Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Raising a Modern Day Knightby Robert Lewis. I bought this book at the recommendation of a man I highly respect, Todd Adams. Todd and his family are missionaries to Irian Jaya which is in Indonesia. Todd grew up there and how now returned to serve with his family. Todd was also my youth pastor when I was in middle school and a big reason why I'm in ministry today. The people the Adam's minister to are still very tribal and as early as 40 years ago were still in the stone age. Often they have to hike hours to get to the church Todd will be preaching at. Todd and his son Sully, 13 or 14, will make the walk together.

The mental picture of Todd and Sully walking up these mountains, barefoot in slippery mud just to get to church so Todd can preach really motivated me. Todd is raising not just a som but a future man. I wanted to get hold of any resource he had about fathering.

Of all the things this book inspired me to surround Nathan, who is not quite 2, with godly men that he can look up to, including myself. This book also inspired me to make Nathan's goals clear about what a man is. Of course this is going to need to wait a little bit but I'm glad to have the framework now.

This is book 6 of 52 and since I've gotten ahead a little bit I think I might tackle my Barack Obama book which is a little bit longer than the previous books.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Confessions of a Pastor by Craig Groeschel. This is the best book I've read this year and honestly a book I wished I'd written. Of course I'm not at a place where I can write this book but Craig is and I'm glad he did. This short little 200 page book really changed my perspective and spurred me to action. It made me realize some things about myself and God used the book to bring me to a point of realization and confession.

Worry: As a result of the book mentioned above I realized I'm pretty much worried all the time. I worry about my son Nathan and I worry about my wife Heather. I worry that when I'm not around something tragic will happen. I worry that we're not going to live happily every after. I worry that the church we invest so much in isn't going to take off. I worry that I ask too much of the people that are being used by God in our church. I worry almost incesantly.

Fear: I'm also afraid a lot. Mostly afraid of failure. I'm afraid I'm not going measure up, I'm not going to be a good enough preacher, pastor, and administrator in the church. I'm afraid I'll say something stupid, that people won't like me, I'm afraid I'll fail.

So what I've reduced my life to is things I can contain and don't have to worry about much. I take calculated risk so I don't have to be afraid. I've even reduced my friendships to this.

Last night while hanging out with Brandon I told him about how I'm afraid all the time and I worry. I apologized to him for being this way with him. Like a good friend he forgave me and we had a blast last night just talking, eating dinner at Chili's and watching part of Gladiator.

I feel more free and am trusting God for freedom from this worry and fear. I'm going to keep giving these things to God and trusting him to carry them for me. I hope my vulnerability doesn't freak you out but like Craig Groeschel did for me that my vulnerability encourages you to rid yourself of these incredible inhibitors.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley. Rick is the pastor of Donald Miller and he spoke at Catalyst '06 back in October. I've never had the chance to meet him but I like his ideas of living out the Kingdom through his church and in his everyday life. He wrestes with the complexity of living as a follower of Christ in todays world and wrestles with the idea of money, pain, and being willing to look outside of our western christianity box.

His last little bit of the book sums it up best. He says it's almost as if there are two gospels of Jesus we read about in the NT. There is the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus. The gospel about Jesus refers to personal salvation and faith in him alone for salvaiton. the gospel of Jesus is the stuff he did to redeem his current culture. Liberal churches embrace the gospel of Jesus while conservative churches embrace the gospel of Jesus. Problem is both are true and need to be lived out but living this out provides a tension. His church, Imago Dei, tries to live out this tension.

4 of 52: 52 books is going to a pretty daunting task for this year. I'm up for the challenge but any book that decides to kick my butt is going to throw off my whole plan. But the goal is not the point the great quality books I'm going to read is the point.

Acknowledgements: My favorite part to read of any book is the acknowledgements. After having read something of the author's heart I like to hear who influenced him. Simply names like Jeanne, Chris, Tom, occasionaly an exotic name like Celestion but just names. I try to decide who will be on my acknowledgements page.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Name Game: This morning Johnny and I met for our regular monday meeting. We went to Starbucks like we normally do and it was crazy crowded. We ordered our drinks and thought a table would open up but it never did. After standing around for a few minutes we realized it wasn't looking good so we left. There are a few other coffee shop options so we opted for Downtown Portsmouth- The Daily Grind.

Went in and ordered our coffee and asked the barista about his tattoos. I paid with my credit card and it says "see id" so I showed him id and he said no way my name is Nicholas David too. We agreed that was mutually cool and Johnny and I went to sit down. Off and on we talked to Nicolas, he was curious about Johnny's music and asked a little about our church.

We leave and go on about our days. I needed to get a little bit of work done later this afternoon so instead of going home I went to mecca...um I mean Starbucks and typed up my newsletter. In walks the guy we met this morning. It's packed and he asks if he can sit at my table. I was thrilled to say the least.

I shut my computer and he came back with his drink. He asked my story and I told him a little bit of my journey. There was a young woman sitting beside us and suddenly we all start talking about faith, me being a pastor, her lack of, and Nicolas' recent journey outside of christianity into other religions. It was a great dialogue that went on for well over an hour.

I had the opporunity to share that what I believe was abolute truth and that faith is Jesus Christ is both hard to explain yet essential to salvation. I wasn't talking to convince them but I could tell that some of my words were new concepts for them. Concepts like the fact that man is inherently evil and that does seperate us from God therefore no matter how good their intentions on improving the world that morality is not the same as salvation.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus. Reading his books are always a challenge because while I admire him greatly and think he's great I have a hard time getting into his books. This one wasn't incredibly different but it was a good read. This is book 3 of 52. I've been able to stay on pace with my books goal. We'll see how this goes when/if I start coaching baseball and we get more into our launch phase.

Launch Phase: This sunday will be our final preview service. I'm excited and just got nervous about it last night. I find I spend so much of my time trying to make it all go down the date sneaks up on me. This time it's been locking down the location. I was getting a yes from everyone required but they were having a hard time communicating with each other to lock down our location.

Settle: God made it pretty clear to me this week and last that The Bridge Church wasn't going to be one that got going and then settled down into business as usual. I think it's always going to be this way. Which is fine with me but at the same time it was a realization God needed to bring me to and not something I was to decide for us.

I'm not even sure what this means. I think it means multiple locations, whether by choice or by force. It means that things are always going to go as we want and that we're going to need to remain flexible. There are great joys in this and there are great challenges. The first challenge is going to be communication and informing our people and our visitors where we're going before we go there whether it's trying something new in our services or someting else.

Video: We should have a new promo video up on here and ready for distribution in about a week or so. I'm having our service recorded this week to put into a dvd. I'm also working on getting our podcast up and running so people can listen before they visit to see if it's their style.

4 of 52: Next to read is This beautiful mess by Rick McKinley. I'm always looking for a good book to read so if you have any personal recommendations drop me a comment.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Everybody wants to go to heaven: To be honest I didn't know what to expect from this book. I knew it was written by David Crowder and Mike Hogan. I knew it was probably about death, heaven, or dying. But what I found was refreshing and honest. At times hard to read not because of the writing style but because of the content. If you've lost someone you know what I mean.

They speak from the heart because of all the loss they have experienced in their lives and most recently and tragically the death of Kyle Lake, their past at University Baptist in Waco, TX. If you don't remember he was the pastor that was electrocuted while in the baptismal.

I had the opportunity meet Kyle at Catalyst a few weeks before he died. I've mentioned it before on this blog but I really enjoyed his honesty in his answer to me and his grace that he extended an a fellow young pastor.

The irony of it all is the David Crowder Band had just released an album about death and how as Christians we have nothing to fear about death. At times they wanted to give up on the project and just put it to bed and let is rest but their pastor, Kyle Lake, encouraged them to proceed. He died about 2 months after the albums release.

Inside the book is a beautiful short story written in a format that I have never seen before. If you own a collison and heard the interview about the Lark then this book will shed some light on this subject. It's a heavy read but one worthwhile.

2 of 51

Up next: While on the theme of the soul I'm going with Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1 of 51: SiMPLE CHURCH by Tom Ranier and Eric Geiger. A great book about effective organization and programming within the church to maximixe the discipleship process.


Next up: Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die by David Crowder.

Love: On a separate note me and a friend were talking about love yesterday. He's worried because he's afraid he doesn't love his girlfriend. I told him that might be a problem. He said he's not sure if he loves her or not because he doesn't get that feeling. He says being with her makes too much sense. He thinks she's beautiful and enjoyable and she likes being with her but he wonders why "that feeling" isnt' there.

We talked about this and how we wonder if love changes as you grow up. Those crushes that keep you up at night in middle school. The girl that makes high school algebra worth going to. The reason you ever went to youth group. I wonder if that stuff fades away.

But that's not love. Love is deeper than that, more complex than that, more beautiful than that. It's harder but more worthwhile, it might not be as giddy but it's more passionate. I thinks that's what I was looking for Love is more passionate it should drive a man to do something he wouldn't normally do on a regular basis. It should stretch you and grow you.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Preview Service: Lately I find myself trying to find the words to articulate myself clear enough and find the words lacking everytime, so I don't try at all.

Today we had our first preview service. We started planting this church January 1, 2006. Today we had our first preview service (yeah I meant to say that twice). Our goal was to execute a service like we normally would but on a smaller scale than we're praying and hoping for. We had worship, a message, communication cards and even...a sermon outline and presentation slides.

Our goal was for 30-50 people. We had 50 people today! Simply amazing considering our launch team is currently at about 21 people. We will follow up with Bridge Link on Saturday and then another preview service on Sunday the 21st. Then Sunday February 11 is our big launch service. Our goal is to gain more people every service and perfect our follow up process as we lead into our discipleship process.

God is at work...here are a few pictures.

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Our tech guys...and our worship leader (Johnny on the right)

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Johnny leading worship. We're at the Hampton Inn.

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This is us our first worship service.

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Brandon and Kim

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's Time: Sunday is our first service. I'm excited! I keep thinking about the passage in Joshua when the Israelites are finally going to get to reach the promised land. They are crossing the Jordan and God tells Joshua to tell the people "consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you"! Amen to that!

One of the parts I'm looking forward to the most is to deliver the message I've prepared. I've made preparation a daily discipline and have been spending my first two hours of every work day studying the word and preparing messages for The Bridge. My prayer is that God reveals to me things that people need to hear.

I pray that lives are changed as a result of the Bridge. I hope I don't even begin to know what that statement means.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bad Health: Much to my chagrin I think Starbucks is bad for my health. Not so much the coffee but the fact that I keep having meetings here. I think the coffee smell in the air is drying out my throat and then I'm talking a lot and having to talk a little bit louder than usual. I think Starbucks is wreaking havok on my throat. I suppose I need to take a break from sitting in here for so long from now on.

Weather: It's 68 Degrees outside right now! You won't hear me complaining.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

24K: October 2005 I was informed that I was required to raise 12K a year of outside financial support. I wrote my newsletters to raise prayer and financial support hoping that we'd reach 12k for for '06. Then God started talking to me. It was pretty clear that God wanted me to strive to raise 24k not just 12k.

The funny thing about these is that when God asks me to do things like these I'm not always promised that he'll deliver but that he'll do amazing things just for acting out in faith.

So I did. Support was very strong all year up until September when things just started to slow down. I was fairly certain we would get close to our goal but not quite reach it. When December came we were at about $21,500 and I was fairly certain we weren't going to make it but I was amazed at how much God had brought in so far.

Today I got the final report for 2006- $24.361!

Simply amazing!

Baby Rylee: Much to everyone's surprise Audrie gave birth this morning. Rylee weighs in at 5lbs 5oz and is doing well. Congrats to Audrie and Jeremy!

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year: We spent the New Year at our house with friends (some of the best friends we could ask for!). We watched the Bears game, played some games...of which the ladies got completely destroyed in battle of the sexes. After Kristy reads this she's going to make some comment attacking my masculinity but that's simply because she's upset that she lost. It was simple, small and a great night.

2007: I'm setting a couple of goals for 2007. Brandon keeps asking me what my goals are for 07 and I keep giving him a dumb look. So at his prompting here are a few of my goals.

To read 52 books
To lose 52 lbs
To meet 520 new people this year
and see 52 of them come to a Bridge worship service

I would also like to be intentional about reading through the Bible

As a church we will strive to see 52 people make a decision to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.
(invest and invite)