Thursday, December 31, 2009

Maple Syrup Making in Canada - Back by Popular Demand

People are always fascinated by the Maply Syrup/Sugar making process, so a few years ago, when we were up to Canada in the spring, my daughter, Nicole and my brother, Bruce, took lots of pics that we used in this little collage. When the days warm up and the nights stay cold, the sap starts running through the trees in their attempt to wake them up from their long winter's nap. Many years ago, the First Nations discovered that there was sweet goodness waiting to be had from within the Maple.

More than a "how it's done", this video captures the years of dedication to an old craft, that year after year calls to those who hear its beckoning. No matter where you've happened to live this experience, you see the love of people for each other, sugar making, and countless good times shared around a tank of sap, the boiler, and of course, the dinner table while putting back some buckwheat flapjacks by the dozen (cooked on the wood-burning stove).

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lots To Be Thankful For


Mmmm...that flavorful smell...you know what I'm talking about!
Some things I'm thankful for:
- God's amazing grace
- My beautiful wife
- My awesome kids
- My loving family
- My wonderful friends
- My great church family
- And of course, a Fantastic Meal to enjoy with them tomorrow! : )
Tonight, my family and I are joining another family in the privilege of serving at a huge meal with our friends at the Greenville Rescue Mission. I am always blessed when I get to hang out there. These guys will touch your life in a way that no one else can.
God is amazingly good. He gives us far more than we possibly deserve (we don't want what we really deserve!) in blessing us with all the above mentioned items- the important things in life!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembering


Here we are at another November 11 marking the brave who went through unspeakable hell to be the instruments of war to secure the Freedom that we enjoy today.






We can never understand the brutality that was experienced by mere boys who shouldered responsiblities no boy should ever have to. Yet, this is the way of this old world...



Throughout history, man has bloodied the continents with the lifeblood of the young. If you ever think that evil does not exist in this world, take a moment and read up on a little world history. It's not pretty.



Scripture reminds us that war is nothing new:



Revelation 12:7
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels;



Numbers 31:6
And Moses sent them, a thousand of every tribe, to the war, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand.


Daniel 11:10
And his sons shall war, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall come on, and overflow, and pass through; and they shall return and war, even to his fortress.



Matthew 24:6
And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.


James 4:1
Whence come wars and whence come fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your pleasures that war in your members?



This old world will continue to war because of the sin curse, Wars without and Wars within.



But...



That all CHANGES!



Because of Jesus...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Power of the Shared Meal


Every now and then, I get the urge to do some baking and cooking. With fall weather upon us, it certainly felt like a homemade potato soup and yeast rolls kind of day!


I love the endless examples of meals shared in the Bible. Most of us love to eat, and there is something special about sharing a meal with family, friends, and even strangers. Meals bring us together and I believe God gives us so many instances of meal sharing to demonstrate the kind of intimacy and fellowship he desires to have with us.


God is even now preparing a feast for us - called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And if it's anything at all like the feasts found in the Old Testament, it will last a LONG TIME!


Jesus ate with those who were strangers to normal society and through it he connected with them. He was criticized for it, but he would not be deterred from it.


Embrace the shared meal. It can help make your family stronger and closer, and bind ties with friends, old and new.


Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's Writing Your Story?


So there's this conference going on this week called Story 09. Seeing lots of cool comments on Twitter about it. Funny how it coincides with my devotional that I'm bringing on Friday morning at Greenville Rescue Mission.


My life is a story, so is yours. We write it but we don't write it alone.


I love how Jesus used stories when he taught. He found that stories reach people in a way that a systematic theology never can. The religious rulers of His day had been trying the systematic route for hundreds of years; isn't it ironic that they with the most knowledge completely missed the Messiah! Sadly, biblical knowledge is still the name of the game in many of our congregations and we are playing with people's lives! How awesome it is to see God raise up churches that are working to master the art of story-telling. Nothing seems to move us more than hearing the amazing work of God in each others lives as related by story, whether verbally, musically or pictorially.


Jesus invites us into the story that He is writing. I LOVE the account in John 4 when Jesus purposely travels to a region usually shunned by the Jewish community - Samaria. Jesus loved the people of Samaria (as indicated by His using a Samaritan character in one of His stories:The Good Samaritan) and was ready to get the healing process started between Judah and what were the rebellious intermarrying tribes of old Israel.


The woman that he encountered at Jacob's well was drawn into conversation with Jesus (Read Here) and what caught my eye like never before and prompted me to know this was the passage to share with the guys on Friday was this: "No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it. The woman took the hint and left." We've ALL experienced that! These guys at the Mission are exteme examples of people shunned by society but we have at times shared that common experience with them.


On the flip-side, how many times have I turned people away with a look? Jesus' plans are to give people a "future and a hope". He wants to write our story with us. If I don't love my neighbor (everyone) as the Good Samaritan did, then I may be aiding Satan's authoring of people's story.


So who are you letting co-author your story?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

HopeATL Workday



Wow, what an amazing day with the folks at HopeATL.

Around 100 of us from NewSpring Church had the privilege of going to Austell, GA (just southwest of Atlanta) to do some clean up in the neighborhood of Sweetwater Creek.

4 weeks ago, due to a tremendous amount of rain hanging over the Atlanta area, this neighborhood (less than 10 years old), experienced major flooding when Sweetwater Creek swelled out of it's banks and began pooling in the lower areas of the subdivision.

As you can see in the pictures, many had water up to the second story! What happened after the rains stopped was that many churches began disaster relief efforts. One in particular was Courageous Church led by Shaun King. This church has done a great job with awareness and rallying the body of Christ into action. All of these homes had to be gutted down to the stud walls and made ready for reconstruction. In the process of gutting, people's lawns were completely covered in drywall/sheetrock pieces (totally nasty!) and when we got there, our job was to bring the color GREEN back to this neighborhood.
It was pretty crazy and amazing to be a part of what was like a Colony of Ants on a pile of Sugar! We just kept going and going and by 4pm had touched over 40 home's yards - raking, sweeping, shoveling, and bagging. At one point, I looked up and saw about 3o people pick up a 10 by 20 foot deck that had floated 5 houses away and carry it back to where it came from!
Of the homeowners that came around (all had to move out!), our interactions with them brought many tears! I cannot fathom what they went through - one homeowner we met, described that day with, "One minute, there was 2 inches of standing water in the street, and within 1 hour, the water was licking at our rooftop!"

This is part of what it means to BE the church, and it was a blessing to get to be a part of this event!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Unwind Time


I'm relaxing in the hammock right now... Been a long week and another long week is approaching. Mowing was done earlier this week so I am relaxing, the Carolina/Kentucky game is on, gonna go out to Kim's gramma's after the game to hang a few pictures, get to sit in church tomorrow with the family. Ahhh...


Down time is so important. Your body and brain need a rest (1 day in 7 is how it's designed) to function at its best during the week. No guilt, no pressure, ya gotta do it or your body and brain have a way of forcing it upon you. Even Jesus took the time to get away from the crowds and ministry and spend with His friends in a non-pressure environment.


And by the way, there is nothing more relaxing than a hammock...just sayin!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Life's Obstacles and Prayer

I've been blown away by seeing answers to prayer in the new relationships I've formed through Facebook and Twitter. I've seen people healed, sickness diverted, marriage restored, and financial crisis averted. It's been so cool to be a part of seeing God move in response to our prayer.

Life is full of obstacles, even in this Good Life. How do we deal with them. I have a secret. Not really, just something that I've often neglected but am experiencing more. Prayer. When life throws me a curve, I reach out to God and also to others I know who faithfully remember me in prayer. It makes a major difference when you connect with the One who knows your situation inside and out. God is just waiting for us to bring it to Him. We often see these curveballs as obstacles to try and overcome on our own when God maybe is allowing them - to see what we will do with it.


It all comes back to Relationship. Jesus is not some nice little way of life for a kind of "Hey, whatever works for you" approach to life. He is our Redeemer, that means: He made this universe, He made us, He holds creation by the word of His power, He wants us back, He paid the price to buy us back that we can NEVER pay ourselves. Take that in, He WANTS us. He WANTS a real relationship with us. He WANTS what's best for us. He WANTS us to know how much He loves us.

How many religions out there do you know in which the founding person desires to have a real and personal relationship with us? Lots want us to find ourselves and offer many great suggestions to find happiness but only Jesus personally invites us to know Him and spend eternity with Him. This relationship begins through the communication of Prayer. Real prayer is not elaborate, it is a simple call to God through faith saying, "Jesus, I can't make it on my own, I need You! Let me be Yours". Or for life's circumstances, "Jesus, I don't know what to do, please give me wisdom, please intervene, and let me learn what You want me to learn through this"

15 years ago when Kim and I lost Valerie at 3 1/2 weeks after delivery, we had no where to go and no one to cling to but Jesus. Only Jesus could have done what we experienced. The arms of God were wrapped around us in a way beyond explanation. His presence was as real to us as the grass beneath our feet and the hug of our little boy who had come to love his little sister.

Prayer brings us to the ultimate reality. That God is here and as close as calling His name. That he waits for that conversation as much as you look forward to going out and being with your friends.

What are we waiting for?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Home In Caroline



Well, what a day today in Rock Hill, SC! Got to spend it with close to 200 teachers and my CSI and Promethean peeps. These teachers converged from all over North and South Carolina to present and learn best practices using interactive whiteboards and other technologies in teaching.


So it was only fitting that after getting home, I tackled recording my song about being at home in the carolinas. God has really blessed us here with being able to live in this awesome piece of geography that is the upstate of South Carolina. We've been here over 20 years now and have enjoyed exploring the amazing places from the mountains of western NC to the midlands and coastal regions of both Carolinas. We really do have it all!


Hope you enjoy this song, it's always a favorite anywhere around here that I've sung it. You'll find the link down by the rest of my songs.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jesus, You Are

So a while back I posted the lyrics to this new song. Just a simple worship to Jesus. He Is Everything that we've ever searched for, and so very near as your own heartbeat. And just like you love to hear the heartbeat of your loved ones next to you, He is longing for that with us. Just click over and down to the right to listen and feel free to join in worship!

More Than I Deserve


Did a remix of More Than I Deserve tonight as I figure out Garage Band. This song came from a series at New Spring where we were encouraged to be inviting people.


The power of invitation and loving people face to face.


Then reading the story of the guys who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, I was struck with the fact that when we do the same for each other today, we allow people to encounter Jesus in a way that can be quite unexpected!


Just click the link to the right for a listen and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey You, Just Be You (Message to Me)


You can only be you. The real you. You can pretend for a while to be someone else. Someone you like, someone you admire, someone whose life you envy...


But in the end you must be you. And that's a good thing. Because God created you to be the most amazing you that you can be. He wired into your very being everything that He wants for you to become. It's like there is a secret code He unlocked in you when you saw with eyes of faith that Jesus is who He said He is (and He was very specific on that subject!) and called on Him to be your Lord and Savior.


We can struggle with our identity for many years and wander all over the map in trying to "find ourselves". Jesus brings a clarity to our lives, purpose, and identity that can't be found anywhere else. Other people and things and philosophies will try and bring that meaning to us but in the end, when we stand before Jesus (every knee will bow), we need to be able to say, "I am found in You, Jesus."


So, the desires and purpose that God has placed in your heart. PURSUE THEM! Only then, as you move forward in faith, will God begin to open the doors of opportunity and unlock the God-given talent and gifts and use them to impact this world. No facades, just be you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How Do You Celebrate Fall?





We changed seasons this week! Autumn is by far my favorite season and brings cool weather, hunting, football, bonfires, fall camping, and the start of those activities that carry us through the fall and winter seasons.






Kim (the brains of this outfit!), loves to do puzzles and the more challenging, the better. Lately, she's been finding some micro-puzzles at the local dollar store. Started out with a couple of 500 piece and now is working on this 1000 piece!






We read a lot more when the cool weather comes and play more games. It's as if there is something wired into us with the changing of the seasons to settle in for the Long Winter's Nap.




So that familiar feeling coming on? It's the call of the season. Get ready to enjoy this reminder of God's faithfulness and creation and drink it in!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Atlanta's Water Problem

Photo Courtesy Atlanta Journal Constitution

So, you've probably been hearing and seeing this on the news. It's really hard to believe that this "capital of the south" was under severe drought conditions not long ago! Now it's almost like someone forgot to be very specific with God in praying for water! I've found myself, along with many others, now praying, "Ok, God, if you will, you can turn it off now, please!"



Now, of course, God really knows whats going on. But it does drive home to me the reminder to be very specific in how I pray... I know that Larry the Cable Guy can be a little crass, but I really do laugh when he stops to pray after saying something a little risque, and says what we grew up in church praying..."God bless the missionaries there with the pygmies, blah blah blah.." as if saying a little hail mary covers us.



So, knowing my Father a little better now, I try to be specific in what I'm asking for. What do we ask for? The guidlines are found in the Lord's Prayer and help me when I call out to Him. This model for prayer keeps me praying about and asking for the things that line up in His will.



If you read this, remember to pray for the people of Atlanta. It's heart-wrenching to hear of homes lost/destroyed and people affected. Pray for the churches around the country that are coordinating with area churches (WestRidgeChurch BuckheadChurch TheChurchAtChapelHill)to reach out and help in any way they can. This is a great time for Jesus' hands and feet to be seen and God's message of love and salvation to be heard.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Friends







We have some really good friends. These are the friends that make it easy to hang out and enjoy each other's company. Friends that are not just like us...far from it!






The longer we tread on this side of the dirt, the more we realize that the good life is not about setting up for our comforts but for maximizing the experience while here.






We've had friends in the past who were "pad answer" people like us, towing the old fundamental and legalistic line. Friends like that make life seem easy, always saying the "right" things and doing the "right" things...in public anyway. (Legalism is a wall to hide the real you so you don't have to deal with real heart issues like marital relationships, pornography, ethics, etc!)






Through the years as God has moved us to live in His freedom, it's always funny when you try and have conversations with the old friends that seem to look at you like you now have a hole right in the center of your head. It was frustrating at first, dealing with the non-understanding looks and comments. Over time, you begin to realize that the ones who never move beyond legalism to walk in freedom feel threatened. There is a security when we can wrap our minds around a set of rules. There is uncertainty when we really have to place our faith daily in the person of Jesus. Yet the great paradox is that it turns out quite the opposite!






For Jesus calls us to a life of adventure and freedom! No more of that life of unfolding the list of rules each day and checking things off! Now there is the moment by moment communication with God that involves listening for His voice and calling on Him! And falling more in love with Jesus!






So, our friends look different today than they did a few years ago. Some have taken the journey with us and others still shake their heads with a tsk-tsk when we happen to meet them in the mall. Our friends today stretch us, challenge us, and encourage us; friends that live here, live in other states, friends that we have met through social networking and other churches.






What does your circle of friends look like? Good friends are truly a gift from God in this journey of the Good Life!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Conqueror or Maintainer?


Often when I read through the account of the kings of Judah and Israel from the Old Testament, I find myself frustrated at the state of man. Such a reflection on my heart so many times in giving God only part of me when he desires and craves it all! I know God does not need me, but He wants me and not just part, but the whole kit and kabodle! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly! (plenty of the latter two!) This Video that Michael Harrison reminded me of this morning says it all!




When you read the story of David, you get the insight from the writers of scripture that He, for all his faults, really had a deep connection with God; hence, known as being "after God's heart". You don't see that with many kings that followed. Yes, there were bright spots in Judah's history and kings, but what set David apart?




I wonder sometimes if it wasn't the adventure that David took with God. David was forging new territory in Israel's history. This whole "king" thing was fairly new (after the first disaster of Saul) and David comes along annointed by God's prophet both with oil and Spirit; however, David's adventure with God did not start at that physical annointing,for God had already captured his heart as a boy while learning to care for his father's sheep. David's life was a series of "next steps" with God and he was in love with God; for God was in love with him!




David did not choose ease, nor did he try to maintain what Saul had established. He and God worked this kingdom out from scratch. Many battles, many long hours of administrating and establishing this new peace and prosperity for Israel. Many more hours seeking God and meditating and praising him in prayer and song.




The kings that followed mostly seemed to go into "Maintain" mode instead of expanding the kingdom at God's direction. They allowed foolish pride to enter in, mostly did not seek God's guidance. Perhaps it was also that David forgot to pass his legacy on to his children!




What do we take away from all this? Seek God wholeheartedly! (God, please forgive me for not giving you my best!) Meditate on His words, His praises, His guidance. God is working all around us to build His Church/Kingdom. Enter into that fresh work. Some churches have sought to just maintain the "good, ol' days" and maybe it's time for you to step out and be part of something fresh and new; forge ahead into new uncharted territory! And don't forget to include your family in this adventure and pray that they will come to experience God in amazing ways too!

Monday, September 7, 2009

ChickFilA Free Sandwich

If you were like me today, you were 1 of the millions that went to ChickFilA for the free Labor Day Chicken Sandwich.

We spent the day with friends at the lake today so we did not get to our first ChickFilA until 6:40pm. We parked in an adjacent parking lot and were going to walk in to order. We were stopped at lot though and informed that they had run out of chicken. Wow! That's a lot of chicken, considering they had been giving it away since 10:30am this morning!

We proceeded to the next location enroute to home and the girls and I actually got inside and up to the counter to order. As we ordered, we heard the guy from the kitchen come and tell a manager that there were only 15 sandwiches left. Those of us that heard were told that we were probably safe. Needless to say, once we received our sandwiches (yes!), we made a quick exit of the building. We did not want to be there when they would soon announce the "Out of Chicken" bit!

ChickFilA was not offering, so far as I know, a voucher for those that missed the opportunity for a free sandwich. Sooo glad we made it in time!

Reminds me of Jesus' story of the 10 virgins waiting on the groom. 5 were wise and prepared ahead of time with extra oil for their lamps, and 5 were foolish and did not prepare ahead. At ChickFilA, we made it by the skin of our teeth, or as Scripture says, "as by fire". I want my life to be one that is ready for Jesus; one that is ready for His return, one that is ready for His daily displays of His love, grace and mercy to others.

Preparation starts with time spent with Jesus each day. These times with Him are incredible; He has so much to share, it has become one of my favorite things about the morning! Jesus never forces it , he waits for us. Many of us like to say, "O, I'm waiting on God..." but as Pastor P always says, "we've never had to wait for God, it's He who waits for us!"

How about you? Are you prepared for whatever Jesus has for you? Whatever it is, it's even better than a free chicken sandwich!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing


There is nothing more frustrating than being misunderstood. Sometimes you walk into a land mine. When I walk into those situations that throw me back, often my first reaction is to lash out (selfish mechanism). What I may or may not realize is that I just happened to be the proverbial straw that sets someone or something off. It can be discouraging and just plain yucky! Thoughts of "Wow, how did we go from HERE to THERE in a matter of minutes!"


When that happens, I find it helps to first cry out to God (even when frustrated), and God then seems to direct me to my "encouragers" who always seem to have the right thing to say or write that helps me get back on track. When I leave God out as my first cry for help, I often only find others who sympathize but don't let me see beyond the situation.


So I'm thanking Him today for setting the path for me and for renewing my mind with His words and through His servants (my encouragers).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Please Pray for Scott and Family


UPDATE FROM SCOTT'S WIFE, JENNY
Scott is doing much better thanks so much guys for all the prayers and messages, I will have fun reading them to him if he finally wakes up long enough to listen to them, or we could just do one each hour - he is very sluggish and sleepy, but walked around and ate a good breakfast.
here is the link to the local news article - http://www.wmtw.com/news/20580599/detail.html#

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We just got word this afternoon that Kim's cousin, Scott Randolph, was hit by a car while riding his motorcyle. Fortunately, he had his helmet on and a heavy leather coat which helped.

Pretty serious head trauma, no broken bones and they are keeping him sedated so the swelling can go down.

Please remember Scott in prayer that he will be able to recover with no ill effects. Scott and Jenny have served many years in missions with New Tribes until just recently as they wait on God's next step for them. Pray also for Jenny and the kids to know the arms of God around them at this time.

We love you guys!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Times of Reflection


Recently we were on a camping trip with our home group. Oconee State Park, just north of Walhalla, SC brings great scenery for your camera. Our daughter, Nicole, is our family photog, (and on her Middle School yearbook staff) and so this is one her captures. I'm always intrigued by reflections in the water. They offer us an alternate view that we may not have considered before and sometimes the imgage is a little distorted by activity in the water.

When I stop occasionaly to reflect on where I am in this life that God has set before me, I often see things to consider that I hadn't thought of before. Reflection is a necessary part of growth and Scripture is replete with reminders of what my next steps are. The reflection sometimes is a little hazy and requires me to spend that time with God and listen for His voice to direct my next step.

A friend of mine from Twitter, has been doing some reflecting and is now pursuing taking his ministry full time. The power and assurance of God has come through in his time of listening to God's voice in moving him forward. That is such a refreshing thing to see! God speaks if we will listen!

For me, I too am trying to listen carefully to the voice of God . My life has been interesting in regards to Church ministry. Majored in youth ministry at Bob Jones (whole other story!), and have always worked as a lay minister with youth (5 years) and as a worship leader (9 years). Did home church for 5 years, and now plugged in with the body at NewSpring Church for 2. God has been good to me and my family and I have just always tried to be available for whatever role He wants me to fulfill. I immensely enjoy connecting with members of the larger "C"hurch and with finding ways to bring people/ministries together! I tool around with songwriting/recording and maybe one day will have something produced.

God has allowed me to work with some fantastic people! Some are believers and some are searching. It's my privilege to rub shoulders with them all and I pray that my life and friendship will lift them all as I allow Jesus to live through me. They all know that I do not nor pretend to have it all together! As it should be! We've been through lots together and the bonds runs deep!

What reflections have you considered lately? Take the time - it's time well spent!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prayer


Just a quick post as the girls get ready for school...

There is so much going on, that life can seem to go by in a blur! The enemy would love for me to run that treadmill constantly and have such a crazy view of life that I never stop. God calls us to times of rest and refreshing. He knows our frame, He knows when we need renewal, He calls us to spend time with Him. Just as Jesus made it a habit to connect with His Father, we, so much the more, need that.

Take time regularly to connect with the Father and be refreshed and lift your needs and the needs of others to Him. Praise Him for who He is and His power to overcome and conquer the craziness and to bring a deep sense of purpose for your life as you fulfill your true calling and place in the body of Christ!

For the Christian, we have access to THE one and only GOD who is limitless in love and power. Plug in!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Love Teachers!


Been working these past couple of days giving workshops and helping teachers get their classroom technology ready for school starting! All across South Carolina, our crews are finishing up summer installations and getting ready for the next round of fall installations. It'll be a little quiet the next couple weeks as schools get settled into the school year rhythm. A chance for me to get caught up on projects back at the lab/warehouse to get ready for our fall series of roadshows and conferences.

By far though, I love being in the classroom; conducting workshops for teachers, helping them take that next step of integrating technology in a meaningful way for their students. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a teacher create an engaging interactive lesson and present it at the end of our session! I love to see the "lights" go on and listen to all the ideas that begin to flow from the group about how to reach today's "digital natives".

Teaching today is a tremendous challenge for the 21st Century educator. They are loaded with way more stuff than just teaching anymore! They come early, stay late, just to be prepared and catch up on emails and fill out forms and more forms! Those that embrace the interactive technologies with so many online resources are finding valuable time saved! Having been in thousands of classrooms across the Carolinas and witnessing these amazing servants, I have to say, I have a lot of RESPECT for today's teacher! It is my mission to these servants to show them how to gain more time for doing what they love to do, what they were called to do; TEACH!

Do you remember your favorite teacher growing up? I had a few, but in particular, my first grade teacher, Mrs. Wilke, way up in Cold Lake, Alberta, CANADA will always come to mind. She was old school in strictness but very very passionate in giving us hands on experiences so we could be out of our seats to learn like little ones do. I'll always remember studying how heat can melt things and learning that by melting marshmallows mixed with coconut and then dipping other marshmallows in it and getting to eat it!

As school starts up, think of ways you can encourage a teacher (especially your kids'), they will appreciate it more than you may ever know!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rainy Day Thoughts


Nice rainy day today. Rain is a reminder of God's promises to sustain his creation! Reading in Jeremiah 33 today, God promised to revisit and keep His promise to restore Israel and that His promise was as sure as what He does to keep his creation rolling!
God's promises to you and me are the same! He promises to hold us in the palm of His hand, to give us the strength to endure trials, to show us more than we can imagine, to lead us into the full (abundant) life, to prepare us a place in Heaven, to bring us to Him for all eternity!


Do you look at rain as gloomy or as a reminder of God's faithfulness to you? I try to see the latter!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Thoughts


I just got back from another work week where I took Kim and the girls with me. I've really enjoyed trying to take the fam with me on these trips this summer, it sure makes the week go a little faster being able to spend the evenings with family! The girls have enjoyed 3 trips to 3 different beaches this summer; North Myrtle, Surfside, and Wrightsville. It's been very different for Kim and I to have Steven working full time this summer; we've certainly missed him as he has been travelling with the installation crew during the week for the company I work for. It's been very cool to see the girls bond this summer. Our oldest girl, Nicole, has always hung around her older brother and our youngest, Jessica, has very different interests from her sister, so seeing them spend time swimming, boogey boarding, playing games, etc. has been awesome! I have so much to be thankful for! So blessed by Jesus!

Summer's clock is ticking. It's hard to believe where the time has gone! In another week and ahalf, the kids will be packing lunches and bookbags and headed to meet their new teachers (and they will kill me for reminding them!)

Speaking of Back to School, check out what Michael Harrison and The Community are planning for tons of kids in Henry County, VA! And when it comes to kids, the conditions these kids from Swaziland have to live in will break your heart! Check out Childrens Cup ministries and join in the 40 days of Prayer for the Children!

God tells us to "present our bodies as living sacrifices, which is our reasonable service". Reading in the OT this week on the life of David, it really opened my eyes to see David MOVE the heart of God. How amazing is that! David would not present an offering to God that did not involve costly sacrifice on his part. God is at work all around us, in Greenville SC, Atlanta GA, Beaufort SC, Collinsville VA, Kenya, Swaziland, etc ...you get the picture, and He is inviting us to join Him. And how much better to join in where he is already working!

I am currently pursuing ways to impact my community. I do volunteer at our local church, but am also looking for ways to join God's mission in my Mon-Sat too. I've got ideas, and will share soon where I will be concentrating efforts. Would you pray for me as I hope to finalize plans this week? God Bless!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Beware the Yellow Jacket!







Pesky little critters...I didn't see them til I ran over them with the riding mower...all I could think about was the 80 year old man I read about that did the same thing and was instantly swarmed and killed! Read Here

These creatures had dug a nest right next to my house a couple years ago and a little trip to the DIY Pest Control place set me up with the fix to get rid of them. And now, a new colony had moved into the old 3/4 inch hole in the ground. There was also a new second nest nearby right next to the water spigot.

I've heard of guys pouring gasoline down the hole at night, but I was a little worried about blowing up my house with the nest literally 6 feet from the nest. Plus, I'm not sure how deep and wide their nest goes, and I could see me throwing a match at it, just for fun, only to create a crater where the yard used to be!


So, being the calm, collected guy I try to portray. I did what any manly man would do - don the Ninja Suit! Armed with some kind of bee poison I can't pronounce, I commenced to attack! Now, the guy told me to approach the nest hole at night and stick the nozzle in the hole and squeeze for as long as I dare.
I approach the 1st hole, faithful wife holding the light directly on the hole; "Not right on the hole!!" , I scream, "Are you trying to wake them up??!!" (Kim rolls eyes) Now with light slightly off hole, I position the bottle and squeeze - with all my might - Nothing comes out. "Don't freak out, don't freak out", I think.
After cutting the nozzle a little bigger I reapproach the hole and this time success! The precious poison flows like a champ. I repeat the performance on the second hole, thus saving the world from another tragic yellow jacket headline.
Dealing with yellow jackets can be hazardous, but even more hazardous would be to not deal with them. Believe me, I learned a couple years ago that they do not go away on their own. Funny how life is like that, whether an insect infestation or something in my life that I don't want to deal with. As good ol' Barney Fife used to say, "We need to Nip it in the Bud".
Are we ignoring anything that God has brought to mind that needs attention? A relationship, health issue, ministry idea, challenges? Deal with it now before you wish you had and reap the blessing of knowing it's overcome! It's a great feeling knowing I and my family can walk out in the yard without trouble rearing it's ugly head (or stinger!) It's also a great feeling when I deal with issues in my life sooner rather than later. Better the savor of success, than the sting of regret!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

C'mon Men!

The last couple days for me has really opened my eyes to the workings of God in men recently. I know we can go all over the Internet and find the doom and gloom of how men are not participating in the right things in our society, but as I see it, God is moving big time in the hearts of men.

Let's face it, men, for so many years, much of the "programming" in our society and church has catered to the female Participant as we seemed to try and reprogram what a man should be, think, and do. The truth is, God made men for the most part, to connect with others, programs, and teachings very differently than our female counterparts. We crave the rough and tumble, the sense of adventure, and often recklessness.




God is raising up churches here in America where pastors are appealing to this side of us. Pastors that are not afraid of a challenge, not afraid to eat meat, shoot a gun, and root for a football team (and even schedule services around the SuperBowl! Yes!) and have a HUGE heart for Jesus. A man's man - like Jesus was.

I am so thankful for the men in my life that understand this appeal and reality. It was very cool last night to hop on a men's online Bible Study hosted by
Healing Place Church hosted by Dan Ohlerking. These guys were very encouraging! Guys like Michael Harrison and his brother, Steve Harrison . I've yet to meet any of them yet, they encourage and pray for me and I do the same for them!

The above video of Hillsong's "No Reason To Hide" is a great example of a bunch of guys from Australia led by Joel Houston (son of Brian Houston;pastor). Guys screaming out their passion for Jesus!
Guys like Jonathan Bowen that I have built with, shot with, worked with, struggle with, ministered with, laughed and cried with. Friends like that are a rare gift indeed!

Our campus pastor, Howard Frist, who is not afraid to stand up and protect the flock with many things we sheep never realize is even going on. My pastor friends will know exactly what I'm talking about!

Men, look around you and find the other men that God is bringing into your life and join them in proclaiming the Kingdom of God as a man. It's the adventure of a lifetime!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Be Yourself!

Pressure is all around us! Pressure to perform, to "be all we can be", to be "more than we can be". Are you feeling the pressure? From work, family, friends, or even your church? There are times when God allows pressure in our lives to refine us but that is very different from what Jesus talked about...a pressure to be anything other than what God created us to be.


Consider Jesus' take on this pressure in Matthew 23:4. Very different words, indeed! “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Lots of people will pile unreasonable expectations on us. I'm not negating our responsibilities, just the extra things in our life that pull us down mentally and physically, and spiritually.


When I think about my heroes, I have to ask, "have I put them on a pedestal?" Have I placed myself on a pedestal? Have I allowed others to put me on a pedestal? Jesus is pretty explicit about that...Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do"


With Jesus, we can be ourselves; no pretensions or facades. He sees the real us, and says, "take a load off, BE YOURSELF!" Being yourself will free you to have the most impact.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Get In The Water!

Kim told me an amusing little story from one of their walks on the beach last week. As she and the girls walked along the shore watching the little ripple waves coast in to greet them, a little sandpiper ran along in front of them.






This little guy made it a point of never getting his feet wet.












Each time a wave came in, he'd run just outside of it's reach!












Never quite letting that wave catch him!

Are you afraid of something that is holding you back from pursuing your passions? Maybe it's time to jump in and try. Who knows what life's treasures God has in store for you just beyond where you are now!

Connecting the Dots

This morning as I read some daily Bible reading as provided by YouVersion , I saw a pattern of continuity that is throughout scripture.

II Samuel 4 and 5 show the consolidation of David's kingdom and the futility of the Philistine's trust in their gods to give victory. I also appreciate that God does not hide the finer points of David's failings in taking concubines and wives though he was a man that pursued God and most times consulted of Him for direction. I believe God lets us see these frailties to remind us that He knows our weaknesses and to lean on Him; and to hopefully let us avoid some of the same pitfalls in our life.

Fast-forward to Jeremiah 10 where God is doing kind of a "I told you so" scenario for Israel still in future tense about following the idols that were nothing but sticks and stones made by the people that worship them. Perry Noble spoke yesterday at New Spring about the idols in our lives that we hold onto. Oh, I'd like to say that I don't have an idol, but the truth is, the minute someone tries to topple my idol, I get mad! My idol that God has revealed to me lately is PRIDE! I get my nose out of joint far too easily when others don't work around what I think should happen. God has really been gracious but firm in telling me, "Get rid of that idol" Umm, when God tells you that, it's best to do it!



Lastly, Matthew 21 - Jesus is greeted by well wishers (at best) as He rides into Jerusalem (that David conquered and fortified in II Samuel!) The irony though is that those same greeters turned into an angry mob calling for His crucifixion! Ouch! We've all experienced that to a degree maybe through someone who has stabbed us in the back, but it is also very easy to be a part of that mob too!



As these 3 passages come together, I pray; "God, let me be one who crucifies this flesh (toppling the idol of Pride), worships in Spirit and Truth (and not part of the mindless mob), and prays for Your guidance before making a move (as David in going to battle)! - Amen"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My 3 Girls!



Tonight, I took a walk on the beach in Surfside SC with my 3 girls. Nicole brought the camera and I got them to pose for me next to the dunes. I snapped the shutter and then checked the screen. What happened next happens often as I think of the awesome family God has blessed me with. I got choked up.

I don't deserve this goodness, but God chooses to heap it on me anyway! Look at all God is blessing you with right now. Even in the difficult times, He lets a ray of sunshine pour down on you.

Time to read to the girls - good night!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jesus, You Are

Jesus, You are
Deliverer------of my soul
Jesus, You are
Conqueror------of my heart

Jesus, You are the Mighty God
Jesus, You are Beginning and the End
Jesus, You are never far from me
So I will praise You, Jesus, for who You are

Jesus, You are
Strength-----for every trial
Jesus, You are
Provider-----of all my need

c2009 Leo Gallant and LG Productions

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bedtime Stories


Everyone likes a good story. A good story captures the imagination and can take us to another place and time.

Tonight, as my girls in their summer adventures, decided to set up the tent on the screen porch, it seemed to Kim and me that it was a great time to re-read the Little House series.

Such a simple story, a little girl with her family living in a simple (yet not easy) time in America. The courageous spirit of this little family from the late 1800's still inspires us today.

In a way, I long for that kind of life for me and my family. A life where everyday is a new adventure; where everyday brings new appreciation for all that God has blessed us with! The simple joys that Solomon expresses in Ecclesiastes - "the worker enjoying the fruits of his labor".

I think back to my Grampy Samuel Bishop Giberson (my middle name is Samuel for him), and remember things he used to make with his own hands, fishing poles, tops, whistles, etc. And the stories he used to tell about his dad who was a cook in the old logging camps riding down the river with trays of food for men who didn't make it back to camp that day and how he never spilled a drop! Stories of hiding from the Germans for 3 days in WWI when they were separated from their unit or the time when my Nanny Ethel Grace was 13 and had to drive the sleigh during a snowstorm to take visitors home.


Everyone has a story to tell; I have a few I have told my kids. Sleeping on a little island in the midlle of a river only to awaken to it rising from mountain snow melt. Accepting Jesus and being baptized in Cold Lake, Alberta where yes, it was COLD! Stories of how Kim and I met and were married; how God carried us through times of sorrow and how good He is to us! Reminding our kids of things they used to say and how they said them.

What's your story? Every day of our lives is a page in this book we are living and just like Laura Ingalls, our stories live on, eternal creatures that we are. Live like your story is courageous, inspiring, and memorable. God, the Master storyteller and keeper of stories is writing it down!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leading Through Change


Got to spend a little time this afternoon at our new New Spring Greenville Offices on the way home from my office. One thing that strikes me about the New Spring staff is that they are themselves whether they are at the gathering spot (Carolina First Center) or at the office. I really appreciate their friendliness and it's cool to watch the obvious love and comraderie they share! Thanks to Kevin for the tour; it really is a great facility for the offices and FUSE student ministry!



I enjoyed getting to hear from Howard how God has moved through this whole amazing relocation deal. (He needs to write a book!) I get the sense as I recently saw someone on Twitter say to the effect of, "Better than having amazing stuff; Having amazing stories!" Listening to Howard's stories of working through the maze of negotiations and relo details is definitely a testimony to the fact that Howard believes that God is BIG and wants to do way BIGGER things than we could ever imagine. BIGGER things like the work that God is doing in people's lives through encouragement and introducing them to Jesus! I'm glad my campus pastor has this kind of faith even when things are uncertain. Im praying that God will continue to give wisdom as they strive to provide the right environments for people to experience worship and community - challenging when we are a Mobile Church! But hey, the Church should always be Mobile in a sense, right?

God is using our local body in so many interwoven stories going on in the Greenville area that it's impossible to deny His leading in all this! He has assembled a great staff who desire to walk in step with his leading and aren't afraid to mix it up and stay on the edge of their seat!

Rock on guys!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Timing Is Everything

I'm sitting on the back screen porch...tree frogs are singing...it's past midnight after this great day of waterfall hiking in North Carolina. I just got done reading some of my favorite blogs. I'm encouraged and challenged by these guys...

Steve is playing his guitar working on some new riffs for a song idea...occasionally asking me how it sounds...I saw on Twitter tonight, one of the GA guys I follow, his son just started crawling today; reminded me of Steve taking those first steps toward the Sunday Football game some 16 years ago.

Where does the time go? We ask this a lot, but seriously, this is flying much too fast for my liking!

We live in time, we plan around it, we hope and dream. The years slip by and we check to see if the dreams we envisioned have come to fruition or if they have been sitting, collecting dust.

I have a few dreams that I want to see come to pass. I want to fall more in love with Jesus. I want to fall more in love with Kim. I want to make great music that will bless others. I want to take better care of this body God has given me. (Yah, I saw the pics from our hike today!) I want my kids to always know how much I love them. I want to serve others more and have the financial freedom to do this more than we do.

I'm trying my best to follow Jesus and his example; resting in his grace and letting Him establish the timing for the dreams that He has placed in me. I love the fact that He has never forgotten me or walked away from me. As Matthew says, He is with me to the end of Time!

What dream has Jesus placed in you? Whatever it is, He has not forgotten, He has set the clock and when it is time, BE READY! Keep hanging on...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Freedom Rings - Can You Hear It?

Tonight starts the mini-vacation that is Freedom Weekend! As I write this, my daughter, Jessie, is peppering me with requests for words for her Mad Libs that she just got as an early birthday present. She turns 10 on Friday and is loving the freedom that this summertime brings!

Any of the patriotic weekends make me think of my relatives and friends that have served and/or fought for us to enjoy these freedoms. My Grampy, Samuel Giberson (now with Jesus), who as a lad of 16, headed to France in WWI and fought in one of the greatest battles of Canadian Army history - Vimy Ridge. He narrowly survived a bullet through his neck!



My friend (now with Jesus), James Clinton, who at the tender age of 19 was busy shooting down kamikaze's from the deck of his Cruiser in the Pacific

My dad, Leo Gallant, served as a Military Policeman in the Korean War and for 22 years in peacetime.

My brother, Bruce Gallant, served 20 years as an Artillery Officer.

And now my nephew, Charles Gallant, is in boot camp in the AirForce.

All the men that I have met who served in VietNam and in the Gulf Wars...

I love these men that God has put in my life as a reminder that Freedom is never Free. I love the fact that they were/are willing to lay it all on the line for you and me. I don't thank them enough, I don't appreciate their service enough, and truthfully, I never can fully. I can, however, live my life in a way that honors their service and sacrifice.

I am surrounded by heroes. We all are... Thanks Guys...

Where Is The Church? Where Am I?

From June 29, 2009


With all the talk by so many churches wanting to be like it was in the book of Acts, I wonder how far we are willing to go to test that! The real model seemed to be not so much in preaching to grow but in serving and experiencing growth as a by-product. I read a comment by our campus pastor, Howard Frist, that got me thinking about this; he said, "I wonder what would happen if we as the "C"hurch followed Jesus pattern when He was here and worked to meet peoples physical needs first?"
Tonight, Kim and I were at the home of a dear relative who recently has been drawn back to God through the encouraging environment of New Spring Church and the teachings of Perry Noble. She has had it rough in her life, a combination of a rough upbringing and bad choices, living most of her life as a single mom; currently separated, and now, clinging onto Jesus like never before and sharing Him everywhere she goes. Life is still hard for her in many ways and Kim and I discovered many things she needs help fixing around her house so she can sell and remove a lot of financial pressures as she seeks to honor God.
It's time for me to stop saying "Be warm and filled" and start serving like Jesus and BE the church more than just writing a check and running video at my church. Those are important too, but it's too easy to get disconnected from my "Neighbor" and cross to the other side of the road when I leave the four walls of a building.
The church in the book of Acts first met the needs of people (so much so that servants, ie deacons, were needed to help distribute money, food, etc) and that was what drew people to the Church after that first day of Pentecost. If we as the Church really want to see a move of God, it will start with me and you truly being out in the trenches and loving on people in a tangible way!
I'm rolling up my sleeves...

The Simple Life?

From June 18, 2009

The simple life...what come's to your mind when you hear this term? For some, we think of just laying around doing nothing at all, or we think of green meadows, crops in the fields; the whole pastoral scene. A life of ease, or is it?...
Do you remember how simple life was when we were kids? Our days were carefree and planned for us, our meals and transportation provided, our needs paid for; it didn't get much better. The problem is that as we got older and more "responsible", we've become conditioned to think that it's all up to us to make it happen and we can lose that sense of resting in someone else to take care of us. "Pull up your bootstraps, etc", "early bird gets the worm". We work ourselves into oblivion looking for that rest, but thinking if we don't stay "busy", we're bad people!
The simple life starts with simple obedience and reliance on someone bigger than us. As we enter into adulthood, that reliance becomes fully transferred to God if we are to enjoy the simple life. Man, I need to be reminded of that so many times!
God has called YOU to enter the simple life. If you don't know him yet, he stands at your heart's door and knocks. If you know him, he invites you to a place of calm (even in the middle of life's storms) to hear from him and to let you know he is there for you - whatever you need.
The simple life is not without it's struggles. When Kim and I were faced with problems with her 2nd preganancy and not knowing what to expect; we had to lean even more on God to face the unknown. When Valerie was born with multiple birth defects, it was his mercy that allowed us to hold her, feed her, LOVE her for her short 3 1/2 weeks on this earth and it was his AMAZING Grace that held onto us when we laid her in the ground. But we would never trade this struggle for anything as we learned more about the goodness of God in that September than ever before!
The simple life is one of Obedience; believe me, it was one of the hardest things to walk away from 15 years of ministry as a worship leader. God was telling me that I needed to focus on letting him truly capture my heart for him and for my family and to learn that ministry is not only on the stage. Wow, has my perspective ever changed to view everyone in the church as vital! And I've loved seeing my kids learn what it means to worship (whether by song or obedience).
So, are you ready for the simple life? It's waiting and it will blow your mind! It is not ordinary, but adventurous, epic, and yet Restful! What are you waiting for?

Dads On The Day After

From June 22, 2009


Yesterday was a great Father's Day for me. I got to spend lots of time with my kids travelling down to the beach. When you drive for 5 hours, it's nice to have people you love in the car with you! We've all endured long trips where the company hasn't been near as pleasant!
It's always interesting and fun to observe the differences there are at each age of my kids (9, 13, and 17) especially when it comes to choosing the music or movie in the car! But also on the wide variety of topics we chat about, age and maturity bring different perspectives. Our youngest, Jessica, typically lives in her world where everything revolves around her imagination! Our middle girl, Nicole, loves the closeness of the family circle (group hugs!) with just a hint of branching out beyond our inner circle. Steve, our oldest, has just one more full year with us and I can already see adventure in his eyes!
I pray for my kids. I pray that I am preparing them for the full life where they can see God's blessing in all areas of their lives. I pray that they will always follow and believe in God as a BIG GOD and that they will not be afraid to attempt the impossible! I pray that God will stretch their minds as He has mine. I pray that they will fly farther than I ever will. I pray that they will find true love and cherish the simple things in life.
I have been truly blessed with a great family. Just some thoughts this morning from the beach!
Have a Good Day!

Nailing it Down

From April 20, 2009

These past couple weeks, our local church, New Spring Church, has been presenting a very clear message of the good news of Jesus and why he came, through a series they call, The Gospel . Little did I realize the impact it would bring for my family until yesterday…Let me back up and tell the story of our two older kids, Steve and Nicole. Greatest kids in the world, very fun, caring, and we have thoroughly enjoyed them in each stage of their lives. Nicole has always wanted to do everything her brother does, playing, music, friends, etc. Both of them began asking questions about what Jesus was all about at an early age. Very early, Steve, after asking lots of questions (why do people die, what happens after death, who gets to go to heaven) told us he wanted to ask Jesus into his life. Nicole, like Steven also began asking questions about how to get to heaven and what happens after you die like little ones do around age 4 and 5. Kim and I would answer her questions but without pushing she in any way to make a decision that she might not be ready to understand at that age. Finally one day, after another one of her questions about why do we need Jesus, she came to the conclusion that she wanted to pray and ask Jesus to come into her life. So with a little help from her dad, she prayed a simple prayer asking Jesus to save her from her sins and to come into her life. Again, we did not push for it; Kim and I want our kid’s faith to be their own and not just because Dad and Mom believe it. (By the way, Steve did the same at age 4; he says he remembers) We believe that when Jesus tugs at your heart strings, that is something HE does, we are only conduits of his message, grace, and mercy in this world. The same is true for baptism, and especially since both Steve and Nicole prayed to ask Jesus into their lives at an early age, we wanted them to approach us about being baptized.Fast forward now a few years to when we started attending New Spring, our kids have thoroughly enjoyed and soaked up the teachings by Perry Noble , senior pastor. After hearing a message about baptism, Steve said that he would like to be baptized and then Nicole said she would like to as well. Both of them were baptized early this year and we all celebrated this next step in their spiritual journey with Jesus.This past Sunday was week two of The Gospel series and about half way through the message, as Perry was asking if you’ve ever really nailed down giving your life to Jesus, Nicole looked over at her mom and said, “I don’t really remember doing that”. Kim asked her if she’d like to talk to dad later that day and she said “No, I need to do this now!” So at the end of the message, when Perry asked if anyone would like to stand to indicate that they would like to receive Jesus, she did and prayed right there at her seat! We witnessed the miracle of a new birth in our 13 year-old daughter, Sunday, and just wanted to share it with you and oh, by the way, Nicole says you’re invited to her real baptism on May 16th!

Follow up Review to Killing Cockroaches

From Feb 18, 2009

I'm finishing up reading Tony's book. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805447857/tonymorgan-20
Tony hits the nail on the head when it comes to the distractions that many (read "all") of us face everyday. The cockroaches are the little tasks/distractions that are often fun to deal with but keep us from focusing on what we shoud really be about. In anything we do, we have certain giftings, but we often want to dabble in things better left for others who are suited/gifted in these areas. I was recently reminded of this by Jon Bowen when I wanted to mess around with production on my latest recording. Jon graciously slapped my hands and reminded me to focus on Song writing and leave production to those who actually know what to do!
In one of my favorite excerpts, Tony talks about how one of those distractions can be people who don't follow your vision. We can spend a lot of time trying to "convince" people of the validity of that vision, but in reality, if people aren't ready, they aren't going to budge. Let God be our judge, after all, we will stand before Him, not people, family or friends. Sounds arrogant, but you know what I mean. The other part I really am trying to benefit from is Encouraging other leaders. Just because you are a leader, it doesn't mean that you have to try and do everything! Empower the leaders who work for you, they need it! Provide the vision, but give them the liberty to flourish and develop their leadership skills-you'll be amazed at what gets accomplished.
The books reads in clips. It is laid out in manageable chunks so you don't need to (nor should you) try and get it all in one sitting!
If you are in leadership, this is a must-read. You will appreciate Tony's perspective on leadership and life. Tony comes from both a corporate and ministry background and is currently one of our pastors at New Spring Church and Chief Strategic Officer (read "Intentional Ministry Minister").

More than I Deserve

From Jan 29, 2009

People often wonder about where songs come from and the truth is, songs can come from very unusual places: life's ups and downs, time with God, time with family and friends, a funny experience, a moving experience.
This particular song came from the story (referenced in a message at NewSpring Church last fall) of the paralyzed guy whose friends brought him to Jesus. I mean they REALLY brought him to Jesus - front and center. They were not deterred at all! They didn't consult anyone about the ethics of bringing this handicapped man to a religious gathering and we don't know if he even wanted to go. Something about this Jesus compelled these guys to hold nothing back and they did everything possible in their power to get a front row seat. Many, I'm sure, raised their eyebrows or even rolled their eyes at the idea of doing something so radical as to actually tear someones roof apart (I can hear the sirens now). Somehow, I'm thinking that they probably stayed and did some roofing before catching up with their friend with the newly energized legs! There is an awesome power that Jesus recognized in these guys; it's called faith. That faith started a chain of events that forever changed both theirs and their friends life. As a reward to their faith, Jesus looks at the guy on the mat who can't walk and says the unexpected, "Son, your sins are forgiven". Umm, I'm thinking that was the last thing anyone was expecting to hear; including the guys who brought him to Jesus.
My family and I have recently had the opportunity to see people we love reconnect with Jesus, simply by being willing to be a part of their lives and also inviting them to worship with us (inviting them to encounter Jesus). It's always so cool to see God do the unexpected in how he works in people's lives and to realize that this life is a journey that we all are on. God always looks past the things that we think are the issues and addresses the reality of what holds us down so he can lift us up! I know that God has used good friends in my life to encourage me to keep my eyes on him and on the desires that God has placed in me. Now, for each of us, the way we speak into each other's lives will look very different; for some, it'll be verbal, and for others, actions, some-a little of both.
I want to do that for others, through my songs, through words of encouragement. How does it look for you? We've all been "given more than we deserve", and have the capacity to really "live life"!

Initial Review of Tony Morgan's "Killing Cockroaches"

From January 5th, 2009

I'm about 70 pages into this reading of Tony's "musings on leadership". First of all, you might be surprised to know that although there are a lot of references to "church" leadership, Tony's experiences from the corporate and public sector, and now church world very much translate to any walk of life.
I've enjoyed how he has broken up his experiences and stories into smaller snippets making it easy to sit down and read just enough to digest instead of expecting this short attention spanned reader to try and consume/digest it all.
Tony's stories point out for us how distracted we can become whether intentional or unintentional. These distractions are the "cockroaches" and are the things that keep us from focusing on our real purpose. We love the immediate gratification of killing cockroaches, or "putting out fires" to some. When it comes to being a leader, we can either lead and delegate (both tasks and authority) or we can hog all those tasks (and authority) and only deliver mediocrity.
Cudos for using multiple examples from different types of leaders and not just his own. I guess he is trying to put his own observations into practice!
Tony (www.tonymorganlive.com) is one of our pastors and the Chief Strategic Officer at New Spring Church (www.newspring.cc) and his job is to shake things up and keep communications from ever getting static in how New Spring does church. Not always popular, usually controversial, he says he's living his dream life! Keep it coming, Tony, we need it.

My Little Girl experiences "No Pain, No Gain"

My youngest got her ears pierced today! It was fascinating to watch her build up her courage to go through pain to get what she's wanted since she was 4 years old. Jessica got up in the chair and held on to a teddy bear while the assistant marked the location on her ears. She had them done one at a time. A few tears later, she was very excited! It's amazing what we will endure when we really want something bad enough. Maybe it's enduring some hunger pains when losing a few pounds or learning new skills to better our job situation. Point is, we either move forward or fall backward and if we want to move forward we will experience discomfort. But hey! No pain, no gain! Go Jessica!

Roach Overkill

Twittering today I noticed Tony Morgan (www.tonymorganlive.com) and a comment about his book, "Killing Cockroaches" and it brought to mind a humorous story perfomed by a couple of single dudes (Names withheld to protect the innocent roaches!) I worked with in my construction days in Greenville. Seems they had a little problem on their hands with roaches, they had the roach motels and all - in efforts to try and get rid of them. One fine Sunday afternoon, they were sitting and watching TV in the living room when one of them critters went waltzing across their fine hardwoods. Fed up and too lazy to get up to go stomp on the sucker, one said dude grabbed his 44 Magnum pistol (given the neighborhood they lived in) and fired one well placed shot that carved a nice groove in that fine white oak, picking up the roach in its path and burying him under the baseboard. Wish I had pictures, but imagine tiny little legs sticking out from under the base shoe.
Oh, and for those wondering, it was a Smith and Wesson Model 629 Classic, chambered in 44 Magnum and with a 4 inch barrel. (I think!)