Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guatemala Visit

I have been in Guatemala this week and I am looking forward to flying home later today. It is always tough to be away from my wife and kids and I am so grateful for a supportive wife who has always encouraged me in my pursuit of fulfilling God's call on my life. This aim of this trip was to see the ministry Living Water up close and to see some of the things that they are doing in the different regions of Guatemala. I hope to bring a group back in December and hopefully our college students during their Spring Break. I have really enjoyed my time here. I have been pretty impressed with what the ministry has accomplished here in this region and I have loved getting to know some of the missionaries on the ground here.

We have had the privilege to meet the vice mayor and the governor who are both strong believers. I was so impressed with their humility, fear of the Lord and their deep concern for the people of their country. Yesterday the vice-mayor took us to one of the poorest areas in which they are working hard to bring hope and relief to. I have been to several different places around the world and I have seen poverty up close, but it doesn't matter how many times you see it, it will still break your heart. It is always such a convicting thing. You are quickly brought face to face with how blessed we truly are and how clueless we are to the reality of how most of the world lives. In spite of the deep poverty we saw we found the people to be quite resilient and extremely friendly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Observations on Servant Leadership

Observations of Servant Leadership from the Life of Jesus
John 13:1-17

In these verses, Jesus reveals His heart and His mission. He proves to these men that He did not come to be served, but to serve, Mark 10:45. In showing Himself to be a servant of men, Jesus left us a vivid portrait of the kind of heart we are to have for others. In these verses, among other things, we will find out that God's will for our lives is that we learn to give ourselves in service to others.

#1. Servant Leaders are fully devoted to God & His mission. (v. 1)

Having given to them decisive and constant proofs of his love. This was done by his calling them to follow him; by patiently teaching them; by bearing with their errors and weaknesses; and by making them the heralds of his truth and the heirs of eternal life. He loved them unto the end. That is, he continued the proofs of his love until he was taken away from them by death.

#2. Servant leaders are confident in their God-given call & identity. (vv. 2-3)

We should note that the source of Jesus’ actions lay in His knowledge and security of who He was and where He was going (vs. 1-3). Jesus was completely aware of His sovereign authority, His origin, and coming destiny as He submitted and depended by faith in what the Father was doing (vv.1, 18).

Thus, in that confidence, He voluntarily took the place of a slave and washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus knew who he was—because he was SECURE in own IDENITY that he could bow to the lowest point of service.

#3. Servant Leaders are willing to be vulnerable. (v.4)

Why would vulnerability be important?

Where else in the Scriptures did Jesus show His vulnerability?

#4. Servant Leaders are engagers. (v.4-5)

Servant Leaders do not fall into the trap of “it’s not my job” deal…

In that culture the most demeaning task around was to wash the guest’s feet. This was job done by lowest slaves. It was necessary because people wore sandals did most of their travel by foot. They walked along trails that we not only dusty but also cluttered with camel and donkey dung.

#5. Servant Leaders seek to serve everyone God has placed in their path.

Jesus does not distance himself from Judas. Jesus does not point his finger at Judas and say to him, “How dare you—after all I’ve done for you?” Instead he loves him to the end. He does everything possible to bring Judas to repentance. He washes his feet with the same tenderness and affection that he gives the other disciples. Maybe that will soften Judas’ heart.

#6. Servant Leaders understand the power of leading by example.

If everyone in your organization or under your leadership acted like you and did what you did, what would your organization look like?

Paul said “follow me as I follow Christ”---does your example not your words proclaim that…

#7. Servant Leader inspire others to live on mission.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Week in Review...

I thought I would give a quick week in review, snapshots of some of the cool things that happened this week. These are in no specific order...hope you enjoy!

#1. My little queen bee, Emily, beginning the early stages of potty training. She hasn't actually made it to the toilet yet, but it is the cutest thing to watch her pulling at her diaper and yelling pottie...I am so thankful for my wife, she is an incredible mom! As a supportive husband I am just stepping aside and allowing my wife to take the lead on this one...what can say, I'm just that nice of a guy...

#2. The calls and emails of support that we received from the amazing people who make up Summit Church this week after a hard announcement that we had to share with them last weekend. It was yet another powerful reason why I feel so blessed to be a small part of this incredible ministry and wonderful body of people.

#3. Staying up late every night this week with my wife and watching the Olympics. It was a lot fun, but in some ways we are glad that it is over because we are quite tired.
#4. Today it was absolutely awesome to see all of our college students back and ready to take their campus for Christ. I am so excited to see what God does in and through the lives of our college students this year. I believe that this year will be one of the most effective years for our college ministry. I would ask you to join us in prayer for that.

#5. Tonight our high school ministry Crave had a scavenger hunt and I guess one of the high point items on their list was tee-peeing our home. Now I know what you're thinking how did this make the list? It's simple, it was yet another reason why I am thankful God called me out of youth ministry and the other reason is I can't wait to see the look on Bill's face tomorrow when I tell him he's fired...just kidding. Actually Bill is doing a great job leading our middle and high school ministry.

#6. My wife and I joined our good friends John and Kelly for dinner on Thursday night and we went to the new restaurant in Coconut Point Mall, Stir Fry. I am telling you it was awesome! It just might be better than PF Chang's and I love PF Chang's. The food is definitely not Hallelujah Diet friendly but it was worth the cheat. If you get a chance, give it a try. It just may make your tongue slap your brain, it's that good!
#7. Wednesday night was our last group meeting with our group. They will actually continue to meet, but Pam and I will be starting a new group in a few weeks. It was awesome to listen to the God stories and the things that God has taught us through our time together. Pam and I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity to share life with such great couples. We will definitely cherish the memories and the friendships that we have formed!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are You Serious...

A few months ago I blogged about Hillsong's new album and one of the amazing songs from that album entitled "Healer". It seems now that the writer and artist of that song who claimed to be dying of terminal cancer which inspired him to write the song is nothing but a fraud. The article below gives the specifics of this disappointing sham. If you would like to hear the song, which truly is a powerful song with a great message of hope, click on the link.

By Kim Wheatley August 21, 2008
* Pastor told congregation he had cancer
* Recorded hit song Healer to inspire people
* He's a fraud - but he's getting help

Not quite terminal ... Michael Guglielmucci, who preached about his battle against deadly cancer, is getting professional help after being exposed as a fraud. HE preached to thousands about his terminal illness and tugged at hearts with a hit song. The problem is the pastor wasn't dying at all. Michael Guglielmucci, who inspired hundreds of thousands of young Christians with his terminal cancer "battle", has been exposed as a fraud.

Guglielmucci, whose parents established Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church at O'Halloran Hill in Adelaide's southern suburbs, now is seeking professional help.
Earlier this year, Mr Guglielmucci released a hit song, Healer , which was featured on Sydney church Hillsong's latest album. The song debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts. It since has become an anthem of faith for believers, many of whom are suffering their own illness and were praying for a miracle for Mr Guglielmucci, who has claimed for two years to be terminally ill.
In one church performance that has attracted 300,000 hits on YouTube, he performs his hit song with an oxygen tube in his nose. It appears Mr Guglielmucci, who was a pastor with one of Australia's biggest youth churches, Planetshakers, may even have deceived his own family.

"This news has come as a great shock to everyone including, it seems, his own wife and family," Hillsong general manager George Aghajanian said in an email to his congregation yesterday.
"Michael has confirmed that he is not suffering with a terminal illness and is seeking professional help in Adelaide with the support of his family. We are asking our church to pray for the Guglielmucci family during this difficult time."

The Advertiser was told last night Mr Guglielmucci may release a statement on the situation.
The Australian Christian Church said Mr Guglielmucci's credentials immediately were suspended once he told the national executive that his cancer claims were "untrue".
"The national executive is taking this matter very seriously and is awaiting the results of medical tests before determining the full extent of the discipline that will be imposed upon him," vice president Alun Davies said.

"We are very concerned for the many people who have been or will be hurt by Michael's actions.
"We encourage all of our churches to pray for all those affected."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"IF" we confess...

I read a very familiar passage today, one that most Christians have memorized. Today however God gave me one of the jolts. The passage is 1 John 1:8-10. Most of us have memorized 1 John 1:9. It is one of those great promises that as children of God (we who have entered into this loving relationship through God's Son Jesus Christ) we hold on to: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

What an awesome God we serve. What an extension of grace He continuously offers to us and what a great exchange He extends. God says confess your sins, and I will forgive and I will purify because I am faithful. God's love and grace is all wrapped up in who He is. But why is it then that so many times for so many of us, we would rather do the work of trying to conceal our sin, justify our sin or better yet act as if we have no sin. I know that at different times in my own life I have fallen victim to these things. David said in Psalm 32 that "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away strength was sapped as in the heat of summer." It may seem natural in the flesh to conceal our sin, minimize it or justify it, but there are always huge ramifications when we do that. In 1 John 1 verse 8 it states that "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed are those whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit."

What good is quoting 1 John 1:9 if we don't live it out daily? At the point of confession and agreement with God is the place of power. What sin or sins are you working hard to keep concealed? What sin is it that you are still minimizing or justifying? What sin is it that you have not confessed and repented of yet? The first word in 1 John 1:9 is "IF"...If we confess. I pray for myself that I would daily answer and respond to the if and walk in the promise that God has made to me. Whatever sin is still out there lingering or limbo for you, my prayer is that you would experience the faithfulness of God today and you in turn could say as David did "Then I acknowledged my sin and did not cover up my iniquity. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. And you forgave the guilt of my sin." Just another rambling. God Bless!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First Duathlon

Today was an achievement of sorts for me as I competed in and completed my first duathlon. I didn't shatter any Olympic records or course records for that matter but I did beat the goal I had set for myself. It was a great time and a total adrenaline rush especially the last 5oo meters or so as everyone was sprinting towards the finish line and once again Jay was encouraging me on to finish strong. I have never liked running or biking but since last Christmas I have become hooked. The discipline of getting up at a god-forsaken hour in the mornings to get my runs or biking in has also helped me to stay disciplined in my time with the Lord which is far more important than any run or bike that I may take.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy chapter 4... train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.
I pray that God would never let me lose sight of this truth. I pray that God would empower me daily to train myself to be godly and to seek His face with great passion and zeal. Running well in a race is one thing, but running the race of faith with integrity and with God's glory as your aim is far better.
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:23-25

Friday, August 15, 2008

Relaxing' with the fam

After an exhausting week it was really nice to just chill with my wife and kids. Today we met our daughter, Emily's, birth mom for lunch. She is serving in the Army and is currently home from Afghanistan. It was good to see her and to see that she is really moving forward with her life. We feel so blessed to have Emily in our lives. She is such a precious little girl with a zeal for life. I am so eager to see what God is going to do in and through her life. Our prayer for both Max and Emily continues to be that they will grow up to embrace their adoption story as God's story. We pray that they would one day see that their birth parents made a very selfless decision and that God had answered our prayers by placing them with us. Of course there could be no greater prayer for their lives than for each of them to grow up and love and serve Christ with all their heart, mind and soul.

We closed the evening by taking them to Moe's. I think our kids put more food on the floor than in their mouths; it was quite funny. A few months ago I wrote a post about snap shot moments. Tonight was one of those moments. A snap shot moment is a moment when you just need to step back and recognize how blessed of God you are and how good He has been to you. Tonight in a messy booth I was enjoying yet another snap shot moment.
Now it's off to bed. Our Naples Campus Pastor, Jay "the iron man" Richardson and I will be up at 3:30am and on our way to Fort DeSoto...tomorrow I compete in my first ever duathlon. Should be fun, but truth be told I'm a little nervous. Enjoy those snap shot moments and if you remember pray for me tomorrow...I'll need it. God Bless You!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TEAM Ministry

I am currently reading Craig Groeschel's book entitled "It". If you are a ministry leader you need to read this book. It's funny, challenging and extremely clear. I just read Craig's chapter on "Unmistakable Camaraderie:You Enjoy "It" with Others" and it quickly got me reflecting on our TEAM here at Summit. I have had the privilege at working at some other great churches, but the one thing that separates Summit from my other experiences is the deep friendships that I share with the people I work with. As stressful and demanding as my role can become at times, I truly love my job. Not only because it is a God given privilege to do what I do, but because I also thoroughly enjoy the people I serve alongside and share life with. This Team is diverse group, but there is such a synergy and camaraderie that I would not trade.

I love the way Craig puts it: "The team with "it" loves each other. Not only do they minister together, they do life together. What they have is more than friendship. It's something that God gives-more of a partnership of people with deep love committed to a single mission. You're more than friends. You're a TEAM!"

In this chapter Craig outlines five common elements that contribute to "it" on the team:

#1. Understanding the Big Picture-
What this means is basically everyone understands the mission and the vision of the organization. What this does, is it helps every member see how their role is vital to the overall success. No one is just doing a job, but rather everyone is fulfilling a necessary role in the fruition of the vision. What I love about our team is that they understand the BIG picture so well that each of them are willing to make personal sacrifices to make it happen. There is a great attitude on our team that truly reflects "it's not about me."

#2. Having Fun together-
No explanation needed here. I can tell you that our staff meetings, our day to day operations and just about everything else we do we try to maintain an atmosphere of fun. I love that throughout the day I just hear spontaneous laughter coming from the copy room or the break room or out of someone's office. Tension is already high in ministry so having an atmosphere that is fun helps in dealing with the stress. Not don't get me wrong there is work being done, between the pranks, imitations of our worship associate, Jared's, many indiocincracies...etc., I assure work is getting done...I promise.

#3. Getting Naked-
Now stop right there, don't let your mind get away from you here. What this is referring to is relational nakedness or true authentic community. I have always thought that we had a transparent and real team well this week as a result of what we are having to walk through as a Team I think we all have had a wake up call to how important it is to fight for this.

#4. Celebrating the Wins-
Every week in our staff meeting we start with God stories. This time is just centered on bragging on God and celebrating the wonderful things HE is doing in our ministry and in and through the lives of our people. Celebrating wins is huge, because it is a great way to bring everyone back to the point of why we do what we do. Celebrating wins gives fuel to our Team and weight to our mission. As we celebrated wins we also encourage each other. Just a couple of weeks ago our "young guns" pulled off a huge event for us called "Project Backpack." They worked their tails off and it was a big win for us in the community. The next day in our staff meeting we applauded their efforts and rewarded them with a night out to the movies. I have served in other places where the only thing that was celebrated was the pastor's sermon. It always felt like I was sitting in who had the biggest and longest brown nose competition and I remember always thinking are you serious...

#5. Fighting Hard Behind Closed Doors-
"Part of having "it" is knowing that as a group we can have it out and still be friends."
This is something we have learned to do well. Since Summit started almost 5 years ago we have had to learn how to fight well. We were embarking on a model that we had not seen at the time. We do not have a senior pastor or lead pastor. We function as a Leadership Team, Jesus is the Senior Leader and His mission leads the church. But we found out quickly that if this is going to work than we had to fight for it and even fight each other. That means we had to be committed to resolving conflict and airing out our frustrations as well as our fears and complaints all the while knowing that when we left the table we left as friends and as one. It has been hard but all that fighting has made us a great Team and we still fight hard because we know we have to. Without honesty and a willingness to confront difficult topics and issues our team and our staff will eventually weaken and crumble. Our motto is invite the fight and we do and we do it because we know it is essential to the health and longevity of our Team.

I love our Team and I thank God for each of the members and I thank God that I get to be a small part of what God is doing at Summit. I would not want to do ministry any other way. The truth is you don't have to be in ministry to value team. These qualities should be found in our families as well as in our friendships. So take these five elements and evaluate your ministry team, your family unit and your friendships, what areas do you think need some attention? Just some random thoughts. God Bless!

p.s. If you want to check out a quick video on Craig talking about "It" click on the link Thanks Jon Peterson for the tip on the link!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A timely word...

I love God's Word and I so desperately desire to be a man who trust in it, is changed by it daily and reflects it in every area of my life, not just on a weekend service. I am currently reading through Jeremiah right now and today I was scheduled to read chapters 13-15. A couple of things quickly jumped off the page and just got my attention. The beginning of chapter 13 I noticed that on several occasions the prophet Jeremiah stated..."the Lord said..." and he would quickly follow up with, "so I went." I just marveled at Jeremiah's ability to hear God and his immediate response to God's revelation. That alone got me reflecting on my own life. Do I consistently hear from God and am I quick to respond and obey? Now to get a good perspective, let me tell you that the things God revealed and shared with Jeremiah were not easy, but Jeremiah went and he obeyed.

In Jeremiah 15 verse 16 there is a powerful verse that I have in fact in the last month have put to memory as a personal check and challenge..."When your words came I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty." Nuff said, let's live there and let this be the joy of hearts!

Lastly, today my friend begins one of the toughest tracks of his personal life and walk with the Lord and he has been heavy on my heart these last few days. I felt as though the Lord gave me these verses to share with him. Wherever you are today my friend, know that I love you and I stand with you...fight hard and press forward! I pray that this would serve as a reminder to all of us that God does not give up on the broken. May my friend and each of us find hope in that fact. The Lord Bless You!

19 Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. 20 I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you," declares the LORD. 21 "I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ramblings Galore...

Today was one of the most mixed bags of emotions. I began my morning by dropping my son off for his first day of school. It was so awesome because God had opened the door for my little guy, Max, to stay in this amazing school that has had such an impact on his development. I couldn't help but to reflect on how time flies and how much our little boy has grown. I couldn't help but to also reflect on how much progress he has made in the last year. We continue to believe and trust in God's plan for Max's life. We ultimately pray that one day our son would be fully delivered out of this dark cloud known as autism. Until that day we rejoice in the bag of fun and joy that is in our little boy.

Today is also the 21st birthday of what we affectionately know as our other child Erin. Erin has become a part of our family and we are so thrilled of the young lady that she is becoming. She has been such a blessing to our family and a great big sister to both of our kids. We have been so blessed to watch God stretch her, grow her and draw her closer to Himself. We are so excited for what God has for her in the near future. Happy Birthday Erin! We love you!

Today was also one of the hardest days of my ministry life. A day that I hope I will never have to live any time soon. Yet even through the events of today God continued to remind me that He is in control and there is nothing too difficult for Him. I continued to reflect on fact that God has made it extremely clear that "His grace is sufficient." I pray that in the coming days I can remember that. Truly a Monday full of emotions but I am grateful that we serve a God who is sovereign and who is aware of all we face and all we walk through. Whatever kind of Monday you faced today I pray that you would find rest in God and joy in His presence!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Paronychia...yeah it is not a Greek word I came across in my study through the New Testament. It is a word the doctor used this morning at 5am when my name at the emergency room was finally called. A few days ago I was complaining to my wife that I was experiencing some discomfort in my left pointer finger. I had hoped it would go away. Four days later my finger had swelled was bright red and purple and the pain was almost unbearable. At 1:00am this morning I could not take it any longer so I drove myself to the emergency room. I waited four hours for them to call my name. I was growing so restless that I almost called the Benny Hinn miracle network...just kidding. When the doctor saw my finger he knew exactly what it was...paronychia...which is basically a staph infection that grows under your nail.

Then came the question how long have you felt discomfort? Four days I replied. Four days!, the doctor exclaimed. Why would you wait so long? Well, two injections, an incision and a lot of squeezing out of nasty puss, I was feeling a lot better. I am on antibiotics and my pointer should be okay.
I couldn't help but to think about that question "why did you wait so long?" I started to think about how spiritually appropriate that question is? Why do we tend to wait so long to confess our sins? Why do we wait so long to seek out the help we need? Why do we wait so long to repent of the vomit that we continue to return to? Why do we wait so long to deal ruthlessly with the sin in our lives that so easily entangle us? There could be many different answers and reasons, but the one that I kept thinking about is the fact that we fail to understand the danger and the peril that we can find ourselves in, if we fail to engage and do what we need to do? Last night the doctor gave me an honest picture of what could of happened had I waited too long. I had nothing to say except I guarantee you I won't wait this long again. My prayer is that I truly will not wait too long with not just the things that threaten my physical health but also my spiritual walk. Yup, paronychia...God is always teaching me new things.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day #2 Willowcreek Leadership Summit

Craig Groeschel Lead Pastor of in Oklahoma and author got things kicked off by talking about his new book "IT". Craig knocked it out of the park. He is an extremely innovative visionary leader and a great communicator. I love reading his blogs and I truly enjoyed his message today. He got me fired up. Below are some of the notes that I took from his session. I hope you enjoy. I would also suggest checking out his blog weekly. God Bless!

Session#5: Craig Groeschel (Senior Pastor-Life
“How to Get IT and Keep IT”

Acts 2:42-47

The Qualities that are most often present in churches/organizations when IT is there…

#1. They are incredibly focused…LAZAR FOCUS

What can you be the very best at?

In order to reach people no one is reaching you will have to do things no one is doing.

To do things no one is doing we can not do the things everyone is doing…

We must have selective abandonment!

What could we best do to help people become fully developed followers of Christ?

What are you doing that you need to stop doing?

#2. Churches/organizations see opportunities where others see obstacles.

We have everything we need to achieve what God has called us to do!

God often guides by what He doesn’t provide!

What is God trying to show us through our greatest limitation?

#3. Churches/Organizations that have IT are willing to fail

Failure is a necessity…failure is often the first step to seeing and experiencing God


What has God called you to do that you are afraid to do it? When are you going to do it?

#4. Churches/Organizations that have IT are lead by people who have IT

You need to have IT for your people to get IT

When you have IT others begin to be attracted to IT

Don’t become a full time pastor and a part time follower of Christ!

If you don’t have IT what are you going to do to get IT?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Leadership Summit session#2

Session#2: Greg Haugen (President & Founder International Justice Mission)
Just Courage: Charging The Darkness

Everyone wants their leadership to matter!

Leadership that matters to God is leadership that is involved in the endeavors that matter to God!

Just because I am leading and just because people are following doesn’t mean I am leading them to what matters to God.

God’s passion is for the world…(John 3:16)
The whole incarnation was motivated by God’s love for the world!
-25,000 children will die today because of lack of nutrition.

What is God’s plan to let humanity know that He is good? We are the plan!
You are the light of the world…

How are people supposed to believe that God is good?
We are the answer to show the world that God is good

As an American we are trained to think that I am a victim of injustice all day every day!

Injustice in the Bible is a particular sin---the abuse of power to take from people the good things God meant for them, their life, their liberty, (Eccl. 4:1)

20 million people in our world live in slavery today

There are 2 million children held in sex slavery in our world today

Psalm 11 the Lord is righteous He loves justice

What is God’s plan for doing justice in the world? We are the plan…
(Micah 6:8) (Isaiah 1:17)

If you want your leadership to matter lead in the things that matter to God!

If justice is not your thing that God is not your thing…

Leadership that actually matters leads when it feels discouraging, frightening and hopeless.

What have we learned from leading when the task seems hopeless?
We lead by re-centering the basis of our hope…hope comes from focusing on who God is and what God wants to do.

If God is passionate about getting it done He is also responsible for getting it done!
Example of the feeding of the 5000…Jesus just wanted to know if they would give what they had to Him…by offering what they had to God released a and brought about a miracle

The work is God’s and what He ask is that we give what we have! The results are on God.

What have we learned from leading when the task seems scary?

Jesus did not come to make us safe He came to make us brave…when the calling of God is scary we must remind our people of this very fact.

There are my Christians who are on the journey with Jesus but are missing the adventure!

Follow Jesus beyond your competencies and beyond the comforts of the crowd and you will experience…God!

What have we learned from leading when the task seems hard?

Effective Decisions Leaders Make:

* Choose not to be safe
Do we have a work that we could not imagine doing without prayer…

If you do not need God’s power to get the work done than it’s not work of the Kingdom!

* Choose to pursue deep spiritual health

The demands of high spiritual climbs require deep spiritual health

Majority of the spiritual things that I do are a result of the fact that I want to check them off my list and some how feel better about myself…this is not a deep pursuit of God.

Deep pursuit of God understands that I need His wisdom, direction and strength for the climb!

To get a deeper spiritual commitment out of people lead them on a more demanding climb where it is not safe to go without God

Our spiritual commitment must come out of a sense of desperation not obligation…we need God!

* Choose to do pursue excellence.

We must insist on quality, accountability and excellence.

Doing is about execution and motivation…it matters to those we do things for if we do things with excellence. Excellence communicates love…”Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”

Enough of the off balanced Christian scale of mediocrity…

* Choose to seize the joy!
The joy of the Lord is our strength!

“These things I have spoken so that my joy may be in you and your joy maybe made complete.”

Willowcreek Leadership Summit

Todaya good group of the Summit staff and myself attended the simulcast of the Willowcreek Leadership Summit at Grace Church in Cape Coral. It was great. I have always been taught that leaders are learners so as a leader we must continue to strive to learn and grow in our leadership skills. Below are some of the notes that I took from the conference. I hope that you can get something out of it. God Bless!
Session #1: Bill Hybels
The High Drama of Decision Making

Leadership’s highest usage is to advance the Kingdom of God in this world!

Leaders must be willing and ready to make tough calls.

How does a leader make decisions?

What is the frame work you use for making good decisions?

A Christian Leader’s Process for making a good decision…
* Does the bible say anything about this?
* What would smart advisors advise me to do?
* What have you learned from the pain, gain, and experience from past decisions?
Leaders ought to be adding to the volt of their own wisdom that they can be referring back to!
* Is the Spirit prompting me?
When you are in step with the Spirit it will lead to life and peace. Rom. 6:8 or 8:6

Leaders must take the responsibility for the decision.

Over time a leaders axioms will help in guiding them in the day to day decisions.

“The best way to vanquish my enemy is to turn him into my friend.” Abraham Lincoln

Create action for action sake. Bob Galvin (CEO of Motorola Corp,)

Promote a clash of ideas. (Colon Powell)

Facts are your friend. (Bill Hybels)

When something feels funky engage. (Bill Hybels)

Leaders have to call fouls and call them on themselves as well. (Bill Hybels)

Take a calculated risk once and a while. (Bill Hybels)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yeah God...

My good friend, Jamin, and I have spent the last ten days in a deep personal pursuit of God. Each of us were seeking God's heart, wisdom and direction on specific issues concerning our families. It has been a really challenging time for me. I wasn't sure to what to expect because it has been a while since I did such an extended fast, but it was very refreshing for me. God used this time to expand my view of who He is and to show me areas of my life that needed changing. There were many things God highlighted for me over these last ten days, but I thought I would jot a few here...

#1. My understanding of my dependence upon God has to be greater than my pursuit of Him for an answer! In other words I began this fast for direction concerning a specific issue, which is perfectly fine, but God wanted me to understand that my greatest need will still always be Him and not the answer to my question or my need for direction.

#2. God doesn't want my "doings" He wants my heart and my obedience! Doing the right stuff especially in ministry does not necessarily equate to being the right man God desires me to be. No amount of doing will ever overshadow my heart.

#3. Don't minimize my sin, be ruthless in dealing with it, quick to confess it and honest in repenting of it. ALL sin is an offense to God. God doesn't classify sin, man does. I need to seek to be holy because that is what God calls me to be.

#4. God's grace is sufficient! Nuff said...

#5. Take the time to enjoy God's tangible expression of His goodness, mainly my wonderful wife, my amazing kids, and my great friends.

#6. Don't be so concerned with where God may be taking or leading you next that you almost render yourself ineffective in the place He has you. This one was huge because there is an apostolic and catalytic side to me that I can get so caught up in thinking about where God maybe leading my family and I next that I can become distracted from where He currently has me.

Like I said these are just some of the things that God truly taught me through this journey. One of the best parts is that I began this in hopes that God would show me where I needed to put my son for school next year. My son, Max, has been living and striving through his diagnosis of autism. This past year we year blessed to have had him in a special private school in Naples. We were not certain if he would be able to return due to the financial cost so we were going to be faced with the option of public school which is still a pretty good option, but we truly feel that this is a crucial year for Max and my wife and I both had reluctance to pull him out of where he is now. Well long story short, today we met with the director of the school and we will be able to keep Max in the school. PRAISE GOD!!!
As you can see I broke the fast immediately after we left the meeting... I know it isn't "hallelujah diet" friendly food, but I got to say it was good.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just Rambling...

"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did-with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses." 2 Kings 23:25

I am continuing my study through 2 Kings. Today I read up on Josiah. Josiah was a guy who did not start well, but he certainly finished strong. Josiah made sure to destroy every idol and everything that desecrated God's holy place and defamed God's name. I mean he went radical not leaving anything standing or leaving any stone unturned, literally. I could not help but to think that I need that same zeal in my life. As I am honest with myself and as the Holy Spirit illuminates and points out different areas of my life it becomes very clear that there are things that do not honor Him. And instead of trying to justify those areas or try to convince myself that they aren't that bad I need to be more like Josiah and absolutely obliterate them from my life. Be Holy for I am Holy God says. It couldn't be any clearer than that.

What the Scriptures credited to Josiah would be something that any child of God would love to be known for: He turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength!

Monday, August 4, 2008

What in the WORD...

Today I was reading 2 Kings chapter 22. I am currently working my way through the book of 2 Kings and I am always amazed at how God can speak to my heart even as I trip over names that I feel stupid even attempting to say out loud. Well today was one of those days. As I was navigating through this passage and through the names, I was just floored by verses 11-13. You see 2 Kings 22 talks about the Book of the Law, the Torah, God's Holy Word being found. And when they were found they were brought to the king and the king instructed that his secretary, Shaphan, (see what I mean about the names)read it to him. Here's what verse 11 states...
"When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore His robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest...God and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord's anger that burns against us because of those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us."

The king hears the Word of God and there is an immediate and dramatic response. Now I am not saying that every time we read the Word there should be a strip fest...if that were the case Christians would not be welcome at Starbucks anymore. But, shouldn't there be a response, shouldn't there be movement, shouldn't there be a desire for a reckless abandonment to do whatever we needed to do to obey God's commands and honor Him with all we have. I know I fall guilty so many times in reading the Word as though it was another thing on my to do list, or I read it as though I was reading a history book or an anthology, or even worse I read it because I need to "craft" a sermon. When I approach God's Word from any of these views or mindsets I fail to understand that I am a beggar in need of something much more than what can satisfy my stomach. When I approach God's Word without understanding that it is God's spoken, holy, infallible, powerful word to me I run the risk of just engaging in a spiritual activity rather than engaging the King or Glory. When I do not come to God's Word with an expectant and humble heart I run the risk of NOT having my mind enlightened and my view enlarged to the grandness and power of who God is. When I do not approach God's Word the way I should than I run the high risk of it just being a rote mundane thing I know I should do,. When what I really need to do is celebrate that because of what Christ has done and because of my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit now dwells and resides in my me and is ready to illuminate my eyes and minds to see and understand what my once darkened mind and hardened heart could never comprehend apart from Christ.

So maybe it's not ripping or tearing your clothes or hair, but encountering an infinite, Holy God through the power of His Word should cause us to tremble and should leads us to a right response. I was reminded yesterday of the scene from the Chronicles of Narnia when they were about to meet King Aslan and one of the kids asked "is He safe?" and the response came quickly "He's not safe, but He's good!" I pray that my heart would not grow dull or my ears grow tired of expecting God to speak through His Word and I pray that I would seek to respond accordingly to what He reveals.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4

Happy reading to you and if you do feel led to strip, make sure you're at home and if you're not please don't tell them you go to Summit...just kidding. God Bless You!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Gospel...

Today we continued our series entitled "The Invitation". The aim of this series is to walk through our mission statement to help people truly understand and hopefully fully embrace what God has called Summit to be all about. Today we wrapped up our discussion and look at the Gospel. The Gospel is the central message of our faith. Without the Goodnews of Christ life, death and resurrection the Apostle Paul says our faith is useless and we should be pitied. But the facts of the Gospel is that Christ did live a sinless life, did die on the cross as the payment for our sins and as the bearer of God's wrath and He did rise again on the third day proving that He was and is the Way, the Truth and the Life. What is discouraging is that we have watered the mighty Gospel of Jesus Christ down to praying a prayer. This morning our hope was to unpack more of the fact that the greatest gift of the Gospel is God and that the power of the Gospel should lead to life change and abundant life. The Gospel should lead to life change. It can not be just a little prayer we prayed to get us out of HELL! I was reading a friend's blog this evening and ironically he had a post about his thoughts on the Gospel. He is a very sharp guy and a pastor on staff at my home church in Miami. I copied a small portion that post on the Gospel below. Enjoy the read. I pray that you are enjoying the fullness of the Gospel every day. God Bless You.

For too many years there was such an emphasis on numerical growth, numbers of baptisms, etc… that a mentality and strategy of evangelism developed that was misguided and even heretical. “Pray the magic prayer” and get eternal life (but can be counted on a tote board) became a form of evangelism that created legions of false “salvations”. Repentance, acknowledgment of sin, a knowledge of grace, the responsibility of Lordship were left out of evangelism and discipleship and tares filled baskets intended for wheat. Genuine salvation is a conversion, not a decision. We’re changed because of the Holy Spirit, not because we “will” it. We come to Christ because He draws us, not because we had someone present a handy-dandy plan replete with a charming personality and a disarming method of explanation. Salvation costs us everything while it cannot be purchased with anything we could possess. Decisionism leads to a false sense of security and salvation and should be rejected.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Today was a wonderful day. Our Back 2 School Bash was a huge success. I praise God for His goodness and faithfulness. It was absolutely awesome to see so many people from the community come out. We actually had people lined up at 10am...yup, some stood in line for three hours to receive a back pack. There was no complaining as people had to stand in the hot sun and as we did our best to move quickly and offer drinks. It was great to see how appreciative people were, of course that is not why we did this, but it did give us a great platform to share with people that everything we were doing was provided by the goodness of God. I was blown away to see so many of our people engaging our community. They worked hard running the bounce houses, handing out cotton candy, pop corn and snow cones. Every where I turned I saw our people serving and engaging people, what a snap shot of what the Body of Christ should be all about. Way to go Summit. Today Christ was exalted, today people were able to see and experience the Gospel. I pray that the seeds that were planted today would produce fruit for God's glory. I pray that what we did today would not be an isolated event but a spring board that gives us greater influence and access into our community for the sake of the Gospel. If you gave towards this endeavor, if you served today or if you prayed for this event thank you. God truly showed up and to Him goes all the glory. Please continue to pray that we would truly live out God's mission for Summit..."to glorify God by presenting the Gospel to every man, woman and child and connecting them into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ and others."

Here's a link to the story that Wink News 4 did on the Back 2 School Bash. God is good!