Friday, April 29, 2011


There is an assumption that once we “come to Christ” we have miraculously arrived.  Believers tend to check a mental box and say well I’ve taken care of that... But what would have been taken care of.  By faith when we receive Christ and His forgiveness, we are invited into an amazing and ongoing journey.  We are invited to participate in the divine nature and in that we continue to move closer to the heart of God as well as maturing in our faith and understanding of His will.  
As a church plant we are beginning a series on Discipleship.  Discipleship is an oft used and even more misused word.  Discipleship is a journey.  It is exploring, investigating and discovering what it means to live as Christ.  It is not a title given to the super christians, nor is it an isolated 10 week class that gives us secret information.  
Discipleship is a way of life in which we follow the leading of God and learn from His example as we are taught by the Holy Spirit.  Discipleship is who we become, not necessarily what we do.  Well it is what we end up doing, but it comes from the reality of being who we are.  It is a response to the invitation to follow Christ. It is a maturing process where we die to self and serve others.  This is all from a heart that is bent towards honoring God.  
God is not in the business of purchasing museum pieces that sit on a shelf in a  cathedral.  He invites us to participate in His will as we respond to His grace.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Like many others, I am searching the web for every bit of information I can on the devastation in Alabama. As a native of Alabama with many friends and family there I have a vested interest in the healing process that will need to occur.  I am regularly speaking with friends about needs and prayer requests.  The images of what people have faced and are facing is overwhelming.  I have spoken with some who had no problems and didn't even lose power and also spoken with a young man we love whose bedroom was blown away with him a few feet away.
There are many who are wanting to help, but until search and rescue has ended, traveling south is not a good idea.  There will be massive needs for volunteers in the coming weeks.  There are great ministries lining up in the affected areas that we can partner with to get water, food, clothing and other necessities to those in need.  Ultimately, the business of praying for healing, wholeness, salvation, life, and motivation to move forward are what is in great demand.
Our house in Birmingham as far as we know has no damage.  The inside has not yet been checked, but the outside appears intact.  Jennifer and I are just hurting for those we love and the residents who have been impacted.  We served in Tuscaloosa in campus ministry and in Birmingham where I was the preaching minister at the Homewood Church.  Seeing the damage and knowing people in those areas just feels helpless being 2400 miles away.  Our new church plant here in California is pleading with God for his mercy and love to be poured out.  Join me in just putting everything else aside for a five minutes and asking God to do the miraculous in this tragedy for the glory of His name.  Habakkuk   3:2 would be a good prayer to read and then plead with God for.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

Well it wasn't a white Easter, but it did rain.  The weather didn't dampen the Spirit of God being poured out on the Gold Country Fairgrounds!  We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus with two services today.  The first service was our "normal" service that we invited the community to.  We were blessed with a great crowd and incredible worship.  People were at ease with the relaxed nature of everything and our team really welcomed people.  It was very inviting and warm.  The connections are continuing!  The second service was a special "Cowboy" church for the Rodeo.  The Professional circuit Rodeo was in town this weekend and we were given the opportunity to conduct Cowboy church.  I will confess it was my first cowboy service, but I hope it won't be my last.  The folks were friendly and appreciative of our offering.
I am not much on country music, but I will admit that when they played "I saw the light" with the banjo, it was rather fun.
So Easter 2011, our first in California is in the books.  We had so many of our Core really step up and serve.  It was wonderful seeing the sacrificial help that was poured out to make our services happen.  Thank you to all who served.  Bob and Mischal Franz did an amazing job of sharing why they have hope in the Resurrection!  Wow!
Now my mind has turned to the week ahead.  No time to rest in what happened today.  Too much to do getting ready for the week ahead.  God turned hearts towards him.  Now we go about the business of being 'living stones" to continue proving that He is Risen!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

settling in

One of the most asked questions we have experienced is, "how are you settling in"?  I thought it would be good to take some space here and discuss that.  Overall I think we are settling in really well.  The transition has been made easier by so many different people praying for our success.  That includes people in many different places from a variety of churches.  Another real blessing is the way we have been received by the people here in Northern California.  We are constantly asked where we are from, as if we have some sort of accent or something.  We have been able to talk about the church plant with many people and discuss what we hope to do here.
A truly amazing thing is the great people who keep coming to services and Bible Study.  Each week people come hungry to hear the word of God and connect with others in real relationships.  That keeps the reason we are here right before us each day.  Knowing why we are here and what we have been called to do is becoming clearer each day.  In that, the transition is going really well.
We miss friends and family back south.  I was asked the other day what I missed most about where we moved from.  After much thought, I think I settled on the ministry assistant I was blessed with in Birmingham.  We had facilities, supplies, things, etc... but wow I didn't fully realize how much I needed and was blessed by Misty until well, I am now my own assistant.  I would fire me as an assistant.  That is a big transition.  I am getting acclimated to it, but having that dependable and skilled helper is so crucial.  So that part of the transition is still in transition.
I am meeting with a couple of different groups of guys for prayer.  Jennifer is working on starting a prayer group for women.  Each week we are meeting more and more people.  More than that we are developing friendships with people.
The kids are doing well.  Jon has a really good team of teachers that work with him.  His Autism class runs a Smoothie business for the school.  Chance is also doing well.  He is going to a smaller school which has helped him in the transition.  He is making friends and really enjoying being here.  The three little ones have made themselves right at home.  They and we (Jennifer and I) definitely miss the Homewood Day School.  I will stop there.
So overall the transition is going well.  Jennifer and I are grateful for those that continue to check on us and pray over us.  Please continue.  We are excited about what we see God doing in our lives.  How are we settling in, pretty well.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

white Easter

I'm dreaming of a white..... Easter?!  No offense to Bing, but well, with this Northern California weather we just might have a white Easter.  Today it was a chilly 50 degrees here in Auburn while thirty miles up the hill in Alta they had a beautiful two inches of snow.  I am thinking we overshot Northern Cal and landed in Seattle.
Easter Sunday is ten days away and this is crazy.  We are planning for a big push on Easter Sunday and working on things for that day.  Do we plan on outside Children's worship area or snow sleds and warm coats?  This is crazy!!!!
I love the beauty and creative landscape God designed for this area.  It is truly amazing!  I must have slept through or skipped the class in seminary that dealt with multi dimensional weather forecasting and adjustable weather patterns.  White Easter.... could happen!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

not another Sunday

Well... I loved today.  Other than the guy who preached, today was just fun.  I love watching people connect with God.  It is truly humble and amazing to see people visibly connect with the God who is crazy about us.  Not knowing every story or person, but witnessing the freedom of drawing near The Holy One is, well, just really... Awe Inspiring!!!
Sound system issues, a temperature cold gym, nor a change of venue could hold back the Spirit of God moving.  It is so much fun to come with great anticipation of what is gonna happen next.  Greg Redmond did a fantastic job of allowing us to join him in celebrating with the King.  The sound coming from people giving back to God was really cool.  Thank you to all those who were with us today!  You blessed my soul!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

mobile church

We are about to test the ability of our new church plant to be mobile.  This weekend we are displaced from our normal gathering spot of the Gold Country Fairgrounds.  The ever popular "Quilt Show" has us meeting at the Placer High School Gymnasium.  Our setup crew is ready for the task.  Hopefully we have promoted this change of venue and people will make the adjustment.
So for all of our regulars, make sure you keep inviting and make others aware that tomorrow we are in the Earl Crab Gymnasium at Placer High.  We gather at 10am.  No coffee is allowed in the Gym so fill up before you come!

Monday, April 4, 2011

kicking the tires

One of the intriguing aspects of planting a church for me is those that come visit to "kick the tires".  They want to test drive what we have to offer and how we do Sundays.  I have no desire, intention, nor energy to be the mall where you can purchase the finest in religious goods and services.  Our goal is to relationally connect with those that decide to walk along with us.  Yes we want to have quality bible study opportunities and worshipful and experiential gathering times.  However, the bigger desire we have is to see people use their gifts and talents to serve others.
We are just in our infancy and still strengthening our core.  As a young and growing plant we aren't in a place to provide the latest and greatest.  So when someone comes in to kick the tires, my prayer is they kick the right tires.  They see we are committed to honoring God and serving others.  They see we aren't about laser light shows or archaic expressions.   We are simply about seeking God, welcoming the work of The Holy Spirit, intentionally living in relationship with others, and allowing God to use us however he chooses.
It may not be a fancy new sports car, but it is one that will faithfully journey with you.  So come on in and take a test drive.  Get to know those sitting next to you.  Hear their story of faith and struggle.  Watch as they connect with God and seek to connect with you.  You will probably discover a used model that is out of warranty.  But don't be fooled by what you see on the outside, they are being renewed and transformed from the inside out!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Over the next few weeks our church plant will hopefully finish our legal "stuff" and move forward as a state recognized ministry.  One of the changes that will be coming is the change of name.  Gold Country Church is a connection to the colloquial name of the region, but not the simple warm name I hope to be known for.  I am aware that the people living the way of Christ is what will speak to the community about who we are, but I am also aware that the name will be a form of invitation and keyhole to who we desire to be.
We are going to add the word CONNECT to the front of the name Gold Country Church.  Legally it is the easiest way to make the change without having to start over.  We will simply use the name CONNECT.  Our desire is to be a relational discipleship church.  We are desiring to connect people in relationships to their GOD and new friends.  People matter and all people need relationships.  The name goes much deeper but for now suffice it to say it is a subtle reminder that we are about relationships.
Last night we had the blessing of hosting seven new friends in our home.  It was incredible watching as conversations naturally flowed over dinner.  The beauty of investing our lives in others and being a community that cares is the essence of who we are in Christ.
As a people junky, I was energized by the connections over dinner.  The joy of hearing others share their hopes and vision of community was tremendous.  I am trusting each of the friends that joined us were as blessed as Jennifer and I.  CONNECT!  I like it when that happens!