Friday, September 30, 2011

Followers vs. Fans

Great blog by Brad Lomeninck


Follower vs. Fan.Is there a difference?
1. Followers are committed. Fans can be fickle.
2. Followers trust their leader. Fans trust in their leader only when it benefits them.
3. Followers want a vision. Fans want a show.
4. Followers ask “what have i done for you?” lately. Fans ask “what have you done for me lately?”
5. Followers are in for the long term. Fans are in for the short term.
6. Followers have an intrinsic connection; it’s not about wearing a t-shirt. Fans have an extrinsic connection; it’s ALL about wearing a t-shirt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook Changed

I see Facebook changed again. People are very upset again. Some are threatening to leave and go to Google+. I guess that's not change. Leaving one social network and going to a completely different one. I've been thinking today about how this really seems to go with what happens in the church. Many people don't like change there either. But as I think about discipleship, isn't at the root of the discipleship process change? We love to sing Amazing Grace - I once was blind but now I see, I once was lost but now I'm found. That's all about change. We are invited by Jesus to leave our old life and follow Him. That's change. I love change. I also know I need to be changed - transformed. I think you like change too, you change your underwear everyday! Changes do make us uncomfortable, but without change, well, I'm thankful I'm not like I used to be. Give the changes to Facebook a chance, I bet you will catch on pretty quick to what is different. In six months when it changes again you will be amazed at how you want it to go back to the "old" way - yeah, the change we are in right now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5 Levels of Leadership

I can't wait until John Maxwell's next book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, is released. Here's John's latest blog about this book:

The 5 Levels of Leadership is almost here, and I’m excited. This is my best material, and it’s been tested and proven for over 30 years. I know the 5 Levels work.

Here on the blog, I’ve been going over the levels, and this week it’s time for Level 3: Production.

But before I get into the definition and value of production in a leader’s life, I want to clarify how the levels work. Remember the graphic? The 5 Levels are like a building – all the higher levels rest on the lower ones. Every leader must pass through every level to get to the next one. Level 2 builds on Level 1. You can’t be a Level 3 leader until you’ve mastered Level 2: Permission. But once you’ve built a relationship with your people, you’re ready to focus on producing results.

The Production level is where leadership really takes off and goes to another level. Production qualifies and separates true leaders from people who merely occupy leadership positions. Good leaders always make things happen. They get results. They can make a significant impact on an organization. Not only are they productive individually, but they also are able to help the team produce. This ability gives Level 3 leaders confidence, credibility, and increased influence.

No one can fake Level 3. Either you’re producing for the organization and adding to its bottom line (whatever that may be), or you’re not. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, noted, “The outstanding leaders of every age are those who set up their own quotas and constantly exceed them.” That is a good description of Level 3 leaders. They are self-motivated and productive. As a result, they create momentum and develop an environment of success, which makes the team better and stronger.

Another benefit of leadership on Level 3 is that it attracts other highly productive people. Producers are attractive to other producers. They respect one another. They enjoy collaborating. They get things done together. That ultimately creates growth for the organization.

Leaders can get to Level 1 for an almost endless number of reasons: They show promise. They have connections. They play politics. They have seniority. The organization is desperate. You name it, and someone has probably become a leader because of it. Leaders who are naturally good with people or who take pains to learn people skills can move up to Level 2. But some people never move up from Level 2 Permission to Level 3 Production. Why? They can’t seem to produce results. When that is the case, it’s usually because they lack the self-discipline, work ethic, organization, or skills to be productive. However, if you desire to go to higher levels of leadership, you simply have to produce. There is no other way around it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Believe in You

It all started with a Father who believed in His Son.

Mark 1:9-11, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”

Jesus began His public ministry with affirmation. Following God's public affirmation of Jesus came temptation. I believe this continues to be true for you and me. As we hear God's voice and we respond in obedience, Satan is going to try to take us off track.

After Jesus remained true to God in the face of temptation He then begins to invite others to join Him in fulfilling God's mission for His life. When we come through on the other side of temptation we have the invitation to join God where He is already at work around us.

The great thing is we get to do this with each other. I believe we are all called to be a spiritual mother or a spiritual father to someone else and I believe we all need a spiritual mother or a spiritual father in our lives. This is the model that Jesus used with the disciples and that Paul used in the early church. It's biblical. It works. We should do it too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leadership Is Dead




I recently finished reading Leadership Is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It by Jeremie Kubicek. I was originally introduced to Jeremie at the Chick-fil-a Leadercast in May. He is the founder and CEO of GiANT Impact.




I have to admit I wanted to read the book based on the title. It intrigued me to see what a CEO of a Christian based organization would write about leadership.




He gives an action plan for making leadership come alive in you:




  1. Give trust to become trustworthy.


  2. Become credible, not just smart.


  3. Be intentional in your influence.


  4. Break through your walls of self-preservation.


  5. Pursue relationship before opportunity.


  6. Give yourself away.


  7. Become significant in your impact.


I loved Jeremie's transparency in his stories and how he wove his action plan into his life's experiences. Good stuff!

End Malaria Day

Today from Seth Godin...

In fact, it costs double the standard amount.

Over the last few months, alert readers of the Domino Project blog have gotten a ton of free ebooks, each a bestseller, each worth reading and sharing.

You don’t owe us anything for that. The exchange was obvious–your attention and goodwill and willingness to share made it worth the author and the sponsor giving a free ebook to you.

No, you don’t owe us anything.

But you do owe the kids something. The kids around the world who die every single day from malaria. For no good reason other than a lack of a malaria net.

Today, 61 amazing authors (and me) are publishing an important new book, a book about great work and finding insight and making a difference. It’s a bargain at $20 for the Kindle edition and $25 for the paperback (international pricing and availability varies, as always).

But of course, there are plenty of great books to choose from. You probably own a few books you haven’t read yet. The fact that this is a great book is not why you should buy a copy right now.

You should buy a copy because today is End Malaria Day, and because we’re donating $20 from the sale of every copy in any format to Malaria No More. In fact, we never even see the money. The writers, the designers, the promoters and the Domino Project all worked for free for months to bring this book to you, so you could step up and save someone’s life.

Will you do that?

The little voice says: But what if they don’t? What if your readers become skeptical, I say to myself. What if they hesitate or don’t come through? Then I relax and realize that this just isn’t going to happen. You care too much. Thank you for that.

[One other thing you could do: spread the word. If you forward this note to just 25 people (and tweet it), it'll be worth more than you can imagine. Thank you.]

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Books that Have Hit My Radar Screen

Here are some books that have popped up on my radar screen in the last week that I am adding to my "to be read" list.

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris
The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership by Steven B. Sample
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
Rework by Jason Fried
Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina
A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
Transformational Church by Ed Stetze and Thom Rainer
Breaking the Fear Barrier by Tom Reiger

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gather the Church

Why do we gather as the church? Yes, we gather to worship our heavenly Father. We gather in biblical small groups to love, encourage, and hold each other accountable. We gather in other ministry environments to walk along side of each other, and we gather to serve together. But the reality is we can gather in all of these environments and not experience spiritual growth or maturity as disciples of Jesus. You or I could be in any or all of these environments and not engage and nothing will happen.

I am training for a race next month. I run three or four times a week. Sometimes I run long distances of 18-20 miles, sometimes I run mostly hills, sometimes I run for speed. All of this is done to prepare myself for my race. No one can train for me. I love it when my friends run with me, but only I can put in the miles. No one would ever think to have someone else do the training for them. And no one would think that they can do no training and then run the race.

It's the same way with our faith journey. We are on a journey to become fully devoted followers of Jesus (See 2 Peter 1:5-9). Hebrews 5:14 says we are to train ourselves, well, more accurately, it says the mature are constantly training themselves. They don't wait for someone else to train them or feed them. They know the responsibility is theirs.

So why do we gather as the church? One of the key reasons is to be equipped so that we can learn how to train ourselves as mature believers (See Ephesians 4:11-13). Are you training or are you expecting someone else to do to it for you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote to Ponder

This afternoon I am thinking and wrestling with this quote from James MacDonald...

"The purpose of the church of Jesus Christ is not to reach people, or feed the poor or any of those important 'by products.' The purpose of the church is to elevate and honor God's great Son in the minds and hearts of those who gather in His name. Period."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

20th Anniversary



This is where Kelli and I are going to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We will be staying with Don and Suzanne Rumbaugh in Honduras at the Hospital Loma de Luz.


I love my wife!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Doubt



This past weekend Pastor Dave continued his Survivor series by talking about Doubt. There were two lines from his message that were home runs for me.


The first was in the discussion of Mark 9:14-24. Pastor Dave said that the man didn't doubt that Jesus could heal his son, he doubted he would do it for him. Wow! I cannot remember a time that I doubted the power of God. But that statement really pushes me to think about how many times I have doubted if God would do something for me. I know I will be thinking and praying on that one for a good while.


The second line from Pastor Dave was when he said, "Faith isn't the absence of doubt, but choosing to trust." I needed to hear that as I wrestled with the above statement. As a disciple of Jesus I can't know and understand everything, but I can choose to trust, even when I don't know or understand. That choice is mine. No one else can make that choice for me. That is very comforting on one side and very challenging on the other side.


I love Pastor Dave! I am so thankful he continues to pour God's truth into our lives at Charter Oak Church.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be a Finisher

Great blog by Brad Lomenick...

I love people who get things done. Who execute. Who make it happen. Who finish.

Of all the traits of people on my team and of people I work with, for, alongside and in partnership with, the “finisher” trait always is one of the top at the list. When it comes to hiring new employees, I want a finisher. It is the #1 trait related to work ethic that I look for in a new hire.

In today’s “free agent” culture, almost anyone can be an “idea guy.” There is no lack of new ideas, new concepts, a new pithy word, a new organization, a new startup idea, or a new perspective. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And I get pitched constantly on a brand new concept or startup or idea that I know will never make it to the finish line because the person pitching me is not someone who can get it done.

Great teams move ideas from concept to completion. And to do that, you have to have finishers on your team. The folks who are intrinsically wired to make things happen, and bulldog their way to the finish line. The team members who find joy in checking things off the list. But not just a task machine. Finishing is not just about completing tasks. What matters is whether you can carry the ball all the way down the field and cross the finish line, running over the goal line into the end zone.

How many projects are sitting in “idle” mode for you right now? Are you still “working” on that same idea from a couple of years ago?

Take a moment and think about who that is on your team. If you don’t have someone in this role, go find them immediately. This is incredibly important if you are the leader- you have to have someone on your team in whom you have ultimate confidence that if you hand them a project, they will get it done… and without your constant management of them. The answer can’t constantly be “we’re still working on it….”. That is an excuse for either being lazy or unfocused or in the wrong role.

For our team here at Catalyst, it is imperative that everyone ultimately plays the finisher role. Now some have to more than others, but no one can only be the “idea” guy. Everyone is required to execute and own projects from start to finish. It’s a non-negotiable, and deep seated part of our culture. We take incredible pride in being able to take a concept and turn it into a finished project. This is a distinctive part of our culture and DNA here. We’re serious about it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

His Wife

"I find that too many people believe they can love Jesus and hate His wife. They claim to have a great love for the Lord, but they hold a great disdain for the church. We must recognize that this instrument, this vessel, this imperfect bride is God's choice to spread His 'multi-facited wisdom,' so that His glory might be shown in the world. Yes, sometimes she is a mess, but she is still God's choice. We are God's choice."
- Ed Stetzer

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Jubilee




We're excited to welcome Allegheny String Band to our Summer Jubilee on Saturday, July 9. We hope you'll join us for this wonderful evening celebrating 50 years as a church family! Please RSVP to cjonczak@charteroakumc.org

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Adventure of a Lifetime



My son, Caleb, is heading off on the adventure of a lifetime. He will be spending nearly three weeks touring Europe starting this Saturday. He will fly into London, England, then take the speed train to Paris, France, then on to Berlin, Germany, and finishing up in Rome and Venice, Italy.


I am so proud of Caleb and what God is doing in him and through him. I can only imagine what God is preparing him for as a disciple of Jesus entering into his sophomore year of high school.


I would ask that you join Kelli and me in praying for Caleb over the next three weeks - that he has an incredible adventure, he stays healthy and safe, and returns home with a broader understanding of who he is as a follower of Jesus and a child of God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 8 - #Trust30


Five Years

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

What would I say to the person I was five years ago? Here's what's most important in order - your relationship with God through Jesus, your relationship with Kelli, your relationship with Caleb and Abby, and your personal integrity. Work at each everyday. Be faithful in the small things.

What would I say to the person I will be in five years? Invest in the next generation of leaders. When I was a young leader in my 20s and 30s I wish I would have had someone who intentionally poured into me. Be the answer to some young leader's prayer.

Day 7 - #Trust30


Dare

Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?


The one thing that is a goal that I never thought possible for me to accomplish is running a full marathon. I was a sprinter in track. I hated to run more than the 400 meter dash. Now I want to accomplish something that takes time, discipline, and commitment. This week I am starting to train for my first full marathon that I will run on September 24 in Akron, Ohio.

The schedule is set, the goal is before me, I will fight the resistance!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 6 - #Trust30


Come Alive

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.

Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

If I had one week to live, I wouldn't do much different. I would pray more. I would pray for my family and my church family. I wouldn't hold back my words. I wouldn't put things off. When life is shortened, the intensity is ramped up. On my "To Stop" list would be frustration. I hate being frustrated.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 5 - #Trust30


Travel

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

I would love to go to Australia. Every summer Kelli and I go somewhere, just the two of us. This year it is Honduras. One day, probably after the kids graduate, we will make it to Australia.

Day 4 - #Trust30


Post It

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

My biggest challenge at the moment is trusting God through the summer months as many people (20% in past years) disappear from worship at Charter Oak Church.

To turn that into a question...How can I trust God in practical ways over the summer months?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 3 - #trust30


One Strong Belief

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

These are great questions. It's what sets us apart as unique from everyone else in some shape or form.

I believe that most people in this region are happy, content, and comfortable with where they are in their lives. I believe that level of comfort has created spiritual apathy. Most people, in my opinion, aren't passionate about very much outside their own bubble. I believe this apathy can only be cured by a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus that is focused outward towards others. I don't believe the church is a building. I believe the church is a surrendered group of people fulfilling the Great Commission. I give my life to this everyday.

Influence

“Becoming obsessed with what people think about me is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about me.”
-Craig Groeschel

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 2 - #Trust30


Today

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

My sentence for today:

Be who God created you to be - gloriously messy, abundantly generous, extravagantly loving.

Day 1 - #Trust30


15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

If I had 15 minutes to live I would set the timer for one minute, write one sentence to Kelli, one to Caleb, one to Abby, and one to my Charter Oak Church family, then I would go hold my family as tight as I could.

My sentences...

To Kelli - I love you! Thanks to you I know Jesus, there is no greater gift you could give me.

To Caleb - I love you! Be a man after God's heart and love courageously.

To Abby - I love you! Pursue Jesus with everything you are and make Him known.

To my Charter Oak Church family - I love you! live beyond the walls of our building and pursue the mission to bring people to Jesus and become more like Him in every aspect of your life.

To everyone else - Don't wait to truly live, don't hold back your love, make the most of every moment. This isn't our home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ambition and Arrogance

Just read this from Pastor Steven Furtick, good stuff...

There’s a word many Christians are afraid of. It’s almost a bad word. If you have it, many people assume it means you’re self-serving. Power hungry. But most of all, arrogant.

I’m talking about ambition.

It’s almost like if you want to excel at something or do big things with your life or organization, then you must have a God-complex. An all too elevated sense of self-importance.

There’s no denying that that’s definitely true in the case of some people. But I also fear that our fear of ambition is severely limiting other people who have been called to do great things for God. Why should we put a cap on their potential because some people can’t put a cap on their pride?

I’ve seen too many pastors settle for reaching hundreds when God called them to reach thousands. I’ve seen too many talented businessmen stop short of the impact God had called them to make on their field. All because they feared being thought of as ambitious.

So let’s clear this up once and for all: nowhere in the Bible is ambition condemned. Selfish ambition is definitely warned against. But ambition for the sake of God’s glory is not only condoned, it’s commended. It’s a required asset for anyone wanting to rise above the mass of men and do something extraordinary.

Ambition led Noah to build the ark. David to expand the borders of Israel. Solomon to build the Temple. Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Paul to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

I wonder if people accused them of being arrogant? Maybe. But then again, if you’re never accused of being arrogant, it’s probably a sign that you’re not being ambitious enough. You’re dreaming too small. Your goals are too easily attainable.

Let me free you: it’s ok to want to be the best at what you do. It’s ok to want to achieve as much as you can with your life for the sake of the God who gave it to you. I sincerely doubt God is going to look at you at the end of your life and say, “you did too much for me.” But I do sincerely believe that God is going to look at many people and say you were too “humble” for your own good. And the good of countless people you could have impacted if you had a little more ambition.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that ambition is synonymous with arrogance. Godly ambition is what God uses to do incredible things in our world.

If that makes you look arrogant, don’t back down from what God has called you to do. Instead mourn for the people who are living so far beneath their potential that anything greater must be arrogance.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unfair

When life is unfair remember...

"You don't have to understand everything to believe in something." - Andy Stanley

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Mind Dump



I feel like I am on a steep learning curve right now. We hosted the Chick-fil-a Leadercast last week and I have been watching last year's Catalyst Conference over the last two weeks. So much to process and take in right now. I'm mining for the gold nuggets that God is seeking to infuse into my leadership.



Been wrestling lately with the question - Am I delegating tasks or authority? When I delegate tasks I'm raising up followers. When I delegate authority I am raising up leaders. I say I want leaders, but do my actions demonstrate and lead to where I want to go? I'm not always liking what I am hearing as I am wrestling with God on this one.



God lead me to Psalm 42 today. Wow, I needed to read that more than I realized.



Kelli and I have been invited to spend some time this summer in Honduras with Don and Suzanne Rumbaugh. I really want to go, but for all the right reasons. Listening to God on that one.



Interesting reading on the state of our denomination and the "Call to Action" to become vital congregations. I wonder if this will merely be a report or if it will truly turn into a call to action that will lead us to make disciples of Jesus Christ? My commitment has been and always will be to be obedient to God. This has put us into the category of a vital congregation, today. But every church on that list, including us, are only three or four decisions away from no longer being vital and obedient to God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Jubilee


Sunday, May 22 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Join us as we turn back time in celebration of our 50th anniversary with an evening of music under the direction of former music director, Alan Lomicka.

Enjoy hearing your old favorites sung by Charter Oak Church's choir and musical solos on piano, flute and organ followed by an old fashioned pie social.

Childcare will be provided. Please RSVP. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chick-fil-a Leadercast


Coming to Charter Oak Church on Friday, May 6!


Your actions mirror it. Your attitude reflects it. And it's so much more than what you say.

It is your leadership voice, and it is how you make a lasting impact.

Your leadership voice is how you inspire greatness and reinforce resolve. It can strengthen a fragile dream, or dash a sliver of hope. It alone can serve as the tipping point, reshaping one's character or redirecting another's path.

Your voice is a voice of change, and change creates new possibilities. That's why the purpose of Voices of Change is to help you demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership.

Are you ready to develop your leadership voice? Then learn more about Voices of Change and make plans now to attend the 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast.Your actions mirror it. Your attitude reflects it. And it's so much more than what you say.

It is your leadership voice, and it is how you make a lasting impact.

Your leadership voice is how you inspire greatness and reinforce resolve. It can strengthen a fragile dream, or dash a sliver of hope. It alone can serve as the tipping point, reshaping one's character or redirecting another's path.

Your voice is a voice of change, and change creates new possibilities. That's why the purpose of Voices of Change is to help you demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership.

Are you ready to develop your leadership voice? Then learn more about Voices of Change and make plans now to attend the 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast.

Join us on May 6, 2011 for the Chick-fil-A® Leadercast, and learn how to use your voice to better your community or bring hope to your workplace. The Chick-fil-A® Leadercast is the can’t-miss leadership event on May 6, 2011, broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, GA, direct to 75,000 influencers around the world. Become a voice of change as you glean wisdom from a lineup of the world’s best leaders.

NOTE: Ticket includes access into event, lunch, and the event notebook.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011



Saturday, April 23, 2011



Friday, April 22, 2011

The Time In-Between

I need the time in-between. I need the time in-between Palm Sunday and Easter. I need it because I don't want cheap grace. It is all too easy to jump from weekend to weekend and miss out on the depth and breadth of the passion of Jesus.

I need to hear that on Monday Jesus went into the temple and declared, "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” God's house matters to Him and it matters to me. It is a place of prayer - deep intimacy with God. It is a place where there better not even be a hint of injustice or prejudice.

I need to hear that on Tuesday Jesus did some of the most intense truth telling of His life - signs of the end of the age, the widow's offering, paying taxes, and the parables of the wedding banquet, the tenants, and the two sons. It was also the day Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver.

Scripture does not describe anything Jesus did on Wednesday. I don't need to speculate. Scripture stands on it own authority. It doesn't need my help.

I need to read that on Thursday Jesus made Himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant as described in John 13:1-17...

1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

By washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus enters into an intimate relationship with the disciples that mirrors the intimacy of his relationship with God. It is an intimacy that discomforts Peter, because it overturns all his conventional assumptions about the role Jesus lives. Yet it is only by accepting Jesus in the surprising role of loving host and intimate servant that one has a “share” with him, that you can receive the love of God incarnate. Jesus asks nothing of the disciples other than they place themselves completely in his hands. That they allow their relationship with him be defined by God’s love and God’s love alone.

The Last Supper – Mark 14:12-25

12On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

13So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

16The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

17When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me."

19They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"

20"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

23Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

24"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."

“This is my body” “This is my blood.” Jesus is not being literal, but in some holy, mysterious way Jesus is pointing to his death. The first Lord’s Supper was a remembrance of the Passover – celebrating deliverance from slavery, now we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a deliverance from sin by Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus invites us to join with him into a new covenant. The old covenant people went through priests and made sacrifices to gain access to God. With the new covenant offered to us through a relationship with Jesus we have immediate, personal access to God.

Garden of Gethsemane – Mark 14:32-42

32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Here’s what we learn in Gethsemane:

· Spiritual battles do occur

· Loneliness is felt

· Honesty is expressed

· Submission is required

· Strength is received

I need the time in-between to right myself with God, to not cheapen the grace that has been given to me. Tonight we read of the crucifixion of Jesus. Darkness. Torture. Sacrifice. Death.

What does this Holy Week mean for you? Do the last days of Jesus change you and open your eyes to all that was done on your behalf? What does Jesus mean to you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Enough

I was reminded today that He really is enough. Can you get your head and heart wrapped around that promise? Sometimes I can't, honestly, most days I don't.

No matter what I am going through, no matter what someone may say about me, no matter how difficult the decision, really - no matter what, He really is enough.

Here's the promise - Romans 8:28-39...
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”


37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scriptural Way of the Cross


First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:36-41

Second Station: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. Mark 14: 43-46

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth." Luke 22: 66-71

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by St. Peter

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly. Matthew 26: 69-75

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pontius Pilate

The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas and handed Jesus over to be crucified. Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar and Crowned with Thorns

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. John 19: 1-3

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19: 6, 15-17

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mark 15: 21

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!' and to the hills, ‘Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" Luke 23: 27-31

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."] Luke 23: 33-34

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23: 39-43

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Beloved Disciple

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. Matthew 27: 57-60

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Man in Jamaica


Hey Americans

I just did my laundry for the last time by hand. The little old Jamaican lady that helps me with it can hardly get around, but I'm convinced her arms are stronger than mine with the way she scrubs those clothes. I definitely won't ever take having a washing machine for granted again!

Since I last wrote, we built six homes for community members in need as well as planting foundations and moving rocks for future home construction. The fish farm's filters, plumbing and pump are all implemented. As soon as the tanks are filled with water, there will be shrimp and tilapia growing that the community can eat or sell to other markets. We also helped with the construction of a community center that will house changing rooms for the nearby soccer and cricket field, a general purpose room to hold wedding receptions or other community events and an office for Won by One's Jamaican pastor, Clinton. Clinton is a real asset to the community.

He is also a cultural bridge to the Jamaicans. Won by One plans to be active in Harmons for a long time, but it's better to be raising up local leaders than to stay dependent on the Americans that come down. Clinton is not only concerned about the spiritual needs of the community but also their economic ones. He recently worked with a bank in a neighboring town to set up savings accounts for all the workers. This is huge in that most of the people of Harmons have never had any sort of bank account.

Last week and this, there have been no American visitors. This has given me much freedom to be out in the community with no particular agenda. I like to walk around talking to people about whatever's on their mind and seeing if they need help with any projects. I was also able to get to the infirmary for a full day, something I've always wanted to do. When Americans come, we take them there for about an hour and a half, but there are just too many residents to visit. If these people don't get any other visitors throughout the week, that's less than 1% of their time that they get to see someone else other than the nurses that are already too overworked to talk to them. My travel to and from the infirmary was quite interesting. It took two taxis and a flatbed truck to get in and three taxis to get home. Once you ride in a Jamaican taxi, you won't ever think an American taxi driver is crazy again!

I attached a picture of my friend Mutta. It's from my first weekend here, so I'm a little tanner now, but he's about the same color. We like to listen to music, play basketball and just talk. He told me about how he got saved a few years ago but won't go to church, since he's not baptized. When I asked him why he wouldn't just get baptized, he told me he didn't have nice enough clothes. After almost two months of talk on the subject, I finally got him over the Jamaican legalism enough to get into a church yesterday morning. Being in the church isn't the most important thing, but to a young believer, it's pretty close. In the afternoon he told me he wished he could be there everyday. Pray for our relationship and his growing relationship with God.

I can't believe I only have two more weeks here. In some respects, I feel like my work here is just beginning. As far as construction goes, I've been able to be involved in the completion of many projects. As far as building relationships goes, I'm only now gaining the trust of some people and getting past small talk and into more substantial conversation. All I can hope for is a productive end of my time here and to get back soon. I have faith that there will be others coming after me that can continue the work I started.

Thanks for your continued support.

Greg

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Tide


I was listening to an interview with Seth Godin earlier this week. He shared the push back he is receiving from people to do things that are risky. They use the state of the economy as the excuse for not being bold and daring.


Seth responds by saying, "just because the tide is out it doesn't mean there is less water in the ocean."


I have been thinking about my attitude toward risk. I have been wrestling with how wide my bandwidth of trust and obedience is of God. Do I still believe this is God's church? Do I still believe this is God's vision? Do I believe it is up to me or up to God?


There is a church I follow closely that has declared that they are living under "the new normal." I like that mentality. I love that vision of the tide. I don't want to live out of fear. There isn't less water in the ocean. Yes, things are different, but our heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.


God has given our church a mission to reach out to those who are searching and equip believers to become fully devoted followers of Jesus. I am more committed to that mission than I have ever been in the six years I have been at Charter Oak Church. We are living into it with greater intentionality every day. We have laser beam intense focus to listen to God and walk obediently in the power of the Holy Spirit, together.


It's a great adventure!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Intentionality

"If we would only give the same amount of reflection to what we want out of life that we give to the question of what to do with two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days." - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Monday, March 21, 2011

Greater Things Are Yet to Come

LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
(Habakkuk 3:2)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prayer of St. Patrick

Today recognizes one of the great prayers of Christianity. Here it is:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.


I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom
;*
I bind unto myself today
.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin soul
s.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal roc
ks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my gu
ard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy po
wers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy retu
rning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and st
ranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ t
he Lord.