I like adventures. I just got back from one with my 3 beautiful girls. God has me (us) on an adventure right now. I quit trying to guess what’s next. At this point, I’m just enjoying the ride…and holding on for dear life!
In the last two weeks, I feel an emotional/spiritual explosion inside of me. I don’t remember a time when I have had a greater passion for the Scriptures. It’s like something snapped in my heart and things are connecting on a deep level.
When I was in seminary, I took my grandmothers Bible and a highlighter and literally highlighted every page I read (until my highlighters died). It helped me read through Scriptures. Now, I’m reading one passage and another seemingly unrelated passage is connecting and comes alive. These past few days have had some AHA moments for me. It is amazing how fresh an ancient text can be even in 2007.
If you are going to be at Life Pointe tomorrow, we are starting out in Judges 4 and looking at Deborah’s life. Go ahead and read it ahead of time. Then, we’ll look at other women who did great things in ministry and business. It should challenge you.
Make a home fashion statement and raise your property value by placing this bad boy in your front lawn. Then, during the week, go for the big ask… something like, "Remember how you broke my brand new garden weasel?!?! I’m going to let you pay me back by coming to church with me on Easter."
We’ve got a couple Sunday gigs in April. They’ll be red hot.
First, my boy Jesse Santoyo from Chicago and the lead guy from The Saturn Project will be leading worship and playing a couple of his songs at the theater on April 15. I love this cat. I’ll wait until later to share more about him. In the meantime, check out "Time" and "So Alive" on The Saturn Project MySpace.
Then, Michael John Stanley will be doing the same thing on April 29th. Michael John can flat out play the guitar. Check him out and bring your crew. April is going to be a blast with these two guys cranking things up right after Easter.
The Easter mailers have been delivered to the USPS. That means that Easter is coming soon. That is a BIG deal. Reason?
#1 We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus without which there would be no forgiveness.
#2 We have a seasonal stage to point people to Christ…an opportunity unlike any other day of the year!
Was taking care of church business yesterday with Matt Robinett and on the fly got to hang out with a couple great guys/pastors. Spent some time with Nathan Griffis, a church planter in Weston…wish he would start blogging. Spent some time with Rich Wilkerson, pastor of Trinity Church in Miami Gardens. I love pastors that are down to earth, real, and straight-forward. I don’t know all of Rich’s story here in Miami. But, he’s been at Trinity for 8 years and they are in the community in a big way.
Over the last several months, we’ve been redesigning, rethinking, and buying materials for our theater setup- everything from the lobby, hospitality, coffee to children’s environments, main auditorium, and street signage. I can’t wait. The majority of the setup has arrived. But, we aren’t rolling out the new setup until it is all totally ready…that will be Easter Sunday.
Getting ready to vote 866-IDOLS-06.
This passage came up over breakfast on Friday with Tom Sterbens, pastor at New Hope in Seveirville, TN. I’ve heard it a million times including at our breakfast. But, it never resonated in my soul like it did last night when I was reading James.
- For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13
The power of God’s mercy is elevated and the strength of his judgment is diminished when we express mercy to others. That is powerful.
I am sad that Anna Nicole is dead. But, the event is over. Get over it already and move on to the next non-news item. It is like the news story was a home run and now the batter just won’t stop rounding the bases!
- As I taught on beauty, I realize now more than ever before that our concept of beauty is twisted. God is working in us (both men and women) to change our hearts. I cannot tell you all the stories from today. Many are very personal. What I can tell you is that we have some great people who are baring their souls before God. I know He will answer them and show up in a big way.
- We highlighted Manny Molina as our Volunteer of the Week.
This guy is really awesome. He leads our hospitality setup every other week. I will never forget the day, I saw Manny, a tall, strong Mexican businessman outwardly demonstrate dependence on God. Today, he is a great example of humility, strength, "realness," and servanthood. Thank you, Manny. God, give us 100 more men like this guy.
- Mark Mikkelsen sent me a picture of his tattoo. I like it. God has really been doing something special in him. Just when I was getting used to seeing this guy on Sundays, he’s leaving us to go to Calgary…or wherever his job is going to take him.
- Keeping it real. What I said about the shower…you know its true!
- If you don’t know what the word "assets" means, look it up. In the meantime, get your mind out of the gutter.
- After service, Patty Reyes asked if it was ok for the kids to play the "shooter" video games. Of course, I said its not a problem…5 minutes later I see her and Kevin dropping bad guys.
- Finally, Sunday afternoons rock! We spent the day at El Nachito’s with a motley crew, hit the Everglades’ Anhinga Trail where we counted 28 Alligators (weather was awesome), stopped at Robert is Here fruit stand for blackberry milkshakes and live music by Charlie, and then looked at houses with my old college room mate.
Granted, I don’t read every stitch of each word written. But, I do track what these guys are saying in Google Reader. I do have others in my reader. But, these are my staples. If you know of a blog that you think I’d enjoy, drop a note in my comments.
- Ben Arment
- Rich Tatum
- Dan Ohlerking
- Bob Franquiz
- Brian Hunter
- Chris Elrod
- Church Marketing Sucks
- Dave Ferguson
- Seth Godin
- Ed Stetzer
- Gary Lamb
- Wade Burleson
- Derek Brown
- Tadd Grandstaff
- John Smulo
- Kevin Loyd
- Jonathon Everette
- Mark Driscoll
- Mere Mission
- Steve Furtick
- Perry Noble
- Robert Pooley
- Scott Hodge
- Tadd Grandstaff
- Mark Batterson
- Bob Hyatt
- Michael Lukaszewski
- Troy Gramling
- Tony Morgan
I was in a discussion this week about the vision of Life Pointe Church. It is simply "loving God and man with reckless abandon." When asked how we carry that out, I shared that disciples should "love God" and "love man." We don’t have a series of step by step instructions in how to do it…just do it. If you can’t figure out how that works, you’ve got problems.
I left Miami early Friday to drive two hours for breakfast with a friend and pastor, Tom Sterbens. I love talking to this guy. He really stretches me and causes me to think differently about stuff I think I have had figured out already…kind of annoying only in a good way.
We spent over four hours talking about church, Scripture, culture, family. It was worth the drive. I give, lead, study, pray, and set the tone for the church. It is critical that I have times where I am a recipient and can connect without being under the gun…times just like today. While our conversation was definitely a two-way gig, I left feeling full, replenished, and energized. So, when I get on a couple people for drifting from groups and community, know that I’m smokin’ what I’m selling.
The last three days have been big traffic for me. First it was the comment challenge, which wafted in over a couple days yielding my 700th comment. Then, I rode the Steven Furtick train by mentioning his comments on Technorati and his newly found #1 ranking. My Technorati referrals are off the chart. Then El Mundo, picked up my comments about Steven’s comments about his skyrocketing Technorati popularity.
From one little controversial idea virus from Steven, a flurry of activity has spread and people are talking…mostly wondering who in the world Steven is. Now, it has me thinking bigger picture about my greatest ideas and how viral they are or are not. Each of us Christ followers are influencers with contagious ideas about Christ that need to be sneezed out onto other people. Today’s viral realities provide ideal circumstances for the transmission of the greatest idea…the
idea reality that God sent his Son in the flesh to live and die for the forgiving of sin all so that I can live and lay it all on the line for people in my circle of influence.
My prayer is that I will effectively leverage my influence and my story so that people can see this revoluntionary Christ in my life. This without a doubt is the most viral idea in the history of mankind…bar none. I want to be a highly viral Christian.
I hate technorati and I’m not going to read it anymore…not really. But, when Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte said this, he got ranked number 2 on Technorati’s Top 10 most searched list. I’d settle for #9. Keep up the good work, Elevation.
Phil Stacey is about 3 years younger than me. I don’t know him well. But, we went to the same school and are connected by a ton of mutual friends. For instance, our music guy at Life Pointe, Omar Lagudali was in Lee Singers with Phil.
Last week, Phil was in the bottom 3 of vote getters on AI. He needs your votes to go to the TOP 10. This is important. The Top 10 goes on tour together. It would be HUGE for Phil’s career. As a fellow alum of Lee University, I’d like to see him do well. Maybe he’d be more famous than some of our other music alums like Scott Stapp of Creed, The Avalon people, 4 Him, etc…
Tonight, I am going to watch AI. Then, I am going to repeatedly text/call my vote for Phil. Lee students and Alumni are going to try to deliver 1,000,000 votes. I am going to try and do 100 votes myself. My wife will do some. And, I am hoping that you will crank in some votes for Phil as well. What say you?
Check out some of the Phil Stacey conversations and make up your mind:
Thanks for helping me hit 700 comments…100 yesterday. You also helped me get over 750 views yesterday. Thanks guys. Paul, the swag is in the mail.
I need 96 more comments to hit #700 here on my Typepad blog. I thought I’d recruit your good will by asking you to spam this topic with witty comments. The 700th commenter will get the new life pointe coffee mug free and your pick of our latest message series on CD. I’ll now close my eyes and hope that more than two people respond to this Swag offer.
Gone are Fox News, sitcoms, and almost anything broadcast (with the exception of reality shows and football). I have no patience for the entertainment driven news reporting that these guys do so much now. There’s too much filler between the real news. Get to the content already! I hit my news in minutes on Drudge and Free Republic. Then, move on.
My viewing habits still include reality shows like AI (Go Phil), Lost (my wife is a lostie), and some new shows on A&E and Discovery. They rock. They’re kind of off the beaten path. But, I know you’d dig ‘em.
show follows Miami, Houston, and Memphis detectives in the first 48
hours after a homicide. I don’t know why I like it so much. But,
Kelly and I both get into it. Very straightforward and pretty
Man vs. Wild
This guy, "Bear Grylls," a former special forces guy from the British Army gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, he has camera guys following him. Sometimes, he takes only one camera and films himself living life totally raw…pure survival.
The first episode I saw, he ate a live snake. Today, I saw him stranded in Africa. He came up on a Zebra carcass that had been picked over by Lions and Buzzards. Then, he cut off a few pieces of the leftover flesh and ate it raw…lots of it. What a beast! In this YouTube vid, he does all that plus eats a fish, and some other stuff that pushes the limits of sanity.
The following conversation is real conversation from earlier this week. It took place between me and a good friend in the church…someone I am genuinely committed to and love. Hopefully, he won’t be too upset that I posted it here. If he is and if we are really friends, he’ll get over it and make the changes he needs to make. Hopefully our conversation will also challenge you if you find yourself in the same spot.
START OF CONVERSATION
Unnamed well meaning life pointe attender: Pastor, I don’t feel like there is time to really connect and hang out with people on Sunday morning.
Me: I agree. There isn’t.
Unnamed well meaning life pointe attender: What are we going to do about it?
Me: "We" aren’t going to do anything about it. But, you can do something by at least making sure that your family is in a life group. Even still, that is just the starting point of your involvement in people’s lives.
END OF CONVERSATION
Editorial note: Don’t expect me to do your stuff. God holds you responsible for your spiritual growth. He also holds me responsible. But, if we are developing leaders and worship, service, and connecting environments are available, and you choose not to participate, your lack of growth and connection is your fault…not mine.
Oh and by the way, you missed a great time of connection last night when a chunk of our life groups got together to hang out. Of course, it was promo’d on Sunday, in the worship guide, and mentioned in the weekly email…sorry you missed it.
We are coming down to the last days of the due diligence period for selling our church building. The building and property is rock solid and the only contingency is the inspection. Still, I know that anything can happen. Deals are never deals until they are closed and the money is in the bank. That’s the way big deals work. Chase, uncertainty, victory (immediate and delayed).
When I was in corporate sales and marketing, I loved the chase. I loved the strategy behind long, complicated deals. And, of course, winning tasted good. Losing fuels the fire to be better next time.
To be honest, if I was in a typical church, surrounded by people fearful of change, I may miss it. But, we are constantly in flux, pursuing change. For the last two years we have been pressing every button, pursuing the angles, and going for broke. At times, it has been difficult and even scary. But, it has been right and God has always come through. The journey has been an adventure.
So, as we wrestle and embrace change, we stand at the precipice of a new day in our existence. A multi-million dollar contract is teetering ready to close…but it is possible it might not…anything is possible until the deal is closed. We could wish for the perfect ingredients before we do anything. Or, we can launch out and go for the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ in a big way.
Seth Godin said in a recent post that one of the biggest factors in the
success of the US isn’t our natural resources or location. It’s that so
many people in this country came here seeking a thrill.
I echo those sentiments. Our success in mission does not rest with the selling of a physical church property. It rests in the fact that God is who He says He is and we put our faith in action, seeking a great thrill on an eternal mission of connecting people with a Holy God. God did not call us to play it safe, to give up on the verge of victory, or to become satisfied or stagnant upon realizing comfort. Really, playing it safe sucks. That’s how you lose. Going "all in" with a radical pursuit of the mission is the only way to get it done.
Monday at 5 PM, the deal is set to go hard. If it happens, we have less than a month to get out. If it doesn’t, we’ll likely dip back into the market place and recontact potential buyers. Regardless, I’m all in.
A quick note left behind by Rosa, Hector, and Kayla on Sunday:
God is the source of strength for me and my children. I just want to say thank you for being such a big part of my awakening. Thank you! -
That’s what its about.
I have to stop and brag on a few people quickly. Since December 2005, we have been pressed into major changes. I don’t know many people that will leave a great building and safety to go totally portable. But, we have some guys that have been totally key in the moves we have made. Now, we are on the precipice of HUGE opportunity.
Through the process, they’ve been influencers for positive change. They’ve hung with me when things totally sucked. When they could have bailed, they didn’t. Instead, they led with me.
Jim Nelson, Manny Molina, Dan Bard, and Joe Herrera have been "go to guys." These guys serve and influence with their time, money, voice, prayers, and service. They are real people with imperfections. But, they are godly men who are journeying with God and fighting for this church and community. You guys rock in a big way!
56,000 of these suckers are sitting in the office right now ready to be delivered to the USPS. They are conversation pieces for you to leverage. The goal? Get your neighbors in church on the day that everyone is most open to going to church. The "Losing My Religion" series is going to rock. It is four weeks away…plenty of time for you to make the difference in someone’s life!
We’ll open with a little R.E.M. and an entirely new setup with video overflow into another theater and the lobby. It’s going to be a lot of fun. As always we need your help. If you aren’t already serving somewhere, drop by the info desk in the lobby or sign up here.
We are scouting out office space. We saw a ton of spaces today. I know the right place is out there…just need to find it.