Monthly Archives: November 2010

life-change

Secure leaders are not in need of continual applause. In fact, many effective leaders would rather not receive public recognition. On the other hand, we are not robots – an occasional “attaboy” can go a long way.

Last week, we received two very encouraging stories. The cool thing is, we received these two separate story within 3 ½ hours of each other. Without divulging the personal info of these 2 people, I will provide a couple of tidbits so you can get the idea:

“You have welcomed us into your church family with open arms and have opened our eyes to a new spiritual life with God. I can’t quite put this into words how we feel, but you have changed our lives more than you will ever know. We were very “lost” in the spiritual world for quite some time. Growing up (another faith), we were into a Sunday “ritual” but then everything went out the door the minute we walked out of the church doors. It never felt right to us and we knew we needed to make some drastic changes in our lives. This year, we are especially thankful for the two of you and for opening our hearts to Jesus Christ and for teaching us how to have a personal relationship with God.”

And another…

“I wanted to share something with you because I cannot even believe that it happened to me.

Looking back I think I knew something was missing in my life, I just did not know exactly what. When we started our family I definitely felt that something was calling me and that I was missing something. We decided to try a (worship) service and we have been coming since the beginning of June. I have accepted Jesus into my life and my life has been changing ever since.

My Doctor called me back at the end of last week with (potentially bad) news (about our unborn baby) … I was immediately devastated. I was crying and all worked up. I did not expect those results as I am sure no soon to be mother does. I could not sleep for the next few days.

Well Sunday is a day I WILL NEVER forget. In church … while we were standing up singing I felt this presence which I know was the Holy Spirit. There was a voice which was directly in my right ear and this is what I heard whispered ‘Do not worry, …, everything will be fine.’ Ever since then I have had peace … I have never had the Holy Spirit come to me and cannot even believe I was lucky enough to be graced with his presence. I know the story was long but I felt it was time to share with you.”

As you might imagine, these stories made our day, our month! We talk all the time about life-change. Well, this is it! God’s plan is working. People are being transformed!

I can’t think of anything more affirming. We are where God wants us to be and we are doing what He wants us to do. What a treasure.


Jesus is _____.

Richard Whitter, our Missional Pastor at Cross Community, is dealing with an interesting topic tomorrow. He will basically be asking the question, “who is Christ to you?”

You’ve got to answer that.

I suppose any effort to define or categorize God is futile and somewhat arrogant. The greatest presumption is to know everything about Jesus. Much damage has been done by those who assume that Jesus is exactly what they want him to be. Most of us assume that God always agrees with us and is always on our side. Let’s humble down and know this about Christ: He can never be fully understood, contained or manipulated. But He can be experienced.

The clip below can’t be used in a worship service because it is offensive – but it makes a great point. Jesus is not whoever you want Him to be. He is God, don’t mess with that.

Check out Crosscommunity.cc for more details.


new thanks

Lamentations 3:33 “Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.”

This Thanksgiving, I want to focus on some things I have this year that I didn’t have last year. Of course I am grateful for all the old stuff, too, but these additions are especially close to my heart.

A new baby is coming to our family. Our daughter Jessica and her husband Josh are expecting a child in early June. Life is precious and a gift from God. This will be our first biological grandchild and we are humbled by the gift.

Jess and Josh have been appointed as directors of Casa Shalom, an orphanage in Guatemala. This is a significant step for them and we are blessed by it. We are proud of and thankful for them.

My nephew Richard joined our ministry staff this year as Missional Pastor. He and I have always been especially close and I have wanted to work with him for years. We finally have that opportunity and I am grateful. It’s good to live by family, the first time we have in many years.

I had the honor to visit Haiti this summer. I now have an open door to do more work there in the future. We plan to work in an orphanage in Dufailley. I am grateful for the new opportunities.

Our non-profit organization became legal this year. In fact, we are weeks away from the public launch of International Orphan Support. Thank God.

We were able to change the name of our church. The name Cross Community Church becomes effective next week, December 1. It was a long time coming and we are celebrating.

I have some new young friends, church planters and pastors that we are able to help a bit. It is great to be able to be an encouragement to people who have a ton of years of effective ministry ahead of them.

I am able to serve my “tribe” in some new ways. I was selected to be in a mid-level leadership position in our denomination, the Church of God. While I don’t aspire to climb the religious/corporate ladder, I am honored to have a voice in our efforts to turn around a diminishing organization.

New friends, new influences, new additions to an already very full life. New answers to prayer, old and new. God has been good to me.

Thanks, God!


i am a leper

I have a disease that is killing me.
Leprosy is nasty flesh-eating sickness that most people think is something from back in the Bible days. But people all over the world still suffer from this deadly disease.

My disease is not a skin condition.
My disease is a sin condition.
My disease, the disease that is killing me, is more deadly than any physical ailment.
I have a type of spiritual leprosy.
Little by little, my sin disease is destroying me.
Eating me alive from the inside out.

In Luke 17, Jesus healed 10 guys who had leprosy.
If I have to have leprosy (I have no choice, I am born into sin), I want to be like the 10 guys whom Jesus healed. And He has healed me, forgiven me of my sin.

In Luke, only one of the 10 lepers bothered to come back to thank Jesus. So, if I have to be a leper and I get to be one of the 10 who are healed, I for sure want to be like the one guy who said “thanks” to Jesus.

I want to come back and get very close to the One who saved me, the One that, previously, I could only shout to from a distance.

I want to look in His eyes and say “thank you, God”.

(excerpts from today’s message at Cross Community.)


passion misidentified

This week someone expressed concern that I may not be feeling well. Two other people said I looked tired. Here’s the thing: I feel great.

I have a little theory about what’s going on.

I can recall a lot of times in the past when I was especially passionate about a particular message I was delivering or a project in which I was involved. People asked me if I was mad at someone or if I needed a vacation. My strong feelings toward some topics can sometimes lead people to mistakenly think that I am angry or frustrated. That’s on me… I need to smile more.

I am just dialed in right now. Our recent name-change process at Cross Community Church has generated a lot of energy and passion. There are some aggressive decisions we are making and intense directions we are taking. New opportunities are being explored with a new sense of adventure. I’m realizing some awesome things we can get done with a lot of hard work and vision. We are watching a lot of puzzle pieces come into place. This is a great season and I love every second of it.

So relax, I’m not mad. I’m not tired. And while I’d like a vacation, I don’t need one.

It’s nothin’ but a little thing called passion. And there’s more where that came from. But I will try to smile more. 🙂


(dis)trust

I was in a meeting today where the leader was seeking to be trusted. Some great dialogue ensued about what trust requires and demands. We know well, gone are the days when we trust people because they are in leadership or have authority over us or they ask for trust. Experience tells us, we have reason to distrust based on this criterion.

Talk is cheap. Earning trust will cost you something. There are some important characteristics you have to consider if you hope to be perceived as trustworthy: You have to be authentic. Duplicity won’t cut it. Loyalty and respect come to mind. You’ll have to lay down some flesh and blood in order to get most people to buy into you. And I just can’t trust a person who doesn’t trust me.

Let’s be honest, we distrust people because we have learned some hard lessons. And frankly, not everyone deserves to be trusted. So my simple advice – travel down the trust road with caution.

Excuse my cynicism but I think I’ll be a bit stingy with dispensing any new trust right now. There are some solid folk in my life who are above any distrust. They have proven that they have my back.

You new guys will have to hold off for a bit…


a thousand questions