Friday, November 30, 2007


Fridays are either the day where I say "YES" the weekend is almost here, or "OH NO", I still have so much to do. For those of you still brave enough to stick with this "complaint-free" life, you have almost made it a full week. I have talked to several who are taking the challenge and they admit they had no clue how much they complain. I think we are all past the point of admitting we have a problem and now are doing something about it. Today, why not take some time and TGFYB or (Thank God for your blessings). It is amazing when you begin to not only remove the negative talk but replace it with positive, it changes your whole day and outlook on the world around you. So, what are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stephens don't quit

We got this saying within our family that was passed down from my dad to me, and now to my kids. My little 3 year old boy Kross modeled it perfect the other day when asked about his last name. He said "Stephens and Stephens don't quit!" There are times when they want to quit and I'll say "What is your last name boy?"
I think with this whole complaint free challenge, many of us are now at the point where the "shine has worn off." It is now moving from funny to...this is tough. But this is where the old habits are being broken and new one's are being formed. In this season of change, many people bail out....but not you. So, in the words of the great Winston Churchill in his real life 5 word graduation speech, "Never, never, never, give up!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

give up to go up

I have learned in life and in leadership that you have to many times give up, to go up. I experienced this in HS when I had to sometimes sacrifice hanging out with friends to make time to do a running workout. Later though, I reaped some school records. Another, was having to give up Softball in the evenings to take the State Youth Director role. I had to do a lot more traveling, but in turn grew in my leadership to another level. We have to give up, to go up. The same is true in life and with this complaint-free challenge. We may sometimes even enjoy bringing the stinging words or cut down on someone, but that doesn't justify it. So here we find ourselves giving up the complaining, in order to walk more closely with Christ. Give up, to go up.

Keep trying, don't give up............unless it's the complaining!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

slowing the complaints

Hopefully by now, those of you participating in the 21 day challenge to be "complaint free", are beginning to recognize your thoughts BEFORE they leave your mouth. Remember, this is a PROCESS not an event, so don't give up. We didn't get this way overnight and it is going to take some time to break our negative habits. It is true that "you form your habits and your habits form you." What are you becoming? Let's be intentional about it.

Today, I took a day off and spent it with a buddy from my childhood who was in from out of town. It's amazing how reminiscing about old times can turn into "negative" laughter at the expense of others. Ouch! I laughed and then realized what I was doing, but I love the challenge. Day one.......again! Ha.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Complaint Free Challenge

For all those C3'ers out there, I hope your complaining is now starting to wain a little bit. Don't give up, it will most likely take you a couple days to begin to get yourself refocused. Remember, this is a process and not just an event.

So far this morning, I have done pretty well being complaint free. I have caught myself a couple times thinking some not so positive thoughts about this "wonderful" rainy weather. Once again, if you change your words, you can change your thoughts and if you change your thoughts, you can change your life. I would love to hear how you are doing. Good luck!

Also, the "complaint free message" is on the website under podcast, if you need to hear it again.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The past 3 years I have started out my Thanksgiving day with a road race and today was no exception. We were up in Canton staying the night with my parents so I jumped in a 5k. Wow! There were several college teams as well as several high school cross country teams present.....1300 signed up. It was chilly, but I did manage a 2nd place age group finish (36th overall). The only bummer was, I was beaten by one of my old rivals from my High School days. Of course, he is now a HS CxC coach....but it still hurts. Ha! The reason for this blog is to say that I can't wait to make a Turkey trot run an annual family tradition. I'm now thinking on what other family traditions that I can be intentional on making a part of our lives.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

stress and holidays

I was talking to a couple the other day and they mentioned how stressful the holidays were. All the food that has to be bought and prepared, family relational issues, gifts, money and on and on. I think it's amazing how we let our fast paced stressful culture work it's way into the times that we are supposed to be taking a break from it. FIGHT THE POWER! This year I'm choosing to relax and try to truly enjoy my family, friends, and most of all my amazing Creator and His blessings on my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Some day when I stand before God, I'm sure I won't be on the top of the list for those who were the best preachers, prays the most (although I do daily), the most talented, the greatest leader, but I do want to be one of His most grateful kids. It is one of my life goals to be grateful for everything He has given me. I deserve NOTHING and anything I am blessed with.....God gets the glory. I give Him praise in the little things and the big and when I do, He keeps dishing it out. So I not only want to give thanks on Thanksgiving where we are supposed to take time to give thanks, but everyday of the year. I know when my kids are grateful for the tootsie roll I had to split 3 ways, it makes me as a dad want to give them more. This is not my motivation with God, but I have found that the byproduct of being grateful to God is His FAVOR! So, what are you grateful for? How about thanking Him a little more often.

Monday, November 19, 2007

complaint free

Wow, I thought I was a very positive person, until I started wearing my "Complaint Free" bracelet. The goal is to go 21 days without being negative. If you are negative through complaining, gossip or otherwise negative words, you have to move the bracelet to the other wrist and start again. It sounds easy, but's it not. I caught myself already saying something negative about the Cincinnati Bengals. I'm excited about doing a message on this for this weekend on being complaint free. For Thanksgiving we always talk being grateful, but we are going to mix it up and make a commitment not to speak any negative words. If we change our words, we can change our world.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today is the day.....Ohio State vs michigan football game! The biggest rivalry in all of college sports (according to ESPN). It's amazing how I get pumped up for a game I'm not even playing in. It is one of my joys that makes life more long as the Buckeyes win...ha! I'm holding my breath.
I have personal rivalries with certain runners around Columbus who I know when we are in the same race, that it is going to be a battle. Those kind of rivalries can help take us to another level, the problem comes when we look at other churches or ministers as rivalries rather than as teammates that play different positions on the same team.

Go Bucks! Pound the team from up north.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Today, as a staff we are heading to a coffee shop to hammer out processes and strategy for 4 hours. Sounds like fun huh? Then we will pick up our ladies and head to GameWorks where we will meet our Advisory Board Members and spouses along with our worship leader and youth director. This will be a time to show appreciation for what God has done and for their hard work and investment in C3. There will also be some vision casting about the future of our church. After we have eaten, we will all go play some games together in the giant game room and then grab some coffee together. I think many times as a team we move so fast and fail to take time to celebrate and truly enjoy the journey together.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The state of C3 Church

Coming back from my prayer and planning retreat (thanks Christy for reminding me to blog about it) I felt God confirming the direction I feel in my heart. God has incredibly blessed our church and we have grown fairly rapidly to the place that internally we are usually behind on many things and doing a lot of scrambling. Much of this is because we continue to move forward, which almost always means adding something new. With the newest addition of our (Sun Eve 7pm) 3rd service, we now have bought ourselves time to work on the internal processes and procedures of C3. To make simple steps to move people from Connecting to Growing to Serving. We will take the next year and focus on the internals of C3 to get us running as if we are a much larger church, so we can handle the growth as God continues to give it. Currently, we are an engine that is running and making ground, but losing gas and dripping oil. I feel the vision for "now" is to get us running effective and efficient.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Here is my take on the 2007 Ohio State Buckeyes:
Tressel does an amazing job every year getting his team ready to play even when it is supposed to be a "reloading" year. The fact is: LOSING TO ILLINOIS WAS THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO US. Here is why:
1. We are not the best team in the nation (this year) and if we get blown out in ANOTHER championship game, next year the BCS voters are not going to want to give us the votes so easily when we are the #1 team in the land.
2. If we did play for the national title this year and get beat by LSU, we will never hear the end of the SEC fans on how the Big Ten is so weak.

This year is no doubt a rebuilding year. At the beginning of the year we were picked to be 3rd in the Big Ten, but Tressel and the crew will have exceeded even our highest expectations of this year if (and when) they beat michigan (Big Ten Champions) and win the Rose Bowl.

That's it...Thanks my conclusion after some good discussion with my good friend Greg Ford.

Go Bucks!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Personal prayer retreat

I'm leaving in a couple of minutes to go to an old farm house out in Marrow County to spend some time with God. While there I will map out some personal vision for this next year as well as the future direction of C3. It's so amazing when you block out time for nothing but to spend time with God.....He has the tendency to show up BIG! I look forward to this time every year. Also, this weekend is our Leadership teams yearly retreat, of which GameWorks, and the OSU vs Team Up North with all be worked in.

PS - The Buckeyes recent loss has been devastating.....but Jesus is still on the throne!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

C3 night

We just had our first night service, which is our new 3rd service. It was a totally different feel that we think went over pretty well. There were quite a guests who decided to give us a try and I believe they will be back. We had a total of 50 show up and 37 who did not attend a morning service that day.
I love new things, especially when we are creating something from the ground up. We have a great team that jumps in and fills the holes until we can replace ourselves. With this new service, we now have some room to grow and we can turn our focus on getting all of our processes and procedures where they need to be. I feel like C3 is a engine that is running and moving, but we are leaking fuel and dripping oil. My heart is to see that we are both effective AND efficient. We are up for the challenge!

Friday, November 9, 2007

C3 Art show

Tomorrow, we are doing an art show at a local golf course. One of the guys on our advisory board had a contact with an art company that donated (that's the key word) 3 (count em 3) U hauls worth of art. We did a presale last night for just our people and pulled in around $1,500. We sell the art for $10 - $30 and it seems to go fast. We are giving a kick back to the local High School art departments as well as a platform to sell their stuff. Excited to see how it all rolls out. Also, Sunday night at 7pm will be the launching of our 3rd service. It will be the same message but with different set up of chairs a big area rug and I will speak from the floor. Also, an acoustic worship set and a prayer station. This will be our experimental service. Time will tell.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Kaden

I got to Kadens school for a "loved one's lunch" a couple days ago. He showed me his school, lunchroom and playground. He told me at lunch that next year he would have to bring mommy, because it is only fair. After some time on the playground the bell sounded and he said goodbye and ran to line up. As I walked away, I looked back to wave a few times and noticed he never took his eyes off of his dad. The power of the responsibility I have as his father, really began to sink in. How as a young boy, most of his self worth, confidence and values, will all come from me. I am his model for how a man treats a woman, loves his family, loves God and interacts with others. I am far from the perfect role model, but I am striving to be that with everything I have within me. It's scary to think, we all have little eyes and ears who are being shaped by the way we live.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Walking out of the gym this morning and seeing the snow/sleet falling, makes me realize that winter is almost here. I think it is amazing how the seasons change. This is one of the reasons that I love Ohio. Life and ministry are all about seasons as well. I have been through amazingly rich times in my walk with God and incredibly dry times. Also, every "season" of ministry has prepared me for the next one. My prayer is that I learn what God is trying to teach me the first time through. I hate to repeat (unless it has to do w/winning). It's like reheating leftovers....again...and....again! I talk to alot of people who try to prematurely jump out of a season because it get's a little uncomfortable. But it is in those "seasons" that we are truly shaped and tried as followers of Christ. What is God trying to say to me? What lessons can I learn? Is there anything I can do, to not get here again?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

preventative measures

This morning, this was my view. I do thank God for modern day medicine as I felt almost no pain, but that zzzzzz sound of the tooth grinder just gives me chills every time. Anyway, I had a filling replaced that I had gotten when I was a kid. The problem was, it was not totally airtight, which allowed some more decay to happen inside. But the kicker was, I wasn't having any pain. So, I took my dentists word and had some preventative work done.
- Life Application: I had to ask myself today: If I keep running this pace, or in the direction I am going, where will I be in a year, 3 yrs, 10yrs? What preventative changes can I make now, that will keep me not only on track but the right track for the long haul. So whether it's rest, growth, accountability, etc.......what preventative work do you need to do? Git R Done.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ed Young yo!

It's not who ya's who knows you. Today, (Thanks to Joshua Fischer, Bible College Prez of World Harvest, who knew me from my Ohio Youth Dir. days) invited us in the green room to meet Ed Young and his wife. I was impressed to see that he was the same guy behind the door as he was on the stage. God is using him HUGE and myself & staff gleaned some good stuff from him over these couple of days of his speaking. World Harvest also has an incredibly sharp team and I pray they continue to blow it up for the Kingdom of God.

Side bar - I have talked with many ministers, usually younger, who bad mouth other ministries and pastors. I feel the root of this negativity is "jealousy" and perhaps some "pride". I personally just want to remain humble before God and celebrate other Christian leaders success. It's not about my "empire" but about HIS "KINGDOM". Can I get a witness?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy B-Day C3

I can't believe it, but C3 Church is 1 yr old today. We had a party with balloons, streamers, giveaways, and the works. It is awesome to look back on what God has done in so short a time. We cast vision for the future and talked about how BIG God is. I can't wait to see how C3 shapes up in this next year. Next week, we add the 7pm Sunday service. I'm praying and anxious to see how it turns out. Also, to top this day off, our staff went to World Harvest (Wow) to hear Ed Young.
Side note: I know the president of W. Harvest Bible College and we were invited back to their chapel tomorrow morning to hear Ed Young speak again and maybe....perhaps.....get the chance to hang with him for a few minutes. HA! Time will tell.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Church Planters Review

Thursday and Friday were both spent at our annual Church Planters Review, where there is encouragement and accountability. It is always great to see friends, get away and think as well as grow. Mark Batterson (church planter from DC) came and poured into Ohio Church Planters and I was privileged to gain a few extra moments over coffee and driving him to and from the airport. I felt I walked away from these 2 days a little sharper than I came. It's like my friend Troy Jones says "we either grow daily, or die graduallly".