Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who Gets Invited to Dinner with God?

Powerful verses I read this morning in Psalm 15. Here are verses 1 - 5 in The Message:

"God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this."

Imagine if that's how we lived our lives every day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

- Great services at Grace Community yesterday. We continued the 5 More Lies series by looking at It's Too Late. We really focused on marriage and what it means to be committed to each other and growing through the stages of love together. Pastor Jim did an amazing job communicating these things and we ended the service in two really cool ways. Click Here to see the video we ended with. And, at the very end of the service we had couples go out and write on our church windows. You can see above some of the things that were written. In the video you can see some of the couples in the later services writing on the windows. I loved looking in their eyes and seeing how much fun they were having doing this and I loved the creative way we ended the services. Man, what a cool experience and I loved writing to my wife.

Worth Fighting For from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

- 5 Star starts at the Goshen Middle School. 5 Star is an organization that gets in to local schools as an after school program and teaches 5 values to kids: Courage, Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, and Sacrifce. It's seriously one of the best programs around for getting in to schools and investing in kids. I'm looking forward to the big kickoff today and the HUGE ice cream sundae that we're going to have. :)
- I ran this morning for the first time since my marathon. My knee felt tight, but not painful. It was good to sweat and exercise again after a two week break. I then met with a senior from our youth ministry for breakfast and a Bible study. I've loved meeting with this guy for the past year and it's been refreshing to just go through the Bible ... no books, no specific Bible studies ... just the Bible and what jumps out at us. Good stuff.
- My Steelers won again yesterday with the ancient Charlie Batch at quarterback! :) Funny how 35 is ancient in the NFL. But, man, a big win for them. I just wish I could have watched it. Unfortunately, my fantasy team didn't do as well.
- Our kids have been so fun this past week. I wish I could count the number of times that they have made my wife and I laugh.
- I was doing some yard work Saturday afternoon. While up on our roof cleaning out our gutters I reached in to a gutter to pull out some leaves and grabbed and entire bees nest! I didn't realize it until I noticed all of these "things" flying around me. Come to find out they were bees! I can only imagine what I looked like on top of my roof running around and swatting at the air. Crazy! Thankfully, no stings.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First One

The past couple of weeks have been really fun for me. I've officially passed down my "action" figures to Ezra. When I was a boy I LOVED action figures. Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe ... you name it, I loved to play with it. Well, I've held on to all of my action figures for this very reason ... to pass them down to my son. Seriously, as soon as Ezra wakes up in the morning, he pulls out those action figures and has a blast. And, quite honestly, I've had fun playing with them too. It's been so long since I've made Darth Vader fight Bobba Fett! :)

Anyway, I'm not sure how or why I remember this, but the picture above is of my very first action figure. He was a G.I. Joe named Craig, and it's been close to 30 years since he was given to me. Not sure how I can remember those specifics but forget to take the trash out at my house, but that's a post for another time. :)

As you can tell, Craig, received quite a bit of action. He's lost his legs, parts of his hands, and his arm is off. He also lost the helmet that came with him. He's faded, scratched, chipped, and just doesn't have much going for him these days. He's been used probably as well as any action figure could have been used and we had lots of fun times together.

This may be a stretch, but I was thinking about that just a little bit and really hope my life is like this little action figure. I want to be able to give everything I can because that means I'm not staying in the package. I'm being useful and I'm giving back. If I would have given Ezra a spotless Craig still in the package ... well ... that would just mean he was never played with! What fun is that?

The honest truth is it's probably time to send Craig to G.I. Joe heaven ... but while he was here, he sure was used to his fullest potential. I hope I can say the same thing about my life. God didn't create us to stay in the package. He wants to take you out and "play" with you as much as possible. Don't hold back.

9-22-10 Axis Wrap Up ... Stay Positive

We continued our 5 Ways to Be Awesome series at axis by looking at the idea of staying positive. One of the best ways to lead an "awesome" life is to make the conscious choice to stay positive. Our lead pastor will often say "Talk to yourself in stead of listening to yourself." That's a great line to apply when we try to focus on staying positive, even in the face of adversity.

Personally, it was a GREAT night for me because our student leadership team led the entire night and they just NAILED it! I was so proud of them. There was a good energy in the room and our kids did lots of things to make that happen. We had kids passing out sticky notes with positive things written on them, kids were greeting at all the doors, we had some free candy waiting for everyone who checked in. We also did some really fun prize give-a-ways ... including a 6 pound bag of gummy bears ... and a fun game in our gym. We also had students share some of the cool stuff God has been recently doing in their lives. Kids virtually led every area of our night and it was so awesome to see that happening.

One of our girls, Allison, spoke and she really did an amazing job. Seriously, she did so much better than I would have done as a senior in high school. I was so impressed with her. Allison is one girl who has a "right" to speak on staying positive. She's won the mental attitude award on her sports teams at high school and also went through months of radiation treatment last year for a brain tumor. It certainly wasn't easy, but she had an amazing attitude throughout the entire ordeal and when she shared on what it means to stay positive, I wanted to listen. She did a great job of sharing from Scripture and making it very practical for our lives.

Next Week: We wrap up our series by looking at Integrity.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Youth Ministry Reminder

I was reminded on Sunday, once again, of the importance that teenagers can play in the role of the entire church. On Sunday after our 3rd service we had something called "Getting to Know Grace." It's an opportunity for people newer to the church to get to know the pastors, find out more about the history of the church, and also ask questions. Well, a couple of things jumped out at me as reminders of the important role teenagers can play in the church as a whole:

1. Several families said that they started coming to Grace because their teenagers were involved in the youth ministry. Parents just LOVE IT when their kids love going to church. They were intrigued and wanted to check out the church for themselves.

2. There were several smaller kids at our Getting to Know Grace meeting and guess who did the child care ... yep ... teenagers. They served and they loved it!

3. We also had several of our high school students serve at our middle school retreat this past weekend. We didn't have as many adults go as I was hoping to have go. Our high schoolers stepped up in HUGE ways and served. It was awesome!

Anyway, just a few things that jumped out at me about the important role that teenagers can play in the church.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

- I spent the weekend at our middle school retreat at Camp Manowe. It was a great weekend and I really enjoyed my time with our middle schoolers. One of our teams, the Pink Ninjas, is pictured above. Of course, there was lots of fun stuff ... baby food through a straw, relay races, puzzles, card board canoe races, horse back riding, ropes course, zip line ... but we also spent time focusing on WHY we should pursue God and HOW we can pursue God. Overall, a great weekend ... but I have to admit, I forgot how back a group of middle school guys can stink up a cabin!

- My birthday was Saturday and Carol REALLY surprised me when she made the drive up to the camp with the kids and spent a couple of hours with us on my b-day. She brought some cupcakes and presents and it was just a great surprise. The kids at the retreat also helped make it a special birthday for me. My beautiful wife got me the greatest gifts: A DVD of all SIX Steeler Superbowl games, a book of the 50 Greatest Plays in Steeler history, an awesome pair of mocasins to wear around the house, some jeans and a cool t-shirt. Ezra also got me a gift ... an Imaginetix Spider Robot that, for some reason, he's asking if he can play with all the time. :) It was really cute when Carol told me the story of him picking out the gift for me. To use a counseling term: He was "projecting" a bit. :)

- We did a series last year called 5 Lies of Satan. This past Sunday we started a take-off of that series at Grace Community called 5 More Lies. Pastor Jim looked at the lie that "Singleness is a Sickness." He really encouraged people who are single to embrace their singleness and not complain about it. He also encouraged married people to stop saying the crazy things married people often say to single people that can be really discouraging.
- My wife makes the most amazing chocolate chip cookies EVER!
- I'm loving football season! The Steelers won again yesterday wife in a HUGE defensive battle against the Titans. I know scoring and offense get all of the attention, but I tell ya, there's something about watching a dominant defensive game that I just love. I just love it when a defense has the mindset of "We are going to take away every strength you have and there's nothing you can do about it. Then, we're just going to hit you harder than you hit us." If I were a coach, I'd love to be a defensive coach.
- There was a tragedy that happened on the campus where my wife and I were both in grad school. Two students were lying on a hammock that was in someone's yard and somehow a tree that the hammock was attached too just collapsed killing one of the students and paralyzing the other. My wife works on the campus and she received the phone call while she was visiting me at the middle school retreat. Just an awful, awful tragedy! It's actually the same hammock that my wife (then girlfriend) would sometimes lay on for a little bit while we would go for walks around the town. I just cannot imagine what the families are going through right now and have been praying for them since I heard the news.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ah .... I'll just hold it.

I'm getting ready for our middle school retreat this weekend when I remembered our bathroom situation. I'm looking forward to building relationships with our middle schoolers ... but won't be doing it this way. I don't care how bad I have to "poo" I won't be doing it here. :)

A few captions come to mind:

- I believe in small groups, but not this much.
- The throne room.
- I'll just hold it. Thanks.
- Where two or more are gathered ...
- Somebody has never read the book "Boundaries."

Any others??

Axis Update 9-15-10: 5 Ways to Be Awesome # 3 ... Gratitude

We continued our 5 Ways to Be Awesome series by looking at how to live a life of gratitude. One word that has been used to describe this generation is the word "entitlement." It carries with it the idea that we want more and feel like we deserve better. We looked at the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11 - 19. In that passage all ten lepers were healed but only one came back to say "thanks." We discussed how we often take things for granted ... things we have, people in our lives, what people do for us ... and how the best way to fight against a sense of entitlement is simply to be grateful. If we wake up every day and choose gratefulness, we won't feel entitled. But, if we choose to feel entitled, we'll never feel grateful. We'll just keep wanting more and more and more and feeling that we deserve it. That's not a way to an awesome life.
I tried to switch things up a bit for us on Wednesday and I re-arranged our room and set all the chairs up in groups of eight. The way I taught was to share for a few minutes and then have discussion questions for our kids to discuss with each other. Then, I'd share again and have kids discuss again. I was really excited about switching things up a bit, but, in the interest of full disclosure, it was not one of our best nights. Really seemed like from the outset we were battling with lots of distractions and lots of talking. Several times I had to stop and pause and wait for kids to quiet down. One time I had to specifically pull kids aside during our worship time and explain to them our "respect" rules at axis. I really felt like the content of what we had was good, but boy, it was just one of those youth ministry nights when I left thinking "Let's learn from this week and just move on to next week."
That said, there were still really good opportunities for discussion and coversation afterwards. I had some really good talks with some kids and also saw some of our kids just really serving like crazy afterwards ... cleaning, straightening, putting stuff away ... without even being asked. That was awesome.
Next Week: 5 Ways to Be Awesome - Staying Positive

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Marathon Experience

I ran my first marathon on Saturday, September 11th. What an amazing experience! I can't really say that running a marathon has been a life-long goal of mine. I honestly never saw myself doing it or even having the desire to do it, but a few things pushed me in that direction. First, I just want to live a more healthy lifestyle. Second, I've really been wanting to push myself and do things that really make me uncomfortable ... things I'm not sure I can do. Finally, after my battle with cancer 3 years ago, I sort of wanted this to be a life statement. I'm here to do my best to live life to its fullest.

Here are a few of my random thoughts from the race:

- I feel so proud of myself. Not proud in an arrogant way or anything like that. I just feel proud that I did it. I've heard that only 1% of the population will ever run a marathon. I'm glad to be in that 1% and I just feel good about accomplishing that goal.

- My wife is simply AMAZING! If it wasn't for her support, I never would have been able to do this. There were times when my training got me up early or kept me out late. There were times when she had to do all of the work with the kids. There were times when we had to break our budget some because of running shoes or Gatorade or things like that. It's not easy training for a marathon. It's definitely not easy being the mom of two young kids while your husband is training for a marathon. She was 100% behind me the entire time and I just love how she knows how to support and encourage my manhood.

- I tried my best to really enjoy the race. I went in to it with the attitude of trying to soak it all in and enjoy it. Yeah, there are definitely times when running 26.2 miles isn't incredibly fun. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other, but I really tried to take note of things around me while I was running. I was able to see a beautiful sunrise. I saw 2 deer. I watched as I crossed the 21 mile mark because that was officially the furthest I had ever run. I wanted to enjoy the moment as much as I could and stay positive the entire race.

- My goal was to finish in 5 hours. I was SO on pace for that and then mile 19 happened. I saw Carol at mile 16 and she ran with me for a bit. When she stopped running with me I asked her to pray for me because my left leg was starting to hurt. I had been having some IT Band pain
since I did my 18 mile run during my training. Last year, I was training for a marathon when I experienced IT Band pain in my right leg. After several doctor visits, physical therapy visits, cortizone shots, and just about everything else you could think of, I had to have surgery on my right leg. So, when I felt the pain in my left leg I was starting to get discouraged in my training, but was able to get through it. Anyway, at mile 19 my IT Band started to hurt. I had to stop and walk for a bit. At mile 20 the same thing. At mile 21 the same thing. When I hit mile 22, my left leg completely locked up on me with just excruciating pain! I literally could not stand because it hurt so bad. I had to sit down. I prayed. I begged God to not let this happen. I started to cry because I was so angry and frustrated over this. Well, I lost at least 30 minutes of time because of it all, but was eventually able to get up and I told myself if I had to walk the last 4 miles I would walk. I had some black arm warmers with me (we started at 5:30am and it was chilly at the time). I tied those around my left leg and that seemed to help control the pain. I prayed and asked God to at least let me finish the race running and I was able to do that. NOTHING WAS GOING TO KEEP ME FROM FINISHING THAT RACE!

- I LOVED seeing my wife and kids at the finish line. When I passed them at mile 25 and heard them cheering for me, I started crying. It was so inspiring. Pastor Jon and his family also came down to the race to see me finish. It was awesome having people I love there! About 100 yards from the finish, Ezra and Pastor Jon's kids (Ellie, Ethan, and Elisha) all started running with me. We all crossed the finish together and then I saw my beautiful, beautiful wife ... and she actually kissed me ... sweaty and smelly as I was. It must be love. :)

- The temperature was perfect for running, but it rained for about 2 hours ... sometimes lightly other times down pouring!

- The winner ran the race in 2:29.

- There were some "humbling" moments during the race. First, they moved the race time up to 5:30am for the "slower" runners. There was a chance of thunderstorms later and they wanted to make sure everyone would have a chance to finish because we were told they would cancel the raise if it started to thunder. Anyway, the race director kept calling those of us with expected finishing times of 4:45 or longer the "slower runners." I was like, "Come on, man! How 'bout just calling us 'those who will finish in 4:45 or longer." Another humbling part was to know that when the "slower" group of runners started at 5:30am ... well, I was one of the slower of the slower runners. :) I ended up catching up to and passing several of those people though ... until my leg issue.

- My wife made the weekend SO special. She made special shirts for the kids and they all had signs cheering me on. We also were able to take the whole weekend off. We really had no plans and just enjoyed time together as a family. This was seriously one of the best weekends of my life!

Marathon Training by the Numbers

I was just a little curious so I tallied a few numbers from my marathon training this summer. In case you're interested ...

18 ... number of weeks trained
1 ... number of weeks off because of a sickness from Satan himself
1 ... number of times I fell while running
3 ... number of week long out of state/country trips I took during training
386 ... total number of miles run while training
1815 ... ounces of water/gatorade I drank while training
4 ... number of blisters
1 ... toenail falling off
9 ... pieces of running equipment purchased
4632 ... number of minutes I ran while training
280 ... number of times I ran
280 ... number of times Ezra told me "Dad, don't get me sweaty!" when I came back from running. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Axis Wrap Up 9-8-10 Life of Humility

We were in our 2nd week of our 5 Ways to Be Awesome series at axis. On this night we talked about the idea that if we want our lives to be awesome we have to be humble. People who are arrogant and proud THINK they are awesome, but they really aren't. Humility is so much more attractive than pride. I showed a short video clip of Colt McCoy's interview after Texas lost the National Championship game last year. Something about Colt McCoy ... he's won more games than any other quaterback in NCAA Division 1 history! In 2008 he won the Walter Camp Award and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. In his senior year he won 13 of the top 15 major college player awards including quarterback of the year, offensive player of the year and most outstanding football player of the year. In other words, this guy's a stud and if anyone had a right to be a little arrogant or cocky, it would be him. But, in this interview he showed such humility. I was just blown away by it.
I believe nothing describes Satan more than pride. And, the Bible says in Proverbs 8:13 that God actually HATES pride. I believe the reason for that is because our pride pulls us away from God. There were 3 types of pride we talked about Wednesday night (shout out to Craig Groeschel). The I am better than you type of pride, the I can handle it myself type of pride, and the it doesn't apply to me type of pride. I am better than you will often keep us blinded from hearing our parents and undertanding them. Some teenagers may often think that their parents simply don't have a clue and just don't get it. But, I challenged our kids to realize that someone who is years older than they are and has been through so many more life experiences than they have, may actually have a bit of wisdom they could share with them. But, their pride often keeps them from understanding that and believing that they know better than their parents. The I can handle it myself type of pride will often cause teenagers to keep their feelings in and never share their emotions or the fact that they are going through some struggles. It also shows itself in our prayer life. If we pray, we are telling God that we can't handle it. If we don't pray, we are basically telling God that we can handle it. I don't need You. The it doesn't apply to me pride will often cause teenagers to believe that they are immune to consequences of choices ... even though they've seen so many others get hurt by the same type of choices. For example ... I can text and drive. Even though it causes accidents, it won't happen to me. I can choose to smoke. Even though millions have died of cancer because of smoking, it won't happen to me. I can be in this bad relationship. I won't compromise my values, even though it's happened to so many others. Pride goes before destruction.
Humility, on the other hand, is so much more attractive. The Bible says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) If pride describes Satan, humility describes Jesus. Not sure about you, but I'd rather be a whole lot more like Jesus than Satan. Humility means we put others before ourselves. It means that we look out for the interests of others. It means that we let others have the spot light. I challenged our teenagers to think about who their relationships would be different if they showed humility in their lives. Imagine they are having problems/drama at school. How would that change if both showed humility and treated the other person as they would like to be treated. Maybe they are having problems with their parents. How would that change if both showed humility and treated the other person as they would like to be treated. Pride only BREEDS arguments (Proverbs 10:13). Humility brings resolution.
We wrapped up the night with the challenge that humility is not something you have until humbling yourself is something you do (One of my favorite Beth Moore quotes). The best way to overcome selfishness is to be generous. The best way to overcome fear is to do something bold. The best way to overcome pride is to do humble things. Overall a really good night.
Next Week: 5 Ways to Be Awesome ... Gratitude.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Tire is Going Flat

Someone left this note on my windshield this morning while I was in our weekly staff meeting at the Martin's Supermarket Starbucks. It's a little difficult to read but it says "Your right rear tire is going flat." What impressed me about the note is that a complete stranger thought enough to take the time out of his/her schedule, find a piece of paper and a pen, write the note, and then place it on my windshield. It made me feel good to receive a small act of kindness like this.

I was reminded of how important kindness is. Small gestures like this show so much. They help a person feel valued. And, it wasn't some HUGE thing that was done. A simple note that basically said, "I think you're important enough to know."

Thanks to the stranger who went of of their way to do this. You brought a smile to my face this morning ... and some air to my tire. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Pittsburgh Feel Good Story

I really enjoy reading stuff by Peter King. Here is an excerpt from his Monday Morning QB article on With all of the negative stuff I heard about Pittsburgh Steeler quarter backs this year, it feels good to read something nice about one of their quarterbacks for a change.

Before I get to the Cutdown weekend news, I want to focus on Pittsburgh for a few paragraphs. Yes, the Steelers. A certain someone's Super Bowl pick. In the wake of the team's preseason game Thursday, and the injury to presumptive starting quarterback Byron Leftwich, and the four-game suspension Ben Roethlisberger begins today, there might just be a little hometown-boy-makes-very-good fairy tale being written.

It's possible Steelers coach Mike Tomlin might play 35-year-old Charlie Batch at quarterback in the opener against Atlanta, or in one of the other three games before Roethlisberger returns to face Cleveland on Oct. 17. Or Tomlin could choose the electric but erratic Dennis Dixon to play some or all of the four games. Whatever, Batch will report for practice today without an idea what the immediate future holds for him.

"I don't know anything,'' he said over the weekend. "But I've thought about what it would be like to have that chance. It would be wonderful. I grew up here, and I dreamed about being Mark Malone or Walter Abercrombie some day. I thank God every day I wake up a Steeler. I get to put the black and gold on every day. I'm living the dream.''

Batch last started a game on opening day 2006, with Roethlisberger out after an emergency appendectomy. He completed 15 of 25 passes that day, three for touchdowns in a 28-17 victory over the Dolphins. That made him 3-0 as a replacement starter for the Steelers over a two-year period, something Tomlin might consider in deciding whether to start Batch and bring in Dixon as a changeup pitcher. Or he could give the job to Dixon. Neither would be a surprise. But if it's Batch, it would be the football gods saying, "Son, you deserve this.''

In 1996, when Batch was a quarterback at Eastern Michigan, his younger sister, Danyl Settles, was killed in the crossfire between rival gangs in the rough Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homestead, where the family grew up. Batch was drafted by Detroit in 1998 and played there for parts of four seasons. When the Lions let Batch go in 2002, the Steelers signed him as a backup. Knowing he was moving back home, he decided he had to do something about the hopelessness and violence that plagued the neighborhood where he was raised.

He started a summer basketball program for the boys and girls in town. The program began the Monday after school let out and ran until the weekend before football practice began in late July. It was a bridge, in essence, to keep kids with nothing to do off the streets. And there were a couple of wrinkles. Whereas kids in the Steel Valley School District had to have a 2.0 grade-point average to play sports, Batch made it 2.2 -- so kids would know it's a privilege, and not a right, to play in his league. And he coupled educational opportunities with the sport. Batch put computers in his foundation office in Homestead and set up a place for kids to have an after-school program -- in a community with no YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. He partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to begin taking 15 students a summer to the university to work with architecture professors to see if any of the students might have an architectural bent.

This year, 353 boys and girls, from grade school through high school, played in the Batch basketball league. All had the grades to play -- some because Batch is good friends with the high school guidance counselor, who goes to the kids on the borderline at the end of the third term and tells them: No 2.2, no basketball for you this summer.

When I visited Steelers camp in Latrobe, Pa., this summer, Batch told me about all of this, and I said to him, "You could easily be like so many other players -- just take your money, live the good life, buy a house in Boca and move there. Why didn't you do it?''

"Because I never want another family to feel the way my family did,'' Batch said. "Nothing existed there. If the kids have nothing to do, they all go hang out on one block until the cops tell them to move along. Then they just go find another block. They need something to do, something positive. I want them to understand that sports and education can go hand in hand. You've got to be good to be able to do the other.''

Terrelle Pryor, the Ohio State quarterback, was in the program. DeJuan Blair, the San Antonio Spur, was too. But Batch is more excited about the two kids who played who also found out they loved architecture. They're still in high school, and Batch is hoping they have a chance to further their education with academic scholarships.

Batch gives his cell phone out to all the participants in the program -- not so they'll call and ask him who's going to win the Steelers game that week. "I want them to know there's somebody there for them if they need to talk about anything,'' he said. "I get a few calls.''

I hope he gets another one Sunday from Mike Tomlin, telling him he's starting against Atlanta.

Read more:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Team at Asia's Hope

We have a team right now on the other side of the world serving our kids at Asia's Hope. Now sure how many teams we've sent over since 2008, but every team that has gone has come back changed. God just does something special in us when we serve orphans. He also does amazing things through us. Can't wait to hear from the team when they get back. In case you're interested here are two blogs you can check out, including our lead pastor's.

The Brown Bytes

Boyd's Bloggin

Friday, September 3, 2010

9-1-10 Axis Wrap Up: Do More Than Expected

Had a great night at axis Wednesday. We started our new series 5 Ways to Be Awesome
and over the next 5 weeks we'll be looking at 5 different attributes that, if applied to our lives, will help us be ... well ... awesome. Tonight's topic was simply Do More Than What's Expected of You. I said that phrase over and over through out the night and it was the one point I wanted to drive home to our kids. The idea is to understand that your reputation is one of the most important things you have (Proverbs 22:1). What you do, your work ethic, your attitude, your servant's heart represent you but even more importantly, if you are a follower of Jesus, they represent Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:23). I encouraged our kids to be willing to stretch themselves, to make themselves uncomfortable in order to keep growing. People notice those types of things. It helps their reputation and, more importantly, helps us represent Jesus well.
I showed a clip from the great DVD ever made ... The Complete History of the Pittsburgh Steelers ... :) and in the clip I showed the Immaculate Reception, voted the greatest play in NFL history. Anyway, Coach Chuck Noll was interviewed about this play and he said that the play happened because Franco Harris did more than what he was expected to do. His assignment on the play was to block the outside linebacker. When he noticed that the outside linebacker was not rushing, but was dropping back in to pass coverage and when he also noticed the Terry Bradshaw was starting to scramble on the play, Franco Harris tried to somehow get in to the open. In doing this, more than what was expected of him on the play, it put him in position to make the Immaculate Reception. Coach Noll's exact words were "All this comes from doing more than what you were expected to do."
I really tried to drive this point home to our kids and help them realize that they'll never regret doing their best. They'll never regreat doing more than expected. Will things always turn out how they want? No, but they'll be able to lay their head on their pillow at night realizing they did their best.
We had 17 first time visitors, which is just AWESOME! Kids were serving all over the place and it was just a really positive night. We had two new kids on our worship team. Jeremy did just a great job of bringing us before the throne of God.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let's Be Awesome

We're kicking off our new series at axis called 5 Ways to Be Awesome. Over the next 5 weeks we'll be looking at 5 different character traits that, I believe, will help us be ... well ... awesome!

Something interesting I read in the book Training Camp by Jon Gordon was that in professional baseball, if a player has a .250 batting average, they're considered an average player. But, if a player has a .350 batting average, they're considered an all-star. A player with a .250 batting average can earn a decent living, but a player with a .350 batting average can make millions and millions of dollars and earn even more through endorsement deals. They'll be an all-star and may even make it in to the Hall of Fame. But, what's really interesting is the difference between a .250 batter and a .350 batter in a baseball seaons is only 1.7 hits a week. That's it. 1.7 hits a week is the difference between an average player and an All-Star. The nearly 2 extra hits a week generally happens because the player is willing to work hard at just doing ordinary things a little bit better than those around him. In other words, they're willing to do more than expected of them.

That will be our topic for the night: If you want to be awesome, do more than is expected of you. Can't wait to share and looking forward to seeing kids AND adults (myself at the top of the list) do more than expected of us.

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