Category Archives: God

Calibrate…November 15-16, 2009….Seattle!

16on16Calibrate, an event to help leaders realign their picture of the Church with Jesus’ picture of the Church, is coming November 15-16. We are hearing about countless leaders who are horribly depressed because they missed the early registration rate on Calibrate. In our tireless efforts to empower leaders we have come up with the perfect solution…a sale.

For one day only, October 16th, save $16 on Calibrate registrations. On October 16, go to to register and you will pay $69 instead of the current price of $85.

This is for one day only – don’t miss it!

More on Calibrate 09?  I could type a bunch of stuff about it….just go to the site!

Rick Warren is praying at the inauguration!

rick-warren1Wow, it shocks me the amount of uproar in the liberal community specifically the gay & lesbian community over Rick Warren praying at the inauguration.  One of the greatest political things to happen for the GL community is the election of Obama to be president.  Reality is, this is a very good political move by President-elect Obama.  This is his way of stretching across the proverbial aisle and embrace the other half of the country (that didn’t vote for him).  How would the GL community feel if Obama put someone like Warren on his cabinet?  Yea….think about that.  You’d think they’d be happy that all Pastor Warren is doing is the invocation at the inauguration?  Remember, Obama is (by his own admission) a Christian.  He & Pastor Warren are basically on the same page here.  Why wouldn’t he have Pastor Warren say a prayer of blessing at this historic event.  Obama is certainly not going to have Rev. Wright?  Yea?

As a person who cast my vote for McCain, I’m more and more impressed with President-elect Obama.  I still disagree with most of his policies…but I will pray for him and support him as my president.  Also, Obama & his team has done a fantastic job embracing technology during this transition and truly reach out to the people to communicate the process.  I feel almost as close to the process by subscribing to their blog as if I were there in person.  In a world where people struggle to trust our leadership….I appreciate the level of communication by the President-elect to me personally.

Question.  Is Rick Warren the new Billy Graham?  How would Joel Osteen feel to hear that?…move on…

So….to the Obama supporters who are upset about Pastor Warren praying…chill out….it could be worse.

….to the conservatives who think that Warren should get up at the inauguration and try to prove a political point….you don’t have a clue.  The simple fact that he’s invited to the party is enough.  The love of Jesus will be communicated simply by the mere presence of Pastor Warren.

Father – Please bless President elect Obama, his family, & his team who are working very hard to turn our country around.  Keep them safe and bring our great country closer to you.

What do you think about Pastor Warren praying at the Inauguration?

Read people before you direct them

(continuation to the Defining Statements series)

crazyOne of the things we find ourselves doing in professional vocational church work is putting together a set of well designed programs then pointing people toward our programing so they can walk the yellow brick road of discipleship and we can walk away with the feeling that we’ve done our job.  The problem is….many of the people we set off in the direction we think they should go….don’t necessarily need what we just offered them.

Example….The other day I was working in our NEXT environment and 5 minutes into the conversation I had to ask a couple if they were married.  I was just about to point them toward our singles events and our men’s/ladies groups because all signs pointed toward them being single….when in fact they are married.  (Don’t get me started on trying to figure out the couple who defines themselves as a couple and want to be in a married group but they’re not married?)…probably another post.

One of our defining statements at New Life is, “Read people before you direct people”.  If we truly want what’s best for the person we’re talking to, we will read them and find out about them before pointing them in the direction we think they should go.  If we care more about our program and the environment we created…then we’ll simply shove them into the mold we made and hope for the best.  Side note…any environment that you have to shove someone in….will NOT last for them.  It must be natural.  There needs to be an urgency for them to want to move in that direction.  You need to ask some key leading questions that open up the conversation to learning more about them.

Example: How long have you been coming to New Life?  What did you like best about the service today?  Describe some of the church environments you’ve experienced before?  Why did you come to church today?  That last question might seem a little direct…but asked at the right time is a very powerful question.  Likely, everyone who is at your church….made a very conscious decision to get up, get dressed, & drive down to church today.  Let’s ask what they’re looking for?  Maybe we can help them find it.

Final point:  If your going to work on reading people before directing them…make sure you have somewhere to direct them once you discover their need.  If a single mom is standing in front of you with a desperate need to have someone watch her 4 year old for 60 minutes so she can have 60 minutes of peace while listening to your pastor…..make sure you have the absolute best environment for her 4 year old.  It would be despicable if we dropped the ball at that moment.

What are some questions you lead with when trying to read people?

New Life is defined by our frontline volunteers

Believe it or not, this is a statement that causes some discussion.  Many people think that a church should be defined by the people who have attended there the longest.  Some think it should be defined by the person who spends the most time presenting behind the mic.  Some think that the church should be defined by the family who holds the most power.  We don’t believe this at New Life.  We truly believe that we are defined by our frontline volunteers.  Think about it…we can do all the strategizing and planning to create irresistible environments….yet if the person who meets the guest first…gives a wrong impression….that is how we will be defined.  Our fronline volunteers are people like Mike & Abby Durrett.  They lead our host team.  They carry themselves very well and challenge our host team to strive for the best care to everyone who walks through the door.  Guests make comments like, “I really felt like they were pleased to meet me”, “I felt very welcomed when we came in”, “the people seemed genuinely happy”.  This is our host team.  They make a difference by making people feel welcomed.  Others on our frontline are our volunteers in Adventureland (nursery) and Kid Tough (elementary kids).  Again, we can create the best environments possible for adults….but if we suck in the area of reaching kids…the parents would not come back.  The final group that I define as our frontline volunteers are all the people who trust us by bringing their friends who are far from God.  Think about it.  You’ve built a relationship with a friend/neighbor/co-worker and now you’re going to take the risk of inviting them to one of the most important areas of your life….you church and relationship with Christ.  We’re honored and humbled to have great people who trust us to bring their friends to the environments we’ve created for the sake of eternity.  New Life is defined by our frontline volunteers.

What defines your organization/church?

How do you hear from God?

I know I’ve been away….I’ll try not to ignore my blog for so long again…….

Below is an article I wrote for the Seattle Christian School alumni newsletter.  Enjoy

Growing up in Mrs. Klerekoper’s 9th grade bible class I remember learning how God would speak to the children of Israel. How they would be in peril or just simply looking for direction and God would show up in the form of a pillar of fire, parting waters, or even a burning bush. At the ripe age of 15 I didn’t have a clue that one day I would need to have an ear that would hear from God. When faced with a life choice and asking God to give you direction…what do you do? How does God speak to you? Where do you go to “hear” from God? This has been my journey for the last 5 years…

Life was good and I loved my job. I was in ministry full time at the church I’d attended for 12 years. I had a great wife, 2 beautiful kids, a great dog and a healthy mortgage. Why would God be stirring me to make a change? Why would I feel like I needed to take a big step? I remember discussing this with my wife and sharing with her my desire to be directly in the middle of God’s will for me. She agreed…yet didn’t feel the same way about possibly moving across the country based on a “feeling”. I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Moving to Atlanta, GA and working for my hero and mentor John Maxwell. What a great opportunity. Truly my wife would have the same excitement about this move that I had and she’ll jump for joy at the possibility of leaving all our friends & family here in Seattle for this job? We’ll, not exactly. At first she was hesitant. Then we had a great conversation with my mother-in-law about how to pray for Gods will in this decision. She said, “If it’s truly God’s will….He will confirm it in our spirit individually and separately so we will both feel the confirmation”. That was truly wisdom. As we prayed about this opportunity…we both had peace that this was God sending us on this journey. So we moved to Atlanta…..everything was great until I lost my job 10 months later.

10 months after I moved to Atlanta the company I worked for was sold and my position didn’t exist anymore. How could I have done this? How could I have moved my family to the other side of the country and then loose the very job that brought us here? When I faced my wife to tell her the bad news she just simply looked at me with love and understanding and said, “God moved us here for a reason….let’s just figure that out”. Since we knew that we didn’t just move on a whim…we knew that God had a reason for us to make the move and we were determined to walk that path.

I could have pressured my wife to move across the country and she probably would have agreed. Yet, by seeking wisdom from mentors and praying for God’s will….we made the right choice. Living in the center of God’s will is the best place for me & my family.

How do you hear from God?

Buckhead Church

Watching the Buckhead Church night of worship right now.  Awesome!

Bag em & Tag em

Today was a great day.  If my church office was an environment where we had a bell right inside the door and when you close a sale….as you walk in the door you ring the bell and everyone would cheer……..I would have rang the bell twice.  Days like today are why I love my job.  I got to meet with 2 really sharp couples and chat with them about leading a small group this fall.  Both couples were very receptive and ready to lead.  I love days like today.  Don’t get me wrong.  To have a day like today literally represents with couple one the culmination of a 10 year relationship, about 14 connection points over the last 13 months and patience.  With couple two it represents persistence when I felt God leading me to engage in relationship, relentlessly pursuing the connection, making my calender fit in theirs so I could meet 7 months ago, engaging with their agenda and easing in my desire for them, sharing the right vision, inviting them into my community for 5 months, navigating the conversation, & knowing when to back off and say, “welcome on the team”.  I celebrate the big step these couples made today.  I am moved by the impact that today will have in the lives of the 10 other couples who will be led by them in the next couple years.  Engaging with people and encouraging them to use their gifts & talents for ministry is no short term gig.  You’ve got to be in it for the long haul and side step many (and I mean many) let downs to have a day like today.  I’m grateful to be part of such a great church and I’m humbled that God would choose to use a knucklehead like me to impact people for Christ.

How was your day?

Notes from our meeting this morning…

Tuesday mornings are a time for our pastoral team to connect and catch up with how things are going…share whats new…chat about strategy…how are we doing as a team…and hear from our pastor.  This morning was a great time to hear from Troy.  Not only is Troy Jones my boss, pastor, leader….we’ve been friends for 28 years.  Right now Troy is doing a personal focus time on strengthening his “emotional health”.  Here’s a statement he made, “When he’s 60 he wants to make sure he’s not bitter and still loves his wife, kids, life, God, ministry, & people”.  What are the things he needs to do now to make sure that happens and he doesn’t get bitter?  We need to focus on being emotionally healthy.  So below are seven things he discussed today to focus on to move toward emotional health (good stuff).

1. Assume that there will be discouragement and disappointment in life.  This is not to dwell on the negative…live in reality.

2. Decide that life is too short to be bitter.  There are many people and things we can choose to harbor bitterness about…don’t let this happen.

3. Protect your quiet time.  It’s virtually impossible to struggle in any of these areas if you’re having a solid quiet time with Jesus.

4. Remember – there’s always another side to every story.  Don’t always assume that the people who are not on your side are wrong.

5. Get perspective.  It’s amazing how things will change when you allow time between the point of tension and your reaction.

6. Find people who will let you vent and not perpetuate your issue.  In other words…occasionally we need to verbally vomit…make sure when that happens, the people around you don’t let you eat it back up and carry it around.

7. Develop heart questions.  How’s your heart doing?  Be honest with yourself.  A great book (that he’s reading) that covers this point is, “It cam from within” by Andy Stanley.

These are all great points to consider when focusing on being emotionally healthy.  In no way was this to indicate that he is or we all are hitting 10 out of 10 on each point….but they are all areas we need to focus on.

What did you discuss in your Tusday morning meeting?

Great Video….transformed lives.

This is a very emotional representation of the way we are and can be transofrmed by God.  Very moving.  I love the authenticity of the moment.

My sign would say….

Unwanted child / Adopted by Jesus

What would your sign say?

Mexico Home

Last weekend my son & I went to Mexico with 29 other people from our church.  We worked for 2 days building a home for a family of 6.  Bernie & Loreza are the couple who live in this new home.   They have four beautiful kids.  We had a really great time, worked very hard, and feel very blessed.  The house is very simple.  Only 16′ X20’…yet it means so much to the people who live in it.  It’s likely the first time they’ve had a door that locks.  The kids are 3 times more likely to finish school whith a safe home to live in.  I’ll try my best to pontificate the experience over the next few days/weeks.


What did you do last weekend to make a difference in someone elses life?