Monday, March 28, 2011


Great day with the family celebrating 19 years of marriage to the most amazing gift of grace this side of the cross.  Jennifer is my co-worker, friend, lover, fellow study partner, prayer warrior, and everything else. I love her and praise GOD for her!  Who knew we would celebrate year 19 in California!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

establishing DNA for a new church plant

This morning was the fourth official Sunday of our church plant.  That really seems strange to think we have been here four weeks.  There are so many things that go into starting something new.  We have been doing services since the beginning of January with others shouldering the load.  I love the fact that others have embraced this plant and served wherever needed to get things moving. 
As we have begun, services have been pretty simple.  The fun/ challenging part of a church plant is establishing the DNA of the church.  One aspect of that DNA is that of Relational Discipleship.  Our desire is for real relationships to form and multiply.  We have spent the first month talking through what it means to give up ourselves for the sake of others.  I am witnessing it taking shape in the lives of those who are committed to making this plant mature.  That fact alone is humbling and exciting!  I am thinking of other "ingredients" that need to be part of our DNA.  I thought it would be fun to put this out there and ask, What would you include in the DNA of a church you were planting? 
By the way, this morning was great!  The worship was humble and Spirit led.  I love watching people come and receive communion.  The people gathered responded with a worshipful sound and expression.  The thing that continues to bring me joy is the way people are sharing and greeting each other.  What a sweet expression of Christ when we live in community.  I saw connections happening!  That is one of the reasons you will see the church name change to "CONNECT".  More on that later...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the dream team

I went down the hill today with my Autistic son's class on a field trip.  The destination:  the Galleria mall in Roseville CA.  I'm not sure, but I would say special education teachers may be the most remarkable people alive.  My son Jon and his class had an amazing day exploring.  They were taken to different types of stores and allowed to "shop" and sample what each store held.  I don't really know how to describe the experience of watching the delight they each had in getting out today. 
Jon's school offers children like him real life skills that prepare them for what comes after high school.  These students run a smoothie business in the school that sells anywhere from fifty to a hundred and fifty smoothies a day.  The proceeds from this business allow them to go on field trips and explore what we all take for granted.  They experience life in such a different way.  In all honesty, I wish I could see life in their line of vision a little more often.  They don't see people according to perfection or beauty.  They see people; just people.  Because Jon refers to me as "Father", a young lady in his class also addressed me as "Father".  It was just as natural a conversation as could be.  I was blessed by her.  Humbled may be more accurate. 
As we are in full swing of planting this church and ministering to people, it is a great reminder that ALL people need to experience the presence and love of Jesus Christ.  By seeing people sans the identities we assign them, God will use us to remind them the value HE has assigned to them.  By value I mean how much He cherishes all people. What I had envisioned as going to be a majorly frustrating day, God turned into a lesson in how to see people.  Alexis, Jon's friend, treated me as her equal and reminded me I am called to do the same.  Thank you Alexis for the kick in the teeth...  Hopefully next time I won't need the dental work reminder.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is a new and challenging season in the lives of the Kelley family.  Three weeks ago we boarded a plane and moved to Northern California to plant a church.  There are new friends, new challenges, new opportunities, new home, new dog, new ministry partners, and a new city. I have always liked moving at a fast pace, but the past three weeks have been warp speed.  We are getting acclimated to saying California and when necessary "Auburn" the city in which we are planting the church. Roll Tide by the way!  Anyway, I digress. 
The kids are in new schools and settling in.  We are experiencing a new climate (rain every day, with three feet of snow a few miles up the hill).  All in all this new season is going well.  We are witnessing God do what He does!  We are forming relationships, ministering where he leads us and sharing the hope we have in Christ with all who we contact.  Did I mention that we moved to California... crazy!
This blog will be about the work God has called us here to be about.  I will do my best to update most days.  I will share stories of people we are coming in contact with and the work of God that is happening.  
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This morning I met with five guys for a time of worship and prayer.  There was even a guy from Alabama there with me.  We prayed over the city of Auburn, each other and what God had for us to be about.  It was an incredible time of reflection and alignment.  One of the guys there is named Titan.  He is a man in pursuit of God!  His story is amazing!  So amazing in fact that the Discovery Channel has been filming him for a show on the network.  He is one of those guys that is "all in"!  He holds nothing back and speaks boldly.  His friendship and partnership in this ministry is incredible.  I am loving the gift of his life in my life.  Suffice it to say that he is becoming one of those mighty men we need in our lives to keep us on track.  Who are those mghty "people" in your life?  I would love to hear about them...