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Sunday Thoughts

Monday, September 29, 2008

  • Was asked to join a special missions team to Northern Africa this November – confirmed plans for the trip and purchased plane ticket this week. 
  • Finalized all plans for Catalyst 08 in Atlanta.  Four from our church will be going and two from Buffalo.  Can’t wait!
  • I took Julie out on a date Friday night – because of our fast – we decided to just go to see the new movie “Nights in Rodanthe” – and we loved it!
  • For the first time in a long time I had everything done for Sunday’s services on Friday.  I’m a terrible procrastinator!
  • The freedom I had on Saturday was incredible!  Just knowing that Sunday was ready to go helped me to have one of the best Saturday’s I’ve had in a long time.  Super relaxed.  You better believe I will shoot for that again this week.
  • Great Sunday at First Church - we had several new guests and we wrapped up “Hold Your Tongue” sermon series.
  • Learning to hold your tongue begins with understanding the dangers and possible negative impact of our words. 
  • The number one killer of the church may very well be gossip and slander.
  • My prayer is that God will create in us a body of believers that are unified for Him.  That means we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of our family by stopping the gossip and slander at all cost.
  • God has also given each of us the ability to build others up according to Ephesians 4:29. 
  • When is the last time you said something to someone specifically to build them up and encourage them?
  • I’m so blessed to have the staff and leadership that God has provided. 
  • Our small group rocked again tonight!  The food was amazing – especially the home made ice-cream.  Our discussion took place out on the deck around the fire pit – good times.
  • We ended our Daniel Fast in style - with friends and great food.  
  • The Daniel Fast was amazing - something we will definitely do again - it has completely changed the way I look at food.

Daddy Milestone

Friday, September 26, 2008


I took Karlee, my oldest of three daughters, to get her drivers permit yesterday.  She is so excited and I am so not excited.  Should this really be happening?  Can I stop it?  Can I somehow keep her from spreading her wings and taking flight?  Helplessly, no.


My little girl has taken another step toward adult hood and there is not a dog gone thing I can do about it.  Where did the moments in the stroller go?  How about the times I carried her on my shoulders?  Will she remember the little red wagon or the cart behind my bike?  Now she is sitting behind the wheel of my GMC pickup.  The little girl that I watched take her first breathe back in 1993, in Albany, Georgia, is growing up with - our without me.

You always here people say that they grow up way too fast.  And the older you get the faster time flies.  They are right!  It's all true.  

So, I decided to join in the fun.  I decided to make the most of the moment and let my little girl drive home from High School.  Obviously, we have some work to do.  (My apology to the guy in the white pick-up, he probably had to have his seat cleaned after our close call) Which means more time for me to invest and you can count on this - I'm going to slow down and enjoy that time teaching her how to safely drive - it's about all the time I have left before the next big milestone comes.

What do you see?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


When I got home yesterday, Julie and I went on a two mile walk.  We live a few miles outside of town in what most would consider the country.  The roads we walk down are lined with hay fields, cattle, ponds, and some wooded areas.  


At one point we walked past a herd of cattle all of which turned to stare at us like they had never seen anyone walk down this road before!  Now, keep in mind that we have been on this Daniel Fast for over two weeks.  Simply meaning, that we have not had meat during the fast.  

The picture above is an actual picture of the group of cows we passed.  What do you see as you look at that picture.  For me, I saw steak!  And that's exactly what I told those cows - "you would make some great steaks!  Bring on the beef!"  

Then my wife chimed in - "Oh!  Look at that one that is light brown with the white eye brows - he is soooo cute!"  I almost passed out on the road.

Isn't it funny how people see things from different perspectives?  And that is exactly how God created us.  I was also reminded how opposites attract.  I heard Dave Ramsey say, "If two spouses are both alike then one of them would be useless."  

I love my wife.  She is my best friend.  She makes me laugh.  She makes me stronger.  She shows me another side of God's creation as she lives her life for Jesus.  We are different in so many ways and yet I love her.  I am extremely blessed!  

The same application can be made about the church.  We are all different.  God created us with different likes, abilities, talents, ect.  It's when we come together as a church body and keep our focus on Jesus (not ourselves) that we can be all that God has called us to be.  

You may not like beef.  You may not even like the fact that I would think about eating a cow!  But, as for me, I can't wait to get my hands on one of those steaks - even if it is cute!

Something New.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I like change.  I like new things.  I like improvements.  I like risk.  That’s just me.  I realize everyone doesn’t feel the same as I do especially when it comes to personal preference.  I was excited this morning to wake up and see that “Twitter” had made some changes and updated.  I updated my Powerbook yesterday to the new Mac OS X Version 10.5.5.  I like change.

The Daniel Fast that our staff is currently participating in has caused me to make a lot of other changes in my life.  Some are a challenge, but I have enjoyed the blessings from the experience.  It has forced me to look more carefully at what I eat.  Matter of fact, the other day I ran into a Dollar Store to grab a snack and a drink.  The only thing I could find within the parameters of the fast was a box of raisins and a bottle of water.  The raisins weren’t bad and the water was…water.:)-

While looking for other Daniel Fast options I ran across something that I just love.  It’s called Steel-cut oats.  I love oatmeal for breakfast and this just added a new type of texture to my early morning meal. Matter of fact, it reminded me of cracked wheat which I also love.  Here’s Wikipedia’s definition, just in case you are interested; Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces. They are golden in colour and resemble small rice pieces.[1] Steel-cut oats are also known as coarse-cut oats, pinhead oats, Scotch oats, or Irish oats. wikipedia.org)

So, try something new.  Give change a chance.  Break out of your comfort zone and go for it.  You might even find something you like!  And please, pass along the things you like and think I might want to give a shot.

Thoughtfulness and gifts…

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The other night we had a family from church stop by with a little gift for

Klaire.  It was a jar of pink and purple M&M’s! She loves them and we had

been giving them to her as a reward for using her potty.  We have been

looking forward to this day for a while now – it seems Klaire just had to

decide on her own terms when the diapers were going away. Look up “Strong

willed” in the dictionary and you might see her name listed!

 

A short time after this family left our house, Klaire announced that she had

to use the potty. Then the craziest thing happened – it was if she was

straining – trying to go so that she could get her hands on those new pink

and purple M & M’s – then she bowed her head and said a little prayer!  We

couldn’t believe it.  Now, that’s motivation.

 

Isn’t it nice when people bring gifts or do something thoughtful for you –

especially when you least expect it?  This family made our night – and they

sure made Klaire’s.

 

It got us thinking – when was the last time we did something for someone

else?  How about you?

 

1 John 4:7-12 (The Message)

 7-10My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes

from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship

with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about

God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. This is

how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we

might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not

that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as

a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our

relationship with God.

 11-12My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought

to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another,

God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect

love!

Where's Your Sign?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This sign appeared on our church lawn this past Sunday morning.  Weird - I know.  It seems someone with a sense of humor picked up a sign (I'm sure they got permission and didn't steal the thing!) in Washington State because they thought of me.  I actually got a kick out of it - especially when a couple of people in the second service came up to me and stated they had no idea that I was running for office.


I checked up a little on this "Joe Wilson" character from Washington and found out that he seems to be a pretty good guy running on a good record of service to his area.  Shoot, if I lived in Snohomish County he might even have my vote!

Proverbs 22

1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.


And the winner is…..

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Last night we held our first ever Wilson Family Night Sing Off!  That’s right – a sing off.  We celebrated Monday night as “family night” – no television after school – just the family eating together around the table and then hitting some games down in the basement.  Some how, it was decided that we should use Kassidy’s karaoke machine to have this contest. 

Now, I don’t recommend contest for family night – but if you know me and my singing abilities you know it wasn’t much of a contest.  We played rock-paper-scissors to determine who would go first.  That would be the only thing I would win!  I went first and choose to sing “Celebration” – I knew the chorus to that at least.  My score was a whopping 36.  And for some reason most of the family was in tears – rolling on the floor.  Apparently they didn’t appreciate my dancing skills either.

Karlee and Kassidy were very close with their scores and did a super job – maybe a little too much choreography but great voices.  Then, Julie just had to clean our clocks with her rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”  She squeezed an 86 out of that crazy machine.   She also picked an easy song in my opinion.

I used to remember when Karlee and Kassidy were very young – they loved to hear me sing.  But there came a point when they realized that what they are hearing just wasn’t right.  Then it happened to me again – I woke Klaire up a few mornings ago and was singing one of my early morning favorites to her, “This is the Day That the Lord Has Made.”  She sat up in bed and said, “No daddy – no sing – no more church now!”  No kidding – it was her first comment to me for the day.  Yes, I died laughing! 

Singing is not my thing.  I know I don’t have a great voice- and the older my daughters get the more they understand just how bad it is.  And, the older I get the more I realize that I have to sing.  You see life is short.  The bible says it’s “but a vapor.”  We are only here on this planet for a brief time.  We are only going to have a very small amount of time to impact other people’s lives for Christ – especially our own kids. 

My girls are growing up faster than my mind can grasp – and some day I’m going to sit in an empty basement wishing I could hear them sing to me.  How much do you want to bet that they will always remember their crazy dad singing “Celebrate” in the basement?  I love family night and my only regret is not doing it more.


I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. Psalm 13:6

Sunday Evening Thoughts

Monday, September 15, 2008


  • Week one of the Daniel Fast is under our belt – we are praying for God to tear down walls in our church – to touch hearts – for lives to be changed – for people to become fully committed followers of Christ.  It has already been an amazing journey and the reports from those who are participating are inspiring.

  • Our Wednesday Evening programs continue to grow and gain momentum.  We had over 50 kids this week!  I can’t wait to break 100!  God is working in our kids and teens and I am loving it!  I am also blown away by all the adults who continue to serve and impact the lives of our kids.

  • Friday night we took the Kassidy and Klaire to the High School football game to watch Karlee (our oldest daughter) march in the band.  Of course I love watching the football game as well – but watching our daughter perform in the band is the highlight of the evening.  The band is fantastic and they work extremely hard each week.  I’m thankful for such a great program.

  • Saturday morning we had a workday at church.  The place needed a good cleaning really bad - plus we needed to haul out a dumpster load of trash from the basement which is in the process of becoming a children’s center.  I’m incredibly thankful for the thirteen people who came out to scrub and shine things up.  Many hands make light work!  Thank you so much for all the hard work!

  • Sunday services went well although our attendance was down.  I attribute it to the rough weather overnight.  Ike hit us hard dumping over 4 inches of rain and causing a lot of flooding.  I know that I missed out on a couple ours of sleep because of the storm.  And yet for those who made it out – the worship and time together was worth it.  I’m so thankful for our staff and volunteers who help present the Gospel each Sunday! 

  • We kicked off a new series Sunday called “Hold Your Tongue.”  This week we dealt specifically with “Complaining.”  I’m humbled at the number of hands that went up admitting that they do complain.  Mine as well.  That is the first step to allowing God to change our hearts.  Oh what a powerful thing the tongue is! 

  • Small Groups began this week and the preliminary numbers are great.  We had 15 adults at our home last night and 11 teen/kids.  I have to say it was one of the best small group meetings we have ever had.  We did what was called a “sermon based” small group.  This meant we basically looked at scripture from Sunday morning’s sermon and discussed how to apply it to our lives.  I believe in home groups more than ever and can’t wait for our next one!
  • Daniel Fast - Day 6!

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Our church staff and some of our ministry leadership recently entered into a 21 day Daniel Fast.  This also included many of our spouses and children. 

    Let me explain why.  Several months ago the staff and wives and began to meet each week to worship and pray about our ministry and church.  We each took one day a week to fast and pray for God to move in big ways.    This has become a very special time for us and we have seen God answer prayer and pull us closer to Him and each other.

    While at Saddleback Church this past May I heard of a pastor by the name of Jentzen Franklin.  Jentzen had written a book called “Fasting,” in which he explains the biblical discipline of fasting and the results of this practice in his own life and the life of his church.  I didn’t purchase the book at the time but wanted to.  Then a couple of months ago, Lynn Smith (the wife of our children’s pastor) told us about a great book she was reading on “fasting.”  It was Jentzen’s book.  So, I bought a copy and read it in just a few days.

    Several weeks ago I was reading some of my favorite pastor’s blog’s and read how Steven Furtick was leading his church staff and volunteers through a 21 Day Daniel Fast.  They were kind enough to share the material they developed with other churches online.  It’s well done – you can see it here;

    So, this past Sunday (September 21st) evening at 7:00 pm we kicked it off. 

    Here’s what we encouraged people to do.  Fast for 21 days in one of three ways; 1.) Partial Fast – pick something(s) that you really love (food) and give it up for the length of the fast.  2.) Total Fast – no food, only water, juice, and chicken broth for the length of the fast.  3.) Daniel Fast – only natural foods (according to the book of Daniel) such as fruits, vegetables, oats, etc.  No meat, milk products, or caffeinated drinks.

    It’s been an amazing first week.  And yes, I miss coffee, meat, and chocolate like crazy!  But, that has also caused me to ask myself if I long for more of God as much as I long for certain foods?  One thing for sure – my focus and my prayer life have changed dramatically!  

    The Cowboy

    One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out Bible. 

    The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories.  As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it. 

    As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship."  The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.  

    The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored.  The preacher approached the man and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."

    "I did," replied the old cowboy. 

    "If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?" asked the preacher. 

    "Well, sir, God told me that He didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said He'd never been in here before."

    I received this following from mikeysFunnies.com

    The problem is - it shouldn't be funny.  I have to admit, I laughed - then sighed.  It's only funny because you and I probably know churches who actually treat people this way.  May God forgive us for judging anyone by their outward appearance, color, smell, hair, clothes, shoes, or anything else.  The scripture is very straight forward in telling us that God looks at the heart.  I Samuel 16:7

    And another thought.... if you are coming to church to see what others are wearing or to show your new outfit - you are coming for the wrong reasons!  God doesn't care and neither do I.  :)

    Relevant???

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Okay, here's another video that I came across on Carlos Whittaker's blog and just had to share it!  The Renewed Mind Is the Key!!!  


    Hold Your Tongue!

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    I was doing some reading in Proverbs chapter10 today during my devotional time.  I have also been doing some preparation for our “Hold Your Tongue” series this week.  It’s amazing how much God’s word has to say about the power of such a small part of our body.  Here are the passages from Proverbs 10;

    • The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.   Vs 8

    • The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. Vs 11

    • Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod. Vs 13

    • Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. Vs 14

    • Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. Vs 18

    • Too much talk leads to sin.  Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Vs 19

    • The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.   Vs 20

    • The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. Vs 21

    • The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off. Vs 31

    • The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words. Vs 32

    Things I'm reading

    I love to learn, especially from people who are on the cutting edge of ministry and leadership.  Here are some of the posts and sites that I have enjoyed this week;


    • I discovered a great church called Cross Point they are really making things happen in Nashville land – then I realized I had attended seminary with the pastor and we share the same last name – no relation as far as I know.  You can read his blog here; Pete Wilson.

    • Perry Noble is always one of my favorites!  He has a great post here.  His church is New Spring.  They are living my dream!!!  Reaching the lost for Christ and making the world a better place.

    • Jeff Myers gave us a great look into his life and ministry out in California.  Jeff and his family moved from Lebanon back in January to pastor this church.  Keep him in your prayers – I love this family and know that God is using them.

    • Lanny had a great post on life and death of a follower of Christ – it’s here.

    • I love to follow this Pastor’s Blog!  He is another guy that is hitting it out of the park for Jesus.  I would love to attend a church like this!

    • Here’s an incredible post on blogging.  It’s a must read.

    • I also follow this guy’s blog – he is genuine and simply loves Jesus.  He is also extremely honest and funny!  This post makes you think about the people in town that you are not reaching and why?

    • Tony Morgan is another favorite and helps keep me on the technology front and build my leadership skills.  Here he writes about Life Change – I’m addicted to seeing lives changed by Jesus!  I love this!

    • Just for fun – here is a site in which you can upload a picture of yourself and see what you would have looked like in school year books from various years – even 1968!  Pretty cool.

    • I started to Twitter a few weeks ago and simply love it.  You should check out their site and join in!

    • My friend Ron posted a great blog that is a cool follow-up to our recent sermon series on the Bible.  Read is post here.

    • I love reading Saddlebacks devotionals each day.  Today’s (9/10/08) was written by Rick Warren and is worth the read.  You can see it here.

    Die to Self…Again

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008


    I was reading in Mark chapter nine this week and I have been doing some study on James the brother of John.  So, the passage found in Mark dealing with the power struggle amongst the disciples (Mk 9:33-37) was already on my mind.  But, it’s Jesus’ response that hit me and has had me thinking.


    I love how Peterson puts it in the Message;   "Everyone's going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you'll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace." Mark 9:49-50

    Could it be that the problem with the disciples was that they were too concerned about themselves and who was considered more important in Jesus’ eyes.  I mean think about it – here they were walking and talking with the Savior – God’s Son – and at the same time arguing with each other over who was more important in their little band of brothers.  It’s crazy.  And yet, it still happens all the time in my life.  I have to consistently “die to self” and refocus on Christ.

    I believe this is one of the biggest problems in the Christian church today.  Far to many followers of Christ have lost focus on Jesus and have become consumed with their own desires, wants, agenda, etc.  And in doing so, we have lost our effectiveness in this world.  We can’t be preservatives when we can’t get along and stay focused on Christ.  We have all become Burger King Christians – “have it your way- at Burger King Now!” 

    The great thing about James is that he eventually got the picture.  He laid it all down to follow Christ – even to the point of dying to the sword.  I have hope in the church that keeps its focus on Jesus and places their desires to the side.  I have hope in the church that preserves peace and keeps it’s salt…“salty.” 

    You may not agree with who is in charge, with the color of the carpet or the style of music.  But you must agree with the fact that time is short – hell is real – Jesus came to save the world – and you and I are to share the news.  That won’t happen if we don’t love one another and get along.  That won’t happen if we don’t die to ourselves and focus on the Son!

    Sunday Evening Thoughts

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    As I sit back and reflect on Sunday there are a ton of thoughts going through my head. Some good – some bad. Here goes;

    • My started at 5:00 am as usual – I had minimal things to do before heading to the church. I have to learn to give more ministries away and find people to train in these areas. This will allow me to have more time to focus on the message and pray for the services.
    • I’m thankful for less stress today, especially before the services. Having the staff and volunteers that God has blessed us with is wonderful and a huge blessing.
    • Our services went well. The message was well received even though I knew it was a hard message to give. I am frustrated that our attendance has been what it was at the first of the month. Somehow preaching on the bible may not be as popular as preaching on angels and demons.
    • We had 69 in the first service and 98 in the second service. I’m praying for God to bust the door wide open on both of these – for the crowds to exceed 100 in each service.
    • Once again the worship in both services was spot on. I’m praying that our people will catch on to true worship – and worship as God would have desire us to worship – in spirit and in truth. I’m praying for our worship to come alive!
    • Once again we had new faces! Churches grow when the attenders reach out and begin to invite and bring their friends – I’m praying for more and more and more!!!
    • I’m thankful for the people that told me the message hit them and that they needed it. I know it’s not about me – but I do love to know that what I’m doing is making an impact.
    • The message from yesterday may be one of the most important one that I have shared. If our people will just fall in love with the Scriptures – this community will change for the better! Far too many Christians rely on the church/pastor to spoon feed them every week rather than spending the time really studying and applying God’s word.
    • Big thought from the message – APPLICATION. Study of Scripture without Application is death!
    • Still praying for people to move during the invitations – for people to give their life to Christ – I’m addicted to changed lives!
    • I’m longing for the day when Christians will stop sitting in the back of the church – and move to the front – simply wanting more from God – to worship more – to desire to learn more.
    • I’m extremely pumped about starting our new small groups. We are literally going from 2 small groups to 11! It’s biblical – we have to do it. I’m thrilled at the people who are signing up!
    • Had a great lunch at Quizno’s – The Beef Dip is Fabulous and I loved eating with a large group of friends from church.
    • I got to mow the lawn yesterday – listened to another great message by Francis Chan http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/ I wanted the lawn to look good before the reception at our home. Time on the mower is therapeutic for me!
    • Klaire went home with Jon & Becky after lunch. It’s good to have friends – and even better to have friends that your kids love!
    • I loved how my wife and daughters jumped in and prepared for the reception. I’m way blessed with the most incredible wife and daughters.
    • The reception was more than we could have imagined! We had nine new people to First Church come over and the staff families. The house was full. People were connecting. God is moving in people’s lives and our church is having an impact! Thank you Jesus!
    • The food at the reception was off the wall! Steve brought some hot wings that more than cleared my nasal passages and Julie made the best chocolate cake I have ever put in my mouth – it almost made me cry! So, I had a second piece!
    • I even got to enjoy a little bit of football as the day closed out. Watched a little of the Cowboys and a little of the Bears.
    • I’m loving “Twitter” and the connection it has given me to other pastors and believers around the country.
    • I’m thankful to God that He loves me and has called me to pastor.

    You Have Got To See This One!

    Saturday, September 6, 2008

    This video had me on the floor - it is unreal!!!!  Thank you to Carlos Whittaker (http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com/)for sharing this on his blog.



    Deny yourself.

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    I spent some time this morning reading in Mark 8.  Verses 31 through 38 really jumped out at me.  I have to think that Peter meant well when he took Jesus to the side and began to rebuke Him.  And yet, what was Peter thinking to rebuke the Son of God?  Jesus' words to Peter were extremely strong "Get behind me, Satan!" he said.  "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."


    At that point Jesus calls everyone together and explains that "following" Him requires denying yourself from the things that you want - it requires you to be willing to lose your own life.  

    One of the most important keys to successful bible study is personal application.  Too often, we read scripture only thinking of how this stuff applies to everyone else we know!  So, as I read this passage today - I had to ask some huge questions;
    • Do I have in mind the things of God?  If so, what are they?
    • Am I thinking only of myself?  
    • How am I denying myself to follow Jesus?
    • Have I given Him my life today?
    When you first read this passage there is a tendency to wonder why in the world Jesus would be so hard on Peter.  I mean really - did He have to call Peter - "Satan."  And yet, maybe the point is our lack of "following" Jesus is a leaning toward following Satan.  Man - that hurts.

    We can't straddle the fence.  "Following" Jesus - taking up our cross - denying ourselves - laying down our lives for Christ - is all part of gaining everything in Him.  

    My prayer today is that our church would be full of people passionately living for and following Jesus.  Which means, our church is full of people who die to themselves first.  I've got more to give up for Him - how about you?  Deny yourself.  Die to yourself.




    Celebration at McDonalds

    Thursday, September 4, 2008






    We celebrated Klaire's "Gotcha Day" at McDonald's - her choice - it's her favorite!  It actually reminded us of our time in China because we loved to visit the McDonald's close to our hotel.   Here are some pics of our evening.

    Happy Gotcha Day Klaire!


    Today is Klaire's official "Gotcha Day!"  I can't believe it's been two years since Klaire was placed in our arms.  God is so good and the miracle of adoption is just that - a true miracle.  


    God has opened my eyes to so many incredible truths through this process.  The one thing that blows me away maybe more than any other is that Klaire is just as much our little girl as our two biological daughters.  Yes, she came to us in a different way.  But I can honestly say that when I look at Klaire - when I hold her - when I read her a story - when I carry her on my shoulders - when I kiss her goodnight - when I pray for her - she is my little girl.  To everyone else it may be very apparent that she is from another country - that she doesn't look just like me - that her eyes are almond shaped and her hair is much darker than mine or her moms.  But I don't notice.  She is simply a precious gift from God - just like our her sisters.

    Think about this - we put so much emphasis on the outside and yet God looks at the heart.  The fact is, you and I were created in God's image - and when He looks at us - He doesn't notice all the things that we don't like about ourselves - He just sees His child - the one He loves - the one for which He gave His only Son.  


    The Aftermath of Lies

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Here's an amazing story that shows the aftermath of lies.  Before you point fingers or become judgmental be careful...you may have a log in your own eye.  It's stories like this that make me want to take a careful look at who I am and how I'm living.  According to scripture, I will answer for my life and you will answer for your life as well.  


    The strange thing is that this story is about a guy who lied to keep from telling the truth about a sin problem that he didn't feel like he could be honest about.  Confused?  Watch the story.  



    My question is this - what would happen if everyone in your church just came clean.  I mean really opened up and came clean about their struggles - their sin - their lies.  Would you accept them?  Would you still love them?

    The fact is, no one is perfect.  As followers of Christ, we are all a work in progress - attempting to become more like Him.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating this guys behavior - just wondering if our sometimes judgmental attitudes keep people from being "real."

    Think about it... what are you keeping from others?  What one thing in your life are you hiding? What is God wanting you to own up too?  

    Catalyst is coming!


    Gearing Up For Catalyst

    Last year I attended my first Catalyst Conference in Atlanta Georgia with my friend and former youth pastor Jeff Myers.  It was an amazing trip and conference.  God stretched me, spoke to me, grew in me, and just flat out blew my mind.  I loved the connections that I made with other leaders.  I needed the challenging messages from the speakers.  I longed for the worship more than I knew.  It was amazing.

    As for God speaking to me – it wasn’t in an audible voice but nevertheless – it was my Lord – clearly dealing with me and speaking to me.  The difficult part for Joe was that I wasn’t hearing what I wanted to hear.  I went believing God was going to clearly tell me one thing – and it didn’t happen like I wanted.  I’m still learning that God doesn’t always do things like we want Him too.  And, we are usually much better off as a result!

    So, this year – I’m taking some more friends and I’m trying to go without an agenda of my own.  I simply want God to fill me up – to challenge me – to rock my world.

    You can learn more about Catalyst Conference at the following link;  http://www.catalystconference.com/

    Sunday Evening Thoughts

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Sunday Evening Thoughts

     

    It was a good day at First Church!  Honestly, you never know how a holiday weekend will go – some years the attendance is up and some years it’s down.  For us, both services were down some.  And yet, the second service had a several new families!  Here are some of my thoughts from the day…

     

    • The worship in both services was incredible!  Mitchell Cooper continues to show his love and passion for Jesus and leading people to worship in Spirit and Truth.
    • We had several new families visit in the second service!
    • Our church will grow the fastest when our people fall in love with Jesus and follow His command to reach the people in this community. 
    • We had two exchange students in service today – one from the Ukraine and one from Spain!
    • No decisions yesterday – we are praying for broken hearts and changed lives.  It literally breaks my heart to not see people move – you can see the hurt, pain, emptiness, etc etched across their faces – as a pastor it hurts.  I know Jesus is the answer – I so greatly desire to see people open their hearts to Him.
    • Part 2 of our sermon series TXT “Is the Word of God Reliable” was a great study for me and so important for our people to know and understand.  To truly live out the word – to truly appreciate the word – you need to know why we believe it is true, accurate, infallible – and you need to know how to express that to others.
    • Next week, TXT 3, will be so important for everyone – you need to be there.
    • Pastor Stan from Franklinton, LA – contacted our church asking for help in wake of Hurricane Gustav.  We are beginning the planning stages of taking supplies, chain saw crews, etc. down to the coast.  Stay tuned for more.
    • Our staff is embarking on something new – a Daniel Fast!  We will begin next week and fast for 21 days.  If you’re interested in joining us let me know.
    • I drove to Springfield to visit Frieda Hays, she’s doing well.  Dan Clark and Bob Moore were also there – I love these guys and am so thankful for their leadership and love for Jesus.
    • Got home by 8:00 and loved having the rest of the night off – we watched an incredible movie “August Rush.”
    • Can’t wait to rest with the family on Monday!