- What a day!
- I was just thanking God the other day for how smoothly things have been going.
- Oops spoke too soon.
- Set-up went really well…even have a couple new people helping out which is a huge asset to a team that was already functioning on all cylinders.
- When it came time for the band to do their morning warm-up, we noticed that Bill’s mic was distorting badly.
- I won’t go into all the details, but it spread to Gayle’s mic as well.
- We tried all kinds of things…switching their mics, trying corded mics, switching locations for the wireless receivers, changing channels on the front of house board, changing channels on the back of house board…
- We never did get it completely resolved but finally went with what was the best of the worst.
- I’m not discounting some spiritual warfare going on. I know Satan was not happy that we were going to get serious about some usually not talked about topics so he was doing whatever he could to discourage us.
- Haha jokes on you Satan…goin have to try harder than that.
- Other than that it was a good day…a few minor things here and there but nothing major.
- Of course the big topic of the day was how will Gilbert handle all these questions about marriage, dating, relationships and sex.
- To be honest, I was not nervous at all because I intentionally was keeping it as biblical as possible with very little personal opinion.
- Still…talking about things like porn, masturbation and oral sex is not easy…especially with a bunch of people staring at you…and your wife sitting in the crowd…and the director of church planting and executive director of our region of the denomination in the crowd.
- Still I’m pleased with how it all went.
- Especially proud of the Wordle Picture that is the picture for this post. It shows the amount of times a word was used in the message by size. Notice that even in a message that was pretty edgy, the 4 biggest words are God, Jesus, bible and marriage!
- I knew it was going to be a long message but I wanted to get as many questions answered as possible.
- Unfortunately, the live questions via text never made it to me until after the Experience…luckily the broken crock pot question that came in yesterday was still fresh in my mind.
- So many things I could say about today’s message but you’ll just need to listen for yourself.
- All in all I was pleased with the response afterward.
- Had some guys asking for help and the overall response was thank you for being so open and honest about topics like this and keeping it biblical.
- Honestly I can’t think of any other way to be.
- Why would you want to go to church only to hear something watered down that makes you simply feel good.
- Oh wait I remember.
- Great to have our good friends Bill and Nicole up from WV today to visit and then hang out.
- Next week we begin a new series called ME*TRADE where we’ll look at what to do when life just seems to be in a rut.
- Going to be powerful…make sure you invite a lot of people to come along with you!
- Fun day…fun series!
- Day started out a little different than normal. I drove south and picked up a young guy who wanted to help with set-up today…love his heart to serve!
- For the first time since we launched I had moment once we were at the theater were I realized I had left something at home…so I turned back around and got it.
- Love that I only live 1.7 miles away…I was home and back for the second time before most of the crew even arrived.
- Easy set-up today…love my team…they do such an awesome job.
- For various reasons we again had many of our normal people gone (think I counted 8) so it was interesting having people in roles they normally don’t fill.
- Everyone did great though!
- Please pray for our Children’s Director, Chelsea Miller who went to the ER on Thursday for pain and is still not doing well. She tried to come in but left to rest because it hit her again. Tests are supposed to come back early this week.
- Big thanks to Larry Evans for stepping up and leading today!
- Great to see many of our guests from last week return again this week.
- We also found out that many of our mailers never hit mailboxes until this past Monday so we had a second wave of new people come in which led to a pretty good attendance day.
- The Top 10 things never to say on a Valentine’s Date went over much better than I thought…might have to do some more of those sometime.
- Band as always did a great job and it was awesome to hear the crowd still singing loud when the instruments drop out in “How He Loves”.
- Today we talked about “Finding the Two“.
- Let’s just say I didn’t hold anything back…I laid out a pretty clear plan for singles based on God’s Word that in the moment doesn’t seem popular, yet I had many people (both singles and married) thank me for having the boldness to tell the truth.
- Andy and Mike were joking afterward whether our attendance will break 10 people next week since I about offended everyone. My response…”I’m an equal opportunity offender”.
- Seriously though…to me the worst thing a pastor can hear after a message is “Great message pastor”…the reason being is it means you agreed with everything I said and weren’t challenged by God’s Word.
- I know a lot of people were squirming today, but that’s because the Spirit was convicting people of sin. My prayer is that they’ll do something about it.
- Had a lot of interesting conversations afterward…most were very positive, but one lady was upset about the housekeeper joke. I thought it was funny, she didn’t…guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.
- At least she had the guts though to say something to me about it…I hate when people talk behind your back…so I respect that she said something. She did say she thought the rest of the message was what people needed to hear so I don’t think my attempt at humor will keep her away.
- Next week we’ll talk about sex.
- Again as a warning…this will not be a message for elementary aged kids so make sure they are over in the kids theater.
- As for those of you with middle school aged kids…I’d rather your kids hear about sex from their pastor than kids at school, so I’d encourage you to be there and then use the message to have an honest conversation.
- Listen…they’re hearing it all any way so don’t delay or there will be a new word to describe you in a couple of years…Grandparent.
- Ok see you next week…in the meantime if you haven’t seen our new promo video, you can view it here.
- Before getting to today let me quickly thank Chad, Bill, Chelsea and our entire team for doing an awesome job last week while I was away.
- Someone asked me if I was nervous not being at Exponential, considering we’re only a couple of months old. My answer was no because of the incredible team we’ve assembled. While I may have a more visible role than others, I’m just one small component of the team and life goes on without me.
- Was really excited about today…we sent out 60000 mailers advertising the new series called “One” which is about marriage, dating, relationships and sex.
- The phone was blowing up all week long as people called to get more info.
- One thing we learned for the future is to be even clearer that we’re a church. I’m not saying this to brag since I designed it, but many were so impressed with the mailer that they thought it was a seminar or conference on marriage instead of a church service.
- Many called to ask how much it cost to get in. I kept saying nothing and even on the phone had a hard time convincing people that we are a church.
- The other thing that confuses people is meeting in a movie theater…I quite a few conversations about yes you can have church in a movie theater.
- Even with all that, we had tons of first time guests today and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
- Wish so many of our regulars wouldn’t have been absent because it would have been interesting to see how full the theater could have gotten.
- In any case, we had a good sized crowd.
- The day started out early this morning with ice covering everything and I almost took a spill or two getting into my car.
- Set-up went well today even with adding more lighting.
- Slowly but surely we’re starting to get the staging looking better and more like what I’d like.
- Great job by Bill in creating shadow boxes to make the LED strips look even better than they are naturally.
- The band as always did a great job leading worship and I thought they did a really good job covering “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
- Because of going away, I didn’t have time to create the bumper for the “One” series so I had Brad Miller from my old church in Chambersburg do it for me. He did a great job…if you need video work done, he does a great job and at a reasonable price. Check out his web-site for more info.
- Man I was pumped up for today’s message called, “Finding the One“.
- Had lots of fun presenting it, including an interview with Satan on whether or not single people are losers.
- Big thanks to my former worship pastor Brian Miller (brother of Brad from above) for playing the role. Does it a little too well if you ask me. 🙂
- Best part of the day was that 5 more people made decisions to become followers of Jesus!
- Man that never…ever…gets old!
- If you know someone who is struggling with their love relationships, whether married or not, download today’s message for them to listen to and then do whatever you need to do to have them attend with you next week.
- Next week we’ll take a look at how God says you can improve your love relationship…if you thought this week is good…
- Now getting ready for “The Ultimate Tailgate Party”. For those that don’t know, we’re partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg to throw a Super Bowl Party for an estimated 200-300 kids and their families.
- We’ve got 46 people volunteering to serve! Thanks Exponential for BEING the Church in the community. That’s what it’s all about!
I’m way behind on stuff but still wanted to post a couple of thoughts from last week’s Global Leadership Summit that Willow Creek hosts each year. I don’t have time to post my full notes so I’ll just give a highlight or two from each speaker. Today I’ll give you the day 1 line-up and then tomorrow I’ll give you the day 2 notes:
Bill Hybels- I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for him. From the first time I heard him speak to even today, he makes me cry when he talks. There is just something that deeply resonates within me as he talks about lost people and how the local church is the hope of the world. Bill’s talk at the Summit was about a recent time in his life when he was struggling to lead and went back and reminded himself of what he’s learned in 30+ years of leadership. Again I won’t go into each of them, but the thought that struck me most was this…Leaders move people from “here” to “there”. Often times though the mistake is spending too much time talking about the “there” (vision) before you’ve adequately made built the case for why it’s unacceptable to stay “here”.
Jim Collins- To be honest since my first degree was in business and marketing, I probably read as many “secular” business books per year as I do Christian ones. Jim Collins wrote a classic a few years back called, Good to Great. He has gone on to write other books including a new one he just released on why successful businesses sometimes fail. What was interesting in his talk was that in the first 3 stages of decline (of 5 total), the company or organization is still growing and looks good on the outside. Once you hit step 4 then it’s the real wake-up call where everyone finally admits what was obvious but ignored because of the apparent look of continued success. It’s here that either you make the necessary changes or you go on to Step 5 which is “Irrelevance or death” of the business or organization.
Christine Caine- I’ve been hearing about her a lot recently but hadn’t had the opportunity to hear her or read any of her writings. My bad! She is a huge bundle of energy packed into a tiny body. She’s a part of Hillsong Church (one of my favorites). She heads up many organizations, including one that cares for and helps heal those that have been victims of human trafficking. My big take away from her was actually one of those Holy Spirit moments where she said something that then led my mind down a similar path so that God could speak to me exactly what it was that He wanted. Here it is…”Don’t shy away from the darkness. Run to it, because that’s what I’ve called you to do.”
Tony Dungy- Tony of course lead the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl a few years back. I knew he was a Christian, but how differently he coached the team as a result was amazing. He refused to coach like all the other coaches and insisted his assistants coach the same way. I love one of the things he said, “Hours worked doesn’t equal productivity”. What he was getting at was how some coaches stay until 2-3 am working on game plans thinking that more hours will mean more success. I see this (and at times have done myself) in pastors all the time. Instead of sticking to a set schedule, they instead allow the urgent to crowd out the important, but then since the important still needs to be done, they end up working way too many hours. I told one of my staff the other day…and I’m paraphrasing Jesus, “What does it profit a man if he has the world’s best ministry but sacrifices his marriage”. Tony got this when it came to coaching and I pray other coaches, business leaders, pastors and myself would keep this in mind.
Adam Hamilton- I had never heard of him before the Summit but the topic he talked about was one that many need to hear. He was asked to speak because recently two of the staff in his mega-church were caught having an affair with one another. Adam talked about how to navigate through these difficult times. Unfortunately you hear more and more about this in churches all the time. I remember John Bradford’s famous words, “But for the grace of God go I”. In other words, all (especially males) are capable of this very deadly sin. That’s one of the reasons I have always had such stringent guidelines for myself when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. In fact I’ve had others, including fellow staff members, laugh at me because some of them seem ridiculous, but that’s how seriously I take this. Something Adam said will be one more tool for tool belt to help me and others. “You’ve got to recognize the Moment of the Maybe. That’s when in your mind you start to rationalize, ‘What if’ and fail to imagine the consequences”.
During our Re:Married series I mentioned the book Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker and Mike Yorkey. It covers sexual purity for a man and is very good. Their lastest book, HERO: Becoming the Man She Desires, includes Fred’s son Jasen in the writings.
Written primarily for single men, this book can be read in two or three nights because the 16 chapters are captivating and fast moving. This doesn’t mean though that married guys can’t learn from this book…the guys give very practical examples from their lives and others in how to become the not just man, but man of God that will make you desirable to a woman. Essentially the book looks at 9 modern day myths that guys believe about marriage, dating, relationships and sex. Written in many ways to tell the story of Jasen growing up, then meeting his wife Rose and doing it all in a pure way, this book is a full of ideas that will challenge your thinking. I also liked that Rose from time to time writes a little to give the female perspective on what’s being discussed.
Released just last month, this book would make an excellent gift for graduates or any guy who has the rest of the Every Man series. Highly recommended.