Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Leading a Congregation

Our goal as a worship leader (church leader)?

The way we "lead" worship and the format of our service is shaping the congregation over time into a certain type of worshipper. I think with this in mind, our focus will gravitate towards providing an atmosphere where authentic worship can be expressed and getting our attitudes, agendas and pride out of the way so God can shape the worshipper.

"It seems to me that one of the ways that consumerism has really afflicted the church, is in the urgency and pressure that churches are under to deliver an “experience” at every single service that will keep the attendee coming back. The result is that we grossly overestimate what is possible in a 75-minute format, and we tragically underestimate what it is we’re doing in a 20-year format. It strikes me that most of Jesus’ illustrations for spiritual growth are botanical illustrations—seeds, branches, vines—and that, by implication, Jesus is stressing that our long-term spiritual health may not be so much about mountaintop experiences as about faithful practices and obedience."
Isaac Wardell

How exhausting it is to try and "deliver an experience" every week to keep the attendee coming back! I understand that the disconnect among church leaders can develop here with the word "experience" as that can be interpreted different ways. What is the "experience" we want for our congregation?

If our focus is on providing an atmosphere where the worshipper can truly connect with God, hear God and respond to Him, I think they will come back.

God help us to honor you with our preparation and help us to get out of your way when we do prepare! It's your agenda, it's your church and your ways and thoughts are higher than ours!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The One without sin actually didn't throw a stone

The way God accepts us

John 8: 1-11

Verses 1-6

Here we have the religious bringing a woman before a crowd of people and before Jesus to point out her flaws and sin and attempt to get Jesus to say something they could use against him. The motives of the religious are always impure! It’s always about stepping on someone else by seeing their wrongs or trying to reason with God why they are deserving. Religion always sees the sin and flaws in everyone else.

Can you imagine this woman? How did they catch her? I’m sure they knew where to look and I’m sure she probably had a reputation. The interesting thing about people is there are always outward behaviors that are prodded by inward feelings. There is always an outward display from some harbored feelings on the inside. Many times the outward is a weak attempt to cover what we’re really feeling. But we don’t know any better so we do our best. It started with Adam and Eve attempting to cover themselves with what they had available.

What’s really going on INSIDE of this woman?

You see we always stop after we see the outward behavior. Only God knows why. People, especially religious people, see the outward and immediately draw conclusions and judgment. That’s the beauty about God. He see’s what’s being felt on the inside and then He steps in to mend it!!!

The American Journal of Public Health published a study a few years ago reporting that kids who are “ostracized” by their peers or—get this—“picked on by their teachers” are more likely to have sex early.

Was this woman picked on? Was she ostracized? Did she know her daddy loved her? Was her dad even there? We don’t know for sure but what we do know is that she sought affirmation by giving herself away. She sought someone telling her or showing her she was good enough even it meant giving her body away.

Verses 7-8

Once again, Jesus gives the perfect answer. We see it all through the NT as the religious attempt to catch Jesus saying or doing something wrong and he cuts right through their question with an unexpected response.

Verses 9-11

One by one they start to leave, the oldest ones first. The only person left standing is Jesus. He questions her, “Does no one condemn you?” Then he, the only one who had the right to even throw a stone says, “Neither do I.”

And we like this woman seek as hard as we can to earn the affirmation and the affection of the PEOPLE who are ready to kill us! The ones who are just as jacked up as we are! The ones who will never fulfill us the way we need fulfilling and we search as hard as we can to earn their favorable opinion!? We do anything! We give our bodies, we give our money, we change the way we talk, change the way we dress and do things we never thought we’d do to earn their approval.

Meanwhile, Jesus is standing over here watching and says, “I like you just like you are.” I already accept you. Like, you don’t have to earn or prove anything.

**Thanks to Nick Wright for the rich conversation sparking this journal entry

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who's better?

Journal: Matthew 9:13

Jesus is found eating at Matthew's house after he called him to follow. The Pharisees saw that he was eating with tax collectors and sinners and questioned his disciples. Jesus' response is, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick." then he tells them, "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.(Hosea 6:6) I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

What DOES this mean?

Could it be that Jesus is placing everyone on an even playing field? The religious, who are content to view themselves as better than the 'sinners', who are at the bottom of the moral totem pole, can't understand hanging out with them. It's easy to see that way when your lifestyle is one of trust in your abilities to be good. You build a sense of pride in all that you've accomplished and therefore see yourself as further down the road or better than those who don't act like you do.

When Jesus says I desire mercy (or quotes God as saying that), he immediately crumbles the tower of right living underneath the Pharisees. It's mercy that brings you near more than your acts of sacrifice. Perhaps he's saying that the sinners have just as much right to him through mercy as you do. If it was based upon your acts and living, then they would have a lot of catching up to do. But since it's based upon God's mercy, the sinners are just as deserving. After all, we were/are all sinners and, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paul on Grace

Paul says to Timothy in 2 Tim 1:9-10 that God saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything that we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior.

Awesome in and of its self! Thank God he did what he did not because of anything that we have done. How absolutely incredible is it that we could be a part of His "purpose and grace"?! Unbelievable! The thought that struck me was how huge God is. He transcends the 4 dimensions that we can wrap our brains around. I've heard it said that God operates in so many dimensions we could never understand it. Then I looked at what Paul said, "the grace was given us before the beginning of time"! It was given and then was revealed to us after a certain revelation had come through the cross.

My question became, "How many things has God already given to us and we haven't realized them yet?" If we stepped into one of His dimensions we might be blown away. Maybe your sickness has already been taken care of...and NOW needs to be revealed. Maybe your prayer has already been answered. Maybe your purpose, your plan, your salvation, you fill in the blank. God doesn't operate like us or think like us. He does! He did. Maybe we should just realize, as we ask Him to appear (v. 10).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My CD on iTunes

You can download the cd from iTunes. Use the link below!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New CD has finally arrived

Because of the way we did some things, it's taken a while to get the new disc in. We're happy with it and hope it spurs listeners to worship. It's easy to try and pick it apart until I remind myself that we recorded live and did it insanely fast! All I can say is mad props to the incredible musicians I play with! Check it out if you get a chance!

take a listen:


Sunday, July 5, 2009


We've been all over the state the last three weeks. From the beach to the mountains and several places in between. In the middle of it all we had the privilege of being keynote speakers at a youth work camp a couple of weeks ago. The camp was pretty incredible in the sense that these youth gave up a week of their time to get their hands dirty and help some amazing residents in Wilson, NC fix up their homes. We literally saw six transformations happen over the week as these homes were repaired and cared for! In the midst of the homes being transformed we saw students lives transformed as well as the power of the gospel prodded their hearts every night! Several of the students have kept in touch to tell us how their lives have already changed!

Here is a look at the homes with an added touch from various pictures taken from each location.

Monday, June 15, 2009

As of late

Been working on different stuff as of late --
Here are some things I've been doing: graphic design stuff

CD cover for a friend...not a final yet, but getting close.

Back of traycard for our CD. They are being printed at the moment; should be finished by the end of the month!

Other than that, video editing, working at church, getting ready for fund raising this summer, and preparing for a youth camp! Lots of stuff, hence the low amount of posts :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who's letters are we reading?

We had a long fruitful conversation with some friends in Dallas the other night that sparked many thoughts in me. At the core, I think it shook some theological beliefs in a good way.

We hear many things over the course of our Christian lives that become so familiar they've lost their power and revelation. At the core of our beliefs/theology should be the fact that God is good and the enemy is bad! You make a list under the word GOD and then make another list under the word SATAN. What words will you find there?

It's amazing how we buy into subtle lies that keep the Holy Spirit bound inside of us: e.g. is God the author of disease? No. but somehow we buy into the lie that maybe He made us sick to teach us something, so therefore we resist the opportunity for healing and stay where we are. But according to James, we are to resist the devil, not God's truths.

Does God use bad things and bring about good? Yes! He is the one who invented redemption!

I'll be the first to say there are many things this side of heaven that we will never understand. But by laying a foundation that God is ultimately good and wants to prosper us, not harm us, heal us, free us, bring deliverance, love us unconditionally, use us as His own, etc., we are setting ourselves up for miracles and experiencing His power.

If we allow one ounce of doubt in regards to Him being good, we stifle the opportunities from His Spirit.

I'm asking for God to open my eyes afresh and give me new understanding of who He is!

Smith Wigglesworth put it best, "Jesus did great works because of his knowledge of His Father. Faith begets knowledge, fellowship and communion. If you see imperfect faith, full of doubt, a wavering condition, it always comes because of imperfect knowledge."

The more we see the Father as He actually is, the more our faith is pure and pleasing to Him.

Friday, April 17, 2009

B.U.S.Y sucks

I feel that God has challenged me lately about my schedule. For some reason it seems that when we're asked how we're doing or how are things going, we find some sick pleasure in boasting about how busy we are. There's like an understood respect in our culture for being so busy you can't talk or spend time with someone.

I think my perspective on busyness has been shattered and I'm thankful for it. My goal has shifted to be as free as possible when it comes to my schedule. Why would I be so proud of not being able to answer a phone call (especially if it's a student who may benefit greatly from 5 min of conversation)? Why be proud over not being able to hang out with someone? Who is really benefiting from the busyness? Seems to me more people suffer from it, especially my family...and that sucks!

Why not make it our goal to be available? Why not do the things that God has asked us to do and say no to a million other things that maybe would be better served by someone else anyway? Let me be clear that I'm in no way talking about laziness (Prov 19:15), but simply taking on God's burden and his yoke alone. I have found that it is the most unattractive thing when you can't ever get up with someone or you feel they never have the time for you. Somehow I have to believe that God's ways wouldn't keep us excluded from personal touch and relationship, especially with sinners. After all, Jesus was a friend of sinners.

My new acronym for BUSY is:

and that someone is usually satan.

When my response to "How have you been?" brings to mind the word busy, I think I'll reevaluate what I'm doing week in and week out. God help us take on your yoke instead.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Going Green!!!

What a timely verse for the times we're facing:

Jeremiah 17:7-8

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

Many people are looking for answers, especially now. Will I still have a job tomorrow? How will we make it during such difficult times? Fear is the obvious temptation when we are bombarded with so much information and little hope.

What an incredible promise..."it has no worries in a year of drought"!
How is that so? What will people be asking us when they feel that all is falling around them? Will we still be bearing fruit?

The answer is clear in the verse 7..."blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him." Easily said I'm sure. But the promise is enough to cause us to stand firm. Leaning on Him has never been more crucial or 'environmentally' friendly.

*inspired by an aside note from pastor Mike Williams a couple of weeks ago. Thanks ps. Mike :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who Will Lead?

Today I see a culture literally starving for leaders.
I spend my weeks with high school students who are basically tossed by environment, looking for someone to direct them, whether they realize it or not.
I look at our nation hanging on every word spoken by our leaders, looking for any glimpse of hope for our future. I see leaders speaking and rehearsing words, but frequently find that the words are empty when actions speak louder.

I guess the looming question is, “Who will lead?”
It requires someone willing to put others above themselves. Why does that seem so hard to do? I guess Jesus called it the narrow road for a reason. We have so many needs to be met and they are revealing more and more that selfish ambition will fall short every time.

Leading is as simple as stepping outside of conveniences and comforts and giving to others in a way that provides them direction. Take time to pour life lessons into someone a little younger. Have lunch with a group of people to encourage them with what you’ve learned through experiences. Call forth a younger generation to live for something greater.

It’s going to take more than wishful thinking, waiting on others and empty words to pull us out of where we are. Maybe we are supposed to experience catastrophe first hand before we change. I wish it wasn’t so, but it doesn’t mean I’ll welcome it. I think if we adopted half of the work ethic and ideology of our grandparents we’d start turning this massive ship.

I guess my point is….ACT! Do something. Forget feelings and forget self for a moment. What does God want us to do? How would He want us to live? It wasn’t words, wishing, watching, waiting or anything else that pushed a group of beaten soldiers down Little Round Top to hold the end of the line at Gettysburg. It was the simple decision of Joshua Chamberlin to act!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Back to basics seems like such a cliche saying. The more I spend time with people sharing the Bible with them and discussing what it means to serve God, the more I realize how in need we are for the basics! I'm not referring to childish things, but mastering the foundations! I was struck by a quote from Ed Stetzer a leading church growth/culture expert.

"Only 16% of Protestant church goers read their Bible daily."

Wow. We are focusing a lot on mobilizing the congregation and trying to shift the congregation's thinking to be more missional. Seems to me that getting some of these basics down will really help the effort.

I guess our challenge is driving home the importance of the basics and making them a part of our everyday lives.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wow, forgot I had a blog

I can't believe it's been this long since I posted. I guess the holidays and changing schedules takes its toll on the blogging world.

I've also been working on building a new brand of coffee beans! This has been lots of fun and hopefully many people will experience the quality inside of these carefully selected and roasted beans! If you're a coffee lover, I would strongly encourage you to give them a try.


Friday, November 14, 2008

More government doesn't help

We all need to understand and make our voice heard that these artificial props for our economy ($700 billion bailout etc.) will do nothing to serve our country. It may delay the inevitable, but won't stop it. Whenever government has stepped in to "fix", the worse things seem to get. If you understand anything about the government run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this clip is unbelievable! Here is a banking system that was sick and dying (years before all of these failures started to come to the surface) and all of the representatives that scream for more government involvement were doing everything in their power to defend the system. They were literally bullying other reps while saying, "There is nothing wrong with Fannie or Freddie," which now we know to be complete lies as we've seen their failures and many others. This clip was so revealing to me about some of the flaws to big government thinking I couldn't help but post it.