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The Heart of 2010

2010 is here and I am beginning to think through my next steps for this year.  I’m asking myself what should I do different as I reflect on my actions from 2009?  How can I be more effective in reaching goals that God has placed in my heart?  I’ve learned for me, the best way to reach personal goals is to write them down and give myself starting dates and deadlines to meet.  Otherwise they just become wishes that I end up neglecting and hopes that don’t come to past.

2009 was a great year for me.  I was able to reach many goals.  The difficult part of reaching my goals, like many of us, is trying to  find “the balance” of life, relationships and personal goals  without losing what is most valuable.  That being for me, my relationship with God and my family.   So in order for me to stay on track I have to keep God at the center of everything that I do (He is the One leading and directing!) and include my family within the scope of my journey.  Allowing them to be my cheerleaders and having them join me in many great experiences.  I also have to shift my goals around and sometimes let go of my goals; so that I can help them achieve what is close to their heart.  Their life goals!  That may mean for me, a little longer strategy to reach my personal goals, but the precious family that God has given me is more valuable then anything that I could ever want to achieve in life.

I see this image in my mind of a man going through life winning awards and being recognized by many, but at the end of his life he looks around only to find that he is all alone.  I know for certain, that we don’t want to end up with a life filled full of accomplishments and a home that is empty!  So let 2010 be a year of new starts, new hope and a life filled full of love for what really matters.  Cheers to a New Year!


Pity VS Compassion

Today my mind begins thinking through our culture as we seem to see more and more disaster, pain and death fill our world.  Much of our response is pity, feeling sorrow for an individual or group that is going through a hard time, yet we many times alienate ourselves away from the hurt that others are experiencing in their life.  I know our natural response is to embrace pity, especially with our lives as busy as they are and the pull we feel everyday with everyone wanting our time and energy.  This disastrous behavior leaves our world with less hope and more pain without experiencing the love and healing power of Christ in the midst of suffering.  I’m reminded of a scripture that says,

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  – Matthew 25:35-36

This passage is speaking beyond the physical side of suffering.  I love what Mother Teresa says about this, Hungry not only for bread – but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing – but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks – but homeless because of rejection.”  When we reach out in compassion – feeling the hurt that others feel and are willing to do something about the suffering, we bring the hope Christ to all mankind.

Lastly I believe this is a choice we must make.  Our emotions or our natural response will lead us to withdraw, but the call of God’s love must motivate us beyond our feelings and lead us to show compassion so that healing power of God may take place in people’s life.  I know this doesn’t always feel comfortable, but to share in the pain of others is to share in the pain that Christ went through for all of us, so that we may experience freedom in the the midst of suffering.  So the only thing left for each of us to do is to be watchful of who God is placing in our path, that we might stop and comfort those who are experiencing difficulty or pain in our world.  When we do this, each of us will experience the amazing grace of God.

Pocket Theology – Salvation


TrueLife has started a new message series entitled, “Pocket Theology.”  One of the main points through this series is thinking through our theology and learning how to carry it with us in our everyday life.

“What you talk through on Sunday and how it walks on Monday.”

Our first focus is the theology of salvation – the continual supply of  God’s provision for our life.  This provision is not based on our perception of what God can and can’t do, but rather on His unlimited ability to provide any and everything that we need in our life.  We must understand that God is available, even if we emotionally don’t believe or understand it yet.

1.  The best way for  this to walk in our life on Monday is through asking God to be part of the area(s) of our life that we have need. This could be our relationships, personal life, daily circumstances or our personal relationship with Him – spiritually.  This is like opening a conversation with a friend and asking for help.  So we do the same thing with God, just approach God through prayer and ask Him to help you in the specific area of need.

2. Give God access to the place of need.  I do this by just asking God for His wisdom and direction in those areas of my need.  As we do this, we give God direct access to help us and allow Him to bring His provision to our needs.  We also need to have the willingness to allow change to accure in those areas.  This is sometimes one of the first steps that must happen for God’s provision to take place in our life.  We may need to reposition ourselves and how we respond in our need and our relationship to the need – changing our attitude and allowing God be the mediator for us, instead of us dealing with it our way.  For some of us the need has haunted us so long that we have unintentionally became the guardian of the need, we want relief, but we are so tied to the pain we have a hard time letting go.

3.    “The Process of  Salvation is sometimes mysterious.”   As we follow through on His direction, we sometimes see immediate results, but I have noticed that when I wasn’t expect it, God’s hand of provision was faithful to provide for me.  Even when the answer to the need wasn’t  resolved in the same way that I charted out in my mind.  He sometimes uses unexpected people, circumstances and we get the honor to just sit back and watch everything unfold as He unveils His master plan for our life.

For some of us, we may be skeptical about God’s Salvation, but just remember that this big word is something small that each of us can carry with us.  I would like to encourage everyone to pull out God’s Salvation in the small and large matters in our life.  God desires to be in relationship with us and He desires to provide for us in “all” areas of our world.

So this week, let us not limit God’s ability, but rather give him all of our needs.  As everything in our life is yielded to Him, He can then express his unlimited love…making Himself available for you.  He is everything that you need – He is Salvation!

My Social Community

I wanted to have a huge shout out to Apple!  Since there new update this weekend for the iphone, (…and the new 3G Iphone release) I have had great joy connecting with my social networks.  I am able to connect with facebook, twitter and other media  with ease.  What is great with the iphone update on the new applications, is it is very easy to upload pictures and any add commits within seconds! 

The great part of social media is the great opportunity we have as a church to develop community.  We have the ability to continue conversations and interact right where we have left off in person.  I know that some don’t like that fact that people can know what you are doing as we reveal our status or twitter, but for me it opens the pathway for conversation and allows others to share in my life as I am experiencing life.   So whatever your preference, the ultimate goal is to develop community.   Though social media can be a low level community, it has the ability to bridge towards high level relationships and for me, it is just another way to stay connected to those I care about.

It Could Always Be Worst

This week immediately following our family breakfast I read a children’s book entitled, “It Could Always Be Worst.” 

It is about a poor man that lived in a hut with his wife, mother-in-law and six growing children.  Due to their tight living conditions they were frustrated with life and took it out on each other.  So one Day the poor man when to the Rabbi and said I’ll do whatever you ask me to do, but please help us, we’re all going crazy!  The wise rabbi asked it the man had any chickens and the man said yes, I have chickens, a rooster and a goose.  Good said the Rabbi, go take all of your chickens, rooster and goose and put them in your hut!  The man was a little hesitant, but he did.  Now everyone in the hut was even more frustrated, including the chickens!  So the poor man goes back to the Rabbi and shares that things are even worst then before and now feathers are getting in our soup!  The Rabbi ask, do you have a goat.  The poor man answers, yes we do.  The Rabbi says, Go home and bring the goat into your hut.  With much apprehention he goes home and brings the goat into the house.  Now there is much more quarralling, feathers flying and now a butting goat!  So he again goes to the Rabbi angry and up set.  The Rabbi agains sends the man home telling him to bring his cow into the house!  After doing everything the Rabbi has requesting…the hut is FULL and everyone is dissatisfied with life…so the poor man goes to the Rabbi expressing his explosive anger!  Finally the Rabbi says, go home and take all of the animals out of your hut!  The poor man returns home and takes all the animals out of his hut.  That night everyone was satified with the small hut and small living conditions in the hut. 

The implications are many, but the bottom line is…whereever you are in life, it could always be worst!  Tough we may be stressed out, on top of deadlines, and in the middle of fragile relationships, each of us can find peace in knowing, “We are not alone.”  God is with us, giving us His strength to see us through our difficulties. 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  -Phillipians 4:11-13



Think Different

Do you remember the Apple“Think Different” campaign?  As I begin thinking through church development, I notice that many churches take the approach of memicing churches that they are modeling their churches after.   While using principles and ideas to enhance what we are already doing as a church is fine in my opinion.  To mimic and try to reproduce to scale what successful churches are doing is limiting our creative ability that God has given each of us and lowers our divine potential.

The key to church development is not to be like or even out do other churches.  We must begin creating environments within our church that forces us to be creative and think different.   We don’t think different to just be different.  We think through different applications of ministry concepts to be more affective in reaching people.  Imagine how affective our churches could be in reaching people within our community if we begin engaging our creativity within our church community.  Within TrueLife we have creativity teams that we use to help our ministry teams.  In doing this, the creative potential is unleashed and new ideas and concepts are birthed.

We were all created to be different, so let’s be the original people God created each of us to be.  We can change our world one creative idea at a time.  Think Different!

Wii – Life Together


We have just started a new sermon series that we have entitled, “Wii – Life Together.”  One of the main ideas were “You hold the key to relationships.”  Healthy relationships don’t just happen, we must take an active role in cultivating healthy relationships.

Since I have been working at TrueLife and also at UNC Healthcare I have been away from my little ladies – Sam and Hannah in the evenings.  So this past Friday we had a late night family movie night.  It was so exciting to watch both of the girl’s excitement build as they anticipated staying up late with their dad on a Friday night.  (They probably were more excited about being able to stay up until midnight.)  The night was full of memories and the next day we did sleep in, which was great.

It would be so easy to passively live life and go through the motions of working and coming home, but there are times when we need to take steps to create memories in our relationships.  We must think of ways to interact and make live life together with those we love.  Whether it is a movie night or a special day at the park with your family.  Healthy relationships don’t just happen, we cultivate them.

Community Within The Local Church

I’ve been thinking a lot about community within the local church.  What does it look like?  I know some central values must be in place: Trust, honest communication, care and acceptance of diversity.  Due to us being imperfect people,  it seems like we mess up this thing called community, but maybe community is suppose to be messy.  It’s an environment filled with individuals who look, think, and act different then we do. 

The key to community is accepting and caring for everyone.  This is where I think community gets difficult.  It is esaier to accept people who are like us, but how about people who are marginalized, hurt or the polar oppisite, secure – strong energetic leaders?  Community says that everyone belongs.   Though we don’t always agree with everyone within community, we can communicate that we care for each other.  But how?  The first step is showing that you are interested by interacting and engaging in conversation.   Go out of your way to meet people.  Then we must take the next step and include those within community in our lives.  Spend time together, eat together.  At least that is what I like to do.  Many of us get stuck here.  We develop a relationship with a person or a couple that we like and we stop trying to build other relationships.  Community is an ongoing process where we all engage in building relationships and continue to be an extention of God’s love to those within our community. 

What are you experiencing within your community?  How is community being built within your local church? 

The Original March Madness

March Madness

TrueLife has been going through a message series that we have just finished, “The Original March Madness!”  It was a great series.  As I was thinking through the series,  I was thinking what were some key thoughts that have been communicated.

#1  TLC Core Value:  “You can belong before you believe.”  You can be part of community and experience the love of Christ through the Church before you commit your life to Christ.  What I love about this core value is that Jimmy Long has said in his book Generating Hope that there will be two conversations for the postmodern.  A conversion of community and then a conversion to God.  Our core value opens the door to reaching the postmodern generation.

#2  “Chasing the miracle moment instead of experiencing the miraclous life.?  We meet a lot of people chasing after a miracle moment instead of expecting God to work through our lives everyday.  The miraculous life is being a source of encouragement to those who are in dispair, it is praying and believing that God is with us and working out the details in our life that are beyond our control.  The miraclous life is allowing Christ to be part of our life everyday.

#3 God has called us to share our life with others and to not to live life alone.  I really believe that we cannot make it the long haul with our journey to follow Christ without joining with the community of believers and being involved in each others life.  I need you just as much as you need me.  I think it is key to point out that being involved with other believers means that we share what God is doing in our lives and also extending to others support and exceptance.

I know in the series other things stand out like: being pentecostal – which means to be in community, be inclusive and live missional lives, but my real question goes out to other TrueLifers:

– What stands out in your mind as we went through The Original March Madness?

– Second, Do you have any stories of what has happened in your life through the series?

UNC Customer Service

Today I had oriantation for my new position with UNC Health Care.   Since our family decided to partner with True Life Church in their church plant, this position will help me supplement my income for our family. 

One of the values that UNC strives as a public health care facility is customer service.  I really like their definition of first impressions.  Basically they said that first impressions is “the consumer’s reality of who an organization is.”  Great first impressions is vital as an organization for health and growth.  We need to continually evaluate how we respond to our customer base,  identify barriers that inhibit our customer to connect to our facility and create an atmosphere where team members go out of their way to make sure that everyone is able to receive the full benefit of the organization.  If you were to evaluate your customer service, how would you rate your organization?  Here are some questions to help:

– Is my facility easily visible?  If not, how can you help your customer have an easier time finding you.

– Once your customer arrives do they have a clear idea where they need to go?  This is where we need signs and team members to help direct individuals. 

– Once our customer reaches their destination, do they receive prompt friendly service?  Do they know that they are valuable as a customer?  How do you communicate this through your team members?  

– Are my team members positive and well educated about the organization and its services? 

 I’d like to keep this open ended.  What other questions do you ask yourself when evaluating your customer service?  I know for us who are in ministry, we don’t call this customer service, but the principles still apply.  I’d love to hear your comments! 

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