Thursday, January 22, 2009


This morning as I am sitting in my office, there is a construction worker pounding on my window and using a loud saw trying to dislodge it from its current location. The window is being replaced to match our new church addition. Of course, since I am trying to write, this has me very distracted. Why is it that when I am trying to focus and accomplish a goal, distractions always come up? I don’t know, but it seems to happen a lot in life. Distractions can keep us from accomplishing the very things that we have talked about as being priorities. Goals that we have talked about or dreams that we have envisioned get pushed aside many times because distractions cause us to lose focus. I’ve found that this can also happen in our spiritual lives. In Luke 10, we read about Mary and Martha. They were sisters who had invited Jesus and his disciples into their home. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to what he said. “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:40-42 NLT) Sometimes we forget how important it is to simply sit as His feet and listen. With all that has to be done it’s easy to lose focus on why we’re even doing it in the first place! The things that Martha was doing were good and necessary, but they were causing her to be distracted and even made her miss out on hearing from her guest, the reason for the dinner in the first place! Recently I have felt that God has been saying that same thing to me; that the things I’m doing FOR Him are hindering my relationship WITH Him. It’s hard for me to slow down long enough to just sit at Jesus’ feet. But I know that when I do, I am able to hear Him more clearly. The apostle Paul said it well in Philippians 3:13-14, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

“God, help me this week to remember that without your help, I can do nothing. And help me not to be so distracted by everything going on, that I forget to spend time with you. Help me to listen and hear what you’re saying to me so that everything I do glorifies you. In Jesus name, amen.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is a reprint of a post I wrote that was originally published at

Identity- 1. the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another. 2. condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is.

As a pastor, one of the things I love is getting to know people. It’s one thing to be acquainted with someone so that I can say hi when I see them, but it’s even more fun to me when I get to know who they really are. I have been fascinated over the years by the number of times I have been surprised by the beauty and depth of people. There have been instances when I’ve been forced to admit that I had made snap judgments about them that proved completely wrong in the end. It’s apparent that God has carefully crafted each and every one of us, and that His handiwork is never shoddy. The funny thing is, I think it’s easier for us to believe this about others (Well, most others…) ☺ than it is to believe it about ourselves. I have met so many people who think that they have nothing to offer. They have started to believe the snap judgments of others; those who haven’t stopped to recognize the beauty within. It’s so disappointing to see people settle for less than their true identity. Here is what I have found. I must accept and acknowledge that God created me and designed me for a purpose, and that I am who I am not by accident, but because God specifically chose my unique qualities. I love the words of Psalm 139:13-15 in The Message:

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God-you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

It’s incredible to think that the God of the universe, who created the entire world, also cared enough to shape each one of us, both inside and out! So today, whose voice will you listen to? Who will shape your identity? “God, today I pray that I will see myself the way that you see me. Help me to also see the beauty in others, and see your craftsmanship in everyone I meet. Amen.”


I know that my postings have been missing for several months, and for that I apologize. I'm not going to make a lot of promises, but I do intend to resume writing at some point. In the meantime, you can keep up with what I'm doing by following me on twitter at Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obnoxious Texans

Before I moved to Texas, I believed that all people who lived in Texas were obnoxious.  There is no other state in the country whose flag is the primary decoration in most people's homes.  I just could never figure it out.  When I lived in Tennessee, a lot of the people I worked with had ties to Dallas, and that sealed it for me.  I mean, I was from Florida, the best state in the union, but you didn't hear me whooping and hollering about how great it was.  Well, I'm not sure what has happened to me, but I really do like it here.  In fact, for my first year anniversary I even bought a shirt that says, "Everything's better in Texas"!  I'm wearing it like a proud, obnoxious Texan.  I'm still not sure why everyone thinks it's so great, but I'm not fighting it any count me a proud member of the obnoxious Texan club!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Growing Up and Hearing God

My daughters are growing up too fast.  It's hard to believe that my girls are almost out of elementary school.  I recently set them up with email addresses, and so now I get cute emails and instant messages from them throughout the day.  It's amazing and a little scary to see them developing their personalities and independence.  One thing that I'm enjoying observing is their growing relationship with God.  I see them using the principles they have been taught at home and church in their interactions with their friends.  One of my daughters is especially inquistive about how God works, and has been reading "The battlefied of the mind (for kids)" by Joyce Meyer.  This is a really good book for her, as she has wrestled with fear and is learning how to ask God for strength and courage when she needs it.  The other night as Anne and I were tucking her in, she asked a great question.  She asked "How do I hear God's voice?"  At first I wasn't sure if she was asking this deep, unsimple question to prolong our visit to her room, or if she really was curious.  It became clear that she really wanted to know as she got out the book and began reading a passage that talked about hearing God.  I savored the opportunity to share with her about my own journey, and talk about how I recognize His voice in my life.  I am so glad that she is asking these questions and wants to not only learn about God, but to understand what it means to have a real relationship with Him.

So, How do we hear God's voice?  I don't have time to write a Theological study on the topic, but I will leave you with a couple of thoughts that I hope will cause you to dive in a little deeper.

1.  Be still and ready to listen- Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that He is God."  Our hectic lives leave little room for being still, but unless we stop and take time to spend with God, we might miss what He is saying to us.  When I am quiet and giving God my thoughts, will, and emotions, then I can focus on Him and become ready to receive.

2. "Open the eyes of my heart"-  There is a worship song that says "Open the eyes of my heart."  At first, being more of a literal guy, I didn't like that line.  After all, we don't have eyes in our heart! :) But the reality is that God is spiritual.  He created us as spiritual beings, with a soul.  When we can get past the distractions of the physical circumstances that we see with our natural eyes, then we can see clearly in the spiritual what God is saying to us.  In 2 Kings 6, the prophet Elisha's servant woke up one morning to some unwelcome guests, but Elisha helped him to see why there was no need to be afraid. 

"15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When we only see with our natural eyes, we lose sight of God's power.  He is with us no matter what it looks like on the outside.

3.  If you feel like God has spoken to you, make sure that it doesn't contradict something God has already said in His word.-  For instance, I told my daughter that since the bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has not given us a spirit of fear, she can be confident that any thought that causes her to be afraid is not from God.  Since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we must make sure that we don't attribute something to God that doesn't line up with scripture.

3.  Finally, hear what God says and do it!-  When God speaks, take action.  James 1:22 says, "Don't just listen to God's word, you must do what it says, otherwise you are only fooling yourselves." 

Open up the eyes of your heart today and hear what God speaks to you! 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

iphone mania

Okay, boycotts can't last forever right?  This weekend I ended my ipod boycott by buying an iphone.  Something of an early birthday present for me.  I've been very vocal over the years in my support of the subscription model for music and have begged and pleaded with Apple to offer subscriptions as an option.  (You can read more about it here and here.)  I actually struggled with the decision for a while.  I've been using a Samsung Blackjack for the last year, and I have been extremely happy with the phone.  It offers everything needed in a smartphone-email, web access, and oh yeah...makes calls too.  But I saw iphone owners doing all kinds of cool stuff with their phones, like playing games, using location based gps, watching movies, and I wanted my phone to do that too.  So...I created some great rationalization for my purchase.  :)  My decision to purchase the iphone was made based on all of the things it offered in spite of  the fact that it was also an ipod.  In fact, I'm still using Rhapsody (although I'm switching to Napster because I like the interface better) for music so that I can download whatever I want, whenever I want for one set price per month.  I just wish that I could use one device for everything.  My trusty Dell DJ will still serve as my primary music player...for now.  Maybe one day Apple will hear me and offer subscriptions as an option.  But until then, I'll just keep playing tap tap revenge, cowabunga, labryinth, and all the other time wasting applications that are now available to me on the iphone!  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Church Stuff

As most of you know, I serve as Executive Pastor at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, Texas.  I've been here over a year now, and I can tell you that I've never been more excited about the direction of our church and the potential we have for making an impact in our community.  A lot of people ask me, "so what is it that you actually do?"  I pretty much do whatever is needed. But more specifically, I work alongside our lead pastor, John McKinzie, in developing the vision and strategy for the future.  On a daily basis, I oversee all the finance and business management, lead our life group ministry and weekend ministry teams (ushers, greeters, parkers, connect, and coffee).  Since some of the readers of this blog are also involved in ministry, I thought I'd share some of the tools that we have implemented recently that have been a tremendous help in our ministry.

Planning Center Online is a tool that we use to schedule all of our volunteers.  As a church grows, communication can be a challenge.  This site has helped us to streamline the process of scheduling, and close the loop on communication gaps.  For instance, the monthly usher schedule is put together by the ministry teams assistant on staff and is sent to the ushers.  In the email that they receive, they click a button that says "accept" or "decline" the request, and that is immediately noted in the schedule.  Now, when the usher leader, ministry teams assistant, usher service leader, or I log into the site, we can all easily see that usher's response.  Without sending emails all over the place, everyone can be in the loop.  It has taken some adjustment on everyone's part, but I think it's been a great step.

Last month, we moved our church management system (database) from Shelby Systems to Fellowship One.  This was a big deal, because we had to migrate thousands of records to the new system.  I've done database conversions in the past, and it's always been a huge headache.  However, this one went really smooth.  Their team helped us through each step, and everything got converted with no real hiccups.  This new system is all hosted offsite, and so staff members can access it anywhere they have a web browser.  Now we don't have to worry about backing up the software, and I don't need anyone to manage Microsoft SQL on site.  It also gives us better ability to do child check in on the weekends, and has allowed us to offer online giving and online event registration.  I had been watching Fellowship One develop over the last few years, and felt like this was the right time to make the switch.  I'm very happy I did.

Another cool thing about working in a growing church, is seeing new buildings go up that enable us to minister to more people.  Last week, they raised the walls!  We are expanding our sanctuary to seat 1000 people instead of the 500 it seats now.  We are also enlarging our children's ministry area to meet the needs of families.  It's great to see what God is doing!