Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Journey- Follow Me

It's 2 hours till 2011. 2010 wasn't a bad year for me personally, just complicated. So I look forward to a new year... I am looking forward to new opportunities, new friends, new ideas and new ways to celebrate life with my wife, kids and grandkids. Even more so I am looking forward to a renewed committment to get to know Jesus better and to imitate him.

One way that I am going to do that is to read through Gospels this year. I am looking for the way that Jesus treated people, because I think I can do better at that. I am looking for the way that Jesus lifted people up, paid attention to people no one else would, even reached out and welcomed people into his life, because I think I can be better at that.

I am going to look more for how Jesus related to His Father, because I think I can do better at that too.... I want to find the little things Jesus did and see how those framed his ministry, because I think that it is the little things that make the difference.

So why don't you join me on this journey in 2011? Read the Gospels. There are 89 chapters... so that means if you and I read 1 chapter a day, we will go through the books 4 times next year.

Why should we do this? Well, Jesus said, "Follow Me." If we are going to "follow Jesus" we ought to know more about what He did , where He did it, and who He did it with. We find that in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Call it a resolution if you want... I call it a plan. And if I miss a day, its not the end of the world. I will just pick up where I left off... As one writer said, " The goal is not for getting me through the Word of God, it is for getting the Word of God through me." Its a journey... one that God directs. I figure He will reveal what I need to see, when I need to see it.

There are alot of other things I hope to accomplish in the coming year ( now 91 minutes away). But this one is something we can do together...

I like doing things together... I hope you will join me.


Where do I start?

Recently I watched a piece on ESPN by Rick Reilly. It was a commentary about the last year of Tiger Woods' life. Reilly chronicled the story of hs fame and power and how it was all brought down by self-destructive behavior in his moral life. In the end, his immorality and impurity cost him millions and millions of dollars, prestige, and worst of all, his relationship with his wife. His relationship with his children has been changed forever.

Within a few weeks of that ill-fated 2009 Thanksgiving run in with a fire hydrant in Flordia, Tiger was busy with image rehabilitation. His handlers had a stratgey to get him back in front of the public, say the right things at the right time and then start working on the next 5 majors which would break Nicklaus's record. Over the past year we have witnessed this effort. He has talked about working on the person he is, and occassionally he would show flashes of the new nicer, kinder and gentler Tiger. But there would be flashes of the old Tiger too. Either way the changes did not translate into wins on the golf course. For the first time in his career he was winless for the year.

It should be no surprise to those of us who follow sports. Truth is that to win at any professional level, it takes the best that you have. Distractions, personal or professional are certain to doom almost anyone who plays sports at that level.

We are a "spiritually minded" people in America. Because of that, for Tiger, there were more than a few questions about his inner life. Almost all his answers were focused on his childhood religion of Buddhism. It may be something he truly believes in...but there is one problem... and it is the problem that Tiger has had all his life. It is self-centered. And therein lies the problem with our country in general. Faith has become self-centered rather than Jesus centered.

Reilly finished his piece with this insightful statement.

"What good does it to gain back everything on the outside, if so much is missing on the inside?"

Tht is a statement that sounds alot like what Jesus said. "What does it profit a man if he gainst the whole world but loses his soul?"

The two statements have the same answer. Starting on the outside and working inward is a dead end. Instead God says "start on the inside and let that be the catalyst for the changes on the outside."

I suspect that Tiger Woods will win more golf tournaments. I suspect that he will continue the rebuilding project that is before him. But if he does not figure out that rebuilding his soul begins and ends with God and Jesus Christ, there will be a day when he will have lots of records, trophies and the accolades of people, but still be empty inside. His life will always be defined by the events of 2009-10. On the surface it may all turn out well, but it will never be what it could have been if God had been at the center of His heart... not hmself.

There is a lesson there for all of us as well. As you contemplate new goals, new dreams and new hopes, start with your heart. Look inside first and make sure that God is at the center of what you are doing. We will be tempted to focus on the circumstances of 2010 and work hard to change things that did not turn out well. But we might take our cue from Jesus who set out to change hearts first, knowing that the rest would fall into line.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Christmas week is always a balance for me. It is lots of fun with kids and grandkids coming in. Yes, this year there will be two grandkids... and Lord willing there will be three next year! Pam bakes alot, there is tons of laughter and conversation. Joel wont be able to make it this year, but we will have all three of the girls and their husbands, so it will be a house full. It is always fun.

Tucked in all of that this year are two Christmas Eve Services and a Sunday Morning Christmas Service. Each of these services are special times for our church family and for those who visit or are checking out the church. I know lots of people are working on all the details to make it a meaningful time of worship and celebration.

This year we are talking about Christmas Stories... So Christmas Eve will be focused on the greatest story of all... the coming of Christ as a baby... Sunday morning we will have ONE SERVICE at 10 AM and we will talk about a "NEW DAY" for all of us because of the coming of Christ.

These are great services to invite people to... so I encourage you to get the word out any way you can... Invite friends, families, neighbors, or co-workers to celebrate Christmas WITH CHRIST at the center of everything.


DEC. 26th SERVICES are at 10 AM ( North Garnett) and 11 AM ( Stone Canyon).

By the way... so far the weather looks good for Christmas Eve... no blizzard this year!

Hope to see you there!


Friday, December 17, 2010

A "sort of vacation"

It is December. I am on a "sort of vacation." A "sort of vacation" means I have the time off, but am still preaching each Sunday and Christmas Eve .

There are two kinds of vacations for me. One is the real deal where you go away, far away, can't really be reached, get to be relatively anonymous, and unwind and relax. We did that this summer in Florida. I always look forward to those. I probably need two of those a year...but I am thankful for anything I get there.

The second one is this "sort of vacation"... which means we stay home, family comes to us, I get up when I want to, work when I want to, quit when I want to... in general, it is about me setting the schedule and doing what I want to.

So what will I do during this "sort of vacation?"

Well, I will visit Brynlee... and play with Gracie. I will talk to my daughters and their hubands. I will text Joel about games and life. I may go to the lake. I will read some books, and work on my study of James ( coming on Sundays and Wednesday in January). I will finish off some Bible reading for the year. I want to re-arrange my home office. I will putter around town some, workout, sleep in some, stay up, watch football, read some more and hang out. I will watch some basketball, high school, maybe some college. I will sit and talk with Pam. We will watch some movies. But I also will kind of stay out of her way. She has two weeks off and she doesn't need me hanging all over her. I will preach a couple Sundays, preach Christmas Eve services, and continue thoughts about what 2011 will hold. I will reflect on 2010 as well.

AND I WILL SAY THANK YOU LORD.... 2010 was a crazy year on so many levels. 2010 has forced me to depend on him more, praise him more, cry out to him more and to reach out to others more. It has been the most demanding year of my life. This was a surprise. I knew 2010 would have its challenges, but I really had no idea of the depth of those demands. We have launched a new campus, Pam and I began leading a new life group, our church has hired a couple new people, and moved some others around and I have established some new relationhips with church leaders at the North American, and in the Northeast. Pam and I celebrated 29 years of marriage, added a new son-in-law and a new granddaughter. We also have confronted some issues at church and in our own lives which have helped us to depend on Him more than ever before. We talk about "digging deep wells." so that when challenges come, you have something to draw from. 2010 was a year which really tested the depth of my wells.

Along the way I have witnessed lots of stories of how God works everything for His purpose, in my life and others.

So my "sort of vacation" is really a good thing... I will slow down and kind of mosey through the last two weeks of the year... hopefully on Jan 3rd, I will be rejuvenated to the point that I can hit the ground running on a new and exciting year ahead.

I also hope that this "sort of vacation" will renew a passion to write more in this blog. ( I know it has been sporadic.) So look for more random thoughts about God, life, and this crazy world that we live in...

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This week I had the great experience of playing golf at THE PATRIOT. THE PATRIOT is a brand new course in Owasso that is amazing. It is a course that is cut into several canyons in the southwest part of Owasso. I had walked the course before it was open, and even flew over it in a a helicopter...but there is nothing like playing it.

At first when I was asked to join a couple guys out there to play, I was intimidated. They are good golfers and everything I had heard about the course made me think that I would just "tear it up" ( not in a good way.) So I was very surprised when I started playing and realized that I could hit the ball in the fairway ( they are pretty wide). The greens are mostly huge, although they are super fast and have lots of undulations. The course takes imagination. It takes some risk. But it really does not just shut down crummy golfers like me. I mentioned to the guys I was playing with that this was a very very nice course that was playable even for a guy like me.

So I loved it! Actually had a couple pars! I hit just enough shots to think maybe I could play some more golf and do okay at it.

But what makes golf fun for me is the guys I played with. A couple weeks ago I played another course in Owasso. The course was nice. I had not played on it in a long time. It was also a very nice day. But the best part was the guy I was playing with. He is very good... but he kept me loose.. It was fun for him and it was alot of fun for me.

The same was true yesterday. The course is great, but the two guys I played with were the best.

I think there is a reminder there for me. I need good guys in my life to spend time with. Relationships matter. Whether it is golf, basketball, working out, or meetings with staff and elders, I need to slow down a little bit and enjoy the relational part of it all. I get going too fast and even in the middle of all the activity, I feel alone at times. I want to bury myself in my work. I like what I do... but it can be lonley. But I think alot of that is my fault. I may seem extroverted to alot of people, but I am really not. I am an introvert in alot of ways. Pam has told me that for years. I can't change how I am wired, but I do think I am going to work on that...working harder to sharing life with others I am close to. I need to make the effort. I have plenty of people who want to be friends... but it is up to me to let them in.

I hope I get to play THE PATRIOT again. But it was not the golf course that made yesterday good. It was the friends. I need more of that kind of interaction. It might make me more bearable to live with and to work with.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The loving hand of discipline

WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE? I have been pondering that statement for a few days. I don't have a corner on love at all. Sometimes I am not as loving as I should be...other times I am more loving than I think I am. Either way, there is a sweet spot where love is both redemptive and corrective. God lives in that sweet spot... sometimes I show up there too, but more often than not, it is one or the other.

When your younger kids do things they should not do, you correct them. Sometimes you discipline them. Why do we go to the trouble of doing that? I think for most parents it is not because we want to be is not a power trip. It is more that you want to save your child the grief and sorrow of making those mistakes that you made ( or that others have made). So you try to get your point across. Rarely did I ever have one of our kids say,"You know dad, I am glad you spanked me... I needed that... It really corrected my behavior." They didn't like being disciplined, but they knew that we did it because we love them.

In "church world" discipline has taken a back seat to grace, mercy, and forgiveness. That is not all bad at times...but we can not escape the fact that God disciplined his children (his people) because he loved them.

The writer of Hebrews says, "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness ad peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12: 10-11

The point of disicipline is clear... it produces "righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

And that is the problem... none of us wakes up in the morning and tells God, "discipline me today so that I can have peace and more righteousness." There has to be other ways to get peace and righteousness, or so we think. But if the truth be known, I learn more through discipline. I learn more through times of sorrow. I learn more through the struggles of life.

As I get older I don't go looking for discipline from God, but as it comes, I am learning to go with it and sometimes embrace it. I want more righteousness in my life. I want more peace. If that means God has to be involved in some corrective work in my life, then so be it. He knows best. He is my Father. He also answers the first question I asked... What does love look like? It looks like a Heavenly Father who is willing to do whatever it takes to help me see that His ways are the best ways for me to live.

I will put my life in His loving hands trusting that His plan is the best for me.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Curve Balls... man they are tricky. I was watching a baseball game the other night ( a rare thing for me). The pitcher for the Texas Rangers, Cliff Lee, threw fast ball after fastball. He was on. The Tampa Bay Rays could not hit him. But over some time, they began to figure him out a bit. So what did he do? Change up.... then curve ball. Strike out after strike out... They never did figure him out. And now the Rangers are in the ALCS.

Life is alot like that. You go along and you get used to a certain cadence or a certain rythym. You think that you have life figured out. And if you are like me, you kind of like it that way most of the time. The problem is that when you live that way for a long time, you begin to depend more on yourself to control your circumstances and you depend less on the Lord. Then it happens... A curve ball. You lose your job, someone gets sick, you have a big bill come due, someone turns their back on you, an unplanned pregnancy... the list goes on and on.

Pam and I had a curve ball this last August.( Not an unplanned pregnancy !) Pam lost her job at the Mid-High. Ten years of working with 9th and 10th graders, down the drain in one phone call. It was district wide budget cuts that got her. No one was happy for this...and We were not really ready for it. ( at least I wasn't). But we took a look at it and almost immediately Pam said, "Well God must have a different plan." He did not ask us ahead of time. We did not "steal his signs." He did not ask permission. It just happened. But all along God was working.

Its about 10 weeks later, and not Pam is working with Kindergarteners. ( BIG CHANGE from 9-10th graders!) And I have to say that while it is exhausting for her in some ways, she has not been happier in her job than she is now. She mentioned this week that she was so glad that God threw this change at her at this time in her life. It has invigorated her and she sees so many ministry opportunities. And nothing against many of the great people that she worked with at the Mid-High, but she loves working with her new team at Stone Canyon. It is such a postive and uplifting environment.

Well all of that to say, " When you get a curve ball in your life remember that God is control." HE may throw it himself, or HE may have just allowed it, but either way HE is in control of it. YOU are in control of something too... you are in control of how you respond to it. You can just stand there and strike out. Or you can take a swing. But another option is to pay attention to it, and look for the opportunity that curve ball brings... you never know how it might work out 10 weeks later.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Best gift...

It is no secret that I am not mechanically inclinded. I have a tool box, but I never know what is in it. I have a hammer, a saw, and a couple other tools. But I am not a tool guy. My dad and Pam's dad are those kinds of guys... but I am not. I am glad that Pam has never held that against me.

I have had in my mind for about 3-4 years that I wanted to finish off the privacy fence on my property. My neighbors have provided me 3/4's of the fence, which has been nice. But none of them offered to tie the fence into my house. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!

So I figured it was time. I called a fence company and their quote for about 50 feet of privacy fence was obscene. So I thought, "I bet I could figure this out and do it myself."

Well..... after today, let's just say, " I am really glad that common sense took over and I got some help." I actually asked a friend of mine to help me. He had some fence to do and I did. He is busy as can be, and I am pretty occupied most of the time myself. But we set today as the day.

Here is the big deal. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING AND I DID NOT.

So we started about 10 AM.. and by 4 PM we were whupped! Got the 7 holes dug ( auger) and got the posts set at my house. We got the 6 holes dug ( auger) at his house. We did not get the posts set at his house. It was 92 degrees and a heat index around 100. It's Owasso land, which means lots of clay, some rock and even a little hard ground. We were wasted.

But it was a great time. There is something great about spending a day with a brother in Christ who loves his family, loves his church, loves me, and loves his life! AND HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING.

He tells me the hard part is done... but even if it is not, I just loved the work and the time with him. It was encouraging and uplifting. He never looked at me as if I was not really pulling my weight. I tried... I ran the auger... and it only took me for a ride one time! I learned how to set posts... and how important a string is. And I had fun.

Although I am sore as can be... and pretty tired... I have to say, "All in all, it was a pretty good day." We will finish the job soon.

There are all kinds of gifts that we can give to people. But I am learning that sometimes the very best gift is the gift of yourself. I felt like that is gift I got today... and a gift I hope I gave in some small way to him.

So that's what I did today.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


It never surpises me that when I plan and prepare messages on the family that there will be a torrent of issues that are unleashed. Our Homewreckers series has certainly done that, and we are only in week 2! I pray more in the lead up and during a family series than at any other time. I have learned to expect that there will be more phone calls, more emails, more sorrow and tragedy during the weeks I preach about what God wants for the family, than at any other time of the year.

This year, I started planning for this series early last spring. And I started praying more than ever. I prayed for my family, my marriage and the marriages and family life of our staff, elders and church.

Satan knows that the family was God's second best idea. ( The first was sending Jesus as our Redeemer.) He lost the first battle at Calvary, so his strategy is to divide families. It is to weaken their spiritual and moral resolve, so that there will be little left to fight off when he comes swooping into the homes of people in our community and in our church. I think when he sees preachers talking about the family, he licks his chops... He knows that under the facade of "Hi, how are you doing...fine" kind of talk in the church, there are simmering issues that He would love to bring to the surface. And this is double true when it comes to a series exposing the sin in our relationships and in the church when it comes to immorality, adultery, our thought life and so much more. It's like Satan says, " Open the door and you are really going to see... are you ready for that?" There are alot of happy homes, great marriages and strong relationships in the church. But there are also alot of hurting people, brokenness, sorrow and even hopelessness in our chuch as well , ( as well as our community.)

I knew HOMEWRECKERS would be that kind of series. But I went ahead anyway, because I knew in my heart that God wants these messages preached and shared. I knew that it would be hard, not just for me, but for our leaders...our staff... our elders... and for many who care so deeply about their families and the kingdom. It would be hard for wives whose husbands care about anything but them. It would be hard for husbands whose hearts are broken because of sin. It would be hard for families whose calendars are dominated with activity, but not with real life. It would be hard for people have made bad choices. It would be hard for people whose have been hurt deeply by others. I knew it would be hard.

My prayer has not changed. "Lord, heal broken families. Bring things to the surface so that moms and dads can know what you really intended behind closed doors in the home. Be the Lord of each home within the church. Help men to step up and lead. Help wives to love and support. Help kids to respect and honor. Help those who are single parents to persevere. And somehow Lord, restore the hope of Jesus within their home."

Satan is coming after me. He is coming after our church. But I will stand on the Word of God... and so will our church... and we will be stronger for it.

I call on all of you who are part of the Kingdom of God to stand with me in praying for our families..and standing against the enemy of God who wants nothing more than to shatter the hope, peace and joy that only a home built on God's Word can bring.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Chapter

20 months ago, when I began to think and pray about "double impact", I did not know what to expect. I just knew that God wanted us to do something different. We had just relocated to North Garnett and were cruising along... But I knew that God wanted us to step out in something bold... even crazy.

I wasnt the only one. Fellow staff members, elders and members of our great church knew it too. As God began to reveal the vision for the Stone Canyon campus... I alternated between fear and fearlessness. We talked, prayed, sought God and as He opened doors and began to crystalize the vision. The last couple nights I have not slept well, but I think it was the anticipation...not a fear of what might or might not happen. I just wanted to see what would happen after all the reading, traveling, questions, praying, attending meetings and more meetings and dreaming about what it might be that God was up to.

Stone Canyon is about "helping others to know, love, serve and share Him." It is the same vision we have had as a church for years..on main street, 86th street, North Garnett and now Stone Canyon.

Today was launch day. 280 people came to Stone Canyon today. And another 1100 + came to North Garnett. There were so many new people who are looking for something. They came, worshipped , connected to God and heard a message about how important it is that we listen to the right voice in our world. I did not realize how appropriate the message would be for the launch of Stone Canyon until this afternoon... God knew exactly what needed to be said.

This is just the beginning. Over the next few weeks we will continue to "settle in" to the Multi-site strategy. We will continue to invite, reach out, connect to and pray for God's will to be done. This is a work of God that we have JOINED HIM in... and now we are off and going. There are greater things ahead for us...

Thanks to all who have participated in this for the last 20 months. Preparation, prayers, planning and then participation today... all of it has been worth it.

I can not wait to see how it all plays out... We are in the beginning "sentences" of a new chapter in the life of our church. Its for God's glory!

More about all this later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

15 years

My track record did not suggest that I would be anywhere 15 years. I grew up in a home on the move....It was a good home, and a good life, but we were on the move alot.

My first 13 years of ministry included 5 moves. We had great experiences in Oklahoma and Iowa. But sinking down roots was not my pattern....

Then in 1994 I came to First Christian Church of Owasso. I was brought in to do children's ministry... and although I did not know much about cutting edge children's ministry, I figured I could build teams and organize things. God did the rest. There were amazing people who were passionate about kids and families. Many are still with us, and although we all have gray hair now...we loved what we did.

Now it is 2010... I was in Kentucky one year...but for nearly the last 11 years I have had the privildge of preaching, teaching and being part of a leadership team at a great church.

I could not be more thankful for the church and the wonderful people who have loved me and allowed me to grow through the years. FCC has been willing to take risks, to attempt some pretty big things and to stretch to please God. It truly is a "JOIN HIM" kind of church.

What am I a most proud of? Well there are lots of things....
* I am proud of the fact that FCC has been through some tough leadership struggles over those years... and come out of them healthy, loving and focused on His mission.
* I am super proud of the team that God has put together. There was a time when it was just 5 of us on staff ( Matt, Bob, Helen, Darla and me.) But as time has gone by we have added some amazing passionate people who love God and love this church.
* I am proud of the blessing of the Elders I have served with through the years.In tough times and good times they have stood by me. They have guided and directed me. They have protected me. And at times they have corrected me. Nobody has it better.
* I am so proud of the many people at FCC who took God up on His offer through Christ... for those who stuck in there during terribly difficult times and those who took a leap of faith and trusted God even though they could only see the next step... not the final step.
* I am most proud of my family. I take no credit for how they have turned out. The truth is that for many years, my priorities were more with the church than with them. That makes Pam even more amazing in my book... she held things together at times and always projected a love for Jesus in everything. Her influence in my life, my ministry and in our children and grandchildren can not be measured. Our kids are all super young adults... who love God, love their mom and dad and love the church. Again, I do not take credit for that... It was God. And it was our church for the last 15 years. FCC OWASSO is an unusual place because it does not put pastor's kids under a microscope. This church has let our kids grow at their own pace and in thier own way. I know the stories about how it goes in other places... so for this I will always be thanful.

The future??? Well, at this point, I would love to spend another 15 years serving here. But if the truth be known... I have always made one committment when it came to length of ministry. I will serve at FCC OWASSO for as long as God wants me to. Not a day longer... and I hope not a day shorter... I see great possibilities for kindgom work through FCC OWASSO....for me. I am excited about those dreams...I am enthused about our teams....

This morning I said, "The best journey's are shared journey's." That certainly is true for ministry. So thanks to a great church, a great staff team, great elders and a super great family.... But most of all thanks to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit... the best team of all when it comes to making dreams that really matter come true.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Launch Time....

It's just 9 days away... the launch of the Stone Canyon Campus.

Somebody asked me if I was nervous. I said, "No... It is God's mission, not mine."

I trust Him... and all the people who are working on this. The Core Team, the Launch Team, and so many more...

I know that everyone has put the work into this... I especially appreciate ALL our staff... they have worked hard and long...I am so proud of them.

We have people with a vested interest... people who will serve. People in the school. People in our partner, NOEA...

AND, there are alot of people in Owasso who need a church and need a Savior.

It will be different than our North Garnett campus... but it will still have the same mission... To connect people to God... to help others know, love, serve and share Him.

COME CHECK IT OUT: AUG 22nd.... 11:00 AM at Stone Canyon Elementary School. ( 177th and 76th Street North.)

It's launch time... I like the sound of that... just 9 days away...

Monday, August 09, 2010


What should we do on a Monday Night? Well, we decided to go out to a ball park and watch our Co-ED softball team play. What fun. the team has so much fun.. they tease each other, have some light banter with umpire and some interesting conversation with opponents. There were a few dropped balls, but some nice plays in the field to make up for it. There were some really big hits... and some not so big along the way.

But the best thing was that these people were playing NEXT to someone. The fellowship is sweet and fun. They encouraged each other and watch out for each other. They really like each other... and they share life together.

To get NEXT to somone does not mean you only do it in classes or groups. Those are the big ways we do it....but there are lots of others... like Summer Health Challenge, Softball, Basketball, exercise groups and many more.

It was fun to see this group of people having lots of fun. I know their hearts and they were there to represent christ and his church and to have fun....

Sounds like it is the way it should be.


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of special people. Aboout 30 people (young and older) are part of a group called NETT. They are so awesome. Some people might sell them short, thinking that they do not have alot to contribute to a church, a school or even a family. They are the most loving and accepting group I have ever been around. No agenda's or demands... just love. Over the past few years, they have come to our church for special nights every month and a week long camp during the summer.

There are several adults and teenagers who work with them year around...I just love those adults and sponsors... they have such a love for what some might call "the least of these."

Anyway, our theme was "born to be wild." I know this may be a surprise, but I am not exactly a "wild and crazy" guy. But we did some funky and fun things... and then talked about the "wildest" guy in the Bible. John the Baptist had a weird wardrobe, ate some really strange food, and lived in a place no one wanted to live in. But the wildest thing about John was that he always pointed people to Jesus. That was a wild message! It was all about Jesus.

My friends loved the story. They listened so well, laughed hard and they got it! We did motions, told stories and reminded ourselves that everyone needs to talk about Jesus more than they talk about themselves. In the middle of my talk one of the guys burst into tears. I kept going, but one of the sponsors took him out and talked with him. Then following my talk, she came to me and said that he wanted to talk with me. So we went into a side room and talked about his life. It is a tough life. Not alot pretty about it all. Except for one thing. He said to me, "I saw Jesus and He told me that He would be with me. I don't need to be afraid."

WOW! I had tears in my eyes. So much to to deal with, and yet it all boiled down to what Jesus had told him. That was what was getting him through the day.

We prayed, talked some more and he seemed better.

And so was I. I was not the teacher today... I was the student. I needed to hear Jesus what Jesus said to my new friend. "I will be with you. You don't need to be afraid."

Alot of you have HUGE things on your plate... and I know that you sometimes wonder...really wonder... "Is Jesus there?" I have been there. Self doubt, hurtful friends and family, disappointment, goals not met, and sometimes just the junk of life overwhelm us all. And we wonder...

There are some big things on my plate right now... but alot of people have ALOT bigger things on thier plates. The great thing is that there is no plate too big for Jesus. He keeps everyone of his promises...all the time.

"And I will be with you always...even to the end of the age." He said that to some disciples right before He went back to heaven. But he meant it for me... for my friend... AND FOR YOU.

Special thanks to my new friend was my teacher today....:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on things that change and things that don't...

Mark Beeson is a preacher in Ohio who writes a blog that I follow. This week he made the following comments....

* In 2000, we sent 12 billion emails in a day. In 2010, we daily send 247 billion emails
* In 2000 there were 4 reality shows on TV. Today we have 320.
* In 2000, we sent 400,000 text messages. In 2010, we will send 4.5 billion.
* In 2000, we did 100 million Google searches a day. In 2010, we will do 2 billion searches every
* We performed 0 ITUNES downloads in 2000. There will be 10 billion ITUNE downloads in

The digital revolution has changed so much about our world. There is no real way to escape it. It does not mean that we have to succumb to all of the temptations and negative things that the digital revolution brings. But the truth is that our world now thrives on instant communication and information. It has changed our economy, politics, and ministry. We will never go back to the way it was.

I think about this in relation to preaching. There is so much more out there to study from, to listen to, and to read. Christian bookselling has become a mega business. Now, E-Books are actually outselling the "old fashioned" kind of books. ( I do not have an E-book reader yet.)

All this change unnerves me in some ways. I find myself captured by the technology of our day, but still drawn to the simple things. There is a tension there that I am continually trying to balance. I am uneasy when I think about the next 10 years, wondering what kind of effect technology will have on my kids and grandkids. Will be good or bad? The likely answer is the same as what we could summarize about the last decade. It will be both. Technology is a tool. It is not the end itself. It can be used for good. ( i.e. communication with family, friends, missionaries across the world and more) It can be used for bad. ( huge time waster, pornography, false blogging etc.)

I know alot of people who have such difficulty with the pace of change in our culture. I am with you. I would like things to stay the same, as long as I get to say how things will stay the same. Somethings I want to change, other things I don't. Some technology I love... ( Skype, my IPHONE, IPOD, computers, and so much more. ) Some technology I do not like.

Today, I was listening to John Ortberg, ( On my IPOD while walking... talk about technology... I would have never been able to listen to a preacher from SF on my phone 10 years ago!). Anyway, in a sermon last fall, he said the following.... "I want to begin with two foundational truths that we all need to remember. First, "God is God," and second, "I am not."

It was so simple... yet it stopped me in my tracks. I needed the reminder. I think we should remember that technology is not God. But it is influencing our culture to the point that the church needs to leverage that technology or it risks being left behind... at the starting line... with no hope of catching up.

We also should not take our eye off the ball. As much as some things change, alot of things will never change.
- Man needs an answer to His sin and separation from God.
- That answer is Jesus.
- Grace rules the kingdom of God.
-Transformation can not happen alone, but only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still about a Cross, about a Savior, a loving God and a needed
response from mankind. ( you and me) .
-Salvation is still about faith, repentance, confession and baptism. It all fits together just as well
today as it did in the first century.

So when you think that everything is changing, would you remember what is not changing. Even in the church, we are constantly changing things...( They are called methods.) But the MESSAGE... that is another story. It does not change. The old time gospel message has been around for 2000 years and will be around until the day Jesus comes back.

So hang on friends... go with the change and technology... just remember that God is in control... and what is most important in life will never change.

Beeson closes his post out with these words from scripture.

"When God wanted to guarentee his promises, he gave his word- a rock solide guarentee- God can't break His word.And because His word can not change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives for God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It is a unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God. " Hebrews 6:17-20


Thursday, July 22, 2010


I continue to marvel at how our world has changed. I am old enough now to begin to say, "Back before..." Back before cell phones, toll roads, 200 channel cable companies, email, back before power point. ( Yes there was a day when I preached and all I had was a Bible. No screen, no chair, no video nothing but the Bible)

I was trying to access a website recently and it asked me for my username and password. Now if you are under 25 years old, you have never known a life without a username and a password. Us old guys remember life without those dastardly little requirements to get to anything of value in our life. . Want to use your ATM card? (I know some people are convinced that the ATM card is a tool of the Anti-Christ.) Got to have a password. Want to find out what your bank balance is on the computer? Username and Password. Want to talk to your health insurance agent? Username and password. Want to go to ITUNES and download some music? Username and password.

I am all for security. The problem is that I can not remember my usernames and passwords. (This is a stunning admission!) I have multiple usernames and passwords. That is because everyone has different rules. Passwords must be 6 characters, numbers or letters, or a combination of both... but not symbols like $ or # &. But another site says that the password must be 10 characters long . Another website says, "Your password is not sufficiently strong enough." Apparently other people can figure out the password that I can not remember. And that concerns all the security nuts that are out there trying to save me from myself and the bad guys.

So after three attempts, I have to make a new password. That really complicates matters. Now I have variations of the original passwords... multiple variations... which only confuses me more.

I want to get rid of all passwords. Tim, my friend, coworker and resident computer whiz had the best solution for me when it comes to our network at the office. "The Password is Password."
Dont try to access it, it only works for me... and on my computer... no one else would be dumb enought to try it... but I am. It saves him alot of time with me.

I do have a list of usernames and passwords... It is on my computer... but the problem is that the list is , you guessed it, PASSWORD PROTECTED. Errrrr.....

So I have an old fashioned piece of paper with all of them on there ( I think )... but I can't tell you where they are because if I told you I would have to..... well you know.

All of which leads me to appreciate God even more. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and give you rest."

I am so glad He did not say, "Come to me , all you who are weary, and bring your username and password, and I will give you rest. Don't mess up, or spell it wrong, or we will have to start all over. You only get three tries... after that, it gets really complicated"

Aren't you glad that even in the age of computers and technology, God decided along time ago to keep it simple? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

By the way, there is a password phrase to get into heaven... It is 21 letters long... "The blood of Jesus Christ." I thank God everyday for Him...The Way, the Truth and the Life.

I think I can remember that one... and if there is a day where I can't, I know He remembers Me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Out of the dark" ( for a minute or two)

For the last two weeks or so, I have been "in the dark", so to speak. Very little email, not commenting on Facebook etc. I have been reading, thinking, and just getting away. Pam and I traveled to Florida about 10 days ago... and we had a great time. It is really good to get away and just kind of hide for a few days. I know that not everyone gets to do this so it makes me appreciate the opportunities we get to do this. We had a great time being "nobodies", laughing, eating ( too much I am afraid), hanging at the beach, going to movies, talking, reading, and exploring new things.

I am on a four week preaching break. That was very needed. Breaking the routine is good for me, and good for the church. Matt T. is preaching each week out of Jonah. They are high impact messages that people need to hear. God speaks through many voices at FCC and I am grateful for Matt and his heart for God and FCC. ( The same goes for all of the staff at FCC.)

This morning Pam and I attended College Heights Christian Church in Joplin. It was a powerful service about the church that lives for something beyond itself. At one point, I said to God, "You brought me here for this message on this day." Following the service and lunch with Abigail and Tyler, Pam and I talked about how we both needed that message and the service as a whole today.

Two more weeks... lots of reading,( I will write about some of the things I am learning in future blogs), some writing... no serious email or appointments... just refueling and recharging. We will attend the North American Christian Covention in Indianapolis next week. I have a special wedding to officiate the following week... and then it is back at it. I will be ready!!!

July 18th begins the "JOIN ME" series out of Nehemiah. I am really excited about these messages which lead up to the Stone Canyon launch... God is on the move and he wants us to join him in it all.

One last thing... Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday... He will be 76! I love his positive attitude. He said to me today, " I am doing great... a whole lot better than alot of people my age." It was a great reminder to me about how our attitude determines our altitude in life. I just saw him and my mom at Abigail's wedding... and they seemed really great. My dad is 24 years older than me... but I think in some ways you wouldn't know it. His outlook is so good and I really think he believes that God is not finished with him yet. ( Not just a cliche in his life.).

I am thankful to have alot of people my dad's age and older who have his kind of attitude. They are everywhere...

I have to say that when I talk with him, I am the one that is encouraged. That's a blessing. So thanks Dad for being you... and thanks for a great example of living life fully all the way through the finish line... You are not there yet, because God is not done with you yet!

So, I am going back underground ( at least electronically). I miss being around the FCC family...and look forward to getting back soon...

Blessings to you all... See you soon.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Father's day blessings

Father's day is coming up in a few days. Its always been a fun day, in large part because of I have 4 kids who are great at throwing parties, even when far away ..

I was thinking about our four kids. In the last 8 years, all four of them have graduated from High School with honors... all of them have competed at high levels in Basketball, Volleyball, Vocal Music, and Student goverment. 3 of them have graduated from Colleges ( NSU, Oklahoma State and Arkansas) 1 of them has a Masters Degree from Arkansas. One of them is just a year away from graduating for Ozark Christian College. Joel has moved out to the west coast and is making his way out there. The three girls have gotten married. All of them have married super guys, who love God and love them We have welcomed Gracie into our family ( she was 2 today). We have another grandchild on the day ( to arrive very late fall).

I can think of a better way to be blessed than by having kids who love God , love their families, and love other. What a thrill it is to see their lives unfold before our eyes.

So, Nathaniel, Elizabeth and Gracie, James, Lydia and Baby, Joel, Tyler and Abigial, let me be the one says it first. You all are the greatest kids. In spite of my inattention you still love the church and all it can be. You are the product of a gracious God who gave you your mom... who is the closest think to a saint there is..the most giving and caring person I know.

I Love you all....more than you can know


Friday, June 11, 2010

A house full of laughter.

One of the great things about my family is how well they get along. For the last 2 hours, we have had about 20 people in my living room. It has been one round of laughter after ther other. Family from Nebraska, college friends of Abigail's,( Erika, Whitney, Emily, Kara, ) Lydia, Elizabeth, Kim, Kirk, Cassie, Chris, Joel, James, Nathaniel, Gracie,Danny, Linda, Lyndsey, Glen and Evelyn, and others have been one non stop comedy routine.

These are such good times. I know that lots of people get lonely and never experience these kinds of moments. I think one of the reasons why it works at our house, is everyone can laugh at each other, and themselves. No one takes themselves too seriously. We love each other... and include others in our laughter.

Sharing memories is one of the greatest things about a family wedding.

Abigail and Tyler are soon to be married. I can't believe it..I am so happy for them. But on the other hand there is a twinge of sadness... I love her so much and look forward to more of these kinds of nights when we all get together and just laugh

Wow, what a weekend... Laughter is often the best medicine...

Thanks for praying for the FOTB... me...


Thursday, June 10, 2010


For the last 7 months or so I have had a workout partner who has pushed me and challenged me to get healthy. During that time I have completed a Sprint Triathalon, and 3 5K runs. I have lost some weight... learned to do some biking, done alot of swimming and in general gotten alot healthier. I feel like I am on my way to something... it is a journey for that will last the rest of my life.

Late in the winter, David asked me about an idea he had to take this idea of health and wellness to a new level in our church and community. He had a ton of ideas, but after alot of thinking, talking to friends and praying, he came up with the idea of a Summer Health Challenge.

He incubated the idea over time and put together some really great plans. We talked about it in staff meeting, in Elder's meetings and David went to work. He recruited a bunch of volunteers, created notebooks, made a plan that would include both community and church leaders. Then we promoted it... David's goal was 100 people... But we did not know. A couple weeks ago only 5 people had signed up.

We had 150 people show up tonight. YIKES!

Sean Algaier, ( Biggest Loser Season 8) and FCC Technical Director got us started. We also heard from Suzanne Gauldin , who is a nutritionist... and from David.

All of it was encouraging and challenging... The idea that we get a second chance to do things right really hit home for me. Every breath is another chance... it is another opportunity to make a different choice. I needed to hear it.

I am excited about this because I think it shows the potential of Health and Wellness ministry and how getting our mind, body and spirit healthy can change our lives and the lives of our families and friens.

I think it also shows the potential for SPORTS ministry in general. In our community this kind of thing speaks to people...and I think it can be a great tool to reach people with something more than just health... but with the gospel. There are some great churches that are tapping into this and I hope that we can be the next one.

I also think it speaks to me because a regular guy like David had a dream put on his heart and he trusted God with it... He threw himself into it. He recruited alot of other people to it. He shared the vision whereever he went ... And he wants it to glorify God. He is passionate... but passionate about the right things. He has seen God change his life. He is into the Word, and he is all about trying to make his walk match up to his talk. He's not perfect, makes mistakes, has lots of questions etc. But in his heart of hearts he feels a responsibility to share what he has learned in his life on all levels.

I am so glad that it was hugely successful, but I know David well enough to know that if only 1 person was drawn to God and to the opportunity to be healthier in thier minds, body and spirit, it would be worth it.

Next meeting is June 24th... 7:00 at FCC... Get moving and see how God can use something like this to change your life!

Monday, June 07, 2010

FX 2010

Our Family Ministry is really on to something. I saw it tonight. I saw moms and Dads, grandma's and grandpa's worshiping togehter, laughing together, celebrating together, and then doing activities together at FX.

This FX ( Family expereince) is a high paced, creative laden program built around Bible Stories and virtues.

I love the leadership of this. I love the volunteers who are getting out their comfort zone. I love the focus on our local YMCA ...

Tonight Josh Adsit came on the scene... and let's just say he came on with a bang! We are all going to love him.

I think tonights program was the best ever! Two more to go... Dont miss them!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"The mistakes of others do not have to derail you"

A perfect has only happened 20 times in 135 YEARS of Major League Baseball. 27 batters up, 27 batters down. It is a most improbable feat. Surprisingly there have been "three" this season.

I said "three" because two of them are official. Dallas Braden and Roy Halliday both have pitched perfect games this year. One of them was not "official".

Armando Gallaraga pitched a perfect game too... sort of . There are two outs in the 9th inning. 26 up, 26 down. The Detroit Tiger pitcher is one out away from being the 21st pitcher in MLB history to pitch a perfect game. The batter hits a ball to the first baseman who throws the ball to the pitcher, covering first base. Everyone knows he is out. Everyone in the park except for one... the 1st base umpire who calls him "SAFE."

The Detroit bench erupts. The manager screams and gets in the umps face... players stand in disbelief. The fans boo... Everyone has something to say... except for the pitcher.

Gallaraga went back to the mound and pitched to the next batter... and got him out. 28 up, 27 down. He said nothing.

There is a lesson here. Sometimes, you can not control the outcome. You can not control the decisions others make. But you can always control your reaction to those decisions. You can always decide to not lose control. You can go back to work. You can move on. You can even forgive.

Tonight, as I read about Gallaraga's actions on the mound, I was challenged to remember that sometimes life is not fair. Sometimes, life even stinks... but you get back on the mound and pitch. You go back to doing your job, to treating your family right . You go back to do what you do best. You do what got you where you are in life... and not let the decisions or attitudes of other people DERAIL you from the purpose and mission of your life. You don't let disappointment DISCOURAGE you.

God will honor you and bless you if you do this... I know He well.

By the way, the umpire watched a replay and knew immediately that he missed the call. He said, " I just cost that kid a perfect game." I like that umpire... he owned his mistake and admitted it.
There are lessons we learn from him too... One, everyone makes mistakes, even umpires. Two, people who make mistakes should be big enough to admit it. He did. That makes him a better umpire and a better person.

So all the way around, there are lessons in this story for us. I hope they both get another chance to live out history on the diamond... It's good stuff to think about.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Summer time thoughts.

Summer... I like summers... I like....
- sunshine
- warm still mornings where I can walk and think, pray and listen to good preachers.
- vacation!! Florida here we come!!
- mowing my grass ( immediate gratification for me)
- grilling burgers for my family
- water....water....water...
- watching kids go off to church camp
- Church mission trips... we are sending teams to Thailand and China this year!
- youthquake send off...( That is in July)
- weddings ( especially when one of them is my daughter)
- July 4th...
- Thunderstorms.... love me some thunderboomers!
- Pam, Lydia, Gracie and my birthdays...
- Study break... reading, planning and listening... I need the down time
- North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis
- Pam is off work... love that!!!
- Fall is right around the corner... my favorite time of the year.

Summer... I don't like some things about summer... I don't like....
- heat and humidity
- bugs that fly in my mouth. Doesn't happen much, but it did yesterday, doing yard work. yech!
- paying the water and A/C bill
- Tornados, Hurricaines, drought, and heat waves...
- Pam has to go back to work in August.... booooooo! ( But I am thankful she has a job.)
- No pro or college basketball on TV... bummer... baseball is not interesting to me...
- lighter attedance and offerings at church...

After reading this, I think I like summer more than I don't like it.

Guess what... it doesnt matter what I like or don't like... "This is the day the Lord has made... let us rejoice and be glad in it." Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring... he is the creator of everyone of them.




Monday, May 03, 2010


Occassionally I take a Sunday and visit other churches. I find it to be a very good thing for me, and for FCC. They get to hear from Matt which is always a good thing. And it allows me to sit and listen, observe and report to staff about the things I see. It also helps me refuel.

I went to two churches....The Church at Battle Creek and First Baptist Church in Downtown Tulsa.

BC is a fast growing church with a very young demographic. They have all the "crowd" control procedures in place including parking, very visible and helpful greeters and a pretty easy to get around facility. The service itself was about 90 minutes long, with the preaching lasting about 50 minutes ( pretty standard). Alex Himaya is a strong teacher and I have to say it was one of the best sermons on Matthew 25 ( Parable of the Talents) I have heard. Chocked full of a vision to use our abilities and gifts to help people who have difficulty , this message was very missional in content. I was ready to sign up to help some people.

He made a statement that I thought was very significant for us. "We have to accept the responsibility for the city that God has given us." I just look around and see that we can grow and do a better job of being an advocate for people of all walks of life in our city. God placed us here and we have that responsibility. Good stuff.

I am always interested in the Worship services...and while it was good appreciation for what we have at FCC grows greater every time I go some where else.

Then, I hustled up to First Baptist in downtown. Deron Spoo is a friend of mine... and the church he leads is such a different church than Battle Creek. But I love how he preaches to the Southern Baptist church in a way that challenges their suppostions and preconvieved notions and does it in a thoughtful way. It might be tempting to blow up a downtown church like that...but Deron is a teaching shepherd and it comes through loud and clear.

He message on listening to God was especially timely to me. Elijah found himself on the run and went into a cave, where he did nothing until he heard from God. Nothing... It made me ask, "Where is my cave? Where do I wait and then wait some more.? Have I substituted activity and movement for doing what Elijah did... just wait? Do I wait for the still small voice, or do I jump at the first hint of activity and noise?" The truth is that I am much better at what God wants me to be when I wait for his still voice...instead of always belieiving that he is in the wind and fire and earthquakes. ( Read I Kings 19).

It was thought provoking and humbled my spirit... which I needed.

Deron also led a meaningful communion service. I appreciated that so much. He made a statement that caught my attention..."Many of us are committed, but not really surrendered." Wow... I thought committment was the goal...But it made me think... Committment is good, but it tends to allow other things to crowd it out. We can be committed to several things.. Surrender means totally sold out... everything hinges off that surrender.

There is a ton of application for us...but as I read the life of Jesus I see one that was surrendered, not just committed. That is what pushed him through the cross. "Father, not my will, but yours." That is not committment...that is surrender.

FBC Tulsa has two being contemporary and one more traditional. I attended the traditional... So meaningful in worship with the choir, orchestra, flute solo,and quiet and reflective songs. I loved it.

But I love all kinds of worship...and am thankful for the diversity of the Body of Christ. There is alot of a great work being done by churches in Tulsa. It is exciting.

Good day for me...and for FCC

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Dedications

One of the special things that I get to do is baby dedications. There was a time where we did them on one Sunday in May. We would line up 15-25 couples with their children on the stage and say their names... then I would say something, ask a couple questions, then ask the church to committ to support the families and then pray.

It was always meaningful, but it seemed like an "add on." It was not all that personal, although our EC directors at the time ( Karen Schemet and Cathy Wheeler) did their best to make it a special moment.

While on sabbatical a few years ago, I regularly attended a downtown Tulsa church who did baby dedications once or twice a month. It seemd very pastoral, personal and was something that engaged both the family and the church.

So I stole the idea from my friend and started doing them that way. It was a change that I have never regretted.

Whenever a couple or a parent wants dedicate their child, I get together with them and we talk first. We talk about how this is a dedication of the child, but even more importantly it is a dedication of the parent (s) to raise the child to love Jesus. It is about their example. It is about their faith. It is also about their church family. I think that God gives us a church family for a reason. In part it is so that no one feels like they are going through life alone. Parenting can be a difficult and even lonely journey. Church families have a responsibility to support and bless those who are raising children. So I emphasize that with the parents. Then I always get a funny story or two out of the conversation, and we talk logistics and then pray. Then the following Sunday, we have them on stage and we talk and pray together.

I appreciate the efforts that our current EC director ( Amy Bray ) goes to in order to make it a special time for the family. She has a couple photographers who take fun pictures and then it all goes into a keepsake for the family. I get such great comments about this from the families.

A few weeks ago we had a single mom with her little boy up there doing the dedication. I just thought it was an incredible moment because this little boy is so amazing. His mom and grandparents have been through alot, but here they were, committing to raise this little boy to love Jesus. He is a gift from God and I have the feeling that God is going to use him in a special way. The dedication also blessed some others who had been connected to single moms in their families. There was a huge message sent that day. They saw that our church is a church of grace... a church that looks forward to redeem situations in our lives, and a church that truly cares about everyone.

Today, I have met with two families and another one is coming in a few minutes. They all three are totally different families...but with one common thread. They love Christ, love their children and desire the blessing of God and the support of their church family in raising their children.

This is something I always look forward to... It's one of the many good things about the life I live.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend update.

Monday mornings... I like them! Especially after a great weekend.

Tackled the Sprint Triathalon yesterday. My goal was to finish.... I had a total finish time in mind and I smashed that... Great fun.... 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride and 2 mile run. Some serious hills... At one point I thought, " Man I am really glad they do not make us swim up hill." But I made good time for me. I also know I could do alot better. Now I have a time to work against.

Great encouragement by Pam, David, Eddie , Sharon and a bunch of other friends who were there. Pam was amazing... seemed like she was there around every turn... and crying at the finish line... Triathalon's are a team sport..

Today, felt good waking up and wondering what the next challenge is... I think I know... just need to articulate it a bit...and then do a better job of executing the plan. More about that later.

And one other thing... It feels great to go do something like this fully confident in the team we have at FCC. No concerns... Thanks to the FCC Staff! You all are awesome.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Reflections

Thinking about many things this evening...

EASTER- awesome services Sunday. I loved the music... the energy... Brittany Bolt and Tim singing "He is risen, He is risen, Alleluia!" That gave me chills! The Easter Choir, Praise Team, Orchestra and tech teams were incredible. The attendance of 2237 was a all time record for our church. AWESOME! We blew away records all over the place... including in EC and Children's. It took well over 200 volunteers to put all of it together...many of whom were at the church from 6:15 to 12:30... 3 services is a challenge...but it is worth it. God gets the praise and glory for this great day. After it all, it was his idea ( the ressurection).

THOSE SERVING IN ARMED FORCES. I was thinking about some of our guys who were not here Sunday. Roger Martinez, Matt Sewell, Eric Snider and some others... They didn't miss Easter, because the Ressurection of Jesus is for the whole world...but they were far from their families. How humbling it is to serve God in this country in freedom, all because of the many who have served our country by protecting us wherever they are called upon to do so! Pray for those guys.... they are in tough spots serving the USA...

I APPRECIATE OUR VOLUNTEERS. Our Parking guys were incredible. I got alot of comments about how friendly and helpful they were. We had enough help in Early Childhood, even though it was a record breaking day. Our Cafe team fed a bunch of people! They were so good to team. David and Kristi and the rest of the are incredible. It seemed like everything worked well all over the building.

I AMAZED AT THE GENEROSITY OF OUR PEOPLE. After a record breaking year in 2009, we stretched big time with our budget needs each week. After 14 weeks, we are right at budget! Sunday's offering of over $60,000 was HUGE... You are getting it....

IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS. "A living hope can only be brought by a living Savior." Enough said!

WE ARE NOT DONE... Easter is a catalyst for movement... a call to action.... an "ON YOUR MARK" moment... Easter can change a life, a community, and the world. We are not done with our mission ... we are not done reaching people.... we are not done caring for others... we are not done with providing ministry all across the world. We are part of a great kingdom making a dramatic move across the world.

Loved Easter... and really look forward to the coming weeks as we continue to work through "the church unleashed" in Acts 4-7.

See you there.

Friday, April 02, 2010


How does God get His message out? I think it is alot like good advertising for almost any business. The key is variety.

When a business comes to town, they look for different ways and mediums to get their message out. It may be the paper, radio, TV, Billboards, flyers....on and on the ideas come.

But there is one medium that businesses recognize as most effective. It is the "word of mouth" method. You know how it works....

Someone finds a business or resturant that is good... they try it out a couple times and make it part of their regular routine. When they need the services this business offers, they immediately think about it and head there.

Conversations between friends, neighbors, or co-workers inevitably work thier way toward something that reminds that person of a business which met a need. So they say, "Hey, this place really worked for me... you might want to try it out." They do, and soon, another conversation is hatched...

The interesting thing is that the first conversation does not just happen once. If you really believe in that business, you will have that conversation over and over. And then, if it works for them, they will have it over and over... and the messages spreads.

It's not just true about businesses. It is true about faith. When people are really convinced that Jesus makes a difference in their lives, they talk about Jesus! When people think a specific church is effective in helping them in thier lives, they talk about thier church. And they offer an invitation.

A simple invitation for people to give Jesus a real shot in thier lives can open the door to life change. A simple invitation to people to come to church and to see what is going on there can open that same door.

By the way... I have seen stats that say that over 85% of people invited to church actually say yes and try it out.

So what works for Lowes, Home Depot, Ruby Tuesday, Red Robin, Olive Garden works for the church too...

How does God get his message out? One of the most effective ways is through the invitation of transformed people... people like you.

WE WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY AT 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. It's Easter... Invite someone and see what God does...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be careful who you listen to.

Get in your car at night, scan the radio and you are likely to come across a talk/music show presented by Delilah. I have listened to her when I am heading somewhere on several occassions. People call in and dedicate songs to loved ones . It is all quite mushy at times...and often kind of a feel good program. And more often than not, she gives advice about how to have healthy relationships with other people in their lives.

I ran across a news item about her and decided to do some "internet" digging. I know you can not trust everything you read...but a couple things are pretty consistent.

This radio personality, who has upwards of 8 million regular listeners on 222 radio stations, gives advice on relationships and love. She is the mother of 10 children, 7 of which are adopted. (That is pretty amazing and cool). She grew up in Reedsport Oregon, which was just down the road from where I went to high school. It's a nice coastal town.

She has been married and divorced 3 times. Not so sure that this qualifies her to give relationship advice... You never really hear about that...but that would concern me.

What concerns me more though is the statement that she posts on her own website. Here it is ...

"We don't try to fix people. We listen. We sympathize. We empathize. If the show has a message it is 'listen to your own gut. Trust your own intuition. Go where it leads. Don't give up."

There is a problem here... The Bible says, " There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12, 16:25.

I just think we all need to reminded that the strongest voice speaking into our lives , should not be a radio personality, a preacher, a mentor, a boss, a relative and especially not our own. It should be the Bible. That is what we should be listening to.

If we listen to others, or even worse, just ourselves... it will have some very bad consequences. I have seen this in my life. Human intuition... or our "gut" certainly should not be the primary source of instruction and guidance . It should be the Bible. This book has stood the test of time. What a gift to all of us!

Unfortunately, we seem to be more interested in listening to other voices... it is a good reminder to me ( and I hope to you) that God himself gave us the Word. It is a light and a lamp. ( Psalm 119).

Be in the Word... and listen to THE voice that speaks from those pages of truth.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Triathalon update

Many months ago I was preaching and mentioned how much I admired those that did the Ironman Triathalon. Apparently people were listening. Several have asked about that goal and whether I was going to go for it.

One person that heard that was a friend named David. Since October he and I have been working out 5 days a week. I was working out regularly on the elyptical machine...but David has really helped me with getting stronger, faster and more balanced. Core exercises, plyometrics, and a variety of other workouts have helped me alot. The last month the focus has been on the upcoming triathalon.

Swimming was the first obstacle. It really has not been hard...because I like to swim. The stroke came back to me quickly. Most mondays I swim about a mile. Lately we have been focusing on 400 yard increments. ( That is the distance of the next triathalon.) Yesterday I set a personal best... under 8 mintues!

Running has not been to hard. I have done 3 5K's since October. Each time I have set a personal best, and although I am not too speedy, I am conistently getting better.

Biking ? Well, that has been another story. I have borrowed a bike, which comes from a very generous friend. David has been working hard to get me out there on the road. The problem is that I am not too comfortable on the road, especially if there are cars on the road with me. But we have taken on about 4 or 5 10 mile rides...including one today. I was much more comfortable today , and did my best time. I still would prefer bike paths, but the truth is that we do not live in Oregon...( where they are everywhere.)

So , tomorrow it is a mock tri... 7 AM.... 200 yard swim, 11 mile bike and 2 mile run. I think I will finish... and may do ok.

All of this leads up to the real deal in two weeks. The Spring Sprint Tri in Claremore is a 400 yard swim, 12 mile bike ride and 2 mile run. I understand there will be 300 or more people there. My goal... to finish inside of the first 300 or so. :) (Really, it is just to finish.)

I am very thankful for my friend David, who is beginning to train other people. ( I will write more about him in the future.). And I am thankful that I have taken on this challenge and I am looking forward to seeing where it leads me. I have had alot of encouragement from several people and that is always good.

Ironman Triathalon? Well, it would be nice ...but I have a ways to go. I think I will just stick with some smaller challenges for the time being.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement along the way.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Undercover" greeter

Today was a snowy cold day in Oklahoma! That is never good on a Sunday. I did not preach today and had planned to visit a church in Broken Arrow, but roads were bad. So I went to FCC and hung out for the services... It was great! I don't get to talk to alot of people on this was a good thing!

I am watching "Undercover Boss" tonight. I can't really go undercover at the church...but I did have a moment today that reminded me of this show.

It was second service...attendance was low and we did not have a greeter at one of the doors. So I was just hanging there and decided to grab some service bulletins and started passing them out. I said, "Welcome to FCC! " then stuck my hand out and shook their hand.

What a great experience! Most preachers shake people out.... I was shaking people in ! People did not know what to make of it. Now, to be honest, most did not know that I was not preaching, so it kind of confused some people. But most people figured it out once they got in the worship center.

It was alot of fun. And while it was not "undercover", it still made me appreciate all the things volunteers do at FCC. It takes alot of different people doing different things to get a Sunday morning service up and running each week. Our Staff, ministry leaders and volunteers work hard. They know that they are BIG part of how people feel welcomed, cared for, and ministered to.

Thank you FCC volunteers! You are awesome.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ready on the bench

If you are a part of a team, you want to play. But everyone can not play all the time. So some sit on the bench....sometimes for the whole season. But when you number is called, you have to be ready.

I sat on the bench alot in high school. I sat on the bench in college...but it did not matter because I loved being part of the team and I loved basketball. But there was a time when my team needed me. So I played. Neither experience produced anything dramatic, but it felt good to be on the floor.

That was not the case today for Kyle Kuric. Kyle plays for the Louiville Cardinals. They were playing #1 Syracuse in the last game at Freedom Hall. The place was charged up, emotional, and electric. You would not blame Kyle for thinking that he probably would not get in game. After all, it figured to be close.

Well..... The starting guard hurt his thumb and was out for the game. So in the second half, Kyle Kuric gets the call. And guess what???? Unknown and unheralded Kyle Kuric led the Cardinals to an upset victory of the #1 team in the land. Several steals, several rebounds, dunks, and a total of 22 points in the second half!

What a moment for Kyle Kuric! He was on the bench, but he was ready... He practiced hard, he knew his role, and then when he got the call, he put his heart out there and just played.

That is one of the great stories of this years College Basketball season.

Kyles story reminds me that even in practice, I should do my best.Much of life is practice. Much of life is full of the same things each day. But even in the mundane moments of life, there are points where you and I are being prepared for something significant in our lives. And when the call comes... we need to be ready to go!

There are no wasted moments in God's economy. And God loves surprises. I think about my friend in scripture , Peter... He spent some time on the bench....but he did not give up. Jesus got him in the game in John 21. Then in Acts 2, when the call came to him, he preached his heart out! He was ready...and boy did he preach! I love it!

Do your best in whatever you are doing, for the glory of God AND so you will be ready. It may seem may just seem like practice... the odds are you may not find yourself in the game...but You just never know when you might get the call.... and then it is your turn to shine.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Awesome day

I love what is happening at FCC... Today 9 people made decisions to make FCC thier church home. Lots of new people, great energy, and a real desire to influence others. We have had a bunch of new members this year along with many baptisms along the way. It's not about how many, but I am energized by the numbers of people who are finding a Biblically relevant church family that they can be a part of.

Tomorrow Bobby Reed officially starts as the Stone Canyon Campus Pastor. So excited to get started on this. Would you consider being part of the launch team? What does it take? Well, I think it starts with a "calling" from God to do something different, bold, and faith-filled. It takes a spirit of pioneering. It also takes a "can-do" spirit. You need to be the kind of person who can look at a situation and not be overwhelmed by the problem, ( remember God is greater), but instead be energized by solutions. You probably need to be more interested in reaching people with the Gospel than with maintaining the status quo. You need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Is that you? Then Stone Canyon may be for you . Email Bobby ( and find out some more about the opportunity.



Thursday, February 25, 2010


There are only 7 Sundays until Easter. What will we talk about this year at Easter? It is always a challenge to preach Easter services because messages need to be shorter (to accomodate 3 back to back to back services) AND to preach the gospel to people who have not been in church for a year along with people who are there every week. There is such a wide spectrum of people in Easter services.

The Easter theme for this year is "ON YOUR MARK..." What is that all about? Well, Easter services focus on the ressurection of Jesus Christ. This year we are talking about our influence in our community and across the world. So the idea here is that we will call all people, no matter where they are to get to the starting line and MOVE.... If a person is not a Christian, we are going to call them to get ON YOUR MARK and make a move toward the ONE who saved their soul. If a person is a Christian, but not engaged in ministry in any way, we are going to call them to do more than just cross the starting line...but to get going...go deeper, invest in a ministry for God and make a different. If a person is a committed believer, we are going to call them to step into something that maybe challenges their comfort a little bit. Take a bold step of faith and do something RADICAL for Christ. Maybe it is a missions trip. Maybe it is just talking to a friend about Christ. Maybe it is loving someone you find totally unloveable. Maybe it is starting a ministry that God has put on their heart.

Any way you slice it, this EASTER will be for everyone who enters the doors of the church building.

So this is where you come in... INVITE PEOPLE TO COME ON APRIL 4th. We should fill our auditorium up 3 times on that day. ( 8:00 9:30 and 11:00 AM) I can promise you that they will hear a message about the ressurected Christ that will motivate them, no matter where they are in thier spiritual lives. The Worship, drama, choirs and message will all drive home the point...NOW is the time to be ON OUR MARK and be ready to move ....

Friday, February 19, 2010


One of the things I am going to write more about in this blog are some of the WINS we have at FCC. We need to get the word out. Expect more about the cool things God is doing.

Several months ago Tim came to us and said he wanted to host a Arts Conference put on by Willow Creek Community Church. Last year, one of our themes in the staff was that "we were going to try some things." So we said, "Go for it."

Today was the conference, which was brought by Satelitte. There were worship teams from at least 5 different churches present...about 60 people total.

There is alot to like about this. One , FCC Worship team members got to "fill" up their souls. These people give it was great for them to sit back and take in. Two, we got to serve some other churches who could not bring a conference like this to their church. One of our values is that we are kingdom church.... part of something bigger than ourselves. So it was a good reminder of that today. Three, We tried something and it was a success!

Not everything we try succeeds. When it doesn't, we try to learn from it. But it is nice when we "try something" and it works.

Good job Tim Tibbles, and all of your superior worship team... That was a WIN...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I love our church. You are so generous, especially to people in need. Some examples

Today, we gave out a bunch of groceries to people in need. It happens almost every day. Times are hard for a lot of people, so the need is great. We have a great team of people who collect, organize and give out the food. COMMUNITY CARE MINISTRY ROCKS!

A couple weeks ago we announced we would take up an offering for Haiti Relief. This was in January ( when people are paying off Christmas). This was the first month of our new budget year ( always a challenge).

You gave $13,340.00! Our Missions Team gave an additional $6,000. So this week we sent off $19,340.00 to IDES ... a relief ministry we support. FCC PEOPLE ROCK!

Generosity reflects a grateful heart. God has done so much for us... and we are expected to extend that grace to others... It is great to be part of a church that LIVES that out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The new website for FCC OWASSO is now up and going. We hope that the website ( will become the front door to our church. So many people use electronic media to find out about what we are doing and who we are!

With that in mind, soon I will be linking this blog to the website. I hope to use the blog to communicate more and more to the church and to those that are searching for a church about the things going on at FCC.

This means that I will post more than I have in the past. It also means that I will probably be more focused on church events, or items of interest to the church family. My hope is that it will spur interest in other sections of the website including children's, early childhood, youth, groups and worship.

I won't totally abandon some thoughts and reflections about my life or the life of my family. You probably will see an occassional photo of Gracie or any of our kids.

I am hopeful that you will check it often and use the blog as a way to connect to the work of God at FCC OWASSO.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What a day!!!

What a day! We hosted Sean and Misty Algaier ( and their three lovely kids). He has a great testimony about INFLUENCE.

As I was interviewing him in second service, I thought to myself, "I feel like I have known this guy for 10 years." I watched him as he hung around and visited with people for nearly an hour after the service. Everyone was important to him. I like that.

It was a great experience for me personally to talk to him and share what God is doing in his life with the people of FCC.

There were other really special points for me this morning. Just to list a few...

* Following the service a man in our church came up to me and gave me the biggest hug. He just said, "thank you...I needed that so much." It was so heartfelt. Later I thought, "Well I really did not do that much..." but I think he needed to hug someone... and I am sure that if he could have, He would have just hugged God. God is working in his life.

* One guy that has been out of work for 11 months got a job offer Friday. He , his wife and daughter came and found me and told me. I was so thrilled... been praying for them for a long time. Even better, he gets to stay in Owasso, office out of his home, and his pay is better than the job he had 11 months ago. Is that not just like God ?!

* Another guy, who is 30 years old came and found me this morning. He had a stroke 4 weeks ago, which was a huge curveball for him and his family. When I heard that he had a stroke, I went to the hosptial to encourage him, pray with him and share some of the experiences I have had over the past 4 or so years. It was so good to see him. He had headed back to work part time and is on the mend. I was so blessed to see him... He is on a journey of recovery and health.

* Greg came up to me. You have to know Greg... most people don't, but he is the brother of one our members... who finds me almost every Sunday. He always has a good word about my sermon , hugs me, and asks me, "Are you encouraged today brother?" I always say to him, "Greg, how could I not be encouraged by you?" Greg came up today and told me, "Hey, we are moving to Houston this week." I had heard about it through his brother, but when he told me, I have to say I almost cried. I am going to miss Greg alot. He's just real... and a postive influence in my life. We agreed that if he is back in Owasso, he would find me. It wouldn't be any other way... he's been doing it for the last 18 months or so...almost every Sunday.

* Speaking of someone "leaving...." Rod and Amanda Pennington are headed to Thailand this week. It's a 4 year term. We prayed for them... and will continue to do so. Great people who love God so much.

* Decisions, Decisions, Decisions... Yup, five families made decisions for Christ today. 4 young people were baptized. 4 families joined the church... And a young man named Ethan came forward to ask for prayer because he is on a journey of major influence in his life. I loved that.

Good stuff...Great day

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fearlessly proclaim....

This week, Matt, Mike and I have been at Savannah Christian Church at what is called "Next Level" conference. This church is a "prevailing" church of 6000. They have 4 campuses, and most of the growth has come in the last 10-12 years.

It is good leadership training by guys who have been through the stages of growth that we are going through and beyond. The conference itself is small enough that you can talk to the guys and pick their brains about leadership and church growth. Tonight we ate dinner with an old friend from Broken Arrow who is one of their regional campus pastors here in Savannah. It was fun to catch up, but also to pick his brain about having different campuses and the implications of such leadership decisions.

One of the best things about these kinds of opportunities is that they are challenging, , but also affirming. We hear how people are doing things and the challenges they faced to get where they are. And often we are encouraged because we are making good decisions and thinking through leadership decisions.

There are always things to learn. There are always mistakes to avoid. We make mistakes just like everyone else. But, these churches have a certain DNA that says, "We will not settle for status quo." There are lost people every where who need Jesus, and the Church of Jesus Christ can not sit back and say,"well I hope they find us." Instead, we are to be on the offense. We are to move in the world and take back ground from the enemy. Souls are at stake here...souls that Jesus died for.

I was reading tonight from Ephesians 6. I came across this prayer of Paul's which spoke to me.

" Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the msytery of the gospel.... Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Eph 6:19, 20b

I wondered, "What if every Christian made that request of God and those they were closest to?" Would God grant the words? I believe he has already promised to do that. Would those words have an impact on people who don't know Jesus? I believe they would.

It is a simple thing... Pray for 5 other people to "fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel." Pray for 5 people who you know would sieze the opportunity to share a good word about Jesus with someone else. Then trust God for the results.

I am going to make a list of 5 people that I can pray for. I am asking you to do the same. And if I could be so bold as the Apostle Paul... "Would you pray for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make know the msytery of the gospel?"



Sunday, January 31, 2010


The weekend is over...some thoughts...

A MOMENT OF TRANSPARENCY.....Sometimes on Sundays I wonder if people are really listening... or if they are a 1000 miles away. I know most are "in and out" depending on the subject...In this day of multi-tasking I wonder if people are just more wired to be present in one place and somehow be present in another. I see people with thier I-Phones and I wonder if they are on Facebook, or really using a Bible App. Someone asked me this week how I felt about all the people using phone bible app's. I said, "I am not sure..." I think you just have to trust the intentions of people. Not everyone is on the up and up with this... and some people are pretty bold about what they do in church... But it occurs to me that even if people are only "there" part of the time, or if they are distracted...somehow God can get through. He always does.

A SECOND MOMENT OF TRANSPARENCY.....It is a challenge to preach to a room that is only 1/4 full ( especially when everyone is spread out.) A real challenge.

I LOVE THIS IDEA.... of "Family Experience." (FX) It was a great thing to see moms, dads, grandparents and kids going to worship together. I think James, Aaron and the Children's Ministry Team are sending an important message to families..... "Christianity is a family affair."

It is kind of scary how far we have gotten away from what the Bible describes in Deut. 6. Imagine this... Mom, Dad's, grandparents and kids figuring out what it means to be a true disciple TOGETHER. Is there really any better environment for our kids to learn about Jesus and what it means to follow Him than in the HOME? Church programming is a supplement...never meant to be the only influence in a child's life.

As churches have gotten bigger, they have gotten more specialized. I am not against that at all... I think that children's programs in churches are important. But I also think that occassionally we should remind each other that it is not the church's responsibility to do all the teaching of children. Moms, Dads and grandparents have the greatest INFLUENCE on a child.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I love hearing about the people who attend our church being "out there" helping others. Many of our wonderful members were out at "Extreme Home Makeover" to help build a new home for a family. Some provided manpower. Some provided leadership. Some provided support and encouragement. I just love the fact that people put themselves out there...and don't believe that the sum total of their Christianity is what happens from 9-11 AM on Sunday Morning.

Is this not what we have been talking about all month... INFLUENCE.... The church needs to leave the building.! It's happening! There is alot more to come as we explore partnerships with our community.

By the way, I think it is amazing that we had nearly 1000 people at church today... with all the snow and Ice. We had dozens of people at Discovery 101 this afternoon. We have three missions trips to Honduras, Thailand and China coming up this spring and summer. We have 600 adults in groups and classes. Matt can't find enough room for groups to meet...

What does all that say? I am not sure, but I am excited about what God is up to at FCC.

Enough reflections... I will try to write more often... so maybe they will be shorter. I won't promise that :) But I will try.