52 highlights from 2009!

On the last day of 2008, I shared 52 highlights of the year as it closed out. You can read it by clicking here. I said that it would be an annual tradition, so here goes. Here are 52 highlights of 2009! This is a really easy and enjoyable exercise to read through my blog posts from the year and see what jumps out. What a great year it was. Here is the proof:

  1. Loving Jesus more
  2. Loving Tricia more
  3. Loving Davis more
  4. Loving all our family more
  5. Loving our church more...and loving seeing lives changed for Jesus!!
  6. Davis Turned 2
  7. The Launch of EntryPoint! What a success!!! 75 in EntryPoint and 40 new partners!
  8. Our staff grew by 3
  9. We miscarried...sad time. But, God is sovereign.
  10. Connection Power (our new church management software) gets cranking...
  11. Joshua Thomas Kaye was born!
  12. I went Mac...and I will never go back!
  13. Built a brick wall during a sermon...too cool!
  14. Corn Hole for Missions
  15. Took another Masters Class
  16. Preaching on Financial Peace in March
  17. Staying Connected Small Group Curriculum
  18. Tricia started blogging! So proud of my wife.
  19. Marrying Moe and Creshia in our living room!
  20. International Sunday....Why Diversity?
  21. My Niece, Graciella Lopez was born.
  22. Trip to Guyana...concluding our formal ministry there
  23. Starting Connection Cards
  24. Meeting Naylin and Anthony, our Foster Niece and Nephew
  25. Our trip to Miami to see Melyssa and Adam and visit Fellowship Church
  26. "Hope"- Easter Sunday
  27. Being Ordained on April 26th...what an honor!
  28. Pastor Dave's Book release
  29. The Drive Conference in Atlanta
  30. Married Life Live (x2)
  31. Our Sabbatical...the spiritual renewal
  32. Our Sabbatical...the family renewal
  33. Our Sabbatical...the life change
  34. Seeing the majesty of God out west
  35. Attending worship Services and the Ascent Conference at New Life Church
  36. Driving 9,500 miles over the summer!!
  37. China with the Kauffman's and Baptizing Austin in the South China Sea!
  38. Falling in love with the Word of God like I never have before!
  39. Reading over 25 books
  40. Facebook Ministry, Community and Connections!
  41. This Blog....year 3!
  42. Twittering the things that the Lord is doing and revealing and the memories we are making!
  43. Preaching the "Whispers" and "Pursuit" series
  44. Flapjack Friend Day
  45. Selling our van and getting our Scooters
  46. The "Nines" Conference 9.09.09
  47. Speaking at the Lanham Christian School Retreat
  48. The Homegoing of Lisa Savoy and Ralph McGill
  49. Navigating tough economic times as a church
  50. Church Retreat at Black Rock
  51. Announcing that Halftime is back for 2010!
  52. Blizzard of 2009! Good times!
All praise to God!!!!

More Genesis Highlights....

Picking up from THIS POST....

Here are some more things about the book of Genesis that grabbed me lately:

  • 14:19-20- Giving thanks to God and thanks to man are both in order!
  • 15:2- Abraham is basically saying, “Thanks, BUT…”! You are giving me nations. How about we start with one son of my own. Please?! Interesting.
  • 16:1-8- this is one of those random things about the culture of scripture. I let my wife have sex with someone else and then we fight. This is a pretty pertinent account of a spousal spat right here in Genesis. Read it. You may be able to relate.
  • 17:17- Abraham laughs at the idea of being a Dad at the ripe age of 100.
  • 18:10- We have the first account of female eaves dropping!!
  • 19:30-36 seems so unlikely, but it IS the word of God. How did these daughters get their Dad so drunk? How did he allow that? How did he have sex with them and not realize it even if he was intoxicated? How in the world did they pull this off 2 nights in a row? Did Lot like this? How did they both get pregnant in one attempt? Were they both ovulating at the same time? Just lots of questions come to my mind when I read this.
  • 22:2-3 Abraham asks NO questions!! Are you serious?! He just proceeds toward killing his son? Wow! The entire story of 22: 1-19 is truly amazing and inspiring!!
  • 24:12- Love this verse. Give me success on my mission, Lord.
  • 24:25- a rationale for having a guest room!
  • 24:52- it is powerful to me the way that Abraham’s servants have learned to worship like their master! People are watching us.
  • 24:67- Spouses are a special comfort in the time of death or loss
  • 25:1-3 amazes me that Abraham remarries and has more kids at 100+!!
  • 26:6-7 we see Isaac lying and saying that Rebekah is his sister to protect her. Wait! Didn’t dad do this too? Like father like son!
  • 26:30-33 we have a treaty ceremony. Good substantiation for some of the ceremonial things that we do in the church. Also, they name the place they are at. More on that later….
  • 28:16- “Surely the Lord was in this place and I wasn’t even aware of it.” Lord, please forgive us for this. I am afraid we do it all the time.

**Everything throughout the book of Genesis seemed to revolve around what the Lord said. He appeared. He talked. He commanded. People acted. And then the drama ensued, the scene got eventful and the blessings came. How much of our stories revolve around us doing what the Lord is asking us to do? Do we hear him? If yes, do we obey? What does hearing him look like for us today?


Over the last few weeks, I read Mark Batterson's new book, "Primal." He gave free copies to Lead Pastors who agreed to join his blog tour and blog about it. Well, here goes my blog. (Thanks for the free book, Mark and Multnomah Publishing!)

Great book. Mark reminds me or Rick Warren in that he speaks in plaques. He has a gift for saying old things in new and creative ways that are attention grabbing and memorable.
This book was especially meaningful to me in light of CCF's purpose Statement. Our purpose statement is strongly rooted in the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:36-40) and this book was structured around the same. Mark divided the book into 4 sections as he shared deeply into the complete call of the Greatest Commandment:
  1. The heart of Christianity
  2. The soul of Christianity
  3. The mind of Christianity
  4. The strength of Christianity
Some of my favorite excerpts or quotes:
  • If I say what God wants me to say, then all the criticism in the world does not matter. And if I do not say what God wants, then all the compliments in the world do not matter.
  • It is way easier to act like a Christian than to react like one. Anyone can put on an act, but your reactions reveal what is really in your heart.
  • Making money is the way you make a living. Giving it away is the way you make a life.
  • Whether in getting or giving, it seems like enough is never enough. Listen, you will never have enough. You will never be enough. You will never do enough. But, don't let that keep you from giving what you have, being who you are or doing what you can.
  • Awed silence in the presence of divine beauty is a form of worship that is often deeper and truer than sung words. Silence is one of the soul's love languages.
  • One of the most common reasons that people leave churches is because "they are not being fed." Children feed themselves from the time they are toddlers. If you are not being fed, it's your fault! Stop letting Pastors study the Bible for you. If you are relying on a preacher to be fed, I fear for you.
  • Regarding the importance of meditating on scripture: Meditation is the mechanism whereby one dimensional knowledge becomes two dimensional understanding. But it does not end there. Obedience is the mechanism whereby two dimensional understanding becomes three dimensional faith!
  • Your life translates scripture into a language that those around you can read. He wants to write His-story through your life.
  • It's taken thousands of years for billions of people to explore one tiny planet in one tiny galaxy. And we've barely scratched the surface. Wow, God!
  • God does not just want you to worship him. He wants you to know why you worship him. And worship is not lip syncing words on a screen.
  • We need to be less focused on getting out of situations and more focused on what we can get out of situations!
  • It is far easier to find something wrong with something new, than to admit something wrong with the old way of doing things.
  • We all need to get less afraid of making mistakes and more afraid of not making mistakes. Not making mistakes probably means that we are doing nothing.
  • Christianity was never intended to be a noun. It was always intended to be a verb.
  • Potential is God's gift to us. What we do with it is our gift to God.

Reading Update

I enjoy reading multiple books at the same time. Keeps my reading diet diverse. Well, somehow this month, that got a little out of control and I am reading like 5 or 6 books at the same time. So, I have a goal. Within the next few days I hope to wrap up most of them and share about a couple of them on my blog. That way, at the start of the new year, I can jump into a few new books that I have on the runway and am excited to start.

  1. "There Were Two Trees in the Garden" by Rick Joyner
  2. "Primal" by Mark Batterson
  3. "Waking the Dead" by John Eldridge
  4. "Genesis; an Introduction" by Claus Westermann
Looking forward to starting:
  1. "The Speed of Trust" by Steven M.R. Covey
  2. "The Heavenly Man" by Paul Hattaway
  3. "God's Pursuit of Man" by A.W. Tozer
  4. More that I cannot remember because they are on my shelf in MD and I am in NY...
Leaders and readers and yearn to learn.

Genesis Highlights

This summer, I spent some extended reflection time in some of the books of the Bible. One of them was Genesis. In fact, I feel like I developed a love like never before for the book of Genesis. It was Mid-June when the Lord placed it in my heart that I was to preach out of Genesis for the whole first month of this year. Not sure why....just sure that I was to preach on Genesis all of January 2010. The first book of the Bible---the first month of a new year---a new decade! So, I am doing what God said.

Well, there is so much in in Genesis, that 4 sermons do not even begin to begin to begin to cover it all. Hence, I want to share some of my findings at my electronic pulpit....my blog.
These are just personal, random highlights. Some cheesy, others more provoking. Get a Bible out! Enjoy.

  • 2:6 always fascinates me. The flood happened because the water came up from the earth not down from the sky. SO many people get that twisted and think that the rain caused the flood. Not so. (See 7:11 and 8:2 as well)
  • 2:19 is cool how Adam named every animal. How in the world did he come up with all these names? What amazing creativity and vocabulary. I am guessing there was dictionary in the library of Eden. God, huh?
  • 3:11-13 is really telling. Just three chapters into the Bible and we have the blame game being played in full effect. And we are still playing it today!
  • 3:17-19- it seems that as a result of sin, farming is hard work. What about other professions? Are they cursed as well? What about your job?
  • 3:20- made me wonder if the word “Eve” and “EVErywhere” or “EVEryone” are connected?
  • 3:24- what flaming swords has God put in place for me that I have not noticed?
  • 4:21 – “Jubal” is the first musician. Love this name!! If I were a musician, I would name my son Jubal!
  • 4:15- I did not know the name “Jared” was a Biblical name. Cool!
  • 6:3- Is the end of people living for so darn long! And the reason that life span was shortened was that God was sick of putting up with people that long. He had enough!
  • 6:5-13- God has regrets? Sure sounds like it? People disappoint him so bad….
  • 9:5- how God really feels about murder. This must be the argument for Capital Punishment.
  • 9:19- Nationalities of Noah’s Sons. We all come from them?
  • 10:24 & 31- the beginning of languages, separation and nations.
  • 11:1-9- Beware of universalism….one money, one world, together we can do it all mentality. This could lead to Godlessness. I think that this relates to the principles of Body life.
  • 12:1- the first step to Abraham answering his call was leaving his familiarity. This may
  • 13:7 & 11- Some good cases of Family Drama…

More later…..

God's Decade

Last week, I posted a few times about starting a new decade. Well, we are now just a few days away. The more I think about this, the more I hear the Lord nudging me about how to approach this new year, new decade and new opportunity.

I want to make you a promise. You can take it to the bank and cash it in. You can count on this more than you can count on anything....
If you make this coming year and coming decade GOD'S....it will go down as the best season of your entire life. What do I mean?
  • Let your dreams match his teachings and plans.
  • Submit everything you are and everything you have to him. Really.
  • Plan your year based upon how HE can get the most glory and attention out of your life, not how YOU can get ahead!
  • Plan to intentionally let the commands of the Word of God be the marching orders for your year. Forget everything else.
  • Decide now that in the coming year(s), you want to know him more, hear him more, obey him more and love him more than you ever have before.
  • Make the intentional decision that you are no longer living your life for you, but for God!
  • Let your top new year's resolution be falling in love with Jesus like you never knew was possible!!
Then, watch what happens!
Ooh, ooh...and more promise: None of this will happen if you are not planning on spending time in the presence of the Lord each day. So, maybe that ought to be your first decision for 2010!

A New Decade

Think with me for a minute. Over this last decade there have been unbelievable changes in our world. Personally, I see the progress most vividly in technology.

I got my first email address in 1999!!
I got my first cell phone in 2000 as a college student!!
There was no high speed Internet!
Or WiFi!
Or Tivo!
Or hybrid cars.
Or Blogs.
Or Social Networking.
This decade has brought with it some amazing and rapid changes.
I want to ask you a few questions and I would LOVE to hear back from you on any of this (by comment, email or in person):
  1. What are some of the biggest changes that you have noticed in the last decade?
  2. What feelings do you have as you approach the start of a new decade in just 9 days?
  3. Do you have any goals for this decade?
  4. What do you think life will look like for you in 10 years?
  5. What predictions would you be willing to make about the advancement and changes that we will see in the coming decade?
I would LOVE to hear back from you!

A Day With God

In about 1o days, we will start a new year. Not only a new year, but a new decade. I want to take a few posts here in the next few weeks to share some things that the Lord has helped me discover that may be a benefit to you as you plan into the coming year. I am afraid that our New Year's Resolutions are often weak and repetitious. It may help some of you to think differently about them this year.

Here's an idea....
I strongly suggest that you set aside and plan (at least) ONE DAY PER MONTH WITH GOD! Spend a day a month with him. Write "GOD" in your calendar.
What do you do all day?
  • Get away to a quiet place or a park and think.
  • Read the word in an extended and reflective way.
  • Pray extra long.
  • Listen intently.
  • Prayer walk.
  • Read a book that boosts your faith.
  • Rest in the Lord.
  • Turn off phones and computers!
Once a month. Consider it an untouchable appointment. I have done it for the last 6 months and it has been transformational. Try it! Come on! See what happens. If you say that you are too busy for this, then you need to rethink some stuff.

Electric Chair Around Your Neck?

Last week in Staff Meeting, we had an insightful conversation about the sacrifices in walking with Christ. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said that we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him! Lots of people interpret "taking up your cross" in a lot of different ways. But, one thing is for sure....taking up your cross as a disciple has to do with sacrifice. In Jesus' case...LIFE SACRIFICE!!
In Jesus' time, the cross was the symbol of death...brutal death for criminals. My, how things have changed! In just 2,000 years, the meaning of the cross has drastically changed. Now, we wear it around our necks, hang it on our walls, and wear it on our shirts.
I understand that the cross is a reminder of the amazing sacrifice of Jesus. I get that! But, it is also a symbol of death and sacrifice. It may be likened to the electric chair or gas chamber of today. Are you ready for that type of sacrifice? Are you a disciple? Are you ready to deny yourself? Are you ready to take up your cross?
Would you wear an electric chair around your neck? Or a gas chamber? The meaning of this cross we wear around our neck is not some pretty little stylish symbol. It means more than we can even grasp!
(I know that this image is a tad stunning. But, I believe it makes a relevant point.)

Snow Storm. Church this Sunday??

Hey Church,

In light of this snow storm this weekend...
1. We will be postponing our Christmas Family Worship Service ONE WEEK to December 27th. The exact plan for our service this weekend will happen next weekend.
2. There will be a small, intimate worship, testimony and dwelling in the word this Sunday for those who can SAFELY make it to church. Myself and a few other staff will be present (Lord Willing) and we will meet with the Lord!
Please be safe in your decision to come. We will be doing our best to have the lot as clear as possible.
If something changes and we feel a need to cancel altogether, we will notify you. At this point, CCF will have church for those who come.
Love you!

Your desk is your pulpit

If I've said it once, I've said it hundreds of times...you are a minister! Everyone in a church on a Sunday morning is a minister! The Pastors/leaders are equippers.

If it were up to a Pastor to grow a church, the church would be tiny! I only have 8 neighbors. And the people I work with already attend my church. YOU are a "sent one" to your company, your school, your street, your family. God is calling YOU to reach the lost and hurting people in your sphere of influence.
While in a meeting this morning with a Pastor Friend, he said this:
Your desk is your pulpit!
From it you are a voice of truth to the people around you. Or maybe your "work truck" is your pulpit. Your dinner table is your pulpit. Speak truth. Tell people about the God who loves you and found you.
I believe, that if ONE HALF of the people at Capital Christian Fellowship (and your church too) were so excited for Sunday that they can hardly wait to get here, they would be bringing people with them and the church would grow. We all need a good dose of role definition and big glass of ownership increaser when we think about the church.

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." I Peter 3:15

Answered Prayer (follow up on today's Twitter/Facebook update)

Earlier today, I wrote this on Twitter/Facebook: "Today, God answered a prayer I've been praying for 2-3 years! And he answered it big! 3pm mtg. today that I welcome prayer for. More later."

Here's the story:

I have been on Staff at CCF for five and a half years. I have been serving in the role of Lead Pastor for four years and a month. About 3-4 years ago I began to feel the need and desire to know more about our community and context. At the time, I longed to know about our "new" mission field of Greenbelt, Lanham, Seabrook, Glenn Dale, etc. I thought that what I wanted was statistics, numbers, data and demographic information. I now (after today) know that what I actually want is psychograpic information.

Anyway, back to my story. Over the last several years, my desire to know more about this area has just kept increasing. In fact, since returning from my sabbatical I have tried (key word) to do some research on my own, I've asked several different people to do some research for me, and I even twittered it and facebooked it to tell the world about this desire. All of this yielded no results. Nothing.

I have prayed this prayer many times: "Lord, help me to know the people, the needs of the people and the best way to love and reach the people of our neighborhood! Lord, help us to learn of the problems in our neighborhood so that we can be an answer to them. Lord, help us to see what you are already doing in our mission field so that we can join you in it."

OK, so what happened? The Lord answered my prayer today and sent me JUST the person for the job!

Last night, a local friend in ministry (some of you know Ben Rainey) emailed me and introduced me to a man (Scott) who he thought might "help me understand my community in order to better fulfill the great commission"! Turns out, the guy is:
  • A demographer with decades of commercial experience
  • A wealth of information about the Washington-Baltimore Corridor
  • A seminary grad
  • A credentialled minister
  • Knowledgeable about PG County
  • Passionate about Jesus
  • Was open to meet with me immediately
  • Ready and willing to dive in and help us gain all the info we need to be more missional
  • Hungry to use his training and experience for the kingdom of God
  • Loaded with wisdom for ministry
Today, I was in his home LESS than FIVE hours after my first email from him. We met for over 2 hours this afternoon and will be getting back together again soon. God is at work. He is answering prayer. And I am thankful to him tonight for this gift of grace!

Not Okay!!!

8,000 people will die of Aids today! Are you okay with this?

According to the UN, 25,000 people will die today from starvation and malnutrition. Are you okay with this?
There are 130,000 kids up for adoption in the U.S. today and millions more kids worldwide without families. Are you okay with this?
A child dies from drinking contaminated water every 21 seconds! Are you okay with this?
This question can be asked of every suffering and injustice. Are you okay with it?
But, here is the problem....most of us ARE okay with it. Obviously. Because many of us are doing nothing about it. Mark Batterson suggests in his new book, "Primal" that "...we are okay with it because it does not have a name or a face. We've never held someone who is starving to death. No one in our family has needlessly died from contaminated water. But once the issue has a name or a face, it changes everything."
Well, folks, God knows the names and the faces very well. And it breaks his heart. When will our hearts break for the things that break God's heart? And when will we do something about it?
It is NOT okay to NOT do something.

Monday Thoughts

Here are some of the random thoughts on my mind today.
  • I am more and more convinced that the stories of life change that happens in healthy churches are the most underrated and ignored scorecard in ministry. They can often never be put into words, graphed or counted. So, they often fell by the way side. Honestly, they are why I keep doing what I am doing. I'm not in this for numbers, I'm in this for people. Just yesterday, more stories rose to the surface. GOD IS AT WORK!!!!!!!
  • There is so much that I do NOT KNOW about the future. I am learning right now to focus on what I DO KNOW and seek and wait on the Lord. It is his future anyway.
  • I cannot believe that Christmas is in 11 days. OMW!
  • I would be lost and afraid if it were not for Jesus having found me and loved me.
  • I feel my need for a savior more now than I did a week ago!
Love you,