Archive - September, 2007

Friday Drive-by

RANDOM BULLETS   

Youth Ministry: The approach we are taking at the NW Oklahoma City Campus

  • Getting youth actively involved in all ministry areas, will change your entire church (Tomorrows leaders bring the energy and excitement)
  • Empower youth to lead-up and they will change the adults perspective
  • If your youth pastors and adult leaders truly love/invest in the youth, your Youth Ministry will grow
  • A healthy student leadership program is key, “It’s their ministry!”
  • The Pastor has to be fully engaged and support the Youth Ministry
  • If your Youth Ministry catches fire, so will the rest of the church

Life:

  • I can’t believe that I get paid to do what I do
  • My Sooners will win the National Championship (Bring on the Longhorns)
  • My wife and my boys are awesome

LifeChurch.tv NW Oklahoma City:

  • My team is going on a retreat to Dallas this weekend ( Dallas readers, let me know if there is a “must eat” restaurant in D-Town)
  • Next week is National Porn Sunday

Questions:

  • In the spirit of love, Should registered sex offenders be able to serve in the local church?
  • What is wrong with OJ Simpson?
  • Is your church diverse?
  • How did you run across this blog?

Have a great weekend! 

 

God-sized numbers

I will talk more about this on the blog tomorrow; however I wanted to share an e-mail sent last night by LifeYouth Central Team Leader, Zach King regarding a youth event at our campus last night.  Props to Tony Cobb, Anna Meadows, the Adult Leaders and the NW Staff.  Here it goes:

Hey guys, 

I am bursting with excitement and passion about what God did tonight at the NOC campus!!  Big Props to the NOC Campus Staff for an amazing event called the “SWITCH Rave”. Tony Cobb and Anna Meadows spent weeks promoting, hitting school campuses, inspiring XL students and praying for this event and it paid off!  Big thanks for the investment Scott Williams has made (and is making) into SWITCH at the NOC campus…from the weekend stage promotion to the passion you bring to your team… it’s truly inspiring.  Adam Ivey did an incredible job leading worship and it was amazing to see that many students going after God!  I know its killing you, so here it is…the God-sized numbers: 

  • Students: 926
  • Leaders: 62
  • Salvations: 104
  • Energy & Atmosphere: Priceless 

This is the largest single campus SWITCH experience ever and globally we were able to minister to well over 2,500 students tonight all over the country!  As I sat in there tonight with Scott Williams and we both had chills just being apart of the experience, God kept bringing a verse to my mind.  Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  Their campus goal was 500 students and God did more than we could have ever asked for or imagined.  If you have time, make sure you shoot some encouragement to the NOC staff for a job well done!   We are looking forward to seeing how God uses SWITCH at NOC to impact the local schools and the community. 

Zach King

Central Team Leader – LifeYouth

Forgiveness vs. Permission

I was reading Swerve this morning and Craig was talking about Hesitant Pastors.  There was a list of bullets that are signs outlining that you have become a hesitant leader, such as: inability to make hard decisions, second guessing decisions, seeking affirmation, being motivated by fear instead of faith….  I think that this same list of hesitancy’s applies to our lives as spouses, employees, pastors, leaders….  I tend to make decisions knowing that I would much rather ask for “Forgiveness” instead of “Permission.”  This really provides me the opportunity to lead boldly, make tough decisions and not to second guess myself.  I am not saying that I am going to sell my house and then decide to talk w/ my wife afterwards; however I am saying I use discernment and make a decision.  I am already encouraging my sons to push-back and make decisions in reasonable situations, rather than always asking Mom and Dad for permission.   I have encouraged employees in the past and current team members to adopt this same philosophy.  This philosophy can create some challenges; however it’s healthy leadership development.   We must remember 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear.  The slightest hint of fear can allow us to become hesitant parents, leaders, spouses….    Go ahead and make those decisions, use discernment, lead boldly, while at the same time understanding that you might have to ask for “Forgiveness.” 

Do you tend to ask for “Permission” or “Forgiveness?”  When was the last time you made a decision, knowing that you might have to ask for forgiveness?  Share your thoughts!

Target Takes Out Wal-Mart!

What are the differences that you notice when you visit a Target, as compared to visiting a Wal-Mart?  The initial difference for me is that Target has somehow received a cute, French like nickname Target “Tar-jay”, while Wal-Mart has to settle for “Wally World.”  It’s obvious that Target is becoming the new Big Daddy of retail.  That’s right; Target is on their way to taking out the former Big Daddy of retail, Mr. Wal-Mart.  I am not sure if that will happen in 10, 15 or 20 years; however I am confident that it’s going to happen.  Right now you are probably saying, “Give me a break, no one can take out Wal-Mart.”  If you don’t believe me ask our old forgotten about friends Mr. TG&Y and Ms. K-Mart.  You might be saying “Who are they,” if you don’t know just ask your parents.  Wal-Mart has even changed their store look and has their employees wearing khaki pants and blue shirts to compete with their rival in the red shirts and khaki pants.   

Target is more than just a cleaner, sleeker, sexier, khaki pants, red shirt, and customer friendly version of Wal-Mart with red phones, to ring an associate to your service.  No No No my friends, research shows that Target’s prices are very competitive to Wal-Mart and are only a couple of cents off on average and many items are actually cheaper.  Target has made a believer out of me.  I’m reminded of Target’s goodness every time I go to particular Wal-Mart’s and have to stand in line for an hour, or perform a self-checkout.  I find myself saying that I will never shop at Wal-Mart again.  Don’t get me wrong, some Wal-Mart stores are better than others; however Target has hit the spot in my world.  It is refreshing to go into a store that is clean, in touch w/ relevant culture and has friendly clerks to check me out.  The sad thing is that those comments used to describe Wal-Mart and Mr. Sam Walton is rolling over in his grave as we speak.   

Does competition cause all industries, including ministries to elevate their game?  Do you prefer Wal-Mart or Target?  Share your Thoughts!

Mike Gundy Goes Off!


I am not an Oklahoma State University football fan; however I have always liked OSU Head Football Coach Mike Gundy and his candor with the media. During Gundy’s post-game press conference following a win over Texas Tech, Gundy went off about an article written by Jenni Carlson about former OSU starting quarterback Bobby Reid. You can check out the article here.  I thought that it was interesting that the article talks about puking and so did Gundy.

Watch this video rant in it’s entirety and  share your thoughts!  Consider these questions: Do we need this same passion, as it relates to Satan’s attacks, Christian Selfishness and the state of the American Church?  When was the last time you, or someone that you know went on a rant and stood up for something that you/they believed in?  Is it necessary to “Go Off” sometimes; in order to get your point across?

Get Your Behind Off the Sidelines!

sidelines.jpgMy heart aches for all of people who come in my office with struggling marriages, addictions, illnesses, “it’s all about me disease”…..   In addition to all of these struggles my heart also aches for those individuals who attend our campus and churches around the world with the consumerism mindset.  They are missing out on experiencing what it really means to be a Christ Follower.  I want to see people plugged-in to the important experiences of being in a LifeGroup, serving, missions, giving, getting outside of our four walls and sharing Christ’s love.…..

This past weekend I used the analogy of a “Team” to illustrate the need for everyone at our campus and for that matter churches around the world to get “plugged-in.” I stated that “For those of us who consider ourselves to be a part of God’s Team; we are the only team in the world where more people want to be on the sidelines, rather than in the game. If a coach continually asked/encouraged you to get in the game and you responded by saying I am just fine sitting on the bench, watching the game, enjoying the music, consuming, eating donuts and drinking water. The coach would probably ask, DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS TEAM?”   If those of us Christians “God’s Team” around the world would spend less time complaining, arguing over denominational differences, analyzing others’ style….. and spent more time giving of ourselves and loving; the world would be a different place.  GET YOUR BEHIND OFF THE SIDELINES!  Get in the game!

What are your thoughts on consumerism?  Share your thoughts!

What's My Name? (3 of 3)

NAME CALLING

Name Calling is one of those social weapons that we all pull out of our arsenal from time to time.  We can trace name calling all the way back to pre grade school.  Prior to grade school the name calling weaponry includes the subtle names, such as: chubby, goofy, skinny, slow…..  Once we are in grade school the names become more reflective of perceived social status: cool, athlete, smart, LD, fast, slow, geek, nerd, looser, teachers pet….  When High School hits the name calling turns into some more serious WMD’s that carry throughout adulthood.    Just think about your own life and the name calling that you are engaged in on a daily basis.  I am guilty of minor and sometimes even more serious name calling on a regular basis.  For instance, I am watching the news this week and they were talking about the arrest of our favorite court room friend, Mr. O.J. Simpson.  Here were some of my choice words for O.J.: stupid, arrogant, idiot……..  Below are some situations, along with a few choice weapons in name calling:

  • Work– lazy, micromanager, jerk
  • Politics– liberal freak, right-wing nut, Nazi
  • Homosexuality– fag, queer, punk
  • Racial– I won’t list any, you know what they are 

The reason that I did not list the names in the Racial category, is to illustrate the fact that some name calling is more appropriate than others.  Before you name call consider these transitions: “micromanager” their management style is to micromanage, “stupid” behavior is stupid, “crack-head” addicted to crack.  The bottom line is that we really do not have the right to call people names.   I read Proverbs 18:21 in the message version and it simply states; Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.  

Share some of the name calling that you have used this week.  Are your words giving life?  Share your thoughts!

What's My Name? (2 of 3)

NAME DROPPING

We live in a culture that loves to “drop names.”  I am primarily referring to those social settings in which we meet someone and will generally ask them “do you know so and so?  Or, we let them know that we know so and so.”   The whole purpose of name dropping is to acknowledge that there is some sort of familiarity with experiences and people.  I know that I definitely do this all the time, for instance; if someone tells me that they go to “Peoples Church” I would say, “I know your pastor Herbert Cooper, he’s a great guy…..”  That person and I now have a different level common experience and relational connection.  Often times we think of “name dropping” as some sort of “brown-nosing” negative type of behavior; however I would argue the contrary.   

I think a great reflection for the history of name dropping can be traced back to Jesus and the Disciples.  Jesus would send the Disciples out on “Kingdom Business” in his name, so the Disciples would show up to handle some business and drop Jesus’ name.  Now that’s some serious name dropping, you meet someone and after talking for a while you “Name Drop” the name that is above all others, the powerful name of Jesus.  That creates a distinctive relational connection of familiarity and experience. 

When was the last time you “Name Dropped” Jesus’ name?  Should we drop His name more often? Share your thoughts!

What's My Name? (1 of 3)

NAME KNOWING

I have always been that guy who seems to have difficulty remembering names.  Situations, faces and stories yes; names no.  I have really been convicted and personally challenged to sharpen this area.  It is easy to say “I am bad with names” as opposed to saying “I am going to be intentional about enhancing my ability to remember names.”  There are well over 2,000 people that attend my campus and about 9,000 total, from the other two campuses, in which I was the Associate Campus Pastor.  You throw in my former corrections experience and political involvement; you have a recipe for a bunch of potential names to remember.  I have made a personal commitment to improve in this area and in a short time I am excited about the progress.  Here are just a few strategies that I have learned or re-implemented to remember names. 

  1. Pay attention during the introduction, ask the person to repeat their name, ask them to spell a difficult name and then repeat their name out loud.  When I did political consulting the magic number was 10, politicians needed to hear you name 10 times before they remembered you.
  2. Picture yourself writing the persons name, picture their name across their forehead, picture first and last name together to create chain visualization.
  3. Draw some goofy tie in w/ their name, for instance: There is a couple that I know named Dom and Rosie, I remembered their names by “Rosie Odomel” or a couple named Justin and Katie, I simply remember “JK” or Brittney=Britney Spears, Kraft=Macaroni……  You get the picture!
  4. Write their names several times, make diagrams w/ their names and where they sit in an office or classroom setting.
  5. Don’t be afraid of calling them by name every time even if you are not sure, the attempt is what matters.    

Do you have difficulty remembering names?  Do you have some strategies that really work for you?  Share your thoughts and share your name!

I Saw a Dead Man!

dead-man.jpgLast week I was leaving the office on my way to pick up my sons from school; I saw something that you are not going to believe.  That’s right, as I was driving down the street I glanced over into this empty parking lot adjacent to a Homeland grocery store, and saw a dead man.  I know you probably think that I am referring to some philosophical death; not so much.  I saw an elderly man in a mobility vehicle, in the middle of this empty parking lot leaned over dead.  I was stunned, looking around and wondering why no one else had seen this man and why the ambulance/police had not been called.  At this moment I was faced with three choices and I considered all three:

  1. Keep on driving and do absolutely nothing

  2. Tell someone in Homeland or call 911

  3. Drive over and confront the situation

I really needed to pick up my boys from school so I kept driving, I picked up my phone to call 911 and my conscious wouldn’t allow me to do anything other than confront the situation.  I drove over and parked in front of the man and sure enough he was dead, so I got out of my car to check his pulse.  I changed my mind and decided to get back into my car and honk my horn.  As I honked my horn the man slowly raised his head and looked up at me.  I asked him if he alright and he informed me that he was just taking a nap.  Are you serious; in the middle of an empty parking lot on a hot summer afternoon in Oklahoma?  This moment reminded me of the fact that we witness and experience similarly uncomfortable blessings almost daily; in our marriages, in our personal lives and at work.  When you are “blessed” with those “burdens” that require action, what do you do?

  1. Absolutely nothing
  2. Let someone else handle the situation
  3. Confront the situation 

What uncomfortable situations are you currently “blessed” w/ and are: doing nothing about, handing off to someone else or boldly confronting? Share your thoughts!

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