Like I was saying....

Category: Ministry (Page 1 of 3)

Time for the weekend

Earlier this week my back was killing me. Like to the point I felt like an old man when I tried to get out of bed or out of my truck. Like I’d have to use my hands to swing my legs out of truck and basically “fall” out of the truck instead of stepping out like normal. It got bad enough that I decided to do something I’d only thought about earlier in life. I went to a chiropractor.

The first visit on Wednesday he took a couple of X-rays and hooked me up to a machine that gave me “electrical pulses”. I don’t know if it worked or not, but my back did feel better the next few hours. Maybe it was the electric pulses, maybe it was the ibuprofen. Or the planks I did earlier that day. But my back did feel better. And also yesterday.

Today it was still feeling better, but I could tell it was still a bit stiff. But it wasn’t hurting like it was before. But he showed me my crooked back on the X-rays and my lumbar bones. Then he “adjusted” me. I laid on my side and he shove/twisted me to where sounded like someone was eating peanut brittle. And I’m all good. Or better.

He still told me to hold off on running til our next visit. But I should be back running next week. Which needs to happen fast because I have to get ready for the Double Decker. But I also knew I’d be getting ready for a Men’s Retreat with The Orchard  this weekend. And if I was going to be out in the woods with a bunch of dudes doing whatever dudes do, I didn’t need to be saying, “Yall go ahead. I’m going to hang out here and tend the fire and make sure no one carries these rocking chairs away.”

But I’m really looking forward to the retreat. We’ll have quite a few guys from our church and their friends together for some great hang out time and some great discussions about God’s work in our lives. And it will be a unique setting as there will be no kids or wives around either. We love or wives and kids. But this will be a good night/morning.

Plus, we’re meeting at Camp Lake Stephens which is one of my favorite places on earth. And interesting note is that we’ll have the retreat in the woods. At a camp. By a lake. On FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH. I really think that’s quite awesome as well.

So now I have to go pack and make sure I can find a decent flashlight for the weekend.

Verge Conference: Missional Community Pre-Lab

Verge Conference 2012

Today was the Missional Community Labs here at the Verge Conference. It was from 8:30am – 5:00pm. The day had six different time slots with about five options per time slot. Sometimes it was an easy decision of which to attend, but other times I had to make a tough choice and expect to get an audio download later of a few I missed.

I won’t type out my entire notes from each session but some key points from each.

A – The Future Of The Church: Panel of Mike Stewart (director of the Verge Conference), Jeff Vanderstelt, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, Alan Hirsch, Felicity Dale: It was a time for Stew to ask a few questions of the panel and they gave some insight and observations about the church. This was meant to prime the pump for the rest of the day.

  • FD: In the first reformation the Bible was placed in the people’s hands. In the second reformation we’re seeing the church being placed into their hands.
  • JV: We can’t accomplish what God has called us to without the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • NC: Is the Holy Spirit evident in our lives? It’s not the gifts of the Spirit that should be so important, but the fruit. We need the spirit filled life that bears the fruit.
  • AH: What type of church do you hope your children are one day a part of? How are you helping to build that church?
  • HH: The Kingdom will always be good news. Our task is to make it tangible.

Break Out 1 – How Missional Communities Make and Multiply Disciples: Jeff Vanderstelt & Caesar Kalinowski

  • Everything we do is a form of discipleship. Everything we do counts. We’re showing the world what life in submission to Christ looks like.
  • The goal is never discipline, but discipleship. Discipline w/o Christ can lead to self-righteousness.
  • Discipleship happens through Life on Life, Life in Community, and Life on Mission.
  • Those three parallel with knowing, believing, and doing.
  • Most groups seem to focus on knowing but need to work on the being/doing.
  • Life on Life – How is your life being exposed to those in your community? Where is your life visible/vulnerable? Access points into our lives for others to witness.
  • Life in Community – We are in a context of living the life together.
  • Life on Mission – The mission God calls us on will reveal our deep need for God in our lives.

BO 2 – Practical Tools for Moving Small Group sot Missional CommunitiesHugh Halter

  • Hugh basically laid out the differences between traditional small groups and the “next level” that missional communities are taken too. They take more buy in, more time/life investment, and more transparancy. He likened them to be a part of the Navy (anyone can join) to being a Navy Seal (specialized calling).
  • He explained the differences between the “modalic” structure and the “sodalic”.
  • To make the transition he recommends starting a pilot group that you do not go public with. He recommends 10% of congregation to begin to grow MC’s.

BO 3 – Gospel on MissionJonathan Dodson

  • What is the gospel? The good/true story that Jesus has defeated sin/death/evil through his own death/resurrection to make all things new.
  • How do we go on mission w/ the gospel? Know people, love people, speak the gospel.
  • Non Christians know when you see them as a project. They should be objects of love instead of projects of evangelism.
  • Discipleship isn’t inviting people to an event but into your life.

BO 4 – Discipling Children in Gospel CommunitiesJeff Vanderstelt

  • If you can teach something to kids then you can probably teach it to anyone
  • You can’t effectively make disciples w/ Sunday only church. MC’s are the primary vehicle for disciple making.
  • Mom/Dad are primary ministers to kids. And we should equip them.
  • Shift from being a director to an equipper.
  • The family is the greatest influencer of kids’ lives. Or lack there of.
  • Where/how do you want your kids to end up as an adult? Then train for tha tnow. Is ther ean expectation for that’s what htey’ll become? And make sure they have experiential time.
  • All kids go through The Story of God at least once a year.
  • If we don’t take seriously the discipleship of kids, then the parents won’t either.

BO 5 – How To Use The Story Of God in Making Disciples – Ceasar Kalinowski

  • We live in story. We are born aural leaners. Most people are good story tellers.
  • More and more of society is functionally illiterate.
  • Will one more good sermon save our land? No.
  • People engage more and retain more w/ a story narrative.
  • We have to help people find their story in the story of God. What does it mean for them to live w/in God’s story?
  • God is always the hero in Biblical narratives.
  • You can’t teach the NT w/o first knowing the OT.

It was a full day of sessions. But they kept us supplied w/ snacks, water, sweet tea, and lunch. It was a great way to kick off the Verge Conference. And I walked around the city some and enjoy Austin. I hope to get me a UT shirt this week. And maybe a BU shirt as well.

And here is my friend Logan’s take on his first day at Verge Conference.

The Verge Conference: Getting Here

Well we made it to Austin last night for The Verge. Remember when I posted about it a few months ago? Well I won a free ticket!  And now my first day is done. And I don’t know how to effectively get things out of my head in a way that will make perfect sense. I guess I could wait until we’re back and take a day to sit and process it all, or I can do a brain dump and then go back through it later to polish things up. So here are a few observations:

From the 700+ drive here:

  • My sixth month old was a freaking champ during the ride. He didn’t get that upset much.
  • When he did get upset he really let us know.
  • Shreveport, LA is bigger than I remember.
  • Driving across LA and TX into the setting sun is horrible w/o sunglasses.
  • In Texas there are two lane rural roads where the speed limit is 70mph. I shudder to think of people living alongside that road having to pull out of their driveways into 70mph traffic.
  • So that means on some Texas interstates the speed limit is 75mph.
  • I like the Texas custom of people moving over into a wide shoulder so I can pass on the left.
  • After the sun went down and I wasn’t looking into the sun the drive was much more pleasant.
  • Driving through Waco I saw a lot of nice looking buildings next to the interstate. That was Baylor University. Looked nice during the drive by.

My impression of Austin so far:

  • I came to the first two Passion conference in the late 90’s. But I remember nothing of Austin except for going to REI once with some friends.
  • Austin is a big city with lots going on. I don’t know how much of the city I’ll get to see, but I hope to take as much in as possible.
  • More tattoo’s in Austin than in Oxford.
  • Lots of construction going on downtown in Austin.
  • I think I like this place.
  • I’m hoping to see the famous Austin bats. I am close to the bridge.
  • But the free wifi at the hotel isn’t the best.

And the Pre-Conference Labs:

  • I went to the Missional Community pre-lab today at St. Davids.
  • It was informative and the speakers were approachable
  • I’ll give a few bullet points of each breakout in the next post.

Verge Conference 2012

A year or so ago I heard of the Verge conference while perusing twitter. I started paying attention and heard some new things. Things about being “missional” and “missional communities” and some really good speakers. I listened to some of it live stream while I was painting the bonus room.

But this coming February, Verge 2012 is back in Austin and I’m really wanting to go. For the past few months I’ve been chewing on and digesting what it means to live “on mission”. The Verge Network‘s website has been a steady stream of information from some of the top thinkers in this field. You may remember the video from Soma Communities I posted about recently. I’m continually intrigued by this way of life. It seems so fresh, yet is not really anything new.

A couple of months back there was a GCM Conference (The Gospel/Community/Mission Collective) in Huntsville. I was hoping to be a part until a wedding conflicted with the timing. Now I hope to be able to make it to Austin this Spring again. When I read this following description, it makes me wonder what is possible within my own church:

VERGE is a four-day experience for anyone pursuing the mission of God, in community, whatever the context, for the sake of the Gospel – everyday leaders, students, entrepreneurs, artists, urban innovators, business leaders, community development specialists, non-profit leaders, church planters and church leaders.

Verge will resource you to make disciples who make disciples in every sphere and domain of society, advocate for the poor and oppressed, mobilize urban and global mission leaders, and champion movements of gospel-centered missional communities.

I want to be able to know more, to experience more, and to be able to cast the vision of what it means to live on mission in all areas of our lives. I want to see The Orchard be infused with the gospel and the realization that each of us is a missionary, each of us is called to bear witness to greatness of who God is. And I know that I need help in figuring out how to practically lead our current community group ministries into understanding the heart of Missional Communities. I think I get the end goal, but how to get from where we are to where we end up isn’t always that clear.

Here is a short video that fills you in just a little bit more:

Is anyone else going? Has anyone else been before?

Soma Communities


This video from Soma Communities moves me in many ways. First of all, it’s beautifully filmed. It makes me think living in Tacoma, WA is desirable. Maybe it is. I don’t know. But the subject is Soma Communities in Tacoma.

But the subject of the video is beautiful as well. It moves me. Now this sort of missional community really IS desirable to me. Sure, it takes effort and intention and vulnerability. But hearing about it. Watching it. Something deep within me resonates with it as well. Is it just me?

Take a watch and then answer me two questions:

1. Would you be willing to engage life with others in this sort of community?
2. What would be your biggest hesitations about being a part of a missional community like Soma?


Does Helping Sometimes Hurt? TOMS shoes

helping hurt

My kids each have a pair of TOMS shoes. They think they’re cool. I had a pair for a few days before I returned the gift to the store. Just didn’t seem my style. I’d rather have a pair of running shoes. Or maybe get some Vibram Five Fingers.

But that said, the concept of TOMS seems pretty cool. Buy a pair of their shoes here in the States and an impoverished child in Africa gets a free pair of shoes. Great system, right? Some think so, but some disagree. Here’s a push back below from David Stupay. He says:

“Of course giving a free pair of shoes to children in the developing world is a good thing, isn’t it? Maybe not.

What people at the bottom of the economic pyramid need is not only free products dumped into their communities, but also low-cost products that are sold to that sustain them and their local economies.

Development is tricky business, and there is always the potential for collateral damage.”

He also left a comment on Dave Ferguson’s blog that said:

Continue reading

Back to life. Back to reality.

Well the first of the year started off with a flurry. My alarm didn’t go off because of a software glitch. But my wife’s did and I hit the ground moving to get my shower and things in the van before leaving for Atlanta and Passion 2011. I’d been looking forward to it for a while. And I was again blown away. So good.

It was four days of deep teaching, powerful worship, meaningful conversations, relationship building, and lots of walking. It wasn’t much in the way of getting much sleep though. Our hotel rooms were pretty suite too (pun intended) but it was a hassle to check in and check out of them. I saw lots of people I knew from different times in my life. I even saw people that were in my youth group as middle schoolers now actually leading college groups. Maybe that should make me feel old, but it doesn’t!

It was a fantastic experience to hear teaching from Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, and John Piper. But it was almost too much to ingest in a short four day period. I plan to spend some time over the next week or so digesting it all. And in the mean time I’ll post some thoughts and reflections on them. But it seems that after I got back I got a little head cold that has zapped me of any/all energy. I’m almost over it now and on the upswing. So all is (almost) well.

Headed to Passion 2011

Back in 1996 my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go to a college conference with her campus ministry. It was over in Austin, TX and was called Passion. Some guy named Louie Giglio had put it together and Dave Busby was going to be speaking. So was John Piper. I had no idea who these guys were. But I did see that a band named Caedmon’s Call was going to be playing. So I said, “Sure, why not.” and signed up.

Those four days really shaped my life. I was just starting my first full time ministry job in January of 1997 and this trip was January 1-4. And I’ve been a huge respecter of Louie Giglio and his ministries ever since. Beverly and I went to the first three Passion conferences (97, 98, 99) and to OneDay 2000. While in Clinton I carried a group to Nashville for Passion 2006 and tomorrow we leave with a group of college students headed to Atlanta for Passion 2011.

If you’re not that familiar with Passion or Louie Giglio, then you should be. Louie is one of my favorite communicators of God’s truths. He does it in a casual way, but will sometimes punch you right in the gut (or face) with exactly what you needed to hear. His heart beats most for college aged people to see how much they mean to God and the ways He can move through them to make a difference in the world.

I plan to tweet and blog a little while in Atlanta about Passion and our time there. We’ll get to listen to Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, John Piper, Davie Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redmon, Charlie Hall, Christie Nockles, and more. But I hope that our group really catches fire for seeing God’s glory made known back here in Oxford and beyond. Pray for us while we’re away.

Anyone else going to be at Passion?

Is Backpack the way to go?

My life in general is needing some organizing. I’ve been hearing a little about Backpack. First heard about it from Brian Bailey. He said he loves it and I’ve found a lot of other people who love it as well. It’s basically a way to keep lists, pages, info, reminders, calendars, memos, files, pictures and just about anything else together in once place so you can get at it from any internet connection.

I’m thinking of creating a page for Work (Church), Side Projects (MST), and then Home. I’ll try that and see how it smooths things out. The company that makes Backpack, 37Signals, also has Basecamp that might be worth checking in on. It’s more of a project management application, but looks like it could be useful as well.

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