Friday, April 28, 2006

I was listening to Bill Hybels speak the other day about leadership, the gift of leadership, and the development of our leadership gift. Bill is the senior pastor at Willow Creek Community Church - a great teaching church north of Chicago. Here's what he said...
"What's your leadership development plan? Who's responsibility is it for a plan to be put together and for the plan to raise your leadership level up to the fullest potential? Who's responsibility is that? It's your responsibility. You have to take responsibility for the development of your leadership gift. It's something you'll stand before Christ some day and give a response to him about - he put a gift in you. He called you, Romans 12:8 - to develop it to the zenith of its potential, lead with all diligence, lead to the peak of your potential."

You are the leaders of Charter Oak Church. You make this place special. God has called you and gifted you to be leaders. Jesus will build the church, but he will do it through people like you. So what's your plan for developing your leadership gift? What are you reading - I would really like to know. What conferences are you attending, even work related. And here's one I never thought of but Hybels pointed out in his talk - what are you leading that is pushing you beyond where you are right now? If you are only leading in the places where you are comfortable, then you probably are not growing. Send me your answers, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Movie Trailer

This is a link to a short film trailer that is being put together to celebrate Kyle Lake's life.

Great Quote

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile." - Billy Sunday

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tracking What's Important

This morning I received an email from They have some book suggestions for me, just in case I want to make an order any time soon. They don't just randomly throw a handful of books at me. They don't just send me a list of what's on the best seller list. What they do is track what I have purchased in the past. Then they put my name together with all of the other people's names who have purchased that same book. Then they look for a pattern. If the same people who bought this one book also bought another book, then there must be some kind of connection between those people. So Amazon sent me a list of books that I might be interested in based on my previous purchases and the link made to people who also made those same book buys.

This makes me wonder about the connection for the church. Can we track what classes and events our people are attending? What if we started sending out emails to people suggesting up coming classes, small groups, or events that they might be interested in based on previous interest? This seems like such a simple idea to track what's important to every one of our people. If Amazon can do it for millions of people, can we do it for our congregation? I definitely think it's something to explore.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Rollercoaster

I am so blessed to be at Charter Oak Church. I can't imagine getting to do what I do any where else. How cool is it to be a part of a church that is growing and is becoming more and more known in the community. There is a buzz about what we are doing at our current location and an even bigger buzz about our new church.

It was awesome to have 6 families join us this past weekend as first time visitors. I met one family after one of our worship services and it was amazing to hear how they found their way here and what their response was after being here just one time.

It was also heart wrenching to see such a huge drop in attendance this past weekend after such a great Easter celebration. I'm still trying to work out in my head and heart what my reaction should be to this drop off. I don't know.

I am also dealing with the reaction of some people as I was speaking this weekend when I talked about some of the really tough things Jesus taught about forgiveness or the lack there of. I could see in some people's faces just a sense of disbelief that this was true. When I said that when we pray the Lord's Pray we are asking God to forgive us the same way we forgive other people, there were some jaws dropping. Then when I said that the parable of the king and the servant represents us and the way the king treated the unforgiving servant is the way God will treat us if we are unforgiving - there was one lady who looked like she was ready to walk out. God's word is sharp as a sword when it talks to us personally. Going deeper can be painful.

This past weekend I also was priviledged to witness the launching of our First Impressions Team and the training that went on with it. What a great display of a group of people who are gifted by God and passionate about a ministry. I've done all the reading on this ministry and went to the church that started it, but I was wowed by our people. You guys rock!

There are so many awesome things happening around here. There are also a handful of things that make does all of this come together and what is God trying to teach me? I'm spending a lot of time in prayer this week.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Morning QB 04/24/06

Here's this week's Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Collateral Damage (I preached)

Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35

Service Highlights: I started the message by telling the story of a dog who was leashed up to a park bench that he dragged around and caused a ton of collateral damage. Then I connected that story to being leashed up to unforgiveness and the damage it causes to ourselves and to our relationships. We heard some scripture that was very tough, like in the Lord's Prayer where we ask God to forgive us like we forgive others. When you think about it, that's really a tough prayer.

Stats: 477 in worship and 229 in Sunday school

Final Notes: Why the let down after Easter? I know it was a terrible rain storm, but to be reduced by 423 in worship seems crazy. My heart broke.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


After a great Easter weekend, I took some time off on Monday and somewhat on Tuesday. Monday was totally a family day. We just hung out and had fun. We even played Risk. Do you remember that game? We stopped playing after, I don't know how many hours, we realized that it would take almost a month to finish the game - it was a ton of fun (I lost)!

Tuesday we had our staff meeting, but we ended early and went for a tour of our new church. It was great seeing how far along they have come in the last week. It was the first trip down for many on the staff. After the tour, we went out to lunch to celebrate Pastor Dave's 60th birthday. We finished off the day by going to see a movie together - Take the Lead. I thought it would be a total chick flick, but I actually enjoyed it.

Now I am back to work - but not really. I have poison ivy in my eye. It is swelled shut and I can't really see all that well. So I am waiting for the doctor to call and see if there is anything that can be done.

Monday Morning QB 04/17/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Why Follow Jesus? (I preached)

Scripture: John 20:1-18

Service Highlights: It was Easter! What better highlight than that? We had some great music - Jonathan Cooper closed us out with a great song called "A Place Called Grace" - Way to go! We had lots of other music and I kicked off my series "Paid in Full" about the forgiveness of God.

Stats: 903 in worship + 133 in Sunday school

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Morning QB 4/10/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: A Life Saving Week (I Preached)

Scripture: Read through the Passion in Mark

Service Highlights: Yesterday was Palm Sunday. We changed things up a bit from previous years. We had a great deal of music and scripture reading, but I also spoke about the impact this week has on us as followers of Jesus and what impact we will have on those who do not have a church home. I gave everyone a Life Saver and challenged them to invite people to meet the ultimate Life Savior - Jesus. We closed with what I thought was one of the best dramas we have ever performed here - two guys talking about Jesus as they are cleaning up the streets after the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. It was perfect.

Stats: 622 in worship + 254 in Sunday school

Final Notes: Holy Week schedule:
Tuesday is the Meal in the Upper Room
Thursday is Communion
Friday is the Tenabrae Service

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

A Faith Deepening Prayer

I just read on another pastor's blog a prayer that he found from Sir Francis Drake. It's a powerful prayer that deepens faith just to utter the words.

"Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. When we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord."

Then I read today after being reminded by one of my friends, Ephesians 4:20, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Those are faith stretching words from Paul.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Monday Morning QB 4/3/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: The Life Giving Power of Hope (Dave Preached)

Scripture: 2 Kings 25:7-12 & Ezra 1:1-4

Service Highlights: This concludes the series "A Life that Makes God Smile." Dave looked at the exile of Israel. He brought it home for us in a very real way by exiling the last three rows of people out of the sanctuary for a time. Then we learned about joy in the midst of it all when we welcomed them back into the sanctuary, much like what it would have been like when the Israelites came home from exile.

Stats: 475 in worship + 171 in Sunday school

Final Notes: As we conclude the Old Testament Challenge, we enter Holy Week. We start with Palm/Passion Sunday, then during the week we have the Meal in the Upper Room on Tuesday, Communion on Thursday, Good Friday worship, then Easter weekend.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

It's Open!!

Starbucks is now officially open at Greengate Mall!

I love this coffee.

Learning from Mistakes

" Our wrong assumptions led to the best learning."
- Alex Lee, president, OXO

Mistake No. 1: All bagels are alike.
Mistake No. 2: You solve one problem but create another.
Mistake No. 3: Solving problems that people don't want solved.
Mistake No. 4: Thinking your done.

Read the Fast Company article.

The End of Old Testament Challenge

Pastor Dave just finished 36 weeks on the Old Testament. In today's message, he brought it all together.

I can't think of a better way to launch us into Holy Week starting next weekend. He has laid the foundation for who God is and who we are in relationship to Him. Now we get to take a very intense walk through the last week of Jesus' life.

Way to go Pastor Dave! You truly have a heart for seeing the people of Charter Oak Church experience the fullness of God. It is an honor to serve beside you.