Monday, September 28, 2009

random monday thoughts

Still need to say this: Praise God for what He is doing around here. Way beyond what any of us (especially me) could possibly do. God is great..I need you to hear your leader say that! I believe it 'cause he is.

people are asking about where we filmed the teaching segments for "the call" small groups teaching. Scott Sarver (our video guru around here - yes that's his official title as far as I know) had a contact with the man who owns the upper floors of the building where the old castle theater is in downtown Bloomington. We were on the 4th floor (I think) where we shot the entire video for all six weeks in one morning. Scott and his intern (Sam Moses) brought variety to the sets, etc... I just did the teaching (and brought a change of clothes for each session - cause I'm a girl that way:-). I also put all of my lessons (in manuscript which is the first time ever) on a it's different. They also managed the speed of my talk by making the teleprompter slower. So my teaching is like a playing a 45 single at 331/3 speed on the turntable (if you have no idea what i'm talking about don't ask). Anyway, Scott took all this raw footage, cleaned up the lighting and sound (he does this in his studio - magical), and put in quotes, Scriptures, etc... Then we sent them off with Karen Norris' graphic design (another genius on my staff) and we have the DVD you are studying from.

Speaking of Karen, we went down to Mowequa yesterday to support her at the loss of her father this past week. It was kinda sudden so we're sad for her and her family. Anyway, after I preached yesterday on how I drive in a day dream and often get lost without my wife or a GPS, many church members were concerned with how I made it down there all by myself (and if I needed directions or help getting home - smart allecks). I laughed and said "no, I've got it..ha, ha, ha, preacher talk, preacher talk, ha, ha, ha". I walked outside thinking to myself, "those guys think they are so funny. They make me laugh. Hey this is a beautiful day. Look at that squirrel. Thanks God. Oh, there's the downtown. I love old, small town shops." After I had walked two blocks (no kidding), I realized that i was just walking down a side walk in Mowequa instead of heading to my car. So I played it off like I planned it that way and snuck back to my car (luckily no one from my church saw me).

Monday, September 21, 2009

little dog grows up

My youngest son, Caleb turned 18 today. Wow, where did the time go? I call him "little dog" because his name Caleb is from an Old Testament Hebrew word that can be translated in this way. Though he is anything but little (6'4"+ and 215 lbs.) it suits him really well. His spirit is that of a dog that keeps coming back for more. You just gotta love him.

When we came to Eastview, he was four. Went to preschool in the old school at the church that grew into Cornerstone Christian Academy. He and I have always connected. Once when he was five-ish we were sitting around a campfire with a bunch of students and the question was "what do you want people to say about you when you die?" I answered, "the greatest preacher ever" (I know that's stupid, but it would be my highest honor), but after some teens answered, they came to Caleb and he said, "the second greatest preacher ever". He and I were both warmed to preaching early and to this day that's what he is desiring to do with his life.

He has played a lot of sports...and we love the same teams (Cowboys - cried last night, Reds - cry all the time, Pacers - stopped crying long ago, don't care about hockey). He's fun to be with and he greets everyone with a hug. At a young age, someone told him he had a big head and he still to this day thinks he does. Honestly, he has a huge body, so his head is just perfect...but he won't listen to that. When he was young, we wrestled... a lot. Now we can't cause the old man's back won't hold up (but if I had too, I could still take him). We used to play basketball, but now we can't because he skunked me last time we played and I just can't submit to the humiliation again. Used to spend more time we text and catch lunch together each week.

Used to pray for him many times a day...still do.
Used to watch him from a distance and swell with pride...still do.
Used to dream about what kind of preacher God will make him into...still do.
Used to take him out to his favorite restaurant for his birthday dinner...still do (tonight its' some sushi place in Champaign).
Used to sit and talk about things in his life...still do.
Used to wish that time could just stand still...still do.
Used to read the Bible and pray together...still do.
Used to give him advice on everything...still do (he just listens less).
He used to playfully punch me when I walked into the room...he still does.
Used to think that little dog was the perfect name...still do.

Happy Birthday Caleb
(note to those of you who know me...of course I'm crying right now)

Monday, September 14, 2009

random kick off weekend stuff

First of all, our fall kick-off usually doesn't really "kick" anything off. It's just the weekend after Labor Day that is usually a strong attendance weekend cause everyone is back in the routine after summer (although it is the official kick-off of the NFL and I was happy to see the Bears were playing at night and since I'm a nice guy that's all I'll say about that - but my Cowboys won so It's all good). This year however, we kicked off our "the call" campaign for growing closer to Christ by heeding his call to follow him. Well...the weekend was cool. I can't tell you all the ways, but here are some thoughts. Prayer saturated this place and the presence of God was palpable. Listen people, the more we pray, the more God does miracle stuff through our faith. Nearly 100 men joined me Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. for a "sweet hour of prayer". Moving stuff man! the light and tech stuff was cool as well. I know most of you come in on Sunday morning and say, "Wow, the stage looks cool" but like me you just can't imagine the work that goes into something like that. HOURS of time from our staff and volunteers to help set the mood in our worship. the sermon on "grow up" was hard hitting for all of us. We all need to grow up in our faith. Maturity (perfection was the Greek word) is our goal and while we are all at different maturity stages, we are all called to grow up. (Here are some grow up ideas....on a piece of paper write: prayer, bible reading, bible memorization, service, giving, fasting, and personal musical worship time. Next to each, write how many hours, minutes, or days a week you do each. Then set a goal next to it and try to make it happen for a month - for example Prayer - 10 minutes a day - goal: 15 minutes a day). Woudn't it be cool if our whole church goes through a spiritual growth spurt at once? the video produced for your small group studies for "the call" is so high quality it's unbelievable! Again so much work went into this project, from writing, to filming to editing and production. Hope you enjoy. our first small group is Wednesday night and I'm sure my group is going to make fun of my hair, my clothes and certain facial expressions (isn't it great to be loved?) so feel free to do the same, but make sure you hear the teaching. the building was absolutely packed on Sunday morning, but what struck me was how many people were here on last night! It was ubelievable. the spirit lifters had their monthly program, the Yancy concert for pre and grade schoolers and their families was in one auditorium, I was leading step one another. Way down the hall, Fuel was getting ready for their worship, while out on the grounds hundreds of Jr. Highers were having a party/cookout/wiener roast thing. I estimate (and yes I'm a pastor and it's probably inflated) 1,000 people were in the building on a Sunday night. Very cool and blessed to be involved in the work that God is doing here. noble sugai was absolutely perfect on stage for the interview yesterday. In second hour he started giggling and it got me laughing. How much fun was that? Come to find out, his dad and other people were trying to bribe him to ask me "where babies came from?" Luckily he's more mature than many of you:-) ! It was a great day in the Lord...and today's not too bad either.

Monday, September 7, 2009

calm before

Well, it's the end of Labor day weekend and I'm just throwing down a few words before I hit the sack. I had an unusually laid back weekend. Sara was out of town with some college friends Thursday night and Friday morning, so I did some work around the house. Actually (finally if you asked Sara) fixed some broken boards on our fence - very manly :-) I ran each day, had Starbucks each morning and didn't have to rush through some devotion and contemplation. It has given me a nice break heading into the kick-off of our fall campaign "the call". I'm excited to see what God is going to do here. We have had over new people sign up to be in small groups (some formed and some adopted). We have sold over 1,000 of the devotion books we wrote. And our dvd will hit the small groups this week for six weeks of teaching. I really feel like God will use all of this to bring us into a deeply relationship/followership with Jesus!

Got a great opportunity to preach in EDGE on Sunday with the jr. high ministry. Wow, what energy. I had a blast and it took me back to my old youth ministry days (and gave me a lot of respect for what Joel and his team do in there each week). Great kids and I just can't wait to see how God grows them up for his glory. Today was cookout and hangout with some good friends and their families. Nothing like hot dogs, burgers, chips, swimming, bocce and sittin' around getting sunburned to relax the soul. That was the calm....bring on the storm.