Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I saw an ad in a Consumer Electronics magazine recently that read, "If you're not innovating, you're just imitating."

What a profound statement that is. We live in a world of church copycats. Whatever is working somewhere, we think we can bring home, replicate it, and expect the same results. Imitating may be the most sincere form of flattery, but since when did the effectiveness of the Church have anything to do with flattery?

I have the utmost respect for Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Ed Young, and on and on, but what makes these men great to me is their willingness to hear what the Lord has called them to do in their specific places and follow Him into their endeavors. That is the one thing we should imitate from them - their innovation.

Jesus was an innovater. He took the law, fulfilled it, demonstrated it, lived it, and equipped some guys who spent time with him to do the same. They in turn took the message of Jesus to different places in different ways and gave birth to the Church. None of the churches in the Bible were exactly the same. They were all different with different struggles, different strengths, and different people. Jesus trained them for diversity. Our churches should be diverse. They should be innovative. They should all have different strengths. They should work together to overcome weaknesses. They shouldn't waste time thinking, "Why didn't we think of that?" or "we should do that".

God has a plan and a purpose for every church. My prayer is that our church would be more focused on being innovators than imitators. Our success is not determined by the success of other churches. Our results are not dependent upon the same formulas and strategies of other churches. Our success asks, "Lord, what do you want us to be?" How can we be innovators in San Marcos? How can we compliment the churches that are already here? Are we hearing your voice for what you're calling us to be?

Lord, may you allow us to fight the temptation to be imitators. May we not compare ourselves with the "success" of other churuches. Teach us to be innovators. Teach us to be world changers. Teach us to leave a wake of Christ-followers behind us. Teach us to demonstrate Your love and law to a world that is begging to see it. Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


For the first time in a long time, I was prophesied over. When I was a kid I used to go to a church that had a healing service, and my parents took me there one night because I had been diagnosed with Juvenile Rhumetoid Arthritis. I don't remember much, but I remember a lady whispering in my ear speaking to me about the timing of my healing. What I do remember is that her prophecy was not fulfilled ... well ... actually her timing was just a little off.

Today, our team spent the day with Norman and Grace Barnes. Norman is an internation minister who speaks, ministers, and supports ministries all over the world, literally in over 50 countries. His testmiony is amazing. God has used him in tremendous ways over the past 40 or so years. For whatever reason, the Lord has seen fit to connect us with him. He loves our church, and feels called to invest in it (and in us) for the long haul.

For the first half of the day we talked church - hallmarks of Kingdom-minded, successful churches. We learned a lot, had a lot of healthy discussion, and asked a lot of questions. The day flew by, and as we were drawing near time to leave, Norman suggested we see what the Holy Ghost had to talk to us about. This is the kind of stuff you don't learn in church planting books. We had all seen him prophecy to a college student named Erik two nights before, and it was amazing. None of us had ever met Erik until that Sunday night, and his life was an open book before Norman. He saw into his life, identified his past, and gave him hope for his future. It was amazing, and we were blessed by being a part of it. However, it's different when you know in advance that you're going to be prophesied over.

So, we began to pray, and I began to get a little nervous. Fortunately, he went to Clay first and addressed him. He used a word that I had to look up later to describe Clay, and told him that he saw the likeness of one of the disciples (he was very specific, but I don't feel led to share all the details) in him - amazing! If I could have said something to Clay, it would've been that, but I hadn't thought of it. Brian was next. He identified Brian's main gift, encouraged him in it, and boldly procalimed how he should use it. Again, amazing - what I would've said, but ... yep ... hadn't thought about it yet. Christy was next, then John, then Holly and I were the only ones left. Norman proceeded to speak words from the Lord into our lives. Some things we knew, some things were brand new, but all things were from the Lord. We knew it, we were praying through these things together, and we could feel the unity of the Spirit. It was pleasing to the Spirit and to us to hear from the Lord in this way.

It's amazing to me that God can and does use those who are willing to encourage others. Norman simply listened to God, and God spoke clear as day to me. He told me what I needed to hear for my current struggles, He affirmed me, challenged me, and allowed me to see things in myself that I had not yet seen. Some of the things, I've yet to see, and they are things I don't think I'm ready for at this point.

Norman said that someone prophesied over him once, and it took 20 something years for it to come to fruition. I guess where I am is that I'm so glad that God is in control of the plan for my life and for our church. He is in control. He is in the middle of everything we're doing. He is planning this thing out far in advance, and all He's asking me to do is to trust Him and walk with Him. Thank you, Jesus that Your grace is enough, and that you are true to Your Word. You're amazing me this week, and I am honored to be Your Son. I love You, and I pray that my love for You would overflow on and in to the world around me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Activity and Adoration

We are reading a great book as a staff entitled Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. In this week’s chapter on worship, we ran across a great quote. “Activity is the enemy of Adoration.” Let that sink in for a minute. Say it to yourself. I think this idea has some very significant implications for us.

Jesus tells us that He came that we may not only have life, but have it to the full. I guess the question I have is … full of what? There is no question that our lives are full of stuff. Full of school, full of work demands, full of extracurricular activities, full of recreation, full of finals, full of homework, and full of dysfunctional relationships. It seems that our lives are full, but not the kind of full that Jesus was talking about. He came that our lives may be full in Him, but my fear is that we’re so full of everything else that all we give to God is the left-overs. That spinach enchilada from Los Cucos is good microwaved on the second day, but it pales in comparison to the way it tasted when it first came out. Steaming hot, fresh out of the oven, dripping with cheese, accented with beans, rice, fresh vegetables and served with chips, salsa and green sauce. When you just have the left-overs, you’re missing out on the whole experience.

We are often settling for less that what we could have. I think we need to have a priority check. Is our “full” life keeping us from church? Are we neglecting meeting together with our community of believers because we’re too busy? Activity is the enemy of adoration. You were created to worship the Lord, to adore Him, to stand in awe. If it’s been a while since you’ve been at that place of worship, I’m willing to place a bet (I can do that now that I’m not Baptist anymore) that it’s because of too much activity. If activity has kept you away from worship, away from adoration, it’s time to confess that sin to the Lord, and make it right with Him. Don’t settle for once a month with the Lord when you could have it every day. Learn to say no, learn to be Still, and invest in the Kingdom and in your church.