Friday, December 29, 2006

excited to see his dad

I pulled into Taco Bell the other day to meet my Keri and kids when my boy Kross saw me through the window. He was waving and excited to see me. Money can't buy the excitement of a little boy who can't wait to see his daddy. I am sooo blessed. It is a scary to think that much of how this little boy turns out, his self worth and much of how he will view life will come from me and his mom. What am I teaching with my actions, my words and my life? What are you teaching?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fear of the unknown

We just got back from our Christmas vacation last night at 1:30am. 3 kids, 1 minivan, 12 hours....need I say more? We had a good time seeing Keri's family and eating alot of food....and Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream....smothered in chocolate syrup. I literally gained 2-3 pounds! Now I am a whopping 103...Ha! Anyway, we stayed with Keri's grandmother, who has a big house where me and the boys played with our new light sabers (Keri even got me one!) I would hide and they would walk slowly down the hallways and I would jump out of closets, doors, and around corners and "scare the mess" out of them. (Alabama term I picked up) The look of fear on their faces and the screams of panic was priceless. But they kept coming back for more. My oldest would make his little brother go first as they tried to find "Daddy Darth Vader".
I think there is a part in us that needs to live with some uncertainty. Without some fear, risk or uncertainty, we become bland and stale. What are some areas that you need to risk in? What have you been putting off, because of fear? Go ahead, grab your light saber, your little brother and take a trip down that hallway. I dare you!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

real vs fake Christmas trees

To say Real or Fake when it comes to your Christmas tree is like any other great debate of the century. It is right up there with Coke vs Pepsi, margarine or butter, dog or cat and PC vs Mac. The fake tree is so much easier to manage. It never needs water, is always perfectly symmetrical and doesn't have to be disposed of after Christmas. But it is plastic! The real tree takes alot more up keep, which is kind of like our relationships. If they are superficial and no one is allowed to get close, then they can be plastic. But as we get closer to others and them to us, we notice all the imperfections and have to strive at making them work. It takes honesty and guts to be real, but to live life deep, it must be done. It's kind of like walking in the house and breathing in that REAL pine scent.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas lights

I think it is amazing at how much effort we put into decorations! This is a house on a street near my house that is hooked to 12 others with the timing of their lights flickering to the beat of the music, which can be heard through a radio station. People line up for several streets just to drive through this neighborhood. It is crazy! I think that is great as long as we don't forget the reason for the celebration. Sometimes I feel like Jesus gets shoved to the background at His own birthday party! May we never forget the why behind the what. With our boys we actually have a party for Jesus. We will make some cup cakes and sing happy birthday to Jesus. Santa, presents, lights, trees, and Christmas parties are all cool as long as we keep perspective and keep the manger at the forefront. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


In a few minutes my family and I will load the minivan and travel 12 hours to Alabama with 3 small kids! If that doesn't fire you up, nothing will. I'm sure we will run all the emotions that accompany a roadtrip. We will go from laughter to singing to screaming to crying and we've only just begun. But this is what makes life, life. I will try hard to be intentional, to slow down and enjoy my family and look for ways to make some cool memories. Then by bringing those memories up to my kids, I cement them in their minds to look back and reflect on the good times we had as a family. What memories are you making and what things can you intenitonally do to make some cool memories. How about family or personal traditions? Why not create some. Remember, much of life is how you see it and what you make it. Enjoy what God has given you life intentionally.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lost in the parking lot

I sat in my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot the other day, on the phone in a conversation, when I began to notice something. I witnessed several people who somehow misplaced there 2 ton vehicle. (We have all been there before I am sure) Just in the 15minutes I was there, 2 or 3 shoppers were walking around aimlessly in pursuit of their hiding vehicle. It's not like someone else parked their car for them, or even that they had forgotten what it looked like. They were just walking aisle after aisle before their key fit the right lock.
This is kind of like life. I mean how many people are wandering around aimlessly trying to find a purpose for their lives. They will search in several aisles and perhaps even occasionally try the key to see if fits. But until we realize that "we were created by God and for God" (Rick Warren Purpose Driven Life) we will continually come up short. For me personally, I feel like I have found the car and now I need God's direction to make it out of the parking lot! How about you? Are you lost in the parking lot?

Monday, December 18, 2006

C3 progressive dinner

Last night C3 church hosted a progressive dinner that toured the 3 pastors homes for appetizers, main course and desert. As a new church plant this was a great time to get to know everyone a little better and also to be in a different setting. We have got some incredible people and we had a great time together. I believe that is how God intended it. We need each other! Relationships grow us, hold us accountable and extend the hand of Jesus to us in a tangible way, by showing real love for each other. We are so blessed!

Friday, December 15, 2006

ministering with my boy

Last night several from our church went to a nearby nursing home to pass out flowers and sing Christmas carols. There were several children that came with parents, one of which was my boy Kaden (middle boy in pic). As parents we didn't know how they would do, whether they would be shy, scared, etc. But they did amazing! It is always great to show the love of Christ in tangible ways. Several of the people there said how much it meant to them. I got into some great talks with Kaden at bedtime last night, explaining how he showed the love of Jesus tonight. He thought that was pretty cool. I am working hard at not only modeling how a follower of Christ should live, but also trying to create opportunities for my kids to begin now to live out what they are coming to believe.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

our sign

We replaced the old church sign with some new plates to get us to where we need to be. But we were soon informed by the Pickerington zoning and planning board that we were over the 3 color sign limit. Ouch! I went before them once already and it ended up being tabled until the next meeting, when all of the officials would be present. I left the meeting feeling like I had lost, although technically it would be more of a tie. Personally, I hate losing. Although through the years of sports and competition, I have lost many times and sure I have plenty more in my competitive future. But no matter how many times I lose on this earth, I'm winning the BIG ONE in the end! My eternity is with Christ! So, when it is all said and done, I am a winner. But until then, I will keep praying that they pass our sign.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Staff Christmas party

Ahhhh, the staff Christmas party! We had a little PF Changs and finished it off with a little Starbucks action. A truly amazing combo. Throw in some great friends and good conversation and you have an enjoyable time. It is cool to be on this journey of church planting with friends. I have learned that the people closest to you really do shape you. There can be accountability, encouragement, challenging and at times even down right wrestling. But this is good. The Bible says "as iron sharpens iron". When iron collides with iron, the rough edges are rubbed off on both pieces. Isn't that how it should be? We are continually being sharpened and shaped into all that God wants us to be. That's why it is so important to surround yourself with others who are heading in the direction you are striving toward. Who sharpens you? Here is a picture of some of them in my life!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

C3 or is it Three C

I finally saw the body shop with the name similiar to the name of our church. Three C body shop! Of course theirs stands for something completely different. For us it is Compassion, Community, Committment. Comapassion is to love like Jesus, Community is to live like Jesus and Committment is to lead like Jesus. I guess if you think about it, we are in a way the same. Our church like the body shop was established for restoration. They may be in the car business, but we are in the people business. We are one step ahead in that they rely on the expertise of the human mechanic, while we rely on the expertise of the God who created everything.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Our staff went to a marraige seminar this past week (Gary and Deni were gettting the car) when we stopped in for some serious and I mean serious hot chocolate. This little store in downtown Columbus "Shakolade" (I think that's what it's called) has the richest ever. It"s as if they melt a candybar with a teaspoon of milk and serve it up! We all ordered the $14 dollar dixi cup small (slightly exaggerated of course) and really that is about all that we could handle. That stuff is so rich, I had to drink my Keri's as well. (Bummer, I know) But by the time I was close to finishing my 2nd cup, I really didn't want it, nor want to waste it either, so I quickly chugged it to get it down. Almost like I was taking it for granted. Life is kind of that way as well. Sometimes some of the greatest things in life can become routine and boring. This is where we begin to take for granted and lose the joy that was once there. Personally, I want to guard against this in my own life, by slowing down and being grateful for what God has blessed me with. What has God blessed you with, whether people, possessions, or great hot chocolate that you perhaps are taking for granted?

Friday, December 8, 2006

Picture with Santa

It was that time again to bring the kids to the ever crowded mall, to get a picture with a heavy gentleman wearing a red suit and sweating profusely. I tried to snap my own picture for my blog, but was brought down by 4 elves and with my arm behind my back, forced to drop a $20 bill in order to get out of there alive! Just Kidding of course.....well.....kind of. My oldest boy Kaden had practiced saying what he wanted for Christmas a 100x's but when the moment of truth came, it took him at least 10 seconds to recall "Bow and arrow". To which this Santa said "You'll shoot your eye out kid". OK, I added the last part! As for Kross, he replied, Sucker! Which he saw in Santa's hand and walked out happy with it in his mouth. Our little girl Kali, just screamed the whole time. But it was a great experience to be a part of something and someone that my kids so much believe in. Jesus talked about that childlike faith. I was challenged to ask myself, "What do I believe in, really?" And how far am I willing to go with those beliefs? Are they beliefs that are just nice things to say, or are they deep convictions that I build my life on? HO HO HO!

Thursday, December 7, 2006


This morning as the first snow of the season fell, the roads got slick fast. I was trying to stop at a red-light, when I realized I wasn't going to make it. I made a quick turn into a parking lot and acted like "I meant to do that". (You know like when you fall down, jump up and act like nothing happened!) Anyway, I had apparently lost traction. Right now I am trying to find traction as a church planter to be effective and efficient. Traction is (track - action)! I am trying to create "tracks" for which "action" will follow. If you have no tracks, then you will have limited or wasted action. Create solid and clear tracks and actions will move on them.

Where do you feel like you are losing "traction"? Do you have any tracks in place or do you need to create and establish some?

u me we C3

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

plant a tree

Warren Buffet said "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago"
- Have you ever thought about how you live and what you are doing today that will effect the future generations? The Bible says "You reap what you sow" What is it that you would like to reap at the end of your life, or perhaps even after you are long gone? And, what are you doing to "plant" that today? Personally, Keri, myself and some friends are planting a church ( that will plant other churches. We are planting today and praying for God's favor to effect the future generations. Soooooooo, go plant a tree or something!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Big God

I read a great quote the other day from Earl Creps book "Off road Disciplines" that said, "If God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn't be big enough to worship." Wow, how true is that! It's like in the Bible where it says "His ways are higher than mine". As much as I would love to have a handle on God and life, I am so glad I don't. There is so much I don't understand and even more I don't even know I don't understand. (Now I am really confused) But what I do know, is that God's in control and there is no one like Him. He is bigger than anything my finite imagination can put limits to and I must trust Him.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Go Tigers!

We live in Pickerington which is right outside of Columbus Ohio. It has that small town feel. Tonight our High School team plays in the division II State Championship football game. It is a big deal here. Schools get out early and there are signs lining the street from the HS, 6 miles to the interstate! Local businesses are on board as well. It is the talk of the town. Everyone loves being a part of a winning team! I think it is the same way in life and for our new church plant. We are gaining some momentum and we are attracting some incredible people. They all want to be a part of a team that is winning and moving in the right direction. It is exciting to be a part of something that is making a difference!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

time to decorate

I can't believe it is that time already to put up the Christmas tree again. This year my two boys were at the ages to really enjoy it. They were bouncing off the walls excited. It was as if they had just consumed a 10ft Pixi Stick and washed it down with a triple shot latte. It was a true family fun festivity. It is great to be able to enjoy what God has blessed us with. But many times it is hard to take the time to really relax and just soak it in. I don't ever want to take for granted what I have. It's the everyday things, the time in between the big events that really matters. This is where the majority of our lives are lived and where the rubber meets the road. I am truly a blessed man.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

complacently pleased

Reading this morning in Luke 18:9 about where Jesus told a parable to some who were "complacently pleased" (Message translation). That phrase just caught me. How easy is it to get complacent and then be pleased with ourselves as we compare ourselves to others. I think there is a difference between being "complacently pleased" and "pleased but not complacent". It is one thing to be pleased about what God has done or is doing in or through us, and thinking we have "arrived". I enjoy celebrating and enjoying a victory or win, but when the moment is over, I must move on. I am still pleased but not complacent. It's like the a team that wins the championship hardly ever repeats becuase of this "complacently pleased" mentality. It is so easy to settle, as if we have arrived. But we must realize this life is a journey, not a destination.
Are you compalcently pleased? Am I?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

light sabers

My boys love stories! They may only be almost 3 and almost 6, but they can still appreciate a good story line. So i recently rented the Star Wars trilogy. These movies were truly out before their time. My boys watched in amazement as Luke and Vader battled with their light sabers. I had some great discussion on how Darth Vader went to the darkside by allowing his heart to turn bad through the decisions he made and the thoughts that he would think about. I actually think my oldest Kaden actually got it. I really enjoy passing on things I enjoyed as a kid on to my children. Really, I think that it is my priveledge and responsibility. I want to be intentional about what I pass on. Have you ever thought about what qualities you want your children to develop? Perhaps even writing them down and thinking through how to influence them in that direction or perhaps away "from the dark side" ........ Wow...I can almost hear Darth Vader breathing!

For Christmas, you had better believe that they are getting a couple of light sabers! Let the battles begin!!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The latest craze

Thanksgiving, what a wonderful day where we consume so much food we can barely walk. I started my day off with a 5 mile road race in which I placed in the top 50 out of over 3,000. That part was OK, but there was one she-woman that beat me (ouch). Anyway, knowing that I had burned a thousand calories that morning, eliminated any guilt that could of come from the consumption. We also took our little family to join the bigger family where some bluegrass music, alot of food, some laughs and "corn-hole" ensued. That's right.....corn-hole, the craze that is sweeping the nation. Someone said it originated out of Cincinatti and now is all over college campuses and taligate parties. (And since Ohio is Buckeye country, we know how to tailgate...and riot)) Anyway this game is like horseshoes but you are throwing a bean bag (filled with corn) through a slanted board with a hole in it. Simple, yet profound and definetely addictive. My brother Josh and I finished 2nd in the Stephens family corn-hole tourny.....and yes I was once again beat by those of the female persuasion. The lesson I learned......had I been corn the cousins who beat us....we may have walked away champions. But still I am thankful, don't get me wrong!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Last night my Keri I loaded the minivan and headed to the Columbus Zoo to see the "Christmas lights". It was the day before it was opened to the public and was "member appreciation night". Free cookies and hot chocolate were on the flier as a way to say thanks for being a member.
What should have been a 30-35 minute drive turned into an 1 1/2 hours in a van with 3 frustrated kids wanting to get there. The traffic leading up to the entrance was moving not much better than a snail in 3 feet of snow, pulling a trailer with one wheel gone. A car had broken down in the middle of the road, which made it feel even more like a congested artery. We get there, walk 3 miles to get the door and find the whole park is so packed we could barely manuever our 13 kid Jeep stroller without injuring some small furry woodland creature. Then after the cold had set in, we found the "what used to be the free hot chocolate and not even a crumb of a cookie" stand. There were soooo many distractions, that it became hard to keep our focus on the kids and their fun. Am I complaining.....yes, a little, but it's for a purpose. We left there saying....."I will never do that again".
How many times have guests come into our church and felt like that? Whether we were totally unprepared for them, or something out of our control left a bad taste in their mouth. It is our responsibility to remove as many distractions as possible so we can to present Jesus in a relevant way. We want them thinking less about "Where will I sit?", and "Will my child be safe?", and more about "What is God trying to speak to me!".

PS - We made it a great zoo night for our kids that we soon won't forget.

Monday, November 20, 2006


My wife and I along with our teammates are 3 weeks into having just launched a church that God's favor is truly upon. But through all the hustle and bustle (wow, my first Christmas season jargon!) it is sometimes crazy to keep balance. Once I asked a mentor of mine, "I struggle sometimes with balance, how do you keep balanced in life?" He busted out a "Yoda-like" phrase....."The balance is found in the struggle". We discussed that since I was wrestling with this, it was actually a good sign. That balance with God/family/rest/church/friends/personally/etc, is never completely attained, but rather it is a constant struggle that must be readdressed continually. Since that converstation I have been able to put some guages in my life to keep me from red-lining (my wife being the biggest one). I also, have a growth plan where I put on paper what my ideal life would look like, as it pertains to where I spend my time. It is something to think about. Bob Biehl once spoke of a friend who was pondering on the question, "What is important?". He finally grasped the answer......."Less and less." Think about that today as Thanksgiving approaches. What is really important and are you focused on those things? So remember young padowon..."The balance is found in the struggle"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Seeing the best in people

I am a big Ohio State Buckeyes fan and this year has been a great ride especially with only a few days to the Biggest showdown in College football history with #1 & #2 (The state up north) meeting to decide who wins the conference and goes to the National title game. One thing that truly seperates the Buckeyes is their coach Jim Tressel. He is a class act that trickles down into the players lives. He is not only interested in winning football games, but in making his players better people. Case and point, Troy Smith. When Troy arrived from Cleveland he was a little rough (maybe a lot rough) around the edges. He made a couple of unwise decisions that put him on the sidelines for a while. But coach Tressel could see greatness inside of Troy and has helped him achieve it. Now after several years with Tressel, when you hear Troy Smith talk you hear a mature, unselfish team player who is better off in life as a person because someone took the time and risk to believe and work with him.

What about you? Who is in your realm of influence that is a diamond in the rough? Perhaps the decision you make whether or not to get involved in their lives could change their history and those they have influence over.

Just some thoughts to ponder. Go Buckeyes stomp the team up north!