Olympics: What Inspired Me

25 08 2008

I really enjoyed the Olympics the last few week…I love the competition, the pressure, the sweat, the giving of it all, the Gatorade intensity, the pushing yourself beyond your comfort level, the achievement and the to desire to win. I love it! That’s exactly how Christ wants us to live for Him. We’ve only got one live to live…give it all to Him and leave it all on the field. No guts…no glory for God.

Here are my top four moments…

4. The Return of Team. Women’s Soccer. Beach volleyball (men’s and women’s). Men’s Volleyball. Basketball (men’s and women’s). It’s all about teamwork and not being a superstar. Life’s about working together for a common goal that’s bigger than me. Don’t we all desire to be on a team like that in life?

3. Michael Phelps. Watching him win the 8th gold, I was inspired by his pre-Olympic work ethic and daily training. This is why Bolt and his McNuggets didn’t inspire me at all. Giftedness is interesting, but training is inspiring.

2. Lolo Jones. The most inspiring moment for me. After a gracious interview, crying in the tunnel after the heartbreaking bump in the hurdles. From 1st to no medal by a 1/2 inch. She inspired me to keep striving forward even when you work hard, give it your all and life doesn’t turn out the way I planned.

1. Jason Lezak. The last lap in the 4×100 freestyle was unbelievable. The cheering of the other three guys was crazy awesome. In life, don’t settle for just finishing well…swim to win! Who in your life is cheering you on? On this spiritual journey we all need a team just like that!

What moved you?


Catalyst: Gorillas in Hawaii

21 08 2008

HABITUDES LESSON No matter how big or impossible the task, leaders find a way to get the job done. Their passion helps them to be creative and their persistence enables them to finish what they start, whatever it takes.

LEARNING: The willingness to do “whatever it takes” is one of the key attributes of a leader. So often people settle for the status quo…the easy way out…the road of least resistance. When a leader hears the words, “It can’t be done!” it just energizes them to attempt the impossible. They press forward when it doesn’t come easy, the don’t stop moving forward despite failures and keep going until completion. Great things for God always require more work than we thought when we started, but I’ve found they are always more rewarding than I initially thought. What great things have you persisted through?

Here are my top three…

1. 1994: Getting land for a church plant in Ghana. People told me it was next to impossible to get land from the Ghanaian government. I kept asking agencies and didn’t stop persisting. The result: the government wouldn’t sell us the land, but they would GIVE it to us. Few years after I left Ghana, our little church plant of 50 people built a church and school on the land.

2. 1999: Growing a small group ministry from 0 to 1000 people in 5 years. The last church I served didn’t have small groups when I was hired. In the interview, the senior pastor even said, “You can attempt it, but I’m not sure it could be done here. Ushers are small groups.” He added it to my job description (without taking anything else off). A handful of us worked our buns off and hundreds of people connected in Biblical community.

3. 2005: Planting Epic. We started in my basement with a crazy vision that God could use us to reach people for Christ in a way that would make sense to them. We only had each other and our dreams. With a lot of sweat, failures and perseverance, God birthed a community of faith with a passion for people far away from God.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:3-5

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to use this one life I have for God’s glory.

My Dream Fridge

21 08 2008

Our stove has only two working burners. Our fridge is on the fritz. And our dishwasher broke last week…so we were appliance shopping last night. We’ve never had a fridge with ice or water machine on the front (yeah, we’ve suffered in 17 years of marriage). We are excited about getting one, but My Dream Fridge would have an Icee Machine built in the front of it. Invent it somebody! That would be FREAK’N AWESOME!

30/30: Marriage is Hard Work.

20 08 2008

Me & One Wonderfu Woman

The tension was thick. She was powering up. He was shutting down. Yesterday I was sitting in Caribou and the couple next to me was in the middle of discussing the terms of their divorce. Each page turned was another disagreement about money. I don’t know the story of what happened, but my heart went out to them. Surely this was not the way they wanted it to end when they stood at the altar years ago. I felt helpless and all I could to it pray to the One who cares more about them than they do. I prayed God would reach into their pain and reveal Himself to them.

The back story is Kathy and I got into a major argument over the weekend. It was tense. It was one of those issues we’ve disagreed on before, but this time it needed to be dealt with to move forward in our relationship. We couldn’t just sweep it under the rug and pretend everything was fine. I thinking about our future when another couples end was in my face.

In the middle of moments like we are tempted to run away and give up on the relationship. Giving up would be easier. Giving up seems to make sense. Giving up sure would be less painful. But giving up would stop us short of experiencing “the something better” God has in store for us. It’s often the most difficult things in life that cause us…

1. To learn to love someone unconditionally

2. To look at areas of ourselves we don’t want to see

3. To change things about ourselves that need changing

4. To learn to “Forgive as Christ forgives us”

5. To trust in Christ together to work things out

If you’re struggling in your marriage…don’t give up. Marriage is wonderful because it requires hard work. It’s worth giving all you are and everything you could be to. Our relationship is better this week because of the difficulties we went though last weekend.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Vision Series Video

15 08 2008

Here’s the trailer for new series @ Epic…

Without God’s vision we settle for a status quo life.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Catalyst: Small Sprocket

14 08 2008

LESSON: Leaders are the small sprocket in effective change. We must spin dozens of times before the big gear makes one revolution. It’s part of the territory. Spin like crazy and eventually others will respond.

LEARNING: This Habitudes lesson rocked! Talk about encouragement and hope to keep going. How many times do you feel like you are spinning your wheels seeing little results? Keep spinning. You try to get people moving forward with a vision of what God is doing, but only a few have caught it?  Keep spinning. You feel like you are working hard, but the results just aren’t coming yet? Keep spinning…momentum is building

The critical learning for me is to not spin in a whole bunch of different ministry directions, but to spin on one thing – Vision Casting.  Think about the last chapter “barn building” and your crucial act that the rest of your ministry hinges on. What you are doing for God’s kingdom is critically important? Think specific. God has chosen you for this task and He wants to help you press on and succeed. Keep Spinning…the gears are turning…momentum is building.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

30/30: Olympics. Jason Lezak. Run to Win.

11 08 2008

Unbelievable Finish…you gotta love the Olympics. Last night the Men’s 4X100 Free Relay in swimming was off the chain. With only the length of the pool to go and down almost a full body length to France, Jason Lezak reached deep inside, came storming back and to the amazement of everyone stretched out his hand won the race…by only a fingertip. The dude swam out of his mind. Jason, a veteran of the US swim team turned in the best split time in the history of the swimming 46.01 seconds. Amazing. If this race doesn’t pump you up, do you have a pulse?

WATCH VIDEO of 4×100 Free Relay

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9: 24-25

As amazing as a gold medal performance in the Olympics is, Paul reminds us that there’s a bigger race in town. In Paul’s day, athletes would compete in the Pythian games, the forerunner to the Olympics. There were no gold metals, only a wreath for the winner. Most historians believe the wreath was made out of bay leaves or celery stalks. He says that’s a great prize, but it would quickly fade away. There’s a bigger game in town that is worth giving your life to. This race is eternal, not temporary. This race involves impacting lives for all eternity. This race is about building the kingdom of God which will last forever.

In your spiritual walk, have you settled for “I just want to do my best and finish the race”? God says “Run to Win!” There is a bigger came in town worth giving EVERYTHING YOU ARE and EVERYTHING YOU HAVE to. That’s God’s vision for your life. That’s why you are here on this planet. Just because you started your spiritual life slow, doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing finish.

Would like like to begin to “run every step with purpose”? Would you like to be infused with a intense passion give all that you are to Christ’s cause? Would you would like to recapture that all consuming desire to follow Christ? If so, be at Epic this Sunday as we begin our new series: VISION: is IT in you?