Davis is Walking! He is up to 15 steps!! He started on Christmas Eve.
I am doing what I love to do on Sunday afternoons...piled up in my recliner watching football. Today is a little different because I have the laptop on my lap trying keep tabs on scores around the NFL this last week of regular season play! I am parked here until late tonight. Good times!
While relaxing, I thought I would throw this quick blog up. This morning rocked (even though we were 100 under regular attendance...that used to bother me a lot more than it does now)! I feel super encouraged. Something clicked! If you know me well, then you know how nervous I get before I preach. It usually lasts from Saturday evening until the end of second service. I am always nervous to public speak and even more nervous to speak to people on God's behalf. I carry my fear in my belly all Sunday morning. I hope that never changes, because it is a physical reminder of who is REALLY speaking, anyway. Well, this morning I wanted so badly to just share my heart about 2007 and where I feel God wants to take us as a church in 2008. I just wanted to start the sharing. But, I wanted people to link in...to start to catch the feel of it. I really feel like that happened today. I had a LOT of very positive feedback after the service. It seemed like people were connecting and engaging. Today was simply a start to a long journey of discovering and building around our purpose. Many people have not even began packing their bags yet for the journey. There is still plenty of room and plenty of time for you!! We are just getting started. But, it was a good start. Something clicked. On a personal note, I felt more comfortable and confident sharing my heart and vision this morning that I have ever felt since arriving at CCF. Maybe it was the fact that I had everyone move to the front half of the room...or maybe it was the stool I sat on. Smile. Are you coming along? Very special days are ahead for us!
OK, I am so stinkin' excited that the Redskins are even POSSIBLY alive for the post season. Tomorrow's game against Dallas is immense. If we win, we are in the playoffs! Who'd of thunk it? It is so big that they even changed the time to 4:15 FOR ME...because it works a lot better for my schedule. I am stoked about the game tomorrow. If we win, I will blog my joy!! If we lose, leave me alone.
Can someone please tell me where this week went?! I woke up and it's over! Why do the tough times crawl and the good times run? It was a great week with my family, but the clock has just rolled. With the offices only open 1 day this week (Thursday) and being out of town yesterday...guess what I am doing today? Preparing my message for tomorrow! This is the first time that I have done my message on a Saturday since becoming a Pastor!! I'm at the church plugging away and just stopped for a lunch break. This one is really in my heart and head, just need to get it to the keyboard.
In case you ever wondered...I preach from a"manuline" (my own made-up word). That's half outline, half manuscript. The majority of what I will say when I preach is on the paper, but it is bulleted/outlined...usually 4-6 pages typed.
I am looking forward to a great service tomorrow. I am also looking forward to our first Youth Pastor Search Team meeting, which is also tomorrow. Pray for this team as you think of them. There names will be listed in the January Capital in case you are curious about who will be assisting in the interviewing and selection.
--Good Saturday to you!
Early tomorrow I am taking the long trek to Cresson, PA (400 miles round trip) to visit a friend in Prison. It is a commitment that I know that Lord wants me to keep. However, I have been fighting a cold and I want to drive all that way tomorrow...alone...like I want I want a hole in my head. Please pray for me if you read this tonight or tomorrow that I may have a safe and effective trip. This is a dear friend from college...a guy with a rough life and a great heart that made some poor choices. Your choices are more powerful than you know!! Today, this friend is making choices every day to use his imprisonment for good. I am always inspired by his perspectives. I actually think that his future is as bright as the promises of God!! I will spend 3-4 hours with him tomorrow, and then head back home.
- Dictionary Definition of a Disciple: One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. (best synonym in my opinion: follower)
- Luke 9:23-- A Disciple is someone who would deny himself, take up his cross and follow Christ.
- Baptized in the faith and Obedient to Christ's commands are the descriptors of a Disciple in Matthew 28. Note the idea of "obeying Christ's commands".
- Reminder: Greatest Commands are Loving God and Loving People! (John 15 and Mark 22)
- One who is committed to the SPREAD of Christ.
Becoming a Disciple means:
- You act like Jesus would with the attempt of spreading His teachings!
- You treat your spouse right
- You talk to your kids gently.
- You stop going places that you know set you up to sin (Bars, clubs, etc.)
- You change the way you talk.
- You change the way you think.
- You live a life pleasing and acceptable to God, doing away with sin with the help of the Lord.
- You live for Christ Monday- Saturday as well as Sunday. (He is a part of your week and your home)
- You are engaged in the spiritual disciplines and are being challenged to grow!
Being a disciple means:
- You are faithful in attending your church.
- You are involved with and plugged into the ministries and vision of your church.
- You are committed to giving financially to your church.
There is so much more...but this is a start. Begin thinking with me...What is Discipleship?
On my heart today...is my message for this Sunday. The way that I feel the Lord leading is for me to set the stage for our vision series that I plan to preach the first several weeks of January. The title of the January series will be "Simplify" and it will flow out of a lot of my previous blogs (see below) and much of our processing over the last year. This Sunday (the last Sunday of 2007), I want to set the stage for that series.
Here is what I am bouncing around in my mind and heart...
7 is a number of completion. Look at the creation account. 8 is a number of new beginnings. I wonder what God may have finished in you and in our church in 2007? I wonder what new thing that God wants to do in your life or in this church in 2008? I can see the trail of newness being forged already in many ways here at CCF. I sense that it is time to head back toward the basics and to focus our VERY LIMITED energy and resource on the things that matter most...to GOD! I welcome your comments in preparation for Sunday. Just click on "comments" below.
This afternoon we took Davis to get his first haircut. As you can see in the picture, he also got his first lollipop! That must have been why is he was so good. He got a little certificate and we kept some of his hair in a bag for a memory. It was fun. It is so cool living out all these "firsts" with our little guy.
Great day with my babies today...back to the grind tomorrow.
Note: My barber's name is Suk. She is from Korea. She is so cool and she did a great job!! I keep inviting her to church. I will get her there one day!
Walking past my parents' home office and saw this computer here and thought I would take 2 minutes away from the noise and post a blog. We are between Dinner and Dessert and just got back from a walk around the neighborhood. There were about 8 of us. We looked like a gang! Davis and his cousin Brayan both got a little buggy that they get pushed in. They loved it! This has been a truly wonderful Christmas for us. Being with family has been a joy. Davis must have heard Santa's sleigh land on the roof because he was up at 4:30am ready to rock and roll! Any of the other 364 days of the year and we would have been getting him back to sleep. Not today. It's Christmas. We laid around, laughed and then got up to do gifts. What a different holiday when kids are in the picture!
If you are reading this, Tricia, Davis and I hope that you had a splendid Christmas!
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
- Maya Angelou
This morning's service was very special!!! I have enjoyed replaying it in my head a few times this afternoon. I loved the sight as I looked out. It was inspiring. A packed room (we needed almost all of our 375 available chairs), beautiful Christmas colors and a real sense of the joy of Christmas in the air.
What a special community we are a part of! Loads of kids, youth, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, even a few 80's & 90's with us today. White, black, Hispanic, Asian, African, European, Middle Eastern...you don't want me to start naming specific countries because we'd be here all day. Folks with annual incomes ranging from $15,000 to $200,000. People from more denominations than you have ever heard of...all gathered in one space center their focus on one thing that we all share. JESUS! Is there a better call under the sun? What a joy to serve as the Pastor of this church. Lord remind me of this sight in 3 weeks when I want to pull my hair out. Smile.
If you've been to my house, you know that I love my recliner! Have one in the family room and one in my bedroom. I was just kicking back in my recliner a few minutes ago and I remembered this kids recliner that we saw at a store yesterday. We plopped Davis in it and I snapped a picture...always have my Treo on my hip for moments like these! It was too cute. Check him out! Chillin' in the recliner...like father, like son.
Holidays are a great time to slow down and spend good quality time with people that are important to us. Since I am blessed with a lot of family in the area, we obviously will spend a lot of time with them. But, before we get into family mode...today is a Friend Day for us! This morning was spent with David & Tracy Wenzel. They are great friends form VFCC. Tricia and Tracy are best friends and I have known David for 25+ years!!! Did I just say that? I am having a moment. It is always such an honor to spend time with them. They are high quality people.
This afternoon the Zieg's arrive. Jake, Michelle, Nathaniel and Brayden. I have been friends with Jake for 22+ years (next door neighbors when we were growing up). I went to High School with Michelle. We are gonna spend the evening with them. It's a full day of exchanging gifts and exchanging kids (you hold mine, I'll hold yours). Good Times.
OK, wanna hear something wild. I hooked Jake & Michelle up in High School because I thought they'd make a good couple. Then, Tricia and I hooked Dave & Tracy up in college because we thought that they'd make a good couple. Now, both couples have been married nearly 5 years and have kids..and BOTH ARE AT OUR HOUSE TODAY!! If you need us to play matchmaker, just give us a call. Smile.
Tricia took Davis to work today for her Christmas party with the kids. This gives me a chance to tie up a few last things with the church, buy my last present and be back here when they get home. Over the next 5 days, I will be intentionally shifting more focus onto my family as we celebrate the Holidays together...our fist one with Davis! I won't be blogging much over the next few days and when I do it will be about family and fun! Not church. Need to disconnect (except for preparation and leadership for 3 special Christmas, finishing up my Christmas reflection for Sunday, returning some calls, dealing with a situation Guyana that unfolded last night...ok you get the point.) Lemme see what I can crank out and then, I am disconnecting for the Holidays. My "break" starts today.
See you Sunday at Church & Monday for the Christmas Eve Service at 6pm.
The passion of my heart (and the heart of the Pastoral Team at CCF) is to:
LOVE GOD & LOVE PEOPLE!!!
That's our passion and that's our purpose.
But, How do we do it? Where do we do it? When do we do it? How do we measure it?
But more important than any of that even is...how do we communicate it and get people to embrace it and help us live it? We need you!
It took me a long time to get here, actually. But I arrived somewhere that I now am so jazzed about that I cannot wait to bring loads of people with me to this place.
So, here it is. I was actually driving down 197 in Bowie when these ideas flooded my mind. It was just fresh clarity to what we had already been feeling. I pulled over to write. I will never forget it.
How do we love God? Most effectively? Most passionately? Most powerfully? Most intimately? A GOOD Christian might say..."oh, we worship Him, praise Him, magnify Him, exalt Him, obey Him, serve Him, seek Him, on and on and blah, blah, blah....and that's how we love God!" Pump the brakes! OK, I am sorry to sound harsh, but that's too long of a list, too churchy, too complicated, too demanding for most busy 2008 CCF attendees, members and guests who need their lives to be transformed, not informed. So, I ask the question differently now...what is the top, premier, primary, number 1 way that we can LOVE GOD. I say it is this: BE DISCIPLES! To follow hard after Christ as committed Disciples. There is no greater LOVE GIFT that we can offer, than our lives transformed and lived out as disciples all day, all week, all month, all year, all of life. BE DISCIPLES!
So, that sets the stage for the second question. How do we love people? Again we could compile a lengthy list of ways that we communicate love to others. We can give gifts and spend time and encourage and hug and kiss and feed and clothe and on and on and on. But again, the series of answers leaves me well informed of your ability to show love, but not transformed with power. So, it is as clear to me as anything has ever been that the number 1, top shelf, primary way to LOVE PEOPLE is to BUILD DISCIPLES. Just like being a disciple is the greatest gift we can give our God, building disciples is the greatest gift we can give people. Period. There is no better way to show love. When you build disciples, you are transforming lives for now and eternity. What matters more than that?
So, I hope this is taking shape for you. I see a cool logo or visual in the making!
By: Being Disciples & Building Disciples
Through: Large Groups & Small Groups
- What is discipleship? Who are disciples?
- Purpose of Large Groups.
- Purpose of Small Groups?
Stay tuned in and I would love your feedback and comments.
Gotta tell you about something wild. This evening, Tricia, Davis and I went out to grab some dinner at Three Brothers in Bowie Town Center. Two minutes after we got our food, the power went out...at the entire Town Center. At least we were able to eat first, but we could not do drink refills because the fountain drink thingy runs on electric. Anyway, here is what I thought was wild. It was obviously eerie to see the Town Center basically blacked out at 6:30pm. It was also wild to see the people scattering. Hundreds of cars trying to leave at once to go shop somewhere else (that had power). It looked a concert just let out. But was more crazy was to think of the HUGE amount of money that those stores were losing every minute, every second. There they were tonight...6 days until Christmas and they cannot ring out a single customer. Wild experience.
This is rather funny. Someone just sent it to me. Hopefully none of young people get any ideas. This kid got a little TOO excited to be baptized! Enjoy.
Yesterday was Pastor TC's last Staff Meeting with the Pastoral Team. Today he and I have an exit interview and he passes along files and stuff. It will be sad to see him moving out of his office. I have really appreciated the opportunity to work with this brother. Well, I insisted that we have one last photo op together as a team when we ended Staff Meeting yesterday. I mean, what a unique team of leaders. Look at our diversity! And it worked! It worked great! Only God!
WOW!! Check this out! This morning in a phone conversation with Pastor TC, he made mention of a verse that he recently read in Proverbs 16 about the power of patience. I liked what he said. So, I decided to look it up and check it out. Here is the verse. This thing will preach (hint hint):
Proverbs 16:32 "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."
How many times have you wanted something really bad?? You wish it could be now! You don't want to wait. You don't want to slow down. This proverb reminds us of the power of patience. If you will just be patient and control your spirit, God will do His thing! Your patience is stronger than your strength! Wait. Hold on.
Remember, people (of course people other than you) are slow to hear God and even slower to respond. Things take time. It is amazing when we decide to slow down and give it (whatever it is...financial, relational, etc.) a week, a month or even a year!
There is power in patience. I have seen this in my own life in the last few months. Better is a patient man than one who takes a city. Chew on that.