Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Matters

Leaders have to ask themselves, "what are we really trying to accomplish?"
A few weeks ago my Pastor asked me a question that caused me to really stop and think.
Thinking is good.

One of the things I've discovered as I've pursued the next step for us and planting a church....IS...If God asked me, "Son, I know you want to do my will; would you want to plant a church or transition a church?" I'd answer Him by saying transition a church.

I'm not saying that church planting is out.
I've written before that I view church planting as a "family" context. I've developed a formula in church planting thinking, in regards to a spiritual son/father---family mindset.
The Parent
The Step Parent
The Illegitimate Child

The "parent" is the church that plants for the reason they see fit.

The "step parent" is an origination that plants for the value of planting. Let me stress there is nothing wrong with this system.

The "illegitimate child" is the person who goes out and does their own thing without having a covering or blessing of the parent or step parent. Perhaps a better term would be "the unauthorized church planter." But you get the point.

I went to a meeting several months ago. It consisted of a couple dozen guys about my age who were looking to church plant.
One thing that stuck out to me is that everyone seemed to want to church plant to "fix" something.
They had a bad experience.
They just came off a church staff.
Their church had a split.
The church they were at wasn't doing something they saw needed to be done.
They wanted to reach a certain demographic.

I too found myself thinking, "that's why I want too as well."
That meeting was many months ago; at the beginning of our journey to one day pastor, since then I believe my reason no longer lines up with the above reasons.

In my longing to be used by God, I know he has guided my path. While on the path to pastor, I know it's important to fall in love with the church, not the perfect church, not your ideal church, not your "dream" church; but the church with all it's warts and imperfections.

This is where I think many have missed the mark in church planting.
The last thing I want to do is reproduce a church that is a reflection of deep rooted frustration.
I'd rather a church that is focused on bringing people into the family of God.
Church families reproducing other church families.

After all, "what are we really trying to accomplish?"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

A very special Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
The Farrell Family

There would have never been a purpose for the cross without the reason for the manger.

Monday, December 21, 2009

15 Years Later

I have a fun little hobby.
Making videos.

For years I've done them as a fun little addition to ministry. I can remember my first ever video edit job. I was 14, had a VHS player, Sony Handycam and a lot of time.
My youth pastor, Preston Smith, wanted a welcome video to show visitors.

The edit was "crude" at best. Hitting pause/record on the VHS player while changing out tapes that would hopefully create an overall feel of our youth group; while holding up hand-drawn pictures to "introduce" each segment.
---I cringe just thinking about it; but it did the job and it was the best we had, and it worked.

Years later, I still enjoy producing videos for ministries; hopefully the quality has improved.
I've entered several contest over the years and have done well. While the Doritos video I produced did not make it to the finals I also got wind of some contest in the Alabama area where we use to live. So we entered (hoping God would breathe on them) because the prize money, although small, would pay the rent for another month.
Sure enough, God indeed has "given daily bread."

Here they are. Enjoy!

1st Place in County Recycling

2nd Place in General Recycling

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Chaos

The word "Christ" and its compounds, including "Christmas", have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. "Christ" was often written as "XP" or "Xt"; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ and ρ used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for "Christ"), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as , is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.

The labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, is a Christian symbol representing Christ.

The occasionally held belief that the "X" represents the cross on which Christ was crucified also has no basis in fact. St Andrew's Cross is X-shaped, but Christ's cross was probably shaped like a T or a †.

Indeed, X-as-chi was associated with Christ long before X-as-cross could be, since the cross as a Christian symbol developed later. (The Greek letter Chi Χ stood for "Christ" in the ancient Greek acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣ ichthys.) While some see the spelling of Christmas as Xmas a threat, others see it as a way to honor the martyrs. The use of X as an abbreviation for "cross" in modern abbreviated writing (e.g. "King's X" for "King's Cross") may have reinforced this assumption.

In ancient Christian art, χ and χρ are abbreviations for Christ's name.[9] In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, X is an abbreviation for Christos, as is XC (the first and last letters in Greek, using the lunate sigma); compare IC for Jesus in Greek.

(The above was taken directly from Wikipedia, and can be viewed in it's fullness here)

This is not a plea that we should all love and enjoy seeing XMAS instead of Christmas on signs or in print. Because, yes, we live in a culture where "XMAS" is thought of as "taking Christ out of Christmas."
If you are like me, you were told that from a Christian who was told that by a Christian.
But the reality is--that is simply not true.

This post is simply meant to spark a thought in your mind about how to react towards people who don't believe the same thing as you.

I know plenty of well meaning and good hearted Christians who get all up in arms when they see an "X" in place of Christmas or hear "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas.
I quickly think of the story of Uzzah. (2 Samuel 6:4-7)
God gave instruction for no one to touch the Ark, the priest of Israel are following it back to Jerusalem pulled by ox and it hits a pothole and the Ark starts to fall off the cart, Uzzah reaches up to catch it and is struck dead by God.

Can you hear that conversation in Heaven?
Uzzah---Um, God? Hey, I was just trying to help....did you see what was about to happen?
God--- I did. But Uzzah, I don't need your help. I can take care of it.
Uzzah---Good point, God. So it would have been better for me to not catch the Ark and let it crash, huh.
Uzzah---I don't know what I was thinking, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

You get the point.

This Christmas lets have a little less chaos by not trying to "help" God out by defending things that really don't matter.
I've discovered the world already knows what we stand against; we typically shout those out pretty loud.
Let's show them the things we are for.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Little Things Part 4

One of the saddest things that happens in life is to see others fail.
None of us want too, none of us plan too.

I've discovered from the stories in the Bible that it's easy for good men to fail.
If it can happen to them, it can happen to me. It's one of the reasons I believe we all must be proactive in accountability.
It's not just enough to hope or wish or pray and believe that you be a person of character, you have to be active in putting systems and processes in place to keep your character in tact.

Life principle number four, "little things always affect others."

Philippians 2:3,4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

In the verses above there is heavy emphasis to value the needs and interests of others above personal needs and desires; the reason is because there is a link between placing values on others and how we act.

If we truly count the cost of our actions before we do them and consider the effects our actions have on others, then it would cause us to reevaluate the little things (or what we consider little) we do.
How many marriages, families, businesses, churches, lives would be whole and happy and successful because someone stopped and counted the cost for their actions by thinking how it affected someone else.

Song of Solomon 2:15 "It's the little foxes that spoil the vine."
Little things don't stay little.
Little things hamper the power of God in our lives.
Little things should not be despised.
Little things always affect others.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Little Things Part 3

Principle one: Little things don’t stay little.

Principle two: Little things hamper the power of God in our lives.

When Jesus tells the story about the master who gives three of his servants different amounts of money to take care of, he makes the statement about the two who acted wisely with their amount, he says, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:23)

In this parable, Jesus, is unfolding the principle in life that “we are managers” and it’s how we manage what we’ve been given that determines how much we will govern in the future.

In my travels I’ve met many “if-only” people. “If only” I had that type of church, “if only” I had that type of youth budget, “if only” I had those talents and abilities, “if only” I had that type of money, if only, if only, if only……

If only is never the real issue because it allows the focus to be in the wrong area. If we really got all our “if only” wishes then we would think it’s all about us and that it’s all ours; when it’s not. Everything comes from God, everything is His; we just manage what he’s given us.

In the parable, it was the master that gave different amounts to the servants. It was then up to the individual how they managed it. Good managers not only made more, they were entrusted with more in the future.

Life principle numbers three when it comes to little things, “little things should not be despised.”

In the story of David and Goliath, after Saul tells David to put on his armor to fight Goliath, David does but the armor didn’t fit and the verse that follows points us back to the little thing principle. (1 Samuel 17:40) “Then HE took HIS staff in HIS hand; and HE chose for HIMSELF five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in HIS shepherd’s bag, in HIS pouch which HE had, and HIS sling was in HIS hand. And HE drew near to the Philistine.”

Everything we have has been given to us by God. He has given us everything we need to accomplish His will for our life. Don’t despise the little things. Whatever “little” is to you: your youth ministry, your church, the class you teach, your job, income, talent, ability; thank God for the opportunity to manage it for Him. Like my friend, Song Flagler says, “Appreciating the little things will keep us in a constant state of thanksgiving."

When we are thankful and take care of the little things God has given us to manage; He gives us more because He sees we've been faithful with what He has already given us.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Things Part 2

At certain times of the year there are words none of us like to hear. In April it’s the word “taxes."

During the holidays it’s the word “debt” and when you were younger it was “cuties.”

But year round there is perhaps one word in the English language that none of us enjoy hearing regardless of age, and that’s the word “obey.”

In Exodus 3, we see God calling Moses to destiny; the burning bush encounter. Moses then goes to his father-n-law to tell him the news and starts heading to Egypt. Then we read in just a few verses later, “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him.” (Exodus 4:24)

As we read, we discover the reason why. Oh, and keep in mind the God of the universe who knows everything, who knew the “issue” before He called Moses in Exodus 3:4, still called Moses.

“Then Zipporah, Moses’ wife, took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses] feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision." (Exodus 4:25)

She knew what the issue was, not obeying God’s command about circumcision

Life principle number two when it comes to little things; “little things hamper the power of God in our lives.”

Moses was a Hebrew and knew that all Hebrew boys were to be circumcised. His son was not, and really if you listen closely you can understand why he wasn’t. You can hear the reasoning at the dinner table. Zipporah, who was not Hebrew tells Moses, “I don’t want that done to my son, besides Moses, you’ll never see your people again, what’s the point?” At the time I’m sure this made sense to Moses. He had no plans to return.

What seemed like a little thing at the time now has become a big problem.

Sound familiar?

Isn’t that true how we justify and rationalize our reasons for not obeying?

The problem is, we are not God. We don’t see everything and know what the future holds. How we choose to obey God’s commands either facilitates or hamper the power of God in our lives.

Choose today to not allow any little act of disobedience to hamper the power of God in your life. Remove those seemingly harmless little justifications for sin or self pleasures that grieve God and allow the power of God to flow through you to fulfill the call He has for you.

Live out your destiny in power.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Things: Part 1

In the Hebrew vineyards, there were watchtowers placed throughout. Men would watch for possible thieves, for animals looking for food. Once an intruder was discovered it was quickly disposed of. However on many occasions the tops of the vine would rot and die to many of the watchman's surprise, they'd then discover the base of the vine had been eaten on and they could not spot this problem from their towers.

Solomon pens these words, "it's the little foxes that spoil the vine." (Song of Solomon 2:15)

Smaller animals not big enough to be seen from the watchtowers were going unnoticed and killing the harvest.

I'd like to share with you four thoughts about "small things" that I'm currently developing a series on, I hope you enjoy them.

Psalms 137:9 is one of the sickest verse if you read it by itself, in fact, it would be some very confusing counsel if followed without the fullness of it's content.
At the time, King David is writing songs about many of the great things of God, and many of the sorrow of Israel. These words that David writes come after an enemy nation's army burnt down their homes, taken their men into captivity, raped their women and killed their children.
David writes, "happy is the one that takes and dashes your baby's heads against the rocks!"

Life principle number one when it comes to little things; "little things don't stay little."

David knew that one day those little babies would grow up and one day be warriors that Israel would do battle with, that would burn their homes, rape their women and kill their men.
In our lives we must be aware of the "little things" that we are playing with and think are "no big deal" or "can give up anytime" or "nothing wrong with" because the truth is, little things don't stay little. God told Cain that "sin lies at the door and it's desire is to rule over you."
Notice God said, "lies" He didn't say busting down the door, or barges in. Sin waits, it starts small, it creeps.
It's a little thing now, but over time it will grow.
Little things don't stay little.

Join me in the ongoing quest to ask God to help me get rid of the "little things" in my life that I've allowed to creep in. He is faithful and His mercy and grace are sufficient to help us overcome the little things before they become big.

Happy bashing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wisdom from a Child

"Daddy, what did you want to be when you grew up?" My six year old daughter asked me.

"Well, for a while, I wanted to me an architect and build things. But then I thought about pursuing acting to become an actor." (mainly due to my drama friends in high school)

"What's an actor?" She responded.
"You know a person who you see on videos and movies. But I really found out what God wanted me to be when I started pastoring." I replied.

"It sounds to me you do all those things; you built a house, churches and us beds and you're in lots of videos and you pastor lots of people." She responded.

Hmm... A people builder, media engaging Pastor. Yes, that does sound about right.

I'm currently putting together information that I will release in January concerning the next steps in our journey as we follow God.
If you'd like to receive an information packet about our next steps and pray with us about it, email me at

Yours for His Kingdom,
Vince Farrell

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'd like some wisdom, please.

There is a saying that goes, “with age comes wisdom.”

Sounds nice, should even be true, right? If you’re like me you’ve met some older people who have no more sense than when they were teens.

James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, ask God, who gives liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

I notice in this verse that there seems to be no age limit on who can ask or receive wisdom. In fact I believe the older I get the more and more I need wisdom.

My father-n-law and I have been talking, praying and seeking God about some plans I’ve shared with him concerning church planting. I want to make sure the time and place is a God thing and not a Vince idea.

He has told me, “Vince, if you make a mistake, you can recover. But at my age if I make a mistake, I die with that mistake.”


Recovery time.

The older we get the more and more we must seek God’s wisdom. A life that constantly seeks out Godly wisdom will one day get the luxury of saying, “at my age, I’ve got some wisdom.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's about the Cargo

I think we've all heard the analogy between small churches and speedboats and larger churches and tankers.

The smaller can make changes quickly much like a speedboat while the larger has to take it's time and move slowly, much like the large church.

I brought up the question of "why" on Face Book and got a lot of good and right answers.
Some were very technologically sound; "the draft and freeboard--speedboat sits on top of water, tanker has a lot below the water line" and "less friction" and "momentum."
Other answers were more deep, such as, "As with life, that which requires a greater investment of time and energy to gain momentum to move, also requires more to change it's course. It's bigger!" Or the classic "your tanker has "fatter" people on it." (Thanks Josh!)

All these answers are true, but one thing I've never thought of until I heard it said from a dear Pastor friend last week was that "it depends also on the cargo." Pastor David Gibson went on to explain that an oil tanker needs about a 5 to 6 mile radius to make it's turn. The reason is due to the liquid cargo; if it makes too sharp of a turn it will cause a shift in weight and the cargo itself will cause the ship to turn over; meaning, it's not just a size issue, it's also about the cargo.

In relating to churches, I know of large churches that were able to make some quick changes without shipwrecking, and some small churches that needed to take their time.
Why? Was it just a size issue? No.
It's about the cargo.

People are the cargo we take with us in every journey. As a leader we need to know our ship and the people on it. If we make a change and the cargo tips over and causes the ship to sink, while the cargo was the result, it was the leader who navigated that way.

Navigate well and remember the cargo.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Goals in the Everyday

"The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream."--Harry Kemp

I got to spend lunch with a man who I love and trust, Ed Huie. I always enjoy our time together and he is someone who I've asked to speak into my life.

Here are some thoughts I've taken away from meeting with him and hearing his wise council, that may be of good encouragement to you as well.

Innate within every human being, there are at least three God-given desires....
  • The desire to worship something bigger than we are.
  • The desire to help those less than we are.
  • The desire to belong to something bigger than we are.
With those desires comes the doors that we either open or close to see them fulfilled or left unaccomplished. Like any door, they have hinges.
Hinges are the seemingly small detail to a door, but without them, the door will never open because a door is just a wall with it's hinges.

In my journey, looking for open doors has become a second nature to me and I've discovered what Ed has said many times is true, "Ministry opportunities aren't really about the door, it's about the hinges---hinges that are full of people who are dedicated, bring a distinction and are dependable."

Choose a goal for which you are willing to exchange a piece of your life. Doing so will result in meaningful relationships that will thrust you into worship, help and belonging bigger than you are.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blocks, Scaffolding and Rocks

During my time in the restaurant business; I managed with the mindset, "people are our greatest assets."
After all, buildings become outdated, tools need revamping, equipment breaks down; but people, people can learn, grow, bend, and adapt. People are our greatest assets.

Then along comes, Jim Collins with his book, "Good to Great" where he expounds on the thought with the "First Who then What" principle and explains that people are not our greatest assets---the RIGHT people are and furthermore the right people in the right spot.
At first glance this sounds like a heartless and even manipulative statement. But I've discovered it's mainly heartless and manipulative leaders who think that; because they interpret out of how they see. (Every one's toes okay? Whew good, I know that wasn't for anyone reading this anyway)

It's true. While we as leaders want everyone to run with the vision, the truth is not everyone will.
I've discovered there are three types of people who run with vision you have.
1. People who run with you.
2. People who don't run with you but hang out for the after party.
3. People who run with you for a while, then change tracks.

I love how my friend, Barry Morton, who church planted four years ago, puts it (as he quotes a mentor of his)
"Some people are like scaffolding; they're important and valuable for the beginning stages of the building, but eventually have to come down."

This is important to know when building, because some simply won't go the distance. They will find something "that needs their help" or "is just getting started"---and they will go.
Don't get discouraged with "scaffolding people."

In building; rocks, blocks and scaffolding all have their place. It's important to know what their place is and allow them to contribute to the level they can.

Getting the right people in the right spot makes all the difference as you lead with vision.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marriage, Points and Manna

I just finished up with a two-day marriage retreat in Summertown, TN.
We had a fantastic time taking a biblical look at marriage and learning some key principles to make our marriages go the distance.

In one session alone I just spent time outlining "The Four Laws of Marriage." They come from Genesis 2: 23-24, which says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

In these two verses God gives us His ways for marriage.
Allow me to share one of the four with you.

"And shall cleave unto his wife." This is the law of pursuit.

Marriage takes work. A healthy marriage is one that is worked on continuously.
The reason why this "law" of marriage tends to fall through the cracks is because by nature we become lazy once we've acquired what we were pursuing.

I call it the "Woo, Woo, Whoa" syndrome. In the early stages of chasing after her; us guys do a lot of "wooing"---we dress nice, buy gifts, open doors (you get the picture) Then once we have her, we "whoa."
Or maybe it's not so much that we "whoa" as much as we don't understand the "point" system.

Yes, there is a point system all of us married guys keep up with; and they are valid points. Washing the dishes. One point.
Vacuuming. One point.
Buying flowers on a "non-special" day. One point.
Voluntary help with the kids. One point. And many more.
The problem is all points evaporate at midnight. They can't be stored up and cashed in when you want. Because love has to be pursued daily and without hidden motivation.

It's the "manna principle." Each day the Israelites were given food from Heaven, but they could only collect enough food for that day. After that day, all the leftover food spoiled and was no good.

In order to be a success in anything; you have to work at it. Sports, career, health, school; if you want it to be better then you have to work at it, but for some reason when it comes to marriage many tend to think they can stop working at it.
Don't be like so many that quit pursuing their spouse once the ring is on the finger; because like day old manna, it will sour and spoil.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Outside the Apple Box Thinkers

Today my family and I enjoyed a wonderful time at the "Apple Festival" in Lincoln, AR. It was about an hour away from where we live; and with clear skies and the weather resting at 68, it was perfect.

There's a question I had pop into my head over and over again as we passed the many display tables. Here it is.
"As a Pastor of a church, what would I do here to stand out from the rest of the booths, to be a blessing to people?"

I say this because I saw two, maybe three church booths that were there. They were selling things. One even had a little basketball hoop set up for kids to play.

So if you would, send my your thoughts on what would be a blessing to people in this type of setting while helping to set a positive image for the church and it's members.
I'm asking for "out of the box" suggestions because I do not consider selling items as a way of accomplishing the goal. (My opinion, not saying it's right or wrong; just not my way of thinking)

*Please note, I am not a Pastor of a church-----not yet ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spiritual Leadership

"Spiritual leadership is moving people on to God's agenda."

There are some distinctive elements that bring clarity between the difference of a leader and a spiritual leader. While spiritual leadership involves many of the same principles as general leadership, spiritual leadership has certain distinctive qualities that must understood and practiced if spiritual leaders are to be successful.

Traits of a Spiritual Leader

1. Influence: The spiritual leader's task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

2. Discernment: Spiritual leaders depend on the Holy Spirit.

3. Accountable: Spiritual leaders are accountable to God and operate with acute sense of accountability; and place people around them to exercise transparency.

4. Kingdom Builders: Spiritual leaders work from God's agenda. It's so easy to slip into pursuing our own agenda rather than seeking God's will.

God does not ask leaders to dream big dreams for him or to solve the problems that confront them. He asks leaders to walk with Him so intimately that, when he reveals what is on his agenda, they will immediately adjust their lives to his will and the results will bring glory to God.

These thoughts were taken from the book, "Spiritual Leadership" by Henry & Richard Blackaby

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Props to Brad

So here I am looking at my blog thinking of what to type when my friend, Brad Post, just posted his blog thoughts.

Several weeks ago I wrote about the difference between "membership and partnership"; Brad's post particularly caught my attention because it reflects some great thoughts concerning the heart of honor.

I met Brad online through blogging and got to meet him and his family in person a couple of months ago when they were traveling from Atlanta to Oklahoma. They were kind enough to make a pit stop in Alma, AR so we could connect.
Check him out on Facebook, his blog, or follow him on Twitter.
Below is his post. I hope you enjoy his blog as much as I do.

Welcome VS Honor
I shared this with our Welcome Team this morning from Turning Point Church at our VIP meeting which was inspired from a conversation I had earlier this week with Larry Brey from Elevation Church from a blog he posted. It covers the difference between welcoming someone and honoring them. This would relate to anyone in church, in business and at the house.

There is a huge difference when we welcome someone into our house, church or business and honor them. Welcoming is great and people feel a sense of security but honoring someone is totally different.

The difference in our Welcome Team:

For our Greeters: is not just handing them a bulletin and saying welcome but if it is their first time and they have children walk them to the children’s check in, talk with them during the process.

For our Parking Team: it is a difference from just waving at them and actually opening the door with them.

For our Ushers and Sanctuary Greeters: it is a difference in saying showing them where the coffee is and making it for them or showing them an open seat and actually taking them to it.

Try this phrase when you see a client, friend or co-worker this week, “It is an honor to see you today.” There is such a greater impact than saying anything else. I used this a few times this Sunday and had a few people look at me like “wow” or they were just looking at me like I was of the two.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Is it Voice mail or Voice jail?

It's been well said, "make sure your voice mail doesn't become a jail."

We live in a time where communication is easier than it's ever been. Cell phones, internet, blogs, Skype, video conferencing, text, email, social networks, the list goes on and on.
With so many ways to get in contact with people, it also means so many ways not to hear from people as well.

Phone calls still reign supreme as the best way to communicate; not only because so many methods can be linked to the cell phone, but because it's more personal hearing the persons voice. There's a level of intimacy that goes with connection on the phone.

Make sure your voice mail doesn't become a jail to those trying to get a hold of you.
As leaders we must be sharp on this issue. It doesn't mean we call back the very second we miss a call; but it does mean we don't let responding to peoples messages go days without returning them.
We're all busy. No one argues that.
But you'd be surprised what reputation you can gain by being quick to respond; or lose by keeping someone waiting in "voice jail."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Membership VS. Partnership

I was at Starbucks with my wife and while we sat and sipped away; I picked up a "Starbucks Gold" card application form. Starbucks has a "membership" program. Pay them a yearly fee and get certain perks. It's nothing new, tons of stores offer this type of program to already paying customers.

Some business, in fact however, won't even let you be a customer without a membership.
Blockbuster video,
Sam's Club,
Anytime Fitness gym are a few I've had in my life

Membership seems to be defined as, "pay a fee and receive benefits from our services."

I dare to say this mentality has spilled over into most churches; after all, every church has a membership.
Membership is referred to when answering the famous "how many" question.
It usually goes something like this: So, how many do you have in the church?" "Well we have about 600 members."
But the actual attendance is around 250.
Membership invites a mental understanding that because "I pay, I should get."

I say all this not to poke fun or degrade churches.
I say all this to encourage a change in our view of church attendees.

I'm not interested in doing things because that's how we always did them. So I throw out this simple thought.
Instead of offering "Church Membership" how about "Church Partnership"

Partnership says, "no matter the cost, I'm committed to the vision of this organization."
Partnership goes way beyond dropping your dues into a plate or clocking in your time at the front door.
Partnership is an understanding that it's not about me and it's not about you; it's about them. Those who don't know Christ.

Now if you're reading this and say, "hey, Vince! What you said about partnership is the exact same thing we have as our membership at church."

Great! I say. But remember that's not what our culture and people in our church understand for the most part.
Think about creating a "Church Partnership" mentality in your ministry and watch what happens.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thoughts from the Week

I just got back from the Indiana area where I spent a great week in ministry.
Friday I spent some one on one time with leaders from XENOX Industries and taught some sessions on youth leadership. Saturday night I spoke to the entire youth ministry and had an awesome time in the presence of God.
Sunday morning was an experience in it's self. It was one of those moments in time when God gives a direct word and confirms it in different ways.
I particular enjoyed my time with Pastor Gibson. There was an instant connection I felt in my spirit with him and the members of Charity Tabernacle.
I could feel months worth of "crud" flake off and a new brokenness as I ministered Sunday morning.

This trip was more than just getting to minister, but it was a week getting to connect with Pastors and pick their brain concerning pastoring.

As I sift through the feelings, information and desires in my heart; I know one thing is a must---
get input from others!

At this point in my life, I don't know if I'm to start a new work, or take over an existing work....but I do know this; it will be pastoring. So, I continue my journey.

Here are some thoughts that I picked up from a couple of pastors, as well as my own thoughts, while traveling last week. Thank you pastors David Gibson and Dehner Maurer for your time.

"I don't ever believe it's God's will to start a church by proselyting other church members."--Vince

"Whatever you do; there will always be a price to pay." --Pastor David Gibson

"The best staff is the one you enjoy doing life together with."--Pastor Dehner Maurer

"Commitment and vision is key, and commitment to the vision is a must"--Vince

"When I think of churches doing plays, I often think, who left it up to the church to handle the entertainment department?!?"--Pastor David Gibson

"You can talk about being a multi-culture church, but if you are----it will show up first in your congregation, be evident in your leadership teams, and in plain sight on your staff." --Dehner Maurer

Friday, July 31, 2009

Connecting the Dots

My son, who just turned four, loves the activity--connect the dots.
When he was younger the game was simple, with only ten dots for him to draw a line to one another to connect.
Now he's on the pages that have up to thirty dots for him to draw a line to connect.

And because he is our son, he has a double dose of "perfectionism." He get's real upset when he realizes that he went the wrong way and connected the wrong dot.

But you should see him when he connects them all properly.
He comes running to me to show off his work of art.
That's awesome! As I take the wonderful picture from his hands to admire.
He beams with pride.

Our life should be a beautiful picture that we can run to God with and say, "look Dad!"
The devil knows this; it's why he tries so many times to get us to miss the dot moment.
What is a dot?
A dot, for us, is a moment in life when you or I have to make a choice or decision.
We choose wisely---a successful connection of the dot to another in our lives.
We choose poorly---we can get off track, make a bad testimony for ourselves; even do some serious damage to our lives, and more than likely we have to go back and retake that "dot moment"---because our heavenly Father loves us that much, He lets us "re-draw."

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NKJV)
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Before I share what I believe are some great "connecting the dot" helpers, please note that the end of verse 9 echoes what is mentioned in the beginning of verse 5.
In a nutshell it tells us, "if you have been saved by grace because of Jesus Christ, then you should be growing in your faith. The elements that are listed, pay attention to and use them in partnership with the power of the Holy Spirit, already in work in you."

Here are three quick thoughts from this scripture that I believe will help us, "add to our faith" and successfully connect the dots in our Christian walk.

1. Practical Biblical Teaching: "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge... " We need to be diligent to learn the Word of God. But not just so we can be a spiritual "know it all." But because it's a key to growing our faith. It's a compass to give direction when we're "on the dot" and need to know which way to go. Biblical knowledge works hand in hand with the Holy Spirit to help us make the proper decision.

2. Private Disciplines: "to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance," This is not my strongest area. However, I've noticed when I give special attention to the "things I don't want to do--but do them anyway" then it becomes easier and easier for me to do them and for me to do a better job at connecting the dots. There seems to be less mess and more beauty.

3. Providential Relationships: "to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. Upon doing some study into this verse, there seems to be some distinction between just "brotherly kindness" and "brother kindness love." In short, the latter is what Christ said the "second greatest commandment is like the first." This is the real rubber meets the road Christian living, but before you can get there you first have to have practiced a lifestyle of showing some "brotherly kindness" to those of like faith.
If you have siblings then you know the fighting is. It's probably why it hurts so much when it happens in the Church. But the point here is that you and I need fellow brothers and sisters that we love enough to be real, honest, loving, truthful, respectful, and compassionate towards; especially if we're to take that love to a word that does not know Him. Providential relationship is one that will always bring you closer to Christ; helps you connect the next dot, even if it hurts. Which means not every Christian friendship will be on that level, and that's okay, but you and I need the people in our life that know how to live "brotherly kindness."

Hope you enjoyed these thoughts and hope they help you when you find yourself on a dot and needing direction to make the next line a successful one. If you have any Biblical revelation on this subject, drop me a line, I'd love to here it.
I'm sharing this message in a couple of weeks to a wonderful youth ministry called, Ignited. God is doing amazing things in the church. Their youth are running around five hundred in weekly attendance and is filled with young men and women who love God and are making difference in their town.

Make beautiful pictures, connect the dots.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Difference

I'm here in Mexico, and tomorrow I get the honor to speak to hundreds of Pastors in the morning service.
The theme of the conference is called, "Making History." While at the same time there is a special service to honor my father-n-law, Dale Yerton, for his 40 years of ministry to Mexico.
Here is what I feel in my heart to share.

The Difference
I've always looked at my relationship with Dale as a Paul/Timothy relationship. He truly is more than just a spiritual father; however, it was when we were ministering in Peru together that the Pastor introduced us as "Moses and Joshua."
That phrase has echoed in my ears.

What could I say to a group of pastors who many have served for years in their churches, some just starting out?
What words do I pen to drive home the theme, "Making History"?

I've chosen to look at two major time frames in the life of Moses. When it comes to making history, Moses sure does take the top of the list. But the thing that I want to point is when he was first "called into ministry" and when he "exits the ministry."

Think about this: Moses was the first person ever called into full-time vocational ministry.

Many people up to this point loved God, lived for God, did great things for God; however Moses was the first who had the responsibility to "pastor" people.

Question: What will be the difference between you making history and watching history being made?

The Beginning
When called by God Moses gives five excuses or reasons why he can't be the one. We all do this. Each time God gives Moses the answer. I'll paraphrase, you can find this in
Exodus 3 and 4.
1. Moses, Who am I?
God, You're the one I'm with.
2. Moses, Who are you?
God, I AM, so don't worry about it.
3. Moses, What if they don't believe.
God, I turn dead things alive, I'm not worried about unbelief.
4. Moses, I'm not adequate for the job.
God, are you saying I make poor choices?
5. Moses, Is there anyone else you could send?
God, I know the value of relationships, I'll give you a helper.

In the midst of all this, God asks Moses a question, "What is in your hand?" Moses responds, "a rod." After this God does a miracle.
Two things about this. 1. When God asks a question its not because He doesn't know the answer, and 2. God never does a miracle to "show off."

The rod represented 3 things about Moses: his identity, his income and his influence. It's as if God is saying, "Moses as long as you hold on to that which is in your hand it will remain dead, but if you give me your identity, your influence, your income, I'll make that thing that is dead, become alive."
It was after this Moses's staff is forever called, "The Rod of God."

The Difference? Will you hold on or will you give over?

The End

There is so much I write about this but I want to keep it short, so here I try. This happens in Numbers 27:12.
God tells Moses, "your purpose in live will be completed, even though you won't get to go into the promise land, your people will. You're going to die here, they will enter the land."
Point---When a man of God dies, the plans of God do not.
We all leave some day. It may be by death, resignation, firing, etc. The plans of God will continue after we're gone. So who (to pastors) are you going to hand the torch to?

Moses only has two requests, (found in verse 16-17) 1. God you decide who it should be. It's amazing that Moses didn't bring a list and say, "here are some that I've been looking at, what do you think?" He simply says, "God whoever you want, I want." 2. "Let him be a person with the people." Someone who is a people person, good with people, someone who doesn't shy away from being there in the midst of the people." It's not to say that administration skills or teaching, preaching skills aren't needed but it's not the main thing.
God tells him it will be, Joshua.

Why Joshua? What's the difference between Joshua and anyone else. Up to this point only two were qualified, Caleb and Joshua. (ten spy ordeal) But we see that it was Joshua that served Moses from his youth. Joshua knew the heart of Moses and had been with Moses as an armor bearer. I think this has great significance in the Kingdom.
I think it's the difference worth paying attention to.

Footnote: This is in my heart, I see it in scripture, I think it's one of the greatest mistakes we as leaders/pastors and young leaders make. There is a difference between success and significance. Pastors you must think beyond your years. I thank God for Willy George in waking up a church in the 90's with the understanding of "turning the hearts of the father to the children" youth movement. But it must not end there. We need some spiritual fathers turning their heart to some spiritual sons and let God pick who its going to be after you're gone.

For those of you who know me, you know I enter a lot of "youtube" video contest. I got a rude awakening with one of the contest. In the detail entry it said, "if you're old, you can't enter." I laughed and clicked on it, to discover no one over the age of 25 was allowed to enter. Now I'm 33 and not old, but you know what? Yea! Probably some truth in there.

If you're a Pastor in your 30's, now is the time to start fathering as many as you can.
If you're a Pastor in your 40's, it's not to late, but you do have one day less than you did yesterday!
If you're in your 50's, and your not fathering, shame on you because you're not seeing the big picture. You think you're in your prime, and you're not. (don't confuse prime with relevant)
If you're in your 60's and your just starting the process----you're probably just looking for someone to keep doing what you did. Keep everyone happy, don't rock the boat, after all you've been successful---keep the success going, right? Nope, here's a truth, your predecessor will most always be different than you. (and that's good)
Past this, you should be enjoying watching your sons and grandsons in the church lead.

(ok, think I've offended everyone with the above, so I'm done now)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I admit it.
I'm terrible at blogging.

My wife Lora, is awesome at blogging. She works hard at it. Reads and leaves comments on most of the ones she follows.
It's almost a full time job.

I keep up with several blogs, and try to be faithful in reading them. Commenting is another thing.
Some of the blogs I follow post every other day or so.
Some post daily!

I admire them all.
Me? I just post when I've got something worth saying.
And to be honest that's the scary thing about wanting to plant a church.
There's a part of me that thinks; "how in the world am I gonna come up with a message every week?" Clearly there are thousands of Pastors who do it and have done it for many, many years. I've spent eight years in ministry preaching weekly. Five of those eighty speaking about three times a week.
And there is my concern. I've been guilty of information overload.

I've often said, "the way pews got their name in church is by people sitting in them and soaking and then souring----pew!"
I look at things in life and think, "what things did you hear about the first time and got it, and started doing it right then?"--Honestly, not too many.
There's got to be a different way to "do" church in a way that reflects the personality of the leader. Right? Does every church have to be the same four song line up, shake hands, offering, preach, go home, repeat a few more times schedule?
I'm not calling for a church revolution....I'm simply asking, does a person have to fit that mold to become a pastor?
Discipleship is a process. One that I personally think can be done in a different way than what has been patterned for years. One I hope to be able to articulate the closer I get to launching a new church.
When? I don't know.
Where? I don't know.
But as God gives clear direction to His will, I do know this, it will be worth blogging about.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Father's Advice

Sending his son out into the world, a Father gave his son the following rules, without which he said he could not hope to get on:
Tell the truth---falsehoods are hard to remember.
Shine the heels of your shoes as well as the toes.
Don't lend money to your friends---you will lose both.
Don't watch the clock; it will keep going---you do the same.
You do not need clean cuffs every day, but you need a clean conscience all the time.
Don't borrow money, unless you positively have the wherewithal to pay it back--and then you don't need it.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and thanks dad for the good advice you've given me over the years.

Pay attention and grow wise, for I am gibing you good guidance. Don't turn away from my teaching. Proverbs 4:1-2

I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live and life guided by wisdom, you won't slip or stumble as you run. Proverbs 4:11-12

Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19: 20

Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket. Provers 25: 11

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Well, Ive been working on getting a website up and running and finally got it launched today.
Check it out. You should be able to click the picture below. If not, it's


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Camps, Retreats and Summer Oh, My!

I've spoken with many Youth pastors and Pastors on the subject of "summer camp."
The responses are quite mixed, they range from;
Love to go to camp, it's great for the teens.
Camps are a necessary evil.
Got to keep teens busy.
Summer camp, ahhh!!!

Honestly, we've probably dealt with ALL of those feelings at one time or another.
I've always viewed camp as a great time to take teens away and get them exposed to something bigger than the local church while at the same time forming bonds with the teens. Regardless of your feelings about this time of year, allow me to share some thoughts on the subject.

I have the honor to speak at a camp this summer and then turn around and take a group of teens from a church to another camp.
Back to Back.
I've been doing some praying and research about camp and here's what I've discovered.

In a survey of over a 100 teens, a simple question was asked, "have you ever made a decision at a camp to make Jesus Lord of your life and has that still held true today?"

7 out of 10 said yes! The actual stat is 71% of teens asked said, they made a commitment to follow Christ and are still doing so.

Wow! What a return on an investment!

Here's another tidbit of info, several youth pastors got together and came up with 11 different things they thought teens would like at a camp. They then gave the list to those teens and asked them to rank the top 3 that was most important to them at camp. (I've added a pic below for total view)

42% said "More in-depth exploration of God"

41% said "Building deeper friendships"

Wow! Now think about this; Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments: love God with all that is within us and love people in the same way. Seems that camp is a great tool to help teens foster that type of mentality.

Now here is the final thought about these and many more findings.

It really doesn't matter if it's a small camp or large camp. What does matter is putting everything into the planning stage and execution to making it the best camp you can on whatever budget you have to work with.

No one likes cheesy (ok, some people do, it's why there are books dedicated to poking fun of church marquee signs---I have two books, they're great.....they give my purpose strength!!)

Teens don't like cheesy, but they hate fake more!
Cheesy can be tolerated, but if it's not real, they'll check out in a heartbeat.

This summer ask God to give you fresh vision for your teens, ideas for the camp experience to make their experience with God real and with others, loving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Controlled Chaos

One of the things I'd try to make sure we had in our youth ministries was a little element called "controlled chaos."
Let's face it, teens just want to have fun. Guys too.
I believe that if you can have a time in every service for a little controlled chaos, then great things could happen.
Whether it be a group activity, silly game, gross contest, controlled chaos is something to get teens up and having fun. It helps create an atmosphere for good things to happen.

In the movie "The Dark Knight" there is a scene where "The Joker" is having some one-on-one time with Harvey Dent in the hospital. He makes a statement, "Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos...I'm an agent of chaos. Oh and you know the thing about's fair."
A little over the top? Yes! However, there is a lot of truth (I believe) to it.

Think about this.
When it comes to the most meaningful relationships in your life; spouse, family, friends, God-- would you say that you have a real in depth relationship with them or are they more on the surface? The truth be told, it's easy for the best relationships we have to quickly fall into a pseudo style relationship.

So how do we keep those relationships real, instead of slipping into surface acquaintances?
Introduce a little chaos.

Bill Hybles calls it, "The Tunnel of Chaos" and Mike Yaconelli gives detail in his book "Messy Spiritually" that if you want to really grow then you've got to go through this stage in your relationships.
A level of chaos has to be introduced! You've got to come to a place where you can look at each other and say, "if we're going to move from a pseudo relationship to a real in depth meaningful relationship then we've got to allow each others messiness to get on us."

Real openness.
Real transparency.
Real arguments.
Real love.
Real forgiveness.
Real accountability.

Upset the established order to your surface relationships, introduce a little controlled chaos and watch great things happen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

God is in the Whirlwind

Well, it's been a while since my last "real" post.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind; with me traveling and ministering, as well as, moving.

Tuesday I went to go pick up the 16' truck that I reserved for moving.
When I got there they informed me that they don't have a 16' and will have to wait till the afternoon to get one. I explained that simply won't work and long story short, they hooked me up with a 22' truck for $100 less than what I originally was going to pay for the 16" truck!
God is Good!

Before getting home on Monday I spent the weekend ministering at The River Church in Nortonville Kentucky. I so enjoyed getting to know more members of the body of Christ and we had an excellent time together.

By the end of Sunday I will have logged two days worth of driving in the last five days!
Tuesday: Load truck and drive to Arkansas, then unload.
Wednesday: Drive to Alabama and load truck.
Thursday: Drive to Arkansas and unload.
Friday: Drive to Alabama and load truck again.
Saturday: Drive to Arkansas and unload.
Sunday: Drive back to Alabama and return truck to rental store.
Yep, crazy.

Then I'm taking the family to Gulf Shores for some rest and relaxation before we sign papers on June 1st and head to Arkansas for the next leg of the journey.
I'm gonna stay behind a few days and tie up some loose ends and then I have the honor of speaking at Elevate Youth at First Assembly on Wednesday, June 3rd.

Well that's a peek into my life for the next few weeks, I hope to keep in better touch through the wonderful media of Facebook.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Again and Again

Well, it's that time again. I made a couple of quick videos for the Lowe's Spring Dream Challenge contest on youtube.
Turns out both my entrees made the finals!!!!

So if you're able to stop by youtube and click the "thumbs up" icon for these two videos it would greatly be appreciated.

Vince's Outdoor Maintenance Made Easy
Vince's Outdoor Play Area

Simply click on the vote tab on this page

(I just checked to see if these links worked, and it looks like the Lowe's page is doing some updating-- the tab says "gallery" but will say "vote" when they get it fixed....sorry, keep checking)

You can vote everyday for the next week and your help is needed now more than ever. In the video about our "dream yard" well............we just sold that house!!!! And the house we're moving to, well it's going to need some major help, so the prize package is perfect for that, and the play area.....sure would be great for the kids (with no trees and me not wanting to get pets) this would be the perfect fix.

Thanks for allowing me to post this shameless plug. ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wet Fleece

We listed our house last fall, "For Sale By Owner", it stayed for sale for over four months.
Thinking the time must not be right, we took it off the market.
Well, time passed and we decided to list it again, this time with a realtor.
We put it up at the beginning of March.
The last week of April my wife and I attended the annual Worldwide Missionary Evangelism (WME) conference at our home church in Arkansas.

During the last night of the conference, Larry Jones, spoke a simple and practical message.
At the alter I prayed and simply said to God, "I'm finally at peace doing what I feel you directing me to do, but I sure could use some wet fleece here."---That was on Friday night.

Monday morning our realtor called to tell us the house had sold!
That afternoon we went looking for a place to rent. We looked at a house that a friend had open; it was nice and the offer was very gracious but we wanted to explore all of our options so we called, Pat Saterfield, our realtor who sold our house in Arkansas three years ago.
She informed us that she didn't deal with rentals but she had a client who needed to move his house and would possibly be open to a lease to own plan.
After seeing the house, it was perfect for our needs. We made some phone calls back and forth to the owner and long story short, we sign next week for the price we needed. He's taking a loss on it, but told us he'd rather take a small loss each month rather than a huge loss with it sitting there empty.

Where to go, check.
What to do, check.
Time frame that only God could set up, check.
The fleece, wet.

It would appear that God still answers prayers.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Concerning Starting Over Post

I figured the best way to respond to every one's comments was to post this.....

Thank you all. It has been a good day. Your words of encouragement and understanding have been very helpful in easing the emotions for this new endeavor.
I believe that having faith in God to take the next step does not mean an absence of fear, faith is still trusting God to work in you even when the peace has not caught up with your steps of obedience.
I will defiantly continue to blog about these new steps and would greatly appreciate any referrals, to ministers you know, about speaking at churches or whatever. This will be our main source of income for the upcoming year while the new work is birthed.

I'll start VERY soon on giving you an update about what's going on.
There is already some good things starting to develop.


Starting Over

Man! What a rough night!

For those of you who know me, you know I'm a night owl and going to bed at 2:00am and up at 10:00am is the norm, not a good one I might add.
But last night I went down at 10:00pm and was up at 6:00am with what seemed like hourly awakenings.

I wish I could say it was because of excitement but honestly I'm think it's more out of a new realization. I'm starting over.

I meet yesterday with 20 plus other men and women my age who are exploring God's call for church planting. I introduced myself and gave my story. Afterwards I sat there thinking and listening to see if anyone else had a story was like mine.
It didn't appear so.
It was only afterwards that one of the men there (one of 3 over the age of 50) came up to me and said, "It's a sad thing that it's the church that chews people up and spits them out."
He said it like it was the norm.
That's the sad thing.

I think last night is when it really hit me. Starting over.

As a 18 year old working at Taco Bell, renting my first apartment and buying my own car...there was a feeling of excitement and new adventure.
Somehow, that same excitement is snuffed out as the overwhelming feeling is brought to realization that this time I'm starting over with a wife and two young ones.

The clock has begun.
Thirty days to move locations, find a job, find a church, find a place to live.

I'm ready for the excitement and adventure feeling to hit me.
I hope it comes soon.
Sleepless nights are not my thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Power of One

When I was in the ninth grade, I heard a message called "The Power of One."
It focused on the contrast between two men. Adam and Jesus; found in Romans 5:12-17
The phrase "by one man" has stuck with me to this day.

By one man, sin entered the world.
By one man, salvation has come.
The power of one.

I had a most wonderful experience brought to me through the use of Facebook.
A young lady who was a year behind me in school took the time to find me on Facebook and send me a message. I'm deeply honored that she would do this, and I want to share it to encourage you in the same power that it encouraged me. The Power of One.

I have changed the name out of respect, it reads:
Hey, my name is Meg and we were at Southside together. You are a year above my graduating year...anyway. I just wanted to let you know that you made a huge impact in my life your Sr year. I accepted Christ at a See You At The Pole meeting that you were leading. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being so on fire for God back then. I have now been faithfully serving God for about 14 years. Thanks for making a difference in the lives of those around you. God Bless.

To those who wonder is it worth it, to those who can't see past today. For those of you that were in one of the two youth ministries I had the privilege of pastoring, to those who heard me say time and time again, "if you fall, get back up and dust the dirt off and keep going. It's true.

Don't give up.
See past today.
Display grace in your actions.
Don't hold grudges.
Reach out.
Don't gossip.
Help others.
Encourage those who need it.
Love without expecting anything in return.

The power of one.
By one man sin entered the world.
By one man salvation came.
What type of person will you be?

You be the type of person who makes a difference.
To make a difference, you have to do things differently. Christianity today needs to look different than it does right now. For me, I'm going to be known for "what things I'm for" rather than "what things I'm against."

The power of one.
Will you join me?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Inside Out

The Church.
It meets every week in a building.
It's encouraged to happen outside a building every week.

A few weeks ago, on the side of the road was a car in need of some jumper cables. I paused for a moment thinking like we all do, “I’ll be late for my meeting.” I texted my contact and decided to be late for the meeting, moments later the car was back on its way.

The Church happens everywhere.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at a church about a month ago where I gave an invitation for people to follow Christ. In the altar were people whose lives were being changed and hearts connected with God.

The Church happens everywhere.

Lately, a fantastic young man has opened his life to me and we’ve been having some great heart to heart talks. The openness and transparency he has displayed to me is quite an honor. I’ve had the opportunity to speak into his life and share some Biblical insight and help connect the dots between everyday living and biblical application.

The Church happens everywhere.

After speaking at a youth gathering, a parent came up to me afterwards and shared some struggles she and her husband have been going through in this rough economic time. She has been wrestling with some profound issues. Being able to speak life and encouragement and pray with her was one of the highlights of the evening. I could see the peace of God come into her life and her situation.

The Church happens everywhere.

My wife and I lead a small group of believers that is composed of people from several churches. When a couple in the group showed up with an important need, the group answered the call. When almost half of our group was affected with job loss, we all chipped in to make car payments, buy groceries, and do whatever we could for each other. A loving, passionate, giving community of believers.

The Church happens everywhere.

A few days ago, I received an email from a Youth Pastor in Dallas. I've never met the man and honestly have no idea how he got my contact information. In the email his heart called out for guidiance and a deep desire to connect with someone who could help him fulfill the call that God has put in his life. He is one of several I've had the awesome privilege of connecting with and getting to step into a new type of relationship with fellow members of the body.

The Church happens everywhere.

In the everyday experiences of life, if you look for it, church happens everywhere.
Many times the issue is we only see church in one location: a building; the reality is Jesus spent more time outside of the building and more time building the Church.

I encourage you to live your life with soul saving love.
Outside of the building and in the place where opportunities are everywhere.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mugged at Knife Point

Ever notice when you buy a vehicle, you all of a sudden notice how many cars like yours are on the road?

You never notice them until you have one of your own.
All of a sudden they're everywhere.
The reality is, those cars were always on the road, the difference is YOU are now aware of them because YOU now have one.

I think the same applies to different areas of our lives.
Here lately it seems just about everyone I bump into has experienced great levels of pain or have been let down by people and organizations that were supposed to help and protect them.

Something my friend Steven and I share is a great love for music and the messages that come out of it. Several months ago when listening to one of my favorite songs the words jumped out and hit me like a ton of bricks. In the midst of singing them in my truck (by myself, because I'm not allowed to sing where people can hear me) I stopped and said, "Yes, that's true! Thank you God for allowing it to happen to me!!!"

They say, "I just wanna' get mugged at knife point, cut deep enough to wake me up, cause I know I don't want to die, sitting around watching my life pass me by....." Reliant K- This Weeks The Trend

I know what you're thinking....."that's sick!" I would think the same thing, too, if I hadn't gone through what I've gone through.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't wish the situation my family has gone through on anyone, nor what countless others have gone through.
Craig Groeschel calls it,"the private pain before public gain" stage.
But I will be the first to say that it's been the "mugged at knife point" situation where scriptures come alive and are proven true.

I truly thank God for allowing the mugging to happen to me.
It doesn't make it any more right.
It doesn't excuse people's actions.
It's just that I am no longer waiting for God's judgement on them.
I pray they are blessed in all they do and that God would withhold His wrath on them.
Because, I've woken up!
I realize I was dead in the place I was.
In the church where I was.
In the organization where I was.
In the accomplishments I had achieved.
While "doing ministry", while "doing church", while "doing stuff'" I was like so many countless others: watching life pass by.

But now I can see, hear, feel, taste and smell things that others can't because of what I've experienced. Bill Hybels calls it, "The Popeye Moment."
I can relate far better to those who are sick of church and Christians than I ever could before. The truth be told, in the past when I heard someone bad-mouth church or say the church is full of hypocrites, I'd simply write them off as someone who didn't "truly" know or had experienced a good church. Or I would argue with them that what they were saying was in their own mind and really had no clout.
Now, I'm more understanding, more compassionate. I listen more as my heart cries, like Popeye, "I've had all me can stands and me can't stands no more!"

See now I can honestly say, "I know what I'm called to do."
I'm more focused with more clarity and courage than I've had in the last eight years.

I encourage you, if you've been "cut" or "mugged" from the very ones who were supposed to put a robe on your back, a ring on your finger and sandals on your feet; first, allow God to do an amazing work in your life where you can honestly forgive them and release them (because honestly they don't even know what they've done to you...on some level they believe what they've done is 100% right, so there's no need harboring bitterness towards people who think they're me). Secondly, see it as an opportunity to start living in the fullness of what God created you for.

Yes, it's painful. It's not easy, but if it were easy then the world would be filled with better Christians instead of bitter ones.

So be different.

Be the type of Christian the world needs to know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hunting for Easter Answers

We had a great Easter today with friends and family.

I'd like to ask some questions and hear your thoughts. Your participation is greatly appreciated.
If you would at the beginning of your comment put your "church" status.

Disconnected--(use to go, rarely attend anymore)
Casual--(attend less than 10 times a year)
Attender--(attend 2 or more times a month)
Worker--(part of the ministry)
Staff--(receive a paycheck from the church)

Before I dive in with the questions, please know that I am not being rude of facetious.
I'm a "Gen X'er" right down to my very last bone, which means I have a very low tolerance for bull. I like the facts and I like the truth.
I love to take those facts and truths and create structures and methods for making ministry, churches, people and programs shine.
Below, I'll right the question, then under it give you a few of my thoughts on what causes me to ask it to begin with.

Thanks ahead of time for your feedback.

1. Are "the lost" (or disconnected) attending church on the two big holidays like they used too? If not, why is that?
Easter is one of those holidays that is typically a time people "show up" for church. The church I attend did have an increase of attendance, but no where near what I thought.

2. Was your Easter service different in anyway from a normal service? Should it be? If so, why?
If people who do not attend church show up on Easter, why do they not return next week? What are we doing to scare them off? ( I know those are more questions, again just my thoughts)

3. If I was one of the "Easter Sunday Only" attenders, what was a weird factor for me?
I say weird, but maybe disconnect factor or Christian-eese thing.

4. If Pastor came up to me and said, "what in the service should we change?" What would you say and why?
I'd think every leader would want constructive feedback, but if this is too sensitive, email me directly at

Last one
5. As a new person coming in the door, what was the biggest issue YOU think they had to overcome and why?
I have kids, so I think in terms of a young family who doesn't know child check in procedures, or where the nursery is or if there even IS a nursery. So, what do you see?

Again, if you feel like any of your comments need to be sent to me personally and not posted as a comment, feel free to email me.
And if you know of people who would be great to answer these questions, please pass it around! The more the better.