Monday, January 30, 2012

nothing's changed

Going in to Sunday, I knew that I had a hard hitting sermon because I was going to talk about something near and dear to our hearts. At Eastview we looked at Acts 4 and the way the early church shared to meet each other's needs. I went in praying that God would move in the hearts and souls of our church to act on what was see, I knew that Pastor Shadrack and his wife Violet would be here meeting our congregation for the first time and that I was going to ask our church to begin our relationship by giving generously to the church in the slums of Nairobi Kenya with a special offering. I was praying for $40,000 to help them build a new church building and school. The total as of last night was $196,000! This is after we had taken our regular offering! Amazing!

the church in the first century generously gave to meet the needs in their church fellowship and so did Eastview last night - nothing's changed.

I pray for $40K and God completely exceeds my expectations by far....$196,000 - spur of the moment, last minute offering...c'mon...God is so awesome...just showing off...nothing's changed.

I believe that God works through his people by prayer and the preaching of the word...we prayed, I preached, the people gave...nothing's changed.

I believe that Satan tries to mess us up and discourage us (like when the Kenyan government bull-dozed the entire slum, including all the church, school, and orphanage in November) and God turns it into great blessing (like when Shadrack meets a church in Central Illinois and gets enough money to build beyond what they had)...God always does this with His church...nothing's changed.

I believe that when a church tries to do stuff for God (like some comments we got about building the well) people will not understand and may even criticize, but we will continue to move forward...nothing's changed.

The elders were led by the Spirit to see Eastview as a fearless church of Christ-followers whose ridiculous love and dangerous witness are irreisistible...and I think God wants to do this in us...nothing's changed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

all over the place

O.K. this is a Monday where I'm just going to let my A.D.D. brain loose and write about a plethora of things going up there today:
Grand opening of "The Well" was proud of the story in the Pantagraph (Thursday) and on News 25 last night (Sunday) about it. I'll say it a million don't build a mega-church...God makes that happen...our only job is to be faithful with all HE has given us. It's still a little discouraging to hear of the haters on the websites talking bad about Eastview. We are not perfect, but we're trying our best to become a loving community of Christ followers...just sad that some refuse to see past their pre-convceived notions.

I know that about 700 people read this blog every week, but I don't know how many preachers if you are a preacher or someone who loves preaching....get on and check out our "power of the word" conference in March...gonna be great.

Can someone get high on Hall's cough drops? Just wondering...cause I had about 50 of them through all three services yesterday...and I felt dizzy sometimes :-) Just wondering. Also, I wondered if while I was praying with people who came forward yesterday if the vapors from my mouth (again filled with cough drops) made their eyes water...cause it kind of did mine.

Seriously, are we going to have winter or what...this has been a weird one huh? Got the new "blonde" coffee blend from's lighter for all of you "Starbucks coffee tastes burnt" people. This is much milder..I prefer the thick stuff..but whatever. Have you tried the cookies in the Cafe' 19 - they are awesome! Seriously, may be the best dollar investment you can make....too bad they're 600 calories...but that's about right for breakfast...right?

My heart goes out to a long time family of Eastview (family of our former Sr. Pastor, Gary York) Theron and Roberta Summers. Roberta passed away Sunday morning early after battling cancer...Theron (a man I truly admire) survives. Long legacy extended family member on staff and one elder...most of their family attends Eastview. They've been around for over 50 years...awesome...many prayers for them today.

Sorry if you are from New York of New England...but who cares about the Super Bowl now? Not me. ..wait, yes I do, there will be food and cool commercials. Anybody but me hate running on a tread mill?

I basically laid in bed or on a couch all day Friday and Saturday recovering from this flu/cold. Saturday night, I still staggered in to the church auditorium...looking really bad...baggy, non-matching sweats, knit hat pulled over my eyes (my wife said I shouldn't be seen) so I was praying and walking through my sermon on stage when a family comes in to check out the auditorium (probably a family from our Upward Basketball leagues) and they were startled to see me. They apologized and I said, "No problem, I'm just practicing tomorrow's sermon." They left quicklyt...I bet they got a good first impression of the preacher at Eastview:-)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Yesterday we began a whole new rhythm at Eastview Christian Church with three Sunday morning services at 8:00, 9:45, 11:30. It was an awesome start, but the word for me this morning as I am reflecting and praying and just thinking is RHYTHM. It's not an easy word to spell (had to look it up) nor is it easy to maintain. I noticed yesterday for me, the staff and the congregation...the rhythm was just a bit off. Sleep patterns were different, preaching times were different, worship times were earlier or later, etc... Rhythm is the movement or patterned procedure and we all need it in our lives. How does all my life come together to proceed in a healthy pattern is the question.

And now I have to find that rhythm that will help me be at my best to preach three times every Sunday morning. I'm working on a new life rhythm. Here's what I much prayer do I need to preach well now? How much rest do I need on Saturday nights now? How will family and friends fit in with this? How much free time to make up for increased work time? It may seem like I'm over thinking it, but if I don't find a new rhythm, something will suffer. Whether it's begin too tired because of not enough rest, being harsh due to not enough prayer, or being stressed because I have no margin...spiritually speaking I must take control of my life rhythm. Maybe you should too.

By life rhythm, I'm talking about all the stuff that gives us our spiritual, emotional, and physical balance. All of our lives are either in rhythm OR they are out of rhythm. There are six parts of this rhythm that need to flow together: 1. family/relationships 2. prayer/meditation/time with God 3. work/calling 4. Play/exercise/nutrition (physical). 5. Rest/sleep 6. Free time/margin. God intends for all of these to be blessings but if they are out of sync or rhythm, the results are disastrous. So we all must find that rhythm...which of these is lacking and how can you balance it with the others to find rhythm in your life? I'm working on a new rhythm...hope you're working on yours.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gatlinburg weekend

I have described this town on the edge of the Smokey Mountains as "hick Vegas". It is basically a lighted/neoned strip of country mountain music, pancake houses, t-shirt shops, old timey photo stands, go carts, arcades, and entertainment venues/museums of the weird. And it also happens to hold one of the most incredible spiritual weekends in the country each year.

This last weekend, I was privileged to speak at the Tennessee Christian Teen Convention...over 5,500 students and their sponsors from at least ten different states that I met came for a weekend studying the pursuit of being a teen-ager after God's own heart (David was the model and the Scriptures I preached were from His experiences). Here's the deal...this convention is so big, it is essentially two 2,800 attendee conventions. This means that I preached four sermons two times each. These guys really know how to move large numbers of I preached at around 7:20 on Friday night and then they moved the kids out and more kids in and I was preaching around 10:20 to another group of kids! This happened again Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning! It was crazy and my voice is shot...but it was a great spiritual time! Especially as I offered an invitation Saturday night after preaching from Psalm 51 where hundreds (literally) came foward to make decisions (some repenting from sin and others giving their lives to Jesus for the first time!). Very cool.

Two things to say: 1. Thanks to Drew Moore for preaching and for the people of Eastview (the elders especially) giving me time away to preach to others from time to time. 2. I have many great memories in Gatlinburg. Hick Vegas has been a very formative part of my life! I honeymooned in Hick Vegas. I visited here when I was a kid with my parents (it was more hick and less Vegas back then). I have spoken at the TCTC four times now (the others were 1996, 1997, and 2006) and I have brought at least ten groups (youth groups, college age ministries, and leadership teams) to this town for retreats). It has been a great it's not far from some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Saturday afternoon in between sessions, I hiked about 2 miles into the nothingness of these mountains and spent some great time with God by a stream...awesome. If you ever get to Hick at the Pancake Pantry (accept no substitutes and try the Buckwheat pancakes) and buy some civil war memorabalia and take a'll like it.... but don't stay here long, you'll start speaking the local dialect...banjo!

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's already slipping away

We just finished another year and it's likely that at some point, someone in our company said, "that year went so fast" or "it seems like we were just ringing in 2011" or "it's already 2012..,weren't we just worried about Y2K?". The point is that time seems to move by really quickly. It won't be long before we're saying the same things again at the end of this year. Why is that? Another thing I've found it interesting that older people claim that time goes by quicker the older you get! Why is that? The reality is that we all have 365 days (two are gone, but we get an extra since it's a leap year - so its almost a wash). I think 365 seems quicker the older you get because you are also accumulating years and we all know we only have so many of those. Younger people dont think about this because they assume they have so many more years ahead and frankly they want time to fly so that they can reach those milestones (16, 18, 21 - yea! I can drive, i can vote, i can drink!). sometime in your mid twenties you want time to slow down and I suspect this is when time starts going by faster.

Years going by really quickly probably reflect a reality that we spend many of our days, hours and years wasting time! The older you get you start wondering if these accumulated wasted years don't equal a wasted life! So let's resolve to remedy that this year. let's redeem the time as the Bible says, making the most if every minute, hour, and day. If we do, then these will add up to great years, and though time will still roll on, we will have lived life to the fullest. Here are some ways I hope to redeem my days this year:
1. Less time mindlessly watching t.v., playing video games, or spending time online (many hours and days are lost here).
2. More time seeking God in the world I live in. What is he doing in me? Who is He loving around me? Where is he leading me? What is awesome around me?
3. More time with face to face encounters with the people I love. Listen. Watch. Laugh. Share ideas. Care. Encourage. Hug. Pass the salt.
4. More time staring in silence...this really helps me feel every moment...every breath.

Well those are some will you redeem your time in 2012.