Month: July 2013

Why I love my Church pt. 2

A few days ago I wrote a blog post called ‘Why I love my Church‘.2013-07-21 09.35.12

I wrote it just after Thrive’s monthly service and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. I’ve been thinking more about my love for my church and I wanted to add to the list. So, here goes.

Why I love my Church…pt. 2

1. Seeing the dream become a reality is so crazy humbling. It’s wild to think that it was only 12 months ago that Tracie and I were on a walk and she said…“I think God’s called us to start a church!”

That was a crazy day. When your wife affirms something as huge as starting a new church, it’s a GIANT DAY.

Then, a month after that, I was at lunch with a mentor and he said the same thing!

And then, a month after that, Tracie and I had dinner with a group of couples that all said and asked the same thing.

Heres’ the thing about dreaming…

        …The easy part is the dreaming.

Its true, isn’t it? Thinking of new things, how you would do them and what it would look like.  That’s the easy stuff.

          …The tough part is taking the step to ensure the dreams become reality. 

I am so crazy humbled that God would allow me to be a part of this crazy dream. I know that I have a ton to learn and that I’m not the most gifted or talented, but for some reason, God’s tapped my shoulder.

I love this dream.

I love the vision.

I will protect it and do whatever I need to do to see this dream become a reality.

What’s the Dream? 

To see people far from God become life long followers of Jesus. 

2. Witnessing unbelievable sacrifice is so crazy humbling. Have you been around someone who gives all they have to see a vision and dream become a reality? I have and it’s a crazy humbling experience!

We have a team of people who give their time, their finances and their resources in amazing ways to see Thrive become a reality.

It’s a huge honor to be a part of Thrive’s amazing Launch team and to be shoulder to shoulder with them as we launch this new church.

What I love about our launch team are their hearts. They are sold out and committed to reaching new people for Jesus. And, people who may possibly never enter the doors of a church. I love that this team is willing to give and to serve to reach these people.

3. Being around the people that God is assembling is so crazy humbling. Wow! WOW! WOWZERS!

Yeah, that about sums it up. We have a closed facebook group for the launch team and it’s so cool to sit back and see how God can even use a facebook group to build community. People put prayer requests on there and we pray for each other. We post ideas and thoughts and people add feedback. It’s just really cool.

Lately, people have even been sending out group texts with prayer requests. I LOVE IT! And, I love technology, so this is a win-win.

I love when our launch team gathers for our monthly Launch Party! It’s just a blast to watch relationships deepen and new ones form. It’s awesome to pray for each other and laugh with each other!

I can’t wait for our Growth Groups to launch this fall and then step back and see God work even more! Thrivers will have the potential to live out the Acts 2 church and form missional communities together all around the Mt Pleasant area!

I love my Church. 

I can’t wait for August 18th…more on why in my next post. Hope you’ll check it out!

Why I love my Church

This past Sunday, we took the next step in launching Thrive Church and it was exceptionally great.i love my church

No seriously, it really was! I know I’m the Pastor and I know I’m one of the church planters and I know I helped craft the vision, but really, it was a great Sunday.

Our mission for Thrive is simple…We exist to help people find and follow God. 

That happened on Sunday…it really did and that’s so incredibly exciting!

I can’t wait for the day that we can fully launch!

The Highlights

*these are in no particular order

1. It was our smoothest set and tear down yet. That’s pretty huge considering we haven’t even officially launched yet and we don’t own any of our own equipment.

Actually, every monthly service we’ve hosted, we’ve borrowed all the equipment we’ve needed. That’s just awesome! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work to borrow everything, but it’s worked great so far!

2. Tons of ENERGY. After our pre-service prayer, I walked into the lobby of the movie theater and there was just a great vibe. 2013-07-21 09.25.17-1People hanging out, sweet music was on, kids running around and people drinking Bigby’s coffee. It was so cool to watch people talk to each other, hang out and connect.

3. The worship team ROCKED! We meet in a theater, so the room is a crazy fantastic acoustic room. That means, the worship team can play loud and I love it! We’re about loud at Thrive and Cody and the team did a great job on Sunday.

4. Our prayer team met for the first time. At 850am we get everybody together and talk through the morning and then we pray. Then, our brand new prayer team heads off and prays again! It’s awesome! So proud of them.

5. Thrive Kidz Rocked. WOW, it was so cool! Our Thrive Kidz director…Katie Eisenberger and her team did an amazing job. I left and the service and went down and hung with the kids and I had a blast!

6. I LEFT! Seriously, I was only able to be there a few minutes. I had to leave after I did the welcome because I had to catch a flight for a speaking engagement. But, it was so awesome to get texts from my launch team on the way to the airport that said everything was great!

For the message, we showed a video of me teaching and from what I’ve heard, it went over great.

The church isn’t about 1 person. The church isn’t about a building. The church isn’t about a Service.

It’s about People.

It’s about introducing people to Jesus.

It’s about growing Disciples. 

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The Next Thrive gathering is this Sunday!

We are 2 days away from our next Thrive gathering!i love my church

Why am I so excited? Because it’s the next step for Thrive to take before we officially launch.

We’ve been praying for months. We’ve been dreaming for months. We’re taking it slow.

And, each time we gather together is a next step for our community to grow and come together.

The most important part of Thrive is not the actually service.

The most important part of Thrive is our people and the community that God is bringing together. 

Hosting a service is a great way for people to find out about Thrive and see if they want to be a part.

Already, I love my Church. 

I hope you will join us on Sunday, July 21st at 9:30am at Celebration Cinema. I’ll be talking about how to deal with something we all go through…pain. And, we’ll share some exciting things that happening around Thrive!

See you on Sunday!

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A HUGE honor…Preaching at Thrive Church TX

Today I have a tremendous privilege.thrive-logo-400x132

It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to and praying about it for a long time. A LONG time!

I have the honor of…

Preaching at Thrive Church, TX

Here’s why it’s a big deal. Because one of my oldest friends, Tom Elmore, is the founder and pastor. Tom and I go way…WAY…back. In 1996 we both attended a John Maxwell leadership conference at Cobo Hall in Detroit and basically ran into each other. We were both looking at a resource table and I think we may have bumped into each other.

Since then, we have been friends. For a long time.

I am going to write more this week about our exciting partnership, but for now, today I get the giant honor of preaching for my very good friend Tom Elmore.

I’m excited.

I’m blessed.

I’m honored.

I can’t wait.

 

The Essence of being a GREAT guest speaker

I absolutely love and enjoy being a guest speaker. 2013-06-18 18.13.40

Over the course of the last 15 years, I have had that honor hundreds of times. At churches, chapels, schools, camps, conferences and retreats. Every time someone hands me the mic, I’m still confused why God has given me these opportunities…but He does.

For many years, I don’t think I respected the privilege enough. Honestly, for a long time, there were moments when I cared too much about what people thought of me, or if I was funny or if it was deep enough.

Obviously, I always cared deeply about sharing Jesus, but my goodness, our pride can mess with us.

Then it all Changed

7 years ago everything changed. I was standing back stage and I was waiting for my cue to head out and this overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness hit me like a brick. It was outstanding. It was huge. It was humbling.

It was the culmination of 8 years of speaking and the reality that I don’t and didn’t deserve any of those opportunities. Now, when I approach the moment and opportunity of being a guest speaker or preacher, I try to remember to be GREAT.

GREAT

Go to God. Yup, way before every moment I teach, the moments leading up to it and the moments I’m walking out on stage…I’m going to God. I’m talking with Him and I ask for His favor.

Ready myself. Every time I communicate, even if it’s just for a few minutes, I spend a great amount of time and thought in getting myself ready. That means I think through everything I’m going to say and I go over it. And then I go over it again!

Enjoy it! For way too long, I worried way too much. Stop worrying. Be yourself. Stop being anxious. Just be you and speak with people, not at them.

Attack the moment. Maybe the word attack is wrong here, but honestly, I do think it fits nicely. If I’m prepared and I am ready, I can come out of the gates ready to go. That’s so much better than coming out weak and slow.

Turn it over. I know this is similar to ‘going to God’, but my last step always is to turn it over to God. I try to actually do a hand off behind stage or earlier when I’m praying about my talk. I just simply ask God to speak through me and I ask Him to make Jesus known through my words.

I really believe this is the essence of being a GREAT guest speaker! 

3 Easy Ways to Win as a Parent

I’ve been a dad for 13 years. 

My wife and I have 4 kids…2013-06-26 10.16.45

  • Rebekah, 13
  • Bobby, 11
  • Zach, 9
  • Madison, 5

We are in no way…parenting experts or a super parents. 

But, we love our kids and for us, there is nothing more important in our lives than doing a great job as a mom and dad.

We don’t always succeed at doing our best, some days are better than others, some days are awful.

But, we’ve learned a ton in 13 years of being parent and almost 20 years of working with students at local churches.

Here’s the classic parenting problem: we put way too much pressure on being…

Perfect Parents. 

We want to do everything right. We want everything to go right. We want everything about our kids to be right.2013-06-16 10.55.57

It’s just unrealistic. Lately, instead of trying so hard to be perfect, I’ve been thinking about a few little wins that could help and guide us as parents. And, thank you to my friend Tom Elmore for helping brainstorm this list with me.

3 Easy Ways to Win as a Parent

Ask Questions.

Yup, it’s that simple. Too often parents spend so much time doing the talking and not merely enough time doing the listening.

The awesome thing about asking questions is you don’t have to wait till your kids are teenagers. Start right away. Build a culture of question asking in your family. Once you do they’ll learn it and start asking questions as well.

Asking questions is one of the best ways to get to know somebody and to build depth in our relationships. It show you care and shows you’re interested in really knowing someone.

A few question ideas…

  • Whose your favorite super hero?
  • What do you love about mom or dad?
  • If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
  • What’s your favorite Jesus story?
  • What’s your biggest bummer in your life?
  • Would you rather questions

Be the Expert

Work hard at being a genuine and authentic expert about your kids. Too often we think we know our kids, but if we’re honest, we haven’t spent the time asking questions to really become an expert.

Take notes. Really listen to their answers. Pay attention to how they respond in different situations.

As your kids get older, more and more people will try to become experts in your kids lives. That’s way its of utmost importance for moms and dads to be real and true experts.

Share Stories

We all love stories. Stories have the ability of inspiring life change. They lift us up. They teach us about the past. They remind us of better times and worse times. They inspire us. They encourage us!

Our kids love to hear stories from our childhood, from before they were born, from when they were little and from stuff we experienced together.

Share stories together. Do it at dinner. Do it around a fire. Do it in the car.

These aren’t super difficult and you’ve probably already thought of these, but I hope they’re good reminders of some easy ways we can win as parents.

Role of a Church Planter #6…Stop Comparing

A church planter has a lot of roles. They wear a lot of hats.

I’ve been highlighting many of those roles on my blog. Just search church planting on my blog and you’ll find the previous 5 that I’ve talked about.

Honestly, I’m writing these as I experience them. Not always, but sometimes to some extent.

I think I have 4 or 5 more in the beginning process and soon I’ll publish them as well.

But, another role that I’m figuring out is to…

Stop Comparing. 2012-05_LT-Comparing

Seems pretty simple and obvious, right?!?

Wrong!

It’s human nature to envy. To be jealous. To compare. To wonder why someone else has more of something than you do. Or to wonder and obsess over someone else’s success.

But…

You Can’t!

Comparing yourself to another church planter or another church plant or another church will only harm your soul.

Seriously, it will harm your soul! Did you read that right?!? I hope so. The Comparison game is the WORST game! Comparing someone else’s successes or failures to yours is unwise…irresponsible…and honestly, a horrible decision.

Easier said than done. I get that. I’ve been there. I’ve obsessed. I’ve compared. I’ve wondered.

How do You Stop Comparing?

1. Pray for the success of others. YUP! That’s right. Straight up pray that God would bless the socks off the person or organization you’re comparing yourself too. It’s crazy hard. But, once you start, you won’t want to go back.

2. Stop the negative thoughts. As soon as a negative thought crosses your mind…

STOP IT!

Seriously, stop it dead in its tracks. 2 Corinthians 10:5 has something to say about that. Check it out.

3. Be Happy. Yeah, be happy. Be happy for their success. Celebrate with them. If you know them…send them a card, a text or a message.

4. Stay focused on what God has called you to do. We spend so MUCH time and energy thinking and worrying and stressing about things we can’t control or don’t need to.

We need to remember that God has it all under control.

5. Be Thankful. Thank God everyday for the calling He’s given you.

Role of a Church Planter #5…Stop Comparing. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.