Sep 30, 2007

On a mission

I grew up in a number of churches that talked about being "mission-minded." It was always a big thing to say that, "Our church is very mission minded." The idea is that we are Godly because we are about missions. Usually this meant that they gave money to mission causes, and in some churches it meant that they would send the youth on a mission trip on occasion.

Now, I do not want to sound like this is a bad thing. I think that these churches are to be commended for being "mission-minded." But it does cause me to ask a question, "Instead of being "missions minded" shouldn't we be on a mission?" I think that sometimes churches exchange being on a mission with being mission minded. To be mission minded means that we can support missions somewhere else while we do church for us, and still feel like we are fulfilling the great commission. We don't have to ask how are we doing in reaching people every week because we are reaching people around the world by being mission minded.

Being on a mission means we look at every system and program and ask questions. Why are we doing this? Is this program accomplishing our mission of reaching people? What should we stop doing to better accomplish our mission? Are sending our people out with the understanding that they are to impact their world? This process is painful and often messy work. So we just don't ask those least not outside of staff meetings.

I just feel that the world around us is getting ever increasingly disconnected with God and his church, and something has to be done. The mission field is not over there any more it is right next door. Churches have to communicate to their people that we are not going to just talk, pray, and give to missions but be on a mission. That means that things are going to have to change. It is time that Christ's church of today go about communicating the gospel by all means possible. Church is not to be a semi-private club for Christians, it is instead a community of people that are on a mission. A community of persons that have a common understanding and responsibility to take the Gospel into their everyday life to impact their part of a dying world.

Let's do more than being "missions minded." Can you tell I am passionate about this?

Sep 28, 2007

What kind of friend

Think about this, would you want to be friends with someone who just wanted to be your friends because of what you could do for them? Yes, they were nice to you and wanted to be around you, but you knew it was because they didn't want to make you mad for fear that you might not do what they wanted.

They didn't really search out your heart and work to discover what your thoughts and dreams were. They do love you, but it is in a self-centered way. They acknowledge that you are usually right and are willing to listen, but you know that it all comes back to them wanting you to make their life easy, trouble free, and painless...and really pleasing you is secondary.

Not the kind of guy that you would want to be your best friend? Yet is that not the motivation that has become core to modern Christianity? From God's prospective is that what he sees and feels is at the heart of our relationship with him?

Yes, God wants us to bring everything to him. He is a giver, but he invites us into relationship with him because of who he is and not because of what he can do. Have we become so focused on reaching for what God's hand provides that I wonder if we have stopped reaching for the hand?

Today ask yourself, What am I saying to God about how I view him by the way I interact with him daily?

Sep 25, 2007


It is 6:30 am and I just got back from a jog. I restarted my effort to stay fit today, and with our lifestyle I have to get up early to get it in or it will not happen. The problem is that I am not a morning person, I do like my bed early in the morning.

The fact is that if I want to be fit I have to make the space in my waking hours to invest in my physical shape. I can have the greatest of intentions but unless I invest time, energy, perseverance, and will not happen. Oh how I wish they would invent a pill.

The same is true with our spiritual shape. We can have the greatest intention to know Christ and learn to walk with him in life, but for that relationship to happen we have to make space in our life to invest the time, energy, perseverance, and focus to make it happen. Otherwise, our good intentions will not make it happen.

One thing that often happens is that we want to get to know God and in the name of efficiency we get it all done on Sunday. We go to church and hear a message and then go to another hour (Sunday School) to listen to a completely different lesson, so we pack a lot of God in on two hours and then we off go to do life until next week. The problem is that we get too much information to process in a short period of time, so we forget most of it, and we fail to realize that just getting information about God does not mean we know God.

The life we are invited into by God is a lifestyle of seeking him, learning about him, and just living with him everyday. To know God is to look for him in a quite time of prayer and/or Bible reading in the morning, looking for him at work, talking to him in the car, seeking him in a struggle, not giving up when he is silent, oh and yes learning about him in church. It is a lifestyle of seeking not of religious activity.

So take a spiritual evaluation. What kind of shape are you in? Now what are you going to do about it?

"You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart."--do a little seeking and when you find where this verse is located in the scripture be the first to post it by leaving a comment.

Sep 21, 2007


"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." John Wesley
I like that, what are you enthusiastic about?

Sep 20, 2007

How are you?

Notice how these days we like to view our moral and ethical failures as mistakes and not sin. The sin word is so yesterday. It brings up the picture of an overweight, sweaty preacher yelling in your face. The word sin brings with it the idea that there is a God who is going to get you.

Mistake on the other hand is something we all do, it is something that we can live with, and when we make a "mistake" all we have to do is try harder. We say, "Ok, I was wrong, I made a mistake, I admit it, so can we all just move on." We call that affair we had "a mistake" and not sin. A mistake that I need to try not to do again, not a sin, because a sin means that there needs to be a change in who I am. Sin means that I have offended more than my wife...I have offended God with my actions.

We want to think of ourselves as "mistakers" and not as sinners. But we all know that we are more than mistakers...we are sinners. Try as we might to put up a front, we know the truth of who we are.

Jesus had an an amazing message which said..."You all are worse than you think you are, but God loves you more than you think he does." God wants us to realize that we are sinners not just mistakers so that we can see how deep his love and grace goes.

I am going to be talking about this very thing this Sunday. If you have been skeptical about church, this is the Sunday for you to be at PC. You may walk away with a whole new view of God and yourself.

If you have any thoughts on this, let me hear them.

Sep 17, 2007

Put me in coach

Jana and I were talking the other day about our oldest son (6 years old) who is playing on two football teams. He started out by signing up on a flag football team through the school that he attends, but Colton, who is our very physical child, didn't seem to get into it. Then one of his coaches from his All-star baseball team called and asked if Colton could play on his tackle football team in a league at another school. We said yes (crazy on our part). Colton has come alive. He is eating up the tackle football. He is in on about 90% of tackles. Oh yea!!!

Jana and I were talking about the comparison between flag and tackle. Flag is fun because it has all the thrill and feel of football, but it is not football. To really learn the game you have to get suited up and take some hits...or give them.

We talked about how so often we want to play a flag version of Christianity. They want the feel and thrill of knowing that God loves us and that he is there, but we do not want to "suit up" and do the harder version of living of as a Christ follower. We want to avoid the sacrifice and hard choices and instead pick and choose what we like about Christianity. This has caused us to be self-searching, I hope it will be for you.

Sep 13, 2007


I was talking with John Turner, a friend, author, and a really great communicator, and he was telling me about a blog he was writing about balance. That peaked my interest because balance is not something that is in my life right now. The church is consuming and overtakes my time, energy, and thoughts. Balance, I do not think so.

Ask a mother of a new infant and she will tell you that balance is not a reality, ask a person who is taking care of their ailing parent and balance is not a luxury. The reality is that there are seasons of life that come, some God calls us to, that don't include balance.

We strive for balance, but that striving assume that we control our circumstances. Think about it, the only way you can create real balance if you can control the events of your life. The problem, most of the events of our lives are out of our control.

Instead of balance, I think that we should be constantly asking, "Am I using the limited resource of time that God has given me today in a way God applauds?" You have to be careful when answering this question. We tend to wear busyness as a badge of honor and we easily rationalize our hyper-activity life as good because we are doing good things. Good things are like is good in the right dose but even medicine can become toxic if overdosed.

I think that I want to retrain my brain. To walk away from striving for balance and instead view my time as a resource I can not recover. A resource that God has given me and that I will be accountable to him for how I use it.

Sep 11, 2007

Blaming Jesus

Last night, my youngest son told me that Jesus made him "poo-poo" in his pants. Smart kid, I mean if he can sell that then he is off the hook. After all, if Jesus made him do it then how can I argue with that.

I put all my theological training into action and responded with, "I don't think so." I was, I admit, fighting back a laugh in the process.

The thing about Jesus is that he is the perfect Gentleman. He does not go where He is not wanted. Jesus doesn't force himself on anyone.

Today you have a choice, a choice given to you by Christ himself. The choice is to either to look for Christ and cooperate with Him, or to go on living your life ignoring Him and most of His principles.

It is your choice. He lets you ignore Him, but you do so at your own expense. You will sacrifice peace, purpose, potential, possibilities, and so much more. Remember, you are the sum total of the choices that you make in life. Each decision may seem like no big deal, but the sum total of each "no big deal" choice is what will determine who you will become.

So what will be your choice concerning Jesus Christ?

Sep 10, 2007

What an awesome day

All I can think to say is WOW!

Yesterday was an incredible day. It was great on so many different levels.

First, the crowd was great. Too much focus on numbers can get in the way of making disciples sometimes, but still, having a little under 500 total including workers is unbelievable!!

I am so humbled. I am not an emotional guy but I admit I got a little watery in the eyes when I saw all the people I did not know coming.

Secondly, I also was humbled when I saw all the volunteers working. It was clear that they were not working for Jerry, but they had caught our vision and were working for the applause of our God. They were working to serve you who came to make sure the environment was one that communicated that you were wanted and accepted.

Third, I loved the sense of hunger in the room. I really sensed that people were coming hungry. The environment was great.

Fourth, Our nursery and our All-star Kids Gameday was incredible. I have heard from several people that their children have told them that Piedmont is where they want to go to church. When your kids are asking to go to church, you can't get any better than that.

Fourth, I am thankful for those who helped the dream come alive. There were several people involved in getting Piedmont up and going. They gave of themselves and their money. They bought into a church like ours before it even had a service. It is now all of our jobs to keep PC running strong, but I am thankful for those who sacrificed to make this happen.

Most of all, I am so grateful to God. I never would have dreamed that I would have the luxury of leading a church like Piedmont, and to have a great partner in Jana to do it with. I thank God for everyone in my present and past. I have learned so much through the journey of my life that God has written for me. Every situation, good and bad, has taught me so much about God, myself, life, grace, humility, strength, and forgiveness ...and I hope to share it with you over the weeks and month ahead.

See ya here at blogspot tomorrow, and see you Sunday at Piedmont Church.

Sep 7, 2007

Burn a hole in their head

I love this verse;

Proverbs 25

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.

That verse tell us that if we really want to drive people insane...forgive them. When people have hurt you they expect you to hate them. Often they will talk trash about you and attack you. They do this because they expect you to hate them and so they are getting ready by firing the first shot. After all, if they can convince others that you are bad, well then your anger is discounted.

God tells you how to deflate their plan. How you ask? By working hard to forgive them. That is right, work hard to forgive. Do something that honors them, treat them with respect when you encounter them, and pass on opportunities to do something that is hurtful to them. The end result is it will drive them crazy. Now the work to forgive has to be authentic and that is hard sometimes. But when you give them grace when they are expecting drives people crazy.

It not only drives people crazy, it also draws the attention of God. God likes to promote "forgivers." So go out there and put energy behind the hard work of forgiving, loving, and treating others the way you would want to be treated. The rewards are awesome!

Sep 6, 2007

My observation

I am living in a classroom. What I mean is, our house sold and we have ended up recently moving into an apartment. We are deciding what our long term housing will be.

The complex we are in is full of young "professional" singles. As much as i like to think of myself as young, I'm getting older and I have not been in the "single" market for a while. I went to the pool last weekend with my children and just watched people. I saw a lot of "happy plastic people." It was so obvious that these people were doing anything they could to appear as having it all together, carefree, in charge...but they were not putting on a convincing show.

I sat there and first thanked God that I had the wife I do...then I felt like standing up and yelling...let's get real okay!! I decided that that was not the best approach. Though the looks on everyone's face might have been worth it. My heart sank because I felt like I had no clue how to reach these people. To connect them with what they were needing and looking for: Christ. It reminded me how so many churches and Christians with their shiny steeples are living in a bubble. These people are not getting close to most churches, but it is obvious that they are searching.

I feel like I am in school, and I am learning about real people, people who are looking for some to really love them, looking for purpose. I am learning about people who are in need and so many don't realize it. I hope through all this I learn how to create environments that will capture their attention...then we can watch God change a life.

Pray for me and for the folks in our complex. Pray that I will learn a lot about how to connect with the disconnected.

Today look at the people that God has placed along your path. They may be the very classroom God uses to reveal things about yourself, about others, and about God himself. It may sound crazy I know, but watching people is one of the most powerful classrooms that God will put us in to learn.

Sep 5, 2007

A Friend

Encouragement from a friend is a good thing. I went to the Atlanta Braves game today with a friend. He is one of the senior staff positions of a successful church in our area. I respect him and what he has done with his ministry. He loves and values the church where he serves. A good minister, husband, father, and an all around good guy.

In talking about Piedmont church he said something like, "Jerry, you guys have an opportunity to create some new norms of how church is to be done in middle Georgia." I agree with him and hope that we can accomplish that. I hope that God will give us the wisdom to take this opportunity and make the most of it. I pray the we understand the privilege and responsibility we have to create a new place and a new way to do church. I hope we will give beyond our best and that we do it all for Him and his glory.

Not unto us, but unto you oh God.

Pray for us as we begin this new chapter.

Wow! What an amazing God I have as a friend!!!!

Sep 4, 2007

self-help Christianity

Go to your local Christian bookstore and what you will find is largely a bunch of self-help books that have a Christian theme. They will talk about "how to" improve your marriage, your relationships, your finances, your health, your depression, your sex life even. They will all talk about God, but they all are appealing to you to do something to help yourself..."in the name of Christ" of course.

This may be one of the very reason that the version of Christianity that is so popular is best described as a bunch of happy plastic people. We have taught people that Christianity is about you improving yourself with God's help. In the end we teach that it is all about you...your sense of purpose, your happiness, your well being, you, you, you.

I will say what I have said time and time again. If you were to pick one phrase to say what being a Christ follower is all about, it would be to say, "to follow Christ is about learning to die." It is not about how God can help you live better, but it is asking God to help you "die" a little more each say so that He can live in and through you.

It is to long to know him more than you long for comfort. It is to long to know him more than you long for him to know you and what you want. It is to long for God to teach you how to love you spouse more that you long for God to teach your spouse how to love you. It is to long to give more than you long for God to work to get you that raise you want. It is to be a single who learns to be content with God's love you before you go looking for love in all the wrong places.

In the end to be a Christ follower is to learn to die. It it to strive to understand how you can be less of who you have become and more like he always has been. It is to take a harder road in life, a road less traveled.

So make a step today (reach out to a co-worker, give something to someone in need, do something that is not about you, seek to know him)

Make life less about you and more about Him. In doing so you might find a cure for the self-help Christian mentality that is so contagious these days.

Bigger than me

I think that we all desire to be a part of something that is bigger than we are. Something that we know has an impact that will last on people, life, and the world around us . We know deep down that if we are just here to live and die...well then what is the point?

There is a rush that comes when you are a part of making something happen that matters, not just to you but matters in the life of someone else. That is a very cool place to be. This is why when talking about people in the Bible that we remember, we list out people like Noah, Moses, David, and others who were a player in something that was bigger than they.

But sadly too many of us live our lives as "consumers." What I mean by consumers is those who live life driven by what they want or can get. Consumers go to church asking, "What is here for me?" Consumers go to work just to get a check, consumers give little of their income away, consumers want more fun and less commitment, and consumers rarely realize they are consumers. If you live as a consumer your life may be easy and even enjoyable, but you will likely miss out on being a part of creating something that is bigger than you. You just may miss out on something that will add a sense of meaning to your breathing.

So go out there and make a commitment to be not just a consumer but a contributor at work, at church, in your relationships, in your marriage, in your everyday. Give of your time, your patience, your energy, your money (yes I sad money), and yourself until it becomes a real sacrifice. For it is those kinds of people whom God is looking for to use in a way that is bigger than they are. Come on, don't go with the flow...swim upstream.

Sep 2, 2007

We are ready to Launch

Hey guys in preparation for next week here is a slide show of our previous preview service. Thanks to Jana for putting it together.
I am so pumped. We have been getting a lot of positive feedback on both our preview service and children's All Star Game Day. You have to come check this out.

See you next Sunday!