Friday, June 1, 2012

All things new...

We took a giant leap about a month ago.  For a while now, I have become more and more convinced that 1) we could be more effective as a church in reaching our community
2) I was being prepared to take on the Lead Pastor role

So, in a joint decision with NorthStar, we decided to transition our church from a NorthStar campus to a church plant of NorthStar.  So, beginning today, we are now Vertical Life Church! This means that we are completely autonomous in every way, and are ready to see what God has in store for us!

One our core team members sent me this devotional about living on faith, and it's really appropriate for where we, as a church, and we, as a family, are right now:

Walk with God
Chris Tiegreen

Fearful First Steps

For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.
2 Corinthians 5:7 Amp

The problem most of us encounter in this life of faith is that we must base our decisions, our futures, our families, our jobs – our everything, in fact – on realities we cannot see. Not only can we not see them clearly – though God will open our eyes to them more clearly if we ask – those around us cannot see them, either. That’s where the misunderstandings, the rejection, and even the ridicule come in. When we live by faith, we are at first uncertain of where we’re going. We can’t see very far in front of us. And our family members and friends are watching. While we’re barely understanding our next steps, they can’t understand them at all.

The principles of this world are all based on sight. Our human cultures like tangible evidence. It has learned to thrive on the limitations we’ve been given. But start bucking those limitations and see how quickly your peers back off. When you refuse to live by sight, you refuse to play the games of this world. You reject its most foundational beliefs. Religion is only speculative, we’ve been told. Our world doesn’t mind us believing whatever we want, as long as we don’t base our lives on the unseen. But when the eyes of faith are opened to the greater reality of God’s Kingdom, the label of “unstable” or even “crazy” comes quickly.

Just ask Abraham, whose mission it was to move to a place he would be told of later, and who was promised a most improbable son. Or Moses, who was called to demand from a hostile ruler the release of a million profitable slaves. Or Elisha, who was surrounded by a vicious army, but more greatly encompassed by heavenly hosts. Or Mary, who bore the son of God by quite unconventional – and socially unacceptable – means.

 Are you afraid to live by faith? Welcome to the club. But the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11 was made of such a club. Be bold and forsake nearsightedness. Faith sees more that sight ever can.

The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Leading Up

The kids have been out from school for a week already, and Christmas was just yesterday. Cameron approached me at the beginning of the week with a plan that he had devised to take the Christmas story and divide it into the 5 remaining days we had before Christmas. Each day, we'd read a different section of the story that he had mapped out, and talk about it (He only needed my help in coming up with good questions to ask...).

So, he presents this plan to Angie and me and asks "if it's ok." Well, obviously, it was more than fine, so that's what we did. Every morning at breakfast, he'd get out his Bible and lead us through our study together. These were priceless moments, as I sat and listened to him read and watched him take his first steps of becoming a discipler. Beautiful that it was not something forced or concocted - it just came from his heart.

I love being led by my 11-yr old. Wouldn't have it any other way. If you're reading this, and you're a teenager (or young adult, or any other age for that matter), if God inspires you with some task, do it. No excuses, no laziness, no procrastination. Just step up and make it happen. You may never know what kind of impact you may have on your family, friends, a stranger, or even your parents.

As Oswald Chambers wrote long ago: "Proof that you are crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus." May we always obey His voice without question.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kid stuff

This last little bit has been full of a bunch of things that you normally associate with kids:

1) Non-stop questions:  I drag out of bed the other morning, and Carson is already dressed and waiting at the bar in the kitchen.  The first words out of his mouth are: "Hey dad, what's the temperature in the trash can?"
REALLY?  First thing in the morning?
I responded, "Bud, probably about the same temperature as in the room." - How else do you answer that?

actual size of nose goblin
2) Things up the nose: For the last couple of weeks, Avery has been waking us (mostly Angie) up in the middle of the night saying she has a stuffy nose and needs some nose drops.
Well, Monday night, Angie has her on the floor doing the drops and suction-nose thing, and notices SOMETHING up there.  We have no idea what it is, so we load up and head to the Pediatric ER, where we wait for two hours, see the doc, and watch him pull a nasty, slimy, stinky, piece of impacted tissue out of her nose!  I about chucked right there on the spot.  $75 please.

3) LICE:  Yep, sure 'nuff.  The NEXT day following the nose ordeal, we come home and get word that we will need to treat our entire family for lice.  Beautiful.  And, in addition, we have to wash every linen in our house as well.  Even beautiful-er.  $37.56 at Walgreens.
Figured the best way to handle it was to have some fun with it, so here is a pic of our Family Lice Removal Fun Night:
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for LICE CREAM!"

That's it for now.  I'm sure I'll step on a lego or something before the day is over.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Like and Love

I listen to ESPN radio alot while I'm driving around our great metropolis. One of my faves (and at times, most hated) host is Colin Cowherd. He is arrogant and brash and says things that I wish I could get away with saying sometimes.. But, most of the time I agree with him in principle.

The other day, he was talking about how people are so in love with their team, or their player, or the sport in general. They become so in love with those things that they sacrifice ANYTHING and sometimes EVERYTHING to watch or cheer. I will quote him when he said,
"LIKE your team
LIKE your player
LIKE your sport
LOVE your wife
LOVE your kids.
LIKE everything else."

This doesn't sound as profound as I now type it, but for a moment, it made me stop and think: what do I like that I say I love, and what do I really love?
I LIKE: Oklahoma football
our house and cars
our cats
my macbook
my iTouch and playing Words with Friends on it
sleeping in (never happens) - ok- not getting right out of bed anyway
watching TV and movies with Ang

I LOVE: God (includes all three in one) and His Word
My wife
My kids
My extended family
The friends and mentors God has placed around me in my life

That's all I can think of right now - I may need to add to the list later. But, most importantly, I am stating that I will treat those things I like with the priority they deserve, and will commit to really love those things I love.

Thanks Colin.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A convo between Carson and his Grandaddy

GD: Carson, how did you sleep last night?
C: Great.
GD: So, you didn't hear all that ruckus outside? (It was New Year's Eve)
C: No, I think your ears close when you go to sleep.
GD: Well how come I heard it?
C: You're alot older, so your ears don't close as much.
GD: Are you saying I'm old?
C: Well, you have gray hair. How old are you?
GD: 58
C: You don't look 58.
GD: Thanks Carson. How old do you think I look?
C: 60.

Happy Twenty Ten!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There is a family in our church that is going through it. Their son is 6 (like mine) and they have discovered an "inoperable" brain tumor. They are out of state in treatment right now, trying to do everything they can for their son.
This hits really close to home because my boys know Jackson really well. When they stay for a second service on Sundays, they go to a place called The Camp, and they have been talking and trading Bakugan now for a year with Jackson. So, the news of his struggle has hit them hard. We've been following their family blog and praying for them every night and many times throughout the day.
The other night, on their blog, his mom wrote from a place of real despair. She was so honest about her doubt and questions; it was a very real look into what she was experiencing. It made me remember Paul's experience. A little different than Jackson's mom's, but the truth is the same:
1 Cor 12:7 "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
The point in this passage that I have missed many times before, is not just the platitude that "God will be with you and be your strength." It goes beyond that. Paul says that he intentionally admits and makes himself weak, so that he might receive the power of Christ. Does this mean that we don't operate fully in the power of God until we recognize that we are "65 lb. 7th grader" total weaklings?
Truly, it's a paradox. When I am weak, then I am strong. Because when I freely admit my ineptitude, then, and only then, can the power of God freely exist in my life. And by the way, His purpose is not to make me look strong, but to reveal His strength through me, thereby bringing glory to Himself.
I was listening to John Piper last night on the way home from work, and he summed it up: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1,051 Friends

I have 1,051 friends.  No, I didn't sit down and write down all the people I've hung out with over the years.  It's just my tally on Facebook.  (In fact, a certain friend of mine, who will remain anonymous, but whose name rhymes with Yenni Yutchins called me out the other day and accused me of being some sort of Facebook Creeper Stalker guy who pads his "friends list" just to look like a big shot.)  Thus, the blog entry.

1,051.  Sounds like a lot, but it's not that hard to get there when you've lived in 4 different states and served in 5 different churches over the years.  You tend to accumulate a lot of "friends," especially when everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook these days (literally).  It may seem like I might feel like I have all of the friends I could ever have, that my relationship tank continues to stay at the overflow mark.  With all those friends, how could it not?

But here's the deal.  There is an innate need in all of us for relationship and community.  And this need can not be met through social networking.  As much as I enjoy connecting with current and former students and old friends, nothing compares to sitting down face to face over a cup of coffee or a great sandwich and sharing life together.

Angie and I are on the tail end of the '09 Parkhurst Family Truckster Vacation Tour of Mid-America.  We've spent two weeks reconnecting with so many old friends and our awesome Oklahoma family.  It's reminded me of how blessed we are to have the relationships that we do in Ok, Tx, and La, and am encouraged to continue doing everything we can to invest our lives into the Georgia friendships we've been given.  

(Guess I better get back to trolling the deep waters of Facebook, so I can trick some more people into being my friend, Zenni Zutchins.)