Saturday, June 27, 2009

more books!

I finished a couple books this week . . . both good ones.

Planting Missional Churches - Ed Stetzer - This one took me forever, but it's worth the read for you if you're heading toward planting a church. Pretty comprehensive and heady. Good stuff.

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell - Loved this. How do epidemics spread? The social and spiritual ones are what I'm most interested in. This is really thought-provoking stuff. A few of the case-studies are a little too much for me, especially the Sesame St and Blue's Clues, but overall I loved it. By the way, I think I'm a maven.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Did You Come Here?

I was leaving the Hanover YMCA this morning and I saw this shirt. "I didn't come here to lose". What really caught my eye was not so much the shirt, but the combination of the shirt and the man wearing it. This guy must have been 80 years old (at least) and may have weighed in at a stout 120lbs. Not exactly the physical specimen we imagine dominating sports. Not exactly the kind of guy you would expect to "not come here to lose".

But whatever we do is won and lost in the mind long before we take the field or have the meeting, try and spread the message or just punch the clock.

Why did you come here? Whatever you're doing, have you come to just exist (which is to lose, by the way) or did you come to win? Whether you're 80 years old or in the prime of your physical life or somewhere in between, please don't come to lose. Come to win!

Col 3:23 - Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. - NLT

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the keystone state

Last Sunday in church I shared a quick story about the civil war and how the tide turned here in SC PA. I think God is turning the tide again and SC PA is again the epicenter. Below is an e-mail I received about this from Herb Gladhill. He says it perfectly. Enjoy . . .

Hi Jason
Liked your Andy Andrews story. I must have heard the same story on PBS.
It sure did make me think when I saw Andy Andrews tell it on tape.
You just never know how your life affects someone else. I think that many a battle is won or lost on the words or actions of one person. All it takes is someone brave enough to speak up and move in the right direction.
Most people are looking for good leaders to follow.
The way I see it you have three choices in life.
1. You can be a good leader
2. You can be a good follower
3.Or you can get out of the way
Of course being a good leader yourself, you already know this.
I think that Pennsylvania is not called the Keystone state for nothing. I feel the battle lines are drawn. We MUST WIN in Adams county and Pennsylvania. The rest of the U.S.A. will follow.
Catch ya later

Sunday, June 21, 2009

happy father's day

Dear Dad,

I know that sometimes you struggle to see yourself the way God sees you. I know that sometimes you struggle to even see yourself in a good light. I know you've had a life that was tough and it's been frustrating to you at times, maybe most of the time.

I can't say how God sees you because I'm not God, but I can tell you how I see you.

I see you as a man who loves Jesus. When I was eight, I was pretty sure that you and mom were getting divorced. I recall like it was yesterday when you left for that marriage retreat. I recall even more clearly when you returned cleanly shaven, humble demeanor, and kind words for us all. You stopped drinking and using drugs and probably other stuff my eight-year-old brain was unaware of. In short, you made a change that has inspired me to know that Jesus is real for all these years since.

I see you as a man who loves his son. I still recall a certain moment when I was twelve years old and had committed a particularly heinous crime (relatively speaking). I was in my room crying after my punishment had been dealt out. I was embarrassed and scared and just hated myself for those few moments. Dad, you came in to check on me at dusk. I was too embarrassed to face you, so I pretended to be asleep. You leaned over, kissed my face and whispered that you love me. I've never forgotten that event that took place twenty-four years ago and I've never doubted your love for me.

I see you as a man who loves his wife. When I was twenty-two you were tempted to leave your wife, as I think most men are. The difference between you and many others is that you faced that temptation, resisted it and not only stayed in your marriage, but made it better.

So, as a man of thirty-six with four sons of my own, I see you as quite a man. You've shown me love for Jesus. You've shown me love for a son. You've shown me love for a wife. In the course of a generation, you turned our family from darkness to light. You are a man I love and respect with all my heart. Happy Father's Day John William Fitch.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

the book of Acts

I'm completely finished with reading Acts like it's a nice story of something that happened a long time ago. I cannot yet see how I will touch the Holy Spirit so closely that He will work through me in similar ways to what is listed here in this book, but I am setting my heart and thoughts there. Lord, please increase my faith so I can lead Your people like You've intended.

Friday, June 19, 2009

why do I want to be so cool?

I'm so inspired by Johannes Amritzer when I'm with him. I want to be like this man. That sounds kind of silly, but what gives me hope is that I know that God wants me to be like him too! This guy operates at a higher level; much closer to Jesus than I do. Closer than anyone I know in the states!

What's my problem? Maybe I'm lazy. Maybe I'm selfish. Probably both true, but God is showing me something lately about myself. I have a deep need to be viewed as cool. I'm proud to be a Christian, but I like to be a cool Christian.

Well, God is showing me that cool and walking close with Jesus may not always be in tune. After all, "cool" is defined by a secular culture. Even this week, I feel excited about what God is doing and as I send updates via twitter, I have the thought, "does this sound silly or crazy?" "will people think I'm a crazy christian?"

I'm caring less and less about this kind of stuff. Please pray for me so I will not care at all.
1 Chronicles 21:13 - "This is a desperate situation!" David replied to Gad. "But let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands."

I would imagine that I'll be in situations that feel desperate at times and this is something I want to have deeply in my spirit!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

our new identity

Some notes from Jeff Leake's leadership session at Harvest Cry . . .

10 things that are consistent with our new identity in Christ

  1. New Creation (2 cor 5:17)

  2. Righteousness of God (2 cor 5:21)

  3. Ambassador of Christ (2 cor 5:20)

  4. Children of God (romans 8:15-16)

  5. Heirs in Kingdom (romans 8:17) – princes or princesses

    • even moments of bad performance does not change your position or identity with Christ

  1. More than conquerer (romans 8:37)

  2. Masterpiece in the making (eph 2:10)

  3. Member of the body of Christ (1 cor 12)

  4. Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 cor 6)

    • the glory of God has come to rest on us and in us

    • we're walking containers of the presence of God

    • the OT people could not have imagined this

    • what are we doing with that?

10.Bride of Jesus (2 cor 11:2)

Harvest Cry Begins

We've been planning since last September and it's finally here. Harvest Cry 09 begins today and runs through Sunday night. I'm gathered right now with about thirty faithful people who are seeking God's blessings on our friends and neighbors over these next four days.

Last night we held what we called a pep rally for Harvest Cry and I'm guessing that the turnout was over 400 strong. I'm believing that this week will be far beyond anything we've seen yet!

For my part, we are bringing a dear neighborhood boy named Leo tonight and another neighbor named Angel may come this week too. Please pray with me for these precious people and the hundreds of others who are being invited and who God is already working on. Let's be a community who truly loves our neighbors. I'll see you at Harvest Cry tonight at 7pm.

By the way, if you're coming without a guest, sit in the large tent outside to leave room in the sanctuary for our guests and partner churches. I'll be in the tent unless Angel is with me, so I'll see you there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the pull up bar

Opportunities. We all want them. We all look for them. We all should be creating them for others.

I decided to walk on the outdoor track at the YMCA today, mostly because I can't stand breathing the stale, stinky air inside the building. As I made my way out to the track and started my first lap I noticed a lone pull up bar at the first turn. It was nothing impressive; made of 2x4s and a 1/2 inch metal bar wrapped in tape. Kind of gross, I guess.

Even though it was nothing impressive, I stopped a the first turn of my first lap and did five quick pull ups. I continued that cycle for the next five laps after that. So, in addition to my walk that I set out to take this morning, I did thirty pull ups that I would have otherwise never considered doing. Why? Because that lonely, gross pull up bar presented the opportunity.

Opportunities don't have to be perfect or even pretty, just available. How many opportunities am I offering people in my circle to be stretched, grow and do things they would not otherwise consider? How many of these same opportunities are you offering to people in your circle?

is God marching today?

1 Chronicles 14:13-17 - But after a while, the Philistines returned and raided the valley again. 14 And once again David asked God what to do. "Do not attack them straight on," God replied. "Instead, circle around behind them and attack them near the balsam trees. 15 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the balsam trees, attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistines." 16 So David did what God commanded, and he struck down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 17 So David's fame spread everywhere, and the LORD caused all the nations to fear David. NLT

It must have been so cool to be living in a time where God was operating like this among His people. I believe I am still living in a time where He wants to do this. Lord, please help me be the kind of man and leader who can see you operate like this. Help me be holy, sensitive to Your Spirit, and bold in my fight for Your Kingdom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


John 21:22-23 - Jesus replied, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that that disciple wouldn't die. But that isn't what Jesus said at all. He only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"

Wow, even Jesus himself was misquoted by his closest followers. Communication is challenging. Always has been. Always will be.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

some vision . . .

Andy Stanley posed the question in a recent leadership podcast . . . "What, in your industry, cannot be done? But if it could be done, would change everything?"

Seth Godin blogged about the same concept today. You can check it out here.

For me, I'm wrestling with the question of decentralizing the church. A question that I cannot even fully articulate yet, but goes beyond cell groups and multi-campus church. I know that I'm not the only one with this passion, but what I do have is God-given and I'm grateful to the core.

God has called me to plant a church in Tulsa Oklahoma. God has dropped plenty of "what if" questions in my spirit. I'll share some here. Your comments are very welcome, as always.

What if the weekend service was the secondary church experience and the connection group (home group) was primary?

What if all the "functions" of the church took place through the connection group and not the church office?

What if there was no physical church office?

What if we could reach thousands who have given up on church and their place in the body of Christ without ever purchasing a building or land?

What if we could, in time, mobilize hundreds (maybe even thousands) of connection groups to reach out to their neighbors and turn the city of Tulsa up-side-down with love and kindness?

What if we could do all this in Tulsa and then reproduce it in cities all over the united states and even the world?

What if I'm crazy? Very possible, but I don't care much. I'm realizing more and more that I'll need to be comfortable with being a weirdo. Thanks to my distant mentors Blaine Bartel and Craig Groeschel for reminding me that "cool" is not the end game, serving Christ is.

what a day

What a day this has been so far . . . and it's only 2:36pm!

I've spent the last few hours working on some foundational work for Freedom Valley Tulsa. I worked up a solid enough budget proposal that actually feels about right to me and almost completed the packet I'll send out to perspective prayer and financial partners. Actually, both of these are only at the point that I can show them to close friends for some feedback and yeah, only two things accomplished, but these are two really big things!

I can't even express how much anticipation I feel in my gut for what God is going to do in Tulsa and beyond. I think I'll write a separate blog about that.

Well, on to Lowe's to pick up some stuff to get our poor little house in shape to sell.

Friday, June 12, 2009

a full week

This week has been good. My last blog gave some highlights. But despite all the goodness of the week, my head feels really full and a bit scattered. I've been losing things and forgetting like nobody's business this week. If you pray, pray with me that I can get a little more focused.

On a completely unrelated note, I just got the wonderful news that another person has decided to join our launch team for Freedom Valley Tulsa. I won't say his name because I haven't heard it straight from him yet. Nonetheless, God is shaping up a butt-kicking, world-changing team!

a week of learning and following the Holy Spirit

Wow, what a week! I'm just going to give the headlines . . .

Monday - God continues to show me how very selfish I am. The specific application of it is actually a little embarrassing to write about publicly. I'm making some progress, I think, but it can't be fast enough

Tuesday - Taught some deep truth by Rick Warren. Among many things I took away from Rick's talk, the pinnacle was that leaders need to seek out personal holiness. Bam! Wow, I'm glad that I'm learning this stuff now, but he's been living it out for 30 years!

Wednesday - Taught more deep stuff by Andy Andrews. He recapped his book, The Traveler's Gift, and the point that really stuck was that I can't give up on things I know God has called me to . . . ever! I also gave my car away on Wednesday. It was about time. God was telling me to for a couple weeks.

Thursday - Recognized a deep desire to learn from the generation ahead of me. Probably connected to all the great wisdom and truth I gleaned from Rick Warren and Andy Andrews

Friday - I'm finally writing about it all and drinking a good cup of coffee. I've been to the gym 4 times this week and have done some really wonderful quiet times with God in the mornings. I just listened to a short talk Jeff Leake did with Dick Hardy about self-leadership (I think it's the 4th time I've listened to this). It really resonates with me. I want the best "me" to be available to the people I love and lead.

There was more this week, but this is getting long, so I'm out.

Friday, June 5, 2009

boot camp is over

We're almost home from an intense week at church planters boot camp. Surprisingly, it was not all that fun. I just thought it would be. But, what it lacked in fun it more than made up for in challenge and substance. I think my team and I have many hours of work to do to adequately answer the six core questions that boot camp asks, but we have a good plan to get that and other important work finished.

Oh, and speaking of my team, there is no better group of individuals I would want to plant FV Tulsa with. Daniel St. Armand, Jake Lewis, Heather Bryant and Lauren Sarnecki are awesome! It's worth noting that the team did not fee complete this week without the lovely Sara Fitch and Shawna Lewis. I sure missed them.

Overall, this was a fantastic week. We were all challenged on multiple levels, met and networked with some wonderful new people and made some serious progress on our ministry plan for the church. I was hoping and praying for some great synergy to occur this week and it sure did! I feel very grateful to my Lord and this great team of leaders.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

how God works

We just finished our first full day of church planters boot camp and God gave us an opportunity to be His church in action already! We were on our way back to our hotel tonight when we passed a hitchhiker who looked pretty desperate.

Upon picking her up, we found out her name was Kelly and she needed a ride home. As we made conversation and she found out why we were in town, she told us that we were the 4th person or set of people in 4 days who were reminding her of God's love. It seemed to make a pretty big impact on her.

After driving her another 30 minutes or so, we found her house. Daniel prayed for her and I gave her Nick Poole's cell phone #(really, I'm not joking) so she could have a local person to connect with to get into the body of Christ.

Funny how God works. We all play our part when we treat every person we come across as if they were Jesus himself. I'm praising God for the opportunity to love on somebody who felt unloved tonight.