Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Ukraine

This is a portion of an email from a from a recent Bible School student who listens to the odcast. Just another example of JCFC "redeeming technology."

I just had to write to you and let you know what a blessing you and JFCC have been to me recently, especially these last few weeks leading up to Christmas. I have been living in Kiev, Ukraine since September teaching English to University students and young professionals here and am loving it. However, the holiday season has been rather discouraging for me. The country still has a residual atheist feeling left from its time of Soviet occupation, and the Christians here are Orthodox, so they do Christmas later, on January 7th, but focus mainly on the secular "New Year" holiday. I have found a wonderful church family to be a part of but listening to your simple yet impacting messages on the reality of Christ's coming and what it means for us has been a constant reminder of how blessed I am this season, whether I have to work on Christmas day or even if I don't get Christmas dinner or time with family and friends.

It seemed fitting to tell you thank you and that your commentary on God's Word (praise Him for podcasting!) has been encouraging in a potentially discouraging time for me.

I pray for you and your family and the church, and hope that your holiday travels and festivities go safely and that you enjoy this time. Again, thank you and may you have a Divine realization of what this season truly means. I guess the short way to say it is simply "Merry Christmas."

Hannah Larsen

Merry Christmas

Well today was a crazy day. Andy called me this morning about 7.30 explaing to me that the truck wouldnt start! Argh. All of our kids church, nursery, lights and some of our sound is in the truck. We also have all the stable and manger scene for the drama today!

I buzzed over to the offices to try to help, and after a battery run to Wal-Mart, we tried again to get her started. But by almost 9 it was a lost cause. She has some issues.

So we ran a skeleton set up today, but all things said it went well. Too short spoken word pieces from the thoughts of Mary and Joseph intermixed within some great acoustic Christmas carols.

We even had a special appearance by Mr Aiden Kempers in a stellar role as baby Jesus. His debut acting endeavor.

Well we are on our annual Christmas journey, racking up the miles, but seeing a lot of family we miss though out the year. I will try to post a few times this week, before we get back in the swing of things next week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Life this week

Well, I am sitting at my desk getting ready to go help Mark a bit with the stable and the manger for the Kids Production this weekend. It has been a busy week, and the snow and ice only adds to that drama.

Sunday is going to be great! You re going to love the Kids Christmas Production this weekend. We have a full nursery set up for your small children will be able to be taken care of. As usual the coffee bar will be ready to go at 9.45 for everyone!

It always throws me off when we have to miss a weekend. So I am ready to get back in the swing of things Sunday.

Use the e-invite to invite a guest this weekend!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Things Colin is saying Pt 2

Yesterday we were at a store, and there was a balloon on the ceiling. Probably 17 or 18 feet up. I told Colin I could throw him up there so he could grab the balloon and rescue it.

He quickly responded with, "But Dad I dont even have a cape?!"

Point well taken.

Things Colin is saying Pt 1

The other day he came into my bedroom while I was gettign ready for work with a tape measure in his hand. He asked me to "measure me, Dad."

To which I quickly agreed. I told him the measurement and he asked me if "he was bigger." I said , "Yeah buddy, you're bigger."

Again he confirmed with a question, "So that means I am bigger?" Yeah...

"Then since I am bigger can I watch the pirate movie dad?"

He has been dying to see Pirates, and I told him he could once he got.... bigger.

Here is our King Pt 3

...continued from the two previous posts.

3. Dwell on the Positive.

The third key to peace of mind is partially connected to the second - when it comes to our thinking, dwell on the positive. Paul commands, in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

I tend to believe that this is the key to our having peace of mind where we fail most. Too often we allow our minds to dwell on the negatives in our lives than on the positives. We are quite adept to seeing our glass as half empty rather than half full.

Every believer needs to learn Pollyanna‘s “Glad Game.” If you are not familiar, the "Glad Game" is to find something to be glad about rather than finding something to be sad about.

Everyone can find a silver lining in even the darkest cloud. This is especially so with we Christians! With God being with us, for us and working in our lives for our betterment, we should be the most optimistic and positive people on planet Earth.

4. Obedience to God’s Word.
The last key to enjoying Divine peace of mind is striving to obey the teachings of the New Testament. Paul says, in verse 9, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

There are three ways that obedience leads to peace.

A. If we obey God’s Word, we will avoid many pitfalls in this life that bring unnecessary heartaches and headaches. We can stay away from so many problems and troubles if we would truly strive to apply the teachings of Christ to our lives. Psalms 119:165, “Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Proverbs 3:1-2, “Do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;….peace they will add to you.”

B. True peace comes when you know in your heart and mind that you are doing all that you can to please God. If we are sincere in our religion, our conscience will be troubled as we know that we are not walking in obedience. Paul said, in Acts 24:16, "I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” With obedience comes a clear and clean conscience. A clear and clean conscience promotes peace of mind.

C. Lastly, the teachings of Christ emphasize looking beyond self and serving others. The more we take our focus off ourselves - our predicaments, our troubles, our difficulties, our afflictions - and focus on how we can make life brighter for someone else or how we can glorify God, our minds will be liberated. We need to put into practice
Christ’s demand for selfless service. Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”


2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.”

Here is our King Pt 2

Here are two of the four keys to receiving Peace.

1. Prayer.
Paul says, in Verse 6, “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving…let your requests be made known to God.”

Whatever is bothering us, we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Whatever we are facing that gives us cause for mental or emotional turmoil or distress, we need to bring it to the Lord’s attention.

We do not need to be bashful about bringing any troubling matter to Him, however great or small. If it brings concern to us, it is a matter of concern to Him because He wants us to be at peace. We don’t have to be shy about pouring our heart out to Him, Peter reminds us - “He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) God is interested in the big things in our life and the small things in our life. Nothing is too trivial to discuss when you approach the “the throne of grace.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Paul says, “let your requests be made known to God.” How would you like your situation to be? What changes would you like to see in your circumstances or in the circumstances of others? What would you like for God to do?

We need to be specific in our requests. We need to tell God exactly what we want changed. If it is not an unrighteous desire, we need not be timid in stating our requests.

We may ask whatever we wish of God. But, it is important that we believe that God can grant our request. We must believe that God can answer our prayer in bringing-about that which we desire.

We must remember what we are told, in James 1:6-7 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord..”

Perhaps, before we take our requests to the Lord, it may be good for us to consider the encouraging and faith-building words of Paul, found in Ephesians 3:20, where the Apostle says of God that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”

Once we have made our requests known in faith, we need to with faith wait patiently and calmly for Him to answer. God always answers our prayers.

His answer will be the product of His love, His compassion and His wisdom. He will answer by delivering whatever is best for us. Matthew 5:7-11, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father Who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

Did you notice that last phrase - “how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

The Lord will always answer by giving us, His children, what is good for us. That means that sometimes He will answer our prayers precisely as we requested. That means that sometimes He will answer in a way different than we had envisioned.

Our basis for peace of mind is that God hears and God answers us and He answers us by giving us what is good. He always delivers what is best. We must accept that God sees the big picture and He will give what is truly the best based on His infinite wisdom, love and power.

Once we take a matter to the Lord, we must leave it with Him. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I peter 5:6-7

We cast our worries and fears upon Him like we throw a ball to someone. The ball, if you will, is now in His court. We let Him make the next move and rest in knowing that He will respond “at the proper time” by giving us that which is for our good.

2. Thanksgiving.
The second key to acquiring Divine peace is also found in verse 6. Paul says that we are to submit our requests along “with thanksgiving.”

Too many times, when we are full of worry and fear, we fail to count our blessings. We fail to acknowledge how good God has been to us already.

I love the stanza in Amazing Grace in which we remind ourselves - “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Tis grace that has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

We need to reflect upon how God has faithfully brought us to the present moment and thank Him for His past care. Think of the many dangers, toils and snares He has delivered us from and thank Him for it.

But, do not only thank the Lord for past blessings and deliverance. We need to thank Him for present blessings. No matter how distressing or harsh may be our current circumstances or situation, surely we can acknowledge that we are enjoying many Divine blessings right now.

Psalms 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalms 118:29, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting.”

Here is our Peace PT 1

Since we have canceled service today, here is a recap of the sermon...


A Christian’s life should not only be characterized by outward peace with others but also personal, inward peace. The Lord not only wants serenity between His followers but serenity within His followers. God not only wants tranquility within each congregation but tranquility within each Christian’s heart and mind.

It is a sad commentary that peace within congregations seems so rare. It is equally a sad commentary that true peace within Christians seems also to be a rarity. The reason for both deficiencies is a lack of faith and a lack of spiritual discipline.

This morning, Paul is going to teach us how we might experience the inward peace that God wants us to have. He is going to give us four keys to peace of mind. I would have you note that these keys are not presented as suggestions but as commandments.

A Christian with a troubled and fearful mind dishonors His Lord. We need to understand that to be troubled, to be worrisome, to be fearful or fretful means we do not trust God’s sovereignty, God’s wisdom, God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness. It is an indication that we have not yet completely turned our lives over to the Lord.

In verse Philippians 4:6, Paul begins by commanding - “Don’t worry about anything.”

That is quite a commandment. We are not to have anxiety. We are not to have worry. We are not to have nervousness. We are not to have fretfulness and fear. No matter what our situation or circumstances, there is no need to be anxious. Thus, we are not to be anxious.

What benefits come from worrying? from being fretful? from being afraid? Absolutely nothing. Our worrying, our being fretful, our being fearful does not improve our circumstances in any manner. We can worry and fret but it will not bring about any positive changes in our situation.

Jesus made this point in Luke 12:25-26 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

What is the Lord saying? He is saying that we cannot prolong our life-span a single hour by worrying. A person cannot increase the length of his life at all. The utmost anxiety will not prolong it one hour beyond the time appointed for death. If we cannot, through being worrisome and fretful, effect our own lives by ensuring that we live a single extra hour….how can our worrying and being fretful change the circumstances around us? Worry and fear cannot bring-about any positive change.

On the contrary, worry and fear can do much harm. Not only has it been proven that it is destructive to our physical health (being a large contributor to heart disease, weakening of the immune system, gastro-intestinal diseases, migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure, etc.), it is very destructive spiritually.

Why? Because a mind that is occupied with worry and fear and distress is a mind that is not focused on the Lord.

When we worry and fret - we lose sight of the Lord and His providential working; we lose focus on the Lord and His revealed Will and we are tempted to handle our circumstances and situations with fleshly wisdom and fleshly strength; we lose focus and try to correct the external circumstances when, perhaps, our circumstances were meant by the Lord to correct our inner-self; we get distracted from carrying-out the Lord’s purpose and plan for our lives; we lose sight of the Lord’s goodness and our blessings and we are tempted to become negative and ungrateful; we take our eyes off the One Who is the only source of true and lasting peace.

Paul tells us, in Verse 7, that “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The peace that comes from the Lord can banish all worry and distress from our hearts and minds. Not only can it banish anxiety and anguish and fear from our hearts and minds, it can keep it away.

The peace of God can act like a soldier on guard to protect our heart and mind. It will not allow anxiety and despondency and fear to sneak back in. The peace of God is stronger than the worry and fear of the flesh. Just as God is greater than our situations and circumstances so is God’s peace greater than our inward worries and fears.

We can experience perfect inward peace and tranquility in the midst of the most trying circumstances and severe tribulations. This does not seem possible nor rational. But, that is why Paul says that “the peace of God… surpasses all understanding.”

It is hard to comprehend or understand how our world can seem to be collapsing around us yet we can be perfectly calm and completely composed. The peace of God can provide that immense blessing.

Jesus said, in John 14:27, "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

The world cannot give you nor teach you how to experience Divine peace. Y The world can’t supply it nor can you find it in yourself. It comes from God alone.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sunday Weather Closing

Dear JCFC church body,

As much as I hate to cancel services in the morning, I am going to do so. The weather isnt great right now, and is only going to get worse in the morning. Right now you can hardle keep your windshield clear, and the roads are getting slick.

At 6 AM the conditions are supposed to change to freezing rain and snow mix. I dont feel it is safe for all of our volunteers and congregation to try to venture out to service.

I will be posting the sermon online later tonight.

Again, I am sorry to have to cancel due to the weather. Take some time with your family in the morning and read my blog at www.joshsingleton.com for the sermon.

If you would like to make a contribution or give your tithe you can do so at www.jordancreek.org under online giving.

Blessings

Joshua Singleton
lead pastor

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Think about the title in regards to a monster truck show announcer voice!

We are still on for tomorrow. So glad we didnt cancel last weekend, the weather turned out fine for Sunday Morning. I am praying for the same thing this week. We have an awesome snow crew in this city, and they do a great job getting everything cleared.

BTW, if you are behind a snow plow, dont be frustrated. These men and women work long hours to keep us safe on the road. Instead of thinking angry words, say a short pray of safety for them and their families this winter.

See you Sunday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Babies

Well we are going to grow one way or another!

Nate and Shanna had their little man via c-section on tuesday morning at 4:22 AM.

His name is Aiden Gerrit, weighing in at 8lbs 14 oz and 19 3/4 inches long. The family is great!

Kevin Rains and Lindsey had their new man at 6:10 on Tuesday evening. Isaiah Michael Patrick weighed in 8 lbs 4 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. They also had a c-section but are doing well.

Everyone looks to be coming home on Friday. I think to this point meals are ready for Shanna, but we need to get started for Lindsey.

Congrats to the new Moms and Dads.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Team Christmas Dinner

Cant wait for Wednesday! Team Christmas dinner with spouses! I love our team and I am so privileged to have such a great team of leaders who make JCFC so great!

We are planning to eat, and laugh, and celebrate Christmas. The only bummer is, Nate and Shanna wont be able to make it-----

THEY ARE HAVING A BABY RIGHT NOW! LITTLE MR. KEMPERS.

Pink

As some of you know I have a soft spot for rock singers. My heart breaks as I listen to the lyrics of many of their songs. I have prayed for Scott Stapp of Creed for years. I am glad to say that God has been doing some great things in his life since the disbanding of Creed.

Today I spent some time praying for Alecia Beth Moore. Most of you know her as Pink. She has been on my heart lately. She really has had some difficult blows in life. The great thing is that I know that God cares about her.

So Pink if you happen to google your name today and this blog comes up, just know that there are people that are praying for you.

John 10:10 Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Weekend Update

This last Sunday went extremely well considering the ice. We kind of took a chance on whether or not to have service or not. I am glad we did. The Band did a great job with "Here is Our King." They are really doing a great job.

I just want to say thanks for all of our awesome volunteers who make Sunday a go each week. Without you guys and your tireless labor we couldnt do it. God has blessed our city with some awesome people who really want to see this community changed for His Glory. So go JCFC volunteers.

BTW, December 30th is going to be our Volunteer Appreciation Sunday. You wont want to miss it.

Christian and Jessi have done a bang up job with getting Life Groups set for January. I am so excited about the new groups we have coming. We are going to get some good study, discussion , and community outreach taken care of this spring!

Pastor Kevin has got some great plans in place for our Kids Ministry. We are tweaking and retooling a few things, and the kids are having a blast. We are gearing up for splitting the Kids Church into two more age appropriate theaters. We are actively pursuing more volunteers to make this transition a huge success.

After the Holidays Kevin will be putting together a leadership team for Creek Kids. It is going to be a team of parents with some vested interest in the ministry that want to give feedback, support, prayers, and time. Be praying about how you fit within Creek Kids.

Great weekend. Thanks for being a support to the vision of JCFC.

To help turn people into fully devoted followers of Christ.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Church is ON

Just to let everyone know, we are here setting up. The roads are not bad at all, and the sidewalks are pretty clear.

Join us today as we kick off our new series "Here is Our King"

We have a special Advent booklet to give everyone today. You wont want to miss it. So brave the weather and join us. Its warm in here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here is our King

In case you havent checked it out yet, you can send an E-invite about our new series celebrating Advent called Here is Our King!

It is going to be a great series as we take 4 weeks to think about hope, joy, peace, and love in regards to how God sent Jesus to bring each of those gifts to us.

This Sunday we will have an amazing booklet for you to take home and study through the weeks of Advent. This will allow you to read some Scripture, journal, and just mediate on who Jesus really is during this Christmas season.

You wont want to miss this kick off weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend Update

Well we finished off another month at JCFC. What a ride this year has been! I am so thankful to be a part of such a great church. It is hard to believe that 3 years ago we were packing up to move to West Des Moines to start building a team to launch a new church.

Three years ago we had no idea what this would look like. No we are a solid and healthy church that is getting the idea of reaching out to our city. I am so stoked about some of our new life groups. We have several based on service projects in our community. Love it.

We are also looking at how we can serve this city, this mall, the children here. I am overcome with the thoughts from Paul in Galatians 5:6 "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (NIV)


So the question is, "As a church body, to whom and how are we showing love?" Is it just to eachother within the body? Or are we actively looking for ways to love our city?

God, I pray that we can love this city and see her the way you see her. Give our whole congregation your heart. Give us a heart that breaks for people just as you wept over Jerusalem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog break for thanksgiving

Just taking a couple day break to be with the family, and get a few things done. I will be back on Friday or Saturday!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Triathalon

Well next week I start my "soft" training for the tri next summer. I am fairly confident about the running, and the moderately confident of the biking, but the swimming? Not so much.

The tri is like this swim almost mile, bike 24, then run 6.

Yeah, this is the soft training until after Christmas. Then I will step it up and really hit it.

I need to shed about 10 lbs of fat. Going into the Holidays heavier than I want is not exciting, but good motivation to only eat 1 piece of pecan pie not a half! Which I could easily do!

I will keep you posted.

Anyone ever competed in a tri before?

Motherhood

Let me just say its not what its cracked up to be. Maybe I would enjoy it more if I didnt have the Dad role, and the church role to perform in as well...

None the less, the kids and I have had a blast and worked on some project at the house as well. We are getting ready to eat some dinner, them make sure everything is put away before the kids go to bed.

Dara has had a great time, and we are all excited to see her. She has promised the kids a surprise and Colin keeps asking everytime he wakes up, if mom has his "prize" yet. (He thinks a new day starts after each nap!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tips to Accomplish you list

1. Stop Blogging for a minute (er wait?)

2. Set your email to an away message. Just becuase you got a new email doesnt mean you have to respond immediately. (you should be prompt, but don't let email consume you)

3. Turn off you IM.

4. Shut off your cell phone.

5. Take 15 minutes to read your Bible and pray. I know sounds counter-productive when your in the middle of chaos, but a mini-break to feed your soul re energizes you and helps you set priorities.

6. Delegate some of the things you have on your list. Be creative. It may be your children, it may be an employee or a volunteer. Often there are people around who want to help.

7. Remember that some people really enjoy that thing you hate doing. It might be there gifting, and you have hesitated to empower someone else, because you think everyone hates it! They Dont. You might be robbing them of doing something for the kingdom.

Re-Lists

I also wanted to note that make one master list with sublists...

Lists for Church things, Lists for personal things, List for our family...

And this week I have gotten several things marked off. Dara is going to be thrilled.

I have a surprise for you when she returns. Something she has been wanting done around the house for a while. I stayed up after the kids crashed to work on it, and I will finish tonight!

Mark somethings off your list today. It feels great to just buckle down and get it done.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lists

I am finding more and more that I am a list maker. I used to resist this notion for some odd reason. But I would often find myself telling Dara at night, right before bed, all the things I need to do the next day.

I have been making lists in my head for years, and I now have been making lists on paper since the beginning of the church. I LOVE yellow legal pads.

Personally I am not sure the anointing can happen without a yellow legal pad. :)

Seriously, there is something fantastic about making a list, prioritizing things on it and getting them done. Very freeing to mark some prominent things off the list.

It isn't rocket science, but a goal written down, some say has upwards of 70% better chance of being achieved.

Remember, this isn't about just getting things done, it is about the kingdom. For me the key is making sure the right things are done first. So often we let the good things dominate our time and not the great things.

It is the great things that make the big difference, the good things are just that, good.

Take some time this week, to make some one day goals. Write a few things down you need to get accomplished and then choose which ones are the greatest. Get them down.

The Office

So Jen, our great neighbor, is standing in our doorway, giving me trouble about not giving her any props for hooking us to The Office!

She is the one who gave us the first sample. So in essence she is kind of like a drug dealer. She only gave me a little, and said I would really like it.

Little did I know that we would be hooked for life, not being able to hardly wait until next weeks fix...

Can't wait until Thursday. Those writers better end that strike soon, cause if they run out of The Office, I am confident that Ron Paul's Revolution will take place, but not the way he was thinking.

Writer's Guild, Question: Do you want a Revolution?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Update

Sunday was great. We have had crowds so big, we had to move the curtain back a row to allow for some more seating! Love it.

Yesterday we took a detour in Galatians to land in I Corinthians 8 for a day. I really felt like we needed to address the difference between universal sin and particular sin.

There are things that are universally wrong for everyone regardless of race, culture age etc. As well there are things that some may have freedom in, but others may not. Particular sin.

So we dealt with meat offered to idols as the cultural reference. When dealing with cultural issues we need to ask the text and our selves a couple questions.

1. What does the text say?
If it is clearly forbidden, then dont do it.
2. Should I do it?
What does the Holy Spirit say to me through my conscience?
3. What does my weakness require?
You may have to intentionally restrict your freedoms, due to spiritual weakness.
4. What does my friend need?
You may have a friend who is of weaker conscience, if you do you should love your friend more than your freedom!

Read I Corinthians 8 this week, along with Galatians 4 for Sunday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bad Day

OK So I ripped this off Curtis Cecils blog...

But it is too funny.

The copier guy!

Friday, November 09, 2007

High School Musical



Wow, little did I know how exciting HSM can be to two 6 and 7 year old girls. It has been non-stop singing and dancing and laughter! They are having a blast and Dara has been sucked into the movie!

Colin wants so much to be a part of the party! He is watching it with them, but he has to go to sleep in a few minutes. The girls get to watch the 2nd movie and sleep downstairs on the couch, while Colin has to sleep in his bed upstairs.

He had a break down because, he said it wasnt fair he was going to be alone upstairs. He said he just wants to sleep by the girls...

It is pretty cute, how he has tried to impress Emma and be with the big girls!

Ana is loving her night and turning 7. I cant believe she is 7! Not sure if I like it yet...

Hu Hot


Headed out to Hu Hot for Ana's 7th birthday party meal. She loves it and her little friend Emma is spending the night for her "first real sleep over!"

Friday

I had several meetings today that went very successfully.

7.45 Met with Christian as we discussed Life Groups for the January Term. He has some great ideas and direction. I am so excited to see some actions steps in place to make our Life Groups a great connection place. We will have some training and meetings coming together soon.

Get ready you are not going to want to miss Life Groups in the spring. A place of discipleship, discovery and community!

9.00 met with Jeff Mullen at Point of Grace. He was able to give us some HR material that will be invaluable to us. He shared with me some mistakes they had made, and challenged me to put some principles in practice that will help us! He also gave me some of the forms they use that will save me a pile of work! Awesome.

10.00 Met with Kevin Starkey. Kevin is going to be heading up our Creek Kids Administrator position as an interim. He will also be taking a proactive role in a Creative Arts area.

Kevin has a lot of ability in a lot of areas. I am so excited to have him on board with us. He is really one of those "go to" kind of guys. He will be taking on a lot of other responsibilities with the church as the months role on.

We are actively addressing the Creek Kids Administrator position. I have several things in mind, and am just waiting on some clear direction from God. If any one you want to be a part of our Creek Kids and hear the Vision of what is to come, then join us MONDAY night at 7 at the office!

11.30 Met with Ed Sustala, and he bought me lunch and shared some very valuable leadership principles he has learned through his years of management. Very enjoyable lunch and good food at the Star Bar on Ingersoll.

Came home so Dara could take her drivers test while the kids napped. (She accidentally let her license expire! In Iowa you have 60 days before you have to retake the written. She studied a bit and aced it)

While I was home working I got a coffee craving. We have this French Press at the house, I had never used. Sooo. Ground up some French Vanilla and "presto."

Smooth, rich, oily coffee! HMMM.

Lastly, my Camping Axe finally came in! I have been waiting for weeks for it! (I know, most of you dont care, but its a Gransfor Bruks. If you dont know what that is, you probably dont care! But it is a premier axe!)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday

Getting ready to watch my new favorite show, The Office!

Love it.

Had a great day today, with a pile of meetings tomorrow. Meetings are good, but sometimes I feel like that is what I do!

We are making some transitions in a lot of areas at the church and taking some God size risks. I have really felt God pushing me to really trust him in a lot of areas. Personally, financially, and with lots of things in the church.

I meet with some guys tomorrow about some new/used gear to enhance nearly every area of the church right now.

Also we are planning a great series in February that you are going to want to invite all of our friends too. You are not going to want to miss the next few months at JCFC!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Accountability

Every Tuesday I meet with what has been referred to at my house as "my guys." I meet three men every Tuesday at 8 AM at Hope for some prayer and connection.

These guys really challenge me to be in Gods word, to make the Vision plain, and do what God is calling me to do. Sometimes they are pretty aggressive with me. Which I need.

Thank God for other men, who will lovingly speak truth into my life!

I am off to KC to see Rob Bell for the evening.

Going to be a blast

Monday, November 05, 2007

Serving

Great post from Life Church today about serving. Check it out.

Bluetooth

In team meeting last night we were going over several things, and Paul Hansen (our IT guy) says this may be weird, but what if we bluetooth the sermon notes each week to everyone with a PDA, right during service.

I was shocked, and asked if we really could do it... He said Yeah No problem.

So Paul is going to be working on getting this accomplished. Be watching for it, for all you high-tech people out there!

Cool huh?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Recap

We had another great day today. Wow, what a way to start the month. 171 in service today, and I am pumped!

We had lots of help today with set up and tear down. I just want to give a big shout out to all who volunteer and make Sundays a success. Thanks team for making it so great!

I love our church, I love this city, and I love Jesus. I cant wait to see what is next!

Jessi Walk completed the New York Marathon today! Hurrah! Cant wait for them to get back, as they are amped about getting started with Life Groups!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Gain an Hour

Love this night. (I actually hate the concept, because now it will be dark so early) but I love to get and extra hour of sleep.

I would say though that I have always wanted to stay up and watch the clock on my computer, until it changes... What does that look like when that happens?

Sunday's Coming

Do you ever just feel like the weekend just sneaks up on you? For me, it seems to every week. I know the weekend is the the main event for what I do, and I love that. But on occassion it just seems like, Wow, here it is.

Well I am pretty stoked about tomorrow. We are right in the middle of Galatians, chapter 3 namely. I love Galatians. It just deals with the Church just like it is today.

We have missed the mark on so many things when it come to the text. We have missed the spirit of what Paul was saying, and times I feel like we have missed the entire thought of the New Testament.

I mean what it is really about? Is it about making sure everyone fits our mold? Is it about what we think the text says? Is it about watering everything down so we dont really say anything? Is it about being harsh and judgemental?

NO. Its not about any of those things. I keep landing on Galatians 3:13-14

"Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham's blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God's life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it."

and then Galatians 2:15
"We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. "

Got to love that! Its not about what I do, or have done. I cant earn it, nor have i ever deserved it. But while we are still sinners, Jesus extends his love toward us.

Unconditionally. Without a hook. No strings attached. Just pure love.

Amazing really.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Completely One

Just just a shade more than 7 hours to the kick off of our first annual marriage conference. ( is it a presupposition to say first annual, to assume that it will be multi year?)

I am stoked. If you haven't signed up, then you can still make it. We are going to see some changed marriages this weekend.

We meet for registration at the Spring Hill Marriot on Jordan Creek Pkwy at 5.30 for registration. Everything kicks off at 6PM.

See you soon.

Dad in the Home

We are journeying though Mens Fraternity this fall. It is awesome. We have been discussing the breakdown that happens with an absent father. Absent meaning literally not there, and the also the Dad who was present but not "there" in the home.

check these stats out.

1960 82.5% of homes had a dad in the home in the US
1970 77.6 % of homes had a dad in the home in the US
1980 67.8% of homes had a dad in the home in the US
1990 61.7% of homes had a dad in the home in the US
estimated today to be around 40%.

That only counts dads that were present in the home. How many of you know a dad, who was present but not "there?"

This points out that somewhere between 40-60% of kids in the last 20 years have been without a Father in their life on a regular basis.

Proverbs 17:6 "the glory of the sons in the father." My kids think I am invincible. That Dad can do anything. The find glory in me.

Scary.

But what are you going to do with that kind of momentum? You can squash it, and never invest in them. You can squander your time, and never embrace them. You can work around the clock to give them things.

But what a child needs is there Dad.

A Dad who says:

I love you.

I am proud of you.

You are great at ______________, and your character shows it because_______________.

They need a Dad who embraces them lovingly. Who affirms them regularly. Who gently disciplines them. A Dad who isnt always trying to prove who he is, he knows who he is in Christ.

Who are you?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Drive Time

Logged a few hours today by myself in the truck. I have to admit, it is a good feeling to be out and driving sometimes. I was able to pray and not be interrupted, listen to some leadership books, and I listened to several hours of Mark Driscoll today. If you dont get his podcast I would recommend it.

I had a good day all the way around, and ready to crash as I have an early morning!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Growth Rate

I was running some numbers and doing some planning today for the rest of the winter. I started comparing our October averages to last October. We have had a 61% increase in growth!

Praise God! I am so excited.

I also am pumped to announce that Christian and Jessi Walk are going to be leading our Life Groups from here on out. The really are focused and have captured the Vision of JCFC. Get ready for a great Life Group semester beginning January 08!

If you have any interest in leading or hosting a Life Group contact Christian at christianw@jordancreek.org

I have been praying for a long time about this position, and I know this is a huge step in the right direction for JCFC.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Update

Another great Sunday. We had 143 this morning in service! The band played well, and I spoke from Galatians 2. I love Paul and his straight forward approach to legalism. He didnt like it and neither do I.

I hope that at the end of the series we truly can understand the freedom we have in Christ. There is so much joy in knowing who you are in Him. I simply love being a part of Grace.

We had some friends in this weekend from Cedar Falls, it was great to get to connect again. We hung out yesterday and this afternoon. Also was able to get caught up on the Office. Love that show.

Fact, it is the most hilarious show on NBC. Question: Is NBC able to keep it funny and not ruin it?

I love to be able to just laugh out loud on Sunday evenings. Totally refreshing and recharging to me!

This is going to be a busy week. Meetings all day tomorrow. I am trying to stack all my meetings on one day. It helps me to stay in meeting mode!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheering

I love to read through Hebrews 11. I like to envision it like a stadium full of the saints of God just cheering everyone on who is running the race of Faith. I love the journey God has us on. Amazing.

As I ran the half marathon last Sunday, I had a lot of time to think (read, Josh isnt a very fast runner). One of the things that really moved me, was when I saw people up ahead, I picked up the pace. They were cheering for me, encouraging me, telling me that I can make it.

(One guy told us to be careful as the corner wasn't banked, and since we were running so fast, he didnt want us to fly off in the the lake... He was too funny.)

But as I finally rounded the last corner, the last several blocks were lined with people cheering. Both sides of the road, people were ringing bells, and shouting, and holding up signs. It was in that moment that I began to dig deep. I was tired, and my knees hurt, and hot. But down inside there grew a passion as people spurred me on to finish strong.

I began to sprint, others around me began to do the same. My feet moved faster. My heart rate climbed. My breathing increased, but I knew I was going to finish strong. I knew everyone would be proud. I would feel accomplished...

13.1 miles completed.

I have replayed that moment over and over in my mind. The joy of finishing the race while everyone is cheering.

I think we all can do better at cheering others along. I am making it my new goal, to make sure as a leader I am cheering others along.

It is vital that we encourage one another. So today, make sure you give some one an affirmation in what they do, or who they are in Christ.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mutliple Thoughts

1. My phone doesnt work at my house. I am trying to swtich to VOIP with Mediacom. They were supposed to be here Monday. No one showed. So today my real phone was disconnected with Qwest.

I hope this isnt and omen.

2. Mens fraternity is in a few minutes and I am stoked. I love Thursdays.

3. I go to meet an architect who will be putting together some prelimanry sketches for us for a building. ( Dont get too excited, it is still a few years off, but we NEED to be dreaming about it!)

4. I heard a staggering stat this week. Did you know that Polk county has 6,000 homeless people?

Blows my mind. I think JCFC can make a difference in that. Pray with me.

5. I love the fall, I love the change in weather. I love to break out the sweaters.

Invite someone to service this weekend. Use the e-invites from the JCFC site bottom right corner! Redeem technology with us.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday Recap

Again, just wanted to say thanks to everyone who volunteers and makes Sunday a success. With out you guys it wouldnt be working.

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had a huge crowd. Well, got the total earlier this evening. Are you ready?

169! Awesome. Just a normal Sunday and wow!

Love to see what God is doing!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Des Moines Marathon

We this morning I tackled the Des Moines Marathon. Well actually I ran the half. 13.1 miles.

Sounds easier on the front side of the marathon. It was a great experience and I was glad I was a part of it. I didnt log a killer time or anything, but was so pleased I finished.

The funniest moment of the day was when I was rounding mile 9. I hear a motorcycle coming on my left, honking saying, "move to the right, the Kenyans are coming."

The "Kenyans" were on mile 22 or 23 when I was crossing mile 9. Three of them. Amazing. They run so effortlessly. They didnt even look like they were working. I think one guess was working on PDA, making business deals... :)

Met a couple nice guys, and ate some GU. You should try some... and lots of water.

BTW, I hear everyone hit it out of the park today. I havent gotten an official count yet, but I think we broke a record.

Awesome, maybe I need to be gone more often.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Scott and Carrie Baker

Scott and Carrie have just had a new baby in the past two weeks. It is our custom as a church family to make sure the new mom gets several meals after she comes home from the hospital. Families volunteer to take meals to them that are easy to either reheat or just ready to go hot! It is awesome.

Here is an excerpt from an email from Scott today.

Just wanted to email and say thanks for all the meals over the past weeks.
Would you please let all of the people who took the time to make us food and
drive out to our home and drop it off that we really, really appreciate it!
We are going to try to make it to church tomorrow. We will see how we do.
Thanks again and please pass the word. Scott and Family.

Way to go JCFC, spread the love around...

I love where I serve!

Church Buildings

I love it that the kids of our church have no idea what a "church" is. I love it because it helps us to realize that the church is about people not buildings. Several of the kids on the church have never been to a "traditional church building."

Angela Sustala was telling me that her son Jake was in the car the other day and they drove by a church building. He looked up and asked her, "What is that place?"

She replied, "That is a church."

He quickly responded, "Well it doesn't look like one."

I love it. We can have church everywhere, anywhere, anytime. Because church is made up of Christ Followers. Sure we will have a building that is "ours" someday, but I pray we always keep the mindset its not about the facility.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Connor

Just an update on the death of Connor this week. The Coroner has concluded that his death was accidental. He apparently had been attempting a "high" by choking himself. It just went too far.

It is very tragic, for the entire family. My parents are headed to the funeral Saturday. Pray for their safety as the drive to the Carolinas.

Remember this family this weekend.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gary Lamb

Was able to have a great phone call with Gary Lamb today. He started a church in Georgia about 3 years ago. They meet in a theater as well. They have had some crazy growth too! Love to talk with other church planters who are a little further head of what we do here. He had some great counsel and advice for where we are right now!

Gary and I met via blogosphere over two years ago, and were able to actually meet at the Buzz conference in DC last year.

Prayer

Just wanted to ask everyone to pray for my family. The grandson of my Aunt Bev and Uncle Donny hung himself this morning. He was only twelve. Aunt Bev and Uncle Donny were on there way to visit them for a long weekend. ( the kids lived in the Carolinas) Today is my Aunts birthday as well.

Just pray for the York family today. Tragic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Randomness

Lots has transpired since my last post. Amazing what can happening a week. I have passed into the 30s. Weird feeling to say the least.

Sunday was Pastor Appreciation day, and I got a sweet new Ipod! Love it. Mine died about a year ago. As many of you know, I can break anything connected to technology. Hopefully I can break that trend with this one.

Colin has been absolutely hilarious. He is talking non-stop about everything. Awnna is reading everything she can get her hands on.

Dara and I are making sure our relationship is first. I love what I do, but at the end of the day, I want to be Joshua, not all the titles I carry. So that in 19 years when both my kids are out of school, Dara and I still love each other for who we are. So many couples fall apart after their kids leave or careers peak. They look at each other and realize they dont even know who they are sleeping next to.

I also am trying to prioritize my life between church goals, personal goals and family goals. I love goals but if they are out of balance, look out.

Herberts Blog has been rocking my thoughts in the past couple days.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marriage Conference

Just wanted to encourage everyone to Check out our Completely One marriage conference coming up. November 2nd and 3rd is just around the corner. If you havent registered, do so before the 19th!

This is going be a great conference, that will help shape your marriage into what it needs to be. There is no reason to just have an average marriage, when you can have a great one!

Join us in this weekend get away to become Completely One!

For more info contact Brian at 710-9400.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Just Listen to this guy

This is a radio call in show. I got it in an email and it just cracked me up.

Take a listen.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Great Scripture

I ran across a scripture in I Chronicles the other day.

I Chronicles 28:20

David is speaking to his son Solomon in regards to building the temple.

"Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not, not be dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, will be with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you, until you have finished the work for the service of the house of Lord."

Just moved me when I read it. Be Strong.

Entry Points

I have been thinking about entry points lately. What kind of entry points to we create for people to connect with our church?

I firmly believe that the best method of drawing people is coming to church on the arm of a friend. We call it "tag-team" evangelism. You bring your friend to church, tag me. Then I speak the truth, while we work hard to create an inviting encounter with God. After service I tag you, and you take the relationship to a new level.

But there needs to be entry points for people to connect. Some of those entry points are Life Groups. we always have some groups that are pretty much just a relational group. For example the Cycling Club, is a relational group. We dont have any kind of theological exegesis on the text before we ride... We just ride and have fun. It is a great opportunity to invite your friend.

Others are weddings. I know churches who have 600 rules about weddings, the music, the reception, the whatever. In turn they don't perform any weddings. But a wedding is an awesome opportunity to share Christ with someone. They are asking for God's blessing in this step, why not try to get them connected in the church? It is an awesome entry point. Whether its the lead pastor or not, doesn't matter to me. It could be a well developed staff performing the weddings, I just feel like its a great time to invest in their life as they are open enough to want Gods help in their marriage.

We are brainstorming about what entry points look like at JCFC. New babies? A care package at the hospital if someone is sick? A new neighbor moving in? Jobs, school starts, changes in the routine?

How can we be involved in some of the natural changes in peoples lives, and connected them through entry points?

BTW, we had 154 for the weekend! Awesome. Some of which are a part of the church through some of the non-traditional entry points.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blogs I read

Just thought I'd give everyone some food for thought. I read a whole list of blogs ona regular basis.

I use a standard feed reader called netvibes, it works great to put each feed on a page so I can just glance over each blog and not actually have to go to the site. It saves all kinds of time. (time management remember?)

I read a whole list, and this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it in order of preference.

Mark Batterson
Tony Morgan
Perry Noble
Steven Furtick
Herbert Cooper
Gary Lamb
Mark Driscoll
Seth Godin
Scott Hodge
Jim Larson
Craig Groeschel


I also read some of the personal blogs from the people in the church, and the team leadership. It is a great way to connect with people all over the country. I feel like I can grow as a leader by reading some others blogs and learning form the same things they are learning.

Blogging and reading blogs can be a great source of encouragement and growth. You need to limit yourself though. There is only some much content you can ingest with out putting some feet to the dream.

Traditional Hebrew thought ( the thought processes the text was written with) teaches it is not so much contingent on your thoughts, it is what you do with those thoughts.

So are you putting any feet to faith?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Baptism and Bar B Que

Just finished up the Baptism and BBQ video.

I think this is a great piece, and I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make this a success. The videographers to photographers to those being baptized and all the family that came to support the event.

Awesome.

Just so you know, this is the short version. There is going to be one on the DVD that has all the great still pics that were taken as well as the version you see here. Everyone that was Baptized will get a DVD copy and anyone else who wants one, you can purchase one for $7.

Just let us know, and we will get one too you.

Isnt God great!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stream Lining

I am passionate about working in my strengths. I fully realize that my gifts are what God has blessed me with. The weaknesses I have are ok too. I am not less of a person or a believer if I dont have organizational giftings. ( Amy Main claims her spiritual gift is paper! Angela Sustala loves to organize and handle data.) Me on the other hand, not so much.

I love to dream, and to look forward and build and be challenged to climb even higher. But in those gifts I have that are strengths, I am consciously improving on some of my weaker areas. I have tried to surround myself with organizers, and detail people. In the past years that has began to rub off my in some areas.

I am working to streamline what I do and what I dont do. I have this conviction, that you cant do a hundred things well. I am working at delegating and empowering others around me so that the gifts I do have can be utilized 100%.

It breaks down like this for most people. The things you naturally do well, (your gifts) often get back burnered. So that you can focus on strengthening your weak areas. This model though can only make you average at best. You will never excel in your weaknesses. But if you put the majority of your time growing your giftings... Then you can give your best to God.

I firmly believe that excellence honors God. Excellence is simply our best. By now means is that perfection, but the best we can do with God's help.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Men

We had our first Mens Fraternity meeting today. We are having them at 12.15 at the office. I highly suggest men, if you can make it, to put this hour on your calendar. We are looking at the Quest for Authentic Manhood.

Too often men struggle to be really men. Our society has confused ideas about what a man says and does. Dont get me wrong, I am not try to say we ahve to be cavemen, in the least. But too often grown men are running around with boyish ideas and thoughts.

It is time the boy inside the men dies, and we become the noble men God intended us to be.

Ladies, I challenge you to help make this happen for your husbands. Men I challenge you to become a real man.

Join us next Thursday for Mens Fraternity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The contender

I am So excited! I randomly found The Contender tonight on ESPN 2.

Not only is it a great boxing show, it is on with an uncut version of the fight! I am super stoked!

I love boxing, and Sugar Ray Leonard is still a great guy!

I am not a real sportsy kind of guy, but I love boxing and Mixed Martial arts. I think Paul did too, he was always referencing boxing and fighting. Hmm.

My Dads new revelation

My dad who has had a really nice Dell for a couple years now, yesterday found Google.

You would have to know him to really understand the significance of the find. He called me today, so excited. He was saying things like I cant believe how great this is. Why didnt I know about this before? It is so amazing, I was so frustrated before, now I can relax. I have found the things I was looking for.

Should I make a spiritual application comparing Google's connection the web to life when we find Je....

Nah.

Prayer Walks

Well after the conference last night my friend Brians and his family came over as chatted up ministry and dreams and ministry philosophy until too early into the morning.

I had a short 9 AM meeting this morning. After that I just took some time to walk and pray on the property we are wanting to purchase for the church. Joshua chapter one talks about God blessing and giving every place that Joshua and his soldiers place their feet.

I know hermeneutically that doesn't quite apply to Iowa soil, but I made the prayer and took the walk in faith. ( my name is Joshua, so maybe we can cover it that way.... Isn't that what a lot of christians do anyways...) Any way.

I spent about a half hour or more praying for God's leading and direction, and just dreamed some dreams. I built multiple phases and a sweet coffee shop, and a built in Baptismal lake circa Fellowship Church's campus. Hmmm.

I do love to dream out loud. It is those kinds of dreams we can begin to put feet to and see come to pass.

What are you dreaming about? Do you still dream?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mark Batterson

Just wanted to give a shout out to Mark Batterson. Just finished a two day conference here in Des Moines where Mark spoke. I was able to pick him up from the airport and have lunch with him yesterday. It was nice to get in his brain a bit about how the do church at NCC. He is a great guy and loved hearing his vision or DC our nations capital.

I will post a weekend update later tonight.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday

We got our new copier in and it works. If I can keep from breaking it, we will be in good shape. It is a very nice machine, and I am pumped to be able to use it on a regular basis.

I know some of you have asked about my camping trip with the kids. It didnt go quite as planned. I am telling the story in the morning in the sermon Embracing Uncertainty. You'll need to be there to hear it. Not only does it involve camping, but a homecoming football game, lack of blankets and trip to the wrong place...

BTY, I have a 2 drawer oak filing cabinet at the office, that is free to a good home. If no one claims in the next couple days, we will be "filing" the filing cabinet!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Getting ready for lunch

The past couple days have been a blur. We are doing our quarterly team leader evaluations right now. I know most companies only do them once or twice a year. But for us in the growth phase we have been in it is super helpful to at least shoot for doing them quarterly. It takes work on everyones part to make them happen, but the communication is key to growth.

We also got out new copier today. They come to "set it up" at 2:30. Super stoked.

I am taking the kids camping tonight. They are so excited they can hardly wait! I love to be outside with them. They so love the outdoors.

So I guess this should be random thoughts, but I am focused on lunch, so that is the heading.

By the way, go to Herberts Blog and read his post from yesterday. Brilliant. (Coop I would have left you a comment saying that, but you dont allow them!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Video from Sunday

I got a lot of positive feedback from the sermon opener this weekend. So I thought I'd post it for you. Be amazed at the passion this young man has, as well as his father.















Just click on the video to play it.

Acceptance vs Approval

I think there is a big dilemma in the church today. The debate on what is the difference between acceptance and approval.

The church is supposed to be a place of acceptance. A place where anyone can come from any background to a place that God has set apart to give glory to him. Of course any believer would say "I do agree with that."

The problem lies in when we have to put this in practice. Too many believers associate acceptance with approval. As a church we accept everyone from whatever background, to our church to be a part of it. Not just a fringe part of our church, but an active part of it.

I believe that one of the biggest passions of people, is the desire to belong. The church is a fantastic place to belong. I think, come, even if you dont believe what I believe or even teach, but belong.

Belonging happens most often before you believe.

As a church we need to accept everyone in love as they enter the door. As a church we need to love as Jesus loved. As a church we need to reach out to those around us. As a church we need to tear down our stereotypes of what "church" is. If we really study the New Testament church through a Hebrew mindset, we would see the vast difference between the western church and NT church we read about in the Bible.

We can accept people right were they are, without 100% approving of things they do. And that is perfectly OK. Because as the Holy Spirit begins to deal with them as they grow in a relationship with Christ.

I am glad I am not the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we try to take on his job though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blog, Blog Blog

Do you ever have those times when you just don't feel "profound?" I sometimes feel like I need to have something somewhat important to say when I blog. The last week has been hectic, fun, and stretching. I love what I do, and I love the growth that it prompts.

We are right in the middle of Chase the Lion. Which I think people are starting to really get a God idea about chasing the lions in their life. It is cool to see the lights come on so to speak in the hearts of people, realizing that there is power in who Jesus is. Awesome.

I also am gearing up for the Series in Galatians that is starting in October. I love Paul's epistles and I love Paul. He just says what he means. There is no doubt when you read Paul's writings that he is being very clear.

I challenge you to prepare your heart for Galatians as we look at the freedom we find in Christ. True freedom freedom from the law, and from sin. I really think people are going to get some help and grow in Christ as we break free from the chains of this life.

What binds you? Is it sin? Is it what someone told you was spiritual? Is it your own weaknesses? Is it your strengths? Is it the way you were told you had to do church? Is it religion you had forced on? Is it hypocritical Christians? I would argue that most of us, have something in our life that keeps us from being really free in Christ!

Read Galatians with me and grow in freedom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some staggering thoughts

I just watched Rob Bells "Rich" last night from the the Nooma series. Mind blowing. You should catch it sometime.

Get this the US about 6% of the worlds population but we consume some 40% of its resouces.

We are one of the richest places in the world. Think about this 92% of the world does not own a car. Any kind of car. Even that junky ride we are kinda saving for our kids to drive when the turn 16 to wreck!

Only 8% of the worldest richest own a car, I assume that includes you!

A huge portion of the world lives on less that a dollar a day. They live on less change than you have in your cars ash tray.

There are hundreds of thousands that will not eat a meal today or have clean drinking water. Some guys smarter than me, have figured that 20 billion would resolve the issue world wide of clean drinking water and starvation. The US spent 21.6 billion in 2005 on ice cream. (IDFA.org)

Hmm. makes you think about what we are doing... Think about being rich the next time you turn on the tap to fill a glass. Think about the perspective of wealth the next time you turn your car ignition on. Think about being rich the next time you run into Kum & Go to grab a $1.39 coke.

Its all about perspective.

Juice

I think the Good News out to make the news. In a random meeting, I meet a reporter a few months back at Jordan Creek Mall. She then linked me to Sophia Ahmed who wrote an article on what we do at JCFC on a weekend.

You can check it out here and tell me what you think. Hopefully some of the readers will check out the website and be a part of our Sunday morning worship experience!

Baptism and Bar B Que

Wow, what an evening. Sunday night we all gathered out at lake Panorama, and Mike and Diane Versackas lake house (the graciously let us use). The evening was amazing. Just a tad on the chilly side, but beautiful. There were at least 60 of us that meet for some good food and a baptismal service.

There were 18 people who were baptized. All I can say is that it is so great to see people who have committed themselves to Christ take the next step in baptism. It is by far my favorite thing to do. It is such a step of faith. People dont get baptized in September unless they really want to and believe its a part of our biblical heritage.

There will be video coming soon. The plan is to be finished by next Sunday.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

We all could do better here...

Jesus said this in Matthew 12:34-37
…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Think about what you have said today.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Alisha's Wedding

I am in Springfield MO for a flying trip down and back. We left this morning to be here for rehearsal, so that all will go smooth for my cousin Alisha. She is being married tomorrow afternoon, to a great guy named Ryan.

We listened to High School Musical multiple times to keep the kids occupied on the long ride down. I am convinced that it is not my favorite.

I love being a part of weddings. It is so exciting to see peoples lives combine and the joy it brings to all the families. The Bible is constantly referring to weddings and the connection we have with God through the eyes of a wedding.

I have a friend that has a young boy who right now is taking issue with being the "bride of christ." As a boy he doesn't want to be a bride!

But what a magnificent thought as adult believers to be recognized as the bride, the true love of Christ. Think about the days surrounding your marriage, and how adoring the bride is doted on. Think of the love and tender caress that comes in the marriage. Remember the sacrificial actions, the attitude and kind words.

More than all of that, think of the purity of the covenant that is established on the ceremonial day of marriage. In todays society it is often taken light hearted, and tragically broken in some marriages. Yet when we think of who Jesus is, knowing that he cannot go back on his Covenant with us... Amazing.

Jesus loves his bride so much that, He gave His life to save mine, the bride.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I couldnt have said it better

Check out my friend Herbert Cooper's blog.


I had been pondering some of these very same thoughts this week as I mulled I Corinthians 9,10,11,12 over in my mind.

Read both Coop's blog and Corinthians.

Moving theaters this week

I have been going 90 to nothing this week. We are moving theaters this weekend, becuae we are running out of room! So head to theater 11 instead of 12 this weekend!

Use the main doors to the theater as well! Coffee bar will be open at 9.45 for some great coffee and fellowship before service!

Monday, August 27, 2007

One of this weekends videos

Here is one of the videos we showed this weekend in regards to The Lord's Supper. I think you will like it.



We had such a crowd I was afraid we would run out of the juice and bread...

weekend update

Just a recap of yesterday. It was a fast day for sure. Service went extremely well. We spent the whole Sunday solely focused on Communion. It was outside the norm for sure, but I wanted to take some time to explain the significance from the Old Testament to Jesus connection.

Passover and Communion as so interwoven! I love understanding that Jesus drank all the cup of judgment for me. Thank God He was the obedient Son.

Didn't the band do a great job yesterday! I loved the worshipful feel they were able to create!

We had 162 in service for the weekend, school has started and the family routine is coming together!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Chase the Lion Mailer is in the public

They mailers went out this week. 11,000 in total! They are being recieved this weekend and next week! Man I am pumped. Pray that they have a great impact.

Use the e-invite to invite a friend to service next week. We have lots going. New Series, New Coffee Shop, and New Theater!

Invite, Invite, Invite!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Chase the Lion

I just left the print shop from picking up our overrun Chase the Lion postcards. They look awesome! There is no way someone can toss this our with out checking it out! It is a full 6 inch by 9 inch flyer!

The graphics look great, and print is amazing. We are sending 11,000 out today. Please pray that God will use these as a tool to impact people. This mailer has the potential for 11,000 households to be changed.

I know the normal "stats" on return rate. But lets believe for God to be compelling hearts before they even get this flyer.

Chase the Lion. Grab Life by the Mane!

A good read

Just check out Steven's post here.

Very applicable.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Banners

I just opened the new shipment of our Banners. All I can say is WOW. They look amazing, and they werent very expensive at all.

I have a new banner producer. She is doing an awesome job printing and gives me a stellar price. If your interested email me and I will give you her contact info.

We use banners to brand each sermon series. We also use them to turn a "theater" area our space. We have coffee banners, we have Jordan Creek Banners, Kids Creek, and Nursery artwork. It just helps people associate the church in their mind. Branding is a vital part of who we are.

Again if you need some artwork on vinyl banners with stands, email me and I will get you hooked with Evonne. She does a great job and ships worldwide. I guarantee you won't find a less expensive product.

Another Full Day

Well I have another stacked day today well. I have several appointments about upcoming events.

I am meeting with Michon to discuss our prayer ministry in just a few minutes. we are looking at ways to really make it a power experience and life of our church. We have some creative new ideas that I know you are going to love! Not only will you benefit from the prayer team, but others lives are going to be blessed as well!

Pray with us!

I am also wrapping up the communion Sunday. I love to study about why and how we honor Jesus. I have always enjoyed celebrating the Lord's Supper together. I know for some of you this will be your first time, it is a great experience to celebrate the victory Jesus brought in death and resurrection.

Join us this Sunday as we take a full service to worship God in Communion with Him.

My Little Boy

I was cooking some oatmeal this morning for the kids while Dara was getting them dressed upstairs for school. Colin meanders down the steps, still looking a bit sleepy, and walks right up to me.

I was kind of expecting a "Hey dad," or "Whatcha doing?" But the only thing he said was, "Dad, when I grow up can I have your big saw?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Whiplash

So yes I have whiplash. It is a very interesting story as well.

On Monday I went over Mark Main's Office. His dad, Bill, has a huge tomato patch that he said I could have as many as I want. I love fresh tomatoes and miss not having them from our family garden as a kid.

Anyway, I went to pick some. They had a nice hogwire fence around the perimeter to keep the rabbits out. I was talking on my phone to a guy and thought I will just reach over a get a nice big round one. What I didnt understand is that the black and yellow braided twine looking rope across the top of the fence was actually .... you guessed it.... electric fence. Now I grew up seeing electric fence, even touching it a few times. But it had all been METAL! This looked like twine!

Needless to say when my chest touched the wire, which had been turned up to keep the deer out, my body completed the circuit to the ground.

I yelled, dropped my phone, and fell to my butt. It is one thing to know you are going to touch the fence, but entirely another when it hits you in the chest and changes your heart rhythm.

It immediately locked up my upper back and neck. I had hoped it would get better, but I could barely move yesterday getting out of bed. I made a quick appointment to Dr Hassel (my chiro). He checked me out gave an adjustment... argh. Laughed as everyone has, and said I have whiplash from jerking away from the fence...

I feel better today, but not 100%

Tomatoes. Hmph.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gods Direction

Finding Gods direction is really an interesting thought. I know in my life I personally would like to know what ore than just one step holds. All too often though God leads us one step at at time.

This is really an area that I wrestle with. I like knowing how everything is going to play out. I don't mind dealing with the spontaneous things in life, but I sure enjoy knowing the things coming ahead.

I am a researcher by nature, I like to understand how things work and why. As a kid I used to take everything apart (much to the dismay of my mother) and then reassemble them. I just liked knowing how it worked.

I was unpacking some of these habits with my accountability guys this morning, in regards to God leading us. Steve relayed a great analogy from Charles Stanley.

Stanley once compared knowing Gods direction to driving home at night from the office. He said I leave my office and turn on my headlights. They only shine a couple hundred feet in front of me. Yet I can navigate my way home. I don't have to have beams that lock onto my house from the office, i just need to see a little bit in front of me.

The same is true for me. I often want to see the end picture and at times judge my immediate circumstance y what I think the end picture should look like. In reality I need to just trust God with the steps he has given me right in front of me. Although I may not see much past the next few decisions, I know the vision he has given me.

I challenge you to not be consumed (like I have been at times) with the distant future. Look at what you are doing right now for your family, and to impact the kingdom.

Let God lead you one step at a time. Remember to trust him and he will direct your path!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Baptism By the Bay

We are gearing up for our Baptism and Bar-B-Que on September the 9th at Lake Panorama. My friend Mark Batterson has allowed us to use their video from there baptism in DC. We have showed it a few times on Sunday, but here is it for you to see!












Communion Sunday

I have been doing some study on Communion through Jewish eyes. It has been amazing. We miss so much of the meaning of the text by not having a Jewish heritage.

I am excited to get into Communion some more next Sunday. It is going to be an exciting morning of worship, teaching, and celebrating communion (the Lord's Supper) together.

You wont want to miss it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

And Still Some More


And still some more artwork for the foyer and new cafe!

I am so stoked about this 9:45 Coffee Shop we are creating. It is going to be so great to have some quality fellowship time in a great place. Make plans to come a little early to be a part of it.

New Banners


You are going to love these!

Simpsonized


Well I have been Simpsonized. Go here to get your new look!

Chase the Lion mailer

Just finalized the 11,000 piece Chase the Lion mailer today.

It should go out Wednesday f next week to promote the September 2nd launch. It is going to be great. I challenge you to take a minute and pray for the success of this mailer. There are thousands of families that need a great church home. This single piece of evangelism could be the difference maker in their lives for all of eternity!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday Randomness

A lot has transpired for me in the past week. My Dad has been healed, we had a great service this weekend, and Dara and the kids have left for a few days of vacation at her parents house.

I have spent my time since Sunday trying to get lots of things organized and caught up. I have been listening to some good audio sermons while I am working at the office. My goal is to have everything put in its proper place before the family arrives at the end of the week.

This weekend we are looking at How to Bless our Children and I am excited! It is so easy to just police them, all the time and not spend time blessing and encouraging them. We miss so much from the OT by not really living the Sabbath as Jesus did. They was a whole course of blessings that took place the night of the Sabbath.

Next weekend is our Communion Sunday. Take some time in the next two weeks to prepare your heart and mind for receiving the Lord's Supper together as a body. It is an amazing time fo celebration together!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Miracle

God performed a miracle literally in my dads heart. After at least 5 tests in a few days all shoing blockage, the bottom of his heart not functioning, and some valve damage, the doctor went in Monday morning with a heart cath.

The doctor came out of the cath stunned. He said the only way he could explain what has happened is that there tests were false positives... Now I dont know about you, but if 5 for 5 tests can be wrong, at the hospital, I am not sure if I want any tests ran on me.

EKG, echocardiograms, ultrasounds, and stress tests some ran more than once. Now all are "false positives," but I am confident that sometime in the night on Sunday God healed my dad.

Praise God for his healing mercies. He is home and doing well, right now!

Thank you for all who prayed. Again Prayer Makes A Difference!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Update on my Dad

I just got off the phone with my mom, and they are taking my dad to the ER. He said it feels like someone is stabbing him in the back.

Thanks for your prayers.

Blog Break

I will be away from a real internet connection for a few days. My dad is having some heart issues and after church I am going to be with him for a few days while he has a heart cath, and potentially some other procedures. The cardiologists have said that the bottom half of his heart is not functioning and he has some valve issues as well.

He had a major heart attack a couple weeks ago and still is having some complications with that. He is up and moving around and things, but he is not supposed to do anything to stress his heart. He has a nitro spray, that doesnt leave his side.

I would ask you to pray for him and mom as well. Actually my whole family.

I will try to find a computer or coffee shop or something to give you an update ASAP.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Getting ready for the weekend

A couple quick things to bring everyone up to speed.

1. Colin has strep throat, so that has rearranged some things for us. But he is recovering well.

2. I dreamed (dreamt I thought was correct but the spell check said no) of the Baptism and Bar-B-Que coming up. It was awesome. You are going to love it, dont miss the baptism coming on September the 9th at Lake Panorama. If you haven't been baptized since you have believed this is the time to do it.

3. Prayer team is about to take a step up. I have a Prayer Team Leader we are just about ready to announce. She has some great ideas about prayer and making sure every ministry is covered with consistent intercessory prayer. We also are looking at having some printed answered prayers in the bulletin on a weekly basis.

4. Theater number 11 is coming. We are moving to the largest theater in the complex in September. Invite a friend to Chase the Lion. It is going to be great!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fasting

If you have been reading my blog, you will notice that we are wanting to do some fasting as a church. I mentioned last week about the Daniel fast. It is great. I am getting ready to fast again real soon.

Here is an excerpt from an email I got earlier today...

"I can't believe how much closer I feel to God - I realize its hardly a sacrifice compared to others, but I've never really done anything like this before. Yesterday I felt a little shaky with low blood sugar and instead of rushing home to eat snacks, I prayed and it was different than usual praying - its hard to describe, but it I felt a lot more powerful over my bodily urges than I ever have before. Anyway, I wanted to share my gratitude for recommending the fast..."

God is working on our behalf. Please consider the Daniel Fast soon for the fall growth of our church and your personal spiritual development.

What a weekend

Just wanted to post a second about a great weekend.

Front to back I felt like God was really with us and several got some help. Worship was off the chain. Didnt you love the "He has made me glad" song? I love to sing scripture. God is our strength, our strong tower, deliver and our ever present help in time of need. Simply amazing.

We had 133 in service. We are busting at the seams. The transition to theater 11 is going to be so helpful. I cant wait. We just need everyone to move to the center to leave room for guests and those who trickle in a few minutes late... :)

More people signed up for the baptism in September. Wasn't that video awesome! I will attempt to load it up later tonight. We are up to about 16 right now!

I know that the teaching from God's word about the lie "I am not good enough" was helpful. Several people received some healing.

Here are a few comments from Sunday:

"You have know idea how much I needed to hear that" with tears in his eyes...

and another...
"I have only been coming two weeks, and have in the past been an accuser of the brethren, but this is going to change my life..."

Remember its God's plan for all to know Him. Lives are being changed weekly at JCFC.

Please continue to pray.