Saturday, December 30, 2006

Baby: There's a baby on the way. Last night the Bridge Ladies threw a baby shower for Audrie. I've known Audrie most of her life and she was very good friends with my little brother, Dougie, growing up. Heather was especially excited about this opportunity and she and the ladies did an excellent job planning and throwing the shower!

Some pictures:

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

21st Century Pastor: I find in working with people there are different kinds of people. I'm talking about the people that aren't part of our church but businesses I work through to get the services we need. Rather than just try to categorize I'll make note of interesting things.

Reverend: I have noticed that in the black community even if I introduce myself by my first name the person I am talking to is quick to call me pastor or Rev. instead of my first name. It really makes me feel respected. I'll go into their shop or place of business months later and they'll say "Hey Pastor!".

Papal Blessing: There are those that really like to do favors for me and The Bridge because I am a pastor. I'm not sure their logic but I can't help but think that they think I've got an inside angle at God and I can put in a good word for them. "Three days less in purgatory for you. Thanks for helping me out!"

Rebel: There are honestly those that are angry that I'm a pastor and that I work for God. I assume that they have either been burnt by a pastor or by a church before and it hurts my feelings that they are nasty towards me. I won't call it persecution, I'm not that dramatic, but it's still not nice.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas: So in the true "father" fashion of Christmas I was up late on Christmas Eve putting together the train set we got for Nathan. It was fun and fortunately not a pain in the butt...I'm sure there will be other years when my opinion is different.

A few of my favorite parts of the day were when Nathan would open a new present and you could tell that he was going to really enjoy it and my other favorite part was my Grandparents coming over for dinner.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Couple of pictures from our Christmas Party:

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Behold: Once again Kristy comes through and bought Heather an amazing CD. Andrew Peterson- behold the Lamb of God. You can check out the songs on Andrew Peterson's Website. I believe my favorite is Labor of Love.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Baby Shower: Thought I'd start posting a few things that are exciting this Christmas season. One of which is that we are throwing Audrie a baby shower on December 29. I've known Audrie for a long time and I'm really excited about this opporunity. We had a chance to have breakfast with Audrie last week and it was great to talk to her and seeing her extremely pregnant belly.

Christmas Party: This thursday is The Bridge Christmas Party. I'm looking forward to it. I mean...who doesn't like a christmas party?

Musician: After much searching it turns out God had a plan all along. Crazy how that works. Johnny Houston has join The Bridge Launch Team and is going to be our worship leader. He's very talented and willing to be used by God. He has aspirations of being a singer/song writer and is willing to see what God has for him at The Bridge. You can hear some of this tuff on Myspace or at .

Coffee Mug: Kristy got me perhaps one of the most original and coolest gifts I have ever received. This thing is great. I forgot the website where she said she got it but basically it's a coffee mug a bunch of words on it. The words are all keywords or topic headings from this blog. I'm sure she'll read this soon and post a link in her comment as to where she got it.

600: This is post 600 for me in my industrious blogging career.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rocky: This is a joke right? 20 years after the last good Rocky movie Sly decided to come out with a new movie. I don't blame Stallone, he had a bad steroid habit that he can't support unless he returns to the glory days of Rocky the meat-headed heavy weight champ.

Don't get me wrong though. Rock in his glory days was great. Remember him getting the tar beat out of him by Clubber Lang (Mr. T)? He got beat because he was apothetic. Remember when Ivan Drago killed Apollo Creed and Rock went to Russia to beat the commie on his own turf. Proving once and for all that democracy is better than communism. The Rocky films were good, until the 5th and now this...the first level of hell?

What the funniest thing I've seen leading up to this is Stallone at the Philadelphia Eagles monday night game a few weeks back. He walked onto the field and people started cheering "Rocky, Rocky," they know he's fictional right?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Church: I haven't been to "church" in so long I forgot what it's like.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Twenty Seven: December 15, 1979 I entered the scene.

Piercing my heart: The passage that has been piercing my heart this Christmas is this.

“This Child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Simeon in Luke 2:34

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

People: Yesterday I endeavored to drop off gift bags and visit with 42 people in 2 days. I started yesterday afternoon and it took me 6-7 hours. I not only accomplished my goal but I had some wonderful interactions with people. I got a share my vision for being in Suffolk and invited these people to be part of our church. It's amazing how a gift bag can soften someone's face and improve their day- even if it's just filled with a little bit of candy!

Wiped out: As a result of our last 4 days of almost continous going I'm pretty wiped out but enjoying developing our leadership covenants and membership covenants. I've also been enjoying planning my sermon series for 2007.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Call Me: Last week we did our first telemarketing campaign. This was as complete step of faith on my part and despite all the negatives in telemarketing I still felt it was a good idea. We called every home in the zip codes we are targeting. The purpose of the phone call was to get the word out about our church and to find some people that can fill the vital ministries to get us up and running.

We had 98 responses which is far higher than the average for phone calls.

We sent them a follow up letter and then dropped off a gift yesterday. I had some great conversations and really got to meet some incredible people- God has plans!

The best part about talking with people is that in about 3 seconds you can determine their level of church involvement. There is the "I never go to church but can throw around a few terms to sound like I go", there is the "I'm always looking for a new church, what do you go?" and then there are the new movers, church seekers, and honest questions about God people. All are fun to talk to and all have a need in their life of Jesus Christ.

Some of my favorite questions:

- what do you believe and where were you trained? I believe that if I jump up in the air I will come back down, I believe that if I were stuck on a deserted island and only had one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be stove top stuffing. Oh theologically...great question. Where was I trained? two words P-Town, most of which is top secret and I won't be able to tell you about it.

- what are your church dues? I don't even know what to do with this one. I had never heard of church dues before and fortunately the nice lady that asked this question had called the house to say thanks for our gift and she was talking with Heather, so Heather had to answer it.

We just wanted to give you this gift. A travel coffee mug, some candy, and a New Testament - You believe in the Old Testament too right? Yes I'll be preaching out of both the old and New Testament. I only bought New Testaments because they are cheaper than the whole bible. 1/3st the bible, 1/5th the price.

- are you going to preach practical messages? I sure hope so, tell me in a few months.

- are people of all colors welcome at your church? I'm sorry you had to ask this question, of course.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Jesus of Suburbia by Mark Erre. Any book that has the title of a Green Day song is worth me buying. That might be a bad idea though considering some of their song titles. I figured since I bought it I might as well read it too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time: I've been really having a hard time with my time. I'm not wasting it but I find myself putting too much time into things that aren't that important and not enough into things I really want to be investing in. So to help myself I've set up a schedule putting priority on things that are important and leaving the secondary issuses secondary. Hopefully this will help.

It's your ship by Michael Abrashoff- A formal Naval officer and commander of the ship USS Benfold. He spent 2 years captaining this crew and it became one of the best ships in the the Navy. Scores from this ship broke all kinds of records that still hold today and this ship was the go to ship in the Persian Gulf in the late 90's. He did this by bringing out the best in his crew. He broke all sorts of Navy protocol by listening to his crew, no matter their rank, and managing people how he wanted to be treated.

This is a great book on management focusing on people and results with interesting stories mixed in.

Books: I wish I would have tracked how many books I've read this year. My guess would be 30. Next year my goal is going to be 52 books- one book for every week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Letter to a Christian Nation: by Sam Harris. I have never read a book filled with more hate towards a certain group- I'm probably more aware because this time the group happens to be one I'm part of. Most of the book is a maniacal nonsensical tirade that Christian leaders should be reading.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Join the Movement: We started "Join the Movement" this morning. If you've ever seen the movie Pay is Forward then you know the general idea of this. I made up some cards and gave them to our Launch Team. I encouraged them to simply buy someone coffee, lunch, a gift bag or any other idea they had. The idea is to start a gift giving movement. Giving gifts is beautiful because when we're given a gift we can remember the greatest gift of Christ coming to earth as a little helpless baby.

So let me encourage you- no matter where you live- Join the Movement

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First: I bought a $5 gift card at Starbucks today and gave it to the cashier when I was getting my refill. I asked her to give it to someone. I was working as usual and almost missed the young mother with a 3 month old baby receive the card. I could tell she was a little confused at the whole "someone gave a gift card" but she was curious and read the card and seem pleasantly surprised.

Join the movement!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hard to Blog: It's been hard to blog this week. I guess I'm just not feeling it.

Friday: I took friday off and boy was it wonderful. It's the first real day I've taken off in as long as I can rememer. I have "days off" but with church planting there never seems to be a completion of work rather just an ongoing run of things to do. So on Friday I had Nathan in the morning and while he was taking a nap around noon Brandon and Robbie came over and we watched The DaVinci Code.

Heather walks in at 2 from work and just laughs at us. 3 grown men sitting around watching tv while the rest of the world is at work or fighting traffic to get home. Ahh the joys of a flexible schedule and friends with flexible schedules.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Most: We're doing Starting Point for our Thursday night Life Group meetings. Tonight is chapter 8 which has an accompanying movie to watch. The movie is called "Most". I popped it in over my morning breakfast. I was about 4 seconds into the movie when I realized that this wasn't a morning breakfast movie.

I'll let the movie website speak for itself- Most . But one of the facts I found most amazing after watching the movie is that "most" in czech (the language in which the movie is filmed) means The Bridge.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Some pictures from last week

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This is Toccoa Falls located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. The waterfall is 186 feet- higher than Niagara falls. Also home to the infamous drop a tv off the falls trick in the winter of 2000.

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Heather and Nathan

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Nathan playing on the rocks.

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This is Tallulah Gorge and where we got engaged almost 6 years ago! Northeast Georgia is absolutely beautiful and I don't think I fully appreciated it's beauty till we returned there after college.

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Heather and I are standing on the old incline station at the top of the gorge. You can just barely see the power plant that was built long ago in the background.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Confession: I don't like Christmas music. There are some songs I like but most of it irritates me.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

To Kill a Mockingbird: by Harper Lee. Heather's been wanting me to read this book for a while now and I've just been putting it off. It seemed like a good vacation book so I finally decided to read it and I finished it last night. It probably now ranks up there close to Huck Finn as favorite "childhood" book. It's a great tale of children and seeing the world through a child's eyes. Children are often smarter than adults.

For the 2% of the population who has never read the book (of whose company I was part of less than a few days ago) a poor white woman claimed that a black man attacked and raped her in her own home. It was clear for all to see at the trial that the black man was incapable of performing this act and instead the white woman came on to the black man and he declined her sexual advances. But because of the ugly racism and the view of blacks as being second class during the early 1930's the man was found guilty and sentenced to death.

At first is seemed as noone cared but then as the book goes on you see the changes in people's hearts and how not everyone would have unfairly convicted the man.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Racism: I hate racism. I don't approve of it and I strive to be a person that doesn't make assumptions based on color or nationality.

I think that racism stems out of fear. Fear of being different, fear of being the color you are because of all the associations that comes with it. I think that racism is more prevelant than we want to believe. I also think that racism comes out of the ugliness of our souls. Just as man is inherently evil part of that evil produces racism. I think that people are mostly good at hiding our racism just like we're good at hiding our ugliness then sometimes it creeps out and starts destroying things.

I wish that racism would cease but I'm not banking on it. Until then or until Christ returns the best I can do is to take personal responsibility on how I act and even think and try to influence others to do the same. To not just hide our racism but to try to irridicate it. Afterall every nation is going to be represented we might as well start getting along now. I can't imagine sitting at the marriage supper of the lamb beside a person of a color I hated while we were living on earth.

white/black, black/white, white/hispanic, black/hispanic, and that's just in our community of hampton roads I'm sure other places there are other races to consider...

not to mention our religious can appear overwhelming. God help us!

The Radical Reformission: by Mark Driscoll. Things I respect about Mark Driscoll.

Biblical: He describes his relationship to the scriptures as a life preserver in a rough sea. He demonstrates this in his willingness to stick to the biblical teachings on hard subjects that aren't to popular right now such as order of the home and homosexuality to name a few.

Grace: He does the above with maintaining a love for those people

Desire: Moreso than grace however he has an incredible desire to see lost people saved regardless of how "popular" he's going to be.

Emergent: He deals with emergent theology better than anyone I've read. I believe he exposes heresies for what they are but doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Catch Up: I've been on vacation the last couple of days and my internet connection has been sporadic at best. That's not a bad thing. We're now finally down in Atlanta where we'll be until Sunday when we return home.

Family: On friday we drove down to Spartarburg, SC to visit with my sister, Beth and her husband and kids- Jason, Luke and Abby. I tell Luke he's my favorite nephew and Abby my favorite niece. This will be true unless my sister decides to have one more and then one of them will have the share the glory of my favorites list.

We had a great time and the kids all got along great. I think it was one of the best times I've been able to spend with them in a long time. We don't get to see each other as often as I'd like and when we do it's always a whirlwind of holiday's and visitng all other family with all other family trying to visit at the same time. Pure mayhem. But this time we beat the holiday rush by going a week before thanksgiving. It was great.

Toccoa: On Saturday we went to our alma mater, Toccoa Falls College. We did it as a fun trip and a trip to relax and visit the old places we once trounced. I'll post some pictures of what we saw and did. It was weird being back on campus after being away so long and with students in session. It was also weird at 26 being an old fart on the campus and having college kids look at me like I'm outdated. But I had fun, got to visit with a few students we know on campus and relax.

Christina: This is a shout out to Christina. I've known her since birth and have watched her grow up over the years. She was in the youth group I interned at one summer in college and I remember her being in Jr. high responding to an invitation to give her life more fully to God. Today she is going to TFC. Currently pursuing missions but leaving the door open for whatever God would have her to do. She is wise beyond her years and is a true woman of God. She loves people and loves God- he's going to do mighty things in her one day. She holds a special place in Heather and my heart! We had the chance to catch up a little while on campus, it was great.

Meetings: Today I took a tour of North Point Church in Alpharetta, GA ( I wanted to see how they are doing ministry and ask some practical questions. Their facility if phenomenal and will literally overwhelm you. Every space has function though and that's impressive. What I was most impressed is that every person I spoke with was excited about what North Point is doing and glad they are on board. Every person also knew what they were good at and did well and explaining it to me and how it fit into the vision of the church. They all spoke as if they were as important as Andy Stanley, in a humble, genuine way!

I also had a meeting with Ed Stetzer ( to pick his church planting brain. I met him at the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist) where he has an office. Their building is incredible and I've seen less security at the Pentagon. My meeting with him was brief but I was able to ask him questions about church planting and some operational things I've been mulling around.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Here it is.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

bzz: I am a bzz agent. I'm not even sure where I heard about it but is a site where companies use them for word of mouth advertising. offers points and then rewards for being an honest word of mouth advertiser. I signed up about 6 months ago. It was free and I like the idea of tipping and word of mouth advertising. Well I got an offer for a sonicare toothbrush to be a bzzagent for it. I filled out the form and viola' today my $90 sonicare toothbrush showed up. So now I buzz.

Video: I've been busting my hiny on a video that I sent out to our newsleeter supporters today and will have up on our website asap.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Books: I read two books over the weekend I'll comment briefly on them below.

Confession of a reformissional Rev. by Mark Driscoll- this book was great and one of the most encouraging I've read in a long time. Mark clearly loves people, mainly the "unsaved". Mark also clearly loves the gospel of Jesus Christ and refuses to compromise the gospel. This autobiography is one of the funniest books I've read in long time as well, he's blunt and honest. What was most surprising is that the book goes into his reformed theology which was completely unexpected but also quite appropriate.

Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport by Richard Mouw- Richard Mouw is the president of Fuller Theological, which he doesn't even mention until the last few chapters of the book and then only in passing as an unimportant fact. I'm not what you would call a reformed thinker or reformed theologian but I read this book at the recommendation of a friend after I was asking about his newly grasped calvinism.

The subject of TULIP is as gracefully handled as I've ever heart and Richard Mouw gives his honest opinions of some of the more hard to handle parts of calvinism. It's apparent by his writing that while he values and even loves a calvinist approach to salvation there are parts that don't sit well with him or sit well with scripture.

This was merely a side note in the book but Mouw mentioned a certain type of universalism in the book that I think I agree with. This is a thought I've had for some time now particularly after dealing with people from different religions. Mouw used the same example that I would use. He has a mormon friend that believes that he can only be saved by grace alone. It is only by the act of God that he can receive salvation. I too have talked to many mormons that tell me/us the same thing. But, Mouw asks, what about all the other things you believe in like that God was once a human and that if you play your cards right you might get to be a diety as well? Leaving those questions unanswered he wonders if that Mormon friend will be in heaven, if his grasp of divine grace includes salvation. I've wondered the same.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bridge Link: We're getting ready for Bridge Link, which is tomorrow night. I'm excited about the evening. We have a few new things that we're going to be presenting to both people already part of the Bridge and people that are interested. The first is the video we made featuring testimonials from Launch Team members and the second is that I'm giving a mini-message about the views of God.

Open your eyes: Yesterday I had one of those moments where suddenly God makes me aware that I'm looking through life with a skewed perception. I have to be honest and I never intended for my mind to go this way. But I started to get stressed out. I started to wonder if God was really going to grow his church in Suffolk. I started to wonder if I was doing the right things to stimulate growth. I started to wonder if I as doing enough or doing it right and I started to wonder if I was ever going to see The Bridge Church reach it's potential.

Then as I was driving and praying I felt convicted? Since when was this plant ever about me. Since when was The Bridge about my glory as lead pastor and not on God's glory as...God? Truth is it never was intended to be about me and my success but rather on us being missional being focused on the community and making them aware of the deep spiritual need in their lives.

Change: I believe this is going to change a little bit of our interaction with the community. I would love to see us get into the community in news way...I don't know what these are yet. But I know it will be what God wants us to do.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Luke: Congrat to my favorite nephew Luke. My sister called today and told me that Luke had asked Jesus to save him and that he wants to be a Christian. Luke has had some hangups with the Christian faith. The first being that he didn't want to go to heaven. Luke has known 2 people that have gone to heaven and he didn't like the fact that once you go there you don't get to come back and you can't be around the people you love on earth.

He also has known for a while that he does stuff wrong and is a sinner but didn't want Jesus to have anything to do with it. Luke is 5 years old by the way and this week he took a huge step in his relationship with Christ.

There is no greater calling than to your family.

War: The media plays it out like it's a war. Democrat vs. Republican. If your party looses you are going to be enslaved for the next 2 years and you'll be forced to pay tariffs. Afterall the "other" party is so unlike you it's actually scientifically proven that there are two seperate human races.

I heard that later tonight there is going to be gunfire in the streets.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Identity Crisis

Trailer: Robbie and I went up to Frederick to pick up the trailer today. A few months back I got a call that a 14' trailer had been donated to our church. This is a huge gift for us literally saving us several thousand dollars. I kept waiting for a good day to come around during a week where we didn't have much going on. I finally realized that this wasn't going to happen, there are no longer weeks where there isn't much going on just weeks I can fit in a trip to Frederick.

So today Robbie and I took the 200 mile trip. We ran the gauntlet from here through DC, Richmond, Frederick and then back. We didn't hit traffic once and even got to enjoy a scenic drive through Leesburg and down 15/17 to Fredericksburg. The trailer is nice and we'll fix it up a little bit. It's going to get some fresh paint with our logo and stuff in the next month or so. I'll post a picture when we get it fixed up.

Road: This last trip to Frederick means that in the past week I have been to Richmond, Frederick, Selma North Carolina and back to Frederick. No more car trips for the next few days.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sick: I hesistate to mention the name of this movie for fear of giving publicity to the movie. I read an article on Borat the movie. Evidently it's a faux documentary of a man from Kazakstan who is a racist, jew hating bigot. The goal of the movie appears to be as politically incorrect as possible.

It's labelled as a comedy.

I'm not defending anyone's actions here. But in a society where every public figure has to be overly careful about making comments that might be even taken as offensive I'm not sure this movie should be acceptable to be shown. Racism isn't funny. I don't every see it being funny.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Time: A few years back I realized something about pastors. Most pastors fall into two categories. There is a middle ground but this is definately the minority of church workers. The first category is the workaholic pastor. Often more ineffective than effective this pastor easily racks up 80 hours a week. Find it hard to connect with his family- probably because they resent and possibly hate him. The other type of pastor is the 20 hour a week pastor. Coming in at 10am and leaving by 2pm and taking the sacred day of Monday off. Both are ineffective, both are horrible examples to the people they are leading.

I am most ashamed of laziness. I might be a lot of bad things but I don't want to be considered lazy. Since we started planting this church I find my time more and more consumed with important things to do. Really stuff that just has to get done. A weird thing happened last week. I felt my stuff starting to go numb. I didn't notice it at first...I was numb like I said. But I had little emotion. I was accomplish lots of stuff during my day but was receiving little satisfaction from my accomplishments. I'm typically a very emotional person but I was feeling little.

In the way that God so often works he sent me a book. Time Traps by Todd Duncan. I read this quote today and wanted to share it with the readers of this blog.

"Having to go so fast to keep up, we miss stuff- our existence is truncated. Some things simply cannot be done going full speed: love, sex, conversation, food, family, friends, nature. In a whirl, we are less capable of appreciation, enjoyment, sustained concentration, sorrow, memory." Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt in Time Traps by Todd Duncan

Nasty: I've noticed a few things about this election. Politics are nasty. Nasty mostly because of the candidates smearing the others into the ground. I don't let myself get consumed with the details but I do want to figure out how I can best cast my vote.

The republicans are telling me that democrats are evil and if I have any values at all I won't vote democrat. For republicans it's clearly a battle of good versus evil and you don't want to land on the wrong side.

The democrats tell me that everything was perfect when they were in charge. In only they can control congress for the next two years this will provide balance to the force against the world's arch nemesis, George Dub. Then in '08 if a democrat can get into the white house utopia will be achieved, it will be like the good old days of the Clinton administration.

I mean with all this riding on the line the age old power of good vs. evil and the chance at utopia just on the horizon I'm torn like a pair of jeans on an '80's rocker.

Religion: Oh yeah and religion in politics. Politicians have figured that the religious vote is one they can no long ignore. I heard quoted "long gone are the days where religion in democratic party is visiting a few african american churches two weeks before the election". That was from a democrat.

So here are the days where politicians recognize the vote of the church. I suppose here are the days with a generic belief in God. I am not one of those pastors that stands on the claim that this is a christian nation. I even wonder if this "christian" nation is more detrimental to the north american church (think organism not organization). So I'm not going to fight that this is a christian nation but it will pain me to see the secularization of belief in God.

After all 93% of americans believe in God- why would politicians alienate this majority. But what does the church stand for? How does the church respond to this. I think my emphasis is on not being duped. On encouraging the church to stand for what they really need to stand for.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

RPON Time: today is a good day for a random picture of Nathan.

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he really doesn't look too much like this. In case you're wondering he's wearing a swimmer left over from the summer. He thought it was a hat and wore it around for about 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hoodie: In a reply to the anonymous comment left a few posts back about men not wearing hoodies. The hoodie should be a major staple in any man's wardrobe. Jackets are cool but the hoodie is a sweatshirt with a garage for your head. Appreciate!


Halloweeners: Halloween...seriously. Do people really decorate for it? It's a major holidays these days. I grew up carving pumpkins and going out for candy. We really enjoyed it. I've never really been anti-halloween...until this year.

We passed out candy to the kids and just made sure Nathan didn't greet the kids in scary costumes. He had a blast without ever leaving the house. Overall I'm disturbed.

I don't want to be a fanatic but I can't help but comment. Halloween is a spiritual celebration. It was believed by pagans to be the time when the spirits made contact with the physical world and magic was most potent. Our acceptance of this pop-culture holiday shows our ignorance or our laziness.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Promise: Last Monday I was praying. I knew that our festival was coming up on saturday and that it was supposed to rain. Rain would ruin the event. Rain would cost us lots of money. Rain would really put a damper on our morale.

I was praying about the rain and asking God to step one of those times I really can't explain I heard got speak to me "Nick, I got this." Funny how God uses the same phrases I use. So the week went on and I prayed about the rain but trusted that God was in control.

Thursday night Bible study came and everyone knew about the rain and...everyone said the same thing. We won't worry about it. God's going to take care of it.

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This is a shot of the sky at noon. God delivered on his promise. "Nick, I got this."

Fall: Heather loves fall colors. She really loves the fall more than most colors. Because of her love my love for fall has grown immensely. Yesterday after I preached in Richmond we had decided to come up to Frederick and stay with some friends. Today we went for a drive to a park we used to enjoy when we lived here. Last time we were up at the waterfall Nathan was just 8 months old and not moving around too much. Today he was much more active and really enjoyed himself- so did we!

The weather was just about perfect. At times cool enough for a hoodie but other times just the t-shirt. We had a few minutes before lunch and Nathan had fallen asleep so we just pulled off at one of the overlooks and fell asleep ourselves. It was a great day.

We got to see some old friends and enjoy some of the relationships we built the 4 years we were here. It was a very good day!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Community Festival: Yesterday we had our largest preview event yet. The 2006 Community Festival was great. We had vendors from local and home based businesses. We had games for kids and lots of food and candy. It was a great event that really embodied the value of community. It wasn't just a clever name it really was community. Our 4500 piece mailer was great and we had over 200 people come out to the festival. Kristy O'Neal did a great job organizing the event! I'm so tired today but yesterday was incredible. It was the first of many great things for The Bridge Church!

Community Festival Pictures

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Politics: For a few years now I've been trying to figure out what to do with politics. I feel responsible to vote and I feel responsible to have an answer to the question- why do you vote the way you do. There is this dichotomist separation between the repulicans and the democrats. They simply don't represent the same things. The problem is I want to pick and choose from either party. But apparently politics isn't a buffet...

The biggest problem: Right now I'm a staunch republican. Probably because I was raised that way and I've been corrupted from the conservative church. So I'm coming at it from a biased angle like anyone else would. I'm trying to convince myself to vote the other way. But in our system if you vote for one democratic, or one republican you vote for them all. Because of party allegiance most swing the same way.

This post lacks the passion I feel...maybe more to come later.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stretchin it Out: We're in the home stretch for the Community Festival. I swear I spent most of the day on the phone confirming all of our orders and or setting up some last minute orders. All of the calls were positive and I haven't run into one situation where the answer was- no way we can't do that. I'm very much not a last minute person but I am continually amazed at what can be done at the last minute.

But back to the festival. The inflatables are rented, the tents are being put up tomorrow. I even have helium balloons. We have a score of local and home businesses coming to demonstrate their goods. Our goal this whole time has been to throw an event that will serve the community while previewing our idea of community and to expose the community to The Bridge Church.

If you pray then please pray for this event. If you don't pray- start!

Bridge Link: I got this idea from North Point but adapted it to fit our church, probably drastically adapted it. I'm very exited about it. Generally I wait to blog about an event until after I've put it before the launch team. This time I can't wait. I did a little write up for it in my prayer email this morning.

“Bridge Link” is a two hour event with an atmosphere that is highly relational; connecting people to people through refreshments and interactive activities, and connecting people to God through a brief message and a challenge to join a small group and to commit to coming to The Bridge. The first of these will be on Friday November 10 (just 2 weeks away!) and possibly Friday December 1.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Delegation: Delegation. Sometimes it’s hard to delegate. Not because I have a hard time trusting people, that’s not it at all. The fact of the matter is the reason delegation can be so hard for me is that sometimes I can handle it on my own. And sometimes I have way more time than most people on our launch team. I have a hard time delegating because at time I honestly have time to get it all done…this week.

But two reasons I delegate even when I don’t think I need to.

1. What happens on the week that I don’t have enough. People are so used to me doing it all that they don’t understand anything else.

2. When people contribute to a task they own it. And ownership is key to a successful church. But not really that ownership of the church helps one own the acting out of their faith. It’s a beautiful thing really.

3. When the Health Department calls and tell me I need a permit for the food on Saturday and I already have a list of stuff to do. I think of all the stuff that others are doing and I sigh in relief because that’s all the stuff I could be doing but others are doing…better than I can.

4. And another reason I delegate. Because others are far more capable at certain tasks than I am. Truth be told others might be more capable and talented at all tasks than I am…

Growth: This summer my lawn took a beating from the sun. When we moved in the grass was green and looked good. It was nothing to write home about but it was nice. This summer the sun was so hot and there was so little rain that lots of grass in my backyard got burnt. Then with the sudden rain at the end of the summer we got a ton of rain and weeds grew rampant.

I asked Robbie, my lawn care specialist, what I should do. So I put round up on the weeds and killed off all of the weeds. I had massive spots in my lawn with no grass or weeds at all. Just brown death. Then we rented an airator and airrated our lawsn (Brandon, Robbie and I). After doing that we seeded and fertilized. I had these huge plugs of dirt all over my lawn and I have to be honest. I thought we had just wasted money and time doing that. I thought there was no hope for the bald spots and little help for my lawn.

I watered faithfully then I went to Russia for 10 days. I left Heather with specific instructions on how to water and how often. When I came back a miracle had occurred. Grass had started to grow. It was only growing in the plug holes at first and looks like rows of crops. Then it started growing all over. The grass thickened and was greener than ever. My grass now looks much better than ever before.

Growth was what grass was meant to do. I shouldn’t have been surprised it was it’s natural function.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Horses: Nathan has a new love. Horses. He got to ride a pony on Saturday at Driver Days and the got to ride on a wagon pulled by horses. Then Sunday we went up to Williamsburg and he got to see lots of horses pulling carriages. Everytime he would see one he would yell- who- which is his version of "check that out!". Then last night at Bible Study Maylene had two toy horses that she brought for the kids to play with. He quickly claimed them as his own and wouldn't let them go. Maylene left them with Nathan to play with and last night he wouldn't put them down. The problem was he kept chewing on their legs.

Tonight I'm sitting on the couch and Nathan brings me a book to read. It's about horses. We read the book then he took the book and was looking at it on his own. I look at him and he's chewing on the book. I think Nathan likes horses because he secretly wants to eat one.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Group: We've been hosting a new Life Group on Sunday afternoons. This group is especially for people with children because we offer adult childcare for the toddlers and children's programming for the older kids. We have two highly committed couples come out for the last 2 weeks and have some very good prospects for the future.

It's been highly encouraging to interact with these couples. We're at a point in our church plant, just a few months until launch, that we need high commitment from people and we need this commitment fairly early on in the relationship. These couples have demonstrated this and it's been great.

Knowledge: I had the privilege of growing up in a home that went to church and I was taught the basics of the bible and stuff like that. Then my education at Toccoa was good and I received a solid regimen of theology and while it might not be the theology I now subscribe to it gave me a strong basis as to how to develop my own theology. So with all that said I so often forget that I meet people on a day to day basis that know very little about the Bible. To tell you the truth it exhilirates me but humbles me at the same time. My ultimate goal for people is to see them reading and studying the bible on their own but until then anything they know about the Bible, Jesus Christ and relationship with him is on our small faith community.

Some pictures from the weekend...

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Won't: I won't comment on this piece I'll just post the link. I think it needs to be read and often. And what's more I think we need to hear some ideas on what to do with it not just drop the bomb and let others deal with the carnage.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Disturbing: This story started out as very disturbing and has turned to something much worse than that. Original story said that this woman, who was carrying a full term baby, had been shot in the stomach and the baby was lost. After investigation it turns out she shot herself. Yesterday her case was dismissed. Apparently there is no law for killing your own baby if it's still in the womb.

Story Here

Does it disturb anyone else that a baby in the womb just doesn't matter until it's born? I should say doesn't matter to lawmakers or to legislation but there are plenty of couples that have lost children or can't have children that unborn children matter to.

I don't really get into this stuff often but it's disturbing that we live in a society with such warped values.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wild: The Community Festival is really consuming a lot of my time right now. On one hand we've/I've never done anything like this and I should be overwhelmed. On the other hand I think our team is equipped to handle it all. We're busy but not going crazy. Everything is going to be great.

I know this event is going to be very positive for the community and our prayer is that God uses it and us to impact people for Jesus Christ.

This festival has been very good for me in determining how we want to advertise in the future. While I was aware of the incredible cost of advertisement I wasn't really AWARE at how much simple advertising can cost.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reminder: I want to use my blog as a platform for a few minutes. I know there are pastors and other church workers that read my blog on a consistent basis and I'm talking to you. Really talking to myself and to you and wanted to give a reminder.

The reminder is this. If another church is preaching the same gospel of Jesus Christ that you are teaching- treat them like a friend and not an enemy. Don't even be indifferent to them. Support them, encourage them, give them money, give them support. As a church planter there is no greater blessing than I have received from churches that support me not just in theory but in actual support. Often these churches just pray for us and when we visit them they ask us to stand up and be recognized. Some of these churches provide us with people to help us run events and others even contribute money to our church even though we may be trying to reach the same demographic in the same cities.

Equal to the blessing these wonderful churches give is the pain of being undercut or rejected from other churches. We are perceived as competition as the enemy or at best we're perceived as a distraction for current members. I have news for them. I don't want their members. I don't even want the nominal christians in the community. I want people who haven't heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, I've got something to tell them. I've got a place for them in our church and God feels the same way.

But the truth is when church is viewed as a product and you spend years prepping your product and making it ready for purchase when something new comes along you get a little nervous. But I don't want them to be nervous I want them to passionately pursue lost people. And that reminds me what this is all about- not polishing our product called The Bridge Church but making bridges to be able to connect people to people and most importantly people to God.

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Nathan told us what he wanted for Christmas!

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Hannibal doing the bull dance feeling the flow- working it, working it.

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This picture is of Peanut Butter Sculptures at Peanut Fest. Peanut Fest should be better known as Redneck Fest. But c'mon peanut butter sculptures are always cool.

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Last night, Chili, football, and 5000 postcards that needed to be stamped and labeled. We started about 7pm and by 11pm it was mission accomplished!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Postcards: I like to comment on companies I use, particularly the ones that are excellent. goes on the more than excellent list. I ordered the postcards on Wednesday, October 11 and they were sitting at the local airport waiting for me by Friday. 5k postcards for $175 (before shipping). They look exactly like the artwork submitted. If you have print needs I strongly recommend going with They had lots of shipping options and the fastest and cheapest for me was to have them send it Delta Cargo ( from Miami to Norfolk.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Books: After what was turning out to be quite a book drought I have received a barrage of books, good books. Because there is little worse than bad books.

About Christ and the Church by Alexander Men: I heard about this book from my friend JB. He had a copy I was reading while in Russia but I didn't want to take it home with me because it's so hard to get books in English in Russia. So I read as much as I could while in Russia and figured I'd buy it when I got home. After I got home JB emailed me and told me he had bought it for me and sure enough it came this morning.

Father Alexander was a russian orthodox priest during the soviet era. Right as the curtain was falling he was murdered. You can read more about him ---> here

Chazown by Craig Groeschel
Wire: for a life of worship by Louie Giglio
God's Blog by Lanny Donoho

the beauty of those books is that Catalyst sent them to me for free. They actually sent them before their annual conference last week but they were sent to my old Maryland address and just made it to me on Friday. What kind of conference/company sends someone 3 great books for free? The kind that I can't wait to go to next year. If you haven't checked it out yet go NOW Catalyst

I also picked up a few dead guys at the Christian bookstore the other day.

Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a' Kempis

and finally I finished two books on my trip
Creating Community by Bill Willits and Andy Stanley
10 Dumbest Things Christians Do by Mark Atteberry

I'll do a write up on these in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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For those of you who read and prayed for my friend JB I wanted to give you the good news I got this morning from JB's wife Iris. That the polyp is not cancerous! This means that if the removal goes well tomorrow the family will be able to return to Krasnodar next week and resume language school. Praise God for his provision in this.

Pray again tonight at 11pm (7am Moscow) that the operation is a success and the removal is complete!

Thanks to God for answering prayer!

Disease: I was in a conversation lately of someone whose college aged child has gotten the mumps. She goes to Wheaton college and there is a mild epidemic of sorts on the campus. She has been immunized against it, like everyone else as a baby and she still got it.

Then I got an email from my mom telling me that my stepdad has Rubella (German measels). Old diseases returning...weird!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prayer: There is one resounding thing that God taught me on my trip to Russia and that is the necessity of prayer. So I have vowed to make prayer not only my first work but my most important work of the day. In holding this value it means asking others to pray for needs I am burdened for.

The need that stirs my heart this morning and this week is for my best friend, JB. Doctors have discovered a very large polyp in his colon. Today JB, Iris and his son Gavin flew to Moscow for JB's operation. They will operate tomorrow morning (midnight our time) and remove the polyp. They also will determine if the polyp is cancerous. If it turns out to be they will fly the family immediately to the states, leaving their home in Krasnodar under the care of others. If removal is successful and the rest of the search turns out to be encouraging they will recover in Moscow until next week and then return home to Krasnodar.

Please pray for my friend and his family.

Pants: On a lighter note. People that are still wearing their pajama pants in public- I'm not sure that was ever cool. But in case you are wondering it's not a good look, save yourself, get dressed in the morning. It's worth it!

"Forgiving is a serious business because it is basically for our own spiritual, emotional and physical benefit. We may or may not establish a new relationship with the person who injured us; that is not the heart of forgiveness. When we forgive, we finally stop hurting ourselves, hand the whole matter over to God, and believe what he says: Vengence is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."

-Peter Dyck

Monday, October 09, 2006

Forgiveness: I was reading the paper yesterday and was not surprised to find stories about the amish school shooting that happened last monday. What I was surprised to find out was the nature of the stories. Surprised is the wrong word...amazement is more likely. What a I read were words of regret from the amish leaders. Words of regret that the live in a fallen world where tragedies like this happen not to those who deserve it but to those who often do not deserve it at all.

But what I mostly read were words of forgiveness, sadness but forgiveness. It really hit home when I read that over half of the 75 people at the funeral service of the gunmen were...amish.

It seems that despite their lack of technology and puritanical methods the amish are teaching us all a lesson we need to learn.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

To my blog readers: I've been wondering for 9 months now why no one has left me a comment on my blog. Yesterday I switched to blogger beta and suddenly all of my comments arrived at the same time. So I'm sorry for not responding or replying.

Blog on!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Berlin, Germany

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At the end of the war England was in the mood for revenge so like London was bombed Berlin had the favor was returned. This is a bombed out church and to the right of the old bombed out cathedral is the new Lutheran church and the windows are made from the glass from the stained glass in the old church.

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A van.

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A mini-van?

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This is what remains of much of the Berlin Wall. A slighly discolored marking on the sidewalk, occasionally it's marked by an off colored cobble stone but true to where the wall was always it always marks the spot whether over a street on through a grass field.

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This is the longest remaining section of the wall.

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An old cathedral.

Krasnodar, Russia

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This is a brand new Russian Orthodox church.

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The mullet is univeral.

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Me, Monsoon (JB), and Monsoon Jr. (JB's son Gavin)

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One of three people who smiled at me in Russia.

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The open air market...not a commodity a way of life.

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Old Russian block style apartments.