Sunday, December 23, 2007

NORAD tracks Santa with Google

This was so important, I felt I had to post just as a public service announcement. dg

12/23/2007 05:55:00 PM

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

We're counting down the hours until Santa's flight around the world. On Monday, December 24th, starting at 1 am PST, visit noradsanta.org to track Santa with NORAD on his annual trip.

NORAD will use Google Maps to track several hundred of Santa's stops in over 200 countries and territories, and will embed videos of Santa's stops captured on their Santa Cams on the Google Map and post the videos on the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel.

Want to see more of Santa? NORAD will also provide a downloadable Santa Tracker file to track several thousand of Santa's stops in Google Earth. Santa's visits are only a few seconds long, and then -- poof, he's off to the next location. Click on the gift icons in Google Maps or Google Earth to learn more about the cities that Santa visits.

Happy holidays from all of us at Google!

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:10-11 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
[NIV at IBS] [International Bible Society] [NIV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.


1. Luke 2:11 Or Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah" (Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One"; also in verse 26.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Joy is being free!

Joy is being free. That's why Jesus came--to set us free from sin and death. Jesus means "The Lord saves."

This video clip sums it up pretty well. Amazing how well kids can say things. It's more than worth the 2 min. to listen.

Merry Christmas. dg

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joy is being transformed

God's word transforms those who trust His word and act on it.

Joseph heard God's word 3 different times through angels in the Matthew account of the Christmas story. Each time he heard God's word and acted on it in faith. He couldn't see or hear God but he did hear God's messenger and acted on it. That transformed Joseph further preparing him to become the earthly father of Jesus.

Are you being transformed by God's word? Are you even listening? If so, when you listen, are you obeying it promptly and completely as Joseph did.

Here are some practical steps you can take to live joyful transformation:

Pick a
place. Early while it was still dark Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place where He prayed. Mark 1:35 Find a place where you can get away from everyone and read and pray undisturbed. This is your "Prayer closet."

Pick a
period of time. Start with as little as necessary to establish a daily habit. It takes about 30 days to establish a habit. Just resolve to do that. 3 minutes a day for 30 days.

Now that said, to truly be transformed by God will take more time. Just like you can't expect a close relationship to grow without spending time together, it's unrealistic to think that God will transform you significantly in so little time. Love takes time. Make time. Pick a period of time where you consistently and effectively meet with God. He's waiting.

Pick a
plan. What do you do once you get in there? Here are some suggestions. But the main thing is to pick a plan and then work it.

-Read a chapter a day in the New Testament (begin with Matthew) and read the NT in a year.

-Read 3 chapters a day. If you want to read the whole Bible in a year, read 3 chapters a day. Start in 3 place for variety. I suggest beginning in Genesis, Job and Matthew. Using 3 bookmarks, you can work the whole Bible in a year.

-Read through the Psalms and Proverbs regularly. Tie your reading to the calendar. Ex. on Jan. 1 read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 & Proverbs 1. Jan. 2 read Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, Proverbs 2. And so on. You'll end up reading all of Psalms and Proverbs in a month. That is worth repeating too.

Pick a
partner. Not somebody to pray with but somebody who wants to meet with God daily as well but has trouble staying consistent. Decide to hold each other accountable by calling each other at least once a week. Check in to see how they're doing. Don't stop with did you meet with God today but ask, "What is God teaching you? How are you growing? Are you sensing any changes in your life?" It's about more than being able to say you did it (although that's important early on).

Purpose to do it. Remember, the purpose in doing this isn't to be able to say you did it. That will only build pride and we're not about that. It's to see God transform us. We want God to change us to become more like Jesus Christ. That happens as we get to know God better. Purpose for transformation.

Practice. Practice. Practice. It won't happen unless you do it. "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only."

Joy is being transformed in the image of Christ. Purpose to begin doing that today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Joy is being secure

I shared Sunday 3 things joy is in Christ. The first is...

Joy is being secure.

Tsunamis, Corporate scandal, terrorism, war...secure in what? Secure in the sovereignty of God. In the Christmas story found in Matthew 1:18-2 we see God is sovereign over creation and the nations.

He's sovereign over creation as seen in his manipulation of the stars drawing the Magi to Jesus. Only God could do that. It doesn't matter whether he used 3 planets or just put his own supernatural maglite in the sky--he did it. He's sovereign over creation.

He's sovereign over the nations too. He used the wicked king Herod to help the Magi along. He wasn't limited to a good king being in power.

God's not limited today either. I don't have to be afraid of typhoons or terrorists. Even the angels remind us over and over, "Do not be afraid."

Joy is being secure. Rest in that today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Posted by Picasa

Congress gets it right!

"Congress Says “Merry Christmas”

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 372-to-9 in support of a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith in the founding of the United States and formation of Western Civilization. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a great conservative champion. (This political action committee played a key role in helping Steve King win his primary election in 2002. Just one more way we are helping to defend your values!)

Earlier this year, the House passed measures honoring Ramadan and Diwali, a Hindu holiday. But Rep. King noted, “Watching Congress honor Islam during Ramadan, and also Diwali … brought it home to me that we were doing that and not honoring Christianity. …This nation has about 225 million Christians out of 300 million… And the foundations of this nation are a
Christian foundation [and] our founders were Christian. So for us to move forward towards Christmas without honoring Christ is, I think a great omission, especially if we’re going to honor other religions."

Thanks to Gary Bauer for sharing this. See his site at www.cwfpac.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advent Conspiracy

What’s [AC] Advent Conspiracy?
Christmas was meant to change the world. It still can. Worship more. Spend less. Give more. Love all.

I recently re-listened to a message by Rick McKinley on the Advent Conspiracy. It really challenged me to look at how I celebrate Christmas. This blogger summarizes it well:

Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption." The conspirators behind this include my friends Chris Seay and Rick McKinley. Rick says "A lot of churches are participating in taking back Christmas by telling a better story with our Worship." Check it out and get involved.

Thanks to the Tall Skinny Kiwi for posting this.

Friday, December 07, 2007

ReThinking Church

I recently read the book, Reveal, that came out of the humble admission by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church (Possibly the largest church in America), "We made a mistake." It does a great job of explaining the mistake, diagnosing the problem and recommending some real solutions.

After reading Hybels book on leadership (Courageous Leadership) and then attending his simulcast leadership event last year (The Summit), I feel I also have a better feel for where they are coming from. Coming out of a culture (seminary) that frowned on Willow, I was naturally skeptical of them. I am not so much anymore.

Chuck Colson shares his wise perspective on this important issue of transforming lives (the mission of the church) in his article. (Listen to instead of read) This admission by Hybels is huge in and of itself. But to me what is most impressive is their willingness to roll up their sleeves and do something about it. And to do something about it in a way that benefits other churches too.

I am determined to learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.

I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts.

Thanks for taking the time to read this short article.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Golden Compass Movie

This article does a great job of helping Christ-followers with how to respond to this movie. dg

It's Not a Hoax
The Golden Compass

November 26, 2007

Note: This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley.

All of you have probably received the e-mail by now. A lot of Christians have, including many of us here at BreakPoint. One of my colleagues received it from five different people no less!

Finish article

Huckabee on Faith

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Check out this cool online community. Any site that connects people to Dallas Willard is a good site.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FREE Photos

CreativeMYK is an index of free Christian photos and Church graphics from Christian Photographers and Church Graphic Designers around the globe. Start by visiting our Free Gallery to begin downloading in several file formats. Visit our Free photos and church graphics Submit page to share your own original church art with others. CreativeMYK is updated everyday, so come back soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Butterball Hotline rocks

Asked to write a composition entitled "What I'm Thankful for this Thanksgiving," little Johnny wrote, "I'm thankful that I'm not a turkey."

In the spirit of Thanksgiving also known as Turkey Day, I give you this classic clip from West Wing. You'll thank me I did.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Love God. Love People. pt. 2

I've always loved the summary phrase for Matthew 22:37-39, "Love God. Love People." I heard it first as a theme through Student Life and then read it later in Purpose Driven Life. We've adopted it as our mission statement at Grace Christian Fellowship. Studying 1 John 4 recently I've read a lot about God's love and ours. "Love" is found 32 times in just 21 verses. What jumped out at me and is now a tag to this statement: Love God, love people follows God loved us first.

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 NIV

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who gets the credit?

I love this quote:

"God can do tremendous things through people who don’t care who gets the credit."
- Rick Warren

Huckabee is speaking my language so far

I thought what Huckabee had to say about the non-negotiables was well said. If we don't protect life in this country, then we will find ourselves regretting what we've become when we look back. Listening to Mike Huckabee lately, it's no surprise to me that he is rising right now. His message is hitting home with people.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Perfect people wreck community?

"The sooner we give up the illusion that a church must be perfect in order to love it, the sooner we quit pretending and start admitting we’re all imperfect and need grace. This is the beginning of real community." - Rick Warren

Do you think perfect people wreck community?

A Debt That Cannot Be Repaid

A great article on heroism.

November 12, 2007

In the mountains of Afghanistan, 29-year-old Navy Lt. Michael Murphy was leading a four-man team on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. Suddenly, some 40 insurgents opened fire from three sides. Lt. Murphy exposed himself to enemy fire to get a clear signal in order to radio for help. Despite being shot repeatedly, Murphy calmly gave his unit's location and requested immediate support for his team. Read the rest

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veterans Rock!

Thanks to Gary Bauer for sharing this cool poem to honor our veterans.

"It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given you freedom of religion.
It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given you freedom of the
It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given you freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the protester, who has given you freedom to
It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given you the right to a fair
It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given you the right to vote.
It is the veteran, who salutes the Flag, who serves under the Flag, whose
coffin is draped by the Flag."

And, although it doesn't rhyme, I would add the greatest honor to the God we trust:

It is God, not the veteran, who created a nation such as ours. "In God we trust"

God bless our Veterans!

And a special thanks to my dad who served in the US Navy during the Korean War. Thanks Dad!

See http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/americasupportsyou/index.aspx for some cool pics of people honoring troops.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Be Contagious tonight!

I'm looking forward to speaking to college students tonight at the Gaillard Auditorium. There will be live music, CSU drama team, the band Ladson, and free Chick Fil A! See you at 7 PM!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Creators or Consumers?

I heard an interesting comment from Pastor Chris Seay at Ecclesia (church) in Houston today on the Fermi Podcast.

The context is that he's serving in a church that is reaching out to those in the gay and arts district in downtown Houston. So when he talks about creating, he's talking about creating culture and things that bless culture and people in that culture.

He says basically that Christians tend to be consumers instead of creators. He believes that we were created to, well, create (cooperatively with God) using our gifts and talents to create culture rather than to be consumers of it.

I can see this in the church today. It's all about what programs and facilities we can add that will bless our family or make our life easier. That seems to be my default, anyway.

This is a thought worth pondering. What do you think? Do you think we Christians are consumers or creators? Should we be either? Both? I'm curious to your reaction on this.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Here's a clip from a great article that will point you to a new book (I have but haven't read yet) called unChristian.

This clip is profound especially to those who preach and are wrestling with what audience they ought to be speaking to: Christians or non-Christians. I'll be speaking to a group of college students this Friday night. I think this article is timely for me.

"One of the remarkable themes of the New Testament that seems too rare is the insider-outsider dynamic. This is hard for Americans – a very Christianized people with a rich Christian tradition – to fully comprehend. But Paul, living in a clearly non-Christian context, never seems to defend his rights as a Christian. Instead, Paul seems to accept a sinful and broken world, while holding the people of Christ to account.
He is constantly writing in this dual role. He is an apostle (a leader of churches) and missionary (an apologist and evangelist to outsiders). He calls the Christian community to high standards and yet reaffirms that these standards do not apply to those outside Christianity (1 Corinthians 5 is one of the best examples of this). What is the point for preaching today? Since your preaching is heard by both Christians and non-Christians, you are both a leader of Christians as well as a missionary to unbelievers. Finding that right balance is incredibly difficult, but it can be done, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Part of this task, I believe, is to help your people see their role as missionaries to a culture that is now effectively post-Christian. You have to help train them to see the world in the same way Paul did."

I would add that if we are preaching through the word of God, the Holy Spirit will help you balance these two. I'm counting on that.

If you want a deeper understanding into this issue, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons’ book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters, has much to offer.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mike Huckabee

Dr. Rick Warren recently made this statement discussing Governor Huckabee on a radio program:

“I know most of the candidates running for president but I’ve known Mike Huckabee the longest, since we did our graduate degrees together in the late 70s. Mike’s a man of vision, compassion, and integrity. I’ve watched his uncanny ability to identify with normal people in ways that many leaders don’t. That’s probably why TIME named him one of the five best governors in America. He’s definitely presidential material. But honestly, what I find most appealing is his self-deprecating humor. That’s a key sign of a spiritually and emotionally healthy leader - someone who is comfortable with himself, is authentic, doesn’t wear a mask, and is secure enough to be humble. People love that.”

...Love People

Creative and simple way to "Love People" this December. Click on the link to find more ways you can help.

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American soldier

c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW

Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In, but not of

"Just as saltwater fish exist their entire lives in an ocean without becoming saturated with salt, Jesus ministered in the world without being of the world." - Rick Warren

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

Our family decided to engage Halloween in our neighborhood a little differently than normal.

Instead of trick or treating or going to a local church's fall festival, we set up two carnival games in our yard and our 4 girls gave out candy, glo-sticks, and cards with a verse while they played with children and met a lot of neighbors.

What did you do this year?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Message in a bottle?

Insight into Bottled Water

Check out this story in the most recent issue of Fast Company on bottled water. The 15 billion dollar industry is a telling example of our culture of indulgence here in the US. Some of the article will probably surprise you.

There is also a cool interactive timeline, poll and quiz.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Train for consistency

Why am I so inconsistent?

I can talk a good game. I can restrain my words when someone else is in the car. But I find out what I'm capable of when I ride by myself. I tend to talk to other drivers in not so endearing terms. I know what I'm capable of.

Why am I so inconsistent?

I mean, it's not like I don't want to live fully and faithfully for God. Hello. I do! Or at least I say I do. But when it comes down to doing what it really takes, my talk is a lot bigger than my walk.

I'm learning this through running.

To run a 10k race, you need to train-unless you're from Kenya. Then you just have to be breathing.

But I need to train. If I hadn't trained last year by running months before the race, I'd have never finished the 6.2 mile race running. No way. No matter how inspired I was. No matter how much I wanted to impress somebody or win a prize. The only way I was able to do that was that I disciplined myself regularly to run. I don't run, I don't get stronger and I don't finish the race.

So I ask myself again, "Why am I so inconsistent?"

Because you don't train to run the spiritual race. Or you train, but you train casually. Instead of training for the Navy Seals or Army Rangers I train for the Jedburg Police Dept.

So what's it going to take for me to live more consistently? Train to remain. Train to remain in Christ.

Jesus says in John 15, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.'"


But I have to begin by humbling myself if I'm ever going to move from gutless Christian to standing firm in Christ every day. If I want to stop complaining about my inconsistencies and do something about them, I need get on my knees and fight like a man. I need to sit and soak in God's word regularly, at length and with pen in hand. I need to pray God's word and fast. Yes, I need to allow myself to get weaker physically to get stronger spiritually. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I need to give and give sacrificially. Worship God with my lips AND hands.

May my worship, dear God, cause me to perspire for your glory. Clean me up, fill me up, and send me out. I drop my trinkets and trivial pursuits and offer myself to you again today. Remain in me and do what only you can do through me. In Jesus' ever-present name I pray, amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My lips and My life

I'm reading Louie Giglio's book on worship called "Wired." I love the verses Louie starts out with:

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV

It is a powerful combination to live a life where both my lips praise God and my life praises God. Oh that I might do that today!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Tired of drive-by mission trips? I am. And I've led them.

I'm reading a great book on building God's kingdom around the world. Nothing really new, right? Well, not so much. Bob Roberts is a champion of partnering long-term with others around the world. He's got a great manual on it too called Glocalization, playing off of the Best seller The World is Flat.

If you've been following Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan, it's the same idea but with more specifics and more developed strategies as well as stories of his personal experience. He's been leading his church in this for years and is writing about his experience.

He's also created a network called Glocalnet where he has forums and more that facilitate global discussions and more.

Personally, I'm leading Grace Christian Fellowship to adopt this strategy. We are prayerfully and carefully moving forward with what we hope will be a long-term relationship with the people of Curacao, N. A. We are going down in the summer of '08 and will build on 2 previous trips I led from Raleigh Road Baptist Church. My hope though is that this time we'll leave with a long list of projects and ideas we can build on and contribute towards with our people's skills and not just send money. I see more trips where we partner with locals there to invest into their community.

I encourage you to ask yourself, "What nation am I investing in?" It's a scary step. But one with great potential for Kingdom Building in the best sense of the phrase.

Like my bike?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Catalyst a couple of weeks ago. This is one amazing leadership conference for young leaders. (Okay, so I sneaked in)

God really worked me over at this conference--and in ways I never saw coming.

The most challenging was from Francis Chan. He talked about how he got so successful as a pastor in California that he found that he didn't love his people anymore. Not only did I get that gut-check but I was also challenged by how they looked at their $60-million building project.

The short version is that after 2 years of work when the architect and building committee unveiled their rendering of what they felt God wanted them to build, Francis' words were immediately, "I hate it." And he had been involved from the beginning. Silently watching and taking it all in. Trying not to force his own agenda. Yet at the point of victory his stomach turned so that he had to speak his mind.

Now, months later, they have a different concept that is much more like what Francis envisioning Jesus would do. They aren't building a mega-sanctuary. Francis said he thought that in their city Jesus would be preaching in the park. So they are building an outdoor amphitheater instead of a sanctuary. No roof. Just a giant park. If it rains, they worship in the rain. They're okay that it costs the worshiper something to worship God corporately. That's cool. That's challenging. That's outside of the book. I want to live that way!

The pic above was taken at a vendor booth. I guess I'm living a fantasy as I've always thought it would be great to have a motorcycle but have never had the guts to get one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Advantages of being...poor?

It seems counter intuitive to see any advantages in being poor. Philip Yancey takes his cue from Jesus on the poor. Check this out:

Spiritual Advantages of Poverty

  1. The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.

  2. The poor know not only their dependence on God and on powerful people but also their interdependence with one another.

  3. The poor rest their security not on things but on people.

  4. The poor have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy.

  5. The poor expect little from competition and much from cooperation.

  6. The poor can distinguish between necessities and luxuries.

  7. The poor can wait, because they have acquired a kind of dogged patience.

  8. The fears of the poor are more realistic and less exaggerated, because they already know that one can survive great suffering and want.

  9. When the poor have the gospel preached to them, it sounds like good news and not like a threat or scolding.

  10. The poor can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.
—Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 2001, p. 115); submitted by David Bartlett, Rochester, Minnesota

Monday, October 08, 2007

Youtube Most Watched Video

I clipped this from the CatalystSpace webpage. I had a great 2 days listening to visionary leaders inspired by God to live fully for Him. I'm going back next year. I hope I see you there!

"Wintley Phipps was featured as a special guest as we convened for the final session of Catalyst. With his powerfully deep voice, he treated us by singing two classic spirituals - He's Got the Whole World in His Hands and Amazing Grace. If you haven't heard this man sing Amazing Grace, do yourself a favor and find him on YouTube."

It's an amazing 9 minutes. Get your hanky though.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

One Verse

This is one of the coolest mission ideas I've ever come across. I would love to see our church adopt a people group and start paying for that translation. Below is an excerpt from OneVerse.org about how college students helped translate scripture for 3 people groups-in 3 days.

"Praise God for his work through the Passion 07 participants. The Dela, Rikou, and Lole people groups now have the financial support needed to complete their New Testament.

Over 2,000 individuals gave sacrificially to help the Dela and Rikou, and Lole understand God's word. Additionally, over 170 groups have pledged to become part of the story.

So many have become involved we have started on new people groups for Passion participants in Timor. Verses will be available for sponsorship with that people group later this week.


“I think OneVerse is an awesome way to participate in bringing the Word to the world. Plus it’s my new favorite gift. For our son's baptism we gave him Mark 12:30 'Love God with all you heart, soul, mind, strength.' I love this OneVerse thing!”

Angel R. Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Catalyst Conference bound!

I'm am pumped about this year's Catalyst leadership conference!

I wasn't planning on going since I'd already been to The Summit in August. But someone graciously bought me a ticket and asked me to go! Hmmm...let me pray about that YES!

I'm praying that God will expose me to all He wants me to take in. I pray that I'll humbly follow His lead as He leads me as His under-shepherd.

I wonder what world record we'll break this year...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Vacation over

Thanks to all who prayed for a restful, fun and enjoyable vacation for us. Your prayers were answered!

I saw some very large Koi, 2 deer, dozens of porpoise, and a tiny land turtle. The beach was the prettiest I've seen in the Carolinas and the water was clear and calm. The weather was sunny, clear and warm (but not too hot). We thoroughly enjoyed this gift from God.

Don't forget to take time to get away. Jesus did this with his disciples after a busy time of ministry. We find him retreating to the mountains a lot. If Jesus needed time to get away, then we do too. Don't skimp here. Get away.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Curacao trip details

The latest details on our mission trip to Curacao are at www.mission-curacao.blogspot.com.

Check out the latest on plane tickets, cost, and more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Are you giving the full story?

I found this analysis of how we share the gospel today pretty on-mark. It's why I like the Dare2Share's gospel journey. It takes into account the full story of the gospel and not just the bottom line. Dare2Share's outline shows that you can be brief without leaving out the full story.

This table came from an article I recently read by Gabe Lyons on Christians and the Church influencing culture. It's not enough to redeem individuals. We are to redeem creation. But what I'm also learning is that when we do a good job redeeming creation, it helps us redeem individuals. It's not an either-or but a both-and.

Where did I come from? Creation: Made in God's image

What went wrong? Fall: Sin enters the world Born a sinner

How do we fix it? Redemption: Life through Jesus Life through Jesus

What is my purpose? Restoration: Renew all things Convert others, separate from this world, wait for heaven

Gabe Lyons, Influencing Culture article

I got to know about Gabe Lyons (not personally) through his co-hosting the Catalyst Podcast, which is my all-time favorite podcast. Every Christian leader ought be listening to it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Second Life

Second Life is an Internet-based virtual world launched in 2003 which came to international attention in late 2006. Second Life users, called residents, interact with each other through cartoon-like characters providing an advanced level of a social networking. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items and services from one another. www.Wikipedia.org

What is it that moves people to spend money to interact in a fictional world? Over the next several weeks we'll be talking about "Real Life" at Grace Fellowship as we work through 1 John.

You're homework is to read all five chapters of 1 John this week. Oh, and start memorizing 1 John 5:13, our theme verse for this series.

Get real,

"I write these things...that you may know that you have eternal life."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lead Like Jesus

If you're a leader, here are 4 ways (from Bill Hybel message) to increase your leadership potential:

1. Read, read, read. Read all the leadership books you can find. Secular or sacred. Doesn't matter. Read leadership magazines like Leadership Journal or Willow too. I reading Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham right now. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels is great too.

I've also found podcasts to be valuable (and free) way to learn from great leaders on the go. I listen to Rick Warren's Ministry Podcast as well as the Catalyst Podcast to hear from great leaders. You don't have to have an iPod to do this either. Just download iTunes to your computer. Then go to the iTunes store and search under podcasts for whoever you're interested in. Then burn the podcasts to CD's like you would songs or just listen right there on your computer. I like to listen to the CD's while driving around town.

2. Go to leadership events and conferences. See below for a great value.

3. Spend time with other leaders who are ahead of you in your area or expertise. I meet with a staff member of a large church in another city about every other month to work on my leadership skills. It has already been worth the time spent.

4. Lead. That's right, don't wait to be a skilled leader. Get in the fray. Start leading. You learn a ton on the job.

Riverbluff Church is hosting a leadership event called Lead Like Jesus. I'm pumped about it!

If you want to go with me, let me know. It's low-cost because it's a simulcast event. But the speakers are top-notch and it's hosted by Ken Blancard and Erwin McManus.

It's Friday, October 19, 11:30-5:30. It's only $25 each. I'm inviting everyone I know!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pics from last few months

Bless a missionary family today

On a dark day in history you have an opportunity to bless someone.

Steve Lindenmeyer is a missionary with his family in Thailand of SE Asia. He is from Summerville and I remember going to church with him when he was in middle school.

Tomorrow is his birthday: 9-11. Think about that. What a bummer. But you can help make his birthday special. I know you probably don't know him. But you can still pray for him.

All I ask you to do is email him a prayer ("Dear God, bless Steve's family...etc.) or a verse that might encourage him (cut and paste from Gospelcom) and help make his birthday special. Just tell him you're a brother or sister in Christ who wants to encourage him and his family today.

His email address is:

Love God. Love People.

Love God. Love People. Our new mission statement at Grace Fellowship.

I first heard this phrase as a youth pastor. The awesome youth ministry called Student Life used this as their theme for their Student Life Tour several years back. They did a terrific job showing us that loving God leads to loving people beyond where we could love them apart from God.

Then I read it in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. I don't imagine either of these originated it but they certainly helped popularize it.

This phrase--Love God. Love People--is so simple and so profound. In the words of Rick Warren, it captures the conviction,

"A great commitment to the great commission and the great commandment will build a great church."

This is because "Love God. Love People." is a great summary of Matthew 22:37-39.

So my aim is to lead Grace Fellowship to glorify God by loving Him and loving other people. By God's grace, we'll make Him smile doing just that.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Do Something Now

Inspired in part by Passion '07 and in part by Isaiah 6:1-9, I challenged our church to do something this week. In the next 7 days, do something selfless in the name of Christ. Below is the list of suggested ideas I gave each of them. Perhaps you can be selfless this week as well.

Ideas for doing something now:

  1. Take somebody’s lunch tray for them.
  2. Serve at the local soup kitchen for lunch.
  3. Take a meal to a neighbor for no reason.
  4. Tutor kids after school, at your house or at a community center, for free.
  5. Baby-sit for a single parent for free.
  6. Volunteer at the local food bank.
  7. Have a neighborhood family over for dinner or a cookout.
  8. Volunteer at your local school.
  9. Offer your professional services for free to a needy client or ministry.
  10. Take goodies to a retirement home and sit and chat for a while.
  11. Send a care package to a soldier.
  12. Work on a Habit for Humanity house one day with your kids.
  13. Work on our local ministry blog http://www.summervols.blogspot.com/ to get the word out about local ministries.
  14. By groceries for a needy family.
  15. Sit and talk with someone suffering from an illness.
  16. Take a meal and gift bag to someone home-bound.
  17. Meet an inactive member for lunch.
  18. Begin organizing Operation: Christmas Child for your Home Group or family.
  19. Host a neighborhood yard sale to raise money to go (or send someone else) on a mission trip.
  20. Prepare and send a care package or a card of encouragement to Graham & Ashlei in East Asia, Steve & Marie Lindenmeyer in Thailand, or The P's in Central Asia.
  21. Collect costume and craft beads and send to the Awana club in Curacao.
  22. Help stop human trafficking around the world through the coalition http://www.stopthetraffik.org/
  23. Support families who are suffering because of religious persecution through http://www.rememberthose.org/. “There have been more Christians killed in the 20th century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined.” —U.S. House Resolution. Scripps-Howard News Service, September 28, 1996
  24. Lead your Home Group or family to send Bibles from your home to people being persecuted for their faith who want to share more with others in their country. http://www.biblesunbound.com/ or http://www.persecution.com/.
  25. Lead a team to build a HC ramp for someone locally. Contact: Screven Association of local SBC churches. Contact office at 843-871-2410 to get more information or go to http://www.screvenassoc.org/.
  26. Adopt a needy child for about $1 a day through Compassion International or World Vision. Write and receive letters. http://www.compassion.com/.
  27. Write a letter to a child you already support.
  28. Get your Home Group to build a school in Haiti. Costs about $3,000.
  29. Write a Christian who is imprisoned for their faith in another country. Do so in their own language through http://www.prisoneralert.com/ or http://www.persecution.com/.
  30. Buy a goat for a family. http://www.worldvision.org/ or http://www.samaritanspurse.org/.
  31. Invite your neighbors along with some friends from church to a Labor Day cookout.
  32. Start your own blog and write about your journey with Christ. http://www.blogger.com/, http://www.myspace.com/
  33. Invite a co-worker to meet your family for dinner at Zaxby’s or Moe’s.
  34. Get a group to pledge $3,000 to build one well for clean drinking water in Africa. http://www.bloodwatermission.org/
  35. Organize the collection of socks and towels for low country missions and ministries.
  36. Help translate the New Testament into another language. http://www.oneverse.org/

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let's Roll!

Coined by Todd Beamer on United Airlines flight 93 in Pennsylvania just before they took their hijackers down, this has become a rallying cry for many. I use it as well with all the inspiration his story brings.

Stop, Drop and Roll are more than a campaign to help kids put their burning clothes out. (as important as that is) It now means much more to me. (see previous entry)

After we encounter a holy, all-powerful God, we drop in fear and trembling, humbled by his majesty and convicted by sin. Once His merciful cleansing picks me up and am left grateful and humbled--I am ready to serve Him. I am ready to roll!

So where do we start? Well, I have a little list that I hope will help us get started. But I need more ideas! Help me see if this comments feature even works by leaving me some more ideas. I'm going to share all of these Sunday morning as part of my message. Hopefully, our people will take the 7-day challenge and begin at least one of these in the next 7 days. Your suggestion could make all the difference for someone next week.

  1. Take somebody’s lunch tray for them.
  2. Serve at the local soup kitchen for lunch.
  3. Take a meal to a neighbor for no reason.
  4. Tutor kids after school, at your house or at a community center, for free.
  5. Baby-sit for a single parent for free.
  6. Volunteer at the local food bank.
  7. Have a neighborhood family over for dinner or a cookout.
  8. Volunteer at your local school.
  9. Offer your professional services for free to a needy client.
  10. Take goodies to a retirement home and sit and chat for a while.
  11. Send a care package to a soldier.
  12. Work on a Habit for Humanity house one day with your kids.
  13. Work on our local ministry blog www.summervols.blogspot.com to get the word out about local ministries.
  14. By groceries for a needy family.
  15. Sit and talk with someone suffering from an illness.
  16. Take a meal and gift bag to someone home-bound.
  17. Meet an inactive member for lunch.
  18. Begin organizing Operation: Christmas Child for your Home Group or family.
  19. Host a neighborhood yard sale to raise money to go (or send someone else) on a mission trip.
  20. Prepare and send a care package or a card of encouragement to Graham & Ashlei W in East Asia, Steve & Marie L in Thailand, or The Palms in Kazakhstan.
  21. Collect costume and craft beads and send to the Awana club in Curacao.
  22. Free slaves internationally through www.stopthetraffik.org or
  23. Support families who are suffering because of religious persecution through www.rememberthose.org. “There have been more Christians killed in the 20th century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined.”
    U.S. House Resolution. Scripps-Howard News Service, September 28, 1996
  24. Lead your Home Group or family to send Bibles from your home to people being persecuted for their faith who want to share more with others in their country. www.biblesunbound.com.
  25. Lead a team to build a HC ramp for someone locally. Contact: Screven Association of local SBC churches. Contact office at 843-871-2410 to get more information or go to www.screvenassoc.org.
  26. Adopt a needy child for about $1 a day through Compassion International or World Vision. Write and receive letters. www.compassion.com
  27. Write a letter to a child you already support.
  28. Get your Home Group to build a school in Haiti. Costs about $3,000.
  29. Write a Christian who is imprisoned for their faith in another country. Do so in their own language through www.prisoneralert.com.
  30. Buy a goat for a family. www.worldvision.org or www.samaritanspurse.org.
  31. Invite your neighbors along with some friends from church to a Labor Day cookout.
  32. Start your own blog and write about your journey with Christ. www.blogger.com, www.myspace.com
  33. Invite a co-worker to meet your family for dinner at Zaxby’s or Moe’s.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stop, Drop & Roll

I can still remember the Dare2Share Blaze Tour. It's a youth conference where we took the youth group from Raleigh Road to share their faith.

The main passage for the weekend was Isaiah 6:1-9. The passage was taught over 3 sessions with the following outline: Stop, Drop and Roll.

Playing off of the basic technique taught to children to do when their clothes catch on fire, Greg Stier used this as a clever way to remember the basic thrust of Isaiah 6.

Stop. Stop and take a good look at God. His glory is blinding like the sun. His holiness convicting. Look at yourself. Painful, isn't it. Let the eye surgery begin!

Drop. The natural reaction of anyone who sees a holy, all-powerful God and then sees their own sin. Drop to your knees in humility, brokenness, and awe. (Now would be a good time to seek mercy)

Roll. Roll up your sleeves and dive in!

Once you believe that God is a good God who only wants to forgive you for everything unholy you've ever done, you receive that cleansing that is only possible because of Jesus' death on the cross (in our place). As I begin to comprehend the grace and mercy shown to me, I become grateful. Quickly my gratitude becomes a willingness to roll up my sleeves and join God in His search and rescue operation.

That's what Isaiah did after he encountered the holy, living God. We need that same encounter today. Have you seen God like Isaiah did? Reread Isaiah 6:1-9 and pray for God to restore your vision.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Here I am, send me!

Isaiah 6

Isaiah's Commission
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cutting-edge of Innovation for Church

I've heard of virtual church. Now we have Facebook church. Check out this article by LifeChurch.tv where they are embracing technology and seeking to make a difference.

Built on the Facebook platform: Church

What do you think? Is this going too far? Can we interact as the church and worship God using the Internet?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Obedience unlocks Understanding

Doing God’s will (obedience) unlocks more of God’s will.

"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." --Jesus, John 7:17 NIV

Rick Warren says it this way, “Obedience unlocks understanding.”

Another writer says, “Kinship with Jesus is demonstrated not by correct doctrine but by doing God’s will. Membership in God’s kingdom is demonstrated not by good intentions but by the actual execution of God’s will.”

But are we not saved by faith? Yes, but faith that leads to good works. James writes, “Faith without works is dead." In other words, it’s no faith at all.

Therefore, obedience that flows from faith pleases God and leads to a better understanding of His will.

Want to know God's will? Go ahead and do what you already know is His will. As you do that, more of His will will come into focus. Just make sure you do that too!

Fast Media, or Media Fast?

Right now I'm listening to a nation-wide conference call with guest Carl George. Carl is a small groups & leadership guru in church ministry. He is best known for his metachurch groups model.

As it relates to hearing from God, His will, and what we're to do next, Carl talked about donig
media fasts.

To hear from God, Carl says, he has to
fast (abstain) from media (radio, iPod, TV, internet, literature) for chunks of time (1 hr, 5 hrs, whole day) to hear from God.

For example, before doing this conference call with leaders from churches all over the country, Carl sat down with a blank piece of paper and pencil and asked God, "What do you want from me today on this conference call?"

I think that's amazing.

And it was.

I didn't just hear Carl George's ideas about small groups. I heard what God wanted to say to me about a whole list of things including small groups, leadership, solitude, prayer, passion, inspiration, and the power of a fresh story. I learned a ton in the 45 minutes I listened. And I heard it all through Carl simply because he took the time to stop and listen.

I'm giving it a try. I going to schedule on my weekly calendar time to sit and ask God questions. I need to listen. Think. Without the distractions of any kind of media. This won't be easy for me, but I've benefited from it in the past. I have tasted and enjoyed the reward from this type of activity.

Give it a try and let me know what happens for you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What we are thankful for...

It seems only appropriate to thank the Grace family for all the gratitude poured out Sunday.

Everyone was given the opportunity to share what they were thankful for on a card. The response was overwhelming!

I found it profound that people and relationships were what we were most thankful for. God and faith were high on the list too. But it's appropriate that we would be thankful for people. God is passionate about people and we should be too.

I was moved just reading this list. I hope you'll slow down and read some, if not all, of the list. I hope you'll take advantage of the comments feature and add some more to the list as well.

These were shared by members and guests as part of our worship service Sunday, August 12, 2007. May they bless you as much as they blessed me.

Everyday of my life

Your eternal presence


Family and Friends

A comfortable living

Good Spiritual training


Visit from Mary and Erika


Dr. Casterlone and my other doctors


Thankful for my salvation


My Family

Good Health

Christian Friends

God’s Provision

Grace Christian Fellowship

The United States of America



Youth trip to Carowinds

Trip to DC



A place to live







Church – Grace

Money in the Bank


Living in USA






Church Family


Small Groups

Dubose Middle School


Friends – old and new


The Written Word

Men willing to serve our country


My wife

My grandchildren

My health

My eyes and ears

My son, Darien

I can look after myself

Darien’s wife and children













The Ladies’ Bible Study Group

Air conditioning

Our vehicles

My job

My home

My beautiful children

My grandmother

My husband

My ability to walk again without pain

My senses – to hear, smell and see











Your Love

Salvation – loving and forgiving God

A loving husband

Children – 2 wonderful

Daddy surgery going well

Grandma almost 90

We have a job

We have a house

Our child in Brazil


Pastor and family


People in nursery

Wonderful family

Great job that I enjoy

Comfortable home

Modern medicine and the miracles You work through it

For God’s grace, love, mercy and bountiful forgiveness

Beautiful, loving family

Great friends

Being able to provide for our children

Continued health for both “Pop” and “Dad”

My wonderful, loving husband

For every sunrise and sunset

The opportunity to stay at home with my children

For my loving mother-in-law and father-in-law

Grace Christian Fellowship

God working in my life

Wonderful husband

Being able to spend time with family last week


Darien and Anita for leading our home group –We are better Christians because of it

Terry and Martha Fletcher for showing us the way back closer to God

My wife and children

Salvation in Jesus

Comfortable home and job

Air conditioning

Being able to read


Air conditioning

Summer vacation

My room

A Church family


My grandparents

My parents



Grace Christian Fellowship

A home

The church leaders



A great neighborhood



Good health

Shelter over my head

Ability to worship in public


Wonderful parents

Every blessing you have given me



Boys – Josh and Jeremy

Job – paycheck

Health – to help me work

My family’s health

Grace Christian Fellowship

Darien and his commitment

Bible and the wisdom for life

Jesus and His love

Freedom to worship and love

Our family


Move to MN to be with family

Relationship with God


Family Members who are saved and the peace that comes with knowing that

Ability to serve rather than be served because of illness or inability

God – Jesus Christ – Holy Spirit


Church and ministries at Grace Christian Fellowship

Christian Friends

Open minds and spirits with desire to serve the Lord

Those that do not know Christ so that we can bring them to salvation

His Blessings


Home / Shelter


Church Family


Mom and Dad


Grace Christian Fellowship

Grant and Garrett


Friends / Brian, Steve and Mike


Darien and his family



My family and friends



Fun and laughter

Song and dance




Love of my family

God listens to me


Blessings each and every day

Family and their love

Being to provide for my family






Husband and children





Wife and children

Christian father, mother and brothers

The Cross of Christ

Grace Christian Fellowship




Family / Friends


Loving God the Father

Healthy children

Supportive wife

Opportunity to finish school

Sister has moved to Charleston and is learning how to do things on her own.

Opportunity to be used in ministry

Great job


Grace and James

My home




My sister

Grace Christian Fellowship

Darien and Anita

Doris and Gene

Terry and Martha



Extended family

My friends

The Bible

Good books

Healthy Baby Girl (Selah)

Both Mom and Dad can stay home with Selah

Sister-in-law moved into our home (w 2 kids) out of a bad situation


Healthy home


My husband’s job – able to provide for us

David’s college undergrad work is done

Too many to list

Ability to rejoice



Jason and Mandy

David and Terry – kids

John and Becky – kids


Wealth in Christ

Grace Christian Fellowship

Darien Gabriel

Gene Hundley

Terry Fletcher

Jimmy Reeves

Rick Smith

Jo Ann and Otto

Jamie and Obed

Katy and Rob

Anita Gabriel

Harry Brown aka "Mr. Brown"

Justin and Melissa

Grace Christian Fellowship

Terry and Martha Fletcher and our bible study group



Holy Spirit

Wonderful parents / in-laws

Life and all of the experiences it brings

The privilege of serving the Grace family

My family

My wife

My personal relationship with Jesus Christ

My Home Group