Sunday, May 30, 2010

Journey of the Spirit

I just returned from another trip to Florida and was blessed in so many incredible ways. I truly can't even begin to describe what a powerfully rewarding trip it was for me (and I feel safe to say-for others too). A lengthy paragraph-style blog won't cut it so we'll bust out the bullets for highlights:

  • Connor & Cameron Barie running to greet me after having to wait an extra day to see that I was actually there
  • Late nights talking with Glenn & Kathy-Jo
  • The many divine appointments-from unexpected hugs in Starbucks, to walking out of a building as someone walks by to seeing a Milledgeville college student in front of a restaurant. It was a God-guided trip!
  • Walking into my old barber shop and sitting down to discuss Gator football-some things never change!
  • Having lunch at the best pizza place I know (Sorrento's-shameless plug!) with a really good friend-I miss Eddie Corns & his family tremendously
  • Having the chance to meet Pastor Bill Collins face-to-face and preach at The Attic. I have an immense amount of respect for him and the work that God is doing in & through him. It was an honor for me to speak there.
  • The joy of hugs (and even tears) as about 60 old friends showed up at The Attic that night-several of them that I didn't know were coming that brought a huge smile to my face!
  • Spending about 5 hours at Mainland High School. So many people there that have been my family for over 20 years. I love them dearly and I am glad that I can be the unofficial campus pastor for them.
  • 40 oz. Angel Food smoothie from Smoothie King. 'Nuff said.
  • Graduation party for Brittany Johnson-she waited for me to be in town to have it! Got to spend 3 hours laughing & talking with people that I miss connecting with!
  • Wedding rehearsal & dinner for Ashlee & Ryan (the true motivation behind the planning of the trip)
  • Two hours of conversation with Adam Bruno at the dinner-convo that we haven't had in a really long time. I miss getting to see him regularly!
  • Breakfast with my brother/friend Mike Roberts-so much history & time serving together-every time we get together it's like we were never apart
  • Coffee with Bill, Paula & Ashley Anderson-one of my very favorite families!
  • A lunch with four young adults that are very special to me-a surprise for three of them that I was going to be there-even now I tear up thinking about it!
  • Praying with a group of college students (including one from GCSU!) as God brought us all together at just the right moment
  • Spending time at the DOC with Ray & Susan Kelley. I have so much respect & love for them and what God is doing in their lives. They mean more to me than they probably know (and had a surprise stop-in from Katlin too!)
  • Coffee with an old friend that was good for both of us.
  • A last minute-decision to stop at the Herbruck home that led to an impromptu jam session with Sam & Jesse. I don't think you could have painted bigger smiles on all three of our faces when we got done.
  • A night hanging out at the Presswood home-great friends & conversation, good food & a blast playing in the pool with their kids & the Barie children-can't put a price tag on the night!
  • A beautiful wedding in Sugar Mill gardens-the love of Ashlee & Ryan is so evident and it brought me great joy that they wanted me to be part of their day
  • A home to return to with a gorgeous wife, three daughters & a church family that I don't deserve.
There will be further unpacking of the impact of this trip, but those highlights (and many, many others) will be with me for a long time. Thanks God for giving me the past four days.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I spent about 4 1/2 hours on my day off pressuring washing our back deck. It stretches the length of the house & is one of our favorite spots to sit and relax. After the falling leaves of autumn and the pollen of spring, it was pretty obvious that it needed to be cleaned. The results of my efforts were immediately noticeable and my wife & I were admiring how different it looked after I was finished.

I enjoy work like that-as much as I enjoy mowing & even painting (no sarcasm here-I really do like doing those things). I think the reason that those tasks bring so much satisfaction is that I can immediately see the results of my efforts. That doesn't happen quite as often when you are working in ministry-especially with youth. Sometimes you will labor for years before you see the fruit of something & then you may not see it at all.

This is the point where you simply trust that God has called you and that if you are listening to Him, He will produce the necessary results. It is a challenge to keep seeking God and His validation of what you do. It is more about being faithful to your calling than the immediately measurable outcomes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kingly Leadership

As I was reading early this week in Deuteronomy I came across a passage in chapter 17 that I don't remember seeing before. It is a part of the law that is intended for the king of Israel.

In verses 18-20, the instructions are given to write down the law on a scroll and that the king is to read that scroll all the days of his life. The interesting part (at least to me) is that Israel didn't have a king at the time-in fact, if you had asked the Israelites if they wanted a king they most likely would have said no. God obviously knew that they would desire a king one day and was laying the groundwork for what a successful king should do.

It doesn't surprise me that God was already planning in His people for what was to come, but it does reinforce in my spirit the need for daily studying the Word. If you look back at the history of God's people you see godly leaders & those who were obviously not. I would wager that the difference between them was the amount of time that was spent in the Word.

That is the difference for us even now. We are better leaders-whether it is in the church, our own homes, the secular workplace, school, etc.-when we are willing to pick up the "scroll" and read God's Word each day.

God, forgive me if I ever neglect to study it as I lead.

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You."

Psalm 119:133 "Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me."

Psalm 119:165 "Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Orange Conference Reflections-Part 2

A few days later than intended, but here are a few more thoughts from Orange 2010:

  • Don't squander the chance to invest in our children's lives. -Rev Run
  • Building a ministry is much easier than building a healthy family. -Doug Fields
  • If I don't focus on my family no one else will do it for me. -Doug Fields
  • Spend as much time making your home attractive as you do your ministry. -Doug Fields
  • The best way to impact the church is to collide with the next generation. -Perry Noble
  • You can't hold people accountable for unspoken, unexplained expectations. -Perry Noble
  • If we don't empower our leaders it's because we don't want a move of God to happen that we don't control. -Perry Noble
  • If you're walking with Jesus, He won't let you stay like you are right now. -Perry Noble
  • Are you leaving things better than when you found it? -Donald Miller
  • God created us to be in family-we have made it corporate. -Donald Miller
  • We need to provide lots of positive male role models in our church! -Donald Miller
  • We need to teach children/youth to envision the future. -Donald Miller
  • The best teachers pull the best out of you, but don't kill your spirit in the process. -Sue Miller
  • Utilize a Systematic Relational Connection Approach to ministry.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Orange Conference Reflections-Part 1

I spent Thursday & Friday with our children's ministry team at the Orange Conference in Atlanta. It was a privilege to spend time with our leaders and we were all challenged by what we heard. Still processing a lot of it-especially in the wake of the Exponential Conference the week before.

  • The quickest way to see your spiritual gift is to have someone walk in the room with the same gift, but at a higher level. -Nancy Ortberg
  • People will stagnate or move backwards if they are not given challenges. -Nancy Ortberg
  • Leadership is the promise of development. -Nancy Ortberg
  • Vulnerability in leadership is a powerful commodity. -Nancy Ortberg
  • The more you collide with God, the more you understand who you are. -John Ortberg
  • Every parent is singularly overwhelmed by their own inadequacies. -John Ortberg
  • We are called to something bigger than being nice. -John Ortberg
  • For me to be the me I need to be, I will disappoint people. -John Ortberg
  • Transformation requires at least as much grace as salvation does. -John Ortberg
  • This generation will not grow if their leaders are not transformed. -John Ortberg
  • Both the culture and the church have failed children. -Chap Clark
  • God's heart never breaks passively-it always breaks in action. -Chap Clark
  • "Social capital" is the key to healthy growth. -Chap Clark
  • We have different measures of effectiveness than God does. -Chap Clark
  • A stable family is the safety net for an adolescent. -Chap Clark
  • We have made Jesus into our image and then we worship that image. -Chap Clark