Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday is usually such a great focus day for me on sermon planning for Sunday. Not today. I'm not saying I got nothing done, but I'm not where I like to be at 3:10pm on Tuesday.

After a while, I had to just put it aside and do some other stuff. I finished reading Gerry Stoltzfoos' new book. It is fantastic and inspiring. I can't wait until it goes into print. I want to give a copy to ever person I know - especially the church leaders.

I also could not get warm today. I'm still wearing a jacket and feeling cold. Not sure what that's about. So, to sum it up. Today was cold, unfocused and kind of frustrating with some good stuff peppered in. Not bad, I guess. The good news is that I get another shot at this tomorrow.

I'm not the man . . .

I woke up pretty consumed with worry this morning. Worrying about our church. Are we going to grow in attendance? Are we going to grow financially? Am I going to continue getting paid? All the stuff that plagues a pastor if he allows it. I'll admit, during my bible reading time this morning I was allowing it and I was pretty distracted.

It was pretty cold out this morning and I almost didn't go out and walk the development and pray. Almost. But, I did bundle up and go out. And that's where God spoke to me.

"Jason, you're not the spiritual man you need to be to be the spiritual leader your church needs." True. The long and the short of it is that I'm about to enter into a season of growth in my life that will probably be like none I've ever seen. I'm not sure all it will entail, but I know it begins with fating.

I feel like something is beginning to break in me and I'm so grateful to God for His patience and grace with me. I'm looking forward to updating here as God speaks to me more and as growth takes place in me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who are we thanking?

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

The Classical Library, This HTML edition copyright © 2001.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sharpening the Tools

I'm about to spend a day with many of the site pastors from Freedom Valley. A bunch of them drove in from PA last night and we will work and learn together all day. It's tempting to say that we can't give up a day or two for this kind of thing, but when I feel that temptation I always hear the President of my college, Dr. Don Meyer's, voice . . . "Time spent sharpening one's tools is never time wasted."

Looking forward to a really great day of learning and growing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

you know all that after one game!?

My twitter feed is lit up with Cowboy lovers and Steeler haters. Each one convinced that the results of yesterdays games are defining moments for those teams. I wouldn't be so sure. We all have big wins and big losses from time to time. I'd rather make judgments on the results of the season or the era, not the game. I would also hope that's how people judge me.

Unless, of course, I have a ten-year track record of failure. If that's the case, please judge me only on my few and far between wins :) Just kidding. I still want to be judged on a long-term track record, because that's what matters most.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let me tell you about Sunday

Sunday was a big day! It was the first "Friends Day" in the history of Freedom Valley Church. Leading into it, I was really anxious to see if the the people at our church would catch the vision of friends day.

They sure did. People brought friends and food like crazy. We had 16 first-time guests and more food than anyone could possibly eat. Not only did people come, but there was also a really strong showing of people signing up to help with all kinds of volunteer leadership! You can watch the video of the service here.

After church ended, I had a pre-marriage counseling appointment and then hurried home and Sara and I cleaned and set up the house for our monthly leadership meeting called BIG Team. BIG Team was awesome as well. There were many new leaders there and it was a great time of them getting to know our church culture and each other. By the time we got things cleaned up, kids in bed and the house somewhat put back together, I was 100% worn out. I fell into bed at 8:26pm feeling grateful to God.

Just a great weekend! Our attendance was 98 people and three people began a relationship with Jesus! A big thank you to Freedom Valley York Rd for the friends day idea and City Church Tulsa for the BIG Team idea. An even bigger thank you to God who makes every good thing possible!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

what drives us to criticize?

Twitter is my favorite social media tool, by far. You can follow me on Twitter if you'd like. But, I don't use it to follow a million people. I only follow people I care about hearing from. So, it's been a little bothersome that I've seen a lot of my friends on Twitter going negative lately. I guess they think they are smart or deep thinkers or something. But does it make you look smart to approach life with a sense of pessimism and a lack of trust? I don't think it does. I think it reveals your own character defects.

You've probably noticed this. People who don't trust tend to do so because they are untrustworthy. Liars accuse others of lying. Cheaters accuse others of cheating. Thieves accuse others of theft. Next time you're tempted to rant about someone else's "issues", think about what that may be revealing about yours.

And then make some corrections.

P.S. - I'm sure I'm guilty of this at times too. I'm not speaking from a place of perfection. Just want to ask you to think about this today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Man, I feel some serious energy this morning. I don't have time to write much, but I just go back from a prayer walk and God is showing me so many possibilities that are right around the corner!

This weekend: New teaching series, Friends Day, Big Team Meeting!

Today: Read, Tokbox with York Rd, Sermon prep, Coffee with Jon, Vote, Time with the fam. I had a great Bible reading and prayer time already!

Better get inside and shower before the boys wake up.