Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here is what's ahead:
I lead worship at the best church venue in the county every Sunday morning at www.riverparkcc.com.
Leading a worship set at "An EPIC Night of Worship" in Ventura, CA. There will be four other bands playing. Music starts at 6pm and I'm on at 9pm.
December 22, 23 & 24
Playing with the band and leading a couple Christmas songs at Camarillo Community Church's family Christmas event called "Gifts". Nick Vujicic will be speaking. Each show is expected to sell out with 1,000 people in attendance. I heard Nick speak this past spring at Catalyst West Coast. This guy is an incredible communicator and God has opened doors for him to speak to millions of people around the globe. Check out his website and learn more about him! Here is a 2 minute clip of him on 20/20.
Hope to see you at these events! If you need a great worship band for your next event email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to a few songs I recorded a while back and check out my EPK (Electronic Press Kit).
Monday, November 2, 2009
"...according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Eph 4:16
Effectual: producing or capable of producing an intended effect; adequate.
Strongs Number: G1753Orig: from 1756; efficiency ("energy"):--operation, strong, (effectual) working.
Are you producing an intended effect where you sit? If not you may be decreasing the body from building itself up in love. That's a sobering thought. We can read a lot from what we produce. We can choose to read into what we produce instead of reading what we produce. Every situation does have a context but we need to be self-aware as to whether we are painting our own context or really seeing the context at hand. Speaking the truth in love to ourselves is an opportunity to "grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Eph 4:15)
Healthy community can help to diminish our own self deception. A community infused with trust, with invitations to evaluate on a macro level and personal level. This level of vulnerability is not easy but it's worth it. Imagine a whole community functioning on this level of vulnerability. Every part playing the role it was designed to play. Every part NOT playing the role it was NOT designed to play.
God calls all of us to speak the truth in love to ourselves and honestly evaluate what we produce in our personal, family and vocational roles.
Just a few thoughts God has brought to mind to kick off my week. Does your team communicate on this level? How can you contribute towards this level of health this week in your life, family and work?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I know there are some relationships where physical or psychological abuse is taking place and those relationships just need to stop. But when personality differences, annoying idiosyncrasies, or pride cause friction you've got to stay in the ring. Even if you're the only one fighting, even though who you're fighting for has no interest in reciprocating any kind of relationship... it's worth the fight.
A great application tonight was writing a letter to a parent or child with one goal in that letter: To share all the good memories with that person. Even in all the mess, there is usually something redeemable. There may be tons of dirt between you but it's worth digging through all that to find the gold of great memories. And gold always shines a little brighter when shared with another.
What are you waiting for? Go write that letter.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Today I attended the Orange Tour with Reggie Joiner in Burbank. It was a great reminder of what our mission is and how we're implementing our mission. It also reminded me why I left a comfortable position to take a risk and start a new church. "Change will only take place when the pain of the status quo is bigger than the pain of change."
It was a boiling 105 degrees in Burbank today... so nice to live on the coast and be protected most of the time from that kind of heat! (And smog!)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I actually had a job as a telemarketer for 3.5 hours. I was selling AT&T long distance a few years back. They asked me to not come back because I didn't make one sale... well, actually I had one guy wanting to buy but he was an Iranian student without a credit card and we could only sell to those with a credit card. A funny: I'm freaking nervous (and hating myself for actually being a telemarketer!), while trying to keep up with the automatic dial system. Every time I hung up a new caller was on the line... in fact most times that person had already said hello before I was connected with them! So I'm looking at all the names quickly pop up on the screen and saying, "Hi! Is this Mr Brown, Mrs Green etc..." In the fray I looked at the next name without thinking and ask, "Is this Mr. Jehova?" The computer had dialed a Kingdom Hall. :)
Anyway, this week I had my third evening of taking part in a calling campaign to get the word out about RPCC. Our goal is to call about 30,000 people! The calling is going a little slower than anticipated because many of our volunteers are freaked out about doing this. Our calling has been overwhelmingly successful thus far and I've actually been enjoying it a lot! The cool thing is that we're not selling anything and we're actually not even asking people to go to church. It's a very 'soft' sell. We just tell people we're a new church in the area and ask if we can send them information to keep them updated on our progress. That's it! So every address we get we're sending them information.
Here are my numbers so far.
Addresses received: 53
(Keep in mind that the majority of the numbers dialed were answering machines and we will call them back. We anticipate that we'll get addresses of at least 10%.)
If we call 30,000 people that's 3,000 people who will receive a few mail pieces from us and a follow up call! I'm excited to see what God is gonna do with this! We're inviting all these people to come out Oct 24 to a special Saturday evening service at the barn. If you want to be a catalyst for life change for people you don't know come and make some calls with me. I'll be doing it again tomorrow night and at least two nights next week. It's really fun because you never know how people will respond. I'd say 95% are very polite and are not put off by the call. I get a few hangups and a few "I've got my own religion... click" but I've also had great conversations with people including one guy who is a Hindu, attends a Hindu church but asked me to send him information. How cool is that???
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I met Nick & Rachel for the first time in January. They came to check out our church and were heading out of the service when I shook their hands and asked them about their story. They were brand new to town from Washington State and I know moving to a new area is hard at first. Shanna and I had them over for dinner that Thursday and while talking about the Office we became good friends (Thanks Michael Scott!). That led to marriage counseling and yesterday I officiated their wedding. A perfect day for a great couple!
I played with my kids a lot tonight, gave them extra hugs and am reminded of the amazing gift that life is... something that should be cherished and lived to the full because it's gone too soon. Tomorrow is a new day and really a new season. I have been part-time at RPCC since March while Shanna has been working full-time. We made a commitment to do this at least until September and that is now here. She is now part time (and a full time mom!) and I need to fill that gap in our budget ASAP. I've applied at many places but now that I'm not playing "Mr. Mom" full time I can get more aggressive in my search. I'm actually looking forward to getting a part time job because I'll get to meet new people and invite them to check out RPCC.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It's easy to think of others who lead and which of these they struggle with... check the mirror and see what you may be struggling with. Or even better (this could be #9 on this list!), ask those who follow you to read this and give you feedback on what they think you struggle with. Ouch, that could hurt, but what you will learn will be worth it as long as you keep #4 in mind. :)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I clicked on #1 which is Piper's. Today he summarizes Obama's speech to students. What I read in his summary is great and even encouraged me today. I hope many students get to see it today don't you?
Here is Obama's speech transcript.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
If you've never taken this class, I highly recommend it. You can find one near you on Dave's website: www.daveramsey.com. If you can't make one soon, at least pick up and read his book "Total Money Makeover" and start to change your family tree!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Here it is: "IN GOD WE TRUST"
Seriously! I didn't know this was our official motto. Did you? On July 30, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law officially establishing "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the United States of America.
So here's a great question. Does this still ring true in 2009? Do you think the politicians in Washington reflect this motto in their service to the country? Why is this theme seem to be a continuous one in Washington? When was the last time a U.S. President actually prayed to the God "we trust" publicly on air or in print?
Check out this great message by Andy Stanley entitled "God & Country" as he explores the conscience of America in 2009. Then come to River Park Community Church for the compelling final part of this message series this Sunday.
Happy 4th of July weekend! And, Happy July 1st week to all you Canadians out there!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The new $99 price coupled with horrible service from Verizon Wireless over the last few months has me on the edge of a decision to sign an AT&T contract. Do you know a lot of people switching with the new iPhone price reduction?
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Time magazine just did an article on a church that uses twitter in their worship service. What are the benefits and potential problems using twitter at church? Do you think this is the next big thing in church?
Got back yesterday from the Drive Conference at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. Had a great time or learning, worship and FUN!
Andy Stanley taught in the three main sessions. A few takeaways:
1. "Uncertainty is permanent and is why we need leaders. Leaders can afford to be uncertain but not unclear."
2. "It's very dangerous to attach God's name to your plans because they always change whereas vision does not."
3. "Leadership is not about making decisions on your own, it's about owning decisions you make."
4. "To be a great leader, you must be a great listener because you are probbably not the smartest person in your organization. You are just the leader."
5. "Leaders are attracted to environments where their ideas and opinions are heard. Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say."
6. "In a seniority structure, title and position, rather than insight or creativity, determine who sits at the decision-making table. Eventually, a seniority structure leaves the seniors in charge."
7. "Fairness ended in the garden of Eden. When you shoot for fairness you become unjust. Shoot for what is right."
8. "Vision: A mental picture of what could be, fueled by the passion of what should be."
9. "If doing Church is hard, it's because it is. But it's worth it."
I have worked in churches where the senior leaders always sat at the decision making table. Even though these leaders had a passion for young families they didn't have a clue about how to create environments for young families. What they created was an environment that repelled young families. The results of a fair, seniority seniority structure. This could have been overcome if they invited those with insight into young families to sit at the decision table.
How have you seen the seniority structure played out in your organization?
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The word "Evangelical" comes from a Greek word that means "Good News".
(The word "Gospel" also means "Good News")
The word "Christian" comes from the Bible in Acts 11:26 to describe those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
Placing those two words together means that I am a believer in Jesus Christ and strive to be faithful in promoting the "Good News" in my action, attitude and speech.
Here are four points that summarize the message (Good News) of the Bible and what it means to become a Christian.
1. God: the loving creator of the everything, who is Holy, or set apart, from creation. AKA: is perfect!
2. Us: humanity is not perfect. Nobody would argue with the fact that there are no perfect people. (My wife can attest to this fact by being married to me!) We all mess up, act selfish and think/act in in unGodly ways. So we have a problem. Imperfect humanity cannot have a relationship with a perfect God. God cannot stand the presence of a messed up, selfish, sinful man.
3. Jesus Christ: God's love is so audacious that He wanted to provide a way for us to have a right relationship with Him. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, to die on a cross on our behalf. Our sin deserves death and permanent separation from God. BUT God allowed Christ to die in our place, for our sins, so that we can come into a permanent right relationship with God. Jesus saves us from the penalty of our sins. Is knowing this enough to have a right relationship with God? No. The devil even knows this and he is definitely not in a right relationship with God!
4. You and me personally: To cross the line into a right relationship with God you have to personally trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
A. Savior: Trust that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.
B. Lord: You must decide in thought and deed to make Jesus Christ your ultimate authority. What Jesus modeled and encourages people to do is what we must strive to do. Granted, you will not be able to do this with perfection BUT your new ultimate life goal has changed from following and pleasing someone/something else to following and pleasing Christ in every area of your life. How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ? By reading the Bible and getting involved in a church where the Bible is taught and you can rub shoulders with people who will encourage you in your relationship with Christ.
There is nothing more significant in life than growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That's why I do what I do at RPCC.
Nobody can force you into this relationship with God but my hope and prayer is that you would honestly consider exploring this God who is passionately in love with you.
If you have any questions please email me: email@example.com. If you would like to find a good church where you live I can help you find one no matter what part of the world you live in.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I miss my family already... in fact, I missed them before I even left.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Ventura County Star did an article on the event today. You can read it here. Make sure you read all the comments below. Some of them are a little dramatized but they'll help you get a feel for how CRAZY it was! Most people actually did have a great time but we sure learned a lot and if we do it again next year we will definetly be better prepared. It was so funny when the helicopter arrived... all the parents pulled out their cameras and video cameras like they have never seen a helicopter before. (They fly over many times a day around these parts!) The helicopter did about 4 fly overs before he dropped the 2,000 eggs. We advertised 10,000 eggs but the helicopter couldn't hold more than 2,000. Who knew?
Bottom line: it was a typical Easter Egg hunt (Ok, a helicopter is not so typical)... took a lot of time to plan and about 90 seconds to finish and there are always kids (and in this case parents!!!) who hog a ton of eggs and kids who get none. It's really a great activity to test (and teach) a child's character! We were honored to be able to bless our community with such a fun event.
If you ever want to plan an event like this in your area, I'd be glad to share with you how we put it together (and the mistakes we made!). We are now praying that many people who showed up would come by riverparkcc.com over the next few weeks and grow in their relationship with God.
-Stay tuned, I will post pictures and a YouTube video soon.
What did you do for Easter this year?
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
We're calling it the River Park Egg Drop.
I'm excited to see what is in store for us April 11 because everyone we talk to about this gets REALLY excited! Every time I turn around we seem to get a new sponsor. So far we've got 9 corporate sponsors and we're also teaming up with another local church plant to make this happen. All our prizes and candy have been donated. We've put up posters, put post cards in thousands of doors and car windows, pulled out Facebook ads. If you're in the area April 11, you will not want to miss this! I just hope there won't be too many scuffles with kids scrambling for the eggs! Don't worry, we will have plenty of candy for all, security and an ambulence on location! :) (They will not treat sugar highs!)
What Easter Events have you attended that were the most memorable/successful?
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'm kinda looking forward to some negative reaction to my comment (I like a good debate)... should be fun! My comment I posted is below. Do you agree/disagree? Why?
"Not to discard the importance of romance in a marriage (it's very important!) but if 'feeling like a woman' is exclusive to 'romance' in a marriage than she's got a very narrow definition of 'woman'. My wife feels like a woman while cleaning house, playing with our kids, making an income AND being romanced by her husband (me!). :) Ladies, please don't buy into what this video is selling!"
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
What surprised you about this video? What are, if anything, are you doing about it?
Friday, March 13, 2009
Yesterday John Maxwell, the leadership guru guy who has written a ton of books, was arrested. It's actually kind of a funny story. Read the news article first here. Then read his own account of it on his blog here.
I've never been arrested but I've received two or three speeding tickets. Thankfully I have not received any in the last 8-10 years. (Not that I haven't deserved them!)
Anyway, John Maxwell has a much better stupid and embarrassing story than me.
So what's your stupid, embarrassing story?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Jon Dunn, presedint of planned parenthood in Orange county makes this contradictory statement:
"It's clear to me that the agenda of Supervisor Moorlach, and the other supervisors' willingness to go along with him, are driven more by a religious ideology than an articulate health policy that benefits the people of Orange County," Dunn said.
Mr. Dunn is not concerned about the health of the unborn and he fails to acknowledge that the source of his ideology is also a religious ideology. Besides that, he uses that term as if it's a negative thing to allow oneself to be driven by a religious ideology. Every person's world view is based upon the object of their faith. And no one can really make decisions apart from their religious ideology, unless of course their religious ideology is purely lip-service and based on image as opposed to reality.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Until you're willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission you're not qualified to do what you love best. Why? Because God doesn't need you! Especially when you are arrogant to the point that you think certain things are beneath you.
Every able bodied person is more than qualified to set up chairs, pick up trash or move something from point A over to point B. This may not be what someone with unique gifts should be doing full time... but for a season, even an extended season, you may have to humble yourself, roll up your sleeves and break a sweat. In the process you may grow in your relationship with those working around you. But what if you're scrubbing toilets alone??? That's where the best growth with the most important relationship can take place... you and your Heavenly Father!
I don't always have the best attitude and catch myself having to REPENT! Attitude is not something that acts upon me, I'm not a helpless victim... I choose my own attitude! Tomorrow I get the privilege of doing what needs to be done a little more than normal. I typically help set up until the band arrives and we begin our sound check. Tomorrow we have a guest worship leader, who I'm looking forward to hearing, and that means I've got time to pitch in with our Road Crew more than usual. I pray for a great sleep and lot's of energy so I can work hard and honor God with everything I lift, unpack and set up.
What kind of worker are you? What kind of attitude do you have towards doing what needs to be done compared to what you love to do?
Perry has a great post about what kind of staff person you are. Read it here.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Check it out here: songdoor.com
Click on the main page to see the contest results. Scroll down and you can hear the songs.
You can purchase my song on iTunes by searching for "James Laing"... I'm the only one with that name on iTunes so far. And yes, I know. It's a very cheese-ball album cover. If you don't mind, write a review on iTunes... looks very empty without any reviews.
If you want to hear a few other songs for free check out www.myspace.com/jameslaingmusic.
You can also add me as a friend on facebook.com and hear some tunes under the "My Band" tab.
Thanks for listening!
So, who do you think will win the Super Bowl?
Friday, January 23, 2009
The surprising thing was the lonely guy standing there with his portable computer register who took my order. He was over the top nice, clear, extremely helpful and completely at ease with his job. I felt like this guy is not just putting up with having to stand outside alone on this night. I felt that he actually enjoyed and took pride in his job.
Now, if you've never been to In-N-Out please stick with me as I explain the incredible process and strategy that makes this burger joint one of the busiest and inexpensive in Southern California. So sit back and relax because here comes the answer to this business phenom... hold on... are you ready?
The answer is as follows:
Combo 1,2 or 3.
Are you still with me? Relaxing time is over. That's it! Seriously! They have three combos for you to choose from. A burger empire built on simplicity and excellence (in product & service).
There is another well known company that is simple. While competers are laying off a multitude of people Apple continues strong. Read this latest article on their simplicity.
What if the church was also simple? Easy for guests to understand. No questions of "What does that mean?" or "I don't get it". What if the church offered two environments for adults. A worship service and small groups. What if that church focused on executing those environments with excellence in product and service?
No Sunday School, no sports ministries, no women's ministrys, no men's ministrys, no tutoring, no pilates, no special seasonal productions.
1. Worship Service
2. Small Groups
Leaving people with margin to invest in their families and communities during the week. Encouraging people to not join the local church softball league but to join the local city softball league. (Remember those salt and light passages in the Bible?)
Want a great read on this topic?
Want to experience a simple church?