Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Night Thoughts . . .

Thoughts before I go to bed . . .
- I am thrilled to see my mother-in-law (no sarcasm).   Peggy is a great mother-in-law and friend.   She is in town until Monday.
- Hurricane Gustav is hard to believe.   I feel horrible for all the destruction this hurricane is causing in The Carribbean, and will potentially cause in our country.   There is this part of me amazed at the fury and magnitude of a hurricane, and I feel a little guilty with that fascination.
- Beth, my sister Shelby, Margie Huff and other friends in the "soccer mom" category were thrilled with Sarah Palin as a vice-president nomination.  The circle of women in my life have never been so excited about a political news item.   Brilliant move and timing by John McCain.
- The city of Hendersonville is really excited about MiMi's Cafe.
- In case you ever need a quick Saturday night dinner, the Cracker Barrell in Whitehouse was almost empty tonight.  We met Rich and Jessica there (Beth's brother and wife).

- I think Tailgate Sunday will be a nice change of pace tommorrow.   We are setting up for it at 6:30 a.m. tommorrow.

- Brent and Kirsten Batson - my good friends from Austin - are somewhere in Nashville tonight. They may be in church tommorrow, but they will probably be on their way to Gatlinburg.  Brent will be preaching this Wednesday night.
- Two of my friends from HS are getting married this weekend (not to each other) . . . Both are in their early 30's, both on first marriages.  People really are getting married later in life these days.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Take the Next Step

As I pursue things God has put on my heart, I am discovering the power of the "next step."  Whenever you chase something big, there is a little voice that tells you to stop or give up because the dream seems too hard or so far away.  At other times, we might think someone else has done what we want to accomplish or could do it better.   Taking the next step can sometime seem futile and undproductive.   Yet, when we ignore that voice and take that next step, God often has two or three steps immediately ready for us.   Even if you don't feel like it, take the next step.

Quote #5
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - -Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Good Tired / The NET

Oh man, I am tired.   But in a good way!   There is a certain type of tired that feels good - Like:
- The "tired" after a long jog
- The "tired" after winning a game
- The "tired" after finishing an academic test or project you know you aced
- The "tired" after worshipping God with all your heart
It feels great to feel "spent" for the work of God.    I am amazed at how hard the staff at Indian Lake is working right now.   I know God is going to bless this effort, and we are about to see some really great fruit. 

Quote #4
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Today, we hosted the Hendersonville Youth Pastor's Network (a.k.a "The Net") at the church for their monthly lunch.   It was good fellowship.   Jonathan did a great job leading some worship, and David did a fantastic job on the devotion.    I felt like our church was represented well by the entire time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Newcomers / Stocker / College Football

Tuesday night we had a great representation at our Newcomers Dinner.  It was great to meet new people, and to see how a diverse group of people are interested in The Church at Indian Lake.  Steve and Janeen Kohler were great host.

I really enjoyed David Stocker's preaching tonight.   This guy was full of passion and was an excellent communicator.  He is the first of several "home-grown" talents we are going to have in the next few weeks.  I really like having different speakers on Wednesday nights for a few reason:
1. It gives people an opportunity to use their gifts. 
2. It frees me up for more time with staff, church members and creative thinking when I don't have a Wdnesday night message to prepare.  People or sermon prep?  When it comes to Wednesday nights, I choose people
3. It provides different voices to the church.
4. People don't get tired of me.   Seriously, my voice doesn't get too "familiar."  No one is so good of a speaker that people can hear them 2 to 3 times a week without listening fatigue.

Tomorrow night is an important night for me - the college football season starts.   I know that is a little silly, but I love college football.  I am looking for the first upset of the year to be NC State over South Carolina on Thursday.   Though I hate to admit this, I think Miami (Ohio) will beat Vanderbilt.

Speaking of football, Tailgate Sunday will be really great.   David and I have a couple of sideline passes to film clips at Thursday's Hendersonville-Beech game.   It should be fun to use the new camera on some gridiron clips.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Making of A Great Church Outside of Sunday Morning

When I think about Sunday, I feel great about The Church at Indian Lake.   Beyond the service (which was a good one), we had positive things happen beyond the hour and thirty minutes.

- Our men's Bible Study before church has grown.
- We have a great sign up for our Newcomers Dinner on Tuesday . . . our best group yet!
- The Young Adult lunch was well attended and a positive experience . . . the group is really growing in camaraderie.
- Kenny Powell and Chris Taylor took a small group of boys (including my son Luke) to Circus World as a reward for their Scripture memorization over the summer.  Kenny and Chris are great leaders!  Luke had the time of his life!
 - Both of our 242 Hendersonville Groups were packed . . . we had lots of young families involved (thank you church for paying for childcare).
- We are starting the 4.6 Experience for 4th - 6th graders on September 7  . . . this is our most crucial age of discipleship.  I am pumped about this!

God is building a great church, and the Sunday service is just one aspect of it.   The most effective ministry usually happens outside the Sunday morning service.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Week in Review / Modern Gadgets

I was on a roll in my blog, but this week was wild and I lost steam. Here is a quick breakdown of my week:
Tuesday - Leadership Board meeting . . . the best one we ever had. We were able to dream about the future. Everyone appeared to leave energized. Plus, we got to eat a meal cooked by Beth Barnett and Judy Terry - which is always good.
Wednesday - Loved our communion & prayer time during the mid-week service . . . so nice!
Thursday - Launched our 50+ ministry. Great turnout, great home cooking, and even better fellowship. I think this ministry will be an important part of our future. Any name suggestions?
Friday - During parent's night out, we had an impromptu dinner with Clay and Tawana Baggat ( It was the first time Beth and Tawana have hung out extensively, and they connected as well as Clay and I do.

After resisting quite a while, I am on Facebook. I even started "status updates." If you have or want to join the social networking revolution, look me up.

The latest iphone addict
I also reluctantly got an iphone this week. I must admit, I am in love (i know that is lame!). This really will be a revolutionary device.

Quote #3

""Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moment" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Day Off with "True North"

I had a good day off on Monday. 

I read about half of a book called True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George.  So far, this is the best leadership book I have read in years.   Bll George teaches at Harvard Business School, and he has lead billion dollar companies.   I look forward to finishing it this week.  I am getting a ton out of this writing . . . perhaps I'll summarize some things in future blogs.

Tuesday has become my big meeting day.   I have my weekly Staff Meeting and the monthly Leadership Board Meeting on this Tuesday.  A long day, but I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Reflections / The Water Cooler

Sunday Reflection
Powerful worship today - as usual!   I was glad to introduce the church to Soul Walk.  I am not crazy about the name (ha!) - but I believe in the event.   I was able to pray with someone who needed salvation, then I took communion with this man - his first time to do so.   What an honor! 

After service Beth and I had a great first meeting with Lead One - a mentoring time with high school seniors.  I think this could be the beginning of something special.   

I will rest a bit this afternoon, then we'll play a game of  Ultimate Frisbee with the young adult group.  I don't know if I am ready for this;  I will have to give a report later.

The Water Cooler
It?s been a long time since David and I have done a Water Cooler Episode.   Its pretty much non-sense, but if you are interested in a potential laugh, visit and click on "The Water Cooler" link on the left.  Laugh with us, not at us!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Children's Conference Over

Just finished the Tennessee District Children's Conference that was hosted at our church. I was in and out during the weekend, but I was impressed with the sessions I was in. I am very grateful for the hard work of Chad Clark (who ran media) and Penny Cowart (who ran sound and was our staff host). I was also glad that Deanna Powell and some of the children's staff attended - they acquired some great ideas for our children's ministry. Bob Driver and Don Tracy did repairs to the sign on our building - those guys are studs!

On this quiet Saturday night preparing for service, I am very grateful for the team God has assembled at Indian Lake!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Paris / Camera / Children's Conference

I talked on the phone yesterday with Robby Bradford, who is planting a church in Paris, France in 2009-2010. Robby is going to come see us in the next few weeks on a Wednesday night to keep that connection with our church. I am praying that Paris, France will be a major missions emphasis for our church in '09 and '10. We are going to start working on a mission trip for '10.

I believe one of the reasons The Church at Indian Lake exists is so we can plant churches in western Europe. Does that sound outrageously ambitious? Of course it does - that is why we need God! It is also why we need to start somewhere. Getting behind Robby's vision is a great start!

New Camera Here!
Our new, expensive, high end, HD camera arrived at Pastor David's home Thursday afternoon. We are giddy!

Children's Conference Starts Today
We will have 75 to 100 Children's Workers from across Tennessee at our church this weekend. I love being around leaders - this should be fun. This is a great opportunity for us, as Jim Wideman will be the featured speaker. Jim is an amazing talent in children's ministry - I don't know of anyone better. To learn more about Jim, check out this link - Jim Wideman's Bio

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to School Blessing / Summit Report #2

Back to School Blessing

Saturday was a dream come true! Over 40 people from our church volunteered for the Hendersonville Back-to-School Blessing. In a couple of hours we gave groceries to 52 families, and school supplies to over 100 kids. Kim Driver did an amazing job leading this event. I felt honored to pastor such a wonderful group of people.

Summit Report #2 - Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels is the Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, and the visionary for the The Leadership Summit. This event would be worth attending just to hear his talks and be exposed to his heart for the local church. Every time I attend this event, I walk away from a story from Bill that sticks with me for the rest of my ministry. He is not a perfect man, and he is a target for critics. However, when the history books are written on the Church during these decades, Bill Hybels will be remembered as one of the most influential and positive leaders of our era.

Special Note: Bill's daughter Shauna Niequist is the author of the book Cold Tangerines. Shauna's husband Aaron is the worship leader at Mars Hill Church in Michigan, where Rob Bell is the pastor.

She will be the guest speaker at The Church at Indian Lake on Sunday, November 23. We are thrilled at this opportunity!

Summit Report #1

Summit Report #1 - Gary Haugen

Gary Haugen's talk was life changing. Gary is the founder of International Justice Mission - "an international human rights agency that rescues victims from violent forms of oppression, including slavery, sexual exploitation, trafficking, police brutality and illegal property seizure."

I found Gary's talk and life to be inspiring and challenging. Here are some good quotes from Gary:

- Just because I am leading, and people are following doesn't mean its what God is wanting.
- What is God's plan for justice? We are! God doesn't have another plan

- If you want your leadership to matter, then lead in the things that matter to God.

- If you say, "Justice is not my thing. . . " then, God is not your thing. God is about justice.

- Jesus did not call us to make us safe, he has come to make us brave.
- Anyone can lead people in what is "cheerful", "safe" and "easy"
Your community needs to know that those without a voice have a man of justice."
- Being brave comes from prayer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Leadership Summit

The Leadership Summit

Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Leadership Summit that is put on by the Willow Creek Association. The event is in Chicago, but they simulcast it throughout the world - hence the video feed in nearby Franklin, TN. The event was amazing! This particular leadership conference always invigorates my call and gives me fresh vision. It's one of those events that may not be for everyone, but it makes my heart come alive. For two days, I heard from both leading pastors and CEOs, which gives me a wide range of perspectives. On top of this, the sessions by Bill Hybels are always insightful and anointed. Over the next couple of weeks, I will post some good quotes and highlight some amazing leaders that I was exposed to during this event.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I had a really good few days last week, but I didn't blog because I was frustrated with some hosting issues for this blog. So, I will catch up everyone little by little to keep with this theory: To have people actually read your blog, you have to keep the post down to a few lines per paragraph.

Sand Volleyball with the Young Adults

Last night, Beth and I played volleyball with the young adult group
from the church (see pic of this great group). It was a lot of fun . . . I kind of got into it (see pic for evidence). I was surprised how quick the competitive juices got flowing again. I wasn't near as athletic as I used to be (no surprise), but I still hung with the youngsters.

A Day Off In the Flower Beds
I had a true day off on Monday. The weather in the Nashville area was amazing (can't believe its August!), so I spent most of the days pulling weeds from my flower beds . Since I
neglected this all summer, it was an all day job. I lost a lot of flowers in the process, and it made me think of this passage as I worked . . .

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared . . . The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up? No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. - Matthew 13:24-30

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Value of a Church Family / Young Adult Ministry

The Value of a Church Family for a Lead Pastor
In recent weeks I have found great value in the prayer team that is interceding before each service. Typically, I only spend a few minutes with them, but that short amount of time gives me a lot of spiritual confidence and encouragement for the service ahead. On Sunday, I went through my typical process with them, but before I left the group a woman spoke up and asked to pray specifically for me. She had recognized something in my life in which I needed confidence. As she and others in that group lovingly prayed words of
encouragement and blessing, I was touched by the thought of "community." Even though God has given me a certain level of authority and headship in this church community, I was still receiving ministry from me fellow brothers and sisters. God has placed pastors to not only lead a church, but to be part of a faith community. Sunday morning was a great reminder that I am part of a family, not just a paid professional.

College / Young Adults
For the last two Sunday nights Beth and I have been leading the College / Young Adult group at our house. We have had a really good turnout, and we have really enjoyed getting to know this great group of young people. This is our third time to work directly with this age group, and though it has unique challenges, I love this age group.