Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1st 90 days

Bob Biehl says that the first 90 days of your year, are pivotal on what is accomplished in that year. Rather than just aimlessly floating through our year, we need to make some goals and start them in the first 90 days. Not to say that everything we start, we will finish. But at least we are heading in the right direction and have got the goal off of the ground. I'm making my list.....& checking it twice!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ManUp

Friday, we are having a ManUp night at C3. There will be guy food, guy games and the football game on the big screen. But the real reason we are getting together is for the ManUp Challenge. We are splitting the guys up in to 2 teams to take part in a 40 day challenge to read, pray and journal. The challenge will be to become better husbands and men of God. At the end of the challenge, we will have a "date night" at C3 where we will have the guys and their wives watch the movie "FireProof."
There will be points given for completing assignments. Whichever team has the most completed assignments, wins. From the winning team, whoever completes the most assignments, will win a date night package worth $250 bones! It includes, a nice meal, hotel, coffee and babysitting...all paid. We even got bracelets that say ManUp for those who are in!
So in the famous words of my Jr. High gym teacher..."Are you a man or a mouse, squeek up!"...or should I say...MANUP!

Monday, December 29, 2008

perfect day

After church last night, I drove to my parents house to spend the night. My dad and I got up early and sat next to each other in a tree stand while deer hunting. I shot a big bodied 8pt buck and then my dad and I, met my Papaw and my brother Josh at the local diner for lunch. I spent some couch time talking with my mom and am now heading home in time for dinner/wrestling and a movie with my family. It was the perfect day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

weak stomach...read no further

Last night close to midnight, I was doing my rounds, tucking my 3 kids in, when my 7 year old pops his head up from the top bunk. He has this dazed look and then hurls a stream all over the room. I go to grab him to run him to the bathroom when he hurls again! By now, it has practically covered every square inch of his room! I jump over (more like through) the mess on the floor and grab the trash can and caught the other 3 episodes. (I warned you it was graphic!) Keri and I then spent the next hour or so cleaning it all up.
That is life. Life is messy. You have to take the joys and the pain, the fun times and the tough times.
I'm thinking of carpeting the boys room in "blue tarp!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve

So for Christmas Eve, we are doing a message entitled "God is with us." Here is the one main thought..."How would you live your life differently, if you truly believed, that God is with you? I have some thoughts, but I would love yours first. Please chime in!

Monday, December 22, 2008

exodus

I'm anticipating the great C3 Exodus! Being a church that is younger and the fact that not many are "from" Pickerington, we have a mass exodus at Christmas time. In fact the Sunday closest to Christmas was last years lowest attended Sunday. On the flip side, our Christmas Eve service was jam packed with non-C3'ers who had never been to our church. I guess it all comes with learning your community. This year we are doing 2 Christmas Eve services at 7pm and midnight. I'll let you know how they go. Midnight will be the experiment.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

mission

This morning, I'm hanging with my kids to free up my Keri go with 25 other C3'ers to serve at a mission in downtown Columbus. We have some amazing people who love to serve and tangibly show the love of Christ.

Friday, December 19, 2008

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Last night we had a great time with our Community Group Leaders at Beef O Brady's. The food was great, even though I ate someone persons burger. Then we had the "White Elephant Gift Exchange." I got the Chipotle $5 gift card (lunch today). The gifts ranged from "Rockstar" drinks to a Twisted Sister Christmas Cd to a thigh master. Of all the gifts, I have to give props to Gary's. He had recently grown a full beard and when he shaved it, he did it strategically. In between each new minor shave, he would take a picture with a crazy face. Then he arranged all the photo's in a photo album. So some lucky person went home with 15 pictures of this experiment. Our staff has issues!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

C3 budget day

Today, Gary and I are making a trip to the District office to finish up our 2009 budget. From the very beginning of C3, we have wanted to be above reproach in all of C3's financial matters. From the very beginning we decided to call an audit on C3 every year. Also, we have had help putting our budgets together from our district office finance guy Rod. There is wisdom in good counselors and before we make major decisions, we have several checks and balances that we walk through. We want to make sure C3 is tight and accountable with expenses, to free up money to generously give to where God is leading us. To the point that during the week, our church building is cold except for our individual offices, where space heaters are in action. That's probably why our staff spends so much time at the coffee shop...ha.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

rough edges

I really feel like God is once again taking some more rough edges off of my life. He is shining the light on areas of my life that I really didn't think I struggled with, but when I dig deeper, I realize the motive is wrong. For me, I'm really good at camouflaging motives or negativity with positive words. I didn't even realize I struggled with this until God revealed it to me. So, I'm on the treadmill this morning listening to a podcast and almost in tears. I even had to shut off ESPN, so you know it's serious. I prayed through and confessed it to God (all while running) Then I came back and asked my true friend Gary Fowler to hold me accountable, if he ever sees or hears this. I just want nothing more than to have a totally pure heart before God. I have a long way to go, but I serve a big God and am always up for a challenge.........confession purifies the soul!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

shoes

I just gotta give my 2 cents on the President Bush incident, of having shoes thrown at him. So here it is: The United States and President Bush gave that reporter the right to throw his shoes. Can you imagine what would have happened to that man just a few short years ago in that country, had he thrown his shoes at anyone in a position of authority? Yes, you guessed it, he would have been quickly executed. That is one of the crazy things about freedom. It allows those who are all over the spectrum to have a voice, even those who disagree. So the next time you hear those who are trying to remove Christ from our nation, just remember that it is because we are a Christian nation, that they even have the right to have a voice. OK....I'm done....have a great day and a merry CHRISTmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

good/better

Saturday, I ran a 5k in 18 degree weather and placed 2nd. They gave me a cool track jacket for a prize. I spent the day at home watching the Ironman triathlon World Championships. I was tearing up through the whole thing just knowing the battles they were facing. Then we went over to some friends house for dinner. Yesterday was a good day, but today was better. Today, we baptized 10 between our 2 services. It is amazing to hear the stories of how their lives have been changed by Jesus Christ. It was truly a time of rejoicing! This is why C3 exists!

Friday, December 12, 2008

yesterday

Yesterday, I got up early headed to the gym for a spin cycling class and then headed to Lancaster to speak a morning chapel at Fairfield Christian Academy. They have a great school and some genuine kids. I then had lunch with another church builder to get a drawing of what he could do in our price range. We are getting all the info in order to make a wise decision. Last night we had our staff/advisory board Christmas Party. We had a lot of fun at GameWorks of Easton. A decent meal and then arcade games. We raced...we shot things...played air hockey, skeeball and everything in-between. When our team gets together, laughter can almost always be heard. Then we headed to the coffee shop to chill out. All together it was a great evening with some amazing people. I'm the most blessed pastor on the planet!..........and we've only just begun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

man blind


My name is Konan Stephens and I am man-blind. Yesterday on my way home, I was asked by my wife to stop by the store and pick up some "Red Envelopes." My Keri is so detailed, she told me which door to go in, exactly what aisle, and where on the shelf that they would be. I walked in, followed the instructions perfectly, but didn't see them ANYWHERE. I then began to search the surrounding aisles, all to no avail. After 5 minutes of frantically searching, I went back to the first place I looked, to start again. To my dismay....there were the "Red Envelopes," exactly where she said. The exact price, the exact package.....everything....exactly. WHY COULDN'T I SEE IT! I have had this issue pretty much my whole life. I am MAN-BLIND. Am I the only one?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thankful game


Yesterday on my day off, it was time to wake my little girl Kali from her nap. So opened her door and plopped down beside her in her little pink bed. Somehow she always wakes up with a smile. We then started playing the "Thankful Game." I would say something I am thankful for, and then she would say something she is thankful for. We went back and forth for several minutes.

I don't know about you, but it's real easy to stay focused on what we don't have (especially in the Christmas season) rather than what we do. If you live in a home with running water, electricity and food in your kitchen, you are incredibly blessed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

C3's team is amazing

Yesterday was our 2nd Birthday as a church. We had a great crowd, even with the snow. We brought in the Cincinnati Masters Commission to help teach the majority of the kids classes, so all our adults could be in the service. I do have to say that Tim Rine, our band and tech team did a great job. The band continues to get better and better and JJ Robson is taking our tech and sound from good to great. In the famous words of Hannibal on the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together!" I'm truly honored to Pastor such an incredible church......and we've only just begun.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lazy

Today, myself and the family did nothing. We never left the house and never changed from our pajamas. We put up our 2nd Christmas tree and watched a movie together. I worked on my boys fooseball skills and watched some football. Does it get any better than this?

Friday, December 5, 2008

on the edge


In my prayer times I really get the sense that C3 is on the verge of God doing something big. I feel as if a large engine is revving high and the clutch is about to be let go to engage the gears. We are seeing some great things as a church in the area of growth and people coming to Jesus. In fact, next week we will baptize 10-15 more believers! God is doing doing something incredible and we are all honored to just be a part of it. I also feel that God is leading C3 to step our praying for our city and for those who don't know Christ. We are praying through the best way to make this happen. We are on the edge......

Thursday, December 4, 2008

God of this City

For our b-day our theme is "God of this City," which is based off the song by Chris Tomlin. There is no doubt in my mind that greater things are yet to come and still be done in our city. God has birthed C3 to make a "dent" in East Columbus for the cause of Jesus Christ. I'm excited to challenge our C3'ers to lead the way. Before God can be God of our city.....He must be God in us. We are a chosen instrument to reveal God's hope, mercy, grace and power. It's sad, but the church today has sanitized the message of Jesus Christ. We have made it safe, easy and secure. I believe God is calling us to a life of adventure and fearlessness. God is more concerned with our contribution than our comfort, our significance than our safety. Jesus said "follow me," and then He went and gave His life on a cross. If God is going to be God of my city, then it has to start with God being the God of me!
Yeah....I'm a little fired up! God stirred my heart in my prayer time this morning.....keep stirring Jesus, I hunger for more!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

C3 turns 2


This Sunday we are celebrating our 2nd Birthday as a church. We are going to basically throw a party, and you can't have a party without gifts. So we have invited our Mayor, and are going to present him a check for $1,500 to go to our city. Also, we raised $1,500 at our Faster than the Pastor 5k, which was matched by the city (another $1500) to put toward sidewalks that lead to our public schools. As a church we love to give. We budget 2% of our income to give back to our community. It is truly amazing to watch God bless our church as we continue to give. His Word says, "you reap what you sow." So, if you haven't been reaping lately.....I think you need to look at what you have been planting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Heading out of the woods

What a great trip! My buddy from FL and I, stayed with some of my old friends back in St. Clairsville to do some deer hunting. I felt so spoiled. They cooked some incredible food for us for every meal. There is nothing like some hot chocolate and a warm fire after a long day in the cold wilderness. It was awesome to be in the woods with the snow falling. I passed on several small deer. With meat in the freezer, I was trophy hunting. I got to trek over some gorgeous country and see some beautiful wildlife. Tonight, I'm in the woods as it is getting dark, only to hear the coyotes howling! A little a eerie. All in all it was a great trip and I come back tired but refreshed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heading to the woods!

Today we finished C3's latest sermon series called cages. The latest one was on "Fear." The main point, "The more we trust, (in God) the less we fear."
Right after service tonight, my buddy Cal (from FL) and I are heading to some friends house to do some deer hunting in Southeast Ohio, at an undisclosed location. (Just for the record, I am a real woodman who eats all that I harvest.) When I get alone in the woods, I feel incredibly close to God. I can't wait to connect with God......in the rain and snow!

Friday, November 28, 2008

home

Thanksgiving was great! When you mix family, friends and good food all together, it makes for a good time. It's a reminder of how blessed that I truly am. I also got to take my 7yr old son on his first deer hunt. I had the bow and we were crammed into a 1 seater tree stand, 15ft off the ground. He did great......but we saw No deer. Bummer. That's why they call it "hunting" and not "getting." I also ran a 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. There were 1,400 runners, and I placed 29th in 17:35, but it did land me 2nd in my age group! I improved my time by 34 seconds off my last years time. Anyway, when my kids get older I want to make running that 5k a family affair, a Stephens tradition!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Counting the Cost

Today, I'm meeting with a couple builders to talk future expansion of C3 Church. We have made no final decisions yet, but rather want to gather several possibilities and as much information as we can. Before any decision is made, you have to count the cost, because there is a price-tag. Of course we immediately think financially, but it is so much more than that. There are the price-tags of time, energy, people hours, focus, staff hours, etc. As leadership, it all has to be factored in. Our prayer is for God's wisdom and favor as we continually move forward.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Natural Church Development

C3 just took a test that measures the 8 essential qualities of a healthy church. Can I say that taking this test is a little scary. When it is all said and done, it all points back to the leadership, or lack of. Anyways, we got the reports back and we are very excited. The national average score in each of these areas is a 50. We were well above the average in every category...PTL! Our minimum factor, which scored a 55 was "Passionate Spirituality." This deals with the fact of people being excited about their relationships with Christ to the point that they enjoy studying the Bible, praying, etc and that there is a passion and excitement in serving God. Now, while I'm excited that our low is better than the national average, this area is going to get some serious attention. The key is, that we have defined reality. We will now assemble a team to form a plan and go after it. Next year, we will take the test again and look to tackle our next minimum factor. If the church is the "bride of Christ," we have a long way to go to get her ready!

Monday, November 24, 2008

2 things

1. Ohio just won another National Championship! No, it's not the Buckeyes...and barring a miracle from God, will never will be the Browns, Bengals, Cavs or Bluejackets. It was the Columbus Crew! For some, you still have no idea. We have a Soccer team....and apparently a pretty good one. Props to the Crew!

2. I am changed by every single person I meet or have contact with. I was thinking about some of the conversations I have had in the past week. Every person I interact with, changes me. I glean from everyone I can in order to grow. I take a little from everyone I meet. Many for the good, while several cause me to strengthen my convictions in certain areas. I walk away at times with answers, while from others with more questions. Either way, I want to continually be wrestling and praying in order to continue growing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

doing

"The truest knowing, comes in doing." If we truly know Christ, it has to change the way we live and what we do. In today's society, talk is cheap. We have to live out the message of Jesus Christ authentically. Most followers of Jesus Christ are over-educated and under-applied. If we would live out half of what we know, we could change our world......but the key is "doing" and living it out loud. So let's get doing!

Wealth Conundrum


Reading the book "Wealth Conundrum" by Ralph Doudera and having my eyes opened even farther as it pertains to money and stewardship. Stewardship means - all of what I own belongs to God, and I'm just managing His stuff. I want to think of all that I have as "on-loan" from God. This book challenged my thoughts on permanent and temporary assets. Permanent assets are those that are given to God, while temporary assets are my bank, retirement accounts, etc. I guess the big overall thought was the fact that we squabble over giving a cup of water, while standing at the bottom of Niagara Falls. God owns it all, and He blesses those who take risks (at least in our little minds) to give toward His Kingdom. I'm now challenged to tithe more than 10% and give more spontaneously to those in need. I never want money to have a grip on my life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

quote

I read a great quote in the book UnChristian tonight that said; "I need to be more concerned with what happens in me, than to me." So much truth in that statement. I think it is easy to remain focused on the action, words or circumstances that has happened to us, and miss out what is going on IN us. Questions like: Why does what they said, bother me so badly? Why does that persons actions make me angry? OR, we unknowingly allow our environments or circumstances on the outside, to slowly shape us on the inside. We must continue to ask ourselves, take inventory of what is going on and being shaped in our lives.

reflections from the chair

I went to the dentist this morning and in the words of the dentist "there will be no FUN today." Of course he was talking about "fun" for him and not for me. But here are my take-aways from the chair:
- A little discipline daily (flossing, brushing) can save you from a lot of pain.
- I had to constantly remind myself to relax and quit flexing every muscle in my body. Life is better when I'm relaxed.
- Regular check-ups can help be pro-active. They can identify issues and head them off before they get too bad, but it requires frequent reality checks.
- It's never as bad as I think it is going to be. In life whether it's a conversation that needs to be had, or something I have to do, once it's over, I almost always say, It wasn't as bad as I thought.
- I hate the sound of "THE DRILL!" I'm just glad it was next door.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

possible

Today, I got up early and hit the gym and then headed for a coffee appointment with a buddy. Gary picked me up there and we headed for a Central Sectional Pastors meeting (which I led) in Marysville. We then jumped back in the car and headed to Perrysburg to meet with a church building company to talk about what could be. No money has been spent yet, nor decisions made, but we are gathering all the info to make a decision about the future of C3 church. Exciting times! We loaded the car and headed back to get here just in time for our Community Group meeting at C3 Church......I love our Church.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family Day

Our family is always on the go. So much so, that my 3 year old little girl asks everyday, "Where are we going today?" When we tell her we are staying at home, she asks if we can go somewhere. I just have to laugh. Anyways, I'm trying to be more intentional meeting the "Love Languages" (Great book) of my kids, especially on my day off. There are 5 languages; physical touch, affirmation, gifts, acts of service and quality time. So today I will wrestle with Kross, (physical touch) hug and kiss Kali and tell her how pretty she is (also physical touch and affirmation) and play a board game with Kaden (quality time). It's amazing how being intentional by showing them love in the their own love languages, speaks loud and clear to my kids. I love being a dad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

vision


Do you have vision for your relationship with Christ? My bedtime devo last night was from Oswald Chambers who said, "Your reach must be farther than your grasp." How many times have we gotten spiritually relaxed to the point where we are not longer reaching for more of God? Then when we do go to God, it's only in a crisis. Today in my prayer time, I'm thinking of who I want to be spiritually. Then trying to think through what that looks like and be intentional about creating habits and steps to get me there. So, is your reach farther than your grasp?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

partnership

Tonight, we are holding a "Partnership" meeting. This is for those who are ready to commit to be "All In" at C3 Church. They are coming into a covenant relationship with the leadership and others at C3, to fulfill the vision God has given us, which is to lead people to LifeChange. They are committing to move from the bench to the actual playing field. Our Partners are willing to come under a different level of spiritual accountability. I hope tonight will be a time where God shows up and cements us together as one body. As Partners, there is an agreement to give, serve and pray. We are giving them shirts that say C3 on the front and "Partner 08" on the back. I pray God's favor on tonight!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

dreams

This morning in my devo's I read this quote: "Our lives are not made by the dreams we dream, but by the choices we make."
I think it is true to say that most people's dreams never come true. The reason why, is because of our choices. What would happen if we would make choices with regard to how it would effect our future dreams? Then perhaps instead of hindering our dreams, our choices would allow us to seize them. I want to be intentional with my choices.....for my dreams depend on them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

day of prayer

I spent the day in a cabin for the sole purpose of praying and thinking about the future of C3 Church. I love connecting with God!
A good quote I came across tonight, " You can tell a man is clever by his answers, but wise by his questions."
I believe that questions are keys that open doors into others wisdom. If I have the right questions, I can get the right answers. I try to collect some good questions that I can use anytime on anyone. I never want to miss an opportunity to grow or glean from another who may know more than me.
Here are a couple that are always in my back pocket:
- What are some experiences or people that have shaped your life and why?
- What's your biggest challenge right now?
- What are you passionate about?
- Your favorite team is the Buckeyes too, right?

Monday, November 10, 2008

a needed day off

We had a great Sunday yesterday with our biggest attendance ever at C3 Church, and it wasn't a special occasion! I have no idea why, but we'll take it. There are no doubt some big decisions of where we go from here. Seats, is one thing we are running out of. Tomorrow, I head to a cabin to do nothing but pray for God's wisdom and guidance for 2009. Anyway, this morning I was in the woods enjoying God's creation and looking for a close encounter with one that has large antlers. (only smaller antlered one's were seen) I then hit the gym and am now at home spending some quality time with my kids.......priceless.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

MI Uth Conv

God is so good! Jeff Kennedy in Michigan has an incredible team that put on a great Youth Convention. The band did great and the students came hungry. I was so honored to be a part the event! They treated me like a VIP which is always humbling. I love being a part of what God is doing. My prayer has been that the students leave changed forever by the power of God.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Off to the state up north


I'm in an airport on my way to the Michigan Youth Convention. I'm honored by the invitation of my friend Jeff Kennedy to come and speak to the students of MI. I will have to guard my words about the Buckeyes/wolverines rivalry...ha. I have been praying that God would show up huge and change students and leaders lives forever. I love conventions for the fact that the students come with expectations of God doing something big in them. And when people show up hungry....God moves in a big way.
WOW....while writing this, an airport supervisor just set down with one of his workers next to me and encouraged his employee. She lit up like a Christmas tree. I guarantee that she will work harder for the team because of that interaction. That makes me want to be an encourager all the more!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cages


Last Sunday, BeckE started our new sermon series entitled "Cages." We are going off the Mark Batterson Book, "Wild Goose Chase." This week I am talking on the cage of routine. Too many times, we get into a routine or a rut that robs us of living life and knowing God. We then wake up 25yrs later and wonder what happened to our lives. In order to break the routine we need a "CHANGE OF PLACE + CHANGE OF PACE = CHANGE OF PERCEPTION. I'm not saying all routines are bad, in fact some are good, but they have the potential to lead us into a boring life. God did not create us to live boring lives! He is the author of creativity and adventure. What routines do you need to break!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the votes are in

Here are some of my thoughts about the election and the future of the U.S. You could read into any of these a million ways and dialog for days. But still, here they are:
- No doubt Obama will have to try to lead in one of the toughest times in history.
- The day of the "silent majority" has come to an end.
- People vote for what they value, and more than anything else, our country values the economy.
- It was a great victory and tribute to the Martin Luther King Jr. and all minorities in the US.
- The election also shows that anyone of any race or color, can accomplish great things in this great nation.
- We will soon find out if promises can be converted to action.
- Obama ran an incredible campaign that focused on the younger voters.
- No matter what your views of the election, God is in control.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day

Today history will be made. The future of this country will take a turn for somewhere starting today. No matter what happens, God is in control and He is still on the throne. My prayer, is that God's Will be done. Today, we will see how this whole thing starts playing out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

vacation pics





If a picture is worth a 1,000 words....then here ya go!

vacations over



Today, we made the trek home. Getting 3 kids through the airport is fun. They did very well for the most part. It was a straight 2hr 10min flight. Keri was prepared with snacks, gameboys, coloring books and much, much more. It's amazing how preparation can stop a "blowup" before it happens. We came home with a bunch of great memories and came home to warm weather.....yeah...we brought it with us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

i met my brother this weekend


My dad, my two brothers and myself have an incredible relationship of love, deep respect and honor. So much so (Full disclosure) that we all have the same tattoo on our back right shoulder. We designed it ourselves and all got them while in college. To us though, they are not a mere tattoo, but a symbol of what our relationship means to each other. Since the inception of the "brotherhood," we have "grafted" in 3 other guys. (Calvin, Gary Fowler and Rhett) This is the same symbol my boys will all get when they go through their "rite of passage" at 18yrs old. Anyways, at Shane's wedding I met his "Army Ranger" brother Rhett, who now bares the symbol. As we left, we put our hand on the other guys shoulder and said "Brother to Brother, Yours in Life and Death." Just knowing that my brother Shane, thinks of him as a brother, now makes him a brother to me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

my brothers wedding


Today, the final Stephens brother tied the knot, when my brother Shane married my new sister-in-law Jenny. They had a beautiful wedding in a garden patio in downtown Orlando. My dad and I got to officiate the ceremony, which was a big honor. I was able to meet some of Shane's "Army Ranger" buddies and hear some more cool stories. Altogether, it was a great day seeing old friends and meeting new people. Jenny comes from an incredible family and she has been welcomed into ours. There was a time or two that I got a little emotional. I guess just knowing what a promise means to our family and to see my brother making a promise to his new bride.......well it's just plain powerful.

Friday, October 31, 2008

VC#4

Today, I got up and ran with no bird attacks, although he was on the porch when I came back. We then went to my brother Shane's wedding rehearsal and lunch. We came back and dressed the kids up as a "Jedi," "StormTrooper" and a "Princess," to head out to a harvest festival in a nearby neighborhood. We had a good time. Then my mom played babysitter as Keri and I went out on a date with my brother Josh and Brittany. It was at a Starbucks at 11pm that we were kicked out. (kind off) This strange Starbucks employee comes over and says "we close at 11pm and we lock the doors." Then he walks over and holds the door open and stairs at us with "crazy eyes." It was a "leave now!," kind of tone/look. We got a good laugh out of that one....and headed home.
PS - Yesterday, we had a great time at Daytona Beach. It was a little chilly, but not for those with thick pale white skin from Ohio! Nothing more to report except that we flew a kite...really high in the heavy wind.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

vc #3 my wakeup call


This morning, as I opened the door for my morning run, and the sun was shining in my face on this beautiful day. When out of nowhere, a huge gray crane comes in for a landing, (not graceful creatures in the air) and literally almost lands on top of me. I jumped out of the way, (cat-like reflexes) just as the big bird lands on the front steps of our rental house. Then (standing 4ft tall) turns and stares at me. I'm never been used as a landing pad for a gray crane....or any other bird for that matter, but it does keep vacations interesting. Anyway, today we travel to Daytona Beach!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

vacation chronicles 2


Disney was great. Our kids loved it! The crowds were down, the weather was cool and the lines were short. My parents got free tickets, and the guy who gave them came with us to get us in to the park. We got a free parking pass, a free double stroller ($31 value) and a lady at the counter gave me a free coffee....in Disney World! We got out of there spending only $22. I love a good deal, and getting one makes me enjoy whatever it was, that much more.
I will say, that "anticipation" is sometimes as much fun, or even better than the actual experience. To see my little girls eyes when she first saw the big castle was priceless. The other side of an experience is the memories. I played up the anticipation and now will be working the memories.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

vacation chronicles 1


My kids loved their first airplane ride. I love being there for my kids firsts in life. I do my best to build it up to make these kind of experiences even more special. Tomorrow is Disney World! My parents are taking our whole family as their Christmas gift to us. Right before they left, a friend of theirs came up and is giving them 7 free tickets. FAVOR! Anyways, our kids are so excited and I will make sure to get the most out of the memories we make tomorrow. You can bet for years from now, I will still bring up the memories we are about to make. Then when my kids are all grown up, they will think back to their childhood and have some great memories.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

good weekend

Fun O Ween went off without a hitch on Saturday. We had several hundred people from the community come out to enjoy our free community event. C3 has some amazing people that jump in and work hard to pull our big events off. We had several guests this morning, several through the connection of our event.
- Buckeyes lost a tough game.......well.....Jesus is still on the throne!
- Tomorrow afternoon, my family is flying to Florida for a week of vacation and my brother Shane's wedding. We're leaving Ohio just as the snow starts to fly...ha.

Friday, October 24, 2008

things

- Had a great board meeting last night, that confirmed what I was feeling as far as direction of C3. (Details to follow)
- Tomorrow, we are doing our "Fun O Ween" event here at C3. With inflatables, hayrides, games, cotton candy, popcorn, paint a pumpkin, chili cook-off, cornhole and other stuff, it should be good. C3 does about 4-5 free community events a year.
- I actually did qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2010, with my last race. A technicality that has to do each race time completed is good for 2 years. In that time, I turn 35 and the qualifying time has 5 minutes added. OK, I may have just confused you. Although I'm in for 2010, I couldn't live with myself for taking it.
- Got invited to do a buddy's wedding in Poland (not Poland Oh) and he would cover Keri and I's way...WOW!
- This Sunday, I will attempt to cover the whole book of Revelation in one message. It is probably the hardest message I've ever prepared for and of course it will be less detailed and more of a big picture.
- Monday, I'm boarding my family on a plane for our 2nd week of vacation to Orlando to stay with my whole family in a big rented house. My middle brother Shane is getting married and my dad and I will do the wedding. AND, my parents are giving us tickets to Disney World as our Christmas gifts! I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! YEAH!
- Go BUCKEYES!.......beat Penn State.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How God Speaks

Now I don't claim to be the foremost authority on the issue, but I will tell you what I have learned and seen. It is usually in 1 of 4 ways how God usually speaks; a thunderbolt, from birth, over time and an open door. If you are following Christ, you have most likely experienced one or more of these. Which one does God usually speak to you with the most? What could you do to listen better in that area? Have you found other ways that God speaks to you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

where do you live

I read a quote this morning that said;
- Young people live in the future.
- Old people live in the past.
- Wise people live in the present.
So where do you live? My thought is that we draw from knowledge and experience from the past, as we are planning and dreaming for the future. Then we have to create steps in order to move that direction while in the present.
Which of the 3, do you find yourself most living in?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

hug a beggar

"People who don't hug beggars, have forgotten that they were one." This past Sunday, we touched on the seriousness of sin. Sin is so serious that Jesus had to pay for it with His life. My prayer, is that I never forget that from which I have been forgiven and set free. May I always show love to those still in bondage by not judging and always showing love. I never want to isolate myself from the pain of the world, where I lose touch and grow numb to hurt around me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

failure is not final


Saturday, I attempted my first marathon (outside of the Ironman triathlon). I felt great and was actually ahead of pace up to mile 24, which is where I fell apart. My legs started getting tight, my vision got a little blurry and I started feeling dizzy. I kept looking at my watch and could see that my hopes of hitting the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon was slipping away. I can honestly say, I tried to push as hard as I could. I needed a 3hr 10min 50sec, I finished in 3hr 13min 3sec, can you say bummer! When I crossed the line, I could barely stand, much less walk. I have always been one to set my goals high, and I guess trying to qualify for the Boston on 2 months of training was a little bit high. I will say, that now there is a fire in my gut to make this goal. I will put the training in, and I will give it another shot. Failure is like a wedge, it will either drive us "up" or "down."

I have learned that when you push yourself to the edge of physical failure, you get to know yourself in a way that few ever experience. I did placed 75th out of 1,163, but like I tell my boys, win or lose, you just have to give your very best. I can say, that I left it all on the course...........but I still want another shot...ha

Friday, October 17, 2008

constantly uncomfortable


Am I comfortable? Am I comfortable in my job, my life or maybe in my walk with Jesus? There are many times if I asked myself that question, I would have to say "yes." But that is not where I want to be. I want to be living life on the edge, especially in my walk with Jesus. I want to continually be hearing and responding to the Holy Spirit and biting off more than I can personally chew on my own strength. In other words, I want to live "constantly uncomfortable." Life is too short to take the easy way out and the one's who write HIS-Story are the one's who aren't afraid of failing and/or pain. Tomorrow morning for hopefully 3hrs and 10 minutes, I will be in constant pain, while trying to cross off yet another Life Goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon at the Indy Marathon. I may fail, I may succeed, but like I tell my kids, "just give it your best." Anyways, tomorrow will be in the physical realm, how I want to live in the spiritual realm.....constantly uncomfortable.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

nothing

Today, I'm doing something incredibly significant, by doing nothing. My Keri is at a Ministers wives retreat, while I take the day off and stay home and play with my kids. We are staying in our pajamas all day and will wrestle and play doll house till Kaden comes home. I never want to forget, that being a dad is even more important than being a Pastor.
Tomorrow late afternoon, I head to Indianapolis with 2 buddies to get ready to run a marathon (26.2 miles) and hopefully qualify for the Boston Marathon. The qualifying time for my age group is 3hrs 10min. Which is the same pace as 8.5mph on the treadmill for 3hr and 10min. OUCH! I have not done all the training needed, but am always up for a challenge. Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

inheritance

I read a little today on spiritual inheritance that got me thinking. Why is it that no revival (move of God) has been effectively passed down to the next generation? A few years ago, I went to Azusa Street where the roots of the Pentecostal movement began in the US. It is a small tourist attraction now. It's like the baton fell somewhere, and is all we got were stories and a plaque telling us what happened here. When in all reality, their ceiling should have been our floor. My dad has done more in ministry than my grandfather, and I hope to do more than my dad, and I hope my kids do more than me for the name of Jesus. That is how "inheritance" is supposed to work. I think part of the baton being dropped, is that the following generation tries to defend what was given them, rather than taking it to the next level. If we only play defense, we can never win, and at best only tie. I believe God wants us to continue to build on the foundation that the Saints of the past have laid. My generation now, needs to work on the exchange to the next......so we don't look like the U.S. sprint relay teams in the last Olympic Games.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

hell

This week's message is about "hell." As I am studying for this message, it has really challenged me on the way I live my life. I mean, we are talking about ETERNITY! Forever! Once we breathe our last breath, that is it, there are no more chances. Am I really doing all I can to see as many people come to Jesus as possible? I guess the real question is, "Do we really believe in hell?" If we truly did, we would all no doubt, live our lives different. For a rude awakening, check out "23 minutes in hell." It is one man's account of Jesus taking him there to experience it. It will wake you up. Here is the link:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/852697/23_minutes_in_hell_reference_edition/

Monday, October 13, 2008

toothfairy


Yesterday after church, our family went to Sonic to sit outside and eat. (I have to give props to my Keri, who with the help of coupons, can usually get our meals for 5 people under $10) Anyway, while eating his corn dog, my seven year old Kaden's tooth fell out on the ground. I was laughing as we were looking for it and finally found it. He knew that tooth represented a $1 bill and was determined to find it. Later that night, he asked his mom if she was the tooth fairy. He is at that age where he is starting to lose some of his innocence and see the world more in reality. It's kind of sad when this begins to take place, but in all reality, I guess it has to. (I don't want to be driving to his house when he's 37 and trying to slip a dollar under his pillow) As a dad, I want to protect my kids from the junk of the world, but yet let them experience enough to where they are not naive. I think my parents did a great job with me and my brothers. My dad was great at using circumstances and situations as teaching moments. That combined with them sheltering us and my mothers prayers, seemed to work pretty well. On the other hand, had they "over sheltered" us, we probably would have went out and made a lot of stupid decisions or been led astray. Now it is mine and Keri's chance to try to do the same with our kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

campout

Friday night and Saturday was spent with my dad, my two sons and 2 other boys. We went on a campout and had a blast. We roasted apples from a nearby tree, went exploring, caught a frog, played army and had a 25 minute battle royal wrestling match in our huge tent. Around the campfire last night, we taught these boys how a man shakes hands. A firm grip and to look the other person in the eye. I tried to go a little deeper on what it means to be a man of God, but between the fire and ADHD with NO medication, we had to go a different direction. Ha. Anyways, made some great memories that we will have forever.

Friday, October 10, 2008

forecast

I continually try to forecast for my life and the future of C3 Church. Forecasting, is where you look ahead and try to make decisions now, that prepare you for the upcoming future. Realizing that our church is (God willing) going to continue to grow, have started looking into options to prepare for it. This week a builder came in (for free) and give us some prints of a 500 seat auditorium, that attaches to our current building. Other options would be, renting out the schools auditorium next door or going to 3 services. Then getting as many pro's and con's together for each, in order to make the best decision for the future. Our heart is to have already done all the behind the scenes work, so when we are ready to pull the trigger, we can do it quickly. What forecasting do you need to do personally or in your work or ministry.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

keep your guard up

I was thinking about a karate tournament I entered several of years ago. As the fights when on, I found myself slowly lowering my guard. There was a time or 2 that I paid for it. This week I was in a Presbyter meeting, and in that meeting there is a point where decisions about discipline are made for those ministers who have fallen morally. Those sessions break my heart. I can only imagine the pain, grief and guilt that they and their families are going through. I appreciate the grace with truth that is extended. For it is by the grace of God that any of us could fall as well. For those who have made unwise decisions, at some point, they let their guard down. The longer your guard is down, the more likely you are to be hit. Personally, I try to identify my entry level temptations. Those are the small issues, that lead big issues. I can many times choose where I fight my battles. I want to fight, where I am more in control and fighting against the issue while it is smaller, and not yet had the chance to get bigger. Is your guard up or down?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Red Sonya

The name for my car just hit me.....RED SONYA! I even think in the comic books she teamed up with CONAN the barbarian! It's like peas and carrots. Red Sonya it is!

my new to me wheels


Check out my new ride......Can you say...Dodge Stratus! I've already committed the car to God and prayed that He helps this car run for many years. It's His and He's just lending it to me. I got this car with the money from my other accident, as it was an even exchange. The Lord is good! I'm now thinking about a good name for this car. Any ideas?

real

Last Sunday we talked about hypocrisy and how we as believers need to confess when we mess up. Confession saying, "I'm trying my best to be a follower of Jesus and what I did is not who I want to be. Will you forgive me....or help hold me accountable?" I believe that is what being "authentic" is all about. Yesterday, after our Community Group meeting, I was talking with a new friend of mine who just started attending C3 a couple months ago. He shared how he was under a lot of stress and how some of his reactions today were less than Christlike. Can I just say, "this is what it means to confess and be authentic." This is how a church is supposed to function. Not wearing masks or hiding our "real lives." As his friend and pastor, I am praying for him today and will ask him some accountability questions this week. I love the fact that some of our C3'ers are starting to build close enough relationships, where we don't have to pretend.

Monday, October 6, 2008

change


Today, I bought a 2001 Dodge Stratus! I'm excited to now have a car with A/C and without the horrible gas smell and smashed back end. I am though, struggling with letting my old car go. Her name is Bonnie the Bonneville, and we have traveled over 150,000 miles together. I've had some great times with Jesus in that car, and toured the state of Ohio through many small towns. It's almost like losing the family pet..ha. Why is change so hard? I think we are creatures of habit and routine. For the most part, we are drawn to security and comfort. If we are to live life to the fullest, we have to fight against this urge to remain in our comfort zone. Whether we like it or not, things change. This life of faith that Christ calls us to, is on the edge and far away from normal. To get the fruit, you have to go out on a limb.

more stuff

- Last night we took a few members on our C3 team to the district "Leadership Tour."
- Half of today and tomorrow I'm heading to a Presbyter meeting of which I have been newly elected over the Columbus area Assembly of God pastors.
- Today we are buying a (new-to-me) car. We are looking at a couple, but a red 2001 Dodge Stratus may take the cake....did I mention leather seats? ha
-Sunday we launched a new series called "The Elephant in the Church." Yesterday we dealt with hypocrisy.
- Go Buckeyes!
- A little nugget to think on: "Reactions reveal who we really are."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

healthy discussion

At our C3 staff retreat, we had some healthy discussion. We are in a very pivotal time in the life of our young church, as we are making decisions that will affect our future. I love the fact that we can disagree. We certainly don't have "yes" people on our team. They will speak their minds, but never cross the line. To have this kind of dialog, you have to a have a foundation of trust. Trust that we are all after what is best for the whole church, and trust that nothing that is said, is ever a personal attack on an individual or their idea. The real key though, is that when we walk out of the meeting, we are all on the same page, running in the same direction and you don't have to worry about someone saying, "I told you so."

Friday, October 3, 2008

tonight

Tonight we begin our staff retreat by going to Chipotle, then to Starbucks and finally out to Heartland Conf Retreat Center for the night. We are going to have some games and discussion and then tomorrow jump into business while the wives go shopping.....window shopping (ha). We have an amazing team and I'm excited about the future of C3.
Tonight is also Pickerington Central's homecoming game. Being the overflow parking lot for our HS football team, we should have no less than 200 cars on our lot. Tonight we are bringing back the $1 parking, where we pay them to park on our lot. Last year it created some incredible buzz at the game and within our community. We actually keep out 2% of our budget to give back to the community in various forms.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

UnChristian

I'm currently reading UnChristian by David Kinnaman. This book will truly get you thinking about how the church is perceived, and what can be done to change the negative stereotype. He had a line that said something like,"The goal of evangelism, is the wise and careful stewardship of the image of God." Think about that. Or how about how Jesus never offended the lost, only the religious. I truly believe that we as the "church," have to make some major changes in the way we represent Christ. Personally, God continually changes my heart and thoughts to become more like His, which is my goal. But at my best, I'm still a hypocrite in transition.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

planning ahead

Today, we mapped out our messages up until Christmas with message series, titles, scriptures and main point. At C3, the messages in the kids ministries mirrors what is done in the main service. This is tough work and requires some gifted staff to be able to create curriculum. I appreciate Gary and Becky for holding my feet to the fire.
Our heart is to structure our church like we are a much larger church, so that when we get there, we will already be structuring for the next stage of growth. In our staff meeting today we also discussed what are C3's biggest strengths and weaknesses. Then we looked at how we can utilize our strengths to help our weaknesses. Great discussion.
On a personal level, what do you need to structure in your life to help you grow to the next level? - Grow daily or die gradually.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New sermon series

This Sunday we start a new sermon series called, "The Elephant in the Church." (Thanks Mark Batterson for the idea) We will use a couple of the topics he did, as well as a couple of others. The whole idea is based off the old English idiom "the elephant in the room." The issues we all know are there, but no one has the guts to step up and call them out. This week, we will talk "hypocrisy." We will attempt to cut out a giant elephant out of styrofoam, and place it on the stage. Of course you cut those out with the help of an overhead projector....of which we have none. I just hope people showing up don't think we are the Republican Convention with elephants everywhere. HA.. Of course donkey in the church, just doesn't have the same meaning. Ok, I'm done rambling.....but I leave you with a quote: "Some people chase dreams, others live them." .......sorry, just trying to redeem this post. ha

Monday, September 29, 2008

the day off

My day off started at 5am ish, as I geared up for my first bow hunt of the season. I'm in the woods an hour and arrowed a nice doe. Stephens family fact: we only eat deer meat when eating at home. Keri knows how to fix it right. It's cheaper, healthier and it's something I enjoy doing. I then hit the gym and was home for lunch with the family. Today, I'm standing in the backyard with my Keri, as we watched our kids playing. I looked at her and said, "This is it, we are living some of the best years of our lives, right now." I really strive to live my life as full and rich as possible. I owe it all to Jesus Christ who is my everything. I honestly could not see living life without Him. I am blessed beyond measure.

Friday, September 26, 2008

favor


I got a call today from a buddy of mine at C3 Church, that got a couple free tickets in the box seats on the 35 yard line, 16 rows up. He asked if I wanted to go with him. The Lord is good! I bleed scarlet and gray. I have been to a few games and I have to say, that when the Buckeyes take the field, I get teared up. You can feel the energy in the Horseshoe, and it is electric. To see 105,000 all cheering in unison, is a very small taste of what heaven is going to be. Except the one being worshiped is worthy of it in every way.

de sire

First, I have to say I had a great time at Bethel Temple in Parma on Wed night, for their See You At The Pole rally. The YP Dave Shores did a great job putting the whole thing together, and we saw between 20 - 30 students respond for salvation. Also we got to rock out with Decipher Down.
ADD, switch gears - From my study this morning (Bill Johnson's, "The Supernatural Power of a Trasformed Mind"), I learned about "desire." The word is made up of DE meaning "of" and SIRE meaning "the Father." So desire by nature is of the Father. Also, that desires come from what we commune with. Personally, I want to walk close enough to Jesus that my desires fit into His Will for my life and the world around me. God gives us this big idea of "On earth as it is in heaven." This gives us some room for our desires, ideas and creativity. Really, when you think about it, we don't dream independent of HIM, but because of HIM. Thoughts?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our sign

I really think a church sign says a lot about a church. We have a sign that is on a pretty busy street. Several people have come to check out our church because of it. We try not to go cheesy, but yet keep the sense of humor. (I won't put examples of cheesy b/c I might offend someone..ha) Our angle is to put thoughts on there that you usually wouldn't see on a church sign. Here are some examples of a few of our actual "sign saying."
- The devil hates C3 church
- All polar bears are left handed
- Where church is never dull
- Reframing your view of church
- Waiting for a sign, here it is
- Only female mosquitoes bite

It's just another angle to create buzz in our community.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New small group model

It's working.....but we are only halfway there! This week we launched a new model of small groups that I haven't seen anywhere else. We have several groups in homes and 3 big groups that meet at C3. Last night we had, 33 at our "marriage" group. We had the chairs in the sanctuary in circles of 8. People came in, grabbed some food and sat down. We did a small ice breaker and then showed a 15 min teaching video. Then the groups began their discussions. The groups will remain the same until this 6 session (12 weeks) is over. The goal then, is that they launch from the church, into one of their homes. This gives us an easy place for anyone to jump in at anytime. They show up and we fill the next group till full (12 max). So these 3 nights at the church are the funnel to plug people in a group at anytime, even during a current session. Last night was our 2nd meeting and it went great. The first was a big game night to establish relationships. Then the next session people automatically link up with people they felt like they connected with. It's working so far. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

hurry up

Day off tomorrow. Striving relentlessly to remove hurry from my life.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

34

Today I turned 34...ouch. We got up early as a family, and went to Hocking Hills for the day. I got to run a 5k race there this morning. I ran a 23:19 and won the whole race. The course was 70% uphill, and on steep trails with roots, bridges and steps. It was cool having my kids there cheering me on to the finish. Following the race, we all went hiking. My boys love to climb, and today they got to do that. By the end of the day, they were dirty and loving it. We snagged some ice-cream on the way home and Chipotle for dinner. Life is truly good. I told my kids today, that there isn't any other people that I would rather be with on my birthday than them. I am such a blessed man!

Friday, September 19, 2008

advisory board meeting

Last night we had our monthly advisory board meeting in Donatoes back room. I just have to say, that I love our team of leaders. Personally, I feel that these board meetings need to continually be looking to the future, or dealing with obstacles we've yet to hit. I strongly feel that when board meetings gets stuck on what color to paint a room, that we are missing the point. I will continue to push hard to have us focus on the BIG picture and continued forward movement. There was an excitement in the room and we planned for continued growth. Nothing compares to God's favor! The "Dent" that God has called us to make, is already in progress.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

friction

Yesterday at our staff meeting, I led into a discussion about friction. As a growing church, we are constantly changing, which leads to movement, which leads to friction. How we deal with friction, will determine where we go. If we shy away from friction, we will search for that place of least resistance and most comfort. That would put us at a place of stagnation and decline. Instead, we choose to embrace friction and to learn from it. Friction happens when there is movement, but we can use some oil. When we streamline communication, keep the vision focused, and pray like crazy, we help alleviate some friction. But the truth of the matter is, we have to learn to lead under the weight of constant friction. If C3 is to be a church that moves forward, there is some wear and tear due to friction to pay.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

stuff

- The Buckeyes horrible loss - I'm still at a loss for words and have avoided even thinking about it.
- I'm turning 34 on Sat - It hurts to get older, but I feel I'm exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I was called to do.
- Gary Fowler has totally restructured all of our meetings and time management at C3 - He is the wind beneath C3's wings...ha
- Deer season starts in a week and a half - I'm starting to get the itch to get in the woods.
- Preparing for our 2nd B-day Bash as a church on Nov 9th. - We are trying to rent the local HS auditorium and have all 3 services together. Time will tell.
- Our church is in another growth season. - This creates obstacles that we have to lead through. I'm always up for a challenge....with God's help of course.
- Have been casting vision the past 2 weeks about our new Vision Statement, "LifeChange." - I feel an excitement as people are jumping on board with the vision.
- This weekend is the 1st time that the 2 Pickerington High Schools will square off in a football game. It is projected to be so big they are playing it in the Columbus Crew (soccer) Stadium. You can bet I will be there. I root for Central, but my kids will go to North....I'm confused.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

opportunity


Due to the huge windstorm that we had on Sunday night, at vast majority of the roofs and homes were affected somehow. Several in my neighborhood were damaged. I used to be a roofer and many of the homes need very little repair to fix the damage. So today when I get home, I already have 2 roofs that I will repair. One of my neighbors a couple doors down, is about to lose his father to lung cancer. I don't really know him that well, but hope that through a simple act of kindness and my prayers, I hope to show the love of God in a tangible way. As followers of Christ, we need to constantly look for opportunities to reflect HIS love.

Monday, September 15, 2008

launch service

Sunday night during the "wind storm of 08," we launched our C3@7 service, which is geared to the 20 somethings. An hour or so prior, the power was knocked out to most of Pickerington, including C3. We wondered if anyone would even show up with no lights on. We were surprised as 15 - 20 showed up. It turned out to be really cool with no lights, and only candles in the sanctuary. We did a little acoustic worship circle, a shorter simple message and then discussion. The room was set up with tables and stools around the outside of the room and rugs, a couch, pillows on the floor and end tables w/chairs around them. We had some cool art set up and a couple worship stations. At the end, we rolled in a food cart to encourage everyone to hang out and eat....they did. I talked to at least 6 of the people there who said they loved it. I'm excited to see where this service goes. I get to speak at a local college Bible study (about 100 students) which could hopefully draw even more along with word of mouth. Time will tell. We have a great committee of young leaders that are running this and doing a great job.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Truth

"All truth is not equal." Truth may be matter of fact, but certain truths play a bigger role in bringing LifeChange in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it talks about faith, hope and love, but the greatest being love. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus is drilling the Pharisees because they tithed, but they were neglecting the "weightier provisions of the law; justice and mercy and faithfullnes." I could tell my kids the truths from God's Word from the book of Leviticus and all the rules the people followed, but it would most likely not bring any LifeChange. If I share with them about love and how we live that out among their friends and in our neighborhood, that can bring LifeChange. All that to say, we need to give people the truth that they need to bring Life Change. I hope that rambling made sense. I would love some thoughts.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

#64


Here is an expert from the top 100 High School Football teams in the country this year. Central is located right next door from C3 Church.
#64 Central Pickerington OH 3-0 NR @ Lancaster
Pickerington Central has given up a total of 6 points in three games. That defense gets them attention, and national ranking.

The cool thing is, they park on our lot as overflow for the football games. We always give something away every week. This year we will be giving away more water, hot chocolate, blowpops, cookies and our staple, a dollar bill. Our heart is to be a church that always gives something back to our community, rather than being the church that is always asking for something. It is a principle of God and we have found it true, that the more we give away, the more God pours back in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

honored to serve

It really is an honor to serve. At the Forum Conference they asked me to serve in 2 ways. First, was to play the drums in the worship band, and 2nd was to lead 2 sessions to the 40 & under leaders. I really do mean it when I say that I am honored to serve. Personally, I love opportunities. If you gave me a choice between money or a cool opportunity, I'm taking the opportunity. When I'm asked to do something, whether I take it or not, I am truly humbled and honored to even be thought of. I want my life to look more and more like Jesus everyday. I have a long way to go, but I have found that I look the most like Jesus when I'm serving. So whether they asked me to stack chairs, clean tables or be the keynote speaker at a large conference, I'm just honored to serve.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Forum

Mon - Wed of this week is being spent at our Ohio Assembly of God Pastor's conference called "the Forum." It is always great to see old friends and to hear stories of trials and triumphs. I had the opportunity to help teach/lead 2 sessions geared for ministers 40 & under. I also got to play in the tournaments during the free time. I played my dad in the championship ping pong game and stacked my team for the basketball tourney. The Lord shone His favor upon me! Anyway, in the session with young leaders we talked about obstacles that are faced by younger pastors. How we must be earn the right to be heard and to help our leaders fulfill their vision. We also, talked about the heart and motive behind how and why we lead. Tomorrow, we will talk about many of the answers to the obstacles. We are going to use a young Sr. Pastor that went to a more traditional church and how he has brought change the right way.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

C3 picnic


Today at C3, we had a great crowd as we talked about our vision statement, that can be summed up as "LifeChange." We then headed to a nearby park for some food, cornhole and fellowship. I just have to say, "I love our church." I just took some time to look around at all the people who were eating together and realized that all this was a dream just a few years ago. God has truly shown His favor on C3 Church and as I always tell my staff and today told our people, "We have only just begun!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

faster than the pastor 5k


Today, C3 held our first ever "Faster than the Pastor 5k." We had a lot of people that helped pull this event off. We had right around 50 runners and raised close to $1,500 dollars to give to put in sidewalks for Pickerington schools. Combine that with the city agreeing to match what we raise and it totals right at $3,000. Also, Noodles & Company have agreed to give us 25% of their profits today from anyone eating their and mentioning our church or the race. OK, so here is what you are really wanting to know, I did have to give away a shirt that said "I was Faster than the Pastor." Shane Wricker from C3 (former Univ. South Car. runner) ran a 17:00 and I came in 2nd at 17:25. Altogether we had a good race for a good cause and fun was had by all. I have to also add that my 3 kids ran the different age group fun runs and they each had fun and Kaden even won his race.

Friday, September 5, 2008

my grandmother's funeral

Today, we loaded up the van with the kids and drove 2 hours to Canton Ohio for my Grandmothers funeral. There were times of tears and times of joy. I walked away with a couple of thoughts:
- Even if we begged my Nana to come back from heaven, I'm sure she would not trade it for anything.
- She died with an unshakable peace and faith.....she gave me a great example of finishing strong.
- Why does it take something like a family member passing to bring our whole family and friends together at one time, in one place?
- At a funeral, you begin to understand the power and influence of one life.
- My Nana's investment in me, will continue to live on.
- I realized that my absolute most important thing in this life, is that my family makes it to heaven.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pain threshhold

I heard a podcast from Sam Chand on pain that really got me thinking. His point was that every leader is always dealing with pain (or pressure), whether they know it or not. How they are able to live and deal with that pain, will determine how far they go.

Last night, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with everything going on. From Nana's passing to Faster than the Pastor 5k, Church Picnic, a conference I'm sharing at, C3@7 our new Young adults service, and trying to get all my messages lined up till the end of the year. All of this within the next week and a half. Oh and I have to have something ready for this Sunday. All that to say, life tests our pain thresholds. What is my breaking point? Where is that threshold of pain where I say, "I can't handle anymore?" I'm getting better at reading my own gauges and knowing my thresholds and limits. My goal though, is to continue to increase my pain tolerance. If I have learned anything from running, it's that you have to continually push up to, and sometimes through the pain threshold in order to grow in that area. I have learned that it is no-fun, and that is why most people don't continue to grow. What are your pain thresholds?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

the call

Last night after midnight, I got "the call." You know, the one that when the phone rings, you know it is not going to be good news. It was my dad calling me to say that my grandmother had passed away. It is truly bitter/sweet. Nanna was in pain and her health was bad, and she asked us to pray that God would take her home.....and HE did. This morning in my prayer time, I imagined my grandmother dancing around heaven worshiping God in her new body. I wonder what she would tell me, now that she is in heaven. I'm sure the outlook on our earthly lives, looks very different from her new perspective. I'm sure many of the things that I value, aren't really that valuable, and many of the things that get little of my passion and attention, are most important. Her life and passing causes me to think of our memories together, and the words of life that she has spoken over me in the past. There is no doubt that her life, has helped shape my life and I am eternally grateful. I will do my best to honor my promise to my grandmother, to bring as many people with me to heaven as possible.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

real life

So, my wife and I finally get all the kids in the bed so we can sit down for our weekly popcorn and Pepsi (movie) night. 15 minutes into the movie and Kali starts yelling. I go upstairs and Kali has pooped in her diaper. I changed her diaper, and as always, I put it in a plastic Walmart bag and threw it down the steps, in order to take it outside. As I threw it, it had a small hole in the bag which ripped open. My throw managed to hit the hallway wall, the rail and at least 2 steps before stopping. I know this because of the poop trail that was left behind. DISGUSTING! I had to laugh. Life is so full of circumstances like this. I have learned not to take myself too seriously.

resilient

I think it is amazing how resilient the human body and the human spirit are. Today, I ran 15 miles with a buddy a mine. I haven't went that far in over a year, and I'm feeling it right now. It's amazing though, that as I increase my miles, my body bounces back, faster and faster. I have also read about the resilience of those going through something as horrible as the Holocaust. I feel that much of our resilience comes down to our outlook on life and mental attitude. If we have a positive outlook on life, we bounce back faster and stronger than before. If we have a negative outlook on life, bouncing back is a long drawn out process, if we bounce back at all. I have to ask myself, how resilient am I? How resilient are you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

last words

Last night I went to the hospital room in Canton Ohio to see my ailing grandmother. She has a tumor that is blocking digestion and is too frail to operate. The doctors give her only a couple of days to live. Standing there holding her hand, just seemed surreal. She said her body is in pain, but her spirit has incredible peace. Here my Nanna stands on the edge of eternity with no fear. She spoke some kind words over me and we prayed together. The Spirit of God was in that room. My grandmother began speaking in her heavenly language as I prayed. There were tears coming down my face, but they were tears of joy. I am so priveleged to have a Godly grandmother who has left me more than money can buy. She has given me a heritage and her legacy. I told her that I would see her again, but that I wouldn't be coming alone. I will spend my life to bring as many people with me as possible.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Go Buckeyes


If you live in Columbus Ohio, there is no question that you have to root for the Buckeyes. I couldn't believe how excited I was for this season to start. This should be another great year, but there are still a ton of games yet to be played. I think one of the reasons it is easy to root for Ohio State, is because they WIN. Everyone wants to root for a "winner." That's why I sport my Buckeye wear with pride.
I want more than anything for C3 to be that "winning team." A church where people are excited to be a part of it. This is a continual pursuit....and personally......I love to win.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I planted but someone else watered


I was speaking at a youth ministry that I had spoken at several years ago and was approached by a young lady that said, she had received Jesus Christ the last time I was there. She was doing well and had been serving God since then. It was so cool to see some of the fruit from those traveling days as the State Youth Director. The Bible says that one may plant the seed, another may water the seed, but God makes it grow. My role was planting the seed and leading her to Jesus, but that Youth Pastor and Youth Ministry is the one who watered and nurtured her spiritually. God though, was responsible for her growth. Sometimes I play the planting role, other times the watering, but my efforts are futile without the Power of God which makes them grow. In who's life are you planting or watering?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gahanna Christian Academy

This morning I got the privilege to speak to a couple hundred 6th - 12th grade students at an assembly for Gahanna Christian Academy. I talked about being "NUMB." Numbness is due to a lack of our blood flow, which is our life source. We are numb when we stay in 1 place too long, are out in the cold too long or experience some kind of trauma. All these things tie in to our spiritual lives as well. I believe it is very easy for us to grow numb spiritually. This usually happens when we lose focus on God and others, and begin to focus on ourselves. We are numb when we no longer care about those who don't know Christ or when church becomes more about something else than about Jesus. OK, I'm done preaching. I'm heading back their tomorrow morning as well, so pray for me and the students.

clone wars


I took my boys to see Clone Wars the other day. We are all big Star Wars fans, from the Lego video game, to our own light sabers, to some action figures. The movie was kind of an in between from the actual films and the cartoon series. I give it an "8" and here is why. The only bummer of the whole movie was the 1 cuss word. They used DA@#. My question is why? If every kid is wanting to see it, why do you throw that into. I can't believe George Lucas films would allow it. I may be wrong, but I don't remember even 1 cuss word in the entire previous 6 films. Do they actually think 1 word is going to make the movie better or more realistic. It really just seemed stupid and simple to throw that in there. OK, I'm off my soap box. But overall was a good Star Wars movie. We immediately went home and beat each other with our plastic light sabers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

tim hortons


So this morning I'm treating myself to a poor man's Starbucks..(you know, a Tim Hortons mocha)..ha. As I'm driving through the 10 car line at the drive-thru, I start listening to a song on the radio and writing in my palm/phone some words of inspiration. I am now the 2nd car from the window and realize that I never ordered. I had my windows up, the music blaring, as I'm writing, and slowly cruising by. I realized what I had done, started laughing, broke line and drove to the church. I drove away laughing at myself. (For the record, I have never done that before) It did get me thinking of how much of life we miss while being stuck in our fast paced, technological little worlds. So today, I am reminded again to take some time to smell the roses......or in my case, the coffee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

clarify the win

Today we had some good discussion in our Central Sectional Pastors meeting. We are going through the book "7 Practices of Effective Ministry," by Andy Stanley. We only got through the first chapter which challenges you to "Clarify the Win." When we play baseball, we know that we score by touching home plate. So everything the team does, is designed to get as many of their players as possible to touch home plate, while at the same time keeping the opposing team from doing so as well. In the church, many times we have no clue what the real "win" is. So everyone is doing what they think is the win, all the while we are spinning our wheels in ineffectiveness. What if the "win" for every service and meeting that we had, had a purpose and a "win." What if every leader that serves on our team knew exactly what the "win" is for them and how it fits in to the bigger picture? We could probably change the world! We had a good staff meeting today as we once again had to "clarify the win" in some areas. It is a continual process that takes work, but keeps us closer to effectiveness and efficiency.

Monday, August 25, 2008

some stuff

- Saturday got to compete in a triathlon my buddy Jim and also to be there as Gary Fowler crossed the line for his 1st sprint triathlon. I finished 2nd and Gary 18th out of 75. Not too bad!
- Had a good Sunday. We did a GroupLink luncheon after church where we plugged people into Community Groups. We are trying something new where we will still have several in homes, but now we will have 3 larger ones that meet at C3. The goal is to make it easy for anyone to jump in at anytime. We will have the teaching then break into small groups in the sanctuary. After 6 sessions of every other week, we will then launch those smaller groups of people with a leader from within that group, to take it into a home. We will let you know how it works.
- Had our second meeting for ISI (Iron Sharpens Iron). This 4 month leadership growth track has only 5 other guys instead of 10 like last session. I like the smaller group better. I feel we are connecting and growing and I'm excited to see how this plays out.
- Took my boys in the woods today for some tree climbing, frog catching, rock throwing boys and dad time.
- I have made the decision to run the Indianapolis Marathon in October and try to run it fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 09. I have to start running a lot more miles between now and then. It will be very close to see if my training will hold up under 26.2 miles. Time will tell.
- Also, my last 3 stops at Subway have landed me winning either a drink or a cookie. The Lord is good!

Friday, August 22, 2008

and the winner is?

It was a tough decision for the panel of judges to decide who would be getting the book. After much deliberation...(especially since Gary voted for almost everyone) here is what we came up with and why.
- Chris - We have really no good reason why you should not get the book..but...NO.
- Dave Kidd - You are a blessed guy and are already receiving a free book, and even though you didn't ask....I have to say No.
- Dave McPeek - You were the only one Gary "did not" vote for, because he doesn't know you, but I assured him you were a great guy...but still it was a NO.
- Derek - We think your wanting to give it to a friend is a scam...(HA..JK)...but NO.
- Karen - Mother of Amy who wanted the book for her daughter, great heart, but No. (Inside scoop...shhhhhhh... she is getting this book for her B-day from a staff member at C3, but you didn't hear it from me)
- Pastor Josh - Gary said he does not take lightly to those who try to "brown nose" and play the political game, soooooo No.
- Holly - You rock, but to ship it to Oregon would cost me too much in postage...so it's a No.
- So the winner is ......drum role....SISTER V!!! The book will be delivered in person to your husband at the upcoming "Forum" A/G ministers conference.

Thanks to all who participated and if you didn't win, sorry about your luck. Did I mention I won a cookie today at Subway!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back 2 School Bash

Wednesday night, I got to travel up to Delta Ohio and speak a back to school bash. It was just like old times as the state youth director in my traveling Ohio days. I got to see a few old friends and saw a bunch of kids commit their lives to Jesus Christ. It doesn't get any better than that! I also enjoyed the several hours in the car. It may sound crazy but I don't mind driving. For me, my car is one of my sanctuaries with Jesus. I have had some incredible encounters with God while driving down the road. My drive time is some of my "grow" time. It's either leadership lesson CD/MP3, or seek Jesus time. How much time do you have in the car? What are you doing to make the most of it?

goosed


Another quote from "Wild Goose Chase," "When God puts a passion in your heart, it becomes your responsibility." In the past couple of days, I have talked with a couple of people that feel they once had a great passion in their lives, but now it has waned. When we don't chase a God ordained passion, it not only affects us, but others as well. It affects us by realizing that we are running from our real purpose on this Earth, which leads to frustration and discontentment. It affects others, because this dream or passion was given to us to bless others and to make the world a better place. Are you running from any passion, calling or dream that was given to you by God?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Duck...duck...duck...GOOSE

Another great thought from the book was, "faith doesn't follow signs, signs follow faith." I think too often we will sit and wait for a sign....for weeks....for months...for years. We wonder why God is not speaking to us. I believe one reason is because many of us are not doing what God us to told us to do last. That's why it's a "faith" journey. You have to step out in trust even when all the steps are not there yet. I have found that the fruit is out on the end of the limb and that you have to go out there to get it. When you do, the signs start showing up. For me on my own journey, they have been confirmation signs of "your heading in the right direction." But they are signs I would have never seen unless I was continuing to move. The greater the faith, the greater the impact! So what are you waiting on? You are only one small act of courage away!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FREE BOOK


OK, here is the play. I was given 2 copies of "Wild Goose Chase," one to read and the other to give away. So the first person to ask me for this.....oh wait...what was that...sure Gary Fowler (C3's Exec. Dir) you can have it since you asked first. Just Kidding! Whoever can leave the best, most heartfelt, creative, whatever you want to do reason of why you need or deserve this book, will win it. The post must be in 50 words or less and in English. The winner will determined on Friday (by a panel of judges) and the book sent out shortly after. Good luck!
P.S. - I'm halfway through and I think it will land in my top 10!

Monday, August 18, 2008

wild goose chase 1


I am a part of the the new book by Mark Batterson, entitled "Wild Goose Chase," blog tour. I just started reading it today, and so far it is another great book by Batterson. His first book entitled, "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day," was so good we did a sermon series on it. Mark has a way of challenging my soul and forcing me to ask my self the tough questions. The main theme of the book is "Most of us have no idea where we’re going most of the time. Perfect." That truly following Christ is like chasing a wild goose that can't be tamed or tracked. That there are times that God's Will is not logical for us. Another great quote was, "Jesus died to make us dangerous." Over the next couple of days, I will be pulling out some good thoughts from his book that are challenging my thinking. You can check out his books website at www.chasethegoose.com.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Inspiration


I love the Olympics! On the gold medal stand as our national anthem is played, you will find me in my living room standing with my hand over my heart. I get a little crazy watching our Americans compete. I'm usually screaming "C'MON!" or jumping up and down. The Olympics make me want to train harder and achieve more. I love it to when they share the stories or the journey's of the athletes and the hardships and determination to get there. Their lives inspire so many and in many countries they are role models and even icons. They give hope to go after dreams and not to give up. I guess my question is.....is anyone inspired by my life? How about your life?