Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I pray that each of you who stumble across these ramblings have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I pray that each of you enjoy the time with family and friends and in the midst of all it not miss the significance and power of this time. May Christ be and continue to be the greatest gift your treasure and worship.

Last night we held two Christmas Eve services. We were blown away by the response. Both services were packed and there was such a great spirit. We had six individuals trust Christ as their personal Savior. It was truly a wonderful time. Please pray for these individuals as they begin this new journey with the Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Naples Campus held their first ever Christmas Eve service and it was also well attended. Hats off to Crossroads Church for allowing us to use their facility for this service. We appreciate their Kingdom mindedness.

As I write this I am enjoying time away with my family in Miami. In just a few moments we will be gathering around the table for a special Christmas meal and then we will move into the family room where Papaw, as the grandkids love to call him, will read the Christmas story, and then we will tear into presents deep into the night. You have never seen so many gifts. Papaw and Memaw begin buying gifts December 26th and store them through out the year. It is quite the sight. Whatever your traditions are I wish you a blessed Christmas.

My son, Max, and I just returned from the park. A park that I spent a lot of time myself at as a youth. As I chased Max around the park I began to think about how much I miss the diversity of this city. My family and I love living on West Coast but it doesn't have the flavor of Miami. The diversity is certainly one of the things that I miss about this coast.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What is God Teaching You In This Season?

Today we had an extended leadership team meeting. Because of the craziness of our individual schedules we have not been able to sit, discuss, dream and plan as a team for about a month now. One of the things that we talked through today is the fact that God has definitely been revealing a lot to us individually. Some of the things are extremely exciting, some are a little scary and all of it is going to stretch us and require faith. We challenged each other to take the next couple of days to sort it out and do our best to jot our thoughts down on paper. I personally feel like God is doing something new in me in this season. I am excited to spend the next couple of days sorting out what I feel God has been revealing to me in regards to my life, my family and my personal role in ministry.

Spending the time to be still before the Lord is worth the investment. We are quickly coming to the end of another year and it may not be a bad exercise for you to take an extended time to sit and reflect on what God is teaching you in this season of your life. What is it that God has been revealing to you about His plans for your life in the coming months and days? What types of things does He want to strip and chisel away from your life? What are the things that He desires you to pursue in this season with wreck less abandon? What are the things that He is asking you to trust Him with? So here's my challenge grab your bible, your journal, your pen and a couple of coffee and begin reading, praying, listening, meditating, and writing down some of the things God is revealing to you. I guarantee you it will be worth the investment of time.

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Are You Adding to Your Faith?

I am currently reading through 1 & 2 Peter. This morning I read a few verses that truly challenged me. I thought I would share them in this post. I pray that these verses would cause you to reflect on your life and personal walk with Christ.

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

I love these verses because it is a great reminder that the life God desires for us and calls us to live, He Himself will empower us to achieve it and enjoy it. But there is a responsibility that I must take seriously and it's to continue to add to my faith. I love the things that Peter challenges us to add to our faith, check this list out: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love!

So, here's the deal what have you in this season been adding to your faith? What is missing in this season? I know God revealed some areas that are currently deficient in my life and this morning was a time of refreshing confession and repentance. Adding these qualities to our faith can only come through our personal pursuit of God. These characteristics are found foremost in God revealed to us in Christ and our Father desires that we reflect them.

So if it's self-control that your lacking in this season, kindness or perseverance ask God to give it to you, ask God to add it---the truth is that He desires to do just that. God Bless You!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Serious Mind Dump

Just got back from vacation with my family. Five days of Disney...yup just have me committed now. It wasn't much a vacation for my wife and I from the sense that we did not get much rest or time alone, but we did have an incredible fun time with our kids. There is something so special experiencing Disney from the eyes of your kids. Max and Emily had a blast. And of course, Little Miss I am not scared of anything Emily, would not go near one of the characters. She absolutely loves everything Disney and she was so excited when she saw all of the characters from afar, but as soon as it was her turn to pose for a picture, the girl went bazerk. It was quite funny. I am truly blessed with a amazing wife and wonderful kids. I pray that we have many more times away as a family. Thanks to Scott and Naomi for the great hook up on a place to stay-you guys are awesome.

Vacation is over and tons to do. We have our Christmas Eve services, that I still need to write out a sermon for, we still have to move out of our current offices and into our new one by the end of this month. I still have tons of work to do to get ready for another launch of small groups in January. I still have a ton of work to recruit new leaders. I have meetings every day next week and a wedding to do in Miami next weekend. It never stops, but God is good.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking through the next stages of ministry for Summit and for me personally. I believe 2009 is going to be a huge year for our ministry. I think God is going to really stretch our faith and leadership in this next year. I am believing God for another campus by the end of 2009. I also believe we will probably have to add a fourth service at the University Campus by February. I am believing and trusting God to provide a permanent space for our Naples Campus in 2009. I truly believe that our Naples Campus is really going to take off in the next few months.

I really want to spend more time this next year connecting with more local pastors and local ministries in our area. If we truly want to see every man, woman and child have the repeated opportunity to see, hear and respond to the Gospel than that is going to be a huge component.

Lastly I have just over a month to continue my training for the Miami Marathon and to complete my fundraising efforts for the Organization for Autism Research. It is going to be a jam packed month. My wife and I are committed though to not allowing our business to take away from this special time of year. After all its Christmas and as followers of Christ don't we have so much to be grateful for...

God Bless.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is Your Love Active?...

I am continuing my study through the book of Romans and I really felt God challenge my heart with this question..."is your love active?" Seems like a weird question and it may even sound like an easy one right. Sure, my love is active. I mean I love my wife, I love my kids, love my job, love my friends, love the Dolphins, and the list goes on and on right. But God's picture of our love being active is quite different. You see I think my love is more selective than it is active.

Active defined is...something or someone that is marked by energetic activity, involving direct participation, not lying dormant, and producing an intended action or effect. Now keep that definition in mind, and keep the question "is your love active?" as you read the verses below. This is what love in action looks like...

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not think you are superior. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Now just one more question, how are you doing in the area of demonstrating God and living out God's love? I was convicted this morning because I realized that there are many areas of my life that my love is certainly not active, definitely selective, but far from being active. I was reminded of one my favorite cartoons growing up as a kid, Super Friends. Do you remember it? It was the collection of the greatest super heroes coming together to form the Justice League, it was awesome. One of the heroes of the Team was the Super Twins. Can you picture them yet? The sister could turn into any animal and the brother anything related to water-I always thought he got ripped off...Anyway before they could release their power they had to touch hands and they would say "wonder twin powers activate!"

What Paul outlines in Romans chapter 12:9-18 can not happen apart from Christ. If we want love to be active in our lives then we must stay connected to Christ and grow in our intimacy. Our hands and heart must touch his for His love to activate in our lives. May your love be active today and may Christ be glorified as a result. God Bless You!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Running for Max

So the countdown is on for my first ever marathon. On January 25, 2009 I will be participating in the Miami Marathon with over 9000 other people. At the beginning of the year I began running. Running has always been something I absolutely hated, but over this past year I have grown to love it. The mornings I spend running have become a true spiritual experience for me. I have found that time to be a great opportunity to pray, meditate and reflect on what God is teaching me. Mid-way through this year I felt as though I wanted to run a marathon and run it on behalf of my son Max. Over the last year and half since our son's diagnosis of autism we have seem him fight and strive. I wanted to do something to honor his fight, and so that is where this crazy idea of running a marathon came from. So on July 7, 2008 on my son's birthday I signed up.

I have not stopped running or training, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about this endeaver. As part of this race I am working of raising money for autism research through a great organization called Organization for Autism Research(OAR). If you get a moment, please check out my page at I would ask that you prayerfully consider being a part of our TEAM and in so doing stand with our son Max and the many like him who live with this disorder. God Bless You.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Glory in our sufferings???

I am currently reading through the book of Romans. The book of Romans has always been a challenging and convicting book for me. It deals so straight forward with sin, it's power, destruction and consequence and yet reminds us of the power of God's grace and the victory we can have over it.

This morning I read chapter five and was so encouraged by the first five verses. I actually quoted some this verses this past weekend and God brought them right back to me this morning.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

As followers of Christ we have so much to be thankful and grateful for. We do not need a date on a calendar to remind us to be grateful. We need only to remember what we have in Christ. Through Christ we have been justified, meaning we have a right standing with God and therefore we have continual access to God's grace. That is a benefit that is truly out of this world. Paul says we can boast in the hope of the glory of God, but he reminds us that we can also glory, praise God, be thankful even in the midst of our sufferings. If you grew up in the 80's this a total "whatcha talking about Willis?" moment. (I know pretty cheesy but I was a big Different Strokes fan, come on...) Back to the point, if you are like me, we don't usually glory in our sufferings, we usually wallow, complain and grumble. But Paul reminds us here not to look get sucked in to looking to hard at our circumstances but to focus on God's activity.

Christians are not immune to problems, heartaches or struggles. I am pretty sure if you've stumbled across this rambling you are walking through a few storms yourself, but Paul reminds us here to glory. Glory in what? Well, first don't forget as a believer a true child of God, you have peace with God therefore you will also have the peace of God. Because of what Christ has done and because of our standing with God thru Christ this is the ONLY HELL we will ever know...glory in that.

But also, glory in what God is doing in you through your circumstances. He is maturing you and growing you. Your circumstances is producing perseverance, and perseverance character and character hope and hope does not put us to shame. Glory in that. That as God is allowing tension and pressure He is not allowing it without a purpose and without hope. Don't give your circumstances so much audience that you lose sight of what God is doing. Remember that chapter 8 of this same book, states that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Press on and may you experience God's love that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit in fresh and encouraging ways today. God Bless!