Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thru the Bible

Today is the last day of the year and I just finished the last reading of Thru the Bible in a year. What a great journey it has been! I write and read a great deal about discipline. Pretty much everything I have come across says that great leaders have great discipline to do the things they are supposed to do day-in and day-out. This truth is becoming all the more clear to me. We all naturally gravitate toward entropy. I know I sure do.

When I made the decision to read through the Bible in a year I knew it was something that I needed to do on so many different levels. First, I had never read from cover to cover before. My grandmother, who I have always looked up to as a spiritual giant, talked often of the many times she read through the Bible cover to cover. Second, I wanted to have a new perspective of the totality of the Bible. Yes, I have read the entire Bible before, but going in order makes a difference. Third, I knew I needed to create some space on a daily basis to read God's word for no other reason than to just read His word. It is easy to just read the Bible for sermon or teaching preparation. I know I need more. Fourth, if I am going to be committed to being more disciplined in my life, what better place to start than the Bible. There were only two occasions that I got "behind" in my reading. However, I knew I was committed to doing this so I did the extra work to get caught up.

As leaders our foundation comes from our relationship with Jesus. Our character is to be one with his character. We learn about the character of Jesus through reading the Bible. If you are a leader you must add this discipline to your daily life.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Getting Started on My Reading List

A few weeks ago I posted here some of the books I hope to read in 2007. Well, I received four of those books and I'm excited to start reading. I am on vacation this week so I will be reading up a storm. I just finished One Thing: Boldly Pursuing All That Matters by Dwayne Roberts. Dwayne is a prayer missionary at the International House of Prayer (IHOP). I received this book a few months ago through my subscription to Relevant Network. I was glad to read the book, but it really didn't say too much. There was a ton on the experiential side of prayer, which was interesting, but not always true. I don't believe God wants us to seek an experience of Him, I believe God wants us to seek Him, no matter what. It was good to read something a little bit different than I normally would. That is going to be my theme for 2007 - reading more of a variety of books.

My next read is on my 2007 list - Momentum for Life: Sustaining Personal Health, Integrity, and strategic Focus as a Leader by Michael Slaughter. Thanks for the book Jen.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You have to read about this

I just found out that there is a Starbucks in Bloomington, Illnois that had an incredible thing happen in the drive thru. Go read it here...

Here's my question, who started this and then who stopped it? If it happened to you would you continue to give or would you just receive?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Other Interesting Statistics

The average attendance in worship in November was 638 people. In 2005 the average attendance in worship during November was 529. That is an increase of 109 people! Holy cow!

The giving through November for 2006 is $1,211,897.20. During the same time frame in 2005, it was $990,727.07. That is an increase of $221,170.13! Holy cow!

I wonder what God will do in December? Just as a little glimpse, we had over 1,100 people here last weekend! Holy God!

November Worship at a Glance

November 4/5 - Dave preached
640 in worship (4.9% increase from 2005)
273 in Sunday school (15.7% increase from 2005)

November 11/12 - Mark preached
599 in worship (20.3% increase from 2005
254 in Sunday school (1.6% increase from 2005)

November 18/19 - I preached
636 in worship (32.3% increase from 2005)
283 in Sunday school (40.5% increase from 2005)

November 25/26 - I preached
678 in worship (29.1% increase from 2005)
216 in Sunday school (9.6% increase from 2005)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Last night was our final Leadership and Servant Training gathering of the year. I walked away thinking to myself - I love the leaders of Charter Oak Church! We have the best, brighest, and Christ-centered leaders. It was awesome to lead a discussion looking at next year. It was inspiring to listen to our people dream God-size dreams for our church. I am blessed to be a part of what God is doing here and is going to continue to do through the people of Charter Oak Church. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Reminded Again - It's Not About Me

For about a half a second I got a big head yesterday. Fortunately, it was only about a half of a second. I was asking what our "numbers" were for this past weekend. When I say "numbers" I mean what was the attendance and offering. You know those really easy things to track, but may not mean nearly as much as most people think they do.

Anyway, the offering was about 3 times as much as it typically is. The half a second thought that ran through my mind was, "wow, I taught a message on giving and people responded in a huge way." Then it dawned on me that we took the offering before I spoke, and most people write their checks long before they get on our campus. So I was reminded once again that it is not about me, but about God working through His people in profound ways.

I'm not saying that I was disappointed with the offering. I'm saying that it is so important for me to be reminded from time to time that this call that has been placed on my life by God is not about me and all about Him.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Game Show

It just hit me that there was a game show related to my last post - Truth or Consequences. I looked it up, here's the wikipedia information on the show.

Holy Boldness

I have been reading and following a pastor from South Carolina for about a year now. His name is Perry Noble. He is the pastor of New Spring Community Church. I love reading his blog because he has this holy boldness about him. He is not afraid to tell the truth in love. I just subscribed to his podcasts so I am going to start listening to his sermons as well.

This past weekend I was so concerned about how people would react to the way that I taught about giving. I'm not saying that I should preach like Perry, but at the same time I do ask myself if I could really say it the way I want to say it without worrying about the fallout, what would I say?

I often wonder if I should teach with more boldness, but maybe that's not the right word. I seek to convey God's truth to our people in a way that makes them think and causes them to make a decision about their life now and what their life would be like if they lived out what I was teaching. What I don't do, and what I think Perry does, is teach God's truth, but he also lets his people know the consquences of not living in that truth. I will be honest with you, I tend to shy away from the consquences aspect. I desperately want people to choose the character of Jesus because they love Him and have completely given themselves to their relationship with Him. I don't like ultimatums. I love relationship building. I truly believe that lives are transformed by love not fear.

No Heat

Thanks to the storms that ripped through the area on Friday we don't have any heat in the office wing this morning. Do you know how cold it is outside? Well, there is some difference in the office wing, but it doesn't seem like very much. So I am in Common Ground (our connecting space) catching up on some reading.

I just finished my series called Deal or No Deal: Making Decisions that Honor God. Because this weekend was the beginning of Advent, we celebrated the Lord's Supper together. I don't know if it is my Catholic background, but having Communion at each of our worship gatherings does something deep within me. I always feel like I have laid it all out there and made myself completely vulnerable to God. This weekend was especially powerful for me because I was speaking on giving in such a way that we have to completely trust God.

I am amazed at the human psyche, maybe I should write that I am befuddled by my psyche. As I posted before I was really wrestling with God about what to say to our congregation about our proper response to God when it comes to our income. I will admit that I want to speak the truth of God into the hearts of our people, but I want everyone to really like it.

After each worship service I had a number of people say very encouraging things to me about my message. Then, when I got home Sunday afternoon, my son blew me away. He said, "Dad, your sermon touched my heart today. Next week I am going to give God all of my money." Sometimes God just works in such profound ways that warms a daddy's heart like nothing else. It was awesome! My psyche was flying high and mighty. Then a few hours later I received an email that in essence said, "You blew it today." The rest of the day and through the night that email has haunted me. I don't know why. It even consumed much of my prayer time this morning as I tried to listen to God. What am I supposed to take away from this weekend?