Archive for April, 2009

garden30-prevIt was so nice to see some old friends this past weekend.  Dustin and Amy work at Crossroads Church in OKC.  Dustin is the IT guy and Amy works with the womens group.  They are a fun couple with a beautiful little girl.  We also had the chance to meet Shea, a cousin of Dustin and Amy who will be joining a team to plant a new church in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.

During their visit, Cindy and I took them to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Garden of the Gods is a beautiful park with enormous red rocks with a big contrast of snow capped mountains in the background.  I have driven by this park many times but never took the time to drive through until now.  If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend you take the time to see this beautiful place, and it’s FREE.

As we drove through the park, I noticed hundreds of people taking pictures of the beautiful rock formations.  I even took the time to gain a few photos for my facebook.  As I was taking a picture it dawned on me, I AM TAKING A PICTURE OF A ROCK!  A ROCK!  Think about that for a moment…  You might as well pick up a rock you find on the side of the road and take a picture of it.

So why am I fascinated by this huge rock formation protruding through the earth co1033lg1into the sky?  This is just an ordinary rock, or is it?  Rocks are rocks.  You can find them everywhere;  In your backyard, on the side of the road, in your shoe, or even in the bottom of your bathtub.  Rocks are ordinary.  But, as I looked at this beautiful site of well sculpted rocks, I had this thought;  Things are ordinary until God adds his creativity.  That is when ordinary becomes extraordinary!!!!

We, along with many others, were taking pictures of ordinary rocks created by an extraordinary GOD.  I was reminded of what Romans tells us “By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being….” We see the invisible God through the visible creation of God.  Pretty amazing.

Creation is all around us.  Look in your backyard and I am sure you can see the extraordinary handy work of God.  However, if you ever have plans to visit the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, be sure to bring a camera with plenty of memory, it is a pretty extraordinary place.

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img_00772My entire life I have been the son of a pastor.  My life has been filled with ups and downs.  Here are a few of my reflections.

I had to move away from all of my friends and come to a new state. But I got to meet new friends. The new church plant does not have a youth group for me. So I get to go to other youth groups and do stuff with them. I like it at the new church because I get to help out with stuff they need help with. My family does family devotions and that helps us get  closer together and most of the time it is based off a bible story.

It is really hard to plant a church when you don’t know anyone in the area you are planting in. One way we met people was we helped coach little league basketball. That really helped us meet some really nice people.  These are just a few of my reflections.

Hunter, age 13.

fighting1My wife and I have 4 (yes 4) boys.  Our house is always filled with activity.  It seems like someone is always awake.  We have night owls and early birds.  I feel like a live in the fast pace of life and I don’t have to leave my house.  I am always instructing (nice way to say “breaking up a fight”) the boys on how important it is to get along.

A few days ago, 2 of the boys were arguing back and forth.  I waited to see if they could resolve their differences but after getting a call from the neighbors to see if everything was OK (Just kidding, but it did escalate) I thought I would step in and find out the root of this problem.  Here is what I found out:

Two of the boys decided to play with some dinosaurs and role play.  They both AGREED on doing that.  They both AGREED to be on opposing sides.  That was about all they agreed on.  The next few moments were filled with arguments on how the game should be played.  A few of the comments I heard were, “No, you can’t do that”, “Yes, I can”, “Your guy can’t do that’, ‘you did that, so I can”, “You’re being mean”, “AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”.  I am sure you get the idea.  They were both willing to get along as long as the other went by their rules.  Not a recipe for peaceful playtime!!!!

After I solved the problem, (took the stuff away and sent them to their room for a while) I spent some time trying to explain the importance of getting along.  Here are a few of my suggestions I gave to the boys:

  1. Someone has to give in.  The enjoyment of getting along is far better than the strife that is created when no one wants to give in.
  2. Stop before you say something you regret.  In the heat of the moment you can say things you really don’t mean, but your words can be very painful.
  3. Selfishness is lonely.  No one wants a friend that is self absorbed and selfish.
  4. Is what you are fighting over worth it?  For kids, most of the arguments are trivial and meaningless, however, stored away hurt can have long term consequences.
  5. My favorite.  This is your brother and you better get along!  Not sure if this is good enough but I did use it.

As I thought about my “dad wisdom” to my boys, I thought about my relationships as an adult.  I want things done a certain way, my way.  If it doesn’t seem to be going that way, my nature is to dig my claws in and fight.  My selfishness tends to be stronger than my desire to get along.  I want, what I want, when I want it!!!!!!!  This can create problems.  BIG problems.  I need help!

Paul writes about his battle in the Bible.  He says, “I do what I don’t want to and don’t do what I know I should do.”  I can relate.  Jesus gives us the VERY important instruction to “die to ourselves”.  Die to the selfish nature and let the spirit of God live in you.  This is a choice.  Godly choices produce Godly people.  Choices are a reflection of what we believe.  Godly choices reflect a belief that God knows better than us.

So, if you have tried it your way and it seems to keep getting you into a mess, try making decisions reflecting the Bible and see what happens.  You might be surprised at how well you get along with others.  Go ahead, give it a shot.  I am sure you will learn faster than my boys.  Off to another fight…

Can a person share the good news of Jesus without quoting scripture?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

twitter1I recently read an article in the USA Today about how twittering has become a problem for relationships.  It seems this new hot activity has consumed many people and is hurting flesh and blood relationships.  Many have become so addicted to following complete strangers that they forget about the people living under the same roof, like their kids or spouse.

Soren Gordhamer says technology aimed at bringing people closer through communication also may be creating distance.

“There are cool aspects. The challenge is: When do we use them and when do they use us?” Gordhamer says. “A tool isn’t good or bad; it’s just a tool. The question often not explored is what are some of the ways in which it’s actually reducing quality of life and relationships?”

Personal relationships seem to becoming a thing of the past.  Many have thousands of people they stay connected with online but have never had a verbal conversation with their neighbor or the person on the other side of the office cubical.  Many show more attention to the computer than the person they married.

While I do tweet and use facebook, I also understand the dangers of allowing something to take over something that God designed me to have, personal relationships.  Relationships with real people is something everyone longs to have.  That is a desire God has placed in our life.  You have people all around you that desire the same thing.  Reach out through a handshake and a smile rather than a “So and so has requested you as a friend.  Accept or Decline?”  So smile and make some new friends.

I do follow a few people using twitter and facebook.  It is a great tool that can be used in a very positive way.  However, I have set some boundaries, so it doesn’t damage my personal relationships.  I love my wife and kids too much to let something get in the way.  What are some things you do to keep a good balance between technology and relationships?

Just curious, Who spends more time social-networking, you or your spouse????

countdownWe have lift off!!!  Our very first public service was April, 12, 2009.  We had 184 attend.  What a great start.  The countdown was exciting, nervous, scary, hopeful and hard work.

When you picture the very first service, you picture it in a lot of ways.  For example, you picture a bright sunny day with temperatures in the 70’s, music that is perfect, kids ministry that runs flawlessly, and many people wanting to know more about the church.  Well, the music was perfect and many people expressed interest in Discovery Church, however, it was cloudy, rainy (with some snow) and cold.  We also had a young children worker staple her finger doing a craft, OUCH (thank heavens we thought of a first aid kit).

Leading up to this great day, I remember stressing over how many KIDS could possibly show up and would I be ready.  I had moments of panic when I would  think about 200 kids showing up and not having enough workers, long lines at the “KIDS Check-in”, parents becoming irritated, and children crying all the time because of separation anxiety.  I started praying, “Lord, send us people, BUT NOT TOO MANY”.  I wanted a good start with minimal miscues.

Well, I must say, God was watching over us.  We had “NO” major miscues.  Everything went smooth.  There are a few adjustments we need to make.  There are a few things that could be tweaked so the overall flow of things runs smoother.  However, all in all, it went well.  I believe the Lord knew how many would be perfect to help us to see spots of interest without overwhelming us and to prepare us for the day when we do see 200 KIDS.

I want to say thank you for all of you that have been praying for our Church.  Each week is a learning experience.  Please continue to pray for us that we might learn quickly so that many others would be impacted by the Gospel.  My wife is a detail person.  If it weren’t for her, we would have been unprepared.  Thanks, Cindy.  I also want to say, Thank You Lord for sending people, but not too many!!!!!!

apple-iphone-in-hand-thumbFor quite a while now I have noticed some cracks on the white surface of my iphone.  I was near an apple store, so I decided to stop in and see what they had to say about it.  I was thinking they would replace the back of the phone and send me on my way.

I found a rep and explained my problem.  He made a few visual checks and asked me to schedule an appointment to get it fixed.  I made the appointment and a few days later I was back in the store to solve my problem.  After the tech made the same visual inspection of the first guy, he asked me if I had backed the iphone up because I was about to lose everything.  I had done so and was not worried.

As I waited for my iphone to be fixed I started thinking about the idea of making a backup.  What would it be like to be able to make a “back-up” of my life.  I could go back to a point and start over.  What a great idea.  I could go back and “not say that thing I said to my wife”, or “not lose my temper” or maybe “pull my money out of the stock market before the crash”.  Imagine if you could go back to a certain point in your life?  What would you change from that point on?  What would you do different?  I know I can think of a lot of things I would do different.

However, life isn’t that way.  I have said things and done things I wish I had not.  There are things I wish I had done but have not.  We all make mistakes.  However, think of all of the life lessons we have learned because of our mistakes.  I have learned the importance of not losing my temper, I have learned harsh words can hurt a friendship, I have learned complete honesty is the foundation of trust, I have learned to get all of the information before coming to conclusions and I have even learned that you can not wash a brand new red shirt with white clothes.  I have learned a lot because of  my mistakes.

These lessons are extremely valuable but not always easy.  Which leads me to the next point: Forgiveness!  Thank God for forgiveness.  So many people have the right to “despise” me.  I have done and said some dumb things to others giving them a perfectly good reason to sever the relationship.    God, himself, has a right to turn his back on me.  I have done him wrong so many times.  However, I have experienced the power forgiveness from Him and from others.  After my confession of my wrongful behavior, my relationships are restored.  However, I still remember what I did and the feelings that were attached.  Grace and forgiveness restore a relationship, but I have found, it doesn’t erase my memory.  Memories, good and bad, have helped mold me into a better person and they can do the same for you, if you allow them.  You can’t change the past, but you can change he future!

By the way, I got a new iphone and I had to go to my backup and restore all of my info.  Thank God for iphone backup!