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


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


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


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


- 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


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


"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


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.


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.