Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Sunday we had the largest turn out to date for Kidstuf. The good thing was that it was all also our best execution of Kidstuf! We had Darth Vader, a Jedi Knight and four sheep. How can you go wrong with that combination? We have had consistent visitors to this fall and I'm looking forward to what God's going to to in the new year when we begin each of our entry environments weekly.
We have our final Adult Worship Experience of 2008 this Sunday and then a Family Christmas Program on Dec 21st. We are taking Dec 28th off to give the staff and volunteers time to be with their families over Christmas. Yep, at a time when many churches in our area are stepping it up with large Christmas productions we're shutting down. Part of our philosophy is to do 'more with less'. We believe putting on a huge production once a year is side-ways energy. It would reduce the excellence of our weekly environments as a lot of people and resources would be funnelled into a big production. So instead of putting one on I'll be sitting in at least two of them with my family in area churches.

So what is your take on Churches doing Christmas productions? I don't claim that this philosophy is the only right one... but it's one we feel God is leading us in. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cornerstone Simi Valley

Cornerstone Simi Valley had a write up this morning in the Ventura County Star. The author of this article is a little quirky but gives an interesting take on a relevant church with outside eyes. At the end of the article he makes a sweeping statement about his generation (I'm guessing he's a boomer.) Do you think he's right? Do you think that the younger generation today for the most part is not as selfish?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ryan Dobson

Click on "Listen Now" on this page. Thought provoking broadcast about a "Christian Worldview" with Ryan Dobson. Great 'voice' for the next generation.

"It's never wrong to do right. It's never right to do wrong."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Cousin Tectonic Plate"

Ok, I laughed out loud when I read the few comments under this article about an earthquake that was centered about 15 minutes from my house.

Tomorrow is RPCC 's fourth Adult Worship Experience.
Set List:
1. Glorious One (Steve Fee)
2. Marvelous Light (Charlie Hall)
3. Mighty to Save (Hillsong) [Doing this as an acoustic response to the message]
4. Beautiful Jesus (Kristian Stanfil) [The version from the album 'Hello'... I think that's stronger than the one on Northpoint's album.]

I'm nervous about tomorrow for a few reasons:
1. I hope I remember the songs as we (the band) do them all from memory.
2. My band is full of players I've never played with before and our Monday rehearsal was without our drummer!
3. It is literally getting to financial 'crunch' time at RPCC. We need our regular givers to increase their giving this month or we may have to get creative on paying our bills.

It's good to be nervous because it reminds me of my dependence on God. It's Saturday night and I've prepped all I can... now God's part unfolds.  Hoping many people leave tomorrow with a passion to walk closer with their creator!

We start a new series tomorrow called 'Home for the Holidays'. I'm looking forward to hearing what God has been teaching John!

So do you think God is punishing Southern California with all these fires? Right now I think the count is about 700 homes destroyed!
-Sleepy time! 4:40am comes early!-

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Ok, that's unfair. This H.S. team that is 30 minutes down the 101 from RPCC is stacked in more than one way!

So imagine you're the coach of this team... which dad would you call to see if they could host a team social event? :)

Friday, November 7, 2008


This week I had a conversation with a friend I haven't seen in about 8 years. She is the Senior Pastor of a small Church in Ontario, Canada. (Yes, SHE is the Senior Pastor... I'll reserve the conversation about women as Senior Pastors for a future post.) I asked her how it was going 14 months in... she summed it up by saying something like: "I was hired under the expectation that I was to handle the leading AND management decisions of the church. In practice I am a puppet and the board (manages) pulls the strings."

She is underpaid, overworked and implements what she is told. On the bright side this allows this small group of people to keep their country club. ;)

I'm proud of her (and praying for her!) for following God's promptings to run fast from a secure pay check at this country club and head towards a ministry God has prepared in advance for her.

The age old practice of leadership by committee! I read something funny a while ago. One of the first committees formed in the Bible came to the conclusion of sending one of their own (Joesph) down a well! I laugh (with sadness) because I've seen that too many times in churches, including recently with my friend's church.

Here is an insightful post on this topic.

I am currently blessed to serve on a leadership team of 5 where we all have equal input. We get to offer our honest 'push-back' on pretty much anything but in the end respect the decision made by our Lead Pastor. He welcomes our input and we welcome his quick assessment of our input, promptings from God and his own wisdom to come up with a quick decision. It's efficient and effective. Something I will not take for granted for a long time after spending many years with committee (aka: inefficient or absent decision making!) managed churches!

How are leadership decisions made in your context? What are the pluses/minuses you've experienced with committees making management decisions?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Everyone Can Dance

This video made me laugh out loud and ponder deeply about how similar I am to different races around the globe. There are things in the world that God has invented that can bring vastly different people, who would normally dislike each other, together. And it makes me laugh that in this case it just so happens to be a stupid dance.

Have fun and enjoy! :)

I liked it when he broke into the same moves as the women from India (I think it was India.).
What does watching this make you think about?

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I Can't Vote for Obama

As an American citizen I have the right to make my voice heard on who I believe should become the next president. That's a very cool right. I have the right to disagree with you (and you I) and I have the freedom to talk about it. This in and of itself is a Godly position for a country to hold and I thank God for it.

I don't claim to be the smartest person and am by far no political expert. The issues at stake are big AND complex. I voted for McCain (via snail mail so I get to avoid the lines tomorrow!). One of the biggest reasons I did is because of his stance on life.

The approximate number of babies killed by abortion during the time America has been at war in Iraq: 67 times.

67 times what?


Read John's post here. He shares some great information on this.

Get out and take advantage of your right to vote tomorrow.

No matter who becomes president I'll still sleep well and continue to pray for the man in that seat. For I know it is God whom this man is accountable to, whether he knows it or not, and it is in God I trust for the leading of my life, family and nation. There is something going on today that is much bigger than this election or this country and one day soon, both will not matter to us. What will matter is your personal vote for this man.

How was your voting experience? Did you stand in line, lick a stamp or just stay home and not vote?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


iPod Shuffle: $59
Stop watch: $18
Nike running shoes: $69
Toque (beanie): $12
The feeling you get while running 3.94 miles at 7:30am after eating 4 pieces of peanut butter/jam toast for dinner at 10pm the night before: Priceless.

What did you do before 8am this morning?

Monday, October 27, 2008


My ears are ringing! Just got home from a band rehearsal and we were way too loud!!! We are heading into our third adult worship experience this Sunday. This past week I have felt like somewhat of a routine has come about with my responsibilities... it's been since March since I've felt that. I won't last long though, we'll be shaking things up real soon as we try and figure out how to pull off an Adult Worship Experience and Kidstuf on the same stage with minimal turn around time. It's going to be a challenge but with the type of people on our road crew and tech teams we'll figure it out. It means striking a stage with a band and rear projection screen and setting up the Kidstuf set in ideally 15 minutes! I can't get my head around the 'how' right now but then again a year ago I could hardly get my head around planting a multi-staff church yet somehow the doors have opened.

Our set list this Sunday is: 1. You Are (Todd Fields) 2. No One Like You (David Crowder) 3. No Other Name (Todd Fields)

I ran a very slow 3.5 miles this morning... it was freezing! ...And I had to run on pavement which I can't stand... hopefully my knees won't be hurting in the morning.

I've been inspired by two things this past week. 1. This is a russian .mp3 site where the songs cost .15 each and whole albums are even less! This site is the perfect marriage of my love of music and being frugal (my wife uses the word 'cheap')! 2. I came across the song 'Stolen' by Dashboard Confessional. I know nothing about this band yet found this song and can't stop listening... it's a simple lyric about a relationship but I love the structure and integrity of the music, melody, instrument 'color' and atmosphere created by the vocal mix... it's an expected/unexpected song with a killer hook.

Oh... Disneyland last week was fun! We spent Wed and Thurs there and the lines were small. In fact Shanna and I walked on space mountain twice! I'm used to spending 90 minutes in line for that thing... we walked on twice!!! I'm still in shock. It's fun getting to know the exact moment the camera take a picture of you so you can come up with the dorkiest face... speaking of frugal (cheap!) I didn't pay the $15 for the picture after our ride... I just took a picture of the screen with my cell phone. :) Maybe I'll upload it on a future post.

Past my bedtime...

So if you HAD to choose, would you rather be Joe Biden or Sarah Palin? Seriously, who would you rather be right now and why?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adult Worship Experience #2

What a cool morning! My morning started with my alarm at 4:40am. Didn't push snooze once and didn't even need a kick from my wife to get out of bed! I expected a skeleton crew to unload our trailers this morning and God sent a small army. I am so thankful for so many people committed to getting up before the sun rises to work hard to create environments for people they don't even know.

My father-in-law (visiting from out of town and not a church goer) put up our sandwich board signs and a couple ladies walking by asked him about the church and he invited them over and they came! I told him he's 'hired'! We had six first time guests and they all expressed interest in coming back.

I remembered all my lyrics and John knocked it out of the park with a great message about how complicated people can make Christianity and that as a church we're committed to keeping it Biblical... aka simple.

This week I'm taking a couple days off and heading to Disneyland with the fam. I LOVE space mountain! What's your favorite D-Land ride?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trailer #2

[Yesterday ran 3.94 miles in 30:48]
If you've been following my blog for a few months then I have a confession... all the run times I posted in August (and probably a month or two before that!) were a LIE! Not on purpose... here's what happened: my stop watch's battery was almost dead... and was keeping time slower than reality. :( So, I'm much slower than once thought... whatever... time means nothing to me!

I just purchased RPCC's 2nd trailer. In the past week or two we have finally gathered together all our equipment and it didn't all fit in our 24 foot trailer. Now we have another and I'm looking forward to getting all our equipment in the right trailer, mapping equipment placement and getting more intentional about how we unload/load.

I am sooo looking forward to Kidstuf #3 on Sunday!!! Praying many faces I've seen the last two show up this Sunday and that relational bridges continue to strengthen!

Gotta go and watch a recorded episode of "The Nanny" with my mother-in-law... at least it's not "Texas Walker Ranger" anymore! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Adult Worship Experience #1

This morning went well at our first adult worship experience at RPCC. I liken it to driving a different car than you're used to... you're a little too heavy on the brake/gas and it causes some awkward jerky moments, turn the wiper on when you meant to turn on the cruise control, and generally are not efficiently/smoothly controlling the vehicle like your previous one that 'fit like a glove'. I personally felt that way but the feedback from the few folks I talked to said it flowed quite well. My in-ear monitor worked 20% of the time... and when it was it was distorting and static! After removing them I heard 100% drums and nothing else... there's most of the awkward jerky moments for me.

We had new Upstreet children environments to set up, a borrowed trailer (we need to buy a second one!), oodles of new pipe & drape (that looked awesome... yea 'sweat shop' sewers who pulled this together in two days!), new 'in ear' monitor system, new lights/board and a new adult worship environment! Considering all that, I'm proud of what our team pulled off and how hard our volunteers worked. Many started their day at 5:30am and didn't go home until 12:30pm!

I'm praying our folks step up to John's challenge... in fact, I'm even praying I step up to John's challenge and get on with investing and inviting! Looking forward to some great stories of spiritual growth this fall. Ended a great day with our small group meeting in a coffee shop. So good to connect with great friends, coffee and conversation to end the weekend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Federal Government Economic Stimulus

I understand that anyone who made a wage last year would get $600 from the feds. Yet my wife and I only received $600 together. We filed jointly last year... is that why we didn't get $1,200? Why would the feds discriminate against marriage? Is that what's happening here or am I missing something?

Did you and your spouse only get $600? Let me know if there's any point trying to get that $600.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Barlow Girl

Went to see Barlow Girl last night with Jimmy Needham and Brooke Barrettsmith. They did a great job with the place about 85% full. Unfortunately the sound was not good at all... all that great equipment and talent but with a messy, mushy sound that hid the vocals too much. I think the most important position in any band is the sound guy. He can make a band sound better or worse than what they are. Nonetheless, very cool to see all these women rockin out for God and being transparent with their life struggles and encouraging the teen girls in attendance with their own struggles. I'm looking forward to taking my daughter to a Barlow Girl concert when she is older... hopefully they're still cranking out the tunes in 5-6 years!

Tomorrow is our 2nd Kidstuf. Hoping and praying that many new folks come out and many returners from two weeks ago. I was reviewing the songs and my four year old daughter looked at me with excitement and said, "Dad! Is that Kidstuf?" And she started singing and dancing and getting very excited about going to church in the morning. How cool is that! My 4 year old is excited about church! That's great! I hope we can continue to create entry environments with excellence and relevance for each life stage as my kids grow up!

Recommendation: I took my family to the Padaro Beach Grill in Carpenteria. I'd give the food a 6 out of 10 (very healthy but my sandwich was kind of bland) but the location was awesome... on the beach, by the train tracks, sand play area with lots of toys for the kiddies. If you're ever in the area and are hungry go there... and take me with you. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Launch Sunday Pictures

Pulling up with the trailer at 6am. (For a closer look, click on the pictures.)

Our sweet shag rugs for the kiddos to sit on. The school janitor set up our chairs. Our drape was too thin, gotta return it for heavier stuff. The guy on the left in this picture runs FOH for every crusade/festival the Billy Graham organization hosts around the world. We're blessed to have him help us get our system sounding great!

Our Kidstuf set. We used the house lights... didn't get to use our lights... that's coming soon. We had just over 100 people join us. We have intentionally not launched "big" this fall as we want our folks to fully understand and own our mission/strategy and then invest & invite their friends to one of our environments.

This week we are ending an era... our offices have been in Damon's garage since March 3rd. We have been given office space at Camarillo Community Church and we move Thursday. Damon's family has been so gracious for giving up space in their home for the last six months!

I'm looking forward to doing Kidstuf all over again on the 28th! This Sunday we take part in a commissioning service at Camarillo Community Church and then have a worship band practice on location at Rio Vista M.S. to prep for Oct 5. Good times!

I need more help on the "Road Crew"... it's a lot of fun unloading the trailer with the guys, seriously, let me know if you can help!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We Launched Today!

We launched with Kidstuf this morning.

I'm tired.

At least one new family that walked over from the neighborhood said they'd be back in two weeks (our next Kidstuf is in two weeks).

It was worth the work.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

T-Minus 4 Days

Four days until we launch.
We're launching with our family (K-5 and parents) program called Kidstuf first.
We're launching with a Lead Pastor who isn't the 'preacher' and a preacher (we affectionately call him "TP" for teaching pastor) who isn't the Lead Pastor.
We're launching in Southern California yet partnered with a church in North Georgia.
We're launching with four full time and one part time staff in one of the most expensive corners of this country.
Our office is in a garage.
We've got permission to do church in a public Middle School in Oxnard, CA and I know in Auburn, Alabama (Bible belt!) they don't allow any churches to use schools.

We are anything but a typical church plant. I like it. God is doing a new thing in the VC (Ventura County)!

What untypical church plants do you know of? Is there even such a thing?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Church Growth - Jewish Style

Check out this church growth plan by Jews in Dothan, Alabama. Instead of sharing their faith with the community they're bringing 'insiders' of the faith to the community to grow their churches. And they get $50,000 to come!!!

Interesting. Some folks do interesting things to grow their churches. I could chalk it up to how folks think in the south but I know that's not how they think. There is an incredible church called Wiregrass Church right in Dothan that is one of our partner churches. I've even known some churches that have as their top strategy a name change. And the people were banging down the door after the change!!! not. The best church growth strategy is to bless your community in the best, simplest way possible in a language (style) they understand. Simple but not easy.

What interesting things have you seen done under the banner of "Church Growth"?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

3...2...1... BLASTOFF!!!

I've committed blog world sin by not posting lately!!! We are officially launching RPCC this Sunday at 10am. As in any new start up, we are B-U-S-Y! We bought a 24 foot enclosed trailer yesterday for $3900. A really good deal! We bought it off a guy who builds movie sets... he helped built sets for The Chipmunks movie. Only in Socal! This week we test-drive our new tech equipment, practice our songs, moves and scripts to get set for our first Kidstuf production this Sunday. I'm praying God brings many families from the community out and new friends are made.

I started our first of 7 community 'Turbo' groups today. The rest will begin in the next few weeks. We are all meeting through December (hence 'turbo') and then we'll have an event called GroupLink where we'll 'shuffle the deck' and invite all the new folks who come this fall to form new groups that will stay together 12-24 months. After that we shuffle again. Our goal is to have groups long enough to build authentic community but to not stay together for years and years in an exclusive "clique" so we're always providing opportunities for 'outsiders' to join our groups. All our 'turbo' groups will be going through Starting Point so they will have experienced what they will be inviting their friends to in the near future.

Tonight our staff met with 30 folks from Camarillo Community Church and shared about our mission and asked for help. The Pastor of this church, Ralph Rittenhouse, is one of my heroes. I truly respect this guys leadership. He invited these 30 folks and was there himself... a senior Pastor encouraging folks from his own flock to go and help another church get started!!!??? This guy is truly KINGDOM MINDED and not address minded! Our goal with RPCC is to follow in his footsteps and one day help other churches get started.

If you're plugged in at a church are you helping to start new churches in your area? Why not?

I need your help this Sunday. If you live in the area (of willing to come to the area!) come help us unload our trailer and set up at 6am. What better things do you have to do at that time!!!??? :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Improve Your Life #3: First Three in the Door

I forget where I heard this from but it's been powerful in my life and I have confidence it will improve yours.

After a long day at work (or elsewhere) when you get home pay attention to the first three minutes through the door. Check your actions, attitude and speech. Is it positive towards or negative towards your family? Often how you are in the first three minutes will become a 'self-fulfilling prophecy' of the rest of the day. If you come home and look for things to criticize you'll be setting yourself (and your family) up for a potentially frustrating evening. Try being a blessing to your family no matter how you feel and see the difference it makes.

Ever since my kids where first born, I would come home and make an extra big deal about seeing them... kind of like a person who hasn't seen a loved one for months! It's kind of silly, but it's soooo worth it when my oldest reciprocates that by saying with the biggest smile "Daaaaaaaddy!!!". Sometimes she'll run and jump in my arms delivering the biggest hug her toddler arms can muster. And of course, if my wife is in the room she gets the first hug and kiss! Security in a child's heart is developed immensley when they see mom and dad express their devotion to each other.

What has been your experience with your "First three in the door"? Share your quick story of success or failure (I've had a lot of stupid failures too!!!).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Camarillo Community Church

Lead the worship band this morning at Camarillo Community Church. What a vibrant multi-generational church! Musicians were top notch. Next scheduled worship leading is October 5th at RPCC. Some guy I don't know came up to me and said, "Hey James, you baptized me four years ago." How cool is that? I remember the event but I don't remember him. :( I baptized a few folks I'd never met before that day. He shared a bit how he's grown in his walk with God since then. Again, just plain cool.

Set List this morning:
1. Not to Us by Chris Tomlin
2. Everlasting God by Benton Brown
3. Amazed by Lincoln Brewster
4. Son of God by Starfield
5. [Special led by Eliana] Lead me To the Cross by Brooke Fraser of Hillsong
-Eliana knocked this song out of the park!!!

Tonight at 6:30pm is our final RPCC launch team meeting. Ladies and gentlemen we are in the final stretch of our 'building'/'launch' stage! What a journey! Next Sunday is a pool party and then Sept 7th we're on location at Rio Vista M.S. for Kidstuf rehearsal before going live with Kidstuf on Sept 14th. Between now and October 5th I need to gather some pro musicians for the band, get our 'turbo' groups firing on all cylanders, keep the books up to date and help fundraise $115,000. We need that amount by the end of the year just to break even. I'm trusting that money will come through but wow that can be an intimidating amount! If you have a moment, throw up a quick prayer and even consider contributing while you pray. Thanks!

I've got to meet a friend/coach for a 4 mile run in the hills above Ventura before launch team meeting this afternoon. This guy is gonna whip my butt!!! Hope I survive!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

iPod Touch Calendar

Ran 2.44 miles this morning in 13:04. 2nd fastest time yet! :)

It's tough to see but every dot on my iTouch calendar equals a run (including this morning). That's 11 so far this month. My goal is to is to keep filling in more dots and in October compete in this run. So far my knees are doing fine but I've had problems in the past when I was running regularly. Though I don't think I was in as much pain as Carlos. I'm half the man he is... I don't have the urge to run anything longer than 5 miles.

What are you filling your calendar with?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Barbie Fishing Rod

This is incredible... my daughter has one of these rods... the fishing skills it must have taken... all with the Barbie fishing Rod!

What's the biggest fish you've ever caught? Mine was about 6 lbs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Church Planting - Staff Teams

3.94 miles in 22:03 minutes.

Our Lead Communicator hits the road in Atlanta, GA tomorrow to move to Camarillo, CA and finally join our team in person (we've been ichatting since May!). Our Sunday Program Director begins full time with RPCC Sept 1. Our Kidstuf director just started earlier this month. What an amazing team God has brought together. Seriously, these folks are money! We are humbled to be partnered with GHC and NP and the many local church churches and individuals. One year ago this month Damon and I felt God may want us to 'knock on the door' of this thing called 'church planting'. 12 months later we're less than a month away from launching with a great staff team and a launch team numbering in the 50s.

Don't get me wrong, this is still not going to be a walk-in-the-park. We need to raise $115,000 by December 31st. That's a lot of dough... and we have to raise even more than that the following year. What makes that number not so huge is the fact that God has brought high capacity leaders to our staff and launch team who want to see RPCC succeed and have an impact in this community. It's already worth it, I've seen growth and personally experienced growth! If you're considering planting a church I would strongly encourage you to do it with a team from day 1. Even Jesus modeled this fact... in no way did He need a team of 12 to do what he did, but He chose to do it and I believe this is something we can learn from today.

Please pray for John and his family as they travel this week.
Please pray we would do our part and work hard to raise $115,000 over the next three months.
Please pray that we would trust God to do his part with the results!

Do you know any churches with just one paid guy 'doing it all'? What have you seen that is good/not so good about that strategy?

Monday, August 18, 2008


Ok, I failed. I didn't even push snooze until 6:35am and then didn't get out of bed until 6:40am. But, I did my run in 13:27. Not bad. I also know that there is always tomorrow. :)

If you think of it, pray for me today. I've got two very important meetings today that could possibly make a difference far into the future of RPCC.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Improve Your Life #2: The Alarm Clock Promise

I believe I heard this on Stephen Covey's "First Things First" audio cd that I got for free through an offer off a cereal box... pretty sweet offer!

The Alarm Clock Promise

Do you ever feel a bit depressed and that life is happening to you instead of you making life happen? Do you have a hard time getting yourself motivated? Try this right now:

1. Decide what time you would, scratch that, should get up tomorrow morning. Let's say you decide 6:30am (that's when I'm getting up)
2. Set your alarm for 6:30am
3. (Here's the key) Get out of bed at 6:30am tomorrow! Repeat for 5 days straight.

Seriously, your feet should hit the floor within 5 seconds of that alarm going off. Prepare for that tonight. Give yourself a personal pep talk like this, "Ok, no matter how my body screams 'NOOO!' in the morning, I'm going to keep this promise. I'm getting up and starting my day on time. God, please help me to not be a slave to my body but a keeper of my commitment."

You may notice that when you start your day by keeping a promise to yourself you'll likely have a better day. There is peace and contentment when you have integrity with yourself. This may seem small but I think there is a lot of power in this little exercise because it can improve the rest of your day. I'll be trying this tomorrow (Haven't done this in a while) and hopefully I'll be out the door for my run by 6:40am, so let me know how it goes with you and if it made a difference in your day/week.

Ok, let me share about the last three days of my life:
Thursday a.m.: Ran 2.44 miles in 12:28. Fastest time by far! Pretty stoked on that.
Thursday p.m.: I have the best wife in the world who has worked hard with caring for me and our two kids over the last three months so I encouraged her to take a personal retreat/break. She went to her folks house 2 hours away.
Thursday p.m.: Begin my first weekend alone with both kids by taking them on a date to dippin dots and the pet store, aka a free 'zoo' ;). They loved it!
Thursday p.m.: Kids in bed, and breathing (yes!). 1:30am - Massively huge thunder and lightening storm, wakes up my daughter. She's crying and crawls in my bed. She talks to me for the next hour, I think trying to calm herself down by hearing my voice... very sweet.
Friday: I'm stinkin tired from being up night before. My daughter over flows the toilet, "Dad, the water's coming, it's coming!" Filled the whole floor. Fun! Then we go to a dinner party to find out when we arrive it was cancelled. Our friends graciously invited us in and fed us some good grub.
Friday p.m.: At 3am my daughter is screaming very loud (probably because I didn't hear her for the first 15 minutes of her screaming.). She wet the bed. A lot. Put her in the bath, changed her bedding, she said "Thanks dad, I love you.", made it all worth it to hear that, back into bed by 3:45am.
Saturday: My daughter scrapes her leg pretty bad while balancing on a curb. That afternoon I put my 9 month old son down for a nap. Couple hours later I hear him, he's not crying, I open the door and he has the biggest smile on his face along with a lot of poopy. Brilliant as I am, I put him down for a nap with just a diaper and shirt. He pooped and took the liberty of removing his poopy diaper, smart kid (stupid dad). By the time I walked in there was poop all over his two blankets, stuffed elephant, all the slats on his crib and caked on his hair, face, arms, hands, legs & feet. B-E-A-UTIFUL! Momma came home after we went to the dinner party that was rescheduled to Sat night... I feel much closer to my kids. Thanks thunder/lightening, scrapes and poopy! God is good and has a great sense of humor!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I visited Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC at the end of June. You want to watch this very cool Baptism video clip. Seriously, sit for two minutes and click here.

Have you been baptized? What was your experience? If you have not been baptized, let me know if you have any questions about it:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

River Park Community Church needs your help!

Do you have too much money on your hands right now? :) I've got a great idea for it! Even if you don't have too much money, I've got a great idea for you too! It's an investment that will outlast you, that will make a difference in people's lives that you'll probably never meet! (If you don't go to RPCC that is.)

You'll also get a tax receipt, oh yea, I know I've got your attention now. River Park Community Church needs to raise a bunch of money so the team I'm on can work full time in this new work of God. Your gifts will get us through these early times before we become self-supporting. Even if you don't give, I'll still be serving at RPCC but I'll have to do it a little less frequently as I'll have to get a job at Trader Joe's or Costco or ...?

Find out a bit more by reading our Lead Communicator's post... he explains this much better than me, that's why I'm not the Lead Communicator. :)

You can find out about how to give here.

Thanks for your generosity!

Improve Your Life #1: Running

I have taken to regular runs since earlier this year. I believe it's very important to take care of myself by eating healthy and exercise. I fail often (especially the eating part!) but this is the mantra that goes through my head.

"Your body is the only instrument through which God has given you to experience life. Improve your body, improve your life."

That's it. Pretty simple, very obvious but too often overlooked. The body I have is a gift from God... it's His, not mine... He created it and knit it together in my mama's womb so I feel responsible to take care of what I'm borrowing. In my mind this is part of my own spiritual growth before God. Serving at RPCC is easy because I have a passion to serve people and see people on a growth trajectory in their life, aka: see people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. I can only do this well from a full 'spiritual' tank, or as some would say, from an 'overflowing cup'. This year I've been filling this 'cup' through running. I spend a lot of time in reflection and prayer when I run. It's one of my spiritual disciplines built into my life right now.

To be honest, I also enjoy the accomplishment of filling up my iPod Touch calendar with little dots that represent the days I have run. Silly huh? :)

I got my iPod Touch last Christmas and have been filling up the calendar with my runs starting in January.

My regular route is 2.44 miles. Not really far, but it's been working for me.

Here are a few dates and times (I actually ran on average 2-3 times a week from Feb-May but I'll only list a few dates to illustrate my progress.)
Feb 6 - 22:02
Feb 11 - 20:03
Feb 19 - 19:44
Feb 27 - 17:24
Mar 12 - 20:05
Mar 21 - 16:32
Mar 26 - 17:58
Apr 15 - 17:29
May 2 - 28:18 (ran 4.94 miles this day)
May 20 - 16:01
May 22 - 17:55
My running routine went on hiatus because of a 6 week trip to Alpharetta, GA to do an internship with North Point Campus Expansion. I literally only ran once on a treadmill during this time. We were kept busy with a lot of meetings, aka, sitting on our backsides for four weeks straight! Combining that with a lot of southern food and overdosing on sweet tea contributed to me gaining 10 lbs! When I got home I was very excited to get back to my beloved running route! Below are all of the runs to date since getting back to Ventura, CA.

July 28 - 17:10
July 29 - 16:20
July 31 - 15:30
Aug 4 - 14:31
Aug 5 - 14:56
Aug 6 - 13:34
Aug 9 - 13:35
Aug 11 - 15:08
Aug 12 - 13:16

I usually start my run around 7am. It's the best running time of the day and I literally notice the increased energy and focus levels I have on the days I run. On future posts I'll throw up a run time and comments now that you're caught up on my year.

What do you do to take care of the only instrument through which you experience life? If you're not doing much I challenge you to improve your life this week. Pick a day this week and a time to do it and keep your promise to yourself by following through. Let me know how it goes.

For the next few posts I'll share a few other random things I strive to do to improve my life and that you could do to improve yours instantly. I'll explain in the next few posts so you better come back regularly but for now here's what I call them:
1. The alarm clock promise 2. First three in the door 3. Power 12 foods 4. Solitude and knees

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chuck Colson

Yesterday at the Leadership Summit at Camarillo Community Church I was intrigued with something Chuck Colson said. "We don't impose, we propose Christianity to people. We're not about creating a theocracy but freedom."

He went on to explain saying that as Christians we should not be about creating government that enforces laws that 'force' people to worship God. The best government we could create would be one that allows religious freedom because that is what God does with us. God pursues us with utmost passion and sacrifice but never crosses the line of a proposal and into the realm of force (In this life or the next!). He gives room for free will. He gives us room to make our own choice about following Him or following something or someone else (less).

I think in the last couple decades our country has made a move away from freedom to forced agnosticism or atheism... because those are the two most non-offensive faiths right? What do I mean?

I remember taking part in "Christmas Pageants" in elementary school. Makes sense to me, our foundational faith in this country that we build this place on is the Christian Bible and the principles found within that good book. Plus our official Holiday on December 25 is spelled "C H R I S T M A S". But now we have found ourselves in the "Winter Concert" era because the government doesn't want to offend and impose Christianity on anyone. My guess is that the word "Christmas" will soon be replaced with something else to describe December 25.

Let's talk about that word "impose". When does a person cross the line from a "proposal" to imposing their beliefs on another? How have you navigated this in the past?

(Invite: I'm leading the band at Catalyst Ventura tomorrow morning at 9:30am. If you're in the area come on out!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


"Vision leaks". An axiom by Bill Hybels. He explains vision casting by imagining a bucket full of water with holes in the bottom. The water is slowly leaking out. To keep the bucket full you must regularly put more water in. Vision leaks too. You must continuously keep vision before the people. I like it! I had dinner with Larry Brey (from Elevation Church) and he put a metric to how often you need to add water. He said any meeting a leader has with individuals or groups at least 50% of the information is about vision and 50% is tactical. It almost seems too simple or too good to be true, but that's half the battle in life... remembering why we do what we do.

God constantly reminded the Israelites that He is the God who brought them up out of Egypt. (Remember???)
I need to remember why I live (To love God... and therefore everyone else on my travels)
I need to remember why I'm a married (To serve and love my wife)
I need to remember why I'm a Daddy (To invest [teach, model & pray] and care for my temporary gifts from God --> they are on loan from God so I better take care of what's not mine!]

Vision leaks because memory leaks. Memory leaks because you don't have a system in place. What system do you have in place to remember 'why'? What system do you have in place to remind those you lead 'why'?

Where there is no vision the people perish and where they is no system the vision bucket stays too low for too long! Hmm...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

River Park 411

On August 17 RPCC is putting on what's called: "River Park 411". If you're not connecting with 411 that's the number you call for information... when you want to look up someone's phone number and then the phone company charges you like a million dollars! Well, maybe a buck and change. (I don't pay for using 411 anymore!!! I call 1-800-free-411.)

August 17 we'll be introducing our launch team and anyone interested to our facility. We'll have creative boards set up in each room with pictures and explanations of how the room will look. We'll also be doing 'mini-church' with some unplugged worship and a message. We'll end with some open Q & A time and have a few goodies and surprises.

Should be a great morning, come check it out!

What is your worst air travel story? Probably not worse than this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Heard a great sermon from Pastor Ralph Rittenhouse at Camarillo Community Church this morning. The topic was prayer. Without looking at my notes the one thing I remember is Ralph's clever saying "Knees before feet". He encouraged us all to get on our knees in prayer before we take our first steps in the morning. I love this... this is a "structure" issue... or a "system" issue. Jesus first talked about where you should go before he taught how you should pray in Matthew 6:6ff. That must say something to you about the importance of our prayer location!

The Bible talks about "unceasing" prayer... pray as you go, pray during the busyness of your day. This is great, but it's easy to allow this to be the exclusive form for your prayer life. I've often been guilty of this! I want to get alone physically on a more regular basis and pray.

A few things I'm praying for right now?
1. River Park Community Church: We launch in just over a month. I'm praying our equipment, people and finances come together to launch effectively so we can lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. I'm praying for the family of that guy who was beheaded on a Greyhound bus. (Read at your own risk!) Kind of random, but I can't get that out of my mind... very freakish murder and I'm torn up as I think of the pain his family is going through. I'm very thankful that there is a God who will sort all this out in the end!
3. I'm praying for wisdom as a spouse and parent.
4. I'm praying for family friends dealing with a family member who is in the hospital.

So where do you go to pray? Do you struggle with getting alone to pray?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So I'm in Vons in Oxnard about to do some business at an ATM machine and at 11:42am these employees start getting excited. Then I hear "Earthquake, EARTHQUAKE!!!" I look down the grocery asiles and they are seriously swaying. It was very surreal. I look at the floor and could see the ripples as the quake runs beneath my feet. Employees start to run for the front door. I looked up at the ceiling and was wondering if it's going to come down on me.
I then start to literally feel dizzy, kind of like a choppy boat ride or rough airline turbulence. The quake lasted a good 30 seconds. Then I attempt to finish my transaction and a lady comes over the loud-speaker, "Attention, we're having an earthquake." (I'm thinking, "No we're not, it's over.") "Would all customers and employees please make their way to the front doors. We don't want anyone hurt by items falling off shelves."
I keep finishing my ATM transaction then get yelled at from the crowd by an employee. "Person at the ATM, come to the front!" But I'm not leaving without getting my ATM card out of this machine! So I finally get my card out and walk through the crowd out of the store and off I go.

Weird day in Southern California. It reminded me that there are bigger things in life than what the eye percieves and that we're really not in control. And that my life is short and could be snuffed out any time... but not before I get my ATM card! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008


Perry Noble's latest blog is about this teenager who saved up $1000.00 over 3 or 4 years and contributed it to New Spring Church. He wrote an incredible note about the fact that he was HONORED to give the gift and make a contribution towards someone else taking a step closer to God.

Very mature and audacious faith!

Perry went on to say that only 6% of those who call themselves evangelical Christians regularly tithe and the average amount given by an adult over the period of one year is $600. Compare that to the average adult spending $900 a year on coffee drinks (thanks to Fourbucks... I mean, Starbucks!) and $1000 a year on their pet and you get the picture of how huge this teen's gift was!

I'm looking forward to seeing River Park Community Church blow the above statistic away! I'm praying right now that the folks who will call RPCC their church home will be the most generous church in the county because they have a passion to see folks in their community grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. The RPCC staff team has a passion to see life change take place in the Ventura-Oxnard Metro Area... how big is this passion? Big enough that each staff person is just crazy enough to give up their jobs and secure paychecks to become church planters (aka: fund raisers) in one of the most expensive corners of this country (yes, it still is even with this depressed market today.)! We even have one of our team members willing to sell a great house (Pray that it sells soon!) in a more affordable city on the other side of the country and move his family out to Ventura County!!! He inspires me! I am praying this foundation of sacrifice and generosity will set the stage for great things to come. In reality it's not much sacrifice to be invited by the God of all creation to join in His mission, it's truly an honor!

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
Where has your treasure been lately? Not sure? Check out your latest bank statement or your receipts. What percentage of your treasure has been spent on others/on you? Now you know where your heart is.

Where is your heart? How might God want you to work on your heart this week? How can I pray for you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Discovery Church, Simi Valley

I attended Discovery Church, Simi Valley this morning. Todd Clark brought a great message on the life of Joseph. He highlighted the tough times that Joseph endured (betrayal by his own family, sold as a slave in Egypt, accused of rape, thrown in jail etc…) that all led to one moment. This is the moment when Joseph went from an extreme helpless valley in life (he was in this valley for years!) to the opportunity of a lifetime… a conversation with the most powerful man in the world. Pharaoh asked Joseph if he could interpret his dream.

Gen 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Joseph gave ‘props’ to God for his gift. Actually, he said God is the author of his gift and that He is the one who will answer Pharaoh. Joseph’s ‘big break’ before this incredible leader was defined by his acknowledgment of God. And this to a man who was considered to be a god!

Todd also shared how their church is financially behind significantly. Todd and his team planted the church about 5 years ago and have over 1,000 people who call Discovery Church ‘home’. One of a few churches actually concerned about and reaching their community in Ventura County! Pray for Todd and Discovery Church as they may have to make some tough staff cuts later this fall if things don’t turn around.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Speaking of sweet tea (read post below) I think the best on the planet is found at Chick-fil-A. If you haven't tried it you've got to! If you have don't you agree??? :)

Southern Potluck!

Tonight the launch team (and anyone else who'd like to come) is gathering for the first time since our return from Atlanta. We're having a southern potluck. I'm excited and afraid about that fact. I now love southern food but while in Atlanta for a month I gained 10 pounds! Too much fatty foods and sweet tea!
I'm excited to reconnect, share our experience and look to what God has for us this fall. Damon's got some sweet creative boards with some pics of our facility to show that gang. Always good to bring visuals to a meeting! I'm looking forward to having my 19 year old cousin from Vancouver, British Columbia come down to visit tomorrow. I think the last time I saw her was when she just started high school... I hope I recognize her at LAX tomorrow!

Question: What is the one thing a leader cannot delegate?
Answer: Putting the right people in the right place.

Have you experienced a leader not doing this? How did it turn out? What else do you think a leader cannot delegate? (There's got to be more!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Atlanta, GA

Just got back this morning from N*RICH at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. It was great having the whole staff team there. We learned a ton about launching a new church, had a lot of fun together and did our first strategic meeting with the whole team. Good stuff!!!

I read a chapter in a book called "Execution" at the airport. The author asked the question, "What is one thing a leader cannot delegate?" Let me know what you think and I'll give you his answer next posting.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heart Check: EKG

An electrocardiogram (EKG) is used in hospitals to monitor the health of your physical heart. What about the health of your emotional health? How do you know if it's healthy or not? A new friend of mine, Carry Nieuwhof, has an insightful posting on not only how to gauge your emotional heart but also offers ways to find your way back to health.

I spent about a year and a half during graduate school with an unhealthy stale heart. It's not a fun place to be and life is too short to spend any amount of time that way. Looking back I know that the way I moved out of that stage was through the connections I made with other people. Simply by building relationships. It order to see the world from a different place you need a bridge to walk to that different place. Being part of a small group and serving on a team was my bridge.

Read Carry's post.
How is your heart?
What was your 'bridge' back to a healthy heart?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do you isolate yourself?

Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.

I've spent enough times in my life being lonely. (Defined: Having a hard time making new friends, feeling unconnected and maybe feeling sorry for myself.) This is an easy way to live today with the abundance of activities that keep us busy yet out of real, authentic relationship with others (like writing and reading blogs! :)). River Park Community Church (RPCC) will be a church that intentionally, and even aggressively (in a gentle kind of way) combats loneliness. Sunday morning will only be the entrance to truly experiencing RPCC. The destination that we hope everyone who walks through our doors would consider is our Small Groups. These are groups of 8-16 folks who hang out once a week.

So if you walk into a Sunday service, don't stop there. Keep walking towards a small group.
I can't wait to see the change in people as we get these started! Don't miss it!

We're getting prepared to start a few temporary "turbo" groups. Come join us... let me know.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I'm ticked off!!! In fact I'm flea ed off!!! My condo is infested with fleas!!! Walked in my place last night and a dozen of those little guys hopped on my legs... lovely, just lovely!!! :( My first day home is spent pouring powder all over my carpet and spending the rest of the day away from home.

I hope those guys enjoy the powder. Chow down guys, chow down!

Last night was kind of humorous. From another room I hear my daughter yelling, "Ahhhh!!! Flea, flea, flea... HELPPPPP!!!" I screamed back, "Slap them sweety, slap them away!!!" Couple seconds of silence... then "Whap, whap, whap!!! I got the flea Daddy!"

(Picture above: Just found this dead flea, HE'S HUGE!!! I'm surprised our cat has any blood left in him after keeping these giants alive!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back in Cali!

After driving 2700 miles this past week my family and I are back in Southern California. It's been an incredible 6 weeks away. We spent two weeks traveling and four weeks living in Alpharetta, GA so I could participate with Damon in an internship at North Point Community Church. We spent 6 days a week preparing to become a strategic partner church plant of North Point. Our whole purpose for this adventure is to lead people into a growing relationships with Jesus Christ. There are many ways a church can do this and N.P.'s model is one of them. I personally think it's a very effective ministry model. Why? Because it's about removing obstacles between people and their Creator by creating a few excellent steps (environments) towards spiritual growth which we define as: 1. Intimacy with God, 2. Community with Insiders, 3. Influence with Outsiders.

So what's our next step? Our strategic calendar is in place and we just have to work it.

I'll keep you posted with how that calendar plays out...

When you think of your local church what are the things you observe that could be an obstacle between you and God? For you regular church goers, you may have to think a little harder. :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where are we planting?

I am excited to plant a new church in a very cool metro area. Our staff has been referring to it as the "Ventura-Oxnard" Metro Area (pop. 500,000 in a 15 min. drive radius) but the White House refers to it as the "Oxnard-Ventura-Thousand Oaks" Metro Area (Pop. 800,000).

133 churches in our metro area above. A similarly populated area in the south would have about 800 churches. There is definetly room for one more church!

The actual city we're planting in is Oxnard, CA. Honestly, I think it's one of the weirdest city names I've ever heard. Combing the words "Ox" and "Nard" really make an enjoyable moment when that rolls off the tongue! Hence the reason we like to say we're planting in the "Ventura-Oxnard" metro Area. :) The specific community in Oxnard we're planting is called River Park. It's brand new with much of it currently still under construction. The community is located 30 minutes north of LA county (Via the 101 freeway) and smack dab in the middle of Malibu and Santa Barbara (another popular alternative way to describe Oxnard without using the name Oxnard!).

If you're iching to move and not sure where... consider River Park. I think it's price point is undervalued and you'd have the opporutnity for some significant equity in the near future, especially when the commercial area begins to come together. Oh and if you do move, I can recomend a great new church family that needs your help.

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Favorite Christian Bookstore

At Tangers Outlet mall in Locust Grove, GA south of Atlanta. Bunch of tables set up and most books for $5 each. Recent titles too! I spent $67 and walked out with a lot of bookage!

If you ever find yourself in Locust Grove, GA... check it out!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Elevation Church

Spent 24 hours in Charlotte, NC. Met with a staffer from last night and attended both of their campuses this morning. Few comments:
1. Their church seeks to 'seek and save the lost' and strategize church to that end.
2. Their guest service team: tearing it up! By far the most warm welcome I've ever received walking into a church!
3. Setup team: On location by 5am. 5AM!!! Earliest I've ever heard a church begin setup. And there are about 50 on site at that time! Not one person stood around wasting time. These guys and gals took their volunteer positions serious!
4. The staff is very intentional about casting vision. Every meeting is 50% vision/50% tactical. When a volunteer understands the connection of their role to the vision and you multiply that by 280 you get!
5. They keep it SIMPLE. 1. Worship experience. 2. Small Groups. That's all!
6. Two years old and about 4,000 attendees.
7. No youth ministry. 50% of the Sunday morning volunteers were youth. What's that saying?
8. Every volunteer is required to refer to Stephen Furtick as 'Pastor', 'Pastor Stephen' or 'Pastor Stephen Furtick'. Seriously, it's required! You'll hear things like, "Pastor said this..." or "Pastor does that..." That kind of weird's me out. I'm not saying it's wrong... it's just different. Every staff and volunteer I connected with is normal. They don't worship Stephen and I didn't sense any weird (sinful!) stuff like that at all but they want to follow the vision God has put on their leaders heart and follow it well. I respect that. I didn't meet Stephen, he was speaking at another church. ButI met his vision and passion for the unbeliever when I met his staff and volunteers.

Bed time! I'm running on a couple hours of sleep and vertigo is setting in...

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I'm watching the celtics-lakers game. It's tied at 90 with 4 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. I hope the Celtics win. Yea, even though I'm from California I'm not a very big lakers fan. I'd be surprised if the Lakers win. The Celtics are a stronger and more consistent team.

So I'm currently living in Alpharetta, GA. I've been here over a week and have about three weeks to go until we head back to the left coast. I've got a nice new apartment over looking a great pool. We've been in the pool almost every day cause it's so stinking hot and humid here! I'm enjoying the heat and will miss it when I leave. The one bummer out here is that west coast sports games run soooo late! It's almost midnight here and this game still has three minutes to go!!! (Lakers are up by 2 now :()

Today I went up to Chatanooga, TN to Rock Point Church. Heath and his team did a great job and we learned a lot. I'm looking forward to this week full of meetings at North Point Community Church. I appreciate the intentionality and excellence put forth by the staff at this church. It's truly a breath of fresh air. 

Happy Fathers Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


My son will be 12 in the year 2019. Dang that sounds like a long time from today! Yet, my son will only be 12 then. That is so far in the future!!! 

Anyway, I wrote my son a letter today. He is not to open it until his 12th birthday in 2019. So what do you tell your son today who will read your words 12 years from now? I basically told him he is very loved and brings joy to our family. I told him to follow God despite the church and despite his family. I told him to laugh at himself. I told him to give himself to others. I told him to read a few books. I told him to respect and care for the ladies in his life and to not date until he's old enough (or almost old enough) to get married as dating leaves one with two choices: break-up or get married... so why not wait? I told him that he'll mess up in life yet God will always accept him back. 

So I realize that I'm writing him a bunch of random pieces of advice I'd like to pass to him and that maybe Solomon did the same thing at the birth of his children and we now read it as the book of Proverbs. I know he did write it for his kids, but I wonder if he did it years in advance... just a random thought flying around the cranium today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Randy Pausch

You've probably seen this... if you haven't you should. I've placed this here more for me (sorry, I'm selfish) to help me keep a better perspective on life.

Advice Worth a Million Bucks!

"Don't tell people how to live their lives, just tell them stories."
-Randy Pausch

"The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.""
-Genesis 12:1,2

Monday, March 31, 2008

Very Creative video... don't get the wrong idea at the beginning... you will like this. What kind of wind are you?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On edge

RPCC (River Park Community Church) is on the edge of securing a facility... Rio Vista M.S. First we were quoted maybe a few hundred a week, then over $2000 a week! Now we've offered what we can pay... and it's 'wait and see'.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Tomorrow is a historic day. It's the first official launch team meeting of River Park Community Church. I hope that in 10 years from now we can look back and see the hand of God woven through our lives to the community around us. Lord, use us in a mighty way... whichever way you deem best. Here we are, send us!

Facebook is an amazing tool... today alone I've connected with two people that I haven't seen in 8 and 16 years! Facebook is great at making you feel old too. :=)

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Transition is a one time event and a process. I officially transitioned out of FBC 7 days ago. I am now officially the Executive Pastor of a church plant. My heart, thoughts and prayers are firmly planted in both places. The counter-intuitive part for me is not so much the thoughts and prayers part but the heart. The emotional desire to see the best happen at FBC with so many families that I truly feel are part of my own family... but now I have no 'official' role to play. Weird, strange, helpless, confusing, even grief... all a human emotional response. But God calls me (and you) to trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding... or even my own insight into my own emotions. I imagine this is very similar to the experience a parent feels when their children begin to leave home.

I am very excited about the new leadership God has drawn to my (former?) family (FBC) and the newness of vision, passion and strength of that team. I pray that their relationship with God is current, passionate and lengthy so as to be His staff in His place in His time.

Transition. onto being His staff in His place in His time at RPCC!

"The Lord is my Shepherd..." the shepherd of my transition "...I shall not want."

Friday, March 7, 2008


My 3 1/2 year old daughter prayed this prayer before eating her Cheerios

"Dear Jesus, we love you Jesus... everything... dear Jesus, Amen!"

Have you told Jesus you love him and thanked him for everything?

Eternal wisdom from the mouth of a child.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's a New Day!

First full day on the job with River Park Community Church! Had a great final day with students at FBC Ventura. So many 'thank-yous' and hugs that mean so much to me and my family! I'm gonna miss my staff and students but am confident they are in good hands with the leadership left behind.

My final message in FBC's High School environment was on sex! Kinda weird to leave with that subject but kind of cool too since that's probably one of the most important areas of encouragement a H.S. student needs to hear.

I have a great new office. In Damon's garage. We'll be here as long as we need to be until we can afford something else.

We just got off the phone with the facilities we want to hold our services... they want to charge us $5000 every 7 Sundays! That's quite an increase from originally being told we'd just have to cover a couple hours of overtime pay for the guy unlocking for us... I'm not worried (at least right now)! God will work out the details.

It's such a great feeling to know you are exactly where God wants you to be. Thanks Lord!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One of the greatest and quickest read on being smart with your money.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

God's "Mega-phone"

This morning God slammed me on the head with the intensity with how he is guiding RPCC and really wants to see it happen in River Park! I’m still in shock with how real He became to me this morning, how a direct answer to prayer not only came but was sweetened with blessings that were not even thought of. Ok, here is how it went down.

Damon and I met with the principle of Rio Vista M.S. Last month we met with the head of district facilities and he gave us the green light. The final hurdle (as far as we know) would be getting approval from the school principle. She could have turned us down for many reasons… 1. Potential to mess up her property 2. Schedule conflicts (if they need the school on Sunday) 3. Just not wanting to deal with a large group on her campus 4. She doesn’t like God.

Well, here is the slamming part… She didn’t get the memo from head dstrict facilities guy about us… 1. She was immediately excited about having a church at her school 2. She started brainstorming out-loud how we could partner with the school 3. She said, “I’ll bend over backwards to get whatever facilities you need here to make it happen.” 4. She stalled in getting to a staff meeting to give us a tour of the school.

Lord, thank You for being You... that shouldn't shock me and I'm sorry that sometimes it takes a 'mega-phone' moment to fully embrace Your You-ness. Look out Rio Vista, here we come!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Went to 'Sac' yesterday

Went to Sacramento (actually, Elk Grove) yesterday for a GHC Network cluster meeting. These guys are serious about church planters and serious about supporting them. We inked a partnership deal with them and I look forward to a great relationship with them. They have committed to match up to $75,000 of what we raise for the church plant and they are very excited (and flexible) about the possibility of us becoming a strategic partner with North Point. I met Paul Borden - I've heard that he is a man that God has used to turn around a whole region of churches in just 10 years. Being with him for an hour confirmed that he could do even more than that! He is a passionate fire-ball for Christ and doing things right in an organization! I haven't read it yet, but I believe his book "Hit the Bullseye" explains how he transitioned a plateaued region into a thriving region.

Review of my first flight on Southwest airlines yesterday:
1. Boarding was fast & efficient and no assigned seating. (Thumbs up)
2. Left and arrived on time. (Thumbs up)
3. Flight attendants were casual, even funny, yet still got the job done... even more effective than other airlines. I paid attention more to the safety instructions because I was anticipating another clever joke. (Thumbs up)
4. Not one but two small packages of peanuts! :)

Monday, February 4, 2008


This weekend will be the first time since the winter of 2001 that I have not gone to a M.S. Winter Camp. All to Forest Home except in 2005 I went to Pine Summit... I inherited that camp from the previous M.S. Pastor... I quickly corrected that the following year.

I am very excited about this big transition that God is leading me to but at the same time I am sad and will truly miss investing full time into students.

March 2nd is my final day on staff at FBC Ventura. With Damon and I moving on, that's a 71% turnover rate of Pastors in 2 1/3 years... the numbers clearly speak for themselves. When you intentionally cling to no specific strategy an organization becomes schizophrenic and you get large turnover numbers because no one is called to be part of a schizophrenic organization long term especially when your business is handling the most dangerous substance known to man... the gospel message.

My goal is to keep RPCC focused! That's my number one strength on 'strengthsfinder' and I'm excited and up for the challenge. (That's why the last 3.5 years almost drove me to the funny farm!)