Watching the Buckhead Church night of worship right now. Awesome!
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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.
Facebook connected me up with an old friend today. Mel Steinmeyer. Mel is a great guy. He’s an old friend who I haven’t seen for about 8-10 years. Last time I ran into him was on Sunset Blvd. in front of a Magic shop. You see, Mel is a yo yo pro. He used to do exhibitions for kids in grade schools and sell them yo yo’s. It was great catching up with him on the phone. His next step in life is back into full time vocational ministry. Best of luck to you Mel as you let God lead you.
This is our married small group. We’ve been meeting weekly for the last 16-17 months (with time off for good behavior). All good things come to an end…or Mulitply as I like to say. As the grouplife pastor it is vital that I model multiplication in our groups weather I like it or not. Personally I would have preferred to hang with this group for another season…but it is time for us to multiply and create this same environment for more people. Multiplcation is hard to do….(sung to the tune breaking up is hard to do). Please note…this picture does not represent everyone in our group. We’re missing the Brundages, Dawn, & my friend Tim. Tim died of cancer last October. Thats his wife Laura standing between Brenda & I. Evan though our group is multiplying and we won’t be gathering on a weekly basis….people like Laura will always be right in the middle of everything we do. For that matter…everyone in our group will be close and share a special time of connecting and growing in our faith together. It’s sad to see this season come to a close…. I’m anxious for the next small group season. Will God bless us with a group as good as this one? Will we love them the way we love these people? Yea, even the grouplife pastor asks these questions. This is why I love doing what I do!
Note: Sorry for the blurry line Fisburn. Not intentional…..something on the lense…
Last week Brooke & I had dinner with our friends Adam & Amy Ford. They’re pictured here with their cute 2 yr old Tatum. We had a great time eating Papa Johns pizza on a Thursday night. Adam & Amy are going to lead one of our “Just Married” groups this fall. I’m very excited about this because they’re very cool people. Just the fact that I was able to eat dinner with them increases my cool quotient by at least 5. Here are reasons that Adam & Amy are cool:
10. Cool Glasses
9. Cool black T-shirts
8. Cool new car
7. Cool BMW motorcycle
6. Amy reminds me of my cool Sister-in-law ROXX
5. Look at the picture….they’re cool.
4. Related to Erik & Tammie….That’s cool
3. Leading a “just married” small group this fall…..very cool.
2. She’s a therapist…scary cool
1. He works at Starbucks…(angels singing)….totally cool!
Enough of the fun. We had a great time hanging with Adam & Amy. The best part of my job as Grouplife pastor is getting to hang with leaders like Adam & Amy. I’m really looking forward to having them on my team and connecting many couples in community with them. Welcome to the team Adam & Amy.
Today I rode 10 miles on the bike. Beautiful day…sunny…about 80 deg. Rode with Brenda & Brooke. We had an awesome time. “Special day”. I feel great. I always feel better after the ride than right before.
Also, I met with the Ripley’s this morning to chat about them leading a group this fall. I’m so excited about their group. They will be great leaders. I get totally pumped after meeting with leaders like Greg & Lori. I wish I could do that every day. On the flip side…I get totally bummed when I hear that someone is leaving or struggling for some reason. I need to make sure I manage my emotional intake and keep meeting with strong/growing leaders. I know that at times I need to meet with troubled people…but I want that to be the exception. While on our bike ride, we ran into Chris & Tracy. What an awesome couple. They were on their way to Moses Lake. I really like them. Sharp people. It’s funny how I found myself stopping 2-3 different times to help people with directions. I don’t even know the trails that well…but when I see people having a question type look on their face…I need to stop and help. Maybe it’s my southern charm? Yes…I do care more about connecting than winning.
This bike riding thing is good. I think I’ll keep doing it.
Big ups to my buddy John and his family for joining the “high speed” world. You see, he lives on the “Fiskum Family Farm” out in rural Maple Valley and up until tonight at 10PM were totally dial up. I’m so proud of them. Not only for moving into the 90’s but for also catching this fish. The caption on the original photo was, “John Fiskum catches a fatty” …… think …… think ….ok ….3…2…1…go (insert your own punch line).
John & his wife Stephanie are great people. Elders at our church and all around cool people to hang with. They also have a wonderful family. John is the kind of guy who makes everyone feel great when they’re around him and Stephanie doesn’t know how to have a conversation without laughing. I hope that I’ll be as cool as John someday.
This image should disturb you. What are you doing to fight world poverty? This is the question I’m asking myself right now. My friend Eugene is doing something. Maybe we can partner with him?
Some of you may be familiar with the haunting photo above. It was taken by Kevin Carter, a well known South African photographer, of a starving Sudanese child in 1993. It was first published in the New York Times on March 26, 1993 and won him the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. Take a moment to reflect and wrestle with the photo.
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.
I am the kind of person who is all for taking any song that will compliment the message of Jesus Christ and make it part of the service so people will connect and move forward on their journey toward Christ. I’m even cool with youth groups doing really cute/funny stuff to make people laugh and make a point. Tonight as I was reading one of my favorite blogs by Prodigal Jon called Stuff Christians Like I was enlightened by what could be done with Justin Timberlakes song, “Sexy Back”. Side note: Prodigal Jon is a great writer. Read some of his stuff……OK….click here to view the video.