Monday, April 29, 2013

Beyond Blessed /// I have a roof over my head

Lately I've been processing how truly blessed I am so I figured I would write about it to remind myself of God's faithfulness in my life!

I have a roof over my head

Not everyone can say that.  There are people who don't have a roof over their head right now.  They live a life that lacks the security that I have.  I have spent time with these people.  I have talked with them outside of 7-11 and made sandwhiches for them downtown.  I have seen their life stowed away in a metal shopping cart.  I have watched them vigilantly watched all their articles in life so that no one steals them.  Just because they don't have a roof over their head doesn't make them any less important to God.

I have always had a roof over my head

Some people in life can't say that.  I am thankful that I've always had a roof over my head.  Growing up in a small mountain community it was vital to have shelter; especially in the winter.  Having a roof over my head I've avoided being abused by the elements and people who may desire to harm me.  Just because I have a roof over my head doesn't mean God loves me more than anyone else in this world but today I want to thank God for all His provision in meeting my physical needs in this life.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eight Months Later

Today marks 8 months since I started at CPC (I actually meant to blog about how life has been here after the six month mark but obviously that didn't happen).

I figured I would break this down and share one big highlight related to: ministry, family and personal that have really stuck out to me since moving.

The Healthiest Church I've Ever Seen
I share this line because this sentence is something I shared with others or have thought about probably every day since we've been here.  I am constantly impressed at the level of health that I see at CPC.  We have a healthy staff.  We have a healthy body.  We have healthy Elders.  We have people that are emotionally healthy, spiritually healthy and get the need to invest into younger leaders.  We work hard and have lots of fun together!

Please don't misread my comment on health to mean that CPC is perfect; we know that we are not perfect.  But from someone who has seen A LOT of ministry I can confidently say that CPC is the healthiest church I've ever seen.  I'm not saying we are the best or the flashiest or the smartest or most creative but we are healthy and I needed a healthy church in this phase in my life.

We love the Peninsula
It's almost like God knew that we just needed to be in this area.  It has been such a blessing being back in California.  Its been a blessing being so close to great friends.  We have been exploring all over the Peninsula and Northern CA.  We have taken trips to Santa Cruz, the City, Half Moon Bay and Fishing in the mountains.  Living on the Peninsula has proven to be a great place for us to raise our family.  Charity has made some new friends here and reconnected with old friends.  Our kids have made some friends they love playing with.

We love that we can walk to the store.  We love that we can take family bike rides to 7-11 or the park.  We love that we have great friends near to us that we can visit and spend time with.  We love that God has placed us in such an amazing area to do life.  I think much of this is due to my completion of seminary but I also think a huge component is due to our location.

I feel like a new leader
Being around the team of people I work with has given me an increased hope in the local church.  I start with that line because I am learning more of what it means to be a person and a pastor up here.  I have people around me that are constantly encouraging me to lead.  I feel like I am getting to use my gifts and talents in new ways to help push back darkness in our world.

Not only has ministry gone well for me but personally I have been able to do some things I enjoy.  Being that Tahoe is about 3.5 hours I've taken a few trips up there to ride (and hit some powder days).  I've been able to see life-long friends up in Tahoe that refresh my soul to see.  I've been able to get a few fishing days in and actually landed some big ones!  I'm learning what life is like post seminary and learning how to be a father which has been a wild journey for me!

If I had to sum up our time here in one word it would be:
God knew that we needed to be here and we are absolutely loving it!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

High School Pastor

Our church is looking for a role that I have a deep passion for!  We're looking for someone who wants to change the world.  We're looking for someone who is passionate about reaching lost students and helping students mature into followers of Christ.  We're looking for a team player that is coachable.  We're looking for someone to join a healthy team and add value to what we're currently doing!

Our church has a BHAG that we're looking to accomplish in the next 7.5 years of:
5000 people worshipping in three permanent facilities on the San Francisco Peninsula by 2020
You can learn more about our vision by watching these two videos:
Vision 2020
Sowing More Seed

We're looking for someone who wants to put some roots in the ground, do the hard work of sowing more seed so we can reap a harvest of changed lives.

I really didn't want to post this job description all over the web but figured it would be good to get it available so my like-minded friends could see it and help us find the right person for this role.  If you're getting excited reading this and contact me!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Power of a "Thank You"

There is huge power in many of the words we use; some of those have a positive impact while others have a negative effect.

About ten years ago I was interning at a church in San Diego under a great leader who taught me many lessons I've never forgotten.  One of them is: The Power of a "Thank You".

I've actually forgotten how many times we actually did this during my internship but no matter the frequency the lesson stuck!  Sometimes it would be after a big event, after a rough night, for no apparent reason at all or it was after God showed up in a powerful way.  We would get together as a team and write thank you cards (yep, like write them using a pen in our hand on a card made from paper that went in the mail with a stamp).

Now you may be thinking: "that is not some new revelation" and you're right.  This isn't some life changing, new technique that people are chomping at the bit to learn.  This is actually an old school method that shows people how important they are by taking the time to encourage them.

See we live in such a fast paced life.  Our cell phones are constantly alerting us of things.  Our Facebook feed is updating.  Twitter, Instagram, Vine and everything else is grabbing at our attention so when you take the time to hand write a thank you card and mail it to someone there is a lasting impact.

Let me give you some reasons to write a thank you card:

  • Someone helped you out when you desperately needed them
  • A leader recruited more people for their team
  • Someone helped send students to a summer (or winter) camp
  • An Elder went to bat for you
  • Someone cleaned poop off the bathroom mirror
  • Taking a week off to come to summer camp
  • A student stepped out of their comfort zone and prayed on stage cause your voice hurt
  • Someone stayed late to counsel a hurting person
  • People stayed late to clean the church
  • A leader went over and above their normal role
  • Someone came early and helped you set-up
  • Someone preached because you were puking
  • You received a gift from someone 
Now I know many of these are examples related to ministry but most of these are things I've written thank you cards for.  So often I hear from people how valued and important they felt when I sent them a hand written thank you card.  If you don't believe me, try it for yourself and experience the power of a thank you! 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Parenting "Don'ts" /// Part One

I figured it was about time to start sharing some parenting "Do's" and some parenting "Don'ts".  Since I think the "don't" list is going to be longer I'm going to start out with that!

The other day I was searching on Youtube to watch movie's with my kids.  Some how I saw this trailer for Iron Man 3 and thought it would be a good idea to watch with my little girls sitting next to me

After my wife came out and pretty much gave me the death look I realized I botched it!  I mean really, lets be honest here.  What kind of dad lets his 3 year old and 4 1/2 year old daughter sit on his lap watching a video clip with a crazy robot man, a plane that is crashing, helicopters shooting a house to bits, people sinking in the ocean and fire all over.  I have no clue what I was thinking but I can tell you I won't do it again.

I now realize how precious my little girls are (more than I did before) and that God didn't create their minds with the ability to handle things my mind can handle.  Little girls; I am so sorry for letting you watch this when you are so young, please forgive me! 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty: Movie Review

Movie Title: Zero Dark Thirty

Run Length: 2 hours 37 minutes

Rating: R

Best Part: When they raided Osama's house

My Thoughts

I rented Zero Dark Thirty from Redbox the other night and watched it by myself.  I heard a whole bunch of chatter about the movie and figured I needed to watch it (honestly I love war movies and this fit that type).

My honest thought is the movie was amazing!  Now that I've said the movie was amazing I have to add that it could have been 30 minutes shorter.  The movie starts out strong but graphic with a torture scene.  It goes through years of incidents quite well but then drags on once the perpetrator is found.

I couldn't imagine how the CIA did all the work it did to find the man closest to Osama Bin Ladin; but I think they are amazing for finding him.  The intelligence that they exhibited to find the home was superb.  Then taking the time to track the man must have took weeks!  Now after you find him you have to be CERTAIN that you have the right man in the right house.  The CIA had global positioning that was able to find out how many people are in the house; they were even able to find out who never came outside.

After finding the man, making sure it was him they still needed approval and a killer team to do the job.  The CIA had to get a unique team to accomplish this task.  The men who raided the house had precision accuracy and did a bang up job given how tough the job must have been.  I give that Seal Team amazing credit for all their hard work for protecting our country; thanks guys!

Bottom Line: If you have two and a half hours go ahead and rent the movie; its worth it!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Book Review

Book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Pages: 229

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Favorite Quote: "No matter how good an individual on the team might be feeling about his or her situation, if the team loses, everyone loses." 

About three, maybe four, years ago I read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team for the first time.  Now to be honest; Charity actually read the book to me while were driving home from a weekend in Big Bear with my family (and I'm pretty sure that Sophie was sleeping the back seat).

The first time I read the book I was in an interesting leadership situation.  Now it was fun to re-read this book in my new role of leading a team and helping to lead a campus.  I love how Lencioni writes this book because its helps me get the situation.  He actually writes a leadership fable where he gets his points across through a story.

Lencioni tackles five dysfunctions that will hold a team back from really becoming the team they are meant to be.  I'm not holding anything back; here are the five dysfunctions:

As I've read this book, been in leadership, been on good teams and been on dysfunctional teams I have to say that I recommend this book to anyone in or under leadership.  The thing that I need to work on now is to help our team have trust, engage in healthy conflict, commit to our mission, do what we are going to do and care more about the success of the team.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Confessions of a Pastor: I lied

You read it right.... I lied

Its not just a little lie, its actually a lie I've lived in for the last thirteen years and I need to confess it.

I was an alcoholic.  When I was 19 years old I would throw down an 18 pack, forgot most of what I did that night, wake up, drink a beer on my way to work and do it all over again.  My drinking helped me loose a bunch of friends, forget my dumb choices, make a bunch of horrible choices, total my truck and led me to jail on a few occasions.

On February 14th 2000 I was released from Vista County Jail and that day I made a commitment (plea) to God if He got to me out I would never drink or do drugs again.  As tough as that commitment was I actually did really well... for two months.

Then Spring Break hit and my sister and I went to Mazatlan to visit my uncle who lived down there.  I did really well for the first day but on the second, maybe third, day we were sitting in the bar getting ready for dinner when my uncle ordered a bucket of beers.  As I sat at the table watching everyone else drink a cold beer I couldn't help myself; I really wanted one.  I did pretty well for the first couple minutes but then it happened; I asked for a beer.  My sister looked at me with the look that says: "Don't do it brother, you know where that takes you."  She was right.  She saw how low my addiction had taken me.  She saw me loose everything in a matter of months.  She saw the agony I put my family through.  She saw first hand what my addiction had done to my life and to those I loved.

On April 20th I took a sip of beer, then another.  I had a choice to make that day: would I drink beer again or would I honor my commitment to God?

After two sips I realized that beer had "lost its taste" to me.  It actually repulsed me and I couldn't stand that taste.  I passed my beer on to someone else, repented and haven't consumed an alcoholic beverage in the last (almost) thirteen years.

Now I didn't have to confess this but for most of my Christian walk I have always used February 14th 2000 as my sobriety date.  This came crashing in my face last year when I was invited to get my twelve year chip.  I couldn't take a chip two months early for something I hadn't earned.  It was at that moment I had to confess this but its been weighing on my heart so bad that I needed to get it out and honestly its been pretty tough to get this out since pastors aren't supposed to lie.

I lied

My sobriety date isn't February 14th 2000 but its actually April 20th 2000.  I still look at February 14th as the date God saved me from my life of turmoil but I needed to get the truth out.

Will you please forgive me?