- Had a great time speaking last night on the United stage to a few hundred rowdy teenagers from the community.
- Since they were there for Next 2 Nothing and the Ryan Payne Band it was hard to get them to settle down…
- …so I had to practically shout the entire message. Luckily though it was only 15 minutes long.
- Two cool things. The closest kids were right up against the front of the stage so it made for easy eye contact…however since I was shouting, who knows how many got spit on.
- The other cool thing was when they heard something they liked they would shout or clap…think the United crowd needs to do more of that…got me even more fired up!
- Speaking of fired up…been getting lots of feedback from Sunday’s message.
- I knew it would be controversial, but that’s a good thing…people are talking and truly evaluating their own motives.
- One regret I have and where most of the “negative” feedback has come from is I forgot to put out a disclaimer that there are legitimate reasons why some people can’t come to the 9:15 Experience….sorry about that.
- It wasn’t until late in our practice Friday night that we decided to switch and have Hannah do the lead vocals on Tears of the Saints…so glad we did…even last night I had teenagers from our church coming up saying how awesome the entire Experience was and how touched they were by Hannah’s singing.
- As great as our music and sound is on Sunday’s though we learned again last night how much the multi-purpose room is designed for what we do. It is just not a good concert venue for bands to come into…so while last night was fun in some ways…I hope we don’t do any more concerts because number one it’s unfair to the bands.
- Then second it’s incredibly difficult for our volunteer tech teams to try to in a short amount of time take other people’s equipment and try to make it sound good. We know the limitations of the room and have had to buy for our band special equipment and make some sacrafices to make things sound good, but there is no way a touring band would be willing to do the same. So it’s almost a no-win situation going in which is incredibly frustrating for everyone involved.
- I DVR’d the Maryland bowl game this afternoon and watched it this evening…they won so that helps alleviate any lingering frustration.
- Well almost 11:30…guess I’ll read a little bit then head off to bed…night John-boy.
Archives for December 2008
2008 has been a great year for me in a new way. At the beginning of the year I was asked by Tim Stevens to read a rough draft of his book Pop Goes the Church and offer my suggestions to make it better. Then as a result of that, I was asked to begin to review books before they came out to the general public and then offer a blog review right around the time of it’s release. So far I’ve done 4-5 and it’s been a lot of fun. Recently I was asked about another and thought it sounded perfect for Lisa to read…so without further ado…here’s Lisa’s take on Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight.
I got an email from Gilbert asking if I’d like to read a book and write a review on it. The book was by Karen Linamen and the email contained a brief description of the book “Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight”. It’s about acknowledging your dissatisfaction with your life and using that dissatisfaction to fuel change rather than feeling helpless to do anything about it. It sounded like a fun read and like it would contain very timely and helpful advice for the young women I mentor. I was looking forward to the book but the day it came it I had just finished one amazing book and was looking forward to starting a book I had already chosen to read next. I selfishly resented the timing of the arrival of Karen’s book.
The book started out alright, I must admit I was skimming, hoping to get it done quickly. I didn’t really have any habit in mind that I had been struggling to change, so I wasn’t reading this book for me. I was diligently taking notes on things I could present to my girls at my next small group, but I was hurrying through so I could get to my “real” book. I must admit though, Karen was making some pretty good points. Not just good points, but the way she gave word pictures to drive those points home was quite impressive. I could picture the look on the faces of the girls in my small group as the light bulb goes on when I’m sharing these word pictures. I love those looks.
Karen gives you small assignments throughout the book. It didn’t take me too long to stop hurrying and start realizing that this book was exactly what I needed to be reading at the time. These assignments forced me to confront past hurts and buried dreams that I hadn’t thought of in years. Reading through her stories and heeding her advice I began to gain a new perspective on these old hurts. I no longer wanted to bury them. Somehow I was starting to appreciate them and found an amazing energy and hunger to confront them and use them to propel me into a newfound hope for a future that I previously did not dare to believe could exist. I gained a new perspective on life.
“Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight” contains real stories by a real woman who doesn’t claim to have it all together, who has not attained perfection, who does not have all the answers, but who is on a persistent journey toward Godliness and wholeness and is eager for you to join her on the way. Her bite-sized step-by-step approach makes the mundane exciting and her conversational style and whimsical examples make you feel like she is walking through the process with you. Whether you are in desperate need for change in your life or are just open to self improvement this book is for you.
- Wow…now that Christmas is over it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off of me in spite of the fact that I’m still way behind.
- Maybe it’s because Christmas Eve was so good…even with the technical difficulty at the 5PM Experience.
- In total 1168 people attended on Christmas Eve!
- One guest stopped me after the 7PM Experience and said that he has been attending church for over 50 years and that it was the best service he had ever been a part of.
- That’s awesome to hear…the Spirit of God was definitely present and on the move.
- By the time the 11PM communion service took place in the sanctuary, I was still on a high, but dead tired at the same time.
- Earl wanted me to read about 20 verses of scripture from the Christmas story but he had us off to the side just barely still in the spotlight.
- This meant that my bible (tiny print) was hard to see. As I’m continuing, I’m concentrating so hard and my eyes are so tired that my contacts were drying out and things were getting really blurry.
- By the last 7 or so verses, I was only getting a word here and there and was making the rest up as I went along…luckily I’ve read it enough that I think for the most part no one could really tell.
- Christmas day, I woke up to the smell of cinnamon rolls which Lisa and I ate and then opened our stockings…our actual Christmas gifts with each other won’t be for another week.
- Then we went to my parents for lunch and to exchange gifts…stopped by one of our small group members homes down in WV…and then went to Lisa’s sister’s house for our Christmas tradition of Crab Legs as the appetizer and then Alaskan King Crab Legs as the main course!
- We’ll exchange gifts with them and their family next week when Lisa’s brother comes up from NC for a few days.
- Yesterday despite having to work on my normal day off was very productive and I can’t wait for tomorrow….trust me you’ll want to be there! Tomorrow’s Experience will be just as visual as it is something to hear…see you then.
- BONUS PRE-CHRISTMAS FUNNY STORY: When I went to buy the gift cards for the Contagious Christmas Challenge, my church card got denied at Toys R Us. The reason was I had been buying so many in one day that the credit card company thought some sort of fraud was happening, so I had use a personal card for the $3100 and submit a reimbursement to the church.
On Tuesday Aaron was sitting in my office working and I came in to find an envelope on my desk which I opened up. The first thing I saw was a Christmas bonus check and right behind it was the reimbursment check. Knowing that Aaron’s bonus check would be about the same as mine, I immediately said, “Oh cool we got a Christmas bonus” and intentionally grabbed the reimbursement check and turned it around for him to see and said, “Was yours about the same size as mine?”
When he saw the $3100 figure, his look was priceless. With about the fakiest smile you can imagine he gritted through saying, “Well good for you”. I couldn’t contain my laughter though and let him in on the joke. In the midst of a pretty hectic day and week, it was the laugh I think we both needed.
Merry Christmas everyone…hope you have a safe and enjoyable day. Don’t forget that if it weren’t for that weird cousin and crazy aunt of yours, Jesus would have never have come. Let any dysfunction on this day be a reminder to you that all of us are messed up and that’s what this season is all about…the birth of God Himself into our world to take away the sinfulness of us all. You and I…we are the reason for the season. Take a few moments today to get away from all of the hustle and bustle and spend a few moments with Jesus, privately reflecting on what this day means and worshippinig Him for who He is and all that He does for you. Again Merry Christmas!
- It’s 9:30pm and I just got back to the church from dinner.
- So far both of United’s Experiences are done, one traditional service in the sanctuary is done and we’ve got one left to go at 11PM.
- It’s been an incredible night!
- 2 people got saved at 5PM, the sanctuary was jam-packed at 6PM and we had 11 more get saved at 7PM!
- I’m continually amazed that God uses us to bring His awesome story of love and grace to others.
- The last few days though getting ready have been rough…satan was definetely trying to thwart what God wanted to do.
- Just in the last 2 days we’ve had our main printer stop working causing massive delays, our network crash, our main network computer go down, and I had a minor car accident at home this morning on the ice.
- Luckily everything got done in time.
- At the 5PM Experience though we had a major difficulty getting a video to play just like we did this past Sunday, even though during the afternoon we checked it at least 20 times to make sure it was functioning properly.
- A bit flustered by all of that, I didn’t bring it like I would have liked to at 5PM, but obviously at least 2 people got enough from it that their eternities were forever changed.
- At 7PM, we had an awesome Experience from top to bottom.
- The whole opening with Josh doing the scripture reading from the elevated platform in the middle of the room, to the building of the lights and music until it exploded into O Come all Ye Faithful was one of the most awesome things I’ve seen us do.
- I really was in to it at 7 and it was amazing just seeing one hand after another go up to pray to receive Christ..wow that never gets old!
- At both 5 and 7 the Candlelight ending with Silent Night brought me to tears…as I saw it did for many others…what a powerful moment as we were reminded of what Jesus has done for us and what we’re called to do for Him.
- Afterwards I got to meet a lot of new people…some came from our mailer we sent this past week and I met at least 4 families that were receipiants of one of our Contagious Christmas Challenge packages.
- All in all a great night so far…many thanks to everyone who volunteered a part of your evening to make it all possible.
- Can’t wait to ring in Christmas with Earl and everyone else that attends the 11PM traditional service…little over an hour yet…again can’t wait!
- Merry Christmas everyone…thanks for the incredible privilege of pastoring you!