Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dangerous Surrender

"The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him." - D.L. Moody

I am motived, inspired, challenged, haunted, humbled, and much more by this quote. I am going to do a whole message series on this quote in March. I want to be that man. What happens when a human heart gets dangerously surrendered to Jesus? What happens when you give your life completely to Him! I know I may have talked about this on my blog recently, but I am just so stinkin challenged by this thought... What if we completely give our lives to Jesus? What if we found a whole church of people who said, "I am going to do whatever it takes to dangerously surrender my life to Christ." What would it look? Would the world take note. What if the love of God was so thick and the compassion for the world was so apparent that it spilled out the doors of our church and revolutionized our world. What if the local church completely got it? What would happen? God please let us raise up a generation of men and woman who passionately love Jesus. It is all about you and your name being honored. May 10's of thousands of men and women in the Silicon Valley and SF Bay Area choose to follow you and give their whole life to you. Help us be a church that raises the bar and loves courageously!! Help us love like there is no tomorrow. To obey with urgency and passionately follow you as the King of the Universe.

9 Days Until the Launch of South Bay Church. I do hope you'll come! Right now it is calling for rain on that day February 8th. Please join me in prayer that God will breakthrough with sunshine and beautiful weather! It is going to be a huge day in the movement of the gospel to the ends of the earth!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Here Comes South Bay Church

The countdown is on baby!! This dream that God put in my heart at 17 years old is becoming a reality! It is going to be so huge. I can vividly remember the point in high school when I told God that if he would ever use me to start a church I would sign on. It is amazing to think of all that has happened in the last 10 years since receiving that vision from God. He has taken me down a road of training and preparation for this moment in time! I fully believe in my heart that what God starts on Sunday Feb. 8 is going to be something that he uses in mighty ways to reach thousands of people. When we join together and celebrate the beginning of this church we get to be a part of a movement that God is going to use to change the world. I am so humbled by all the people who have joined to make this vision a reality, the Santos family, the Jackson Family, the Santos family (mature ones) our launch team, 15 churches, 100's of families who pray and give financially. We are doing this thing together and it is going to be huge! JESUS is going to get the glory due his name here in the Silicon Valley, people are going to receive the joy of a relationship with Jesus, marriages are going to be healed, families restored, hope brought back, lives redeemed! Wow!! I can't wait until Feb. 8 @ 10:30 when South Bay Church launches. If you are anywhere around the Bay Area I hope you will drive in to experience this day with us. God is going to show up, it is going to be huge! 9 more days to go. Will you pray with me that God will do something huge next week? Will you believe God with me for immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Wrong Question

Matthew 12:10, "looking for a reason to accuse Jesus they asked him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' He said to them, 'If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? how much more valuable is a man than a sheep? Therefore is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

I find this question puzzling... They were asking Jesus the wrong question... "Is it lawful" It never ceases to amaze me how much questions reveal about a person and their heart. I have often been known for my overwhelming number of questions. I've noticed even how my questions change over the years and I feel like I can tell so much about my heart based upon the questions I am asking at the time. I love to read back through my journal and see the questions I ask of God or my notes from mentoring appointments. I will look at specific questions and the answers those questions brought into my life. One insight I received from this example from the bible is this, when you ask the wrong question you get the wrong answers. If the Pharisees were asking the right question they would have asked Jesus, "is this pleasing to God? does this act display love to this person?" Instead they revealed their arrogance and questioned the heart of the King of the Universe. I hope that my questions to God and others display a heart of humility and a hunger to grow. I pray that my questions help people love God more and then in turn bring me to wise conclusions and outcomes of life. Throughout the course of the day today, think about your questions. What do they reveal about you? Try and see what you discover. Ask God to help you become a great question asker. If you don't ask any questions and only do the talking you might have something else worth considering. Why don't you ask any questions? ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Green Crap

My wife Stacie posted a hilarious blog here about a story that recently happened in the Wood home. I thought you might find this funny if you don't read her blog... Just click here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Enemy of Good

Recently I've been challenged by this thought, don't let a good solution be the enemy of the perfect solution. Often times we can get caught with indecision and struggle to find the perfect solution to a problem, when in truth we need a good solution to get the ball rolling. For example, often times when I am going into a meeting I will try and think of a perfect agenda for the meeting and stress out over more than I need to. I need to relax and let this meeting be a good meeting. When working on a strategy for spiritual growth or leadership development I can attempt to come up with the perfect system that I end up doing nothing. This is true especially when it comes to systems for organizations. Often times for health we need to prototype initiatives before we can come up with the perfect system. When you get the ball rolling you can shift the direction that ball is rolling. I believe this is one difference between entraprenuers and everyone else. They don't feel the need to perfect things before they start them. Don't hear me saying we shouldn't have a passion for excellence or work hard to make things better. I just believe that to experience maximum growth and momentum in an organization you have to be willing to try things that will not always go perfectly and be willing to take risks. We have to be willing to think outside the box and realize that sometimes a solution will not always be perfect the first time it is implemented, but it will put you further down the field and closer to the end goal. Don't get crippled by indecision and let perfect be the enemy of good and in turn become the enemy of progress.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Question For High Caliber Leaders

So I was recently thinking about guys like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Ed Young, and just a few more. What is the difference in their style of leadership and every other pastor in America. Why is it that these men have been able to lead organizations as large as they do without those organizations crumbling, in addition to the grace of God. One pattern I see in these men is that each of them have the ability to retain super high caliber leaders on their teams. They are able to keep people around with A+ talent and a passion for God. The question then is, how do they do it? Why do people want to follow these types of men? I don't have the answer yet. Probably won't for a while. One of my mentors a guy named Steve Stroope has done the exact same thing. When you look at his staff there are a bunch of guys who could be pastoring churches on his staff but they've chosen to follow Steve. There is some ingredient I am looking for... What is this ingredient? Not sure yet, but I will find out. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yes Man!

A conversation with a friend and Jim Carrey's recent movie titled Yes Man got me thinking. What if we determined to say yes to God in every area of our life from this day forward. What if in my heart I determined that in every area: finances, relationships, marriage, integrity, any form of purity, that I would to the best of my ability give a resounding yes to God? How would this change my life?! I started thinking, what if everyone from South Bay Church determined to say yes to God? How could we truly impact the Silicon Valley and the world. You can run this even a little less extreme, what if you just determined that for the next 30 days you would take his challenge in your finances and say yes to giving a full tithe? Or, what if you said yes to God and determined for the next 30 days you would follow his plan for purity in your life? Man this is a powerful question. I am building a message series out of this that we will do the first series after our launch. I can't wait. What if you said yes to Jesus right now? How would that change the rest of your life?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Church Planting Is Alot of Work

It is almost 11 o'clock and I am just finishing up work for the day. Other than meal times and my time alone with God i have pretty much worked since waking up at 6:30 this morning. Not only am I working like this, but my wife is working just as hard. In addition there are two other families who pouring out their blood, sweat and tears to get this church off the ground. Meeting with anyone who will let me buy them coffee, sending emails, preparing messages, looking at numbers and processing strategic plans, developing marketing plans and message series, discipling people who have never been to church before, correcting people who don't agree with the vision, encouraging people who are fainthearted and need to know that God has a plan for their life, hoping and praying that people will actually respond, sharing the gospel, making calls to invite people, putting door hangers everywhere. Almost all of this I've done in the last week or so. I am reminded so often how much starting a new church is like giving birth to a new born and tending to an infant. Everything seems so fragile and infantile! This is the second church Stacie and I have helped start. For some reason I forgot this season like a mother forgets birth. Well, the baby is coming down the birth canal right now! Only 3 more days until the next big push and 31 more days until she is completely out. I am starting to see what the baby is going to look like, and I think she is going to beautiful. I think she is going to change the world. I think she is going to be everything I dreamed of. I am so glad I get to be right be the bed when she is born! What a great joy it is for me to serve Jesus and be a part of the birthing of his local church. There is nothing in the world like it! What else has the power and potential of a local church that catches Jesus' vision for the world! I can't wait to see what God is going to do this Sunday!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Tonight was by far our best launch team to date for South Bay Church! It is hard to believe that we have only been here for a little over 4 months and we have seen God grow this launch team from three families to 35 adults in one of the most difficult parts of the country to start a new church. God showed up and blessed it in incredible ways. We shared our 2009 vision for South Bay Church and discussed the possibility of what God can do in the next 12 months. I shared a series of "What If?" statements, asking the question... "What if God really showed up in this area of our church?" Then we asked the question, "What do we need to to prepare ourselves for God to move in huge ways in 2009?"

I think that sometimes we are afraid to dream and ask God for big movements of His Spirit. My consistent prayer to God the last couple months has been, "help me believe you for more, more people coming to faith, more radically changed lives, more people engaging in the kingdom of God..." I don't want my faith to be the limiting or stopping point of our church. I don't want Jesus to look at my life and our church and say, "I had so much more for you, but you never asked me or sought it." May God unleash his power and presence in our midst and bring himself great glory through South Bay Church. May God give me the faith to believe him for what he wants to do through us in the Silicon Valley.

We are only 7 (almost 6) days away from Jan. 11 our next monthly service which is going to be the best to date. (details here) I am believe God is going to show up and meet with people this Sunday. I believe God has something very specific he wants to say to our church about growth and real transformation. There is one principle I am going to share next Sunday that I think could forever change the way people see growth in their lives and ultimately the way we see God. There is something special God wants to do in our lives this week! I can't wait. No doubt in my mind this is going to be the service to date! It is a huge day in the history of South Bay Church. I am not sure I will be able to sleep well, I am so pumped!

One last thing... One "what if?" from tonight. What if God filled this theater in San Jose next Christmas eve with 1,000 people from South Bay Church. I can just see it right now! Amazing think about all that God is going to do in 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Inspiring Greatness in Others!

Have you ever noticed that great leaders make everyone around them better? Take Scottie Pippen for example. Running up and down the court with Michael Jordan he was a 6 time NBA champion, without Jordan he was still a very good ball player, but never would have reached his potential. Great leaders inspire greatness in other people. 

One time I was sitting around a table with a mentor of mine. He pastors a very large church and in my opinion is a great leader. I was timidly sharing the vision God had placed in my heart for South Bay Church. He looked right at me and said, "God placed that vision in your heart and he's given you all the gifts and talents necessary for it to come to pass. Start believing God by believing in who He's called you to be." I cannot tell you how much that one comment impacted me. I noticed something about this leader. Everyone on his team has an heir of confidence that God has placed a holy calling on their lives. He just oozes this and inspires it into other people. He helps others believe the truth about who God created them to be! 

I know this can kind of sound like psycho babel, but isn't this what Jesus did? He took a group of blue collar fishermen and said, "I will turn you into fisher's of men." And He did just that. Those uneducated ordinary folk would go on to change Jerusalem and extend the gospel to the ends of the known world. 

Here is what I am learning. Those leaders that have confidence in who God has created them to be, are much more adept to inspire greatness in others. The leaders who lack confidence in their calling and gifting will constantly put down others and try to always put that person back in their place. I've been around people like this. There is one person I shared my vision with and he in essence said, "you better be careful who you share this vision with because if it doesn't come to pass you are going to look very audacious." Wow! I'm so glad for my other mentor who gave me the other perspective! I want to be the kind of person who raises the water level and commitment to Christ whenever I enter a room. I want to make people better and call out what God has placed inside of them. Their dreams, their goals, their visions and their talents. A part of me living with greatness is helping others become great! As we inspire greatness in others they will in turn inspire greatness in us. 

If you ever start to feel like you are the only one with good ideas or good plans you've missed this principle. If you look down on young leaders because God is using their lives and you are more mature and wise, you've obviously missed out on the way Jesus is establishing His kingdom. If people are afraid to share their ideas and thoughts because you will smash them with a hammer, umm... I don't think you've gotten this one. If you are the one always doing the talking... you still don't have it! 

Let's be cheerleaders for those around us in ministry and inspire them to dream and believe God to build a mighty movement through their lives. Let's get some courage and some confidence in who God has created us to be and start inspiring greatness in one another. After all, if you are called by God and in a relationship with Him doesn't the scriptures say, "the same power that raised Christ from the dead is living inside of us through the Spirit of God." Is there anything greater than that? Umm, the answer is NO!