Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Morning

The house is quiet. The coffee is hot and I am enjoying some down time before rushing into the plans for the day. We are meeting for our staff meeting tonight in an effort to begin the assimilation process of Woodcreek Bible Church into our Gateway Family. There is much to be done. In the midst of knowing there is a lot to do, I am reminded once again of God's faithfulness. The Lord has orchestrated this move and it brings to fruition a part of the vision that He has given us. I love the way He does that. I love the fact that all things work together for His good and on His time.
This week we will be having a New Year's Eve Party followed on Sunday by our first worship service with the people from Woodcreek. On Sunday, these people will be a huge part of the Gateway Family and we are really looking forward to what He is going to do in and through all of us. The vision we have to reach the communities that surround us is big. Steps such as this one help to make it feel right and give us strength for the journey ahead.
Woodcreek has been meeting in Fate, a neighboring community. When we first met their pastor, we as a church, decided to come along beside then and help them however we could in their efforts to reach that community. From day one, we have had a heart for Fate and a passion to really engage the community. With the adoption of this fellowship into ours, we will begin investing in Fate, in ways we did not before because there was a like minded missional church already established in the community through Woodcreek. This week will begin a new chapter in the life of Gateway fellowship. It is one that I am excited to see how the Lord unfold the pages to us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Reflections

I love our church
I love our people
I love sharing what the Lord is doing

Today was an opportunity for me to be able to speak about my Lord and how He meets us at the deepest point of our needs. I had a "It's a Wonderful Life" moment this past week and truly witnessed the hand of God pour out blessing after blessing to our family. He used a host of people to show His love towards us through their actions, prayers and gifts. Thank you Father for being and doing exactly what You say You do!

Next week, we will be joined by the people who have been meeting together as Woodcreek Bible Church. They had their last service today and we will be adopting them into our church family. The Lord is doing some amazing things in the life of our church, our school community and our individual lives

Sunday Morning~ December 28th

It is 1:44 a.m. on Sunday, December 28th. The last few days have been a roller coaster of a ride for my family and I am looking forward to sharing with the church everything that the Lord has done is us over this time frame. Not only is the excitement of preaching keeping me up but it is my beautiful wife's birthday today. I love her and thank the Lord for her daily. She is truly a gift from the Father and I cherish her every moment I can. It is my duty to love her just as Christ loves the church, and I pray she understands just how much she means to me.

Natalie you are my best friend, an amazing wife, a loving mother and my treasure. I am so thankful for the the things that we have walked through together in life. The many events that have taken place have done nothing but make us stronger. You are my confidant and you keep me longing for more. More in this life together, more in our ministry together and more in loving the community that the Lord has called for us to shepherd. Thank you for being right beside me and not behind me. You are a beautiful women and I celebrate you life today. I celebrate more than the fact that you are my wife, and a mother and my best friend but I rejoice in the fact that you are passionate about people and what Jesus has for them. Thank you for living in your giftedness. Natalie may the lord continue to bless us and our children as we walk in the truth of His ways. For His name and renown are the desire of our hearts

I Love You Baby,

Trent

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank You from The Brown's

To the Gateway Fellowship and Greenville Christian School Family,

Words can not begin to express the gratitude we have for you. As you know, our home was broken into the day before Christmas Eve and many of our personal items were lost as well as the fact that it looked like our Christmas had been robbed from us. As we began to pick up our home and put things back together, the Gateway Fellowship and GCS Family started an outpouring of love for our family that has even to this point, not stopped. Because of people like you, who are willing to be the hands, heart and feet of God, my family experienced the best Christmas we have ever had. Cade continues to pray that "the people who did this would know that it was God's house they broke into and prays they will realize what they have done is wrong". This event, although very tough to walk through, has been a teachable moment for our family. On Christmas Eve, the visits, phone calls and Christmas gifts that you gave to us changed our life forever. We are grateful to be a part of the Gateway Fellowship and GCS family and will honestly hold this week in our memory forever~ not because of what happened to us but because we have witnessed the hands, feet and heart of our Savior through your selfless acts of worship to your King. It is truly a reminder of the real reason for the season of Christmas. May we forever cling to our Savior, who came down to earth as a baby and changed the world forever. Over the past few years, I have begun to speak about he fact that it "smells like Jesus" when I am able to literally see His handiwork. I want to tell you today that it definitely "smells like Jesus" because of people like you. We count it a blessing to be "family" with you and treasure the opportunities we have to pour our lives into yours. I leave you with the words that have been ringing in my heart:

To God be the glory, great things He hathdone;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegate, that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport1, when Jesus we see!

Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!
—Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)



--
Doing Life Together,

Trent Brown / Lead Pastor
Gateway Fellowship
http://welcometogateway.org

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

windshield wipers

wipers busted. i have seen it all. we had to bungy cord the wipers together and attach a rope to the wiper that jeff jones is pulling from behind the driver seat~awesome

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reflections form the trip

We are back and had an awesome time. I will be spending the holidays reflecting on this trip and continuing to seek what the Lord has for us as we move forward in our missional work at the school. I do want to thank you for allowing us to invest in the lives of your children as we encourage them to invest in the lives of others. My prayer is that we will never lose sight of what the Lord has called us to do. May He continue to give us opportunities to meet peoples need. May we always hold true to the idea that "Jesus" is what everyone needs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

home stretch

we are at bass pro drive on 30~almost home

for visual learners

here is a pic of jeff jones with the rope that is attached to the wipers which is allowing us to see. i must say awesome. great adults on this trip

at the czech stop

this is the last stop before we get to greenville

in the bus

we are about 45 minutes away from Waco and the natives are getting restless

lunch on the way back

we are on the austin side of san antonio. leaving early this morning has allowed us to make great time

breakfast

we are in McAllen at McD's

back in Texas

one hour later and we have made it through the border. leaving early paid off

loaded and headed to the border

it is 500 and we are loaded and on our way

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

prayer for mr hansen

final prayer for mr hansen and the ministry here

wednesday reflections

today has been awesome. the pump house has been cleared and they are able to locate pipes for future additions and repairs. yes, we actually repaired 3 while we were here. we busted a few but have no fear, we fixed them. we also got the foundation built and the concrete poured for a new church~ which is located off campus. in addition to that the pave stone driveway was completed and all the students and adults were able to write their name in the cement we used as a border for the driveway. a mark that will last for a while. we are currently hosting the happy birthday Jesus festival as i type.

i also wanted to let you know that we plan on heading out of the orphanage in reynosa at 5:00 a.m. in an effort to get to the border early~ hoping to beat some of the traffic and avoid long lines.

i will be updated during our journey home tomorrow and we look forward to seeing you all

football toss

the inflatable football toss just got rocked by own of the kids~awesome

parachute

pic from the festival we put on

face painting

jake putting his skills to work

at market

group pic at Market

broken pipes

we have bnow officially become a plumbing crew. this is the third pipe we have busted! have no fear~ we fix what we break

mixing cement

the boys are mixing cement in preparation for the driveway

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

reflections from tuesday

today has been filled with work. it is chilly here. so chilly they called school off today in reynosa. it has been crazy working out in the rain but we have gotten a lot accomplished. hopefully you have seen some of the pictures showing the progress of what we have been doing. we were served a meal this evening by one of the families here- it was awesome. we are currently watching all of the little children here in the orphanage while the adults have their christmas staff party. this is the very reason i must be brief tonight. we have children everywhere. your students are amazing and i am having a blast working alongside them.

coach brown

dinner at the Cruiz's

we had a family here that cooked dinner for us. we are eating in their home

2 truck loads

the students have succersfully leveled two truck loads of dirt in an effort to help cover the back end of the property

looking good

just waiting for some concrete to lock it all in ands a few more cut in pieces

almost done

it is almost lunch time and the students have nearly completed the driveway. once all the stones are in we will top off with mortar and sand to help keep form

time for break

the driveway is halfway done. now it is time for a coke break

laying the pavestone

we are starting to put the pavestone down for the driveway

Monday, December 15, 2008

monday reflections

greetings to all. i am typing on my phone keyboard so bare with the fact that i am not taking time to capitalize properly. i want you to know that your students are doing great. the ones that have been here before and rekindling old friendships and the ones who this is their first year, are making new friends. it is always great to see students embracing others in a different context than what they are accustomed to both contextually and culturally. you have seen some of the projects that were begun today. we started getting the driveway ready to put the pave stones down. we have done our best to dig up the dirt around the water lines in an effort to make it easier for them to be able to repair and make additions in the future. i also have to tell you that in the process of doing that we have already had to fix two lines that we accidentally punctured. we also have begun the beginning stages of preparing the ground for an additional housing unit to be built. not only has this taken place today but we sent out several students to begin the foundation for a church. don't worry, if you did not give permission for your student to go off campus, they did not. we also put together the clothes racks for the school uniforms and were able to sort all the clothing as well. it has been a great day and we look forward to what tomorrow holds

~coach brown

dinner with friends

This is Ronnie, Daniella, Edgar, Pepe, Jose Luis, and Brian

Yes, It is level

Jake Schuman shows he has skills with the level. Yes, we are almost ready to start laying the pavestone

lunch time

Here is a pic of lunch time at Rio Bravo Orphanage. The kids are still in school this week. This is a great place and the Lord is doing a mighty work here

clothes racks

here are the clothes raacks we built for the school uniforms

pavestone driveway

working on getting the ground ready for placing a pavestone driveway down

working on water lines

students and adults are working on digging out the water lines to make them easier to get to for repairs

foundation work

students working on beginning a foundation for another housing unit

sorting school uniforms

the students have begun sorting school uniforms while at the same time sorting out some other clothes to be given to the children in the orphanage

Early Morning Study

some of the guys gather in the cafeteria for some early morning study and reflection

Sunday, December 14, 2008

start of service

we are fixing to have Sunday Night Service. The kids are excited to see familiar faces

Dinner

Here is a picture of the ladies serving dinner with some of the kitchen staff. Every student has an opportunity to serve in this capacity during the week

play time

students chilling and hanging with some of the kids

Fauley and Henderson

Brandon Fauley and Jordan Henderson are now with us at the orphanage. Coach Wombakwer went this morning to the airport and it took him 2 hours to get back into Texas.

Chillin' after service

students are hanging out under the patio after service

He who began a good work

Mr Hansen just got done speaking about the story of his life and the orphanage. He shared the fact that the Lord who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it~ then he added his ending which says, "if you will let Him".
What an awesome reminder

Breakfast Time

Everyone is up and ready for some hot breakfast and then headed into church service. We are looking forward to hearing Mr. Hansen's story and the story of the orphanage

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Safe and Sound

We have arrived!

Across The Border

We made it across. We are on our way to the orphanage. Check out the traffic

Long Road Trip

We are still a few hours from the border. Most of the students are asleep which I have to admit makes a long road trip almost pleasant

Lunch Time

We are in San Antonio eating lunch. Fixing to load back up and get back on the road

Breakfast Stop

We stopped in West, Texas for breakfast. Road trips made great at the Czech Stop. Sausage and fruit Kolachies for all

getting ready

It is 5:32 am and we are waiting for the rest of the students and adults to show up. We will be pulling out shortly and headed to Reynosa. Lift us up this week as we share the love of Christ with those in Mexico

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reynosa, Mexico~ Weather Forecast

10-Day Forecast

Tonight
Dec 12 Mostly Clear 50° 10 %
Sat
Dec 13 Partly Cloudy / Wind 76°/58° 10 %
Sun
Dec 14 Partly Cloudy / Wind 84°/61° 0 %
Mon
Dec 15 Partly Cloudy 84°/60° 10 %
Tue
Dec 16 Isolated T-Storms 82°/60° 30 %
Wed
Dec 17 Isolated T-Storms 83°/64° 30 %
Thu
Dec 18 Isolated T-Storms 84°/60° 30 %
Fri
Dec 19 Sunny 79°/58° 0 %
Sat
Dec 20 Sunny 77°/55° 0 %
Sun
Dec 21 Partly Cloudy 76°/53° 0 %
Last Updated Dec 12 11:25 a.m. Local Time

1:40 p.m. Friday, December 12

Coach Wombaker just got back from picking the van up. We have the trailer hooked up to it and almost totally loaded. Things seem to be going smooth at this point. The Bus is being gassed up, tire pressure checked and a list of other things. The students are getting excited about what will take place over the next few days. We leave at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Saturday December 13th.
Please pray for the following students and adults this week:
Jennifer Shadell, Ali Jones, Ashley Burgess, Maddie Manning, Sara Nelson, Raigan Wimberley, Jessie Helton, Amanda Valenzuela, Hannah Fields, Carinne Brewer, Morgan Jones, Liz Mixson, Laura Stuart, Brianna Fauley, Tracey NEal, Andrew Wombaker, Jake Schuman, Forest Livergood, Trey Jackson, Josh Evans, Brandon Fauley, Jeramy Parrish, Evan Hawthorne, Nick Nelson, Taylor Standridge, Preston Manning, Josh Parrish, Ethan Vaughn, John Parker, Mason Rook, Jordan Henderson, Brad Byers, Mrs.Nelson, Mrs, Burgess, Mrs. Brown, Mr. Wombaker, Mr. Wimberley, Mr. Fields, Mr. Jones, Mr Brown

Prayer Time

We just gathered the school together for a time of prayer over the students and adults who are leaving in the morning to go on the Mexico Mission Trip. We are traveling to Reynosa, Mexico to work with an orphanage and do some needed construction work. Please continue to pray for us. We leave Saturday morning, December 13th and will return on Thursday evening, December 18th

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mexico Mission Trip

We leave on Saturday to take the students to Reynosa, Mexico to work with an orphanage. We are really excited about the trip and are looking forward to what He will do in and through us.

~ I plan on drinking as much st.arbuxs as I can before we leave

this is a test mobile post to make sure it is working

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Church Adoption

For the past month, I have been carrying on a conversation with a like minded church in our community. This church approached us with the idea of becoming "adopted" by us and becoming a part of the Gateway Family. It has been a few awesome weeks of meetings and making new friends. They are voting this Sunday morning on the idea of dissolving their church and joining us as we minister to this local community and the communities surrounding us. I have had great talks with their Pastor who will be joining our staff in the role of Teaching/Discipleship Pastor. He is an awesome guy and is sold out to the vision we have. I have also had the opportunity of hanging with the elders of their church and hearing their heart for the community and ministries of the church. I am praying that they will join us for worship on January 4, 2009 as they dissolve on December 28th. My staff is very excited about the possibilities and what the Lord has in store for us all. We are looking forward and praying towards the idea of the synergy that an "adoption" such as this can provide in reaching the unconvinced with the Gospel.
It nights like this that get me fired up. I love watching people as they sense the move of God and are willing to be obedient and open to it. May we never loose sight of what He has called us to do. Pray with us about the awesome opportunity

Church Planting

I love talking church planting with people. I met a new friend this evening. His name is Kyle and I met him through Facebook. I have to tell you that I love technology and the way it makes communication so easy. I can not begin to tell you the number of ministry contacts I have made through Facebook. Anyway, I really enjoy talking about ministry to people and praying for them and what the Lord has in store for their lives and the pilgrimage He has them on. Back to communication~ It seems as though we have always had these tools at our disposal but I do remember the days of snail mail, home phones and writing letters. I have to say that I would much rather have my Mac in front of me and using the Internet to communicate at a much faster rate than have to wait for a letter to get to my intended recipient and then have to wait for the their letter in response. I told Kyle tonight that I would be praying for him and keeping in contact with him. Thanks to Facebook, I not only have a new friend but a new partner in ministry as well as a very productive way to communicate.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kissing Toilets~ Perry Noble

The below blog is from Perry Noble's blog page. Perry is the Lead Pastor of NewSpring Church. I loved reading it and wanted to share it with you in case you do not follow his blogs.

Kissing Toilets
by perry noble
I shared this story on Friday night at our worship celebration…and thought I should share it here as well.

I was in the bathroom the other day taking a “pee pee” when I turned to my right and there was Charisse staring at me. (It was totally awkard!)

SO…I told her, “Daddy is pee pee’ing in the toliet…you will do that one day.”

She looked at me, smiled and said, “pee pee!!!”

I then turned around to wash my hands, explaining to her that after we pee pee we clean our hands…but when I turned and looked at her she was staring at the toilet.

I was afraid she was going to stick her hands in it…so I told her, “don’t touch.”

BUT…that’s when she did the unthinkable…she leaned forward and kissed the toilet lid!

I wanted to throw up! Seriously…WOW! I told her, “NO!!!” And I scooped her up…and THAT IS WHEN SHE WANTED TO KISS ME!!!

AHHHHHH! What is a dad to do? I LOVE my little girl…but she kissed a freakin’ toilet seat!!! I watched the whole thing…it was SO GROSS…

I was about to put her down when the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Hey Perry…what you just saw her do…you’ve done many times. You’ve kissed the “toilet” of the world all week long and then came into church and tried to kiss me!”

BAM!

For WAY TOO LONG coming to church was about making me feel better and not exalting a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS GOD. I would “kiss toliets” all week long by the way I spoke about other people, the things I looked at…the places I allowed my mind to wander…and then I would come to church wanting God to make me feel better…BUT COMPLETELY unwilling to repent of the sin that was dominating me.

One of the things that I think we often forget as follower of Christ is that He knows…He knows our hearts…He knows our minds…and He knows the toliets we kiss all week long.

Judas kissed Him…but it was a kissed laced with betrayal and greed. God is not pleased with our church attendance…but rather our repentance.

Just wondering…kissing any toilets? Anything in your life that you know God doesn’t approve of…you refuse to repent…and you are going to come to church this Sunday and pretend that eveything is okay with you & God?

These are tough questions to wrestle with…but doing so will reveal our hearts!!!

One more thing…I LOVE MY LITTLE GIRL! Even watching her kiss a toilet make me stop loving her. It made me sick…but didn’t change the fact that I love her. I don’t love her because of what she does…I love her because she’s mine!!!

I am so glad that God treats us the same way…even through the time when I was kissing toliets and breaking His heart…He never stopped loving me…and it was His patience and kindness that drew me to Him (and still does) and conforms me more and more to who He has called me to be!!!

Gotta go give Charisse a kiss!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Reflections

~ I Love Gateway Fellowship
~ I Love what the Lord is doing in and through us
~ I Love our Team
~ I Love the vision He has given us
~ I Love seeing what the Lord is doing in people
~ I Love praying for His people and what they are going through
~ I Love that He has big things in store for us

We are walking through some amazing things as a church right now. God is doing some things that we have been praying about for over a year. It is so good to know that He works things out in His time and not necessarily ours. May we always be in step with Him. May we never get out front of Him or fall back behind Him. Thank you Father for continuing to stretch us and grow us.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Reflections

~ I love our church
~ I love our people
~ I love what the Lord is doing in us
~ I love that we had some awesome guests today
~ I love dreaming about the possibilities of what He wants to do in us and through us
~ I love new friends
~ I love speaking about the vision of the church
~ I love that we have been placed here for such a time as this
~ I love our community
~ I love thinking about next Sunday
~ I love taking risks and stepping out

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Church Mergers

I have been researching and talking about church mergers with a host of people over the past few months. This is a concept that I see taking place in many churches around the globe. The idea of two becoming one in order to increase the potential of reaching out and fulfilling the Great Commission together. Here is an article and a blog post about this idea of church mergers:

Should Your Church Merge?

Craig Groeschel has started a really interesting conversation over at the Swerve blog about merging two churches. As senior pastor at LifeChurch.tv, Craig has been involved over the years in mergers with five different churches.

I believe as Craig does that we will see more and more church mergers in the future. Let's face it -- many churches are dying, seeing lower and lower numbers of attendees every week. These same churches are also "facility blessed." They have facilities that are kingdom owned (bought and paid for) that should be put back into circulation. I think many of these dying churches will, in one way or another, partner with healthy churches in their areas to bring viability and life to their dying facilities.

In other cases, like-minded churches will merge, not out of desperation or certain death, but because of common goals and mission. These churches will find that they can multiply their impact by working together. Working together, they will reach many more people than they are currently able to reach individually.

Craig gives some great insight into church mergers. With apologies to Craig, here are some of his thoughts:

1) Two struggling churches that combine don't make a strong church. If both churches are unhealthy, trying to combine them will just make two unhealthy churches into one really unhealthy church.

2) "Merging" is a polite term, but probably not accurate. Craig prefers the term "adoption" because that's really what it is. One church needs to willingly submit to the leadership of the other.

3) A drawn-out investigation process rarely works. Craig's thought: If both leaders feel that God is in this, do it sooner rather than later. He suggests 30 days. Longer processes cause both churches to struggle with distractions, and the chance of disagreements increases.

Craig shares a few more merger tips here.

Has your church ever considered a merger? I'd love to hear your story. Email me at trhoades@mondaymorninginsight.com.

Here is the blog, which was written by a friend of mine, Aaron Ott

Church mergers
from Aaron Ott by Monk321


Church mergers are a delicate business. It holds similarities with the blended families we find dotting the American landscape. Two "families" comprised of families must come together and live in harmony, becoming one "family." Eventually the "step" must be dropped so that the teen girl speaks of her "Dad" or "Mom" without the prefix. Brothers and sisters learn to share toys, rooms and TV watching. The two become one.

However, the analogy breaks down in that the blended family often followed the divorce of one or both spouses. For churches, no such negative catalyst is necessary. On the contrary, merging two like "families" can be quite strategically positive. If the cultures are similar enough, and the missions of both sufficiently agree, partnering for the success of the Great Commission can bring surprising glory to God.

One of the key sticking points can come down to a question of identity. Seldom can two "families" combine to create a third identity. In truth, it is far less problematic for one entity to take on the identity of the other, enhancing its culture and effectiveness. We also see this in marriage. Two adults do not both change their name following the wedding ceremony. Instead a name is taken by both that was previous owned by only one of them. I will use the analogy of my own marriage.

Prior to August 7th, 1993 Aaron Ott and Naomi Helm had dated off and on before finally becoming engaged to be married in October of 1992 (please don't think that speaking of myself in the thrid person is creepy). Between October and August they spent that time making preparations to "merge" their lives. Aaron was preparing to not only commemorate this "merger" with a ceremony, but was also preparing to integrate Naomi into every aspect of his life. Naomi was making similar preparations, but the difference was that she was losing something. Her previous identity as a "Helm" would be left behind by means of her adopting the new identity of an "Ott." Was she completely abandoning her character as a "Helm" when becoming an "Ott?" Not at all. On the contrary, she brought along her "Helm-ness" to enhance what it means to be an "Ott." While Naomi would indeed become an "Ott," Aaron would never again be an "Ott" as he once was due to how his "Ott-ness" would be enhanced by Naomi's integration into his life.

While Naomi took on Aaron's name, and followed his leadership, she nonetheless changed Aaron's life experience as well. It truly was a "merger" in that two became one, and it has worked well. This is my preferred analogy for churches that have a right view of merging. One may dissolve and be assimilated into the experience of the other, but the incoming one will doubtless affect the recieving one in many significant ways. Anymore than Naomi could expect to be a passive addition to my world, so also should a merging church expect to enhance the one receiving it. They both choose the name of one, but each is affected by the other.

This would seem the right mindset regarding church mergers. Marriage and churches have difrerence motives though. The couple is motivated by covenental love, while the church is motivated by the Great Commission. Neverthless, both are sufficiently motivated to make it work no matter what. For the couple, the covenant is THAT important. For the church, the mission is THAT important. But both are beautiful to watch succeed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Reflections

- We had an awesome day at church today
- We had an amazing time of worship
- We had a great all church Thanksgiving meal today
- Once again, we had a host of new people join us for worship today
- Praying for some really cool things that are happening in the life of our church
- Held the 3rd annual Turkey Bowl. Yes, the staff was victorious again
- Praying for a dear family that we visited in the hospital today. The family is dealing with a tragedy that hit their lives this morning. The was a major car accident that left the Grandmother dead, the Grandfather in critical condition, two twins, the age of 14, still being cared for and going through surgeries and another Senior boy who is still in critical condition

- I love our Church
- I love our people
- I love the fact that God is moving in and through us
- I love that He is not done with us

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Reflections

~We had a great service today
~It really felt like the Lord was all over it
~We had a few new families come today
~I love our church
~I love our staff
~I love the fact that we are seeing the Lord change lives
~I love the community of faith that is growing here at Gateway

~I have a meeting in the morning that I ask you to pray about. Pray that the Lord will give clear direction as to what is to take place and the possible opportunities it may present

~Our staff had some great time together this past week at the Conference. Things like this always seem to give a spark to the flame that is already inside of us

~I love running into fellow pastors and leaders that encourage me. I had some really great moments this past week. Thank you Lord for using those moments to hold me up!

~Looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Francis Chan @ Fusion

Francis Chan @ Fusion

Why do we get fearful of times when we can take a spiritual risk

Acts 7 Stephen full of the Holy Spirit gazed into Heaven and saw the glory of God...

~ courage comes from intimacy from God

~ no matter what you are going through, you must see Jesus

~ what have you done for the cause of the kingdom that you were fearful of?

~ Jeremiah 1:4
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you
~ a prophet of the nations

He has created us all for a purpose
We are His workmanship~Eph 2

DO NOT BE AFRAID OF WHAT HE HAS FOR YOU

Friday, November 14, 2008

Donald Miller @ Fusion Conf

Donald Miller @ Fusion Conf

2 types of people:
~ Those who ask how
~ Those who ask why

Question: which one are you?

The Bible is a why book

Question: has your life become nothing but noise?

~for noise to become music, it must pass through certain filters. Without the filter it is just noise.

Question: what is the filter in your life?

Basic principles of a story~ A character who wants something and goes through conflict in order to get it

What story is your life telling?

If your life is not telling a story, your life is NOISE

If the character of the story dies, what would be lost?

Erwin McManus @ Fusion Conf

Erwin McManus @ Fusion Conf

~ people need us not to solve their immediate problem but rather invest in their future

~ people are often living lives of obligation rather than passion

~ Acts 2
~ 2 themes: Servants and Prophets
~ Question: If the greatest dream you have became reality, would it profit and benefit the world around you?
~ Question: What dreams do you have that are trapped under the rubble of your past?
~ Questions: What dreams are waiting on the other side of your fears?

We must give ourselves to the dream that God gave us to live.

There are so many places He wants to take us

Erwin McManus @ LeadNow

Erwin McManus @ LeadNow



3 distinct spaces in which we tend to journey together



1. FIRST SPACE~ This is our space. We invite you to come into it. We are the majority.

~ We have the right to be heard(it is our space)



2. SECOND SPACE ~ This is the everyday space. The place we are supposed to live daily. It is our natural world

~ You have to earn the right to be heard

in the marketplace



3. THIRD SPACE ~ This is the space that you can only go when they invite you in and now you are the outsider.

~ We have to find a way to get invited to the table





Paul went to these places

~ Acts 17:16-



Are we willing to risk leaving the first space to live daily in the second space, hoping to get invited into the third space.

Matt Chandler @ LeadNow

Matt Chandler @ Lead Now

How can we be obediant today in our churches

1. The old story must die and a new one embraced (freedom and authenticity)
~ It is okay not to be okay
~ The church must fight the indifference to the needs of the world as if we are figthing for our lives

2. We need to work on Christian Unity

3. Training and Discipleship
~ Teach people what cultural practices are ok to be embraced
~ Teach people what cultural practices are needed to be avoided

4. Community
~ We have to create a culture that is Biblical
~ It has to be organic

5. Preaching and Teaching
~ It must be Christ centered
~ God can't be what you want Him to be because you think it might be offensive to some. He is who He says He is. You do not decide what is wrong or right

Francis Chan @ LeadNow

Francis Chan @ LeadNow

~ Are you tired of playing church?
~ How is your alone time with God?
~ What have we been called to do?

~ You can't make people fall in love with Jesus
~ We can not FIX people
~ At the end of the day, it is the Holy Spirit

~ The Lord is God
~ We sound more like the prophets of Baal as opposed to Elijiah
~ When you encounter the truth, you will not leave it
~ Be done with the GAME

~ Do we have the courage it takes to get alone with God

weaping in worship

weaping in worship

I am not sure the last time that I wept during worship. this morning my heart is heavy while at the same time rejoicing.

from the inside out, lord my soul cries out

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Todd Phillips @ LeadNow Conf.

Todd Phillips @ LeadNow Conf.

What amount of time should you as a leader give to the following:
~ leading inwardly
~ leading laterally
~ leading up
~ leading down

God gives and takes away

God is not concerned with success as we define it

All of our pursuits in ministry pale in comparison to the strength of the inner man

Implossion is enevitable if our inner man is not strong

Perhaps the greatest contemporary pressure is condensed time.

Areas we need to focus on in building our inner man
~ Aloneness
~ Prayer
~ Communal and Mutual Ministry

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Reflections

* I love our Church
* I love our people
* I love our worship
* I love our heart for the community
* I pray in accordance with Eph. 3: 14-21
1. That the church be strengthened by the Spirit of God
2. So that we can comprehend the love of Christ
3. And thus be filled with all the fullness of God
* I love that lives are being transformed
* I love that our people are longing for authentic community
* I love that we see newcomers nearly every week
1. I pray we can become the church to them
* I love the people the Lord is allowing me to "do life together" with

Saturday, November 8, 2008

pics from the game


here is our logo being displayed to thousands of people at the Friday night Royse City Football game. This was awesome and a great way to advertise

Friday, November 7, 2008

instant replay cam

Our church is sponsoring the instant replay cam tonight@ Royse City FB Game. Every time it is shown on the screen our church will be announced and our logo shown. We had a grant made available through the SBTC that made this possible! God is good! Praying for the fact that thousands of people will see and hear it.

next level

I loved this post from BCoop:

Perry listed 4 keys to evolving to the next level of ministry leaders:

1) Understand ministry is WORK. Isaiah 57:14

a) Am I a team player?

b) Is there anything in my life that would disqualify me from ministry… or that i need to change?

c) How Thankful am I?

d) How is my relationship with others on staff?

e) Am i REALLY honest with others about what is going on in my spiritual journey?

2) Understand that Status Quo is unacceptable-

-Lack of attention to detail & Apathy are the quickest keys to recognizing Status Quo exist.

a) How’s my personal Passion Level? Isaiah 59:17

b) Is God pleased with my performance? (loved this one! Cut through the BS of smoke-blowing and be honest! What if God was giving us our performance evaulation! B/c in the end HE DOES!)

3) Understand that it’s OUR JOB to BEG GOD for Him to move!

a) How active is the Holy Spirit in my life and in my work?

b) When is the last time i clearly heard from God? (if we cannot remember then it might be time for us to find another job and stop faking it.)

c) How much are we praying as a team and a staff? Isaiah 62:6

4) Understand we’ve got to believe greater days are yet to come! Isaiah 54:2-3

a) God has made His Church UNSTOPPABLE!

b) God has made His Church UNEXPLAINABLE!

c) God has made His Church UNDENIABLE!

So LETS GET ON WITH BEING THE CHURCH WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE…

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Reflections

* Love Our Church
* Love Our People
* Love Our Community
* I am praying for our church in accordance with Ephesians 3:1-13. I am praying that we would understand verse 10: that the church is put here to help make the manifold wisdom of God known. We do this by what the church "is" and by what "it teaches" and its very "existence" proclaims the wisdom of God. The church is plays an important role in God's scheme of redemption for mankind.

"10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Awesome Opportunities

I am very excited about an amazing opportunity that the Lord has given us here st Gateway Fellowship. During the 19th Annual Royse City Fun Fest, we were approached by a teacher at the local middle school here in Royse City, Texas. She said that she had a good number of students asking if there was going to be a Bible Study on campus this year. She came to us and asked if we would be willing to put this Bible study together for the middle school students at the school. She also said that she would be more than willing to be the school staff sponsor. (If you are wanting to have such an organization on the campus, you have to have a staff sponsor or you can not do it.) Needless to say, we have jumped all over this opportunity and are looking forward to what the Lord will do through this. Please pray with us that the lives of students will be changed by the love of Christ!

Sunday Reflections

* praying for the sick and hurting in Royse City
* praying for those who become disengaged with Jesus, when things get tough in life
* praying for deeper authenticity when communication takes place
* praying against the 4 letter Christian F-word "fine"
* praying for our families and the things they have shared with me
* I love our church
* I love what the Lord is doing in us
* I love the fact that He is not through with us
* I love the idea that in Ephesians 2:19-22 It says "He is building us into a Holy temple"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thoughts from The Lead Conference

Below are a few things that were discussed as I watched, via the internet, the live feed from the LEAD conference. A few of the speakers were Bob Thune and Daniel Montgomery and Jonothan McIntosh

* lead a missional team as opposed to pastoring a church

* how does who you are in the Gospel lens reflect how you are in the world

* let your mission dictate your structure!

* we are building consumerism in our churches

* Do you ever use ministry to magnify your name as opposed to magnifying His?

* "always in your heart regard Christ as Holy"

* The only thing that will save me from myself is coming face to face with Christ who is Holy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Reflections

* We were down in number a little today but worship was great
* There is a good sense of community taking place
* I love watching all the little kids at church
* We have an awesome opportunity to start a Bible Study on the Middle School Campus
* Praying for the opportunity of the above mentioned ~ will you pray with us
* I have an awesome group of elders
* We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus
* We will finish Ephesians 2 next week
* I love our church
* I love our people
* I love watching the lives of people being transformed
* It has been a good week!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Refelctions From Sunday

The worship was great
The feeling of community was awesome
The fellowship and Baptism service last night was another win

I love watching people connect with one another over a meal. I love witnessing the idea of Biblical community taking place in the life of our church. It is the very thing we strive for. I love every chance we get to witness a Baptism as a public affirmation of ones faith in Jesus Christ. I love that we have a staff of committed Christ followers who will do anything and everything possible to speak the love of Jesus into someones life.

Brandon Cade Brown

I spent some time this morning praying for my son. As I watch him grow, I am reminded that I honestly believe that many leaders are born leaders. I can not help but believe that my son, even at the age of seven is leading many of those around him. I have a picture of his baptism on my desk that my wife had framed for me as a present. As I looked at it this morning and began to reflect back on that special time it took me to this blog post that I had made:

Monday, December 04, 2006

*great night!

last night at church we had the Lord's supper. it was an amazing time for us as a body of believers and i truly felt like it drew us closer to one another as a community. the worship and reflection time was beautiful and before we started, my son walked into church and noticed the bread and juice and asked if he could have some. natalie responded by saying that we were fixing to participate in the Lord's supper and that it was a time set aside to remember all of the things that Jesus has done for us and that as a church, we believe that only believers should participate in it. all of this led to me sitting down with cade, in the hallway of our church, and him telling natalie and i that he wanted to be a christian, because he did not want to die and live with the devil. what am amazing statement from a nearly 6 year old boy. we began to talk about what it meant to be a christian and he said he understood that we do bad things and we need Jesus to forgive us of those things and that he wanted to be a part of Jesus' family. after making sure he knew and understood all that we were talking about, i asked him if he wanted to pray to Jesus to forgive him of his sins and become a christian and be a part of Jesus' family. in the hallway of our church, cade brown prayed to receive Jesus christ as his Savior on December 3, 2006 at 6:50 p.m. i failed to mention that we were supposed to begin the Lord's supper at 6:30 but the family of gateway erupted in joy and stood and clapped as i shared with them that my little boy had just accepted Christ - although i am certain they knew what was going on and they were praying for us!
o 5:20 PM



I am praying for my son today. I am praying that he will lead those around him well. I am praying that he will continue to foster his very fragile heart. He has a passion for those who are hurting and are in need. I learn from him daily!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Heaviness

My heart is heavy. Email after email describes the tight financial strain that many in our church are feeling right now with the economy the way that it is. It is a ceaseless reminder that we are to pray at all times. I can not help but wonder, if this is exactly where he want us to be anyway. Is it not true that He desires for us to be in total dependence upon Him? It is times like this that when we make it to the other side of the turmoil, that we look back and understand that it is only the Lord that gets us through these difficult times. It is not of our own volition or strength but it rests on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith. I am reminded in scripture that I am "to come to Him when I am weary and He will give us rest. To take His yoke for His burden is light- He will give us rest" In times like these, where we all struggle to make ends meet financially,I pray that He will be the source of our strength and comfort. will you rest in Him today, knowing that He is the God of our provision~ it may not come in the form or the means in which you think it should- but it will come!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Reflections

I love our church
I love the people there
I love the community we serve
I love after church lunches with church people
I love the consistent building of community we are seeing take place
I love "Doing Life Together"
I love the laughter of people
I love teaching His word
I love worshiping with His people
I love that we are His body
I love that we love Him
I love first time visitors
I love comments like "I have never heard music like that before in church"
I love that we will have a baptismal service next Sunday evening
I love that even though we had a lot of people out this morning, we still had church
I love that it is not about numbers at Gateway but lives that are being changed

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reflections From Sunday

Sunday was a tough day for me. This week in our community, we witnessed a Pastor of a local church arrested on charges of being connected to child porn. As I got up in from of the church to read the opening scripture, I could not help but think about all the lives that this occurrence devastated. It also reminded me of the many lives that we have witnessed over the past few years in our church plant that just simply threw their hands up when things in their life become tough. The idea that if things are difficult ~ surely this God thing is not really worth it or even real. My heart was very heavy and it still is today. I am praying specifically for our community. I am praying that the community will not shut out the idea of Jesus because another spiritual leader has fallen. I am praying for the Pastor and his family and the church that he led for the past two years. I know that God is in control of all things and I know he can even use a difficult thing such as this to draw people closer to Himself. That is our prayer. That is our desire. It is the thing that drives us. We must continue in the call He has placed on our lives and on His church. We must preach a Gospel of grace and we must point those around us to the cross. It is the very place we find redemption. I love those that the Lord has gathered together on Sunday mornings to worship Him in the fullness of who He is. I love the staff that the Lord has called to lead these people. I love the community of Royse City and pray that we would have the honor of introducing many lives to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Reflections

Wow, what a week. It has been way too busy. So busy, that I even neglected to blog. Here it is a week later and I am in awe of what the Lord continues to do in my life, the life of our church and in the lives of those involved in our church. I am totally stocked about watching the transformation of lives around us. People finding their passion and purpose in life through Jesus Christ.
- worship was awesome
- started a series this morning on Ephesians (I am pumped about)
- continue to have people come and check us out week after week
- have an awesome group of guys that surround me in ministry
- have an amazing God that leads me through the very things He calls me to speak about
- love watching people respond to the revelation of Jesus Christ in their life
- stepping in obedience as a church so that HE can come in and do what only He can do
- working and praying through writing a book about our experience in planting
- I love our church
- I love our people
- I love what He is doing in and through us
- I love doing life together

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Reflections

This week is a big week in the life of our church. Three years ago, Gateway Fellowship began holding sunday morning services. The church first worshipped on Sunday, September 11, 2005 in The Barn in Caddo Mills, Texas. Gateway Fellowship moved to a storefront building in downtown Royse City in February of 2006 and launched in April. The Lord has done an amazing work in us over the past three years and we continue to be amazed at what He is doing today. We have reached the point to where our funding from the SBTC is up and we are off on our own, so to speak. We had a great service this morning, as we reflected over the past three years and heard challenges from the elders of the church about what we feel like the Lord is dong in us and where He is taking us. It is hard to believe what the past few years have held for us and we look forward to what He has in store for us.

I love our church and it's people
I love our staff and their willingness to do "whatever it takes"
I love seeing lives changed and transformed
I love what He has done in us

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dangerous?

While reading Mark Batterson's new book called "Wild Goose Chase", I came across this and wanted to share it with you. Mark Batterson is also the Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. I read his blog daily

"I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals. I love the church. I bleed the church. And I am not saying that the way the church cages people is intentional. in fact, it may be well intentioned. But too often we take people out of their natural habitat and try to tame them in the name of Christ. We try to remove the risk. We try to remove the danger. we try to remove the struggle. and what we end up with is a caged Christian.

Deep down inside, all of us long for more. Sure, the tamed part of us grows accustomed to the safety of the cage. But the untamed part longs for some danger, some challenge, some adventure. And at some point in our spiritual journey, the safety and predictability of the cage no longer satisfies. We have a primal longing to be uncaged. and the cage opens when we recognize that Jesus didn't die on the cross to keep us safe. Jesus died to make us dangerous.

Praying for protection is fine. I pray for a hedge of protection around my three children all the time. You probably pray that kind of prayer too. But when was the last time you asked God to make you dangerous?

I would like to think that when i pronounce the benediction at the end of our church services, I am sending dangerous people back into their natural habitat to wreak havoc on the Enemy"

**** I love the thoughts that are presented here in the above writing. It causes me to ask questions about how and what we are doing as the church. My prayer is that we will become a dangerous group of people who will be sent out weekly to wreak havoc!

Monday, September 8, 2008

sunday reflections

- I love our Church
- I love the fact that we are not bound by a program
- I love that I have the freedom to speak what the lord has laid on my heart
- I love the worship team and their willingness to grow every week
- I love that the Lord is allowing us to see real community taking place
- I love that my wife is by my side every Sunday morning in service praying for me
- I love that we have a heart for young families
- I love that we are continually striving to enhance our children and youth ministries
- I love that we have a heart for singles

pray with us that:
- The Lord would give us favor in the lives of children, students, singles, young adults and college students in the community of Royse City and surrounding areas.
- The Lord would continue to send people our direction who need to be loved with the "love of Jesus"
- The Lord would continue to teach us what it means to "Do Life together"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

prayer

Our Father, who aren't in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is is heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us, our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For Thine in the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever
Amen

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunday Refelctions

- I love our church
- I love the fact that the Lord continues to amaze us
- I love that lives are being transformed
- I love that HE allows us to have a platform in all of this
- I love our staff and the wonderful effort they put forth
- I love that we are willing to share the stage with others

Please pray with me for the following things:
- The Lord would give us favor with the children of Royse City
- The Lord would give us favor with the students of Royse City
- The Lord would give us favor with the young families in Royse City
- The Lord would give us favor with the schools in Royse City
- The Lord would continue to amaze us with His handiwork

Did I say that "I love our church"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

meditations

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
This is a constant reminder to me about what comes out of my mouth. It is so easy to destroy with words. It is so easy to beat and bruise those around us with our talk. I am praying the Lord would continue to hold my tongue and heal my heart, in the areas that need it. I would be a fool to think that I have this all under control. It is a struggle daily not to allow myself to respond to situations- right when they happen. I tend to respond out of my own volition as opposed to seeking what the Lord truly wants. If I spend time meditating on the way He has called me to live - even in accordance with scripture, where it says to think upon them day and night; I tend to find myself responding in an attitude of humility and authenticity. This is what I want to be about. Lord, teach me to walk in your ways for they are full of loving kindness and truth.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sunday reflections

* I love Gateway Fellowship
* I love watching the Lord begin a new work in people's lives
* I love that we have called our church to prayer
* I love that we had 5 new members join the church this past week
* I love that we continue to see community take place in our church
* I love the fact that I did not preach this morning and it freaked people out that I was still there
* I love that we have an amazing teaching team at Gateway
* I love anxious expectation of what the Lord will do next
* I love that the Lord is beginning the early stages of birthing multi-sites for Gateway
* I love knowing He is in control and we are not
* Did I say that I love Gateway and the people there?
* I love the church and what it represents to the community

Saturday, August 23, 2008

how dirty are they?

This quote is from one of the books I am using for the Leadership Development class that I am teaching at Greenville Christian School. The book is entitled, "Being Leaders" and it is written Aubrey Malphurs. I hope you find some encouragement in it today and what the Lord has placed in front of you as fellow teachers and pastors.

"We'll serve others humbly only to the degree that we love them. And the dirt on their feet will test our love for them. If we don't love them, we'll take up the leadership towel only to toss in that towel quickly when it gets a little dirty. If we love our followers deeply, we'll not only take up the leadership towel but also wrap ourselves in it. We won't mind a little dirt"


The question that comes to my mind is simply this, "How dirty are they?" Is my love for others really hinged upon the amount of dirt that I detect in their lives? Is is really my place to even put a quota on the amount of dirt that can be there before I deem it is too much? Should I instead, just get my towel out and begin embracing the one who is dirty even to the point of getting a little dirt on myself?

Monday, August 18, 2008

balance

I sit here this evening with a mind that is spinning -some would say out control. However, I am convinced it is the spinning of the things that I long so desperately to see take place in the life of our church and even in our own lives as individuals. As you know, my tasks at Greenville Christian School have more than doubled with the start of the school year. I am currently the Head Middle School Coach for Football and Basketball as well as an assistant on the Varsity Football Squad and then add to that the Head Softball Coach. If that in itself is not enough, I begin teaching my Leadership Development class this week. For the first semester of school, I will be teaching on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. I am also in charge of the Chapel program which meets weekly on Thursday mornings as well as Co-leading the "Be My Witness" program this year until I take full responsibility of the program next year. Be My Witness is the missional aspect of the school's mission statement. I am also confident that the Lord has not given me anything that I can not do. To be able to invest in the lives of students and adults everyday is a place I love! The Lord has given it to me, and I am thankful.

Please pray with me that I will continue to find Biblical Balance in all that HE has asked of me:
I am a lover and husband of one wife. I am a father of two beautiful children. I am a coach, a teacher, an elder and a pastor.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

sunday night reflections

I love the Gateway Family. I love "Doing Life Together". I love the fact that the Lord continues to amaze us with what He is doing in and through the church here in Royse City. I love preparing to teach those who God has led to our church. I love that I am still up at 11:39 p.m. because I am so stoked about what He is doing in our midst.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

* we witnessed real community today
* we continue to watch people "working out their salvation"
* we baptized a young adult this evening
* we had 3 new people join the church last week and begin serving this week
* we had great worship
* we are bearing one another's burdens and celebrating each other's joys
* we are falling more in love with our Savior

Saturday, August 16, 2008

what is in store?

It is Saturday evening and I am anxiously awaiting the morning, when the church gathers together to worship Almighty God. I have been praying specifically for a few people who I know the Lord is working with. I am praying that the would respond to the revelation of Jesus Christ in their life. I am praying that their are lives change for eternity tomorrow. I am also excited that we have a new Community / Connection Pastor coming on board tomorrow. God is doing some great things in the life of our church but I am constantly wondering what is next? What is He going to do? What is in store for us?

Acts 9:31
31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

May we, as a church, experience a time of peace as we are strengthened and encouraged by the Spirit. Scripture tells us that He leads and guides us for HIS name sake. May we never forget that. It is all about Him

Friday, August 15, 2008

where are you looking?

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

What an amazing promise we find here in the scriptures. My God watches over me. He is my shade and the sun nor moon will not harm me. He does not sleep nor slumber but He keeps me forever and I do not have to question where my help comes from. It comes from Him, the One who causes my feet to stand firm. He is the author and perfecter of my faith and the One in whom I find passion and purpose in life. Thank You Father for loving me, finding me and drawing me into salvation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

don't worry, rejoice!

I have been reading Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" and I love the concept of dealing with stress that he brings out in Chapter 2 pages 41 and 42. Here is the excerpt from his book:

"When I am consumed by my problems- stressed out about my life, my family, and my job- I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.
Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance." - Francis Chan

* May I remember to always rejoice, even when it is difficult.
* Am I really trusting that He is big enough, powerful enough and loving enough?
* How impatient am I?
* How often do I step into arrogance?

mindful

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? (psalm 8:3-4)

I love the scriptures and how it causes us to remember who we are. I am thankful that I have a God who is mindful of me. The Lord who created the heavens, placed the stars in the sky and spoke creation into existence is mindful of me. Thank you Father for loving me, finding me and saving me.

You're big enough to hold the stars
but small enough to hear my heart
O God, forever I need you

- to understand the He is both infinitely awesome while at the same time being intimately approachable

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

be still, rest, and cease striving

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 46:10. It reads, "Be still and know that I am God". Other translations read, "Cease striving and know that I am God". Regardless of the translation, the meaning is understood. The scriptures call for us to stop and listen. They call for us to cease striving. I have entered a season of life where, if I am not careful, I will move forward forgetting these basic principles of slowing down, resting and not striving to make things happen. I say this because I really feel like the Lord call for us to be obedient to the things that He puts in front of us, but there is only so much we can do. I really feel like I am called to accomplish what He gives me to the point to where I can not do it anymore and then He comes in and does what only He can do. He paints the masterpiece. For me, I have come to this place once again. I am a coach, a teacher, a pastor, a husband, and a father and I am having to balance all of this. In my humanness, I will just push, push, push and forget to rest. Pray that I will not lean on my strength but that I will rely on the Father to do what only He can do and that I will stay committed to do what only He has has asked of me. He is God!

Monday, August 11, 2008

sunday reflections

* I love Gateway and the people there
* Worship was awesome
* Community life was taking place
* God is doing a work in us all
* We had 3 new people join the church in membership class
* Once again the Lord blesses us with 1st time visitors
* We are praying specifically for some God appointed relationships
* Pray with us for the salvation of new found friends
* Looking forward to a Baptism Celebration this coming Sunday

I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene
and wonder how He could love me a sinner condemned unclean!

Thanks you Jesus for all that You are and all that You do

Thursday, August 7, 2008

servant leadership



As many of you know, I am on staff at Greenville Christian School. I coach football, basketball and the ladies softball team. We have been in what we call LIFT UP all week and it has been an amazing time of growth and maturing not only physically but more importantly spiritually. I have the honor to invest in the lives of these young men and I count it a blessing. At the end of our time today, we discussed leadership. We looked at the scriptures found in John 13: 1-17. I want to share with you verses 12-17.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

After reading this scripture, we discussed the fact that Jesus led those around him in ways that are often foreign to us. We tend to have this picture of a leader that is full of pride and arrogance and seldom has a gentle demeanor- especially in the world of sports. Our coaching staff is awesome and I count it a blessing to serve alongside of some very Godly men. We asked the Senior athletes if they would allow us to wash their feet symbolizing our willingness to be servant leaders in their life. They in return washed the feet of the Junior athletes giving the same declaration to those they have been called to lead. God gave us the opportunity to win the 6 Man State Football Championship last year and we are praying the Lord would allow us to have favor as we look to repeat this year!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

perseverance

In the first chapter of James it says, " 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

When reading this scripture and reflecting upon the things in life that I have had to walk through, I am reminded that it is perseverance working itself in me so that I may be mature and complete. It goes on to say even to the point of "not lacking anything" I know that in life, I will come up against many other trials and temptations and my prayer is exactly what we see here in the scriptures. May I consider it joy, when I walk through the valleys - even though it may hurt because I know it builds character and I am confident that the mountain top is ahead

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

Today has been a whirlwind! the Lord continues to amaze me with how He orchestrates things in our services. It never ceases to light me up when He is in control. from the music selection, to the videos produced to the message today - I really felt like everything hit on all cylinders. You might have to ask somebody else if the message was really good, since I am actually the one who preached it?? Anyway, It was good to see our people engaging in community with one another. I love to sit back and watch the conversations taking place around the room. We had a family of 5 join us today for the first time and they have been on our prayer list for months now. God is good! At then end of service the mother and father came up to me and expressed how much they enjoyed service. They informed me that they still had a lot of questions about Jesus that still needed to be answered but they were very pleased with their decision to attend our services today. They told me they were not sure what to expect but what they received was not what they had envisioned at all. I have to tell you- I love hearing that!! It has been a good day. I want to ask you to pray specifically with me that the family mentioned above will continue to ask questions, that God would reveal Himself to them in a way that they will see and understand and that we can be the hands and feet of Christ's love for them while they journey with our community of faith. Pray that they will find passion and purpose in life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray that they will embrace the cross!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

leadership development

I received word this week that I have been approved by the school board at Greenville Christian School to teach an upper level elective class entitled, "Leadership Development" This whole concept came from them asking me, "If I could teach students one thing, what would it be" I had no idea that in my response, I was setting myself up to actually teach the class. I have to say it is something that excites me very much and I look forward to investing in the lives of the next generation leaders. I continue to stand in awe of what the Lord allows me to do. I know that there are a huge amount of people in this world that wake up every day dreading what lies ahead of them. They hate where they work and what they do. I am fortunate enough to not be one of them. I love pastoring, teaching and coaching and I actually love looking for what the day holds for me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

progressive sanctification

While watching Perry Noble, Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC, I heard an amazing statement. Perry while speaking about sanctification (being set apart and the fact that we are called daily to progressively draw closer and become more like Jesus) said this, "you will never become who you want to be if you stay where you are" This statement came form his talk on Sex and was taken from the scriptures that follow below found in 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8. The quote while made during this talk, I believe can be applied in the context of living our lives daily for Him - not just in our sexuality but in aspects such as our missional mindset, communal life and worship

1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Question:
Are you willing to leave things behind in order to get where He wants you? I believe the answer is progressive in nature

Sunday Night Reflections

Today was a great day at Gateway Fellowship. The worship was rich and there was a sense of true family today. I really enjoy watching God's people engage and chase after Him in true worship. Tonight was the finale of our Gateway Kidz Club. We held 3 sessions this week in the City Park on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Evening. We were able to touch some families that we have never had contact with before, and they came tonight to our facility for the first time. They watched and listened as their children lifted their voices in praise of the God they learned about this week. Nothing rocks my world as seeing little children singing songs to Jesus and being taught Biblical truth unashamedly. May we continue, as a church, to do whatever it takes to reach the children in Royse City, Texas with the love of Jesus Christ.

I also had a great meeting today with a prospective staff member and church planter. God continues to bring us into contact with people that He allows us to invest in. It is my desire, as the pastor, to make sure our church is doing all it can in equipping and sending out the next generational leaders.

I love Gateway Fellowship and stand amazed at the things the Lord continues to show us!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What do you do with fear?

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (Matthew 8: 22-27)


I love the story told above about Jesus calming the storm. Do you ever feel like the storms are raging around you and you cant seem to rest? Do you feel like the world continues to bruise and beat you and you do not have anything to stand on? Do you ever feel like the disciples and want to scream, "Lord, Save us! We're going to drown"
I know I have been there before and I love the fact that His word to that cry is, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" I love that I do not have to question if my God is in control. I love that I can rest assured knowing that He will take care of me. I love that He loves me and makes the storms in my life calm! May I forever rest in the promise of knowing I do not have to be afraid about all that is going on - He is in control

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Are you anxious?

1 Peter 5 :6-7 says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." I am reminded daily that this world is full of ups and downs, bumps and bruises and you never really know what is going to happen next. However, with an understanding that the Lord is in control of all things and that He, just as the scripture says, "cares for me"; why should I be afraid or even anxious about what the day holds? Here are a few things I believe happens when we allow ourselves to be full of anxiety or anxious about what is ahead of us:
*** It divides our mind
*** It destroys our testimony
*** It diminishes our progress
*** It drains us completely

May I live every day knowing that My God is in control and that He has cares for me, therefore I cast off any anxiety that I have and run the race that He has set before me

Monday, July 14, 2008

Answer Me

Psalm 143:6-12 (New Living Translation)

6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. ** Interlude
7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. 8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. 9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. 11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress. 12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am your servant

May my prayer echo David's

* Do not hide Your face from me - verse 7
* Let me feel Your loving kindness - verse 8
* Guide and direct me - verses 8-10
* Revive me for Your name - verse 11

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

how then shall we live?

Philippians 4: 4-8

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

*** maintain a spirit of joy (verse 4)
*** rest in confident faith (verse 5-6)
*** react with prayer (verse 6)
*** focus on Godly virtue (verse 8)
**************** truth, noble, honor, purity, love

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Reflections

1. Today was a great day. We were down number wise because of the holiday weekend but worship was fresh and authentic.
2. We had a cook out this evening for the church - good times. Great brisket, ribs and pork butt.
3. Truly visualizing community life taking place among the church
4. Looking forward to the meetings I have this week as we prepare for service this coming Sunday
5. Zach Snow, our Leadership Pastor, will be preaching this Sunday. I will be out of town for a wedding in college station and then a few days of much needed rest.
6. Praying that, as a church, we will not take credit for anything that GOD is doing!
7. Praying that doing church will not get in the way of being the church!
8. Starting a new series on July 20th "How to build an ARK"
9. Praying for our community outreach "Gateway Kidz Club" July 22-24th
10. Praying for our SIP Team (summer intern program) - 6 students from ETBU
11. Praying for the Marshall Project
12. Goal of planting 3 churches in the next 5 years!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Be holy, because I am holy"

1 Peter 1: 13-16

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

As I look at this scripture, I see a few things we all need to take into account on a daily basis:

1. Prepare our minds
2. Be self-controlled
3. Rely on Jesus
4. Do not conform to ignorance
5. Be holy

Knowing this, it leads me to a few questions:

1. Am I diligently preparing my mind with His statutes and principles for my daily living?
2. Am I relying on Jesus for everything or am I , in my humanness, striving for things that are not of Him?
3. Am I ignorant?
4. Would people say that, "I have been with Jesus"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

still a slave

The thought that I am a slave captivates me. The thought that I am allowing myself to be under someone's control. In my pre-Jesus days, I allowed myself to be held captive to the desire of sin in my life. Now, a believer in Jesus Christ, I continue to subject myself to the hand of yet another. My Lord is now my Master and I submit willingly to Him and His teachings. His ways are full of loving kindness and truth. So you see, to this day, I am still a slave. Once a slave to sin, now a slave to my King!

Look at the the scriptures found here in Romans 6: 15-19
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not Like the Nine

I love the story of the cleansing of the 10 lepers. Jesus is traveling and He enters a village and ten lepers called out to Him for healing. He simply responds, "Go show yourself to the priests" On their way, they become cleansed (healed) all ten of them. Scripture says that only one of them , after realizing what had taken place, turned around to give thanks for what he had received. I love this because it causes me to question what I am thankful for and even begs to ask the question- am I thankful at all. I think it becomes very easy for us to walk through our lives literally expecting God to take care of things and when He does we are just expectant of it! Do we really give glory where glory is due? Or do we in the midst of our hurried lives chalk it up as just another day in our lives. These lepers had a disease that affected their lives. It was something they had to live with and it kept them from being in contact with people. When these 10 receive the gift of freedom- only 1 turns to give thanks. Father, I thank you for giving me life. I thank you for ridding me of my bondage that YOU nailed to the cross! I thank you for taking away from me a disease of sin that affected my everyday life. I still struggle but I pray you find me faithful. I submit to be the 1 who gives credit where credit is due! I will not be like the other 9

Luke 17: 11-19
11-13It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

14-16Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

17-19Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."