Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 Power Principles on Church Strategy

Taken from a year old post at the Will Mancini (clarity evangelist) blog.

#1 Programs don’t attract people; people attract people (Aubrey Malphurs)

#2 Think steps not programs; strategy makes the next step simple, easy and obvious. (Andy Stanley)

#3 Strategy is a missional map, therefore communicate it visually (Church Unique)

#4 As a whole, cluttered and complex churches are not alive. (Thom Ranier)

#5 Growing people grow people; consuming people consume programs. (Church Unique)

#6 Strategy as assimilation should not be confused with spiritual formation; one is about getting individuals into the body of Christ, the other is about getting the life of Christ into the individual.

#7 Strategy connects programs and events vertically with the mission and horizontally with one another. (adapted from Bill Donahue)

#8 The fewer specials you have the more you sell. (An executive chef said this in an Auxano Vision Pathway, talking about church strategy.)

#9 Churches need strategy because mission and values alone are not enough to remove competing pictures of the church’s future. (Church Unique)

#10 The two biggest reasons people don’t get more involved are 1) they don’t know how and 2) nobody invited them. (Auxano survey work)

Core Values

These are the core values listed on National Community Church's web site. Not what you typically find listed as core values for a church, but how can you not get excited just reading them?!

NCC's twelve core values are part of the DNA of National Community Church. They are both descriptive and prescriptive of who we are as a church.

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Irrelevance is irreverence
  • Love people when they least expect it and least deserve it
  • Playing it safe is risky
  • Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you
  • Everyone is invaluable and irreplaceable
  • Everything is an experiment
  • You cannot out give God
  • Maturity does not equal conformity
  • Go the extra mile
  • It's never too late to be who you might have been
  • Do it right and do it big

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 of 12 December 2010

12 of 12 Basic Idea - 12 pictures from your life on the 12th of every month. This month, the 12th was on a Sunday.
#1 - 8:09am - The whole family goes to wake up Amanda in the morning.

#2 - 8:30am - Me and my love

#3 - 8:34am - Sully asking if he can get some love...or some table scraps

#4 - 9:44am - Harry and Arleen greeting guests and members on a Sunday morning

#5 - 10:16am - Sunday morning worship at The Vine

#6 - 11:51am - Pastor preached What We Can Learn From Joseph. Here is a Joseph figurine he used in his sermon.

#7 - 1:33pm - Removing the old to make room for the new

#8 - 1:57pm - Amanda helping with the new mailbox

#9 - 4:26pm - We had a few toys left over from the Christmas Store outreach the day before so we headed into the neighborhood we reach out to and gave away our remaining toys from the back of pick up trucks.

#10 - 4:24pm - Amanda wanted me to take a picture of her in the tree by the Fellowship Hall at church

#11 - 4:26pm - Rob posing with the new mailbox. Turned out to be a little shorter than planned!

#12 - 2:53am - Actually taken on 12-13-10 'cause it took that long to finish Christmas wrapping

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Eskimo Baptism

A Letter About Christmas

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. . .. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. Not just during Christmas time, but all through the year. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sends out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family? Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them.. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8.. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name..

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the The Vine Fellowship which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Recommendation

My best friend told me about a book he read that totally revolutionized his life and his ministry (my friend is a Nazarene pastor). Last week he sent me a copy of the book which I finished yesterday. The book makes the case for getting back to one-on-one discipleship and talks about this being the only way to make true disciples. It's not a bash against the church or Sunday morning services (it's written by a pastor), but it's hard to argue with most of what the author has to say. I read the book in less than a week but it's going to take me a long time to digest. I am already praying about how to put some of this into practice in my own life now. I'm thinking this may be a book that majorly transforms me, too. Will be praying for what all God wants to say to me through this book.

You can click here to go to Amazon to read more about it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

12 of 12 November 2010

12 of 12 Basic Idea - 12 pictures from your life on the 12th of every month. This month, the 12th was on a Friday.

#1 - 7:04am - Writing the napkin poem for the day

#2 - 7:08am - Boo always waits by Amanda's door so she can run in and say good morning.

#3 - 7:09am - Sully wanted to take his turn saying good morning.

#4 - 9:05am - Updating drivers on computers in the lab at Amanda's school.

#5 - 12:00pm - One of my favorite past times... my remote control helicopter.

#6 - 12:37pm - Working on another school computer during lunch. Installing Windows getting it ready for the school network.

# 7 - 2:48pm - Tammy commenting on my Tweet about my 12 of 12. She was glad it was on Friday so that she did not appear in any of the pictures.

#8 - 12:59pm - Carol dropping off some business for More Tech Savvy.

#9 - 1:16pm - The offices of More Tech Savvy

#10 - 1:53pm - Working with Brooke in the garage tagging stuff for our Garage Sale the next day.

#11 - 3:43pm - Picking up Amanda and Avery (and Franswa) from school

#12 - 3:57pm - Amanda doing her knee exercises.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lessons From The Fire Pit

Tonight was a crisp and cool night...perfect for sitting by the fire pit. I like it when it's cold enough that a blanket is needed and the only way to keep warm is to sit close to the fire. I wrap a blanket around myself and then drape it over my head. I use my hands to grab the sides of the blanket and open it just enough to form a funnel for the fire's heat to warm me. Sometimes this works so well I have to shield my face because it gets so hot.

I don't know if there is such a thing as a "fire expert", and I may not be at the expert level, but I know how to build a fire and keep it burning. I'll be honest and admit that I did use 1/3 of a "fire brick" to get my fire started this evening. I broke it into three small pieces and placed it on some scrap wood my Dad had given me surrounded by newspaper. On top of that I piled some twigs, followed by a couple branches stacked tee pee fashion and finally a good sized log. I lit the newspaper which, in turn, lit the fire brick which then lit the twigs and the branches. The flames were finally big enough to catch the log and then I had a real fire.

As I watched the fire burn, I felt the Lord making some comparisons between my fire and his Church. I looked at all of the different types of wood (twigs, branches and logs) that went into the fire and how each was vital to the making of the fire, yet they were all secondary to the fire itself. I thought about the different types of people that make up God's Church and how important each are to God's Kingdom, yet they are all secondary in importance to the work Christ is doing in and through them.

When it's time to start a fire, big logs are pretty much useless. A match or lighter is not going to catch a log on fire. A fire must be started with twigs, and generally quite a few of them. The more small, dry twigs that are put together, the easier it is to get the fire started. Twigs light quickly and burn easily, but they burn up pretty fast. The fire will quickly die without more fuel.

Branches are bigger than twigs and, like logs, are very difficult to light on fire with just a match or lighter. But once the twigs have created a good size flame, branches stacked on top of the twigs will catch on fire causing a bigger flame that will burn a bit longer. But for a real fire, something bigger is needed.

I like to watch the stages of my fire. First the twigs light, and then the branches catch on fire and finally the log that I lay on top begins to smoke and slowly catch on fire. The branches have been stacked in such a way that the twigs can burn to start the fire and there is plenty of space under the log for a flame to get all the oxygen it needs to burn bright and hot. Once the log catches, the fire begins serving it's purpose and puts out some serious heat.

It would not be possible to have a fire without all three of these. When starting a fire, the twigs are most important. When the fire is just starting and needs a bigger flame, the branches are most important. For the fire to reach it's full potential, logs are most important. Twigs are not better than logs because they light faster and logs are not better than twigs because they burn longer. What's most important is not which type of wood burns the fastest or the longest...what's most important is the fire itself and the warmth it produces.

God's Church is made up of people and personalities that might be compared to these three types of wood. You could make up your own category for each of these, but as I watched the fire burn tonight, this is what came to my mind.

There are people in the Church who are easily excitable and ready to run as soon as they even sense that God might be moving in a certain direction. Maybe it's a new ministry within a local church or an evangelism idea. Whatever it is, they sense God in it and the spark immediately catches with them.

These might be the people in the Church who have the skills that are seen more easily. They may not be as excitable or sensitive to what God is speaking as the twigs, but once they get the vision, they have the skills to move things to the next level. They use their skills, get others involved and what started as just a whisper from God begins to take shape and others can see what God is doing.

As I watched the big log burn in my fire tonight, I couldn't help but notice the long, slow burn. I thought about people in the Church who have walked with the Lord and served his Kingdom for a long time. They may not be as excitable as the twigs and their talent may not shine as brightly as the branches, but they know how to stick with it. What they bring to the work of God is stability and longevity. The twigs started the fire, the branches helped others see the fire, but logs give the fire substance.

In the Church, each of these types of have two choices: judge others for not being "useful" like them, or appreciate the function served by each. If the fire represents a work that God is doing in and through his Church, the fire is what's important, not the wood. The wood is simply what is being used to make the fire possible.

The twigs could look at the branches and judge, "Why can't they be as sensitive as me to the moving of the Holy Spirit? Isn't it obvious what God is wanting to do?" The branches could look at the logs and say, "Years ago they were like me having the skills to make this happen." And the logs could look at the twigs and judge, "Sure you're all excited about this, but you're just getting started. Do you realize how long I've been doing this?"


The logs could look at the twigs and say, "Thank you, Lord, for the excitement that comes from following you and for those who are quick to respond." The branches could look at the logs and say, "Thank you, Lord, for these logs that have been around and have what it takes to keep this going." And the twigs could look at the branches and say, "Thank you, Lord, for bringing the branches along to take this work to the next level."

In the end, if all of the wood has served it's purpose, the twigs, branches and logs are indistinguishable in the red hot embers that put out so much heat after the flames are gone. And even then, the wood is not useless. Although the embers are flameless, if fresh twigs were thrown on them, the whole process would be started again. God's purpose for his Church has always been for one generation to pass on to the next the things of God they have known and experienced.

As tinder for God's flame, we best serve our purpose when our focus is on the flame and not on ourselves. Not only will we appreciate the way God has created us with a need for each other, but we can also pass his flame along for generations to come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blast From The Past

June 14, 1992 was my first Youth Sunday as youth pastor of Trinity New Life Fellowship. Click here to read the bulletin from that Sunday.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

12 of 12 October 2010

12 of 12 Basic Idea - 12 pictures from your life on the 12th of every month. This month, the 12th was on a Tuesday.

#1 - 7:40am - Taking a picture of today's lunch napkin poem and uploading to Facebook.

#2 - 7:41am - Lights out in my home office. Thankfully just a tripped breaker.

#3 - 7:49am - Breakfast of champions. My favorite breakfast most days.

#4 - 8:59am - Jason found this caterpillar in the church sanctuary. Somehow this little guy ended up on Jason's car windshield a little bit later.

#5 - 11:25am - The bee guys were back at it again trying to get rid of them six weeks after their initial try.

#6 - 11:27am - Bee guys cutting into the hollowed out tree trying to find the queen and the honeycomb.

#7 - 11:39am - Pastor, Jason and me in the van with the rest of the staff on the way to a staff birthday lunch.

#8 - 12:42pm - Here's the gang at BJs for Philip's birthday lunch.

#9 - 1:05pm - Happy Birthday Philip.

#10 - 1:45pm - Here's what the tree looked like when the bee guys were done with it. They finally found the queen and a small honeycomb which they removed. Bees have not been back since!

#11 - 4:51pm - Spent the afternoon preparing for the upcoming Men's Retreat.

#12 - 11:05pm - Sully sitting in his chair in my office. It is really my reading chair which Sully has tried to claim as his own.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

12 of 12 September 2010

12 of 12 Basic Idea - 12 pictures from your life on the 12th of every month. This month, the 12th was on a Sunday.

#1 - 8:35am - Checking the Greeting Team schedule for this morning from the sound room computer.

#2 - 8:36am - Amanda pretty girl.

#3 - 9:01am - Youth worship team on Youth Sunday.

#4 - 9:04am - Pastor Matt opening Youth Sunday in prayer.

#5 - 11:41am - Sunday afternoon lunch with Sonic.

#6 - 2:27pm - After several treatments the Africanized bees are still here and have opening up the hole to get inside the tree again.

#7 - 2:35pm - Had to take these security bars down so I could crawl back in this window when I was cleaning the gutters during the last big thunderstorm. I used a ladder to get on the roof, but it was not stable enough to climb back down so I had to go back in through this window.

#8 - 2:37pm - Amanda Kay coming out to help me put these security bars back up.

#9 - 2:37pm - TaDa! More help.

#10 - 2:50pm - Job is just about done.

#11 - 3:41pm - Amanda came into my office at home to show me her artwork. I called her my Smiling Warrior Princess.

#12 - 6:55pm - I have no idea what I am doing in this picture. Amanda took it. I'm not sure if she just thought it was funny that I had the remote control in my pocket or if she was supposed to take a picture of what I was doing but just zoomed in too much.