.
- You can read about it on Wikipedia by clicking here!!
- You can read what the Mennonite Church has to say about sabbaticals by clicking here!
Why are you going on one?
Each staff member at CCF has a contract agreement of employment. CCF has graciously built into my contract a 2 month sabbatical every 4 years (we are celebrating 5 years, but we postponed it last year). Why else would we be going?
- We receive the obvious benefits of refreshing and renewed perspective spiritually. Great family time and rest.
- The church also benefits!! To name a few of those benefits: the exercise of lay leadership gifts, the increased leadership possibilities of our staff, a reminder that no church is built on a person or a personality, people to learn to trust other leaders, etc.
- Because I want to last here! So many pastors burn out or have moral failures because they focus on leading everyone else and ignore their own growth. This is a time for Noah and God to work on Noah.
Is this basically a long vacation? If so, is it OK for me to be jealous?
No, it is not a vacation. It is a time dedicated for spiritual growth, not simply recreation. Thou shalt not envy.
When do you leave CCF?
This Sunday, May 31 is my last day of service. Sabbatical begins June 1, 2009.
When will you return?
I will be back in the Sunday service on Sunday, August 16th and in the office the 17th.
Where are you going?
We will start with some personal time and vacation and then we will be headed to spend a month+ in Colorado in the Rockies...staring at the beauty of God's creation! Then, I will be flying to Hong Kong to spend the first half of August with the Kauffman's doing missions work there. (Tricia and Davis will not be there for that part...bummer.)
Are Davis and Tricia coming?
What will you be doing?
For the most part, I will spend the first segment of most days in solitude, reading and prayer (in the presence of God). Then, we will do things together as a family. We are actually preparing to do a lot of exploring, hiking and outdoorsy stuff! The area and the weather will both be gorgeous!
Who do I contact if I need something that I would usually contact you about?
The church. Any Staff member. Your Small Group.
Will we still get prayer emails?
Yes. Direct all requests to Jaye or Pastor Nelson. They can both send them.
Who is preaching and who is serving in your role while you are gone?
Pastor Nelson. He will be assuming an Interim Lead Pastor Role while I am away. I have downloaded much of what I do to him over the last few weeks and I am confident that he will do an excellent job serving this summer. He will be preaching and coordinating other communicators throughout the summer.
Now that Tricia works at the church, who will be doing her job in the Kid's Ministry?
Tonya Wood, Rebecca Martin, Lisa Lewis and all the wonderful Capi's Kids workers!
Will you be reachable?
I will be reachable to Staff and Board for emergencies.
Will you be blogging?
Yes. But, much less then I normally would. Check in a couple times a week. During this time, I need to do more listening than talking. More taking in than giving out.
Will you be twittering?
Very little, if at all! I do not want to say no, because if we see something really cool, I may really want to tell you. Like, what if a bear is climbing on our windshield? That would be an AWESOME twitter! You get my point. (Besides, if I say no and then I do, you all will have some comment to make, smile.)
What about emailing?
I will NOT be receiving CCF emails this summer. Jaye Lindo will be serving as my assistant and will be managing my email account while I am away.
Will you be on Facebook?
Very little, if at all! I need to be getting God's Status Updates for a while, not yours.
Will you be reachable by cell phone?
No. Tricia will be. This way, I do not spend my sabbatical texting! The fruit of the spirit is self control. ;-) It will do me well to step away from technology for a while and focus on the Lord.
What about emergencies?
The Staff and Executive Board know what I would want to be contacted for and they know how to reach me in an emergency.
Can I use your car while you are gone?
Can I use your house while you are gone?
What if you really like it where you are going and don't want to come back?
In the words of the Terminator..."I'll be back!"
How can we pray for you this summer?
Pray that with God's help I (we) will lock in new spiritual and physical habits that will go with me for the rest of my life and ministry. Plan to spend time in the presence of God like NEVER before and to be physically fit like NEVER before. Pray also that the 3 of us grow together as a family and make wonderful memories. We truly appreciate your prayer support.
Will we miss you?
Does the sun come up in the morning? Does Billy Graham have a quiet time? Is snow white? You bet we will!! Like crazy!
One more thing....we want each of you to know how thankful that we are for this gift that CCF is giving us! This is not an entitlement or something that we expect, rather a gift that we are grateful to receive!
We love you!
Noah, Tricia and Davis
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A few things are becoming glaringly clear to me recently:
- We have come a long way, baby! But, what we have done at CCF has been more "mission" establishment and clarification, than "vision" development. We have defined the game that every church should be playing. We HAD to to that first. If we do not know what game we are playing, we will never figure out how to win it!
- We have a long way to go, baby! Felt compelled to re-read "Vision Sticks" by Andy Stanley. It is a short read. Read it today. It reminded me of 3 key factors to vision:
- You must clearly name a problem that needs to be solved (people will likely know about the problem)! Without a problem, nobody needs your solution (vision) and nobody needs you! Has CCF clearly and corporately identified the problem in Lanham/PG County/MD Suburbs that we exist to solve?
- Then, you must must offer a clear and compelling solution. How as a church, are we positioned as a solution to that problem?
- The third component to a convincing vision is the reason that something must be done now!! Plenty of people see problems and many have solutions. Few leaders and only excellent organizations decide that something must be done...NOW!! It's more than "why must we do this"? It's "why must we do this now?"
Seeking the Lord on these things. Will you join me?
My task list this week:
-Prepare for Married Life Live
-Prepare to preach this Sunday
I am as nervous as I am excited. But, I AM READY!!! The timing is so right. So right. I wish I could clearly explain why, but suffice it to say:
- I am about to go form some new life-long physical and spiritual habits.
- I am about to go fall in love with Jesus like I never have before.
- The church is more ready right now for me to walk off than ever before in my 5 years here. It is also my sense that this experience will be as good for CCF as it will be for us. You may not see it or know how to name it, but it will be!
- This time is going to allow me to thank God for the 5 year journey thus far and get geared up and ready for 5+ more! It's weird, but I almost look at this coming experience as halftime for a 10 year ministry experience. This is where I know God has called me to be. I am not saying that I am leaving before or after 10 years, I am just saying that I am in this to stay!
Monday, May 25, 2009
- Felt like yesterday's message made impact. There's no way to recreate it here, but suffice it to say that it provoked some people to make a move of obedience in their life that they have been putting off. I've already heard of many people's move (a break up, a make up and a straighten up)! Looking forward to hearing more.
- Saw some people at church yesterday that were back visiting...great to see some friends from afar. Not sure where everyone else was. We had the lowest attendance that we've had in a while. If you miss seeing people, call them! (Yes, I know it in Memorial Day Weekend.)
- Wait til you see the FUN colors that we painted the nurseries yesterday!
- It was amazing how many conversations I had or heard yesterday at church that involved a reference to something someone learned on Facebook. The more people in the church that are connecting on there, the more connected people feel to each others week! I think that it is totally cool!
- I cannot believe that this is my last week in the office before our Sabbatical. I will be blogging about my Sabbatical this week.
- It's Memorial Day and I have a 9am meeting. You gotta do what you gotta do. Sometimes, Pastors need to work when others don't. Personally, I prefer a holiday meeting over a weekend meeting.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Title: "Make a Move!!"
Main Texts: Johns 20: 24-29 and Hebrews 11:6-16
Big Idea: Some of us need to step out, step up, step in and MAKE A MOVE of obedience in our lives. You have been weighing the details, counting the cost and making excuses for far too long and it is time to jump.
It may be:
- A Job Change
- A Relationship Ending
- A Relationship Starting
- A relationship Changing
- A Financial Investment
- Selling something
- Buying something
- Answering a call to ministry
- Moving Back
- Moving Away
See you tomorrow!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I read this on the Swerve Blog today: "Change is good, all the time, and all the time, change is good!" You may or may not agree with this, but is one of Lifechurch's core values.
Whether you are a fan of change or not, there is one thing we know. You nor I can stop it. We can always count on it happening.
I keep tabs/memos/notes over the years. While swapping some memos out of my old phone and into a new one I just got, I ran across this thing I jotted down several years ago and thought I would share it. It shows you how fast change can happen. Things JUST 50 years old (my parents were kids/teenagers), are now so foreign that they are officially hilarious.
Check out what I mean. Quotes from Americans in the 1950's:
- "I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a weeks' groceries for $20.00."
- "If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."
- "I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies anymore. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying "damn" in "Gone With The Wind." It seems every movie has a "hell" or a "damn" in it."
- "Also, it won't be long until couples are sleeping in the same bed in the movies. What is this world coming to?"
- "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if some day they'll be making more than the President."
- "No one can afford to be sick anymore, $35.00 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
There is great freedom, focus and maturity in knowing who you are, what you do and where you are headed (the vision). There is also great freedom in knowing where you are NOT YET AT along that road. So, statements like this can lift a lot of pressure and insecurity off of a leader:
- We do not offer that...
- We do not have that...
- We have not launched that...
- We are not doing that...
- We have not started that...
We are making a beeline toward the vision and and in order to move directly toward excellence in our main purpose, we may have to pass up some good things along the way. The more we drill down on excellence, and the more we prosper, the more we will see the resources come in for some of the good things that we chose to pass up earlier.
We do not offer that....YET!
Perhaps some of you need to get comfortable saying that.
(And please notice that the above statements were NOT accompanied by an apology.)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
I am still pondering what yesterday meant to me. The staff marveled at it again this morning. We shared wins and stories of how well it went.
For those that do not know, we had some water damage and a terrible smell that forced us to need to change the location of our worship service.
We decided at 8:15am that we would be moving our Worship Service from the Worship Center to the Upper Room. That one decision had probably hundreds of implications. To name a few:
- Hundreds of chairs moved up a level
- Hundreds of chairs set up neatly
- Decorations moved up and placed
- Media files copied
- Cords disconnected downstairs and reconnected upstairs
- Instruments moved up
- Drums set up
- Learn a new sound board
- Mix live sound in a new room
- Move pulpit up
- Signage all over building printed and hung fast
- Extra greeters on post to make all transitions easier
- All usher supplies moved up
- Move EntryPoint to another location at the last minute
- And all the other stuff that I have no idea about that people just DID!
I just want to thank every leader and volunteer for the job well done and I want to affirm the whole body for the display of understanding flexibility! Love this church!!!!!
Yesterday showed me:
- Who we are
- What we are made of
- That our team is a team
- That flexibility is a quality to be celebrated
- And that the size of a room can drastically change the dynamics of an experience. Loved the change in feel yesterday!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
As you may imagine, it is not every Saturday night that I am out at a bar. In fact, this may be second or third time in my entire life (and the first time since being married). So, this was quite new for me. I have been wanting to go to one for awhile, so I am glad that I was invited. I did a lot of watching and thinking. I am always trying to learn...for the church...for the kingdom.
Okay, so where am I headed with this? Since leaving there last night and throughout the day today, I have been reflecting on what I learned from the experience. I contemplated whether to blog it and decided that I would (wifey endorsed it). I am not dumb, I know it will make some of the more spiritual Christians mad, but who knows...it may spark some good conversations. Here goes...things I am thinking about:
- People want to have fun after working all week!! They have a LOT of fun at the bar. We need to have more fun at church. Fun factor needs to increase! We are so stinkin' serious so stinkin' often. Why?
- Music breaks down walls. People love to sing together especially when they all know the songs and they dig up memories from different seasons of their lives. Secular music (whatever that is) is familiar music! People know it and they sing it. And plenty of it is morally neutral and totally harmless. We need to stop being afraid of it at church. Not advocating for trash music here, but I am advocating for good music! What's wrong with a little Billy Joel?
- No alcohol is needed for a great evening! We did not need to get drunk to have fun. On the contrary, the lady barfing and stumbling on the sidewalk when we left was miserable. We on the other hand, were not!
- Not every Christian can handle this. Maybe you would be too tempted or lack self control if you were in this environment. If so, don't go! You need to know you!
- People love community. They get it in full at the bar. Affection, attention, compliments, sharing stories and laughter! Could not help but notice that happening all around me last night.
- Tricia and I left after a great time with a spring in our step and romance in the air. Even got me a little smooch in the back of the cab. Something about a night out together seemed to spark us. Not sure how to explain it any more than that, and I am sure that you don't want me to. ;-)
- This was key: my presence (people we were with knew I was a Pastor/Christian) made people less likely to get carried away (brought balance) and more likely to see that just maybe they COULD be a Christian, after all. Not to mention, they were honored that we would come.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I am burdened for marriages!! This is a burden that has been strongly increasing in the last 1-2 months. My heart is heavier than it has ever been for them. The number of marriages under attack at CCF right now is higher than it has ever been (or at least higher than we have ever been aware of). "I'm in the middle of a divorce" seems to roll off of people's tongues as easy as "I subbed my toe." This breaks my heart and troubles my spirit!
While we were at the Drive Conference 2 weeks ago, we heard a man share about his burden for marriages. He said this:
- In the 80's every church needed a youth ministry to be a thriving church with a future.
- In the 90's it become popular that every church needed a thriving children's ministry to be a successful church.
- We can have the most amazing youth and children's ministry under the sun, but if Mom and Dad are a wreck and the home is falling apart, it will not mount to a hill of beans!
- This proves the thing we always hear: The church cannot raise and disciple your kids, they can only assist YOU in doing it. Home will matter more than church any day of the week!
I am not the kind of guy to sit and do nothing. We must act! I'm racking my brain, hitting my knees and asking God what he wants us to do!! Some of the things that I am considering and praying about for us as a community are:
- Increase awareness among the body. (this blog post is a step)
- More Teaching and Preaching on God's design for healthy marriages.
- Perhaps launching a Small Group for people who need marital restoration.
- Fasting for marriages!
- Intense and devoted prayer for marriages!
- Married Life Live event on May 30th at 8pm! (This is AN initiative, not THE answer)
- Professional Christian Counseling referrals made available.
- Intense marriage healing events suggested.
I have thrown out some thoughts here and some possible tactics for engaging this. I am really in the middle of seeking the Lord on this!! What are your thoughts? What is in your heart? What may the Lord be saying to you on this? Please join me in this conversation. Leave a comment.
- It serves as a generic invitation to CCF!
- It invites people to the Large Group/Worship, Small Groups and EntryPoint!
- It clearly states all of our contact info.
- It tells people about and invites them to EntryPoint...the best next step!
- It will be given to every first time guest in their welcome package.
- They will be available every Sunday at the Welcome Center.
- Put some in your car.
- Take some to work.
- Give them to your neighbors.
- I love that they are NOT for a specific event or driven by a date.
- They look professional and represent us well!
- The format matches our website homepage!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)
Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!
This is the Prophet's stance after loads of questions and complaints and wanting to hear from the Lord. He resigns himself to the fact that:
Even though everything really stinks right now...I am going after God!
Gotta love this guy!
- Bring stuff with you to church on Sunday, donate it to you youth and THEY will sell it.
- Bring stuff, buy a table for $10.00 and sell your stuff yourself.
- Donate some money to the youth missions trip. $10-$20 makes a big difference.
- Stay and hang out during the yard sale serving and helping where needed.
All proceeds will go toward the missions trip that the youth will be doing in Baltimore this summer. Here is more info on the trip. You can read all about it on their website by clicking here! Or you can watch the video below.
Monday, May 11, 2009
As I sought the Lord this morning, I heard him gently reminding me to stay faithful. I do not need to figure tomorrow out....today has enough mystery of its own!
So, I just looked up the word faithful in a dictionary. It said: "Loyal, constant and steadfast. True to the facts or the original."
I just want to be faithful:
- Faithful to my time with the Lord and increasing my relationship with Him.
- Faithful to his word.
- Faithful to my wife.
- Faithful to my family.
- Faithful to my call.
- Faithful to my ministry at the church.
- Faithful to the fact, to the original.
- It is my job to be faithful. It is God's job to bring the increase.
- It is my place to remain faithful. It is God's place to bring blessing.
- It is my call to be faithful. It is God's plan to grant me the desires of my heart.
- It is my responsibility to be faithful. It is God's greatest joy to glorify himself in me.
Can you connect? Can you relate? What is being faithful going to look like for you?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
- Tricia is my wife and the wonderful mother of our son Davis! This morning, she preached the Mother's Day message with me at church!! Yes, you read that right. We team taught a message called "Hats Off" out of Proverbs 31. Hats off for the job well done. And hats off..and on and off and on...it is the story of every Mom that is breathing. You wear many hats with care and dedication and we thank you! Happy Mother's Day, Tricia! You did a fantastic Job today and you looked amazingly hot!!!
- Second. many of you know that I am a list person. Well, ever since the first time I ever preached as a teenager, I began keeping record of when, what and where I preached. To date, I have a log of every message I have ever preached. It is now almost 10 pages long. This morning, I preached my 200th sermon. My mother, Pam Kaye is the other special mother in my life...this mother gave me life. She has been a HUGE encourager in my call to ministry. As a result, I dedicated this mornings sermon to her (#200). Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
- The Wife Hat
- The Mom Hat
- The Hard-Worker Hat
- The Selfless Hat
- The God-Fearing Hat
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Well, on April 2nd, we welcomed 2 beautiful kids into our lives. Click HERE to read the post from the day that they arrived!!
Today, we say goodbye! The mother has been approved to regain possession of Naylin and Anthony and the Hunts will be taking them to her this morning at 9:30am.
Last night was hard. Really hard. Harder then any of us thought. You can get really attached to a child in 5 weeks. Last night, Selah and Randy asked me, Tricia, Mom and Dad to have a prayer of release over the kids. Each of us lit a candle for a different purpose. We all wept as we placed the future of these two babies in the hands of a God who loves them with the deepest passion.
- We thanked God for the seeds of love that were planted in the kids.
- We thanked God for the seeds that were planted in Selah and Randy's marriage through this.
- We prayed for their Mom, Sandy. We prayed that salvation would be near!
- We affirmed Selah and Randy for a job very well done!
- We dedicated their destiny to the Lord!
If you are married and are a part of CCF in any way....
PLEASE block your calendar off for Saturday night, May 30th at 8:00pm in the Upper Room for our first ever...
Married Life Live!
This is a night that you will not want to miss! Come as couples! That is all I am going to say about that! It is on!
(Photoshop me, my Mom and my Sister, Selah in...and you have the whole group. They flew home.)
- Our vision is not final. We have come a long way. It has made a big difference. But, it needs honed in a tad more. We will get there.
- We need to all dream ourselves into our ideal role and place in ministry! If we do not dream it and picture it, we will never see it. (more later)
- CCF is unique!! We need to stay way more focused on our potential than our success! What dent are we going to put in the universe? The next 10-20 years are going to be off the chain!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I want nothing more than to lead a church that is making a massive impact on the Kingdom of God! There is so, so, so much that I dream of that we are not doing yet. But I think that creates a healthy tension. OK, so, I've done better this conference. I have been more at peace. I feel like the Lord has been showing me these things:
We plant, we water, GOD brings the increase.
Our attention needs to be on increasing our faithfulness to Jesus and His church.
Our efforts need to be directed at walking in increased character.
Our seeking needs to be after an increased anointing.
God will bring the increased vision, increased numbers, increased offerings, increased influence, increased impact...IN HIS TIMING!!
We ARE in the day we are supposed to be in. We are not SUPPOSED to be any other church. We are having our own unique story written.
I don't want to compare or compete. I want to say thanks to God for the call on my life and his move in his church!
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
- Uncertainty is one thing that is always promised. And Christians should thrive in uncertainty. It is our story. It is the story of scripture.
- God shapes us in uncertainty! Ask someone to tell you the place that they grew the most. It will not be when things were peachy and certain!
- The higher you get in an organization, the more uncertain things get!
- If everything was certain all the time, we would not need leaders. We would just need people to manage the certainty. Uncertainty IS the job description of leaders. Leaders are willing to step out in the middle of the uncertainty and make a move!
- Leaders can afford to be uncertain, but they cannot afford to be unclear!
- Clear...about your vision...that does not change!
- Flexible...with your plans...they do!
I know that God called me! And I know that we are to love God, love people and live as Disciples!
If we keep our eyes on the vision, we will make it through any uncertainty we face.
Monday, May 4, 2009
- After we left church yesterday, we drove to "Drive". This week, 8 CCF leaders are attending the Drive Conference at North Point Community Church.
- Myself, Pastor Nelson and Pastor Mike attended last year and when it was over I said..."I WILL be back next year with a group of people!" It was far and away the best church conference I had ever attended. We are here! God is good.
- Caleb Kaye (Director of Worship)
- Pastor TC (Youth Pastor)
- Carrol Grizzle (Head Usher and Treasurer)
- Pam Kaye (Women's Ministry Leader and EntryPoint Coach)
- Selah Hunt (Head of Greeters and Worship Vocalist) flew down yesterday.
- Carol Roberts (Small Group Leader and Support Groups Leader)
- Jaye Lindo (Director of Operations)
I will be tweeting throughout the conference and may blog some of it if I can.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Watch the Ted and Gayle Haggard interview that Pastor Steven Furtick did at Elevation Church this past Sunday. Powerful! Inspiring! It was evident to me that the Lord has really done a work of renewal in their lives and marriage! Tricia and I found it especially powerful to watch it together as a couple and then pray that the Lord would protect us from the schemes of the enemy for all of our days!
(You do not need to be a Pastor to watch it. All of you should take the time to see it. But, especially those in full time ministry. You will need to set aside 40 minutes to do it.)
Click here to connect to it!