Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leadership lesson from the Cowboys coaching change

The Cowboys made a predictable choice with the hire of Wade Phillips. Phillips, a mild mannered country boy, was brought into to replace the tough minded Bill Parcells. Phillips is a players coach. The Tuna is no nonsense. Unfortunately, the Cowboys made the choice many organizations make with new hires. They try and replace a former leader by swinging the pendulum the complete opposite way. It works initially, but doesn't last long term.

This is why I want Jon Gruden to be the next Coach of the Cowboys. The Cowboys have become undisciplined and soft. Gruden's tough minded approach would remind people of the days of the Tuna or dare I say.....Jimmy. Now, I know what you're thinking.....isn't that a pendulum swing...the answer is No. Gruden can come down hard, but then you make a good play and he's giving you that Chucky grin. The solution is Balance. Somewhere between Tuna and Wade is where Gruden is. He's a tough minded player's coach.

Regardless of who puts on the Star next season, I will still cheer for the Cowboys. I hope Jerry reads my blog. LOL

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a great weekend!

We had a great weekend! Sunday Morning at Northside was incredible. I have the unique priviliege of leading people in worship. At the conclusion of the worship, our Pastor stepped up and gave a series of calls for people to get their hearts right with God.

As we sang songs of Grace and Freedom, you could see God working in hearts. People literally melting and weeping as God set them free.

The presence of God is very real. It has a lasting effect. Sunday will be a day that I think about for a long time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What's been happening?

1. School has started. That means the last few weeks of our lives have been crazy. Mady is in second grade. Kenzie is at the Methodist Church Day School.

2. This weekend, we went to Chandler for the annual Fantasy Football Festivities with some friends. We had a great time seeing everyone.

3. We stopped by Sasha's parents on the way home and had dinner. I ended up going home by myself and meeting them halfway the next day to pick up Sasha and the girls.

4. A lot has been happening at Northside....we finished family month the first Sunday in August. Then, we went on one final trip of the summer with the 180 students to San Antonio. We have been remodeling the Kid's area. Mark, Tommy and Jay have done an awesome job. We've had amazing services this month. God is good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sticky Teams Blog Tour

Larry Osborne has written a fantastic book entitled "Sticky Teams." I was captivated by this book. Obsborne stated that his "deep conviction that the health and long-term effectiveness of any ministry begins with the health and unity of its primary leadership teams." This book was written with Pastors, Staffs, Boards and Leadership Teams in mind.

One of the quotes that would sum up this book is "A unified and healthy leadership team doesn't just happen it has to be a priority." If you want to make a unified and healthy leadership team a priority in your ministry, then I suggest you purchase a book for every member of your leadership team.

The principles and leadership axioms in this book with help guide you and your team to a more healthy state. I highly recommend this book no matter what stage of your journey that you are in.

Click here to purchase a copy of this book!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Training

Last night, I had one of those Dad moments. After we got back from prayer meeting at church, Sasha had to run up to the school. So, I was home with the girls. I had set the DVR to record the Cowboys first preseason game. I got the girls ready for bed and put Kenzie down to bed. Mady, my oldest, and I had made plans to watch the game together. Since it wasn't a school night and since it was the Cowboys, I had made her the offer to stay up late if she would watch the game with me.

So, for the first time, she sat down and watched the entire first half with me. Kenzie came in when she realized Mady was staying up so we let her stay with us. For the first half, the three of us laid on the couch watching the Cowboys. It was awesome. I want my girls to love football.....it is selfish...I know, but I want someone to watch the games with me. :)

As I was praying this morning, I was thinking about the task of discipling my kids. I've said for years that I don't want anybody leading my kids to the Lord....that's my responsibility. I want to train my kids for life. Their formidable years are their preseason. Emmitt Smith said "All men are created equal...some just work harder in the preseason." My kids can do great things for God, but it is my wife and my job to see to that they are taught the things of God. This is way more important than if they love football. We pray with our girls. We read the Bible with them. We study JBQ with Mady. I know I still have room for improvement. Still, I'm not giving up.....I'm going to train them. :)

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Memorable Trip

Sasha and I took several of our 180 students to San Antonio for a week of fun. Here are some of the highlights of the trip!

1. We stopped in Round Rock and picked up my niece, Kelsey. She turned 17 on Tuesday....the day we picked her up. We went to Alamo Cafe and the wait staff sang to her. :)

2. Tuesday Night, one of our sponsors on the trip, Anita, was getting sick. She was throwing up. I was concerned for her, but also concerned for the whole group. I didn't want an epidemic of what she had. She kept telling me that she wasn't contagious. Some of the kids were concerned as well. So, Keith and Anita pull us together and told us that Anita was pregnant. Congratulations to them! We'll never forget that experience. :)

3. On Wednesday, we went to Sea World. I love that place....by far, my personal favorite theme park. We sat on the front row for the Shamu show. We were literally five yards or so away from the whales. It was awesome.

4. On Thursday, we went to Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. It was awesome.....they practiced for awhile. Then, at the end, we tried to get autographs. We went back to area where their bus was. Jason Witten came up....He stopped short of grabbing the football I brought to sign. :) I was so bummed.

5. We spent some time at the Riverwalk and Alamo. I love that area. :)

6. Hanging out with the students.....lots of laughs and memories. :)

Thanks guys for a great trip!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

We attended Dallas Cowboys Training Camp yesterday. Here are my thoughts from training camp.

1. Dez Bryant is a genetic freak. He is taller that I expected and is ripped. I didn't get to see him run, but he appeared to have good hands while catching passes on the sidelines.

2. I like the secondary. Even with Dez out, they are getting to workout against some great WRs.

3. I look for Roy Williams to have a breakout season in a Cowboys uniform. I thought he looked great in practice. I noticed at one point Tony Romo giving him some instruction after Roy made a nice catch. I think those guys are getting on the same page. With defenses having to pay attention to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, Roy Williams should add to his total.

4. Martellus Bennett looked like he had a gimpy ankle. He made some nice catches, but he was hobbling some.

5. I like Jon Kitna, but he makes me nervous as a backup. He appeared out of sync.

6. Got to see the lineman's haircuts....that's crazy stuff.

7. We tried to get autographs. Most of the players bolted for the locker room....the few that stayed out didn't come our way. So, on a tip, we headed for the area where the bus was at. Jason Witten came over our direction, but he stopped just short of grabbing the football I had for him to sign.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rangers and Mark Cuban

Wow! Hot Sports Opinions two days in a row. :)

So, it looks like Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, may become the new owner of the Texas Rangers. The Reds are my #1 team, but the Rangers have been my American League team since Buddy Bell was playing. So, here is my gut reaction to Cuban becoming the Rangers owner.

1. I think it is great. Cuban has brought great energy and excitement to the Mavs.

2. The Mavs are a perennial playoff team. Could you imagine what would happen if the Rangers made the playoffs for 10 straight seasons? Yes, I understand that it is easier to make the playoffs in the NBA with 16 teams making the show compared to in MLB . Lets say that the Rangers make the playoffs 5 out of 10 seasons, Cuban has a statue in front of the Ballpark.
He is not afraid to spend for quality players and I think the Rangers would go after the right players. Cuban is a player's owner and would provide am amentities to the players that other teams would not have.

3. Marketing....Cuban is a genius at marketing. The Rangers would have better looking uniforms, better promotions, etc.

Reasons I would not like this deal....

1. If it had a negative impact of the Mavs. Can Cuban spend big in two major sports? I believe I read a quote that he said that it wouldn't affect the Mavs.

2. Nolan Ryan - If Cuban outbids Nolan Ryan's group and wins the auction for the Rangers, then I would like for Cuban to give Nolan Ryan the option of joining the ownership group and/or be a part of the Rangers franchise in the same capacity or similar capacity that he has been. Nolan Ryan has been the best thing that ever happened to the Rangers and I think he has done a great job of turning the club around.

2.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Will he or will he not retire?

Only in professional sports can you have the leader of your organization waffle and be as wishy washy as Brett Favre has been over the last several years.

Imagine in the Corporate world, the CEO of the company sends a text message to his employees and the board of directors that he is retiring......two months later, he comes back and says he still has some things left in the tank.

In the world in which I lead....the church world....Imagine if a Pastor told the congregation and church board that he was retiring, but came back after the annual business meeting and said you know I think I got one more year of sermons in me. Crazy.

The old leadership principle says not everyone likes strong leadership, but no one likes weak leadership.

Jesus told us in Luke that if you put your hand to the plow and turn back that you are not fit for the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people parish.

Set the course, stay on target and move forward! I wonder if the Vikings will move forward or be the pawn in the Brett Favre saga. Go Cowboys! :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Family Month Reflections

1. One of the motivations for us to do Family Month was that the church is the only place you call something family whatever and then separate into "department" ministries. Pastor Jimmy felt that it was important for our kids to worship with our adults and our adults to see our kids worship. I loved having my girls in worship service. For those who don't go to Northside, Kenzie got loose from Sasha one Sunday during altar time. She made a bee-line for me on the stage. How could I get on to her for that? To me that was what family month was about...the raw emotion of love from a 3 year old and families being together in God's presence.

2. Personally, I had a blast leading worship this month. It was fun doing some of the kid's songs complete with motions as well as the Heaven Hymn Medley. I loved seeing our kids worship and enter into service.

3. The characters created by our Xtreme Kids and Jr. Xtreme Kids workers were awesome. Rovercomer, Sha-Dee-Dee and Mr. Crabkowski participating in the messages was hilarious. Thanks Chuck, Shauna and Jeff!

4. The Drama this morning was awesome. I thought Corbin look like Dr. Phil's Mini-me with crazy hair. The whole group did awesome.....Jathan, Tyler, Reid, Jeffrey and Brittany were fantastic. Thanks Shauna and Jocelyn for putting that together. Last week, the Human Video to Lead me was stellar. Great Job Reid, Nathan, Misti and Hannah! Thank you to Anita for putting this together. :)

5. A huge shout out to our media guys, Brad and Matt for the awesome announcement videos and sermon videos this month. Thanks to all the actors. You guys did awesome!

6. Wednesday Nights have been a lot of fun. Pastor and I got pies in the face on week 1 because we had over 200 at the Skittles concert! I loved the energy at each one of the Wednesday Night Events! Last week's game night was a blast! Seeing our adults do Chubby Bunny was incredible! There are way too many people to thank for your help!

7. Andrea and Tommie thank you for the huge felt board and art work that went on it! I thought it was a great addition to our family month series!

8. There are so many people to thank for their help this month....people who worked the T-shirt table, served Hot Dogs, Pop corn, etc., Tina who put together the prizes for the person with the most guests! I know I'll forget some so just to anyone who served......THANK YOU!

9. Pastor did a great job at communicating difficult subjects on a level everyone could understand!

10. I'm looking forward to us having Family Month again!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Tour: The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels

I've had the privilege of working with people and primarily teens in vocational ministry for the last 15 years. One of the most often asked questions I've heard over those years is "How do you hear from God?" Another way this question is asked is "How do I know what God wants me to do with my life?"

Bill Hybels has written a new book that releases this week called "The Power of a Whisper." In this book, Hybels shares his life journey as God has spoken to him. Hybels challenges the reader to learn to hear the voice of God. As you can imagine and may have heard or seen for yourselves, people do some crazy things in the name of God. I've read people who have gone on killing sprees because God told them to. For this reason, I appreciate chapter 4. Hybels gives some incredible filters for anyone who believes they have heard from God. He also gives a shorter version of these filters in Appendix 2. If you will apply these filters and learn to listen to the nudge of the Spirit, then I believe that you can discover what God wants you to do with your life.

If you are someone who wants to know more about God speaking to you, then I highly encourage you to read this book.

I'd like to thank Zondervan for sending me this advance copy of Bill Hybel's new book. It is an honor to do blog reviews.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blog Tour: Insights on John by Charles Swindoll

Charles Swindoll has a series of commentaries called "Swindoll's New Testament Insights." In this particular installment, he writes about the book of John.

I love the layout of this particular commentary. Swindoll gives some excellent commentary. I enjoyed the diagrams, especially the opening diagram on pages 12-13 that gives "The Gospel of John at a glance."

Swindoll gives his commentary on each section of scripture followed by an application section. This would be a great resource for those wanting to go to another level in their Bible Study. Swindoll gives great explanation of key Greek words. He also has a section throughout the book entitled "From My Journal" where he gives personal insights.

For those who are leaders, I would recommend using this in addition to other resources that you currently use for sermon/lesson preparation. As with any resource, I would judge it based on your personal theology.

Friday, July 23, 2010

San Antonio Vacation - Part 5

One of the highlights for me was to get to spend some time with great friends! I've already highlighted some of the encounters with Darrell Wickert and John Van Pay. I'd like to thank those guys for their hospitality while we were in San Antonio. Their recommendations and advice helped make our trip great.

On Monday Night, we found out that another of our friends from SAGU, Matt Robertson, was in town. So, John arranged for us to meet him and his family along with Darrell and his family. Matt is a Youth Pastor in Beaumont. The four of our families met at BJ's. It was a great time as we shared laughs and memories.

We also had the added bonus of seeing my family on the trip to and from San Antonio. We stopped in Round Rock and saw my sister and her family. We got to see my parents in Waco. My mom introduced us to Taco Casa. We also got to see the remodeling my Dad has been heading up at Victorious Life in Waco.

Overall, we had an awesome week! It was very relaxing and I loved the time connecting with my family and friends.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Antonio Vacation - Part 4

The weather was perfect for a lot of great activities. There was a tropical storm that hit Mexico that brought sporadic rain and cooler temperatures. Besides Sea World, there were some other great things that we did.

1. Riverwalk - Can you really go to San Antonio without going to the Riverwalk? We had a great time walking down the riverwalk. It has been 4 years since our last visit to San Antonio. Since that time, they have expanded the riverwalk. It looked like they were still in the early stages of that, but I expect that there will be a whole lot more shops and restaurants popping up there soon.

2. The Alamo - I love the history and nostalgia of this place. To think there was blood shed on that hallowed ground for my freedom is a humbling thought.

3. Rivercenter Mall - the Girls loved the Hello Kitty store. Of course, I had to stop by the Dallas Cowboys Pro shop. I even bought a couple of Baylor Shirts at the Champs there. :)

4. San Antonio Zoo - We had a blast at the zoo. This was really the only thing that the rain messed up. The rain cut our trip short. They had the biggest snake I've ever seen in my life and an awesome Africa exhibit complete with what looks like an aquarium, but then you notice the huge hippos in there. It was awesome. We will go back again.

5. San Antonio Children's Museum - If you have small children, this is a great interactive museum. The girls loved it. They have a grocery store that the kids can shop at.....complete with fake food and mini shopping carts. The girls had a blast with all the exhibits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Antonio Part 3 - The Culinary Experience

OK, here were some of our favorite places that we ate on our vacation...in no particular order.

Mexican Food

1. Alamo Cafe - Alamo Cafe is a stop we have to make every time we are in San Antonio. In the early 90s, Brent Williams, my youth pastor when I was a teen, took me to this place. Our favorite location is the one off of 281. They have great tortillas and fantastic Tex-Mex. We met my good friend, Darrell Wickert, there. Darrell is a Kid's Pastor at First Assembly of God in San Antonio.

2. Mi Tierra - Mi Tierra is located in the El Mercado at Market Square. They have great food and a great atmosphere. Mariachi Bands walk around playing music (for a small fee of course). It is a San Antonio landmark.

Honorable Mention: Taco Taco Cafe - Kenzie wanted Tacos. So, I googled "Best Tacos in San Antonio" and it lead us to Taco Taco Cafe. Bon Appetit Magazine said these were the best Tacos in America. So, we thought we'd give it a try. I had their signature taco, El NorteƱo....it had beans, avocado, cheese and grilled meat. The girls all had regular tacos. I thought it was good, not worthy of the best in America.....the girls didn't like it at all.....probably won't go there again.

Bar B QUE

1. Salt Lick BBQ, Round Rock, TX - I loved this place! They had great BBQ. A couple of the Food Network stars at highlighted this place on the show the best thing I've ever eaten. So, we decided to give it a try. I would like to try their restaurant in Dripping Springs because a few friends have told me that it is better.

2. Rudy's Country Store and BBQ - My good friend, John Van Pay, took me over to the Original Rudy's Country Store and BBQ in Leon Springs, Texas. I've eaten at Rudy's before, but this one was by far the best. It was the place that it all got started. The smoked Turkey was awesome. We also liked their creamed corn.

Chains We Liked
1. BJ's - Great Homemade Root Beer
2. PF Chang's
3. Freebirds - Incredible Burritos
4. Red Robin

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

San Antonio Vacation Part 2 - Sea World

On Monday and Tuesday, we spent the day at Sea World! We love Sea World! It was our first time to take Mackenzie. She loved it! We went back Thursday night for all the night shows!

Highlights:

1. The girls loved the little Shamu roller coaster. It was Kenzie's first roller coaster experience. She is a big fan now!

2. We loved the shows! All of the shows are great! Kenzie's favorite was the ski show! Mady liked the Sea Lions show at night the best! Sasha's favorite show is AZUL. It used to be called Viva!, but they added some lighting effects and changed it. When we went Monday and Tuesday, they did not have the AZUL show because one of the Beluga Whales had a new calf. We did get to see the new calf. It was awesome.

3. We loved the Shamu shows! The girls thought it was funny when they put the camera on us before the night time Shamu show....I jumped up and started dancing. Yeah, I was that guy. It was for the girls! LOL

4. The girls loved the Lazy River at the Lost Lagoon. Mackenzie was adventuresome. She went out with me into the wave pool (wearing a life jacket of course). She had so much fun.

Sea World is a great affordable place to take your family. You can buy a fun pass that is the same price as a one day ticket. The fun pass gives you admission all year long.

Monday, July 19, 2010

San Antonio Vacation Part 1

Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of my thoughts from our vacation! The last week of June, Sasha, Mady, Mackenzie and I went to San Antonio for a week!

We arrived in town on Saturday! A good friend of mine was able to hook us up with a great vacation house! It was 2 bedrooms and 1 bath in a great subdivision on the edge of the hill country.

On Sunday Morning, we went to Gateway Fellowship for church! John Van Pay is the Lead Pastor. He has been a great friend of mine since our Southwestern days. Their music was fantastic. It was our first experience at attending a church in a movie theater. If you live in the San Antonio area, I would recommend attending Gateway.

Sunday Afternoon, we ended up at a very cool shopping area called the Shops at La Cantera. They had some great shops. Mady enjoyed the fountains. She thought it was absolutely hilarious every time she dipped her hands in the many fountains and wiped them on my shirt. We had a great time.

Sunday night, we went to the pool in our subdivision with some friends and had hot dogs. I had a brat the way the locals eat them.....tortilla instead of bun. It was awesome. :)

Check back tomorrow for more San Antonio vacation highlights!

Friday, July 16, 2010

AND Blog Tour

It seems everywhere you turn that someone has a different opinion on how we should do church. There are those that say we need to have traditional music and some say modern worship. There are those that we should have Sunday School and those who say that we should have Small Groups. An even bigger divide is those who say we should strive to become a mega church and those who would say the house church or organic church movement is the answer.

In the compelling book, AND, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay pose the thought of not settling for either/or, but AND. What if we were the gathered and scattered church? As Scott Thomas, Director, Acts 29 Network and Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle stated "AND unites the divided methods with the singular motivation of the gospel and urges the church to focus on the mission of Jesus in the sanctuaries AND in the streets."

Halter and Smay challenge the reader to become missionaries to the community in which they live. They stated "Church is God's people intentionally committing to die together so that others can find his kingdom." Jesus challenged us to take up our cross and follow him. This particular thought caused me to ask myself am I willing to die so that other can find his kingdom. The answer is YES!

AND is a fantastic book! It is a must read for anyone who is ready to step out of mundane religion and into an exciting relationship with God. America is a great mission field and this book will help you to reach your community.

This week you can also order AND for 50% OFF and get free shipping at http://www.zondervan.com/ with this code: 370030. The discount is valid July 12-16 only.

What's Happening?

1. Summer has been busy. We are in the middle of family month at church! It has been awesome. Church is the only place we call something family night and then send everyone to their separate activities. So, led by our Pastor, we decided to bring everyone together for family month. It has been awesome. We had Skittles come and do a concert. The deal was that if we had over 200 at the show that Pastor and I would get a pie in the face. The church did it and the pie tasted great! This Sunday, the Xtreme Kids will be in the choir loft helping us with the worship!

2. At the end of June, we took a much needed vacation to San Antonio. I will blog more about that next week. San Antonio is a great place.

3. We've had a series of activities for our 180 students called "Boredom Busters." So far, we've had Water Wars, gone to the Boardwalk in Shreveport and my personal favorite was a canoe/kayak trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Ambush Adventures is a great outfitter in Broken Bow. We did a 4 mile trip down the river. It was lot of fun. I can't wait to do that again. :)

4. The girls are enjoying their summer. They have taken swimming lessons. They both made huge steps during those lessons. Sasha has stayed busy keeping the house clean and going, doing activities with us, getting ready for school to start in a month and taking classes. We've had a lot of fun so far, but it is not over yet.

5. So, sorry that I haven't updated the blog in over a month. I will begin posting more regularly now. Also, you will see an occasional book review on my blog. I have signed up to review some books on my blog. It is a blast. I'm posting one tonight! In the next few weeks, I'll review books by Charles Swindoll and the new one from Bill Hybels that comes out in August. So, be watching for more things to come. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Exponential

Dave and Jon Ferguson have written an excellent book entitled "Exponential." Dave and Jon give excellent reproducing and leadership principles as they tell the story of Community Christian Church and the NewThing network.

The book is written from Dave's perspective with pop ups that showcase Jon's humor and wit. They believe that "God has birthed within you a dream." Not only do they believe you have a dream, but that you can accomplish that dream. Acts 1:8 states YOU will receive power and YOU will be witnesses. After reading this book, you will feel challenged to accomplish the dream.

This book is written for those who have a dream to lead or plant a church. The guiding principles in this book will help you accomplish the task. I found myself not being able to put this book down and discussing it with my friends.

You can purchase the book here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is this the end of the Big 12?

Well, reports have been all over the net for the last few days that the Big 12 is in trouble.

The short....

1. Nebraska and Mizzou are contemplating bolting for the Big 10....if invited. Reports are now that Nebraska got invited, but Mizzou didn't.

2. The Big 12 South minus Baylor and plus Colorado could be headed to the Pac 10 if Nebraska leaves.

3. This would leave Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Mizzou and Baylor in the Big 12.

My opinion...

(NOTE: I think it's important to note that I'm a fan of Baylor and Texas. I grew up a 'horns fan until we moved to Waco. My parents had season tickets to Bears games. So, I naturally became a Baylor fan. Only time I root against Texas is when they play the Bears.)

As a fan of Baylor, I am devastated at Baylor possibly being left out of a major conference. I know they stink in Football. In other sports, they have been good. They have won the 3rd most Big 12 championships in the last 7 years behind Texas and A&M. Their Men's basketball team made it to the elite eight this year.

As a fan of Texas, I think this is dumb. Am I really going to have to watch games on Pacific time.... Could someone with common sense, please look at the Rangers playing in the American League West and see the ratings for the 9:05 p.m. central time games. I'm sorry, but this is terrible for the fans.

I also hate that rivalries will be set aside. Nebraska/OU has been a great game. Baylor against the Texas schools (A&M, Tech, UT).

My solution. Keep the Big 12 intact.

Let Mizzou and Nebraska go.

Put OU/OSU in the Big 12 north.

Bring TCU and Houston into the Big 12 South.

We'll see how this plays out, but I'm not feeling confident right now. :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunrise

This week, I was driving to Men's Bible Study when I noticed the beauty of the sunrise. As I began to think about the earth and the fact that we are a tiny planet in a gigantic universe, I was amazed at God.

Mark Batterson in his book, Primal, breaks out the point that we should never lose sight of our wonder of God. He is the God of wonders. Think about the complexity of the human body, there is no way that anyone in their right mind can say that this complex being just evolved over time. It was the divine work of God. We are the divine work of God. We are created in his image.

Next time, you take a breath....feel the cool breeze of the wind...smell the flowers or take in a sunrise, worship God. He is the one who created it.

That's pretty awesome. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another year.....

I'm sitting in my favorite second office, Starbucks, in Texarkana. I just wrapped up preparations for tonight's message. Some of you are aware today is my Birthday. I am reflecting on another year of life.

It is easy to forget what God has done in the last year. If you want to read on, great. If not, really this blog is more for me to look at later and remember what God did this past year (you know I am getting older....so, I might forget). LOL!

In the last 12 months.....in no particular order.

1. I would not be where I am at today without the love and support of my wife, Sasha. The last 12 months have been a whirlwind in some ways. Sasha flat out amazes me. She keeps our family going. She excels in her profession. She is going through grad school (1/2 way through now)! She helps at the church! She is an amazing mom and wife! I love her! Yeah, I know....I married out of my league....don't tell her though. :)

2. I love my girls. Mady and Kenzie are awesome. A couple of nights ago, they met me at a restaurant. Both girls fought over who was going to sit by me. I ended up with one on each side.....it was a little tight. Sasha looks at me and said "It's tough to be popular." My girls make me feel special. They are both unique. Mady is very smart. She blesses me with how well she is picking up Junior Bible Quiz. She loves God's word. In the last few weeks, she is becoming more spiritually aware. I thank God for that. Kenzie is our comic relif. My prayer is that she never loses that joy. I am thankful that I can be a dad.

3. I had a great experience of working with a great group of people. It has been since I was in college, that I worked outside "the church." This experience was amazing. It gave me a fresh perspective of what people deal with in their day to day lives. It also gave me a new sense of purpose. The experience boosted my confidence. God gave me incredible favor in the few months I was with the company. I loved the experience.

4. Again, God took care of our needs incredibly. During the season that I worked outside the church, I took a huge cut in pay. During that time, through miracles and God's provision, I maintained the same standard of living we had grown accustomed to....our bills were paid, our needs were met....God was faithful.

5. September 1, I began a new journey as Student Ministires Director at Northside Church. It has been awesome. I get to work with great people....starting with Pastor Jimmy and Renata. He has been a great friend and mentor to me over the past couple of years. I have learned so much. I also get to work with a great team of people in the church. The Youth Staff, Kid's Leaders and Workers, the rest of the Student Ministries Team and now the Worship Band and Team have all been amazing. I feel I've grown as a person and a leader. I am so excited that I get to be a part of this great team. It is so surreal being back at Northside after all these years.

6. Part of my responsibilities include leading the youth ministry....I love these students! They are a lot of fun to be around. We have seen some great things happend and I cannot wait to see where we are a year from now. Thank you 180 for your encouragement and for allowing us to be a part of your lives!

Thank you God for taking care of me and my family! I can't wait to see what you are going to do this year!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Michael Irvin on Dez Bryant wearing his number

"When I first got here, there were co-habitating mixed emotions. I was excited and honored that they would honor me with Drew Pearson’s number. But also worried and anxious that I would uphold what Drew had started with No. 88. It’s not my number. It really is Drew’s. It was passed on to me and for me I took it as a place of honor, and hopefully [Bryant] understands that. It’s Drew Pearson’s number. Drew gave it to me and said, ‘Michael, go do better things with it.’ And I tell Bryant, ‘Go do better things with it.’ And God bless him."

I absolutely love the potential of Dez Bryant. I really hope he can be a great wide receiver and not have the struggles off the field that Irvin had early in his career.

Maybe Irvin should invite Dez to the Potter's House with him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Family Update

1. I have spent the last couple of days with the North Texas Youth Ministries Team on the Accelerate Tour. I had the honor of talking about Speed The Light.

2. Mady particpated in Kid's Fine Arts. Sasha helped her with her cooking task and I helped her with her pine car. She got great reviews from the evaluators on both. She also was in the Kid's Choir from our church. We were so proud of her.

3. Mady and I went to Jubilee Zoo in Shreveport last week for her school field trip. I then took her to the Boardwalk. We had a blast.

4. At Northside, we started a new Kid's Discipleship program. Kenzie is enjoying Rainbows. Mady started Junior Bible Quiz and is very excited about it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Texas Stadium Memories



#3 - Attending my first game in Texas Stadium...in December 1999. I got to see the 'boys square off against the New York Jets coached by the Tuna, Bill Parcells. The Cowboys lost on a field goal under two minutes. However, I don't remember much of the second half. I had a stomach virus that hit and I spent most of the second half in the bathroom puking my guts out. I left the stadium after the game was over and felt the urge to puke again. The port a potties had huge lines. So, I tried to go back into the stadium. The worker wouldn't let me back in. I just went past her. They called security. I told the security officer that he could either let me go to the bathroom or I was going to puke right there. He decided I was not a threat to anyone and let me vomit in peace.

#2 - In August of 2006, I got to go to a preseason game at Texas Stadium with Steven Love. We drove from OKC to see the game. It was a blast. It was the first time T.O. played as a Cowboy. The game ended in a 10-10 tie. I was able to sit through the whole game and not get sick.

#1 - My personal favorite memory is attending Carman's Concert at Texas Stadium. Really, I'm not a Carman fan. I went because the show was at Texas Stadium and I had never been to the Stadium. Plus, it was a free show. I remember sitting in the endzone area. The keyboard player came out by himself at one point to warm up the crowd. He began to sing the chorus of "O Come All Ye Faithful" that says "Oh come let us adore Him." As 70+ thousand people were worshipping God with that chorus, I was overwhelmed by the presence of God. I thought to myself that this has to be a taste of what heaven would be like. By far, it is my favorite Texas Stadium memory.

R.I.P. - Texas Stadium

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Good Friday Itunes Playlist

I'm sitting in my office overwhelmed by the love of my Savior. He took a beating for me. He allowed nails to be driven through his hands for me. He had a spear driven into his side for me. He wore a crown of thorns for me.

As I work today on this Good Friday preparing for tomorrow's Egg Hunt and Easter Sunday services, I decided to have a little Itunes expeiment. I did a search for the word "cross" and here's the songs that I will be listening to and the artist that did them.

"The Old Rugged Cross" by Bart Millard from Hymned
"Down At The Cross" by Bart Millard from Hymned Again
"Beneath the cross of Jesus" by Bryan Duncan from My Utmost for His Highest: Quiet Prayers
"At The Cross Medley" from the Chi Alpha Worship Experience Volume 1
"Mighty is the Power of the Cross" by Chris Tomlin from Arriving
"The Wonderful Cross" by Chris Tomlin from The Noise We Make
"Message of the Cross" by Delirious? from The Cutting Edge (1 of 2)
"Take up your cross" by Guardian from Sunday Best
"At The Cross" by Hillsong from Mighty to Save
"Lead me to teh Cross" by Hillsong United by All of the Above
"Marks of the Cross" by Petra from Wake-up Call
"This Cross" by The Shake from In this Chaos
"Carry My Cross" by Third Day from Wherever You Are

Happy Good Friday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform and Obama

I know I'm treading into dangerous ground here. After reading tweets and facebook statuses of many of my friends, etc. I want to remind you that God is still in control.

On Election Night in November of 2008, I wrote a blog. I revisited it today and felt that it would be good reading for you again. I've edited it to reflect the vote on Health Care Reform.

DC Talk covered a song by REM on its 1997 release "Welcome to the Freak Show." The words to the song state that "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine."

Last night, the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill. It has many conservatives up in arms over the language, etc. of the bill.

Many in our neck of the woods and in other parts of the Bible belt will be disheartened over the outcome. Some will be ecstatic that the bill passed. Others will treat it like it's the end of the world. For me, I feel fine. :)

Why? First, My hope is not in a man. My king is still on the throne tonight and will be on the throne. In fact, My God is my health care and he needs no reform (see Isaiah 53:5).
No president has been or will be the Savior of America and neither is President Obama. Secondly, God is the one who appoints our leaders. Romans 13:1 (NKJV) states "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." God's not suprised. He is still in control.

We may not like the outcome or the decisions of our leaders, but there's nothing we can do to change that right now.

So, I urge you to do several things.

1) Pray for the elected officials - 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT) "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. 2 Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity." We must pray for God's mercy upon them. We should pray for wisdom and that God's will be done.

2) Cast off worry and fear - Worry and Fear are not tools of a political party. They are tools of the enemy of your soul. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) states "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." Don't worry....God is still in control.

3. Use Restraint Please - The liberal media has bashed Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin. The conservatives have been outraged by their unfair treatment. However, there are many on the conservative side or in the religious right that are just as guilty. Every time one forwards an e-mail about Obama or Biden that are filled with unsubstantiated rumors and half-truths, that person is guilty of practicing the same unfair treatment. I would take that a step further....it is called spreading lies and gossip....both which are sins. I urge you to get the facts before you push send on your e-mail. Remember: Just because it is on the web or in an e-mail doesn't make it true. There are several websites out there to check rumors....I personally use Truthorfiction.com It is very valuable. :) Name calling and personal attacks are not of God.

The real change we need in America is not a shift in political parties. The real change is that we need to turn back to the faith of our founding fathers. That is the only way America is truly going to change.

2 Chronicles 7:14 "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land."

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Prayer

God has been stirring my heart the last few days. This song has become my prayer. I want the world to know that I burn for God.



Lyrics to Toby Mac's Burn For You
I'm a brand new man, I'm a conscious man
I'm a man who's burnin' for you
The mistakes I've made have been chased away to the bottom of the ocean blue
I'm a brand new man in a foreign land, I'm a man who's feelin' that fire
And it's all so clear when I'm standing here at the peak of my desire

So won't you move me like you used to
I want the world to know I burn for you

I feel revived again, I am alive again
(Burnin' for you) You got me lifted and lifted you lift me up
I feel revived again, I'm energized again
(Burnin' for you) You got me lifted and lifted you lift me up

Woke up in a sweat, those ghosts in my head
Had a grip, but I slipped on by
It's a whole new day as the darkness fades
And the sun's climbing in the sky
I concede, my love, that I need your love
I'm before you, a broken man
And it's only you, no substitutes who can renew this soul again

You got me higher than Kilimanjaro
Got me believin' I can "save the day"
I'm up and running like their ain't no tomorrow
I'd rather burn for you than fade away
I'd rather burn for you than go my way

I'm a whole new guy with a whole new vibe
Changed inside - more flame in the fire
Can't stop, won't stop praying for desire
Like the bunny on the screen feel so energized
Old shell gone without a trace, new face
No more shortness of breath, new pace
Live life now without the taste of fear
TOBYMAC, Double Dutch now let the smoke clear

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Steering Through Chaos

Scott Wilson has written a compelling new book for church leaders entitled "Steering Through Chaos." In this book, Pastor Scott helps leaders navigate the tough waters of transitions.

Scott states "It is possible to thrive in the midst of transition. To do this, though, you'll need to have a clear vision of God's calling, excellent communication, relationships of affirmation and authenticity, and tenacity."

Pastor Scott discusses crucial elements that each leader must have when steering through chaos including vision, timing, authenticity and more. Many books on church growth or leadership that you read are nothing more than a business model. The thing that separates the church from corporate is the reliance on the Holy Spirit. Pastor Scott in his chapter on Corporate Prayer states "When a church operates solely on business principles, it is relying on the giftings of the pastor, the strength of its marketing, and the willingness of its people to support an inspiring leader's decisions." This book gives you great leadership advice, but does not neglect the most important thing...a reliance on the Spirit of God.

Not only will the reader hear the story of Pastor Scott and the Oaks Fellowship, there are also profiles on other great leaders like Dean Rizzo and Greg Surratt strategically placed throughout the book.

I echo Craig Groeschel's words...."I wish I had this book years ago." This is a must read for every pastor and church leader.



You can purchase the book here!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I read this today on evotional.com (Mark Batterson's Blog) and thought it was worth reposting. As people drink and be merry, remember the real reason we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Evotional.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Today Matters

Pastor Jimmy said this morning "If you want God to use you tomorrow, then you have to spend time with Him today."

That is a powerful thought. After being challenged by that statement today, I picked up my copy of John C. Maxwell's book Today Matters. After thumbing through it and reading a couple of the quotes/stories I highlighted. I found this quote from John Wooden, former UCLA Basketball Coach.

On the subject of practice, Coach Wooden stated "What you do in practice is going to determine your level of success. I used to tell my players, You have to give 100 percent every day. Whatever you don't give, you can't make up for tomorrow. If you give only 75 percent today, you can't give 125 percent tomorrow to make up for it."

Wow!

I'd like to change the word of that first line of the quote.

"What you do in PRAYER is going to determine your level of success."

God, help me to pray the way and the things you want me to pray.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last two Christian Music Videos of the Week

These are the last two Christian Music Video of the weeks from our Totally 80s series.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

The day the squirrel went beserk at Northside Church

For the last couple of days, there has been a presence at Northside that has filled this place. Before the Ladies Bible Study yesterday, he was spotted roaming the halls of Northside.

Today, he reappeared again. I was walking by the sound booth and saw something go over the side of the booth and thought it was a piece of paper falling. A little while past... As I sat in my office, I heard a loud shriek. I came out to discover that one of our ladies spotted him running down the stairs. We couldn't find him. I went again to take something to our bookkeeper. As I rounded the corner, I looked down the stairs and there was the squirrel. He turned and ran....the chase was on...like Roscoe P. Coltrane chasing the Duke Boys. I yelled for Ed and he came running from the other direction. When I rounded the corner, the squirrel had disappeared.

We started formulating a gameplan to catch this varmint. We stepped into the workroom and heard something. This time, he was trapped. He was sitting on top of the shelf. We called for backup. Renata shows up with her umbrella in hand. We opened a door. We blocked off additional exits. Ed scares him off the shelf. He takes off running out the door and then straight for me. I sidestepped and he was gone again. Around the corner by the check-in treehouse and down the hall, he went. He was trapped. Doors were closed. All exits are blocked....one rodent...Ed and I standing in the way of his only way out. He surveys the situation and heads straight for us. We jump. He bolts down the nursery wing. We're in chase again. We lose him. All the doors are shut except the Men's room. I tell Ed that he might have gone in the Men's room.. Ed turns on the light. There he is behind the toilet. We open the emergency exit by the nursery. Once again, we block off exits. Again, Ed scares the squirrel out. This time, he bolts outside.

Relief....but wait, he is heading right towards the air conditioners. In our haste, we had forgotten to close the door by the Air Conditioners. I take off around the A/C units and get to the door just in time. The squirrel spots all three of us and makes a run for it to the wooded area behind the church.

In honor of our experience today, I'd like to share this video with you. Don't forget prayer tonight! We may just break out in revival....jumping pews and shouting hallelujah! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Christian Music Video of the Week

Last week's 80s Music Video of the week was from Mylon Lefevre and Broken Heart! I saw these guys at Baylor University back in the 80s.

Man In The Mirror

Seth and JP doing a 180-style rendition of Man in the Mirror as a part of our Totally 80s series at 180 last Wednesday Night. I spoke on taking the plank out of your own eye (starting with the Man in the Mirror) before dealing with the speck in your brothers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christian Music Video of the Week

This was week 4 in our Totally 80s series.

Stryper's "Always There For You" was our 80s Christian Music Video of the week.

Here's the full video.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God gave Rock and Roll to you!

Last week's Christian Music Video of the week!

Tonight is 80s Dress Up Night!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hiding Behind A Fig Leaf

This morning, I attended our weekly Men's Bible Study. We are going through the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.

The main idea of today's lesson was that we put on masks or as Adam did we hide behind our fig leaf. We don't want people to see the real us....the real junk in life.

Most of my fears come from not feeling like I'm good enough or that I'm inadequate. We all deal with some level of fear and insecurity.

What fig leaf are you hiding behind?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Christian Music Video of the Week

Tonight, we continued our Totally 80s series at 180. Here's the 80s Music Video of the week....DC Talk's "Heavenbound."



Macgyver was the inspiration for the Message. Just like Macgyver could make something out of nothing....God can take your nothing and turn it into something. Look at Moses' life...God took his staff and turned it into a snake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Totally 80s

Last night, eight began at 180! What is eight? I'm glad you asked. Over the course of the next 8 weeks, we are asking our students to bring 8 friends and give $88 to Speed The Light. During these 8 weeks, we are doing a series called Totally 80s. Last night, we had 3 people saved.

Using the 80s theme, we have five families competing for a grand prize. The families are based on 80s sitcom families....the Drummonds, Keatons, Seavers, Tanners and Cosbys.

Each week, we are playing a clip of a Christian Music Video from the 80s. Each week, I'll post the entire video for you to..mmm...enjoy.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Today, we are cleaning, watching football, putting Christmas stuff up, watching football, etc.

Here's a great resource for your Bible Reading Resolution...www.youversion.com.

I started the New in 30 Bible Reading plan. It has you reading the entire New Testament in 30 days. What a great way to start the year!