Monday, February 23, 2009

Great Weekend

We had a great weekend of ministry at Summit. Yesterday, we had our highest attendance of the year for our Naples Campus, which is just awesome. God is really doing some great things there and the people are truly beginning to take ownership of the ministry. I can not wait to see what God does on and through that campus in the coming months. We also had our first ever Starting Point class at the Naples Campus last night and the early reports are that it went really well. We will host the same class tonight for our University Campus at our facility on Ben Hill Griffin at 6:30pm.

The three services at the University Campus went extremely well. We had two individuals trust Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and one person recommit their lives to Christ. It was awesome to see the activity of the Holy Spirit. This weekend on both campuses we took time out in the services to allow our people to fill out a spiritual assessment. We have been working hard the last few months to solidify our spiritual formation process and we are excited about the structure and plan that the Lord has led us to.

The assessment was broken into five categories that coincide with our five outcomes: intimacy with God, qualitative distinctiveness, grace story, spiritual giftedness and stewardship of life. The outcomes flow out of our four core values: God, Truth, Love, Mission. We are actually in the tail end of a series entitled "Engage" where we have been walking through our core values. This assessment will be a useful tool for us to discern where are people are in the spiritual journey, and from that determine what are the next steps we need to take to help them go to the next level in their walk with Christ. The assessment was received extremely well and I look forward to getting the results. If you attend Summit and you missed the services this weekend we will be giving people another opportunity this weekend to complete the assessment, so I encourage to do so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Leadership Lessons

I don't consider myself some master leader or some leadership guru, but I can tell you that I am committed to becoming the most effective leader I can be for the glory of God. I have always heard that leaders are learners, so I have always tried to strive to learn more about what it means to be a leader and how to effectively lead people on to God’s agenda. I have read several books on the topic of Leadership, some of the books were excellent and some, to put nicely were CRAP. But without sounding too “churchy” the best place I have discovered leadership principles from have come from the Word of God. This morning was no exception. I was reading in Deuteronomy chapter 20, and in this chapter God out lines for His people the guidelines for going to war. In verses 2-4 it states the priest would stand before the army and give them a word of encouragement. In these verses I found the first of two principles that God revealed to me about strong leadership and it was this...

Strong Leaders Speak Vision and Courage into The Hearts of others...
This is what the priest would say..."Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."
I love this! The priest speaks to the very core of the heart of the men in this army. He challenges them to not be afraid. He doesn't rebuke them for being afraid or invalidate their feelings of fear, he simply directs their attention to the One who is greater, stronger and more powerful than their fears. You see great leaders will have the right words to move people forward, to inspire people to do more than what they ever imagined could be possible. Great leaders will have the right words because their words will reflect God's Truth, God's nature, God's power, God's love and God's promises. How can a leader find these words? They only come through intimacy with God. Now surely we can give fluff to people, "you can do it", "I believe in you", there's nothing wrong with that, but great leaders speak words that have true power because they are God's Words and God's Words are void of fluff!

Here's the second thing I discovered this morning from verse 8 and it is this...

My demonstration of faith or lack of will have a huge impact on those around me...

After the priest speaks it is now time for the officer of God's army to speak and he releases certain men from the battle. Men who have just gotten married, men who have just built a home or had a child etc. He says to them go home and enjoy those things because you just might die in battle. Then in verse 8 the officer says this..."Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that the others will not become disheartened too." Beyond my words my countenance, my faith, my own personal outlook and disposition will speak loudly to those around me. As leaders we need to be aware that our lack of faith will have a detrimental impact on those around us. Does your life SPEAK to the fact that you believe that with God all things are possible? Or does your life look more like a wave that is tossed to and fro at the first sign of wind?

Leadership is not reserved for business leaders, or business owners or even pastors. In some ways all of us are leaders. All of us have been given great opportunities to influence the lives of others for the cause of Christ. My prayer is that we will maximize our God-given influence to the fullest. Just another rambling. God Bless!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Time To Leave

A friend of mine sent me this article entitled "Time to Leave." I just loved it. This article resonates with me so much. A huge focus of our ministry at Summit, is that people discover the fact that we are to be the living sent, incarnation of the Gospel. We are called to be the church. The power of our weekend gatherings is really in our dispersing and living out the message in our work places, neighborhoods, communities, etc. We don't want Summit to ever become a place for consumers, but for apostles...enjoy the article and have a great week. God Bless!

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 1 Peter 1:1

Apostle – God is a verb. He is all action. Even His Name, blessed be He, is a form of the verb “to be”. He is the great I AM, who was and is and will be. Would you expect those who display His Spirit to be any less than verbs? We are not nouns. Nouns are nice little boxes, neatly sorted and contained. But verbs are like a three-year-old in a candy store. Verbs go wild. They won’t be constrained. They do things.

When Peter says that he is an apostle, he doesn’t mean that he has a title over his office door. He doesn’t mean that he gets a special parking place or a designated chair on the podium. He means that he has been sent away. The Greek word apostolos might be a noun but it is based in an action. To be an apostle is to be sent out. No one can be an apostle sitting at home. You have to go out and do something to qualify for this job!

In that sense, there are many apostles in the world today. God is always sending someone to do His work. They don’t hold that position because they are elevated to some ecclesiastical role. They hold that position because they are responding to God’s call. In fact, you will likely find most apostles in the same places that you would look for Jesus – the homeless centers, the hospitals, the legal aid offices and the gutters. You can’t be an apostle to your own congregation, can you? You have to be sent away.

One of the tragedies of the church is the tendency to collect people rather than shipping them out the door. The church today is like a dam on a river. It’s interested in how much water it can collect behind its doors. Churches compete on the size of the pond. But none of that water is any good at all until it is released – until it is sent out from the dam. That’s when God gets moving. The nice big still lake behind the dam isn’t much of a verb. You have to open the spillway and let it rip before you see any power generated.

Peter knew this. He knew that the church grew, not because it collected, but because it distributed. The fastest growth in church history occurred when every little collection of water opened the gates and flooded the land. No one tried to get big. They just tried to get sent. I often wonder what impact we would have if we met on Sunday morning to get our walking papers. “This Sunday we will go out. Here, you go to the shelter. You go to the hospital. You go to the golf course. You go to the game. We are sending you out to embrace those who are lost in the culture. Be apostles today. Go away!”

Of course, Peter reminds us that we are sent out by Yeshua Messiah. He was also sent. I guess the pattern must be repeated if we are His apostles. One verb begets another verb. Verbs don’t have nouns for offspring.

Today, go away! Be a verb. Be sent by Yeshua. Go do something that reflects Him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


It's list-o-mania time...come on you know you love it. I thought I would list the things that I am truly loving in this season. These are in no particular order...

My Wife...the Boss Lady---she is just incredible. She is an
amazing mom, a wonderful wife and a true friend. I love watching my wife with our kids, it is such a powerful picture of her genuine love for me. She truly is a precious gift.

My Son, Max---I am amazed everyday at how God's grace is at work in and thru his life. A year ago my son because of his autism lived in almost a cloud, today he is the life of the party. He is talking, engaging, laughing. I feel so humbled to be his dad.

My daughter, Emily...the Queen Bee---she is just a trip. I can not believe that God could pack such sas in such a little body. I love her strong personality and her fearless spirit. I can't help but to wonder what God is going to do with her life. I love that she always wants me to rock her to sleep. I wish I could just freeze frame those moments.

LA Fitness...I would have never thought that working out at 5:30am could be so much fun. The reality is that it is not, but I am grateful for the circle of friends that I get to share life with at the gym.

Seeing the activity of God in the lives of others---in this season God has given me front row seats to see His transforming power in the lives of men. It has been a blast meeting with men who are holding fast to Christ and are pursuing Him with wreckless abandon. This just pumps me up!

God's Word---I am truly enjoying my quiet time with the Lord. God has been revealing so much over these last few weeks. It has been painful at times as He reveals areas of my life that need to change, but it has been overwhelmingly refreshing.

Love Dare---if you're married. Do yourself and your marriage a favor, GO GET THIS BOOK NOW! Seriously, you shouldn't even be reading this sentence, stop it. You should be looking for your keys and heading to the book store. My wife and I are truly enjoying this Love Dare challenge.

You made me; you created me.Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy,for I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:73

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Lessons While Running---actually Falling"

My buddy, Todd, and I took our normal 7 mile Sunday run yesterday and it was great to have our friend Sam join us. It was 39 degrees so it was definitely not my favorite conditions to be running. Something happened yesterday on that run that got me thinking. We usually run to a designated 3.5 mile spot and head back home. We made it to the turn around point and we were making great time, when all of a sudden I tripped on the side walk and went down. When I say I went down, I mean I actually tumbled over. I tried desperately to keep my balance, to stay on my feet but it was no use, I was going to go down. Now remember there are two other guys there watching me. I jumped up quickly as though that would minimize the embarrassment of what had just happened to me. Then the questions came "Are you alright? That looked like it hurt? Do you want to just walk for a bit?" And right then something happened that God would use later to teach me something. You see here I am with my friends, guys who care about me, guys I know and what do I do? I lie, and I allow my pride to get the best of me and say "I'm alright!!!" The truth was that I was hurting and it would of been nice to walk for a while. Now here is the worst part. I played it off so well that my buddies, begin to say "good thing you have all those years of gymnastics under your belt because you rolled really nicely." Are you kidding me I am thinking, the roll was totally an accident. I was just hoping that I would not break my neck. That is truly what I was thinking, but what I said was "yeah."

Now before you go on judging me for being a liar, let me tell you what God showed me. God pierced my heart later on that day with this thought...Orlando you talk a lot about the importance of community and the importance of doing life with others, but it is one thing to talk about it and another to actually experience it. You see its great to have running mates, its great to have people come along side of you and push you, but the true character and heart of transparency comes when you fall and your willing to tell others that you are hurt and that you do need help. I am telling you it was a powerful lesson. You see we will never experience true community if we allow our pride to get in the way, if we allow our ego, or our fears to get in the way of our need to be honest when we are hurting. The reality is that we only do further harm to ourselves when we fail to be honest about our hurts. Now you can easily say well when I fall aren't I suppose to jump right back up and shake off the dust and keep trucking? Absolutely, but we have to be willing to admit and become vulnerable in the moments when we can't. God did not call us to live in isolation, but in dependence upon Him and in interdependence with others. So how quick are you to allow others to know you are hurting when you trip or when you fall? Do you have anyone right now in your life that you are running with who would even ask you the question? Just another rambling. Have a great week.

Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecc. 4:9-10