Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning Download

The dust has settled from church yesterday. I am still in amazement of what God is doing in our midst. I really want to give such incredible praise to Jesus for His awesome work at South Bay Church!

Here are just a couple of highlights of yesterday:
* Highest non-Easter attendance to date, 221 people showed up for our church service. There was such a great energy in the service and great number of first time guests.
* We had over 20 people indicate that they were first time guests. A met a ton of people for the very first time! Most of these were from people who had invited their friends. This was so exciting to me to see the numbers of people who are bringing their friends to church!
* 3 people made a first time decision to follow Christ! Best number of the day!!!
* Our volunteers were incredible in creating an environment where people felt welcomed! Our greeters, ushers, hospitality team, Bay Kid's workers and audio tech team all kicked butt and worked with great attitudes!
* Kicked off our Losing My religion series looking at the story of the "2 Lost Sons" - Luke 15
* Talked about how religion blinds us and causes us to think God owes us something.
* You don't have to be a church going person to be blinded by religion!
* Everyone of has been impacted in some way by "religious experiences"
* Jesus wants us to lose our religion to that we can really experience relationship with Him.
* In the story of the 2 lost sons both sons had wronged the father equally, but the older son's pride kept him from receiving the lavish love of the father.
* Does pride in my life keep my from recognizing my need from God's amazing grace?

Thank you to all of you who work so faithfully in this church. Yesterday we had close to 50 volunteers serving in some form or fashion. Some serving all day from 7am-1pm giving their whole day for this vision of reaching the Silicon Valley with the good news about Jesus! Today we have a group of people in the South Bay offices following up with each first time guest! So many of you invited your friends. I am so proud of you! It is a real honor to be your pastor and to be a part of this church. I am more excited now than ever about what God is doing here and what he will continue as we believe Him for even great things!

God is doing so much @ southbaychurch! I can't wait to see what He does as this series continues. I really want to encourage you to bring your friends and make sure you make it for week 2 as we continue the series! Let's see what happens in our lives when religion dies! The best is yet to come!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Power of Your Invite!

Last Sunday was one of the great days in the history of South Bay Church!! We had over 215 people in attendance and we challenged everyone to invite 3 friends to the kick off of the "Losing My Religion" series this Sunday! We strongly believe in the power of a simple invite and it's potential changing a human life. I want to encourage you to do whatever you can to get your friends to South Bay Church this Sunday. This is going to be one of the greatest days in the history of our young church!!! We are expecting more people and more changed lives than ever.

I want to issue this challenge: don't come alone to South Bay Church this weekend! Will you pray with our team that God would do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine? Will join the vision of expecting BIG things from a BIG GOD? Can't wait to see you this Sunday @ 10:30am.

Remember, "will you go to church with me this Sunday?" Could radically change a friend's life! Go ahead and do it! Can't wait to see you this Sunday!

Losing My Religion begins this Sunday! from South Bay Church on Vimeo.

Go to for more details.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boundaries and Discipline

I find it interesting how few people have clear boundaries in their lives. Boundaries with work, boundaries with family and boundaries with relationships. So I often I find that rather than taking control of our schedules, our appointments and our finances we let those things take control of us. Consequently we can find ourselves living in the tyranny of the urgent without a clear sense of purpose! Stacie and I have a few boundaries that we've set in place in our lives that help us enjoy life and family more.

Here are just a few:
1. We always take one day off per week! During the summer we did Mondays due to schedules, starting this week we switch back to Fridays. I don't schedule appointments or answer my cell phone on those days. (except from our staff @ southbay) We go to the park, starbucks, take naps, watch movies and just have some downtime. This is one of my favorite days of the week.
2. We always have one date night each week. We do Thursday or Friday night. The Santos family and us swap babysitting. This is one of the best systems in our lives! I don't talk on my cell phone during that time and Stacie and I focus on our relationship with each other.
3. We operate by a budget. We have predetermined categories and determine how much money money we can spend and in what categories.
4. We set aside time every morning for bible study and prayer. This helps tune our hearts to God.
5. We are currently in the middle of a workout called p90x. This is six days a week in the mornings. It requires us to get up real early!
6. Bedtime- we try to get to bed every night by like 9:30pm. This helps us be able to get a good nights rest and be up by 5:00am for workout.
7. Boy's Club- every Saturday morning Caedmon and I have a time called Boy's Club. We go to Peet's coffee and the playground. It is such a great way for us to connect and build our relationship.
8. Scheduling- I keep a pretty tight schedule each week. I plan my week before it starts and have certain times that I am available to meet with people. If people who want to meet cannot meet during the times that are available we shoot for the next week. This is a great way to help me stay sane!

We believe that these areas of our lives don't happen accidently. I am so thankful for a wife who values being disciplined and having boundaries in her life. When we get off from these boundaries our life tends to become less balanced. We always want to check and make sure that we are on track in these areas!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Today was an incredible day for us at South Bay Church! One of our best days we've had yet. Here are a couple of the highlights of the day;
* Concluded our Illuminate with a message titled "Radiant Sharing" from Mark 2;1-12.
* Had 217 people in attendance. We were praying for over 200 next Sunday. God answered the prayer early.
* Last Sunday outside, next week we go back into the gym at Don Callejon. So excited about that.
* Had over 40 people busting their tails to make the last day of this series a hit. Our team does such a great job giving of themselves for this vision. I have such deep gratitude to the many hands that make it happen.
* BayKids had a record number of kids... 46: Our BayKids team is doing an incredible job creating a top notch experience for kids. I am proud of you guys!
* We had dozens of people who came for the first time today. Many from mailers, invites and the web. I think that our mailers got there a little early, which hopefully means many people will respond next week when they get the mailer.
* Talked about the 4 friends who carried the paralytic man to Jesus, they showed tremendous levels of urgency! What if we showed that kind of urgency to get our friends to Jesus?
* Amazing to think of the fact that the four friends carried their friend to find Jesus, took him up a ladder and dug through a roof all to get their friend in the presence of Jesus... Our challenge is just to invite our friends to hear about Jesus! Much easier!
* Challenged every person to bring 3 friends next week. Many people took my challenge to heart.
* So excited about "Losing My Religion" starting this Sunday. Can't wait to see what God is going to do. I am praying that God would blow us away with this next series and move tremendously in our midst!
* Lots of work to do this week getting ready for South Bay's Fall Kick off Next Sunday! Don't miss it, bring a friend, it's going to be huge!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Musings on Starting Churches

Overly the last three or four months it seems like I've had conversations with almost one church planter each week. After getting our church of the ground I get a lot of questions about the church planting process and often guys are looking for the "secret sauce" for starting churches. There are reasons that some new churches do well and reasons why others do not. I wanted to share some thoughts on this over the next few weeks for all of my friends who are thinking about starting churches.

Reasons new churches don't succeed:
1. Wiring of the leader planter: often times I meet guys who are trying to lead a church plant and they are not wired to be the lead guy. This is a combination of gifting, character and personality. There are several key gifts I think are absolutely essential: leadership and teaching. When the person in charge can lead and teach the whole organization will fare better. People want to follow a vision and they want to follow someone who is going somewhere. People without the leadership gifting fail to rally the troops and fail to inspire a common vision among people. We've all worked for or been around someone who is trying to lead and isn't wired in that way. It is painful for everyone. Now, I think everyone can become a better leader. In fact, 10 years ago i would not have thought of myself as being a lead pastor especially by age 22 (age I became a lead pastor)...

A couple of questions to determine if you are the lead person:
* Do people typically nominate you to be the leader in group settings. I know a lot of church planters who were presidents of their student government in high school/college or captains of their sports teams growing up.
* Are you comfortable being in charge without allowing it to go to your head? Are you able to cast vision to people and see them get excited?
* Do you find other strong leaders looking to you for wisdom, direction or advice?
* What kind of people naturally follow you? Are they the kind of people that others follow?

On the teaching side of things!! I think it is possible to get a church off the ground by the grace of God and a strong leadership gift. I think that for sustained moment in a new church it is very helpful to have a teaching gift. Let's be honest, most great communicators were pretty rough when they started. One way to identify if you have a teaching gift is to ask others who are developed communicators to listen to you and evaluate if they think you have the ability to teach.

A couple of other questions to think about:
* Do you see life in terms of teaching? When you learn something do you regularly find yourself thinking of sharing that with other people?
* Are you able to sort through lots of information and determine the essentials of that body of information without getting overwhelmed?
* Do people change when you teach/preach? Have you seen God use you through teaching to change people's lives?
* What do other gifted communicators say about your preaching and teaching?

There are several other skills that I find to be present in many good lead guys I interact with:
1. Willingness to go alone. This doesn't mean you aren't a team player, it just means that you are the first one willing to jump!
2. Ability to confront problems and problem people. Do you deal with people who are out of line with the vision or do you brush it under the rug hoping it will go away?
3. Teachability/Humility- are you willing to admit your mistakes, ask questions about things you don't know and confront areas of your life that need to change.
4. Discernment- I find that a lot of strong leaders have a keen ability to know what is going on in every level of their organization in uncanny ways. I think this is a gift and a skill that comes from paying attention to what people say and knowing how to ask probing questions.

These are some things to think about if you sense God leading you to start a church...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where is my boast?

2 Corinthians 10:17-18
"But, 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.' For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends."

I often have an internal battle when it comes to wanting to boast in my work and what I can produce with my hands. Let's just be real honest, I think this stems from insecurity in our hearts. I want people to think I am bigger than I am, more effective than I am or a better leader than I am. Unfortunately when I boast in myself I am taking away praise for God and revealing my immaturity of character. When God moves through my life and impacts others, I should let my boast be in what he has done through me rather than what I can produce myself. I think that it is a struggle as a young leader to want to commend yourself. I think that this flows from a desire for approval. Paul very clearly says, it is the one the Lord commends who will receive approval. Questions to ponder: what would it look like for me to boast in the Lord today? What things has God done through my life that I need to keep quiet about? What insecurities in my heart manifest themselves as pride and hinder my love for God? How can I honor others and praise God as he moves in and around my life and ministry?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why I don't blog more, Why I should blog more~

Recently I've had a very hard time keeping up my blog or my twitter. I read so many other church planters and pastors who are so on top of this thing and I realize my social networking insufficiencies. When I blog, twitter or facebook it is always requires some level of discipline on my part. I would use the excuse that I am extremely busy, but at the same time I know lots of guys who are more busy than I am and they do a great job keeping up their blog. After a conversation with a big social media guy today I am challenged to re-emphasize blogging and stay on top of twittering my life. This got me to thinking more extensively about reasons for blogging and reasons for not blogging.

So here we go:

Reasons I don't blog more than I do:
1. A lot of what I would like to say is being said by other leaders.
2. I have a strong tendency towards being prideful. My flesh really struggles with pride at times and lots of posting can really feed this pride. It makes me feel like I am a lot bigger than I really am.
3. I think about blogging things or tweeting things too far after the fact. I think 2-3 hours too late and think, "I should have tweeted that"
4. I don't get cell phone reception in many places. (yes I have an iPhone, and yes I live in the Silicon Valley)
5. There is something to be said for being shaped in the private places. I am only 28 years old, I am so new in ministry. I don't want to short circuit character training through trying to act more public than I really am.
6. I have a hard time keeping up with my responsibilities as I focus on the church. Sometimes the requirements of the church and being a husband and a father take all of my time and I end up putting this kind of stuff on the "c" list. It doesn't get done and becomes a choice or a discipline.
7. It takes me a really long time to write a blog. I am sure I could get faster if I did it more often!

With that being said I have been challenged by some friends and here are some reasons I need to be more consistent:
1. People in the South Bay area read blogs and tweets.
2. Social media is the future of learning, marketing, communication and much more.
3. God has put things in my heart that need to be shared.
4. I can minister to and help a lot of people just through sharing my life on-line.
5. I live in the technology hub of the world!

I think that is about all I have to say about that!