Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Wins Last Week! And prayers for the future

I want to start off today praising God! He worked through the people in our church this week and we saw a lot of people who are not currently connected to church come for the first time and have a really great experience! Yesterday feels to me like the one day we have most closely connected with our core vision of reaching people who have given up on church. We also had a great youth trip on Saturday! God gave us a couple real wins this week!

Here are the areas I'm praying about this week. I would love if you could join me:
  • Easter Season - From here on out, it is full throttle toward Easter! This means prayer, fasting, outreach and planning to serve well all the many guests God will bring to our church in the next month. We are working on a huge Easter Weekend which entails a city-wide Good Friday service with 4 other churches, two Easter egg hunts (Jefferson and McAuliffe elementary - we can serve and connect with the families of 1000 kids that day!), and our Easter Sunday service at church. I'm believing for our weekly church attendance to grow to 110 by the end of the month. We also need to raise about $4000 for the egg hunts. These are big goals. Pray with me to our big God to see them reached.
  • Ongoing fund-raising efforts - I'm in conversation with a good # of churches about them helping our church financially. I still have some more to contact and follow up with too. I'm continuing to believe that God's favor will be with me and our church as that process goes on.
  • Wisdom and direction from God - I'm about to send out some job applications and resumes this week. I'm just asking God to give me wisdom, favor and direction. This is a real unknown for me, but I trust God above all else.
  • The right people on the bus - our leadership team at Freedom Valley has changed some in the recent past and is about to change a lot more in the near future. Quite a few key people are transitioning to the next step in their lives. If I look at it on the surface, it's scary. But I'm looking at it deeper than that. These people moving on is creating tremendous space for new people to step into what God has planned for them. The vision of Freedom Valley is not my plan. It's God's. Please pray with me that I can continue to see God's role in God's plan.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and your friendship!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Weekend Planned - Don't Miss Out

Just want to make sure you're planning to take advantage of all that is planned this weekend at Freedom Valley:
  • Saturday - Youth Paintball Trip - I'll be there, so if it's ever been your dream to pelt your pastor with paint balls, here's your chance! I hope to hang out with some of you on Saturday. Cost is $24/ person for adults and $10 / person for teenagers. Meet at the theater at 10:30am / will return by 3pm. Contact David Cordle at with any questions.
  • Sunday is Friends Day - Please make sure you begin praying for and inviting your friends who don't know Jesus or who are not connected to a local church to Friends Day this Sunday. I'll be starting a new teaching series entitled "Overcoming the F-Word" and we'll eat a great breakfast together at 9:30 in the lobby. Please bring some food and friends at 9:30 this Sunday.
If you have a person you are praying would come to church with you this Sunday, I would love to pray with you. Just reply back to with their first name and I'll join you in praying for them.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

Monday, March 21, 2011

will you pray with me this week?

Here are a few things you can pray with me on this week:
  • Wisdom in job hunting. While I think it can be a step of faith to just believe God will supply all my family's needs while I continue to work exclusively on the church, I don't feel like that's the right move for me at this point. I am looking for a job. One challenge is that I need one that is part-time and temporary. Please pray with me that I have wisdom and God's favor as I search for the right fit.
  • Health. I'm struggling with a fair amount of pain in my back right now. I'm still believing God will completely heal me.
  • Favor on our church through this Spring. Spring is a natural time for churches to grow and I'm asking God to bless us with very healthy growth over the next couple months.
  • Better time management skills. I'm a good time manager. But I need to get better to still lead our church effectively and work an outside job. (the fact that God is sovereign and can and will do all the things I can't do is not lost on me, either)
  • Perseverance. I'm definitely in a season of testing. I certainly will make it and come out stronger. Please pray with me that I persevere through every challenge. I can feel myself growing day by day and I want to stay on this positive track.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2 years later . . .

I almost missed it, but my wife Sara reminded me this morning. It was two years ago today that God spoke to me at a conference in Baltimore, MD to move back to Tulsa and plant a church that would be a hub for church planting in this part of the country. You can see the full story here if you have 15 minutes to kill.

As I write from my converted garage office in Tulsa, some things are as I expected, some are different. It's been six months since Freedom Valley Church opened its doors and we have seen some great things happen in people's lives.

But I think the greatest change and growth has happened in my family and I. Like every other church planter on earth, I had the vision of being the church plant that explodes in the first six months and all that good stuff. Well, that has not been our reality to date.

Don't get me wrong, our church is doing great. We're ministering to almost 100 people weekly, and we have an unbelievable team of volunteer leaders, but for all intents and purposes, we are an Up the Middle Church . . . and I'm good with that.

I believe we will be seeing some very healthy growth and some awesome, God-sized miracles, in 2011. But even if that is not the case, I am exactly where God has asked me to be and doing exactly what He has asked me to do. And that makes all the difference.

It's been a great 2 years. I can only imagine what God will do in the next 2 . . . and beyond.

Monday, March 14, 2011

prayer items for the week

I want to thank you for your prayers last week. I was a little down at the beginning of last week and God really helped me get up above all the junk that was trying to bring me down. I'm sure it was, in no small part, due to your prayers.

Here is where my prayers are focusing this week. Thanks for praying on these items often with me this week:
  • Outreach opportunities - We have a Friends Day coming up March 27 and a HUGE weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) planned for Easter (April 22-24) and I'm believing that all these will be a time for many new people who are not currently connected to church and to Jesus to begin making those connections.
  • Current Church finances - Our finance team agree together to suspend my pay effective April 1 until our church budget reaches a benchmark that our team set together. I knew this was coming. In face, I'm the one who suggested it, but I must be honest, the reality of it hit me a little harder than I thought it would. I'm believe that God will supply my family's needs - however that may be, whether through the church or some other source.
  • Future Church finances - Please continue to pray with me for (1) our weekly offerings to average $3K per week and (2) three large gifts to be given in the amounts of $10K, $25K and $50K during 2011. On this note, I want to give praise to God that our offering this week was above $3K and was above $2K last week. March has been very strong so far!
  • Wisdom in plans to develop new leaders - One big issue I must lead the way on is developing our leadership team. We must make sure our leaders are in the right place and they are growing. That may sound simple, but it's not. It's a complex process that we (I) need the Holy Spirit's guidance on.
Thank you for your prayers this week. You mean so much to me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

will you pray with me this week?

I won't lie. This past weekend was a tough one . . . very low attendance (lowest in our short history) and zero guests will mess with a pastor's head if he (me) let's it. I'm determined not to.

I would feel very much supported, even honored, if you would pray these prayers with me this week:
  • That God will help me, as a leader, see the right steps to to lead our church through to get to the next level.
  • That God will bring the man or woman we will send out to plant our first church onto our team very soon. I'm talking specific . . . that this person will say, "I'm that guy/girl and I'm willing to do what it takes to make my God-given vision a reality."
  • That March and April would be huge months of growth in our church . . . numerically, financially and spiritually.
  • I'm doing some serious fund-raising calls this week. I need the Lord's favor for sure.
  • Please keep praying with me that God brings our income up to $3K/week and gifts of $10K, $25K and $50K come in this year to retire all our debt and propel us into our first church plant.
  • I'm seeking God for vision I can write down for my marriage and relationships with my kids.

Thank you for praying with me faithfully. You are all very special to me!