President Obama: Looking Like a President

Tonight, regardless of your support or lack of support for the President or the situation we currently face in Libya, our President looked like a president. He was strong in speech, decisive, and took personal responsibility for our country’s actions in Libya.

The line which struck me was, “When our interests and our values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act...” and, “(to not act) would be a betrayal to who we are” and “a failure to act in Libya would carry a far greater cost for America” and “there will be times when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are“.

It seems I’ve heard similar lines before in other occasions. I believe I recall days when this same president, prior to serving as president, was critical of similar actions by another president.

I’m not trying to be political…I’m a supporter of the office of presidency…regardless of who serves in that office. I’m not commenting on this activity in Libya directly, but I do think it’s a fitting reminder than when one sits in the seat of leadership, the view is different from when you are simply eyeing the seat and hoping for an opportunity to someday sit there.

I think this is true of other positions of leadership.

  • Pastoring a church may look “easy”…until you have to do it…
  • Being a parent may seem to come natural…until you have to do it…
  • Leading in a business may at times appear to be common sense…until you have to do it…

The view changes when you actually sit in the chair of leadership.

Do you agree with my observation?

What other examples would you add to my list?

Are Church Goers Fatter than Average?

I don’t know if I buy into the research of this report, especially in my church where we seem to have an abundance of exercise and health conscious people. But, according to this ABC News report…

Well, just watch for yourself… (After the short advertisement)

Did you watch it? What do you think? Agree or disagree? Is the report offensive to you?

Also, do you think the pastor’s health or lifestyle influences the church in this area? Does the style of church play into this?

Just curious….

For a printed version of this story, click HERE.

They learned it from Epaphras…What about you?

You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ… Colossians 1:7

We have different methods of learning these days, than they had when Paul wrote this verse…

But I wonder…

Who are the Epaphras’ is in our day?

From whom are you learning these days?

Point me to the resources that are helping to shape who you are today.

What websites?

What blogs?

What applications?

What podcasts?

What books?

Which speakers?

What conferences?

Give a shout out to who/where you are gleaning wisdom these days…

It will honor them and bless others as we learn from them also.

Share a link if you can.


Great Atmosphere, Mediocre Food, Poor Service

We went to a fairly new restaurant recently as a family…

It was new enough to have the opening bugs worked out, but still new to us…

We were seated quickly…which was a plus since we were hungry…

We instantly fell in love with the great atmosphere…

They had a nice menu…and the prices were reasonable…

We ordered…and waited…and waited…and waited…

We had a hard time getting our drinks refilled…

Our waiter never seemed to remember things we asked for…

The owner walked through the restaurant several times, but never smiled…never connected with anyone…

Overall, we had poor customer service...

Then our food arrived…

Receiving Undeserved Love: Ecuador Day 3

If you’ve been following my blog this week, I’m in Ecuador with a group of pastors on behalf of Compassion International.

We were blown away today as we entered a village in the mountains of Ecuador. It took an hour to drive the curvy dirt road, our bus got stuck, and we walked a short distance to the village. Upon rounding a corner, we saw a crowd waiting for us. Hundreds of children from the village had formed a receiving line where they gave us a rose (Ecuador is famous for their roses) and a homemade card welcoming us to their village. It was slightly overwhelming.

Have you ever received an overwhelming undeserved show of affection?

I was reminded that I receive that kind of love everyday from God!

I can’t help but share this picture. This little boy warmed my heart (as did many others). I’m not sure he knew how cute he is!

Friday Discussion: Spiritual Growth

It’s Friday discussion time!

Let’s discuss spiritual growth…specifically yours.

I’m always interested in spiritual growth, because…well…that’s kind of what I do!

Help me by telling me some of your spiritual growth process.

To help you think, consider answering some or all of these questions:

  • Are you closer to God today than you were a year ago?
  • If not, what changed?
  • Is yes, what did you do differently?
  • What helps you most to grow spiritually?
  • Was there a time in your life where you felt the closest to God?
  • Who is mostly responsible, in your opinion, for your spiritual growth?
  • Do you practice any spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, tithing, etc.? If so, what do you do?
  • What changes would you need to make to grow more spiritually?

Help me out…tell me about your spiritual growth…


Where I’m At This Week!

This week I’m in Ecuador with a group of pastors and ministry leaders, including our family pastor Michael Bayne, and my good friend Casey Graham.

We are here on behalf of Compassion International seeing the work they do to improve the life of children around the world.

We will see first hand where an individual’s monthly dollars to support Compassion children goes. I look forward to reporting to you what I see. I’ve never been to Ecuador, but so far it looks much like countries I have seen, such as Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico. I have learned, however, that there is a rich uniqueness about each people group. We just arrived late last night, so I’m excited to explore this great country and it’s culture and people.

Please pray for our team and check out the ministry of Compassion International.

Have you ever been to Ecuador?

Are you familiar with the ministry of Compassion?

4 Things I like and 4 Things I Don’t like about Facebook

Like many of you, I use my Facebook account every day. There are some things I like and some things I don’t like about this means of social media.

Let me share first what I like:

It’s the easiest and most used way my church connects with me.  I get 3 to 1 the number of emails from Facebook as I get from my church email address from people inside the church.

Facebook makes me appear real, which I am by the way. I probably use Twitter more, but I don’t put everything I Tweet on Facebook. (I know that surprises some…but I really don’t.) I put things that help people connect with me. Sometimes that’s serious, sometimes funny, sometimes even a bit weird, but who you see on Facebook really is who I am.

It makes us seem more of a community. We are a large church. Someone recently called us a “mega church”. I guess technically we are, but our intent is to feel otherwise. Facebook helps us connect throughout the week as a church.

I get to connect with new friends and reconnect with old friends. I have met so many people through Facebook.  I’ve also reconnected with dozens of friends from high school and college. It’s great to see their families and catch up with where life has taken them.

The top news feature is helpful. I really don’t have a ton of time to spend on Facebook.  I’ve tried to automate enough things and use Twitter features where it looks as if I’m online more. Having the top status updates shows me the ones people are talking about most recently and most frequently.

Now, here is what I don’t like:

Having to go to Facebook to reply to emails. I get emails on my phone at my regular email address, but I have to login to Facebook to answer them. This is an extra step that seems unnecessary for me.  I realize Facebook wants me to return frequently in hopes I’ll see an advertiser, but to respond to emails I only want to respond to emails…so that reasoning doesn’t work for me.

Facebook apps are unreliable. I’ve been told Facebook doesn’t even like apps, possibly for the reason I just mentioned…advertising, but I wish they would work on their application functions.  It’s the world in which we live.  My Facebook app crashes often. It doesn’t do certain things. It’s cumbersome. (Does anyone else agree?)

The number of “friends” I can have is limited. I know…I know…there is no way I can “know” all of them, but I am responsive and hate the idea of turning people away. I’m nearing the 5,000 mark soon and that means I have to consider changes. Uggh!

The mindless activity apps…such as Farmville and Give a Hug (or whatever it’s called). I’ve tried to block as many of those type things as I can from receiving them or posting on my wall, but I haven’t figured out how to stop them all together.  I realize some must enjoy them, but not me.

Facebook serves a strategic purpose in my line of work. I’m in the people business and Facebook gives me a great resource to connect with people. I have heard of churches limiting their staffs use of Facebook, Twitter and blogging during the work day, but in my opinion, those three, including Facebook ARE a part of my work day. It’s where a bulk of the people are.

What do you like or not like about Facebook?

That Inner Nervous Energy…Some of Us Thrive On It

Do you know that nervous energy you get when you face the uncertainty of life?

You feel it when you assume a overwhelming risk…

It’s that emotion…that adrenaline rush…almost an inner fear…

Yet something inside prompts you to proceed in spite of the nervousness…

You feel it deep in your gut…

Ever felt it?

Well here’s the reality…

Some of us…as awkward, difficult, stressful, and even painful as it can be…

Live for that emotion…

You’ll find it in entrepreneurs…
You’ll find it in church planters…
You’ll find it among risk-takers…
You’ll find it in extreme sports enthusiasts…

I think the Apostle Paul must have had it…

It’s an inner drive to achieve, to accomplish, to pursue big dreams, conquer huge obstacles…

And achieve what others will not attempt…

I think it can be a God-given emotion…

It can be abused…

It must be used carefully…

But it shouldn’t be wasted…

Can anyone identify with that emotion I’m describing?

When’s the last time you felt that nervous energy?

(Share other examples of people who seem to enjoy this emotion.)

Connecting with our Community…Partnering with our Schools

I love the passion Grace Community Church has to impact our community. Our people serve their community throughout the year. The largest project, and the one that draws the most attention, is our annual Operation Serve held each fall where hundreds of volunteers serve in a one (sometimes two) day blitz of community needs. I’ve written about it several times before HERE. This past year over 1,300 people logged some 10,000 hours of service to our community meeting all kinds of practical needs.

Well, another project is stirring interest. Our community, like many others nationwide, have experienced struggles adequately funding school systems.  How can a church respond in times like these?

Introducing Operation Serve School Edition.

April 9th we hope to have hundreds of people volunteering in all 35 schools in our public school district. Operations Serve School Edition invites the community to participate with our church in landscaping, painting, cleaning, and completing other things the school needs done, but the budget simply can’t provide. The schools are compiling lists now and materials are being acquired.

To accomplish such a large task, we are also partnering with 5 Star Radio Group. They are providing publicity to recruit volunteers and providing tremendous moral support the day of the event with live remotes.

It’s catching on already. What we are finding is that whether a person attends church or not, they have an interest in educating children. Here are a few articles already talking about Operation Serve School Edition:

Besides the fact that we meet in a school…actually two schools…and doing a church our size and age would be very difficult without this partnership with our school system, it makes sense to invest in our schools this way because:

We love our schools. Our church and community are blessed with teachers, administrators and support staff who love the children and youth of our community. They are helping to build the future of our community. They need our support.

We love our community. Our church exists because the community exists. Everyone in our community may not all come to our church, but all our church lives among this community. We want to do anything we can do to support the community in which we live.

We love families. Families are a large part of who we are at Grace and the bulk of families in our community attend public schools.

We love God and others. We are called to be in the world, meeting real needs where we find them. That’s the example of Jesus.

Come join us in Operation Serve School Edition. If you live in the area, you can sign up HERE.

What are some creative ways you’re seeing churches connect with their community these days?