Thursday, January 31, 2008

City Wide Church

Had a great lunch today with several pastors in the city. There is a movement beginning here in Des Moines to do some city wide mens groups. Each church is partnering together to help men become real men. Ed Nichols from Hope has had God dealing with him about this for quite some time.

We have been using Men's Fraternity this year, specifically "The Quest for Authentic Manhood." It has been great.

This new para-church ministry will be loosely based around Mens Frat and linking lay leaders from different denominations, ethnicities, and age groups together. I think it is going to change the face of Des Moines.

Super Pumped.

Greatest quote from the day was from Michael Hurst from Elim Fellowship.

"The largest church in this city are the people who don't go"

That should do something to us.

God stir me, move me, break me, help me to see this city with your heart.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Creek Kids Addition

Lisa Little is getting ready to rock our younger kids in our Creek Kids department. We are dividing the current structure this weekend. Lisa will be taking the the 3 year old through kindergarten kids. She has an awesome curriculum plan laid out that kids and parents both will love.

We have been praying for this opportunity for quite some time now. Lisa is perfect for this ministry. She has a degree in early ed and loves to teach.

We are still looking for the perfect name for this new addition. Any suggestions?

This weekends video

Check out this video of Sophia. She did such a great job. I video is just a touch dark, but check out how powerful it is!

Curse of Knowledge

How many of you know this song?

Bum,badum, dum, dum, dum. Bumbadum, dum, dum, dum. Bumdadum, dum, dum, dum, Bum badum, dum, dum dum.

Easy right? One of the most commonly known songs in the world.

Guess it yet? Happy Birthday.

It seamed really easy for me, but I was singing it in my head, as I typed it. Try is with someone, pound out the beat to someone on a table and see if they know it.

99% of people wont, yet it seems so easy in our minds.

The curse of knowledge. We do this in the church all the time. In our minds it sounds like service was great. Or the terms we use, we expect everyone to know. Or when we expect everyone to know that song we have sang 20 times, when its their first time in a church. Or when we as pastors say, we all know the story of ________. When sometimes we dont all know.

Lets examine what we do with believers, and unbelievers alike.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sad state of affairs

Erwin McManus weighs in on Why Churches are Declining in America…

“My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them.”

While that is a part of most every church in the nation, that is not the reason we have church. Jesus didnt come for the spiritually healthy. He didnt come for the religious crowd. HE came for those who need Him.

It is our focus to be a place where unconnected people can connect with God. We exist as a church body, not to just Hi-Five our Christian buddies. No, we exist to help people become fully devoted followers of Christ.

Whether they have some church background, none, or are disenfranchised with the church for whatever reason, I believe that God has placed JCFC right in the heart of the marketplace for this reason. I have had email after email in the past two weeks about what God is doing in people's lives. It is awesome.

We are gearing up for a series starting in February called Larger Than Life. We are taking 4 weeks to discuss some basic spiritual growth principles. I know God is going to do something radical in all of our lives as we draw near to who He is during February.

We are going to do something never attempted in the History of JCFC. You wont want to miss Larger than Life.

Great Travel Agency

If you are needing to travel and need an agent, take a look at this guy Bryan! My wife took a trip in November and due to the writers strike a show was canceled. Bryan offered to refund my our money and took care of the details.

Bryan J. Stevenson, President
CCIS, Inc.
Group Travel Specialist Since 1993!
724.287.5333 (fax)
PO Box 1877
Butler, PA 16003

Grape Lady

I know most of you have seen this, but it makes me cry, I laugh so hard.

Just Listen to her,and remember the days as a kid whe you crashed your bike so hard you cant get your breath.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend Update

Another chilly Sub-zero day. I have to say, it was cold going out to start my truck early yesterday morning. Despite the freezing weather, we had a great service.

Dara and the band did a great job leading everyone in worship. It truly was good, and God was touching people! I love to look around and see people engaging with God. At the start of the sermon they covered the song Dirty Little Secret by the All American Rejects. They really did a great job, we have some really gifted musicians.

I spoke about Secrets, and how our life is like a fish bowl. If we dont let God do some routine maintenance we get full of algae and nasty on the inside. It is time to allow God to clean us from the inside out.

Great attendance with 8 new families! A few from the Article in Juice Magazine about the up and coming churches in Des Moines that we were featured in.

I am going to be blogging for Juice on a weekly basis along with a few other pastors in town as well. Going to be great.

I am off to take some food to the Bridge people at 80/35 and Hickman tonight. Its a cold snowy evening to be sleeping under the bridge.

Online Giving

Thank You to all who informed us that our Paypal link online was down. It is now up and running. If you would like to make an online donation or give your tithe you can doing so securely here.

I know many of you use the online giving each week and month, and we so appreciate it!

While you are there, go ahead use the e-invite tool to encourage a new guest to attend this weekend!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Confirmation that Joshua 25:1 is part of the canon

Take a look at this:

via by Kent Shaffer on 1/18/08

Children’s ministers and missionaries have been using clown ministry for years, but University of Sheffield researchers discovered that most children ages 4 to 16 dislike clown images. The research was an effort to find ways to improve healthcare environments for children and young people.

As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.
- Dr. Penny Curtis :: Researcher :: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth

Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd. Children are much more happy with things stuck on the wall that have some sort of personal relevance for them, not some images that are foisted upon them by adults.
- Patricia Doorbar :: Child Psychologist

I find Patricia Doorbar’s remarks particularly fascinating because she suggests that clowns are from an era that is no longer relevant to today’s children. Despite this, I am aware of some clown ministries that children do enjoy, but I wonder if they would be even more effective if they repackaged their look but kept the same techniques.

Random things

1. Apparently all the swimming techniques I have learned all my life are WRONG! I am training for this Tri and Chris my trainer, pretty much changed everything I do in the water.

-Did you know you are supposed to exhale the entire time your head is in the water!

2. On days like this, (wake up to like -8) you just wonder what it would be like to wake in say... Miami...

3. Apparently there is a button on my BlackBerry that changes all the keys to some Greek characters. Of course, I accidentally found it. And I dont know how to switch it back!

4. Ana did a great job cheering last night for the Des Moines Lions! It was her first time on the floor!

5. Tomorrow is going to be great. I am believing God to free some people from some past failures, and confessions. You wont want to miss it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Condition

As some of you know, I have a problem. Mark Main has "lovingly" labeled my misfortune with technology as a "condition."

It doesn't matter what I have or what I am near, I can break or cause a malfunction in electronic things. Just the other day I was trying to have my phone fixed at the AT&T store, talking about my Condition, when the card reader broke!

So needless to say, I was at the gym running away yesterday when my Ipod locked up. Not just locked up but eventually went to some diagnostic screen!

After messing with it for a half an hour, it revived...

But needless to say the Condition strikes again.


"Everyone carries a suitcase. How a man unpacks that suitcase determines his quality of life."
-Dr Robert Lewis

How are you unpacking your life? Do you need help? Why not join us as we journey through life together? You dont have to carry it all alone. You might even learn to set some of it aside.

This Sunday we are looking at Confessions. Invite a friend.

Quick thoughts

1. Totally jazzed about what God is doing in my life right now.

2. Can't wait to see what God is going to be doing in the life's of people in this community this year. The upcoming series are going to be great!

3. I am concerned about the many people who live under the bridges right here in West Des Moines? How many of you pass under 80/35 on Hickman everyday? Did you know that between 4-12 people live under that bridge each day? What impact is JCFC having on them?

4. This weekend and next is going to be great. This Sunday is the band is covering All American Rejects song, Dirty Little Secret. You wont want to miss it. Next Sunday is Daughtry "Its Not Over." Look for a great video testimony intermixed with the Sermon.

5. Invite a friend this week! Remember you are playing a part in helping someone recieve the life change God has blessed you with.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life group email

This is an excerpt from an email from one of our first time Life Group Leaders...

"I can not explain in words how lastnight was. As all of you know, God works in many ways and he has a plan for all us. I definetly know now that this is what I was suppose to do. I am still in awe today. This is exactly what I want and need to experience for me to grow closer to God. This is just after one night."

I love it, and so jazzed to see someone stepping out in faith that maybe pushes them a bit!

Everyone needs to get connected in a Life Group. You aren't going to want to miss this new trimester!

Remember as we grow larger we must grow smaller in Life Groups.

If you havent gotten connected yet contact Christian Walk today.

Lots Happening

I have had several meetings in the past few weeks getting things lined out for this upcoming year. I have to say I love to dream out loud. It is awesome to see God bringing dreams to reality that are even bigger than I could have dreamed.

Kevin Starkey is hitting it out of the park as our new Family Life Pastor. He has been working through all of our systems for Creek Kids and Baby Steps and has come to so great ideas. We are launching a 5th theater beginning in February for our kids ministry.

Lisa Little is going to be taking over the 3-Kindergarten age bracket, and she has some wonderful ideas to make it awesome for our kids. The whole idea is that they have a blast while they learn about who Jesus is!

Also be praying about direction for property for our church. We are looking at a few different places and just needing God to help us both with a decision and with finances.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Year Long Calendar

We were able to put the finishing touches on the year this morning. It is going to be an awesome year at JCFC. We multiple membership classes scheduled, Baptisms, events, and some really great sermon series layed out for all of us to grow together.

Be checking out the calendar in the next few days for lots of updates!

What a great feeling!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mentors Part 2

I think being mentored is one of the greatest things a leader can do. I have several other mentors that I meet with on a regular basis.

Being a mentor is as great or greater reward than being mentored!

I challenge everyone to be looking for someone who you can began to lead. It isnt something that takes hours of time from your week, but it can be life changing in someone's life. Begin to pray about who you can have influence with.

It doesnt have to be someone you are very close with, nor does it have be something that is "super spiritual" either.

As a mentor you need to make a list of what areas you have success or have excelled in. Use those talents and abilities that God has blessed you with. Bless someone else with that skill set.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mentors Pt 1

Three cheers for mentors!

Mens Fraternity last Thursday we discussed mentors. Dr Lewis talked about not only why we need mentors, but how they affect us, and how we can be one.

The interesting point is that a Father can only take his son so far. He is not objective, and often sees the flaws and areas that need improvement. That is no throw off on Dads, it just the way we are.

Mentors though see beyond that realm. The challenge you to go beyond your self. The push in a loving way, that makes you feel scared and accomplished at the same time. Love it.

So I was looking back over my life. Eugene Vincent was a guy I worked for in High School, and some in college. He ran a body shop on about 60 to 80 acres ( i think). My job was to learn how to be a body man. I loved it, it was dirty and dusty and probably shaved a few years off my life living in the fumes, but I learned so much.

The first couple hours of the day, I was supposed to take care of the farm. He had cattle and horses, a stud horse, a few hogs and lots of fence and barns to maintain. (I have since decided I dont like cattle or fences but none the less)

Gene never really told me exactly how to do any of the projects. He just told me the general idea of what needed to be done, gave me the proper tools, and said that I could do it.

I remember a few times, not really believing that I could do what he asked me, but again in a very confident way, he pushed me and them usually left me there to handle it.

He trusted me with things that were probably beyond me. He challenged me to grow. He pushed me to excel. And I thrived in it. I didnt make bags of money by any stretch, but I wouldnt trade those times for anything.

In a strange sort of way it made me a greater leader, because it developed a fearlessness in me like never before.

Thanks Gene for being a mentor and maybe not even knowing it.

New Week, New Month, New Me

Jazzed about this upcoming week. There is a lot on the plate, but great things.

A couple things I am working on this year for my family and the church.

1. I am saying no to the good things to be able to say yes to the great things

2. I m structuring time better this year. (it is so easy to over book appointments and not actually be able to deliver because of time crunch)

3. I am making sure my family is first. We are designating time each week to just be us, and guarding it like a pitbull. At the end of this thing, I want my kids to look back over their life and say I loved my Dad being the pastor of JCFC. Not it was terrible growing up as a preachers kid...

4. I am determined to make sure everyday my wife knows how much I love her. I also want everyone else to know that.

5. I am committed to being a better listener. It is easy for me to check out and be planning the next meeting or thing in my mind.

6. Vision, Vision, Vision.

7. I am competing in the the Des Moines Triathlon this year. I want to be successful in that. I am lowering my body fat percentage by 7% by the time of the event!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Ok for all you Flash Dance Maniacs, check this out!

God at the Billboards

I am at my office getting ready to head to the church, and thinking about this new Series. This is on eof my favorite series we do.

It is such an easy way to invite people to church. Today the Band is covering So Small by Carrie Underwood. I will be looking at Davids life and his perception of reality.

Perception is Not Reality.

See you soon!