Friday, August 15, 2008

Can you see it?

Each person who follows Christ is given a Spiritual gift which is given by God through His Spirit for the purpose of building up the kingdom of God and extending the gospel. I believe that my strongest and primary gift is the gift of leadership. Honestly, I believe my spiritual gifts are very disproportionate. But this has given me such a passion to know more and grow in this leadership gift. One of the things that I've notice about people who have this spiritual gift see the world differently. When others see barriers leaders see bridges. When others see opposition leaders see opportunity. Leaders are typically optimistic in nature and are oriented towards vision and action. I believe one of the uniqe components of our journey to the Bay Area is that God gives me as the leader of South Bay Church the blessing of seeing things before they come into existence. He places the vision in my heart and then it moves into the hearts of our team and they begin to see it. So this morning as I was reading the bible and praying I was just rejoicing as I think of all the lives that will be changed in the coming months and years. I thought about the first time we baptize people at South Bay Church and was just thanking God for the people who will be the very first at South Bay who decide to follow Christ. I think of all the people who 12 months from now who will be eternally changed with the gospel. I think of the joy that will come as we see God establish a church from nothing in just a few months. I can see it! Can you? Ask God to help you see it today. Ask Him to show you the world and His kingdom as he sees it. Ask Him to help you be driven by a hot vision that comes from the depths of your soul. Ask Him to help you see the big picture as you serve. Ask Him to break your heart for all the people who need the hope of the gospel. Ask Him to give you vision. He will. He will move you from ordinary mundane living to the joy of his kingdom purposes and redemption of the world. He wants your life to be for more than just now. He wants you to be for something great! Something way beyond what you could ever ask or imagine. He wants to do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine with your life. Are you willing to ask Him to help you believe that today?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Minor Confession

So, part of my routine when I travel is to scout out all of the Starbucks along the journey. I will often stop for a latte like one stops for gas in fear of the next Starbucks being more than 500 miles down the road. So tonight at Starbucks I had an encounter that needs some reflection... After pulling open the door of Starbucks I was spotted by a group of Christian guys doing their bible study. For some reason just about every Starbucks in the bible belt has "that" group of Christian guys or girls. Most of the time they are somewhere in late high school or early college age. None of them seem to have jobs and they sit around at Starbucks discussing the bible all day long. They are carrying on a similar conversation to the last time I was in Starbucks. You know how I know, they are the loudest ones in the whole joint! Sometimes they are laughing in a way that makes everyone feel a little uncomfortable and just a tad bit excluded. I've also noticed their humble desire to witness to me. Usually their conversation will cease as I or others pass by... then the look comes, the "I am going to witness to you" look. You know it. I never want them to know that I am a pastor. So I scurry past hoping not to get into the conversation... I don't think about it in the moment, it is more intuitive... Tonight as I sat in Starbucks eating a sandwich and sipping a latte and reflecting on my experience I wondered why I as a pastor am repelled by these guys. I know they mean well, I am sure they are very nice. I guess I just would rather talk to the guy who sees the world a little differently. Something in me is drawn to the guy with tattoos who seems as though he is not carrying a pretense as we strike up conversation. I hope that when I meet others at Starbucks they don't think of me as "that guy." Rather as an honest, sincere, humble, non-pretentious guy who cares about others.

On the Road!

This morning I leave Columbia South Carolina for my one week journey which has me landing in the SF Bay Area next Monday afternoon. Today I will head out to Oklahoma City for a church planters roundtable with ARC. I will be apart from Stacie and Caedmon for two full weeks. This is the longest amount of time I have been away from either of them for a long time. Aside from my sadness there I am excited about finally getting to California. Today will be fun, I have downloaded Bill Hybels new book Axiom into my iPod and some other church planting training stuff. I am going to also listen to a novel by Francine Rivers titled "Redeeming Love." Thanks for all of your prayers for my family and our church. God is blessing and we are seeing a vision become a reality in our lives!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

10 days to go!

I am only two weeks away from heading to the SF Bay Area. i will arrive into the area on monday aug. 18. I will spend the next few days trying to find our place to live. Stacie and I have a specific part of town where we plan to plant our lives. We have decided based upon demographics where the greatest percentage of young adults and young families live. We are looking to live in the Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/San Jose part of the valley in the north close to hwy 101. As you think about us please pray that God would open doors for our housing. We are praying that we can find a 3 bedroom townhouse or home for rent in this area. We are looking for a location that will have room enough for parking when we have friends to our home. Please pray that God would give us favor to find something within the budget we've set for housing!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New South Bay Logo Has Arrived

After a long process and a handful of revisions we have settled on our logo for South Bay Church. We wanted something that looked: simple, clean, creative, inviting, and clear. I think we got it! The colors fit in several ways, first we will be near lots of water (hence the blue) and also blue represents something that gives life and refreshment!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Led by the Spirit or Led by Strategy?

I think many times we have a tendency to pit the Spirit of God and tragic leadership against one another. Often times we seem to think it to be unspiritual to create a plan and have specific goals, objectives and action steps. I on the other hand believe that this line of thinking is offensive to God. A written strategy is basically a step by step plan to get us from "what is" (current reality) to God's best for our lives. I believe it is honoring to God when we ask him to give us a clear picture (vision) for our future... When we ask him to help us see where he wants us to go and then when we specifically ask him for wisdom to get from here to there. I believe when we read books, seek wisdom from counselors and mentors, diligently study the scriptures, pray hard, blog time to plan, etc... that God is pleased. I believe when we trust God to give us vision and strategy it is very honoring to him. When we are a led by him in the process of planning I think this becomes a beautiful thing. It often seems like we think God can't lead us when we are planning and preparing. Now, I know that we must be flexible and be Spirit led and listen to God. I just think God speaks to us and many more ways than some times we can see! This is why we have a written strategy as a church to get us all out to the Bay Area and focused on the church and we have a written strategy to get us from there to the launch of the church in 2009. I want to be led by God, I thank for how he guides me in planning and preparation as well as spur of the moment stuff!

Friday, August 1, 2008

An area of growth for me

I have several mentors and coaches who I meet with on the phone to help me become a better husband and father and a better leader. Steve Stroope from Lake Pointe church is currently one of my primary mentors and Carl Martin from Crosspoint Church is currently a growth coach. Before each of my appointments with Steve I send about 2-3 pages of questions to walk through and in the coaching context with Carl I send him a S.M.A.R.T. (specific measurable attainable realistic and timebound) goal that I would like to work on. The point of a coaching relationship is to move toward action and coming up with very specific action steps. So for this most recent appointment with Carl I worked on a goal of: By September 1, 2008 I will weigh 190 lbs. Currently I weigh 194 lbs. I have set 190 lbs as a weight that I don't want to be higher than and so this goal with provide some context for getting back to or below my goal weight.

So here were my action steps:
1. I will create an excel template and write down my foods between now and my next appointment.
2. I will scale back from 7 desserts a week to 1 dessert a week.
3. I will run for 40 minutes 5x per week and do 200 push ups 5 days per week.
4. I will eat salads when I eat out at.

This may seem funny or weird to you, but it is a little insight into how I think and how I am motivated. Some of these action steps I am already doing like working out. This is just a way for me to take it to the next level and make sure I am honoring God with how I take care of myself physically.