Saturday, March 26, 2011

Assign Responsibility!

"Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." Psalm 55:22

Recently I was feeling very overwhelmed by several ensuing problems and challenges. The more I thought about these problems the more I became stressed out. I thought through solutions and scenarios of how to solve the problem and I was hitting my head against a wall. The more I thought about the problem the more I realized I was not going to be able to solve it in my human strength. These were problems that only God could solve. Everyone of us faces problems that seem insurmountable... a marriage that is hanging by a thread, a child that is unresponsive to our love, a burden financially, a job that is sucking the life out of us. Often times in the middle of a crisis the solution is illusive. Sure we can keeping taking steps in the right direction, but only God is going to make it work and bring the solution.

That's when I came across this verse above. Give your burdens to the Lord. In essence, assign responsibility to God for your problems. I was thinking about it like this... After our weekly staff meeting for South Bay Church everyone on the team walks away with a set of tasks to be accomplished in the following week. They are assigned responsibility. I feel a sense of relief when I know a responsibility is placed into the hands of a competent staff member, I no longer have to worry about the task getting done or the problem getting cared for.

I thought, what if I make my morning time alone with God more like a staff meeting and assign the responsibility of these problems to Him. I will write out a list of what I can take responsibility for, the things I can do that day to get the ball down the field and then I will assign responsibility to God for what only He can do.

My stress goes down and my confidence goes up and He carries the weight! I know it's easier said than done, but this little practice and prayer is helping me a ton!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Servolution Kicks Off This Sunday!

Don't miss out on the kick off of this brand new series on Sunday! I'm super excited to talk about starting a servolution!

Servolution is not an event; it is a revolution ignited through serving. As we begin opening our hearts, hands, and time to serve, not only are we part of changing the lives of others, we also experience change in our own lives.

A beautiful perspective is found when we take the time to actually see world through God's eyes. When we stop to actually look around and ask ourselves, "How can I serve someone today?" we will be transformed by the idea of living beyond ourselves.

March 27- Pick up the Towel
April 3- Ignite a Revolution of Kindness
April 10- Get Your Gifts On

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ramblings For Husbands and Dads...

I'm going to be honest. Being a good dad and a good husband takes a ton of work for me. I watch some guys who seem to have "it" so much more naturally than I do. They are more tender, more aware, more compassionate, etc... You get the idea. I've realized that this is a weakness for me so I have to compensate with extreme discipline. This means several things: i invest 2-3 hours every saturday with my boys (boy's club), i have a date night every week with my wife (friday nights), i have a day off on Friday which we call family day, i hang with the boys one night a week so that stacie can invest in the lives of ladies from our church or just chill if she wants to. When I slack on my disciplines my relationships suffer.

Now there are two recent modifications to these disciplines that are impacting me... and hopefully my family.

Stacie and I are doing p90x together, trying to get in beach ready form for family vacation in May. :-) We are waking up at 5:30 together and then are finishing up at like 6:30/6:45. This gives me 45 minutes to make the boys breakfast and interact with them until 7:30a when I hop in the shower. I've started aiming to leave the house by about 7:55 so that I can do my time alone with God before starting my work by 9:00am. I shoot to by home 5:30p which gives me a solid 8.5 hours and then maybe an hour or so after the boys go to sleep in the evenings.

With this being said...

My modification of spending this morning time with the boys has given me another opportunity to invest in them and engage them before heading out to work for the day and it gives Stacie and extra 30-45 minutes to shower and get ready for the day.

Here is another big learning...

I still have to fight to be engaged with the boys when I am with them. I want to check my phone for messages, etc... I am striving with the help of God to make a concerted effort to be fully there with them. This maximizes the disciplines. What good are all these disciplines if I don't pour my heart into them. It's like going to the gym but not working out. It's like paying to go to a movie, but sleeping through it.

The bottom line...
Husbands, discipline yourself. Put your phone away or give it to your wife for that matter. Tell your work how far it can come and then give yourself to your family completely. Shift your mindset from I go to work and then I come home. Make your mindset "I go to the office to work on my job, I come home and work on the health of my family and my relationships." Put that husband and dad cap on when you walk in the door and engage your wife and kids! I promise your life will be better for it, and you will suffer if you neglect. I know from experience on both sides.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My God Is Not Limited!!!

Last night on my couch I had a sackcloth and ashes moment of repentance. I have been really wrestling through some areas of leadership where I feel very limited by our circumstances. We are trying to get into a more permanent facility as a church. We are working very hard and doing everything in our power. We keep running into barriers and what seem to be like closed doors, zoning issues with our community, problems in negotiations, etc.. On top of all this I feel great responsibility before God and our people. Our people have given so sacrificially so that we can find that right place and we are out growing our current facility and running out of prime hours to keep adding services.

I was kind of complaining to God about all this. Don't you see, don't you care. Thank you for letting me be honest. I was reading through a book called, "The Life God Blesses" by Robert Morris. He was spending a few pages on 2 Corinthians 9:6 which says, "And GOD IS ABLE to make ALL grace about to you, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that you need will abound in EVERY good work."

In essence, I heard a very clear whisper from God. Andy, "I'm not limited by your circumstances. In fact, I am giving you this limitation for a reason... So that on the other end you will know just how powerful I am." I spent a few minutes crying, repenting and saying I'm sorry for thinking that you are limited.

So today this song is ringing in my heart... MY GOD IS ABLE and HE IS NOT LIMITED BY MY CIRCUMSTANCES!! Amen?

What is your limitation today? Where is your back against the wall? Where do you feel the pressure? Your God is able. A marriage that is suffering, finances that are falling apart, a leadership situation that desperately needs hope? Let your heart be reminded today that God wants to help you abound in every good work. He is looking for a life that He can bless and flow through. Don't embrace your limitation, embrace God's limitless power that is greater than your limitation!! On the other side you will have a miracle story to tell of His provision and faithfulness.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take The Plunge This Sunday!!

This Sunday March 13 we have a baptism celebration at South Bay Church. If you've yet to be baptized as a follower of Christ, why not take that step this weekend? I'd love for you to take the challenge. Just shoot us an email at in the subject line put "baptism" and we'll follow up with you and give you all the details. It's going to be an awesome day that you don't want to miss.

Baptism Video from South Bay Church on Vimeo.

Click here for a link for more info on baptism and a link to a message I recorded last year.

PS, Make sure to set your clocks forward one hour this Saturday night!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Everybody Has an Opinion

Dear Pastors,
Okay, I know that my title is an overstatement. Most people have opinions. Especially about your church. They have a vision and a direction that they think your church should go. Whenever you get two visions in the house, you ultimately get di-vision. Now, I don't want to give the impression that I think leaders get it right all the time. We need to stay teachable and humble before God recognizing that we might not get it right all the time. But, vision flows from God into the heart of a leader and then is fleshed out in the context of a team who resonates and embraces the vision.

But, I'm learning something about leadership and vision. Five years ago when I met with someone from our church who had a different vision than the one God had already given, I would listen to their ideas and lead them to believe that the church would become more of what they wanted it to become. (*There is that evil people pleasing side of me that wants to be liked.)

So, I would have that conversation and then 3 months later the person would come back to me and they would be frustrated. They'd say, "I thought this was going to change!" In essence, I ended up wasting their time and my time. They were disappointed and I was angry. So now, I've found a solution that is more biblical and still teachable.

When someone comes to me with a point where they think I/we might be a little off with the vision, I acknowledge that it's possible that I might be off. I take good notes... then, I honestly acknowledge that I will spend time in prayer and seek God about this. At the same time, I want to make sure that this person understands the vision of our church. I clarify that they should expect that our vision is not going to change. The direction of our church, the values God has given and our mission is not going to change... And our strategy will continue to unfold as we move forward. If they are going to stay at our church they must understand this and not feel the need to come back with the same issue over and over. If they make the assessment that this church is not heading the direction they want to go... they have 3 options... stay and be frustrated, find a church where they agree with the vision or start a church of their own.

I hope you understand. I'm not at all bitter. I am hungry to keep learning and growing. I am no where near perfect. I have flaws and don't get it right 100% of the time. At the same time, I am honestly seeking God. I am striving to follow Christ with radical obedience in my marriage, in my parenting and in my leadership. I believe I have heard him from Him regarding the vision of South Bay Church. I believe He is confirming that in our team, I believe He is rewarding that with genuine fruit and evidence of His approval.

What I am saying to you leaders is this:

Be teachable and moldable, but be firm in the vision God is giving you. This is the tension. Let God speak to you about advice/counsel. If it is from him, repent... If it's not keep on trucking my friend. At the same time, do not have multiple meetings with people about the same thing. I have done this... It never solved the problem. This is called, "distraction." Just like Nehemiah you have to stay on the wall. There are people to be reached, a kingdom that must be advanced, and a vision that must be executed. Your church, your staff, your family, your community, they all need you stay focused leader!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

There's a Reason Why...

There's a reason why some marriages fail and some marriages succeed. There's a reason why some business get stuck and other businesses grow exponentially. There's a reason why some families live in joy while other families despise one another's presence. There's a reason why some people overcome addictions to porn, alcohol, and other forms of substance abuse and a reason why others stay stuck in the same sin for decades. There's a reason why some churches never get over 50 people and others grow to over thousands in just a few short years. There's a reason why some leaders draw the best people and others can't even attract 1's. There's a reason why some people make millions in a down turned economy and others suffer to pay their bills. There's a reason why some people are grossly over weight and others look like Tony Horton. There's a reason why some people soar and others sink. There's a reason why... You get the idea.

Why do some people think they can violate wisdom? If this path has led to a destination for almost everyone else in the world. Chances are... it's going to lead to the same place for you. I had this thought the last month or so at two conferences. Some people will leave this conference and their churches will be exactly the same one year from now. Others will leave this conference and reach 1,000 new people for Christ in the next 12 months. Why do some people soar and others stay stuck?

Here's a gut check. Have the humility to ask people who are succeeding in any area of life or ministry where you are failing and find out what's different between your life and decisions versus theirs. What do couples who are more in love 60 years down the road do on a week to week basis? What do pastors of the fastest growing churches do with their time? How do they make decisions differently? How do people who are winning with their finances make their decisions? What do parents with godly kids do differently than those who raise hellions? Apply your heart to wisdom and then implement it.

God does not seem to violate the principles of wisdom that He has set in place. Don't be foolish and continue to do the same things expecting different results. You have to change your input. You have to change your choices. Optimism and hope does not lead to a destination of fruitfulness. Wisdom combined with courage consistently over a period of time will yield fruitfulness in your life, your marriage, your relationships and your ministry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wisdom and Courage

Joshua 1:6-9 says "Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.

Success requires both wisdom and courage. Notice how Joshua is challenged to study the book of the law so that he could have wisdom in regards to the truth. At the same time God challenges him to have courage and obey what He knows to be true. Moving forward in marriage, in ministry, physically, spiritually, emotionally and in every other area of life requires both wisdom and courage. Wisdom is knowing the right decision, but courage is having the "balls" to go for it. I've noticed that people tend to camp on one side or the other. I see a lot of younger leaders who have courage to go for it in life, but lack the necessary wisdom. I see others who have been around the block for many years and know why a plan won't work and all the holes in your strategy. Yet, when it comes to courage... They lack the willingness to take the risk. I'm challenged a ton recently that going to the next level in my life, in my ministry and in my family is going to require the wisdom to find the right strategy and procedure, but also the courage to keep leaping forward in faith. May God grant us both wisdom and courage! May we stick close to God's commandments and principles so that the path is clear and may we stay close to God's Spirit so that we are filled with courage to follow His wisdom! That's my prayer.

PS, this is why I think cross generational relationships are so essential in life. The maturing generation has so much wisdom to offer, the emerging generation has so much courage to bring to the table.