Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This year for thanksgiving we will get together with some families who live out here in the Silicon Valley and celebrate what we are thankful for. This year I am especially thankful for the multitude of miracles God has worked in our midst during 2008 from helping us eliminate $20,000 in debt, to helping us sell our home in TX and move to CA, to helping us transition out of Breakthrough Church, to providing for South Bay Church, and the list goes on. I am grateful to be able to be married to the woman of my dreams! I still can't believe she was willing to marry me. I am grateful to be a father of the cutest 2 year old boy I know, I am grateful to have an extended family (mom, dad, step-mom, siblings, in-laws) who love me and believe in me, I am grateful to work with people I love and enjoy, I am thankful to live in one of the most influential and innovative places in the world, I am thankful to be able to live out my dreams as a pastor starting South Bay Church, I am grateful for all the delicious food I will eat today, and I am grateful that I no longer have affection for the Detroit Lions the football team I grew up crying over. The are horrible and will probably lose again this thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Deepest Level of Affection

Many philosophers ask the question, "what is the chief end of man's existence?" Many Christian theorists have coined a phrase that says, "the chief end of man's existence is to glorify God and enjoy him forever?" This is a very profound statement that seems illusive and is hard to understand. Which begs the question, "how does one truly glorify God?" I believe that this happens through a loving and obedient relationship with God. This flows out of affection for God. The last year or so I have spent considerable amount of time thinking about this question... what comes before me affectionately loving God? Another one of those illusive questions. I came to the conclusion after more thought that my love for God flows out of a heart of gratitude for who he is and what he has done for me. This may seem so stinking simple but when I realized this it hit me like a ton of bricks. Good bricks! This means that I must constantly be centered back and reminded of who God is and what he has done for me and allow this to lead to a heart of gratitude in my life. Gratitude leads to love, love leads towards an obedient relationship with God, and then ultimately an obedient relationship with God brings him glory. Now, I have to give credit for this line of thought to a guy named Jeremy Kingsley. He initially did a talk with a knowledge-love-obey-glorify continuum which lead me to more deeply investigate this question, "what leads to a loving affection towards God?" I truly believe that this concept of gratitude is the deepest level of affection in the life of a follower of Christ.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What makes a person successful?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at Crossroads Church in Fremont. (one of South Bay's sponsor churches) I was given the title for the message, "Stolen by Success." I really started asking the question, "What truly makes a person successful?" It seems as though a whole message series could be done on this one question alone. It is a very strong question living in the Silicon Valley. The SV is probably one of the "most successful" places in the world. At the end of my reflection and preparation I came to this conclusion... success begins when I say yes to God. It seems really simple and trite. Ultimately there are so many things that are out of my control in life. Exactly how fast our church grows, how many people come through our doors, how much money I make, etc... You fill in the blank for your life. But the list goes on of what is out of my jurisdiction. Don't get me wrong, I definitely can have influence on those things, but God truly 100% controls the outcome. My commission is to be 100% obedient and faithful to what he has called us to as a church. I have to stay fully focused on the vision and direction God wants our church to go. I must reorganize my strategy to focus on what I can do to be faithful. What things are under my responsibility? How I treat my wife and son, how hard I work, how faithful and focused I am with the 50-60 hours a week that I work, how I treat our staff and lead them, how I handle our personal finances, how I eat (tough one for me), how often I workout, my schedule for rest and recovery... When I start to focus on what I have jurisdiction over the pressure truly is off but the responsibility is on. It gives me great peace, but also great challenge to know that God is the one to whom I must give an account. I cannot spin my wheels chasing this illusive image of what others define as successful. At the end of the day and the end of my life if I hear "well done good and faithful servant" from the mouth of God, I am successful! Success ultimately begins in my obedience and faithfulness to God!

Monday, November 24, 2008

You don't get what you expect

This may seem like a contradiction considering my post yesterday. I think that there is a second part of the toleration principle. I think it is this, your expectation in leadership must be coupled with equal levels of inspection. Meaning this... many times leaders give instructions and expect people to carry out these instructions to a "t" without ever checking in or following up on what was delegated. It is fully appropriate in leadership to set checkpoints along the way to make sure people are meeting the trajectory towards a goal. I believe that it is abdication and bad leadership to expect with out some level of inspection along the journey. I believe you help people to not feel micromanaged by clarifying on the front end that there will be a mid point inspection. For example, something is delegated on Monday that needs to be accomplished by the following Monday... You say, "I am going touch base with you on Thursday just to make sure everything is going according to plan and there is nothing you need my help with. I will call you on Thursday about this." And then you touch base on Thursday to make sure your help is not needed and that person doesn't need additional resourcing. I also believe that this goes two ways. I believe that we must submit ourselves as leaders and be accountable for projects we are trying to accomplish. On our staff we do this two ways... we each have "next steps" that we are responsible for following our monday staff meeting. We then meet just for 90 minutes on Thursday to follow up and give an update on the progress we've made. We affectionately call this Thursday meeting, "Staff inspection." Archie likes to call it "Staff infection." :-) In addition, each of our staff members brings a calendar to our staff meeting on Monday outlining their calendar for the week. This keeps us accountable for how we are spending our time, especially while we are mobile without an office.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You get what you tolerate

Sometimes in reading a book I will find one principle that is worth the cost of the book! This past week while finishing up "The One Life Solution" by Henry Cloud I came across an insight that was just that. He said... in life, in work, in relationships, you get what you tolerate. Let me say that again: you get what you tolerate. Both organizations and relationships have a tendency to go south without mid-course corrections. When we are willing to hold ourselves and others accountable for doing what is right our lives and organizations rise to the challenge. When we lower the bar everyone else will lower their work and diligence to hit the standard. When we fail to set boundaries in relationships people will walk all over us. When we remain healthy in interpersonal relationships and set boundaries people will respond (sometime begrudgingly). This is why as a leader I should never ask the question, "what do people want to hear from me?" rather I should always ask the question, "What do people need to hear from me?" The implications of this principle are huge... think about it: You get what you tolerate.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bless Back Offering

Leading up to our first worship experience we sensed God leading us to give away 100% of our very first offering. For us as a church this was a huge step of faith, considering our situation as a new church. The church gave a total of $1682 this past Sunday. We will give this offering to two groups: first the family giving tree which is a local organization that works with under privileged families, the other half will go to our local organizations in the community. We will partner to give this money to our schools and locals who serve the schools. Thank you to all of you who gave this past Sunday. Sorry it took me a couple of days to get this post. I told all of you it would be here on my blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank You Crossroads Church

I wanted to add one thing to the news from yesterday. We had about 40-50 people from Crossroads Church in Fremont come out to serve. There is absolutely no way we could have done this without their help!!!! I was amazed by their diligence and servant hearts. Many of them arrived at 7am and some did not finish until after 3pm helping unload the trailer. I was once again blown away by these guys and their huge hearts. 4 staff members from their church came. One of them almost gave his whole day help load the trailer. Unbelievable. I have so much to learn from Crossroads Church and their love for God and their love for people. Thank you Crossroads Church...!!

Monday, November 17, 2008


God just blew us away yesterday at South Bay Church's first monthly preview! It was absolutely unbelievable. There was such an excitement and sense of God's presence the whole day!!! We had 175 people present for this very first gathering! We had 5 people make a decision to follow Christ for the very first time. God truly gets all the credit. I am truly amazed by what happened.

So here our some of my bullet point reflections:
* Our team from Archie, Filipe, Stacie, Rebekah, Mandy and Renan did an incredible job. They busted their tails this last week. I was amazed at their faithfulness and diligence.
* Our launch team hit a home run. Many of them arrived as early as 7am to help with set up and stayed until after 1 cleaning up. It is unbelievable to see how God is pulling this team together so quickly.
* We had a mission team from rush creek church and about 4 people in town from S.C. to help with the Preview. They did stuff like pass out 3k door hangers, prayer walk our community, load the trailer, stuff programs, set up children's ministry and a ton more. they were awesome!!!
* I was able to focus on the message because our team did a great job, i did not have to worry about all the details. They get lots of credit for that.
* my wife Stacie planned our children's ministry, it made me want to be a kid again. she displayed a ton of leadership as well, she planned it and organized it and staffed it so that she could be in the main worship gathering for the adults.
* alot of people came from our mailers that we sent to the community. we sent out 32k to people who live in the area and did about 3k door hangers, this was a worthy investment of $$$.
* the music was incredible. i love the bass in our sound system, we want people to be able to feel the music!! our band did a great job of leading people in worship.

All I can say now is WOW!! Great job GOD!! You are worthy to be praised today for your good deeds. Great job TEAM! God blessed your hard work and diligence. I am proud to be your pastor and grateful that I get to serve alongside of each of you, being a part of the most worthy cause on the face of the planet. Looking forward to continuing to take our mountain... TOGETHER!!!

With love,

Monday, November 10, 2008

South Bay Prayer Chain

Starting on Friday morning at 10:30am (west coast time) we will have a 48 hour prayer chain leading up to the very first public worship gathering for South Bay Church. We are asking people to pick a 30 minute time slot between during that 48 hours and pray for the preview gathering. We will send out prayer requests for those who register. If you would like to participate here are the instructions...

Go to Google Calendar-
Login -
password - prayforsouthbay

Find a 30 minute time slot that is currently free and place your name in that slot!! We would love to have every time slot filled. If you are a morning person on the east coast we would like to ask you to take one of the earlier times so we can get all 48 hours covered!! make sure to note that all times are west coast time!

Here are 3 things to pray for:
1. Pray that God would move in the hearts of people who have been invite and many people would respond.
2. Pray that God would tremendously bless the flow of the morning and that his presence would change people's hearts.
3. Pray that some people would experience God's love and begin a growing relationship with Christ that morning!

Thanks a ton!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

Tonight at our Launch Team we had a great meeting! We had 23 adults and 8 kids. We finished up our preparations for the First Preview Gathering this Sunday night. It is crazy to see this thing becoming a reality! God has blessed us with an amazing group of people with huge hearts and a willingness to serve. I am excited that we get to do this together! We have only 7 days until the Preview. The countdown is on!! This week we will be putting the final preparations together and trying to spread the word to as many people as possible! If you live in the Silicon Valley please help us get the word out this week. On Monday we will have a completely new website with a map and an easy way to invite people.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Day in Monterey

After casting my vote today I headed out to Monterey, Ca. One of the most beautiful places I've ever see in my life. I arrived here about 2:30pm, negotiated a reduced rate hotel price at a location on the beach and unloaded my books and clothes. I sat in the lobby and finished a book on leadership asking God to refresh and clarify vision and strategy for South Bay Church, following that I grabbed a bowl of claw chowder from a local seafood joint. I then proceeded to Starbucks and plowed through the first few chapters of Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll. I intentionally planned these two days to remove myself from the craziness of life and ministry to prepare my heart for our first preview on Nov. 16. We are only 12 days away from our first public gathering. I am praying that God would clarify the message he wants me to deliver that morning and touch my lips. It is great for me to pull away and be reminded of God's majesty and beauty and have my mind and soul refreshed, and my vision refocused!