Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This morning I'm on the treadmill at the gym, my ipod rocking a great message, watching ESPN and getting my workout in. I'm on the 2nd floor looking over the gym when I see some woman acting frantic. There was a mouse running throughout the gym! It's amazing how such a little creature can cause such a big stir. I found out it was first spotted by a lady showering in the locker room! Ha! Anyway, they did catch and release the little critter out back and everything returned to normal.
Think about the fact that a tiny defenseless litte creature, could strike fear and panic in the hearts and minds of so many. When you break it all down, that mouse only had the power it was given by the person. That mouse had no power on it's own, but only what that person gave it in their own mind. This is so true in life. Many people are bound by fear that really doesn't exist....especially IN CHRIST! So what are you fearing and why have you given that person/place/thing power over you?

Monday, March 30, 2009


Sunday, we announced that as a church we hit the goal for what the bank was asking in order to get the loan for the new building! We challenged our people that we needed 70 people to give $65 extra a month for up to 3 years. C3'ers rose to the occasion and we had a total of 72 commit. God is so good. It was the first major hurdle we have had to face as a church. We have some great momentum, excitement and most importantly, lives are changing........as God is calling us to Greater Things!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

great trip

I had a great time hanging with my friends and being a part of their special day together. Warsaw is a cool city with some cool sights. I love hearing of the histories and heritage of different cultures and nations. It's also interesting to see how they have evolved to where they are now. All of our histories and past experiences shape us for better or worse. Many things we want to continue to pass on to our children and others, we will try to be the one's to change.

PS - That 10 hour flight back was a killer!

Friday, March 27, 2009


I'm having a blast hanging with friends and eating some good food. We walked the city for about 3 hours yesterday. Today I worked out, and am heading to a coffee shop then over to the church for the wedding. It is going to be a great day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today, I fly out for Warsaw Poland! I get the privilege of doing my friends wedding in the country of his heritage. I've been to Europe a few times, but never Poland. I love seeing and experiencing new places. I will try to snap a couple pics. I'm also looking forward to half a day of uninterrupted work/reading/praying time on the plane....and I get to do it twice. It will be a whirlwind trip. I leave tonight and get there Thursday late afternoon. The wedding is Friday afternoon and I jump back on the plane on Saturday at noon, returning here around 8pm on Saturday night. Just in time for church on Sunday! Thank goodness Gary is speaking.....ha.

The bricks

Last Sunday, we gave the opportunity for our C3'ers to pledge financially to give toward seeing others experience LifeChange through our new building. We had 70 bricks on the stage. Each represented a $65 a month commitment for us to 3 years to be able to get the loan. I won't spill the beans just yet as we are waiting to hear from a couple more C3'ers.......but I will say, it's looking real good!
It's amazing how many incredible people we have in our church that are willing to be a part of something greater than themselves. We are truly united in the effort to make a dent in East Columbus for the name of Jesus Christ. I love our church!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my day

It has been a full day -
- Gym
- Sectional meeting to lead worship and MC meeting of about 40 + pastors
- Rushed back to give our van to a guy who was very grateful. (man that was fun!)
- Had a meeting with MidWest builders rep.
- Catching up on emails
- Heading home to play with kids and love my family
- Pack for a flight out of the country
- Watch "24"
- Write a little on a future book
- Pray with wife
- Go to bed

Monday, March 23, 2009


Keri and I have been praying about what we should do with our old van. We could sell it and put the money toward our new van or our churches new building fund. We decided to just give it away. We prayed about who to give it to, when someone shot us an email of a bigger family needing one. They have to take 2 smaller cars wherever they go because they can't all fit. They were looking to find one for real cheap. I talked to the guy on the phone today and he couldn't understand why we are just "giving" it away. That opened the door for me to share that "followers of Christ" are generous people who live differently. God blessed us with a newer van and now we want to bless someone else. He was so grateful and didn't know what to say....but "thank-you, you have no idea what this means."

I love it when we live out our faith and it goes against culture. People can't hardly understand it but, this is the life that God has called us to. A life of an abundance mentality, rather than a scarcity mentality. Just like I spoke on Sunday, we reap....what we sow!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I had a great time this weekend at the Men's convention called Gameday. I got to hear from Craig Krenzel, run the big corn hole tourney and speak a session with Gary Fowler and Brent Salyers. It was a good time. I had to bail a little early to make it back for Kadens baseball evaluation/tryouts. The rest of my Saturday was eating at Chipotle (free card) and throwing baseball with my kids. I am truly blessed beyond measure.
Tomorrow is a HUGE day for C3 Church! We take commitments for our new building tomorrow. We need 70 people to give $65 a month for up to 3 years. There are 70 bricks on the stage which each represent a $65 commitments. After tomorrow we will define reality. I BELIEVE!

Friday, March 20, 2009

cornhole magnifique

Tonight, we are taking a group of C3 guys to the Ohio Districts Men's Convention "GameDay." I'm looking forward to it. Tonight after the service, I have been asked to organize and oversee a huge cornhole tournament for up to a 1,000 guys. I have organized many tournaments before, but none with hundreds of teams. We'll see how it all pans out. Just know any tournament I have a hand in will have trophies! ha.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

great question

I read a great question today from Randy Alcorns "Treasure Principle." I love great questions because they are the key to great answers. So here it is:
"Five minutes after you die, what will you wish you would have given away?" Of course the follow up question is, why not give it away now? Personally, I want to be a generous person, both planned and spontaneous. Not only in finances, but in every area of my life. In areas like smiles, kind words, possessions that are valuable to me, time, personal giftings, etc. The list could go on and on. The point is.....give it now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Last night my 5 year old was praying for all the poor kids in the world. In his mind he was praying for the "big" things he thought they might need. This list covered everything from a Wii to Batman videos. As I sat there and listened, I thought about how much "stuff" we have, that we think we really need. Personally, I remember asking a person in a 3rd world country what they would really like to have.....the response......a bath towel. That was a luxury item to them. I don't know where I'm going with all this except to say, it never ceases to amaze me of all the stuff we complain about (myself included). In a couple weeks I'll be in a orphanage in Jamaica seeing poverty again....face to face. We all need a refresher now and then of just how much we really have.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I remember a story a college cross country coach told. He said, he and his team were traveling home from a meet when their van was egged by some Jr high kids. The coach slammed on the brakes and said, "go get em!" Those poor Jr high kids ran as fast as they could, but they weren't getting away. Every time they turned around, the guys chasing them were getting closer. They were being pursued relentlessly. There was no chance they would outrun them. All the kids who threw the eggs were caught.
My heart is for C3 church to pursue those who don't know Christ "relentlessly." We will not and can not rest until all have heard and know Christ in East Columbus. We will never ever let up. In fact the more God entrusts us with, the harder we will pursue. We will use everything in our power to reveal Jesus to others.......relentlessly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Challenge

Sunday we put out the financial challenge to our church. We need 70 people to give an extra $65 a month for up to 3 years. We showed the building design and gave all the details to the congregation. We wanted everyone to take a week and pray about what God would have them give. We have 70 bricks on the stage that each represent one of those $65 pledges. It will act as our thermometer. This week will be a celebration of all the LifeChange people have been experiencing through C3 and then the pledges will be given.
Today, I sat with our 3 yr old Kali as we went through her piggy bank as she decided what to give to see more people come to Jesus. I let her decide and she gave half of her piggy bank....and she was excited to give it. I'm excited to see what happens Sunday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stephens 5

I am drilling in my boys ( and soon little Kalis) heads a few of our families values. Then I can use teachable moments throughout the week to cement them in their little heads and hearts. Here are ours:
1. Love God
2. Men of integrity
3. Never give up
4. Good attitude
5. No whining
I could hammer more....but at this point they can grasp these. I have them repeat them every night. Now, we're working on getting them to live them out and when they do, we make a big deal out of it.
What are your values?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

parenting class

Tonight we just came from C3's parenting class. Some friends of ours (the Bartkoski's) who have and are raising 6 kids are teaching the class. Having a church full of young families....it is much needed. Keri and I have learned a lot already and are trying to apply it to our family.
Here were some take-aways:
- True Obedience is : Immediate, Obeying Completely, w/out Challenge and w/out Complaint
- Biggest mistakes when disciplining are: Threatening, Repeating and Bribing. (pretty much my whole bag of tricks..lol)
- Think your actions through
* Choose your battles wisely
* Think through your steps
- Our kids are a reflection of us...good and bad....ouch
- Get eye contact and get on their level
- Be precise and stay simple
- More than the behaviour you are trying to establish values
* Think through what you want your families to be


I've heard it said that "your network, is your net worth." Today, I met with 4 other pastors in my town (all denominations) that are like minded for that purpose. These guys are all pastoring growing churches and are all about sharing resources and ideas to further God's Kingdom. I have really seen an openness of Pastors who are not interested in building their "empire," but God's "Kingdom." We got to know each other today and began what I'm sure will turn into some great relationships for the future. We are in this thing together!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today, we got the message that our neighbor had passed away. She was in her 30's and had no health problems up until a couple weeks ago when she began to get dizzy and went to get checked out. That's when she learned of a inoperable mass on her brain. Betsy then went into a coma and a couple days later passed away. It all happened so fast, to someone so young. She was an incredibly giving person. Betsy was an elementary school teacher for Columbus City Schools. She had a huge heart and our kids loved her and her little dogs. The world has lost someone who gave of themselves to make it a better place. Keri and I are still kind of numb that all this has happened and so fast. I wish I had more answers. Sometimes all we can do is just pray to the one who does have them. Her life influenced many and causes me to take a fresh look at my own and to make sure I keep my priorities straight. She will be remembered by the Stephens family as the incredible person that she was.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ohio State Patrol

This morning I got to hear from Major C. Minter of the Ohio State Patrol at our Presbyter meeting. He spoke on leadership and integrity. He oversees 1,500 + patrol men and woman, prisons, security at large events, etc. Major Minter shared his story of how he came to Christ. I love hearing peoples stories. For him, it came down to one pastor knowing his name. Something so small, but life changing for him as a young man. We will never know how some small act can change someones life forever. I want to be that person that speaks life over others that perhaps God could use as a defining moment in their lives. What could you do, to be that person?

Monday, March 9, 2009

big meetings

Today and tomorrow I'm in the Ohio District Presbyter meeting representing the 33 churches in the Central (Columbus) section. It's cool being a part of a leadership team that represents 285 churches throughout the state, working to help create healthy churches and pastors.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

a full day

Today I got at the church at 7:30 am to prep for the 3 morning services. I then went from the 9am to the 10:30 service (drank a Rockstar) to the noon service. Keri and I then went and had lunch with our soon to be summer intern and parents and I headed back to C3 to print my notes for my Iron Sharpens Iron leadership class. Walked out of the meeting directly into a video shoot then over into the sanctuary for a "new building details" meeting with our people. Immediately after that was our 7pm prayer service. Drove home with the kids (Keri was buying groceries) fed them a snack, bathed them and put them to bed. Sundays wear me out, besides the trophies, that's why I train..ha.

I do appreciate a friend at C3 pull me aside and let me know that I was looking a little tired today. He said, "we can't afford to have you burn out." Personally, I really appreciate that. We all need people looking out for us.
Good night!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today, I competed in the Grady Indoor Duathlon. It was a 15 minute run on an indoor track to see how many laps you could get in. Then you had 5 minutes to run over to your bike that was hooked to a stationary bike trainer and pedal as fast as you could for 15 minutes. Followed by another 15 minute run. It was my first race of the year and I won the overall and took home the hardware! Personally, I love to compete. For me, I have to have adventure in my life or I feel stale. Every man needs a battle to fight and beauty to rescue.......well now with my little Kali I have 2 beautys. As for my battle to fight, it's inside my heart and mind every time the starting gun fires. (in my best Braveheart impersonation) FREEDOM!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

less for more

It's amazing how much we try to jam into a training session or a message on Sunday morning. Many times it is so much information that they walk away not remembering anything. As said in Church Unique, "Every additional thought you intro, diminishes the prior ideas." Will we leave others with a main thought that we drill down on, or will we leave their heads swimming with mental overload? This applies to goals as well. More goals equals more confusion. Can you imagine what would happen, if everyone in your church or organization knew what the goal to measure everything was? For C3......it is LifeChange! But to keep the focus simple is crazy hard, because focus naturally expands.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Erwin McManus said, "You are a steward of your God given potential." If that is the case, how well are you stewarding yours? What obstacles hinder you from reaching your potential? What decisions do you need to make in order to develop more of your God given potential?
If we are stewards of it, that means some day we will have to give an account for it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

office closed FOREVER

Today I roll up to my office as normal for meetings, when I notice the door is locked. the power is off and my key doesn't work. I'm almost numb, thinking maybe we didn't pay a bill or something. Then I came to and realized that this was my 2nd office.....you know the one at the Cup o Joe! GONE FOREVER! My comfy seat by the fire place.....the peppermint mocha no whip...gone... gone...why me!!!!why me!!!!
OK..I'm done, but it still hurts. So I headed down the street to Planet Coffee...yeah..the one where my phone doesn't get a signal in the back half of the store. Yeah I'm bitter....but I will try to be strong! I will overcome!


This past weekend, I took a little time to think about life and how everyone has a "story." It's amazing how we meet people and really have no idea what they have went and are going through. Everyone has a story. My heart is to help them link up their story w/Christs story....and the rest will be HIS-sTORY! Especially with the economic problems, it seems that the issues of life have been compounded. There is no greater time than now for the "church" to be the "church." When people are in a place of great need and all their security is gone, that is when many will turn to God. We must be ready to point them to THE ANSWER (Christ) in their time of searching.

Monday, March 2, 2009

used with permission

Today we enjoyed a day off as a family and had a great time. Keri loves driving her new (to us) van. We pulled up to pick up Kross from school and she saw a friend. Not knowing the buttons real well, she opened the electric window and stuck her head out. Then having it rolled down too far, she went to roll it back up a little. With her head out the window, she couldn't see that the auto feature was rolling it back up. So, I'm watching this whole thing unfold from the passenger seat. I don't know whether to laugh or try to help her. Keri's head get's lodged just as she realizes what's happening and finally gets it stopped without too much pain. The whole time she is still carrying on a conversation with her friend.
These are the stories that make life fun and memorable!