- Well we’ll call today unexpected.
- First was the unexpected snow storm this weekend.
- Man am I sore today…that was a heavy snow.
- This morning, even though I had cleaned my car off yesterday, it took me 10 minutes to “break” into my car because all the doors were frozen shut.
- Other than that the rest of the mornings set-up was about as normal.
- The last 2 weeks I’ve had my niece Taylor hang with me all morning as my “personal assistant”.
- It’s awesome being able to hang with her and have her pray for me right before the Experience starts.
- Today she told me she thinks people like me because I’m funny.
- Had someone else tell me today that I remind them of a cool Catholic priest they once knew.
- Hmmm…now I know my Halloween costume for tomorrow night…a Catholic priest that does stand-up comedy. 🙂
- Another unexpected thing was how good our attendance was today considering how yucky the weather was.
- Oh well we’ll take it.
- Great energy from the crowd today…perhaps it had to do with so many people sitting as close to possible to the stage…never seen the first few rows that full…it really helped.
- The band did a great job with “Secrets”…I hope when you hear it on the radio it reminds you of today’s message.
- Speaking of the band, huge thanks to Tim Arthun! Today was Tim’s last day as a part of the band (other than being a potential fill-in for the future). Tim has been with us from the beginning and has a bright future ahead of him. Thanks again Tim…couldn’t have done the first year without you!
- Wrapped-up the “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them” series.
- To be honest all week long I was ok with the message but not extremely excited.
- Last night though something clicked…and I couldn’t wait.
- You can listen to it here.
- I talked about the need for getting real with others.
- Seriously take a listen.
- Best of all…6 more people came into a relationship with Jesus today!
- That never gets old!
- Excited that 30+ more people have decided to get involved in a Life Group as a result of this series.
- That’s in addition to the 40-50 that were already involved…great to see so many becoming a part of the “Be With” plan.
- I love meeting in a movie theater but one disadvantage is having to clean-up so quickly which means not a lot of time to hang-out afterward getting to know people.
- So today we invited anyone who wanted to out to Infinito’s.
- The third unexpected thing of the day was how many showed up.
- We had reserved their backroom and not only filled it up but also another whole section towards the back.
- We had 60+, which not only is good for their business but also good for us as I heard many say they got to meet some people that they normally don’t get to talk with.
- This Saturday at 9am at the “Pot of Love” restaurant we’ll be doing it again for anyone that’s interested.
- Got a couple of nice cards and gifts today as a part of Pastor Appreciation Month…certainly appreciate the encouragement!
- Also one final reminder that anyone interested in the FREE Church Planting Dinner here in Harrisburg on November 10th needs to RSVP immediately.
- Next week we begin a new series called, “Just Walk Across the Room”. What if you impacting someone’s eternity was only 20 feet away…come next week to find out what that means and what you can do!
- Guess we’ll have to call this the Monday edition.
- We didn’t get home until after 10pm last night from a wonderful day of Easter activities and by then my brain was too fried to do this post…so here it is a day late.
- Let me start by saying how proud I am of our team. This was probably the least stressful Easter I’ve had since being a pastor.
- Everyone knows their roles and does them very well…going the extra mile to make the ordinary, extraordinary.
- Being the nut for excellence that I am, doesn’t mean I still don’t check and sometimes double check, but 99% of the time things are exactly as they should be and the little extra things to make something even better have already been implemented or thought of.
- With all that said, we had a great Easter Experience!
- Had our 3rd largest crowd ever…which made the theater feel nice and full.
- Most importantly we had 7 people make decisions to become followers of Jesus!
- As for the day itself, set-up went very smooth with nothing out of the ordinary.
- Big thanks to Jeff and Alana Case for cutting their vacation a day short to come back to be with us so Jeff could do all his guitar magic.
- FYI…they also host our practice every Thursday night in Jeff’s basement studio…oh and Alana makes us all dinner as well…awesome couple…couldn’t do what we do without them.
- Also big thanks to Chuck and Tammy Frank. Chuck is the director of church planting for our region of the Churches of God General Conference.
- It was Chuck’s email in October of 2009, that God used to give me the vision for ExponentialChurch.tv.
- In any case, we had a lot of families out of town this weekend that normally serve and so Chuck and Tammy came to not only celebrate Easter with us but to also serve on our First Impressions Team. Thanks!
- We threw a lot of extra elements in the Experience itself but everything went off pretty well…for the things that didn’t we covered them in such a way that nobody even knew.
- No I’m not telling you!
- The band as always did a phenomenal job…I could tell they were really feeding off the energy of the crowd.
- As for my message, I talked about how many things in life “mark” us and how the marks Jesus took have changed history and has the power to change lives as well. You can listen to it here.
- Loved the song /music video the band did coming right out of my message called, “Beautiful Things”. It really brought home the point that God wants to take the old and turn us into something new.
- Afterward the buzz in the lobby was awesome…met so many new people who were really excited about what’s happening.
- Wish I could share all their comments but just a few were…”best church service I’ve ever been to”…”I didn’t want it to end”…”I haven’t been to church for years but I’ll be back”…”very moving”…”thank you, that’s exactly what I needed to hear”.
- Had a nice mix of guests come from personal invites, our Facebook posts and ads, our mailer and even one couple that came because they saw our signs out on Sunday morning and said, “Maybe we should go to a church this morning”. That’s awesome…huge thanks to Mike Sellers for faithfully coming in earlier than anyone else every Sunday and getting the signs out by the road and intersections.
- We video taped the entire Experience yesterday (with the exception of a couple minute period near the end when the camera shut off) to see what it looks/sounds like. Hopefully it came out well and I’ll be able to post it for you to watch online soon.
- Once we were done we went to MD to visit and have lunch with family and then from there went to WV to visit with friends and have dinner.
- Also found out I was quoted in yesterday’s Patriot News on my thoughts about using social media in the church.
- Excited about the kick-off next week to the iLife series.
- We’re giving away 4 FREE iPads to those in attendance (reminder you have to be present to win).
- Been hearing some cool stories of how people are getting the tickets out to their friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers.
- Remember the more people you invite, the greater your chances of winning so keep getting those tickets out…if you need more let me know we still have a few left.
- In the meantime, I’ve got a busy day ahead…I leave tomorrow for a conference in Florida…supposed to be in the low 90’s…oh yeah!
Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen? Why there is pain and suffering in the world when He could stop it all if He wanted? Let me share with you what happened to me 25 years ago today and you be the judge of whether or not good can come out of bad.
It was my 7th grade year and I was all of 4′ 11″ and 75 pounds. I was a sports nut and what I lacked in size I made up in speed and determination. Baseball was my first love and like most kids I dreamed of one day going pro. I was always making All-star teams and what not so when my cousin Deron called and said I should switch from soccer to football during the fall sports season I was on board. As you can tell already from the picture in this post, things didn’t turn out so well.
September 23, 1985. My team was playing the late game and the call was for me (a running back) to run a reverse. Unfortunately the exchange between myself and the quarterback didn’t go so well and there was a fumble. As I reached down to try to scoop it up with my left leg extended far behind me, two guys (one 145 pounds and the other 135 pounds) both came down on the back of my left leg and shattered my femur bone almost all the way up by the hip. In fact, when the paramedics came out they thought I had just dislocated my hip and that’s how they were treating me, which turned out to make things worse.
I won’t get into all the details of that night but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I ended up having surgery that night to put a pin in my leg and I then spent the next month in the hospital in traction. After that came a full body cast for 2 more months. As you can see in the picture the cast went all the way down my left leg, halfway down my right leg and all the way up my chest. A bar connected the two legs so they could not move at all the entire time. Lying flat on your back for 3 months is not fun. Being constantly dependent on others is not fun. Being a sports junkie and not being able to go out and run and play is not fun. Having to use a jar and bedpan for the bathroom for 3 months when you need others help to do it and you’re a 12 year old boy…really not fun. However, looking back this was the best thing to ever happen to me in my life. Here’s why…
When I was able to return to sports, while I was still fast, I had lost the advantage I once had. I continued to play sports even into high school but when I was 16 I got a summer job that I loved. When the fall rolled around I decided to quit soccer so I could keep my job in the evenings. I told myself though that once baseball season came there was no way I’d quit baseball. Guess what…I did. I realized that at my size and with my quickness gone, there wasn’t a future for me in baseball, but there was the possibility with the job I had. So I continued working there and it was that summer that I met Lisa. She not only ended up becoming my wife a few years later but through her, her family and their church, I ended up becoming a follower of Jesus on July 27, 1993.
The rest as they say is history. After owning two businesses, God called me into vocational ministry and now in the past 10+ years I’ve been able to lead 1000’s into a relationship with Jesus and had the privilege of training over 10000 other churches during my time with Purpose Driven Ministries. Now I get the opportunity to start a new church in Harrisburg which I’m sure God is going to use to make an eternal impact. And it all can be traced back to, what at the time seemed like a devastating injury, 25 years ago today.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I do now…God wants to take what Satan means for evil and turn it around for your good. The choice is ours though. Will you become bitter or become better? Will you “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds…”? Difficult times are like weight lifting. What builds muscle is when you push through the resistance of the weights pushing down on you. Without the struggle, your muscles wouldn’t be built up. It’s the same with your faith. God will allow tough times in your life not because He doesn’t love you, but because He knows that if you stay strong to Him and His Word that your faith will be stronger than ever.
So what problem or challenge do you need to thank God for today? Who knows, like me you may be able to look back in 3 years, 10 years, 25 years and say “Wow that’s the best thing that every happened to me because if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have and be all that I am today”.
Romans 10:15 says, “How can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news.” Last night at our Launch Team Meeting for ExponentialChurch.tv I shared that Jesus was about one thing and one thing only…being a Kingdom Bringer. To Him and the Jewish people of His day, the Kingdom of God wasn’t just heaven, but instead a real reality today. To Jesus it meant loving God and people with everything you’ve got and ultimately it meant for Jesus mission. He then taught that to his disciples. In other words, Jesus mission became their mission. Nothing has changed today…we are to be carrying on Jesus mission…it’s a co-mission.
So my big question last night was this…”If you have a mission you’re supposed to be fulfilling in life…what does that in turn make you”? In other words, what’s your title? I’m sure like my team you quickly realized…”Oh that makes me a missionary”. The next question is…”Are you living like it?” Too many of us think of missionaries as people who go off to far away lands to share the good news with others. Now while they are missionaries, so are you and I right here in the USA. In fact that is to be your full-time job as a follower of Christ regardless of who signs your paychecks. How you put food on the table is how you make a living but it’s not how you make a life for yourself. And scripture is clear on this…your life is not your own because you were bought at a great price. What I’m saying is, we’ve got to do a better job of not making Jesus just a Sunday only thing, but instead starting seeing our every moment as an opportunity to either bring people closer to Him or push people away from Him. So again, “Are you living like a missionary?”
I was just at a conference where I saw a few guys excitedly showing and telling others about their IPAD’s. No doubt their excitement will lead to others going out and buying one. The same phenomenon happened when the Wii first came out or when people found out that Sonic was going to open a store in our area…when you’re excited about something you tell other people about it. In fact, you don’t even think about it…it’s just so exciting that it comes out of you…you can’t help it…YOU’RE EXCITED!
So as I was driving home from Harrisburg today I got to thinking…”Why is it that so few people ever share with others about their relationship with Jesus?” My conclusion…they’re not all that excited about Him. Listen, if you go see a movie and it’s awesome, you’re going to tell others about it. Some people will go see it, others won’t. Do you care? No. You just shared your excitement and wanted to offer to them the same joy you received from it. Well guess what…that makes you a movie evangelist. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that we are all evangelists about something…tv shows, bands, ice cream flavors, brand of jeans, the list goes on and on. Again what you’re excited about, you tell others about…that’s evangelism. So why do so many Christians say, “Oh I could never share my faith, I don’t have a gift of evangelism”? My conclusion is that they’re more excited about all kinds of other stuff more so than what Jesus has done for them. So my question is…”What are you excited about”?