I’m heading home from an overnight trip to Seattle and my head is spinning from an awesome 24 hours of stimulation and information…and now I am singing the beatle’s song that I used to title this blog…but I digress.
Pastor Coy and I shot out here after Skull Church to attend a one day leadership conference put on by Catalyst featuring Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. From 9am to 5pm we were (literally) bombarded by an exorbitant amount of practical advice on leading with vision and energetically executing your God-given mission. Andy pastors North Point in Atlanta, Georgia and Craig pastors Lifechurch.tv (the church that produced the killer Youversion Bible app for mobile devices.) Their sessions were salient, sage, and strategically aimed at cranking up momentum in ministry. Phenomenal.
Straight after the conference we headed downtown and met Pastor Mark Driscoll and his executive Pastor Jamie Munson for dinner. They were gracious to spend almost three hours with us as we picked their brains on ministry, church, leadership, and what they have learned in the almost 14 years that Mars Hill Church has been turning Seattle and beyond upside down for Jesus. They opened up the floodgates and, in what I have realized is quintessential Mark Driscoll style, were like machine-guns of advice/encouragement/challenge/inspiration/sarcasm. It was kind of like drinking from a fire hose but it was awesome. There is much I can learn from Mark and I was honored to spend time with him.
Over the course of the day we took in a lot on subjects ranging from: effectively using video teaching, conserving energy in the midst of a full preaching schedule, building systems and structure to keep up with the growth with out smothering the creative chaos that God used to bring the freshness and growth in the first place, etc; One topic of particular interest to me was the ins and outs of having multiple sites. All three men we were listening to do this VERY well. If you take North Point Church, Mars Hill Church, and Lifechurch.tv together there are over 25 campuses! We meet at two locations currently but are praying about more in the future.
Coy and I spent some time, later that evening, ambling around downtown Seattle ruminating on the different things that we had heard, like glutted cows. I’m sure for several days to come we will continue to be processing and sifting through the wealth of knowledge that has been imparted to us.
I try and learn what I can from a broad spectrum of leaders, not just any one source exclusively. (Except Jesus!) An important part of that is having the wisdom to chew the meat and spit out the bones. I think you should have a full “bull-pen” of influencers and coaches, who are each strong in different ways, without ever trying to be a carbon copy of any one person exclusively and you will be much better for it. This means being quick to learn from anyone but slow to implement with thought and prayer. And this coaching doesn’t have to be face-to-face or even at a conference. I learn from pastors, leaders, authors, and people that I have never met on a weekly basis through podcasts, books and websites. I definitely have found that leadership is something that is caught better than it is taught.
This morning (since it was my first time in Seattle) we made the obligatory tourist trip to the Pike Place Market and had a coffee from the very first Starbucks. The Mermaid Mecca. It was surprisingly humble and yet they have a map on the wall showing all the Starbucks in the world, all birthed from that nondescript location. I6,082 was their number of locations at the time the map was printed. Staggering. As I drank my Americano and thought of the evangelistic manner in which Starbucks spread their wings from their “Jerusalem,” (Seattle) to their state, the country and literally to the ends of the earth I was inspired to continue to make Jesus famous, with every breath, ’til He returns.
I’m on the final flight that ends a quick overnighter in California, where I filled in for my friend Greg Laurie, at his Thursday night Bible study, while he is in Israel. It was an awesome evening of ministry and a thrill to teach God’s word to such a stoked and well-fed group.
As much fun as it is to minister in different places, traveling always takes a toll. And what was the most difficult part of this particular trip? Getting only 4 hours of sleep after preaching at skull church the night before? (Partially due to the adrenaline in my system from seeing so many make decisions for Christ and also because I had to arrive at the airport at 5am to catch a 6 o clock flight) Having to land back at home and be ready to hit the ground running for the weekend services at fresh life? The wretched airplane coffee? Being in harms way while surfing with a gray whale?
Nah–that stuff just makes it fun! What made this trip difficult was not having the delightful sounds of fresh life radio streaming in my rental car over my phone’s mobile browser, like I normally do on the road, because I stupidly forgot my 1/8 inch cable, that connects the phone to any car stereo’s aux-in input, at home. Oh man, it was bad, terrible, no good and awful. There was no exquisite blend of groundbreaking indie, alternative anthems, modern worship and delicious jams stimulating my senses as I sat in socal traffic. Woe was me.
By the way, fresh life radio is now streaming on the web 24/7 at Freshliferadio.com on computers and certain mobile devices. No matter where you live,you don’t need to suffer unnecessarily, crank it up!
Six years ago today, on a Friday morning, I woke up single for the last time. I am so thankful for that–for many reasons. For one thing, I don’t know how much longer I could have survived on the nearly lethal combination of fast-food, Mountain Dew, Ramen noodles and pizza that I lived on as a bachelor.
And for another thing, I married the most rockin’ cool chick ever! These wonderful years with Jennie beside me have been an electrifying thrill. She is my love, my bride, my best friend and my partner in crime. She inspires me and makes me love Jesus more. Happy anniversary Jennie, I love you deeply!
The meaning of life is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Ok, but how do you do that?
In John 15:8 Jesus said, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
God is glorified to the max through our fruit production. He is a vinedresser, and so the more fruit we bear the more His fame spreads. But we can’t grow anything on our own, we must abide in Christ and enjoy Him to grow good fruit.
So today the focus should be to remain in Christ so we can bear much fruit and bring glory to God. Everything else is secondary.
I am on a plane in Salt Lake City headed home to Montana where I will be speaking at Skull Church tonight on the life of Elijah. My wife and I spent the last few days with some of our favorite people on the earth teaching the Bible and enjoying the beauty of autumn in North Carolina. (I took this photo from the front porch.)
In some areas the leaves changing made the hills look like they were on fire, (I attached a pic of that at the end of the blog) it was overwhelmingly beautiful and refreshing.
Greg Laurie, Pedro Garcia, Don McClure and I all spoke 2x each during a seminar on Christ’s Return at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove. There was also music at each session by the always enthusiastic Dennis Agajanian and worship by Marty Goetz. It was a really sweet blend of hanging out and ministry. Everybody brought their wives and Greg brought his whole family along and we all had a blast drinking sweet tea, eating delicious Southern cooking and meeting all the friendly people that were there on retreat. Skip and Lenya Heitzig were supposed to be there too but due to Lenya’s cancer treatment they had to stay home in Albuquerque–we missed them. 🙁
BIlly and Ruth Graham’s vision for the Cove was that it would be a place for Christians to go and be rejuvenated in the Lord and in His Word and be equipped to be used by God more powerfully when they went home. Their vision certainly became a reality, and everyone (there were people from 23 different states) who attended–including those of us who were there to serve–seemed to really be blessed.
Here are some mobile musings on the following subjects: knowing and doing God’s will, Beatle’s Rockband and why (most of the time) I’m not tired.
[youtube width=”344″ height=”425″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fRgH3BdTtk[/youtube]
In the past I’ve always said that my favorite season is summer. But I must admit that I have been very impressed by autumn lately. Today I went on a 25 mile bike ride to enjoy the day, the air was brisk and the scenery was stunning. (I grabbed this shot to show you how delish the day was.)
The leaves on the trees are all changing and from deep green and cool yellow to bright orange and fiery red, fall’s entire palette was represented. Even the horses, birds and squirrels that I passed by seemed to be enjoying the day.
Also, a bug flew into my mouth. I spit it out and the happiness continued. Continue reading…
I hope you are enjoying this day without labor. I know I am. Family breakfast, devotions, coffee, and then a few back-logged podcasts, brought into our living room courtesy of apple tv–all in all, a very chill day so far. I had planned on getting a bike ride in had the weather been less cold and rainy…but I am convinced that every once in a while days like this are good for the soul.
1 Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2 It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Right now I am backstage at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Night number one is off to a great start. Third Day just played and currently Greg Laurie is preaching on the life of Solomon. He is telling the tens of thousands who have come that there is no lasting happiness to be found on this earth outside of Christ. In a moment he will invite people to respond to the gospel and turn their lives over to Jesus.
This is the 20th anniversary of this outreach in Orange County. 20 years! And though the music and the graphic design has changed over the years, the message hasn’t. The Harvest Cruades are hyper-focused on the cross of Jesus Christ. That is why I am stoked to be apart of them! I’ll be hosting this weekend and am looking forward to seeing the Lord do great things.
This weekend, I told the crowd at Rock the River to smile so I could get a shot of them for my twitter from the stage. The picture turned out pretty cool. It’s a sea of faces. Even pinching and zooming around it on my phone’s screen I can’t even begin to process all the different people. Beyond the first thousand, they become too blurry to make out in any detail.
As I was looking at it this morning a verse came to my mind, Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Looking at this picture through the grid of Jesus’ statement is mindblowing. To think, Jesus doesn’t see a crowd, He sees the individuals.