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It was quite the weekend for me.  Friday and Saturday, I was up at Victory Mountain Camp for The NC East Youth Fall Rally.  I had to leave early to speak at Liberty Wesleyan’s fall revival.  Matt Beasley was the speaker at Fall Rally.  He’s chasing his lion here.  I am still a little sore from playing back to back Flag Football games.  Can I just say that the “Official” NFL Flag Football set flags were terrible.  Started out with 20 and ended up with 12.  That’s after only a few games.  After my performance, you would think that I  couldn’t catch a cold, but I did.  I’m pretty sure there are too many comma’s in that last sentence.  Heading to the Apple store in Greensboro because my Ipod Touch won’t work unless it is plugged in.  I’m pretty sure they’re going to claim water damage on a device that hasn’t even been near any.  Hopefully, they can fix or replace it and I will have as great an experience with them as I have with Verizon the past few weeks.  Those people have given us A+ service on a couple of things.  People always talk about the mistakes and stuff.  I just want to give credit where it’s due and if Apple comes up big today…they’ll get props too.  I appreciate all the prayers for the revival I’m speaking at at Liberty Wesleyan.  Awesome day yesterday and loved hanging with the Wards!  Hope everyone has a great week.  Take lots of Vitamin C and drink that water!

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Sorry this video is so shaking. I’m just too excited!

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The past week and a half has been a whirlwind.  Situations, planned and unplanned, have been a source of stress for me and my family.  There have been a lot of “rubber meets the road” ministry opportunities.  Nothing was covered in any class, seminar, or training that have ever been to.  It has made me painfully aware of the grip that sin has on our small town.  I have mentioned before the sense of oppression here.  That things are never going to get better.  That things are the way they are and that’s the way it is.  I have seen and heard things recently that literally blow my mind as to how Satan is attacking out town, our children, and our families.  Stuff you hear on the news is hitting right here at home.  Too often, there is a “no worries” attitude about it all.  I think I want to call it “Bible Belt-itis.”  We live in an area where everyone “goes” to church or knows someone who “goes” to church or used to “go” to church.  This is American Christianity in a nutshell.  It’s like getting your oil changed.  Get it done every once and a while at the cheapest and fastest place you can find and everything will be alright.  The Bible talks very plainly about people who don’t tithe, aren’t active as the body of Christ, sin freely, spend foolishly, engage in sexual immorality, neglect their families, and speak with untamed tongues.  It says those people are lost, foolish, heathen, will not inherit the kingdom of God(Galatians 5:19-21), and are to be chased after like a lost sheep, coin, and son(Luke 15).  I am taking a hard look in the mirror today.  Am I doing enough to shed the love and light of Christ in this town?  What price am I willing to pay to see all 2,000 residents won to the Kingdom of Christ?  You cannot actively rebel against the will of God and be a Christian.  You can’t be living in sin and expect to see the gates of Heaven, pearly or not.  I am too tired and too old to be beating around the bush in regards to the sin that has overcome so many people I know and love.  I want to be a little more like Peter and little less like a pansy.  So, to everyone in Denton, if you’re looking for a youth pastor who’s cool with your kid never having their Bible with them…I’m not your guy.  If you’re fine with your sons looking at porn on the family computer with no accountability…can’t help you.  If it’s okay with you that your daughter dresses like she just walked off of the set of MTV’s Spring Break-Out…sorry.  If you’re looking for someone to cry with you when your child, whom you’ve never modeled the Christian life for or tried to seriously engage with Jesus through an active church youth group, turns up pregnant, drugged up, dropped out, alcoholic, porn addict with an STD you can’t pronounce then I will be happy to hold your hand, answer the “how” question bluntly, and do everything within the power God gives me to see you and your child redeemed by the blood of Christ.  This afternoon, I will be making phone calls.  I will be laying it on the line with lots of kids.  God, forgive me for not doing and being this sooner.  What’s that smell?  Smells like a Revolution to me.  Who’s with me?

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1.  Most people remember Patrick Swayze dancing vs. Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live.  That’s one of my favorite episodes of all time.  From start to finish each sketch was great.  When he and Dana Carvey did the dueling Latin singers’ infomercial.  Please tell me that’s on youtube.  He wasn’t in a lot of movies, but several stand out over time.  I’ve never seen the Outsiders, but now that’s on my to see list.  I still think of Red Dawn when a strange plane flies overhead.

2.  Excuse me Mr. West, but do you know how to tell if an apology is sincere?  If you don’t pull a stunt like that again.  This is not the first time he’s brought an awards show to a stop.  It’s may be hard to spell Kanye, but not D-I-V-A.

3.  What Joe Wilson did was wrong?  Dude, you cannot shout down the President of the United States in the Capital.  Are you serious?  Whether you agree with his sentiment or not, the behavior can’t be excused.  The good thing that has come out of the 2 previously mentioned events is this mashup video.  I’ve heard many on the right come to Wilson’s defense because of the way George W. Bush was treated many times.  2 wrongs don’t make a right.  However, anyone who uses Wilson’s outburst and this weekend’s Tax Reform March on Washington as examples that American civility has reached an all-time low don’t know a lot about American history.  Ever heard of the Burr-Hamilton duel?

4.  The fact is that, at it’s very core, politics is devisive.  Too many times, legislative victory is impossible without compromise and there are some values that must always be uncompromising.  Politics forces you to pick sides.  Independent?  Then you’re on a side.  Politics puts people in categories and voting blocks which somehow seems to go against the concept of all men being created equal.  There will always be a need for policy, but not for the manuvering and back room deals that too often accompany it.  As long as there are politicians and talking heads seeking to divide us into these groups then this will always be a divided country.

5.  Sadly, churches have tended to pick sides in these political battles.  While there a values and principles that we must not waver on we have been to quick to attach our status and stature with one party or the other.  Instead, the church should be about showing people what we have in common.  Mainly, that we’re all lost without a Savior.  Whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, English or Spanish speaking, Yankee or Southerner, prep or redneck, employed or unemployed there is a God sized hole in the soul that can only be filled and satisfied by knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Both men have apologized and seem to be sincere.  Hopefully, Kanye will learn to walk how “Jesus Walks” instead of storming onto and off a stage and Joe Wilson will learn to speak the truth in love instead of shouting, “You Lie!” at the president.

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Lets say you’re trying to build a team.  You have some young people on the team who are getting some much needed experience.  While your team is not enjoying much success you feel that this experience will pay off in the long run.  In an effort to be succesful now you bring in two industry veterans who have a track record of not making any teams better and whose presence will stunt the growth of the young people you’ve invested time and money in.  This is how the Memphis Grizzlies do business and why they will never be a good(let alone, great) team under the current leadership.  Here they have a great young nucleus, but instead of letting them develop over time they decide to bring on Allen Iverson and Zach Randolph, two notorious ball hogs and chemistry killers.  I find myself scratching my head over these decisions, but then I remind myself,”This is the Grizzlies.”  What’s this got to do with anything useful I might have to say?  Too many times, I’ve seen churches, organizations, and universities scrap long range plans by trying to hit a home run with a big name.  Again, too many times, no consideration is given to how the new person will fit into the organization.  Let’s say you bring in someone to your organization whose been very successful in their area of expertise, but have no idea how to work or deal with the people on your team.  That spells disaster faster than you can say “Bad PR.”  Even if you’re bringing them in to overhaul a certain area(which may be desperate for it) you’ve got to give consideration to how it affects the entire team, church, organization, etc.  Knowing when and how to do all of this is a mark of good(or poor) leadership.  End up on the wrong side of these kind of decisions too many times and you could find yourself shopping yourself out to anyone who will take you.  Unless, those in authority over you are clueless themselves and have no qualms with you running their organization into the ground.  In that case, you’ll enjoy a long run with the Memphis Grizzlies or …um, other organizations I know.

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Here’s a post from over 2 years ago.  Ironic that we just finished painting the youth room in Denton.  Anyway, here’s what was going on in my life 2 years ago.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Beginnings

Current mood:  tired

I write this in the kitchen of the house we have just moved into.  We are renting(for now) and praying that the Lord provides the money to buy.  I don’t know whose wireless internet connection I’m using, but thanks.  I’ll get my own this weekend.  Before I get into serious matters, only a woman would choose to move into a house without tv capabilities the day before NFL Kickoff.  Maybe I can bootleg some cable too.  Today has been a day of what could’ve beens.  I don’t like those days.  I am being made to feel, unintentionally I hope, by some people that I may have been the biggest roadblock to numerical growth at my former job.  99% of the people I talk to are concerned with what’s going on with us right now.  The other 1% seems to call to tell how great things are now that we’re gone.  I want things to be great.  I want God to do amazing things.  I don’t even think these people know that the way they are conveying information to me makes me feel like a big ole pile of poop.  But, it does.  Never in my entire ministry have I needed my creativity more than I do now.  It just ain’t there.  I have a 450 square foot youth center that I can do anything I want with.  The only problem is that funding is limited.  Already we have a stinking huge TV and someone donated an 8 channel mixer.  We’ve got a ping pong table, pool table, and foosball table that we don’t really have room for(well, it’s them or room for people).  So, here’s my dilemma.  How do I make a cool room with enough space for people to sit while maximizing my resources?  My brain doesn’t even work to pick out colors.  I am so desperate that I am blogging about it after hours of prayer.  Actually, I think this blog is a prayer.  A reminder to God that I’m where He placed me.  A reminder that it’s His kingdom to build.  All I have to offer is a 460 square foot two car garage and a bunch of people who are willing to paint and work.  What’s weird is I’m trying to get people to see that this is only a temporary solution.  I want them to dream about a new Family Life Center.  I want them to realize that this isn’t our destination, but a pit stop.  So, there you have it.  Would it be nice to have the money to go out and buy a bunch of stuff?  Absolutely, and I would do it in a heartbeat.  But that’s not where we’re at in our journey.  No, God is stretching us.   Some days it feels like we’re going to snap, but I know that one morning i am going to wake up and the light bulb is going to come on again in the creative side of my brain.  Then, it’s on.  Gates of hell shall not prevail kind of stuff.  Can’t put a price on that.

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My First Fantasy Football draft I had a specific strategy.  I would draft players to fill all my starting positions(Quarterback, 2 Running Backs, 2 Wide Receivers/TightEnds, Defense/Special Teams, and Kicker) before drafting bench players.  I would also have a sub for each position.   This strategy worked as I won the championship that year.  I used the same strategy the next year and made it to the finals.  I didn’t tweak the strategy much for several years.  My thinking was:  it’s more important to draft someone who will actually be scoring points than someone who will be on the bench.

A few years ago, I read a Fantasy Football article that blew this strategy out of the water.  The thinking was that it’s better to draft RB’s and WR’s for your bench because, for the most part,(after the top 3 or 4) TE’s, K’s, and Def’s are a dime a dozen.  I started drafting these 3 positions in the last 3 rounds and not having a sub for any of them.  RB’s and WR’s are liable to score more points or have a breakout season.  You can always drop an unproductive RB or WR and pick up a TE, K, or DEF when a bye week hits.  I crack up when I see guys draft multiple TE’s, K, and DEF early in drafts while I’m getting productive RB’s and WR’s.  Now, what does this have to do with church leadership?

First, there should be no bench players in the church.  How are we choosing our leaders and are we putting them in the right place where there strengths will shine through?  Or, are we selecting niche leaders instead of strong leaders?  Are we putting the person who can weave baskets in leadership simply because we want to find a place for them?  Is our church even strategic enough to know what kind of leaders we need and what we’re looking for them to do?  Sometimes, we pick leaders because of their last name or who invited them.  Are we picking people to fill a spot or we actually looking for those who will contribute to the mission and vision of our church/ministry?  Sometimes, I think we are totally unprepared when a new leader emerges.  We are not ready to cultivate and empower them for ministry so that initial burst of enthusiasm goes away.  We have got be more prepared to harness that enthusiasm and have the strategies in place so leaders/volunteers can find that place where they can serve with passion and purpose.  Many people spend their lives going through the motions.  The last thing they want to do is volunteer, lead, or serve in a capacity that doesn’t challenge, stretch, and empower them in their faith.  So, who are you going to draft and who needs to be removed from your team?

If you liked this post post check out:

1.  Your Whole Life is a Fantasy Camp.

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