Sunday, June 29, 2008


I had a great birthday this year. My wife made me her world famous pancakes for breakfast which was a huge treat, not only because they are absolutely delicious but also because since we've been on our hallelujah diet there isn't much room for cheating. Than my wife surprised me by having a sitter all set up for us to have the morning all to ourselves to go shopping. My wonderful parents and in-laws sent me some money to buy a new wardrobe. As a result of this new lifestyle my wife has us on I have dropped around forty pounds so I basically have no clothes that fit me. Spending money that was gifted to me for the purpose of buying new clothes helped me overcome the guilt I usually feel over spending money on myself. Besides the clothes that I bought my wife, Pam, got me some wonderful gifts for my birthday. To close out my birthday we went to Calastoga with our good friends Jamin and Vicky and our kids. We had a great time relaxing and watching our kids run a muck throughout the restaurant, luckily there was no one there to judge us on our parenting skills...I had some time yesterday to reflect back on some of the highlights from this past year and to think through some of my hopes and prayers for the year to come. So here are a few...


* Trip to Israel
* Family vacation with the kids and friends
* Weekend in the Keys (first time alone without the kids)
* Moving into our new church facility
* Walk Now for Autism event

Prayers for the Upcoming Year...

* Healing for our little guy Max
* Trip to New York with Pam to catch a Yanks game in their new stadium
* Another Summit Campus

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great Friends

Last night my small group and some other great friends threw me a surprise birthday party. My birthday is actually on Saturday, but my group turned our social night into a surprise party for me. I got to tell you that I felt truly blessed. It was a fun time, just eating and laughing and poking fun out the poor souls who were brave enough to do karaoke. As I was sitting around last night I was thinking at how blessed I am to have such great friends. I think at times we can take for granted the relationships that God has blessed our lives with. I looked around the room and I could honestly say that every person in the room has always demonstrated genuine love, concern and support for me and my family and for that I am truly grateful. Sure, some of my friends are goofy, sure some of them are ego maniacs, sure some of them smell...but seriously they all are wonderful people. (I put that last sentence in there because I know some of my friends read these ramblings, so I figured I would make them think about who I could be referring to...I'm just kidding.) Anyway, it was a great evening and a great way to kick-off my birthday weekend. One of the coolest things is that my friends chipped in and got me a most generous gift card to the Trek store. So today I will be getting the much needed supplies that I need to get my bike back on the road and my training for the duathalon back on track. God is good and He demonstrates that goodness in so many different ways. One of those ways is through our relationships, so if you have some great friends, thank God for them and take the time to thank those special people in your life as well. God Bless!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Because You say so...

What I love about the Bible is that regardless how many times you read a particular piece of Scripture or a specific story God can still illuminate your mind and heart to something new.
Currently God has been revealing so much to me through His Truth. I told my buddy, Jamin, last night that I am just enjoying reading the Scriptures, I know that sounds absolutely stupid coming from a pastor, but unfortunately one of things that I fall into, because I am a pastor is reading the Word for the purpose of a sermon, or an answer to someone's question instead of simply for the purpose of communing with the Creator of the universe.

In this season, I have made a conscious decision to truly read the Word for all that its worth. I have even paced back my other reading, which I do enjoy to truly focus on the Scriptures. This morning I was reading a very familiar story to many. It is found in Luke chapter 5 where Jesus calls His first disciples. Jesus is teaching a long the Lake of Gennesaret and a huge crowd was forming. Along the shore were some fisherman and Jesus asked one of them to row Him out away from the shore so that He could teach the people from the boat. Once He was done speaking he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything..."
There were a couple of things that caught my heart and mind this morning as I read this text.
Fishing was a common trade back then and it was really hard work, so Simon's initial push back was understandable. Jesus we've already tried and to be honest I'm tired, I'm beat, why don't we save it for another day. All of that would be perfectly understandable, but what I love is what Simon says just after his initial response..."But because You say so, I will let down my nets." Did you catch that? Simon initially says, I really don't want to, but because of who YOU are Jesus I will. What a beautiful picture of obedience.

Obedience is truly one of the most important keys to the Christian life. Obedience has nothing to do with how I feel, or what I think, or how I see the situation, it is all wrapped up in understanding who is in control of my life and who is the One that is making requests of it. I began to think about how much stronger my walk with Christ would be, how much greater my service to the Kingdom would be, how much more effective I would be as a husband and a father if this could truly be my daily moment by moment response, "because You, Jesus, say so, I will___________!"(just fill in the blank) I began to reflect on some things that maybe Jesus has called me to do that I haven't yet, because I am too busy giving Him the list of reasons why I don't want to...but we all know that delayed obedience is still disobedience! I am praying that the Lord would help me to live in this fashion and mindset every day. I pray that God is constantly shaping and molding my heart to say yes to Him, regardless of the request...because YOU say so, I will! That's my prayer, and if by chance you've stumbled across this blog I pray that will be your prayer as well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Houses of Hope

A little over a month ago, the Leadership Team at Summit felt like God was leading us to respond to the need in Mynamar where the devestating cyclone hit. Through a connection that one of our staff members had we were able to connect with a missionary there that runs an orphange. Their orphangae had been severely damaged by the cyclone. We prayerfully decided to challenge our people to hear from God and respond. That Sunday we decided to give our entire offering to help. Through God's grace and the generosity of the people at Summit over $70,000 was collected and given to the ministry Houses of Hope. Today we received a letter from that ministry...God is good!

June 18, 2008

Dear Pastors and Summit Members:

I wish to thank you for the generous offering you sent for HOHI Yangon. With these funds you have played a vital role in securing the future of our twenty six HOHI children who are cared for by their house parents Samuel and his wife Mercy. Since the cyclone struck many more children have been orphaned, because of your gift it is now possible to offer refuge to some of these children. I am happy to announce that four more boys have been added to the HOHI Yangon family and we expect the Lord to add more. So much has happened in the last month, Samuel has purchase over an acre of property, had designs completed for future permanent structures. In addition a two hundred foot deep water well is being dug along with the constructing a water containment system which will hold enough clean drinking water to meet their needs. Because of your gift the children will now know the safety and the comfort that electricity can bring, for many of them for the first time in their lives. Your partnership is greatly appreciated and with your permission we have renamed HOHI Yangon and now refer to this home as “Summit Church HOHI Yangon” May the Lord richly rewards you.

Thank You!

Vincent Deletto
Executive Director


One of the great gifts my wife and kids got me for Father's Day is the book "Cinderella, The Love of a Daddy and His Princess" written by Steven Curtis Chapman. Many of you know that a month ago Steven lost one of little girls in a tragic accident. As I began to read this book my heart broke. Steven wrote this book a while ago before the tragedy. In this book Steven recounts some of the precious moments that he has had with his little girls. In the introduction he explains how God had arrested his heart and had reminded him to capture and enjoy all the moments that he has been given with his children. To enjoy every smile, every laugh and to maximize every moment with his kids. That revelation stirred his heart to write a song to his little girls entitled "Cinderella" and to write this book. I don't think Steven ever imagined that months later he would lose one of his precious little girls. I am not exactly sure why God allows things like this to happen, but I know that He is sovereign and I know that even when we can not understand His ways we can trust His heart. My prayers go out to Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. I pray that the nearness of God continues to be their strength during this time and I do pray that God would some how bring comfort, peace and joy to their hearts and lives.

I can't help but to read this book and pray, "Lord help me to maximize every moment. May I never become so distracted by ministry that I lose sight of the larger call you have placed on my life and that is the call of husband and father." It may be easy to say that we will not miss a minute or a squander away opportunities for life long memories, but our lives do get cluttered and we do get distracted. That is why it is so important to ask God to help us and convict us to not just be present but to be there in each of the precious moments that we get to enjoy our kids. I leave you with a verse from Steven Curtis Chapman's song...

"Oh I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song 'cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What do you smell like?

Odor is a big one likes to be told they smell. Odor can be welcoming or it can be so offensive that people will want to stay away. There is an interesting piece of Scripture that I was reading this morning found in 2 Cor. 2:14-17

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

Isn't it great that we have a God who is leading us in triumphal procession over the ruler of this world. It should be a sobering thought that God in His grace chooses to use us as an aroma of His great fragrance that extends to this world. Now to some that fragrance will be sweet and to those who continue to reject the Truth of the Gospel that fragrance can seem like the stench of death! May we be people who speak with sincerity and who understand and respect the fact that we represent a holy God who is worthy of all honor. So, seriously "what do you smell like?" It maybe a good day to take a spiritual inventory and ask God to examine your heart today. Ask Him to see if there be any offensive, smelly, dirty, rotten things that need to be thrown out and cleaned up. Ask Him to forgive, and renew those areas. Remember He is faithful and just to forgive. That's what God laid on my heart to do this morning. Just a rambling thought.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What is the Gospel?

Yesterday we had a staff planning. We are working hard at clarifying our mission, vision, values, outcomes, spiritual formation and strategy. We truly believe that this coming year is going to be a significant one for our ministry here at Summit. The work of refining our mission and vision is a laborious one, but a much needed exercise that we must stay committed to. Yesterday we worked hard on going through our mission statement and making sure we truly can articulate it, not just state it. We went through word by word and made sure that we could define and explain each term found in our mission statement.
"Summit Church exist to glorify God by presenting the Gospel to every man, woman and child and connecting them into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ and with others."

We had a great discussion on the Gospel. What is the Gospel? There seems to be very little understanding of what the Gospel is in the American Church. Sure the Gospel is "the good news", but it seems that across the country we have watered the Gospel down to praying a prayer that will keep you from going to hell. Is that all the Gospel is? Maybe that is one of the primary reasons there isn't greater movement for the cause of Christ in this country, because we have tons of churches who get people to pray a prayer, but not fully embrace the fullness of the Gospel. This morning I found it interesting that on John Pipers' website that on the home page they had an excerpt from one of his old sermons on what is the Gospel. I copied it below. It's worth a read. John Piper is an incredible expositor and anointed teacher. I'm still working through the five points but I learn so much from his teaching of God's Word and his writings. Enjoy! Just another rambling.

What's the Gospel?
What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.
The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.
That’s the gospel.

You Can't Outgrow the Gospel
You never, never, never outgrow your need for it. Don’t ever think of the gospel as, “That’s the way you get saved, and then you get strong by leaving it and doing something else.” No! We are strengthened by God through the gospel every day, till the day we drop. You never outgrow the need to preach to yourself the gospel.

How the Gospel Strengthens
Here’s an illustration, and I use it not because it’s any big deal to speak from my life, but because it’s what I walked through and where I most pointedly in the last year experienced the power of the gospel to make me strong. (Many of you are walking through things much heavier than prostate cancer—much heavier.) Do you remember the verses that I shared with you back in February that were almighty for me? It was that moment right after the doctor says, “I think we need to do a biopsy,” when this stab of fear comes. It didn’t last long, mercifully.
And then came—what? 1Thessalonians 5:9-10. It’s just as pure gospel as you can get.
God has not destined you for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,who died for you so that whether you wake or sleep you will live with him.
Settled. Peace like a river.

The Gospel Is Perfect for Your Needs
That’s just gospel—perfectly timed, perfectly applied, perfectly suited to my need. That’s why the Bible is so thick—because there are so many different needs that you have. And there are suitable places where the gospel is unfolded for you, so that if you immerse yourself in the whole book, always with an eye for what Christ has wrought for you and purchased for you in this thick, glorious history of God’s interaction with people, he will give you what you need.
Therefore, everything in me says, and I hope to say until the day I die, “Now, to him who is able to strengthen me, according to Paul’s gospel, to him—to that God—be glory forever and ever.” God came into history in Jesus Christ; he died in order to destroy the power of hell and death and Satan and sin; and he did it through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Plea to Believe
I know that there are people reading this who are not trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation. So I’m just going to plead with you here at the end, lay down that rebellion. Lay it down. And simply embrace the gospel that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Righteous One, died for your sins. He was raised on the third day, triumphant over all his enemies. He reigns until he puts all of his enemies under his feet. Forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God comes freely through him alone, by faith alone.
I plead with you, don’t try to be strong in your own strength; it will not be there when you need it. Only one strength will be there—the strength that God gives according to the gospel.
Don’t put it off.
[This text is an edited transcript of the audio. It is excerpted from the sermon, “
God Strengthens Us by the Gospel.”]

Monday, June 9, 2008

Great Gift

So my wife and I received the greatest anniversary gift on Sunday from a young lady who has become like our third adopted child. Erin took our two munchkins, Max & Emily, to the park the other day and had a photo shoot with them. Erin's friend, Ashley, is a professional photographer and she does amazing work. If you get a chance check out her website at http://ad.speakphotography .com. The pictures of Max and Emily turned out awesome. Pam and I were so surprised and blessed by the gift. I am truly a blessed man. These two kids are such a joy for Pam and I and they fill our lives with laughter and unbelievable memories. These pictures help to capture a little of their personality, spunk and spirit. God is so good!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Service to the Gospel

I was reading 2 Corinthians 8 today and a short little verse jumped out to me. We have been threatening for quite some time here at Summit that we are going to teach through the book of Corinthians; it hasn't happened yet, but I hope it does. In 2 Corinthians 8 the apostle Paul is giving some instructions to the church at Corinth concerning the fact that he was going to be sending Titus to them. Well in verse 18 he writes...And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. I love that! I am not sure who this brother is that Paul is referring to, but I love that he is known for his service to the Gospel. What a great thing to be known for.

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege of having Bob Roberts with us (if you haven't read his book Transformation or The Multiplying Church, you have got to get those two books today. A must read) . Bob Roberts posed two questions to us: Is the Gospel planted in the heart of an individual strong enough to bring about transformation? Second, is the Gospel when firmly planted in the community strong enough to bring about change? They're not trick questions. The answer of course is yes. The Gospel is the power of God Paul wrote in Romans. So what's the problem. The problem is, you, and all those who have called on the name of Christ who fail to truly realize that fact each day of our lives. One of the reasons we fail could be that we are running around trying to be known for so many other things and in the pursuit of those things we have neglected our responsibility to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today maybe a good day to take a spiritual inventory of what you are doing with the greatest gift ever given to humanity, Jesus Christ. Let's not waste it and may we strive to be known for our service to our Great King and His Gospel that has the power to set every man, woman and child free from the grip and penalty of sin! Just another rambling. God Bless You!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blessed by My Mom

Yesterday my mom celebrated her 68 birthday. I called her last night to wish her a happy birthday and we had a great talk. It was awesome to hear her recount the greatest memories that she has of her life. At the top of the list was her decision to trust Christ at the age of 17. I loved to hear her explain that though her life has never been easy God has always been faithful. God had always provided and had always brought her peace even in the midst of the most difficult of situations. It was such a great reminder for me. I have such tremendous respect for my mom. She has worked hard her entire life and she has been through so much yet she continues to persevere. I have learned so much by her example and her authentic faith in Jesus Christ. Though she is small in stature her life has spoken loudly to me and to countless others. My mom never held a high paying job or held any position of high recognition, but she strived every day to live her life for the glory of God and in the end that is all that really matters. One of the things that my mom shared with me last night was that she hoped that after she was gone that we, her kids, could look back and truly say that mom loved us and did all she could to bring and offer the best to us. I quickly reassured her that she had no reason to worry about that. I know that both my brother and sister would say that our mom truly did a wonderful job of providing, loving and caring for us. After I hung up the phone I could not help but to evaluate my life as a father and although I am really early into this dad thing, it's never to soon to be thinking about the job I am doing in providing, loving, caring and leaving a legacy of godliness and true faith. I pray that God continue to shape me into the man, father, and husband that he has called me to be. I pray that my kids would see Christ in me not just hear about him from my lips, and I pray that as my mom had stayed faithful to the call I would too. Just some random ramblings...God Bless!