Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quotables Day 3

"It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference."
-Jenny Craig

Yes-I know that I just quoted Jenny Craig, but the principle is true on so many levels.

When I worked in athletics and was fortunate to be part of multiple state championships, coaches and athletes alike would tell you that championships were not won because we showed up at the big game and had good athletes.  It began in the offseason while in the weight room and in the preparation that goes into it ahead of time.

A successful marriage is not had because you do great things for your husband/wife on your anniversary or because you have a romantic date night once a week.  It happens when you love each other, pray for & with each other, and communicate on a daily basis.

Being a godly parent and raising godly children doesn't happen because we take them to church on Sunday or have a special day.  It's in the teachable moments throughout their lives and in the way that we show them how much we love them unconditionally each day of the week.

Being a pastor that makes a difference in the lives of those around you doesn't happen because you are a great communicator and preached a message that blew their socks off on Sunday.  It happens when you are daily in God's Word and when you are a minister to people each day of the week in the middle of their needs.

Becoming a committed follower of Christ doesn't happen when we turn God into a vending machine to be there for us when our times get tough.  It is through the daily discipline of constantly seeking His leadership and guidance and asking for Him to transform us into His likeness that we truly gain a relationship that is consistently authentic.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quotables Day 2

"My life is my message."  Mahatma Ghandi

Seems pretty simple doesn't it?  No matter what we might aim to be or do, the life that we actually live will describe who we are.  I can stand and proclaim that I desire to be a dedicated Christ-follower, a loving and encouraging husband, a Christ-like father to my children, and a great pastor.  Unless the choices that I make each day reflect those desires, my life will send another message entirely.  It is difficult to see what we are sending to those around us (we are in the middle of our own lives after all and not merely spectators watching from the outside) but if we want to accurately represent our life ambitions, we must give thought to the life that we lead.  It brings to mind one of my favorite verses-Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


When I worked at the high school I would gather my athletic training staff before our Friday night football games to give them their game-time assignments, pray as a group, and challenge them with a leadership quote for the evening.  I have collected those quotes throughout the years and thought that I would devote a week of blogging to throwing out a quote each day and issuing a challenge based on it.  Interesting to readers or not, here it goes:

"The great end of life is not knowledge, but action." T.H. Huxley

I heard a pastor share the thought that the American church is filled with the most well-read and educated believers that the world has ever seen.  The unfortunate part, he continued to say, is that the same group of believers is also less willing to put what they know into action.  If you were to venture into any bookstore you would find volumes of books dedicated to better prayer lives, healing, repentance, restoration, how to have a godly marriage, etc.  The question (and one that I like to ask people all the time) is: What are you going to do with it? 

It's nice to sit in church and not miss a Sunday.  It's admirable to say that you haven't missed a Bible study/Sunday school in the last 25 years.  It's good to know that you read your Bible every day and have read through the whole Bible 156 times.  What are you doing with what you have learned?  How has the knowledge of God transformed your life to the point where you care for others?  God did not call us to be students only.  The point of knowledge is to lead to a change of lifestyle that is more Christ-like and has an impact on the people around us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Final Sunday Reflections of 2009

We are at the last Sunday of 2009 and the last blog of reflections.  There will be a blog reflecting on all that 2009 has brought to us at some point, but we'll focus on the weekend a few Christmas thoughts for now:

  • Our family celebrated our very 1st Christmas Eve service this past week-what a true blessing! We have always been out of town and it was incredible to take part in this worship with Northridge
  • We are surrounded by an incredibly loving group of friends & family-they amaze me with their generosity and true appreciation for our family
  • It was a great Christmas for us-blending old traditions and establishing new ones for our family
  • My wife put on one heck of a feast on Christmas Eve after service!
  • I love to watch the joy in the faces of those receiving gifts-that is why I prefer to give instead of get!
  • Christmas with cold weather is just the way I think it should be done-I love that we can have a fire rolling in our fireplace all day
  • I am so blessed to work under the leadership of a godly man like Mike-he has helped to make me a better pastor and communicator
  • We had a two-headed sermon in service today as Mike & I had a "Fireside Chat" style of message
  • I pray the people will take seriously their commitment to feeding themselves and feeding others this coming year
  • I love a good acoustic worship set-something about the simplicity of it that is a nice change of pace
  • I see great things in store for Northridge in 2010-can't wait to see God blow the doors off and do more than we could possibly ask or imagine

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Than I Deserve

My 15th wedding anniversary was Tuesday of this week.  It's one of those odd feelings-I can't believe we have been together for that long & I also don't remember being without her.  We have been through tough times & times of blessing and God has continually reinforced our love for each other through it all. 

I can attest to the fact that we didn't think we would be where we today when we started this journey a decade and a half ago, but I couldn't ask for a better traveling partner.  She is a fantastic mother, loving wife, my best friend and lover, and most importantly, a woman pursuing God's heart.  I thank God for the gift of my wife and how He brought us together. 

I love you Dana.  Thank you for the best 15 years of my life so far.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday Reflections Again

Alright-it's official.  I am a blogging slacker.  Not only have I not blogged since last week I am also a day late (again) on my Sunday reflections.  I'm not a big resolutions guy, but I do want to be better about this and will be finding a way for that to come true.  Having said that here we go:

  • It seems as if we have Florida guests every week, but I can tell you that it never gets old
  • We spent the bulk of Saturday talking with Richard Walker & his nephew Aaron Breeding-Aaron has been to Arizona with me two times & is a truly incredible young man & I can't say enough good things about Richard and his friendship
  • We spent Saturday night talking away with the Herbruck family after they arrive-what great friends & it is so positive to see what God is doing in their lives-I miss leading worship with Sam & Jesse-what talented musicians that are gonna rock the house for God!
  • This was our first year seeing the Live Nativity @ Northridge (obviously) and it was a very cool experience-I am certain it impacted the community as we saw many people coming through
  • I love a church that is passionate about helping those in need-our Christmas party for Midway Elementary was a huge success-big shout-out to Tish McKenzie for pulling it all together!
  • I love sharing God's Word-not because of anything that it does for me (which it does), but because it is my calling and I treasure every opportunity to steer someone to Christ
  • Any time you can end (or begin) a service with a baptism it's a good day!
  • I truly have a sense of peace concerning our events of the past 3 months-our God is so good to work in our circumstances-I am truly thankful that He is bigger than our intentions!
  • God is starting to give me a vision of the future here at Northridge & I can't wait to see Him bring it into reality!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday Reflections....on Monday

Running a day behind in my weekly reflections, so without further adieu...

  • Tailgate party on Friday night was a huge success! Had about 60 people turn out for great food, fire & fun!
  • Another visit from good Florida friends-Jennifer Chamberlain & Mariah Dennis-always does me good to see friends who remain friends across the miles
  • The weather took a turn here in Georgia-cold and rainy and I enjoyed the change
  • We were able to have a fire in our fireplace here-looking forward to more of that!
  • It is an immense pleasure to worship here at Northridge each week-God is certainly moving!
  • Mike's message was dead on-don't live in fear, but have joy in God!
  • Who knew Mike was afraid of horses?  Go figure.
  • The video clip from Matt Chandler (pastor at The Village Church) was beautiful each service-I've actually seen it at least 1/2 a dozen times & it is powerful each time.
  • Being part of this team here is such a sign of God's great plan for all of our lives if we will just be obedient enough to follow
  • The generosity of people here continues to blow me away-someone anonymously gave our children's director & her family a brand new oven that they have needed for over a year
  • A lazy evening laying around with my wife is the perfect ending to a busy weekend-never gets old!

Friday, December 11, 2009

If It Makes You Happy

Isn't it an interesting little paradox that many of the people walking around in this world that have this great hope in Christ actually act the most miserable? I've often thought it ironic when we profess this confidence in Christ and in God's plan for our lives and yet don't act as if we believe it to be true. Every time I hear Sheryl Crow's old song it rings true-"if it makes you happy, why the heck are you so sad" (edited here for children's sake).

If we truly believe that our souls are saved and that we need to share that truth with others in the world, we should probably share the joy that comes with it.  Having that peace that Jesus describes means maintaining our attitude through good & bad times-that we are consistent in our joy. Kind of hard to convince others of the right way of life if we don't act like we believe it either. 

"Rejoice. And again I say-rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God With Us

Who are we--- that You would be mindful of us?
at do You see--- that's worth looking our way?

We are free--- in ways that we never should be.
Sweet release--- from the grip of these chains.

Like hinges straining from the weight,
My heart no longer can keep from singing.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Lord, You know--- our hearts don't deserve Your glory;
Still You show--- a love we cannot afford.

Like hinges straining from the weight,
My heart no longer can keep from singing.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary;
We lay it at Your feet.

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.

My heart sings a brand new song.
My debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Big Prayers

I am praying big prayers this morning & want to continue to do the same each day.  It is easy to fall into the pedestrian trap of simple prayers with easy answers, but that is not the faith that God is calling us to have.  I see the need for the mighty hand of God to be upon us and for us to lift up petitions to Him that when answered, will surely show how incredible He truly is.  Some of my prayers are for my personal life & many are for ministry here at Northridge.  I know that I am incapable of answering them on my own & I trust that my God is faithful to hear me and to provide the answer.  Here is a brief list of the things that I am praying for:
  • My children to grow up into godly women who are passionately in love with Christ
  • For me to be the Christian husband that my wife needs for her own spiritual development
  • For my relatives to discover Christ through whatever means necessary so that they too can know what it means to live with Him and for Him
  • For us to be rid of a house in Florida so that it no longer hangs over our heads
  • A youth ministry at Northridge that is bigger than we could ever dream about
  • A youth ministry that has a reputation of being genuinely & passionately in love with Christ
  • A youth ministry that brings their friends to Jesus through their open & transparent relationship with Him
  • A church that understands it is not about us-it is about the King of Kings and His calling & mission for our lives
  • A church that continues to grow quickly-not just in attendance & numbers of decisions, but in depth of spiritual relationship with God
  • A church staff to increase with the right mix of talents & gifts to see God's great work done here in Baldwin County
  • A revival to take place that puts Baldwin County on the map as a place that belongs to God.
For any of these to happen I know that I (we) need to commit ourselves to prayer.  The efforts of men will only carry so far, but with the power of God nothing is impossible.  Show us, Father, things that will rock our world and blow our imaginations!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Reflections

Alright-I truly have to get better at blogging my thoughts throughout the week and not just relying on the Sunday tradition.  Having said that-here goes:

  • Weather has turned deliciously cool here-woke to 26 degrees this morning!
  • Got another visit from Florida friends-Cody Davidson & buddies stopped by on their way to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game-I'm very proud of the godly man that he has become!
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the staff Christmas party at the Waers house-what a great family to be part of!
  • Celebrating Advent as a church is a great reflection on some of the traditions of Christmas
  • Mike flat out brought it in teaching about love this morning-way to challenge a church let go of prejudices!
  • I love it when we can start or end a service with a baptism-lots of young people committing their lives to Christ
  • Had our first team meeting for the Arizona mission trip-23 excited people preparing to head out in to the mission field-many of them for the very first time-I know God is going to do great things through this group
  • My oldest daughter is growing up far too quickly (they all are) and finding her place here in the youth at Northridge
  • I am so blessed to have an incredible wife & daughters-much better than I deserve