Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Perversion of Justice

Tonight I went with a friend to see another movie with bad cops, "pride and glory." Another instance where justice is perverted and we are led to ask the question, "does the end justify the means?" when one utilizes a process that is unjust to achieve some form of justice does this make his or her actions right? in addition to creating corrupt processes for implementing justice this movie led viewers to believe that many times those who are supposed to uphold justice are in fact crooked themselves and unfortunately don't rule justly. unfortunately this subject is a tad bit complex and cannot be broken down into a small blog so I will just give my bullet point conclusions after thinking about justice for a couple of hours... :-)
* the end does not justify the means. if there is an unjust process that has a tinge corruption than at some point that corruption will come to the surface and not solve the problem, which is evil in the human heart.
* the justice system does not always work because of the impurity of the human heart. when anything is run or ruled by people with hearts intent on evil, the ultimate outworking will eventually be a corrupt system.
* the bible describes God as a just God, ultimately he will right wrongs and establish justice.
* the absence of complete justice on the earth does not reveal a lack of competency on God's part, rather the evil in the human heart.

That's all for now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Launch Team Reflections

last night we had 23 adults and 6 kids in our launch team meeting. We are 20 days out from our first preview gathering on November 16. It is amazing to see this church becoming a reality.

Last Night we look at Acts 2:42-47, Here are some thoughts I shared during the meeting:
* The church in Acts went from 120 people to over 3,000 people in just one day. The team Jesus developed was the launching pad for reaching thousands of people with the message! Our "Launch Team" is a launching pad that God will use to reach thousands of people!
* The church in Acts was ridiculously obedient! God blesses people who are willing to follow him wherever he leads. Part of the church's role is to help people take their next step in the journey of faith. To be like the early church we must have a bent towards obedience and action.
* The church in Acts was not asking, "How can I get my needs met." They were insanely generous, selling everything they own for the cause!
* The church in Acts was amazingly relational. That had a commitment to one another. The message spread quickly in the context of relationships.
* The church in Acts was externally focused. Very simple and obvious, but there is no point at which it is optional for us to become focused on our own needs.

Next week is going to be exciting. We are going to break into three teams: Bay Kidz, The First Impressions Team, and the Worship Experience team. It is going to be fun. I am so excited to see the team God is bringing together and excited about the launch of the church! It is such an honor to be a part of South Bay Church!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why I love the Silicon Valley

There are lots of reasons why I love the Silicon Valley, here are the top ten...
10. The weather is almost always sunny and nice.
9. You can find people from every where in the world.
8. The people are innovative, they think outside the box.
7. Stuff happens here... The world is advanced from the Silicon Valley
6. People are friendly.
5. Google and Apple both live here.
4. This is the place where young entrepreneurs come to chase their dreams.
3. Collaboration and working together to change the world is a key value.
2. I am never more than 5 minutes away from a starbucks or peet's coffee.
1. My wife and son live here.

Tomorrow I will talk about the funny things in the Silicon Valley.

Reflections on the week

I've had a very busy week. Archie and I went to Vegas to visit a partnering church on Saturday and Sunday. We did not get back until after midnight on Sunday evening and then hit the ground running with a staff meeting at 10am on Monday morning. It has been a very crazy week for me to say the least.

Here are some random reflections on my week:
* After starting Breakthrough Church five years ago I have forgotten how much time, money, energy, prayer, and tears go into the launch of a brand new church. I guess it is kind of like having a baby, you forget about the pain after the birth. This is season is requiring everything from me, my family and our team.
* Having a great team and a lot of external financial support does not relieve the internal pressures I feel as a pastor. In fact, it actually ups the intensity.
* Our team is working very hard and doing a great job of planning and meeting people, I am very proud of them.
* My wife continues to kick tail with building friendships. She knows like 80 moms now, and is regularly meeting people for coffee and hangout. I am a very blessed husband. She loves me, loves God, loves my son and loves the church. I could not ask for more than that.
* Ministry really is all about people. Changed lives is why we do what we do. If I ever lose site of this I have missed the point!
* Projects and planning never go as fast as I want... it took us lots of work to get the mailer nailed down for the first service. Bill Jones from UDFD Design did a great job! I can't wait to send it out! I think we are going to have a ton of people respond.
* Our location is nailed down for our previews and it is Don Callejon elementary right in the heart of the Rivermark master planned community.
* We are only 3 weeks away from our first preview gathering... details are coming together. the children's ministry is going to be kicking! archie has done a phenomenal job getting equipment and music lined up, and the message I am giving is burning in my heart already!
* I am very grateful for people who pray for me on a daily basis. I sent out a prayer update on Thursday in the midst of our toughest day yet in the valley and I literally had over 30 people who emailed back with encouragement. it was a huge lift and God is answering our prayers.
* We are making lots of progress with the gospel in relationships with people who are seeking.
* I am really praying that we have over 150 people at our first preview!
* Sharing from Acts 2 this Sunday at our launch team meeting. one of my favorite chapters in the bible. i am supposed to sit down because there are just over 20 people in the room, I don't think that will be possible!! The chapter on the birth of the local church... Get ready!

That's it for now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What song are you singing?

Every night when we put Caedmon to sleep we sing an old song called, "Jesus loves me." It was really funny to Stacie and me when he began to sing this song all throughout the day. He says, "Jesus loves me, I know, Bible, I know" and that is about all he can get. I love the fact that that song is stuck in his head. It is funny how the songs in our heads shape the song of our lives. Sometimes we rehearse and rehearse negative thoughts over and over and over in our heads until it can't help but rob our joy and peace. In addition, I believe that lyrics are very subtle the way they work. For example you may have heard the popular song sung by a young girl that says, "I kissed a girl and I liked it." It is a song that is influencing and changing the way people think. You and I have to allow our thoughts to be framed and re-framed by what is true and what is noble and what is good. There is a verse in Romans that says, "We must be transformed by the renewing of your mind." When we allow the truth of the scriptures to shape our thinking it radically alters your life. the song in your head becomes the song of your life. make sure you are singing the right song!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fruit is a funny thing

Have you ever thought about the process of how fruit grows. We have a small orange grove next to our apartment complex. I run past it multiple times a week while out for a jog. I am absolutely fascinated by the fact that all kinds of beautiful fruit just hangs from the branches of these trees. I have become so accustomed to seeing tons of trees without fruit. Many of them are living, but they don't have apples or oranges hanging from their branches. Recently I was reading in Galatians and it says, "The fruit of the Spirit (meaning God's Spirit in the lives of Christ followers) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control." Meaning this is the kind of stuff that should hang on someone's branches when they are a Christ follower. This is such a funny thing to me, because I meet so many people who follow Jesus that don't fit this profile. What is even more funny is that so often I feel so defeated when it comes to my level of peace and especially patience. I can remember multiple times in the last couple days where my self control level was low, especially when Stacie made a pumpkin spice pie on Thursday. The funny thing about fruit is that you can't slap it on the branches, it has to come within the tree. I want to slap on the fruit of kindness or patience, but really what it requires is a change within. The more and more I yield my life to Christ and allow him to change my heart the more the fruit of my life will reflect the fruit of the Spirit. May my life grow in the fruit of the Spirit as I trust Jesus to change my heart!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get the right people on the bus

You may have read or heard of Jim Collins book called Good to Great. He has a chapter in the book about getting the right people on the bus in your organization... Meaning your leadership team must be top notch. When you have the right people on the bus there are very few limitations to where your organization can go! I just want to go on the record and say that our organization has the right people on the bus. We have some of the best staff anyone could ever ask for. The Jackson and Santos families who are on staff with South Bay Church are some of the best leaders I know. I've told Archie that I think he has the potential to be one of the best worship leaders in our generation, and Filipe has the potential to be one of the very best "executive/sidekick" pastors in our generation. I believe it will all of my heart. These two men are the kind of guys that you want to go into the trenches with. They are humble consistent followers of Christ, very faithful and loyal in their leadership, and so on. Not only are these two guys unbelievable but so are their wives. They are all sacrificially bought in to the vision of South Bay Church. They own the vision, they bleed for it, pray like crazy, serve diligently, and I could go on and on! In addition, I have one amazing wife who is one of the best people to have on the bus. She is faithful, loyal, humble, hospitable, trustworthy, committed, available and the list goes on. I just am one of the most blessed pastors I know because of who I get to labor with. Thank you God! I look forward to seeing how he grows our team and brings more people on the bus!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Who sets the standard?

Have you ever realized that in every industry someone sets the standard. You can debate who actually sets the standard, but someone does. Now for search engines who can compare with Google? If you disagree just look at Yahoo's stock versus Google's stock... Sorry Yahoo gang. Apple is now setting the standard for innovation with personal computers. You have people who set the standard in fashion, in cars, in the media, and much more. Companies are constantly wrestling for the standard setting position because they know that this is where victory is held. I wonder though who sets the standard for our lives? Who sets the standard for what is excellent, what is noble, what is good and beautiful? I love a comment that David from the bible makes in Psalm 62 that says, "my victory and honor come from God alone." In essence he finds the standard for excellence and for success in God alone. I think it is helpful to realize that God ultimately sets the standard. He the creator sets the standard for what is good, he sets the standard for what is beautiful, he sets the standard for success and when I begin to take the cues regarding his standards I end up finding a whole new level of joy, peace, contentment and hope in life. When I look to him for my honor, my victory, my standard, my life is radically altered and tremendously more focused!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Who is your God?

A couple days ago as I was running I was deeply inspired by this thought... The same God that revealed himself all throughout the scriptures... The same God breathed life into the first man and woman Adam and Eve, the same God that helped David defeat the giant Goliath, the same God that parted the red sea as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the same God that kept Daniel safe in the lions den, the same God that Elijah called upon to rain down fire, the same God that caused the sun to stand still for a full 24 hours, the same God that healed the eyes of blind men, the same God that touched the leper and made him whole, the same God that gave his life on a cross, the same God that rose from the dead... Is the same God that lives in me, around me and wants to work though me! WOW!!!! It was like a full on burst of energy for me in the middle of my run. Can you stinkin believe that? The God who created everything you can lay your eyes on loves you like crazy!!! The same God that stands above creation wants to live and reign in your life and make you whole! That same God wants to be your God today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Perfect Peace

It is amazing to me how God speaks to us through reading the bible. This past week I was feeling anxious about some details leading up to the launch of our church. I shared all of this with Stacie on Wednesday night, the next morning as I did my daily reading in the bible I came across this verse from Isaiah 26:3-4, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you. All whose thoughts who are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock!" I love it!! How do we find perfect peace, by trusting in the eternal rock. When my thoughts are fixed on God he somehow has a way of calming my anxiety and bringing peace to my chaotic world. As as husband, father, leader, pastor, friend there are so many things that get thrown my way. So many times the weight I carry feels overwhelming. When I am in this place I can always find perfect peace by relying on the eternal rock himself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

30 Days and counting

The count is on! We are less than 30 days away from the first public worship service of South Bay Church on November 16. I must say that I am crazy excited about this first monthly service!! I don't know if I've ever been more excited about something in my life as a pastor!!! The details are almost finalized on the location which is the PERFECT location for South Bay Church to meet, which I reveal once it has been finalized. We have just started the creative planning process last week for the theme, "Vintage Jesus." And we are going to have a kickin kids ministry. The response has been overwhelming as we meet neighbors and spread the word about the church! If you are anywhere in the area you don't want to miss out on this first worship service on Nov. 16 @ 10:30am. Mark your calendars!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Slow Drain

Recently I've been thinking about the slow drain. It is the thing or things in your life that slowly drain you. These issues are not necessarily the thing that screams or smacks you in the face, but they are more like the fly that lands on you in the middle of the night or the mosquito that continues to "drain" your blood. The slow drain is that 5 lbs you've needed to lose for 5 months, the electronic appliance that needs to be fixed, the drawer that needs to be cleaned, the stack of receipts on your desk, the email inbox that continues to pile, and the list goes on. The slow drain gets worse, ultimately because you get more drained as time goes along until the point where you explode and the drain drives you crazy. Somethings that have been a slow drain for me, my laptop battery has been messed up for four months to where whenever it unplugs it immediately shuts off, i've had piles of receipts with reimbursements (i hate receipts), in addition to this the dsl connection in our house only works in our bedroom. which means the dsl jack in my office is inoperable. half the time i can't get internet reception from my office because it is too far from the bedroom. oh the joys of the slow drain. so yesterday i went through my receipts, called the apartment to come fix the dsl jack, and ordered a new battery. i still need to lose the 5lbs but you get the idea. What is the slow drain in your life? what simple steps can you take to get rid of it. Hebrews says, "let us throw off everything that hinders and run the race with perseverance." What is slowing you down from becoming who God designed you to be?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Getting ahold of God!

This past Monday I had a phone appointment with a mentor and he said something that hit me... He said, "i know a ton of guys who know how grow a church but have no clue how to get a hold of God's heart." That really struck home, because sometimes I can be so focused on what i need to get accomplished in order to connect with more people, that I miss God's heart. to fight this, i am finding my time alone with God each morning to be more in more crucial, especially during this season of my life. Could you imagine how disgusting it would be to finish a life of serving God with never truly knowing the heart of the one you serve? That seems so sick doesn't it? it is like a husband and wife who live together, raise kids, go through difficult times, but when the kids go off to college they don't know each other. the bible says that God is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him! I want to know how to wrestle with the heart of God, understand his great love, and be infatuated with his majesty. I pray that I would not grow cold only knowing how to do the business of serving God. I want to stay tender in my love towards Him and continue to pursue knowing him with everything i have!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Potency Factor

I read a book in college called, "Contagious Christianity." The author of the book suggested that if followers of Christ wanted to influence those around them with the message of Christ there are a few ingredients that must be present. He says that "HP+CP+CC=MI" This means high potency plus close proximity plus clear communication equals maximum impact. It is much like the way infection works. I have thinking a lot about this lately in the process of starting our church. I think that many strategies for starting churches are often times very good at focusing on the clear communication side of things. We often times have very good strategies and formulas for success but the potency or the passion of our lives does not represent that of the gospel. Therefore our efforts often fall short even when we do all the formulaic things that are required for progress. When the hunger and fire for Christ consumes our lives people are much more inclined to be interested in what we have to say. When there is a sacrificial kindness towards others and compassion to help those in need, this is when things start to happen. When the love of God consumes us, then we are starting to get it. I want my life to be potent, I want others to see a zealous love for Christ ooze out of me!! Imagine what would happen if in the next 12 months every follower of Christ all over the world become 50% more in love with God and 50% more compassionate towards other? Let's ask God to increase our passion!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

South Bay Launch Team

This past Sunday night we had our very first launch team meeting. We shared the vision of the church with people and asked them to be a part of the vision. We had a total of 29 adults and 8 kids present. Archie did a couple of songs on the guitar, we had lasagna for dinner. It was a blast. It is exciting to see this vision become a reality. We are off to great start! Can't wait until our first preview service on Nov. 16, we almost have our meeting location nailed down. As soon as we do I will reveal it! I will post some pictures later!