Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve Day @ the Creation Museum

Our family was invited by the Mielke family four years ago to see the almost completed Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. It was/is the dream of Ken Ham, who was one one my guest lecturers 20 years ago in Bible college, to have a state of the art museum dedicated to teaching Biblical truth about the world and how life began. It took more than $27 million and has hundreds of volunteers and paid staff members. We were so impressed by it that we became charter members. That allows our family of six to visit anytime over a five year period of time and also provide up to four individuals a free pass in anytime over the same five years. If you're reading this blog and want to see the place for yourself, give me a call. It's just under two hours from Dublin, OH.
Here are some fun pics. from our visit. They had a live nativity outside where it was 27 degrees Fahrenheit. That's why you see me standing beside the fire with a shepherd. And no, that's not MY purse!I was simply holding for my wiffy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Last Sunday Service at Grace Church

Yesterday was not only the final Sunday of 2008, it was also the last time I'll likely attend a service at Grace Church. That is unless they have me come as a guest speaker:-) The entire service was dedicated to people testifying about the goodness of God. I also was given the opportunity to share about our next steps and introduced those from the launch team who were in attendance. I hope to add a video clip from the morning once they send it to me.
I will always cherish the years I spent learning the ropes of ministry from my friend, mentor and boss Rick Nuzum. I am so grateful for the time he spent pouring his godly life and advice into mine.
Of course there are many others that have also influenced my life over the last ten years. The Elders and other pastors of Grace Church, friends who partnered in leading ministires like Neighborhood Bible Clubs and the family campout in the summer; Sunday School, UPSTREET LIVE, and AWANA throughout the school year; and of course my wife Melissa who always ends up having the greatest influence on me. And why not, she is my best friend!
Next Sunday, January 4, 2009 our launch team will celebrate by having communion together as we meet for the first time in our rental facility Eli Pinney Elementary. I'll be excited to share about that next week.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

1st Ever for the Spoelstra's

It's Saturday night December 27th and we've just gotten home from a fun night of card playing and supper with some great friends.

This Christmas vacation is different than any other we've experienced in 10 years b/c their have been no family from afar staying at our home and we didn't go out of town.

Don't get me wrong, we love to have guests in our home and usually do, but with all the transitions this year has brought and will continue to bring, dedicated family time has been awesome!

Our kids got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. I have been resistent to having a gaming system in the house for years until my son carefully appealed to me to pray about it six months ago. It's a large ticket item for the Spoelstra household so we told our children to pool their allowances. Six months later and with a financial gift to each child from great-grandma they are now the very, very happy owners of a Wii as you can see in the picture below:-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Here is a well done video that tells of a tragic story but leaves you with hope. The narrator is a pastor friend of mine named Todd Scoles from Marysville Grace Brethren Church.

Have a very Merry Christmas and give a big hug to those close to you.

The Christmas Bells from Clay Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Final Meeting at the YMCA

This morning ended what was five months of launch team meetings. I'm sure our 17 families are ready to quit talk'n theory and start living out the practical.
Here are some pics. from this mornings meeting. We had an extended time of prayer together and then talked through the next few weeks

Beth Fields pictured below also led a discussion on spiritual gifts. It's late into December so many of our people were not at the meeting but those who were there participated well. This coming Wednesday is our mother churches Christmas Eve service which many of our people will attend as well as the 10:00AM service on the 28th. After that our launch team will be onsite at our rental facility Eli Pinney Elementary getting used to the building before services start in February.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Last night was really fun. Our mother church allowed us to use their very nice basement for our Christmas party. It allowed the perfect combination for connecting, playing games, enjoying desserts and listening to to a couple share about how they came to follow Jesus Christ. We had a number of visitors and almost the entire launch team present. There was much laughter and some deep conversations. Melissa, my sweetheart, led a very fun game for the whole group. Here's how it is played: -three people sit on stools, something is read allowed that is only true about one of them but they all have to answer questions from the crowd as though it is true of all of them -then the crowd votes on who they think it is and then the person it is true about stands up.
View the pictures from Sunday night by CLICKING HERE, then read the captions and then vote yourself about who the statement is about.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Personal Finances and Church Budget

It's been two weeks since the Encounter Church launch team has been together. That seemed like an eternity since many of us usually see each other two, three or more times in a normal week. As usual we had a couple give their testimony. Today we heard from Jeff & Sheila Persall.
Then Sheila informed the group about Antioch Adoption Agency out of Washington State. It's an organization that helps families adopt American children for little to no cost. This may be a group we partner with in some way in the future because many of our launch team families have a heart to foster or adopt.
With the time that remained we had an open discussion about Biblical giving and many people shared openly their thoughts and personal experiences as God has grown them in this area.
I was able to share my heart in a number of ways and lead the group through the six key of the book, "The Treasure Principle", by Randy Alcorn.
The meeting ended with Kyle Mielke laying out the vision for our offerings once we begin to recieve them in January 2009. The simple breakdown by percentages is as follows:

40% Personnell (my salary, future staff, interns)
20% Operations (office and ministry supplies)
20% Facilities (rental, future land/building)
20% Give Away (15%-missionaries,5%-church plant)
Ultimately it is all for ministry and all the Lord's. We are HIS stewards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Since We Last Met

This is the longest I've gone without an entry in months. With the normal busyness of life and then going to a mountain in West Virginia for Thanksgiving that was out of cell phone and internet range, I simply haven't been able to write. Sorry to make the three of you who read this blog wait so long:-)
Since we last met...I've moved into an office in Dublin, the launch team visited Marysville Grace Brethren Church on a Sunday morning, we bought an 18 foot trailer to store all our church supplies, our family went to WV and met up with all of Melissa's immediate family, I got my jeep covered in mud off-roading and we attended Grace Church, our mother church this past Sunday morning.
Here's a few pics. of our time in WV.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Fine Line Coming Soon

Back on August 20th I posted a blog about, My Bud Kary Oberbrunner. I mentioned then that he had a book coming out in a few months. The book, The Fine Line, hits shelves next month. One of his quotes that struck me was,
“Our difference from the world, not our similarity to it sets us apart".

Think about it...we wear the same clothes, drive the same vehicles, live in the same houses, have the same occupations and eat the same food. What is it that really sets us apart???

Read the book to find out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This morning after speaking to the "Reflections" ABF at Grace Polaris, Kyle and I headed over to the Powell YMCA for our weekly luanch team meeting. This morning we heard the testimony of Chaz & Laurie Freutel and then had an extended time of prayer as couples using the A-C-T-S model. That is Adoration - Confession - Thanksgiving - Supplication. Then we went over our fourth and last core value: MULTIPLY. Multiplication is something we have been commanded to to in the great commission, Matt. 28:18-20 and it is something we at Encounter Church will do in every ministry area and at all levels. An example would be always having a leader and an apprentice leader in a small group. That way the group has someone on purpose ready to lead the next group. We will also be on the lookout for up-in-coming leaders to better plan for a group to multiply.

This second picture is me signing Joey & Tiffany Holibaugh's marriage license. I forgot to sign it two weeks ago after I officiated their wedding.

Grace Polaris Visit

This morning my buddy Kyle Mielke and I visited the Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) class "Reflections". A week ago I was contacted by their leader Gerry Oliver who said they wanted to here about Encounter Church so they could pray for our ministry. It was a joy to speak to the group, many of whom have been attending Grace Polaris for over thirty years. Because Grace Polaris partnered in planting Grace Church in Powell, it makes her our Grand-Mother church:-) How neat is that?!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Guest Reader

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest reader in my daughters school for their "Celebrate Reading Week". I thought it'd be a lot of fun and yesterday I got to read to all three of my daughters classes. They helped to pick the books. For Rachel's class I read, "The Little Mailman of Bayberry Lane". Melissa's grandmother had read it to her when she was in elementary school. Sara and Abby had me read, "The Paperbag Princess", a book given to Abby by a family friend in 2004 after she was a flower girl. The kids all listened well and had many comments after I was done.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Baptism Service

Today was the long anticipated day for Encounter Church's first baptism service. We had twenty people scheduled until I received a phone call last night from my friend Matt Berner. He had heard we were doing baptism's and wanted to join us. I was honored to be asked. So this morning there were twenty-one boys, girls and adults who obeyed the Lord's command found in Matthew 28:18-20.
I spoke about this day being a "Marked Moment" in each of their lives. A day to look back on and remember what Christ has done for them. Then we heard each person answer two questions: Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? and Why are you being baptized today? It was encouraging to hear of their commitment to our Lord. Dalan Zartman and Rob Dubois then led the group in a few worship songs. Once the testimonies were finished the group headed across the hallway to the pool.
It was nice to see a variety of friends and family members in attendance. Once all the baptisms were finished I invited anyone else in the crowd who knew they were a follower of Christ and hadn't yet been baptized to come into the water and I would baptize them. There were no takers but I wanted to at least extend the offer.

Enjoy these pictures from the morning.

Encounter Church Baptism's 2008-11-09

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Encounter Men Go To War

Yes, we men at Encounter had our first official paintball war. Fifteen brave souls fought valiantly on the field of battle and have many welts to prove it. Many tales will be told and purhaps a few songs sung about the valor in which the men fought. Here are a few pictures to remember the day.

Tomorrow is the very anticipated baptism service at the Powell YMCA. We now have 20 people obeying the Lord this way. Six adults and 14 children. I will definately have pictures and commentary for you to see and read.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A First Time For Everything

Hello. My name is Sean Spoelstra, I'm 37 yrs. old and I'd never eaten at White Castle My buddy Robert Taylor and I were running a few errands and he offered to pay for lunch. I told him I'd never on my own go but since he was treating, why not. I ate two jalapeno and three regular sliders. It's been two hours now and I shouldn't describe to you how my body has reacted...but it ain't good. I don't think we'll be catering any major events at Encounter Church with the above named organization:-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Ordinances: Baptism & Communion

Yesterday we were blessed to hear two couples testimonies on where and when Christ intersected their lives. Just before that we had a fun time reconnecting as always over a cup of coffee and some treats. First off was Bill & Angie Kelly and then Jeremy & Erica Hart. I am convinced that by each couple telling their story, the team is bonded together even more. I told everyone to listen carfully and follow up with each other because our lives may be used to minister into the life of someone else in the future.
Our topic of discussion yesterday was Biblical ordinances. Next week we have twenty adults and children being baptized so I thought it would be good for us to talk about it beforehand. Next we spoke about communion. It, if anything sets our fellowship of churches apart from most other denominations. We have a three-fold communion consisting of a light meal, footwashing and the bread & the cup. In all it is about an hour and a half experience where the believer reflects on the past, present and future work of Christ in our lives. I have come to love the way we do communion, though our heart is not to force it on others. As we say, "You can belong before you believe". Part of the meaning of this statement is that folks are welcome to simply observe and then decide if they want to participate. Of course as I spoke to the launch team I told them they're doing it or else:-)
Kristi Mielke also offered the group an opportunity to partner with our mother church in purchasing a meal and delivering it to a needy family in Delaware County.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Karrer Middle School FCA

This morning I had the opportunity to speak to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) group at Karrer MS. Five blog entries back titled, "An Opportunity to Speak", I wrote about speaking at Sells MS, also in Dublin. The topic was, "Submitting to and praying for those in authority over us".

This morning the topic stayed the same but I had a current life illustration to share. You see, two days after I spoke last week I got a speeding ticket on the 270 loop. I was driving 75mph in a 65mph zone. So after reading the teens Romans 13:1,2 & 4, which says all earthly authorities have been placed there by God and are in a position to punish wrong-doers, I ask them what they thought I said to the State Trooper...You bet I said "Yes Sir" and "No Sir". I even told the man I knew I had done wrong. I would've been happy if he had just given me a warning, but alas he did not. Lesson learned.

The Sweet Taste of Victory

As I two finger type I am enjoying the spoils of sending out my children last night to get free candy from our neighbors. They all gave me their unliked candy, but they're not home now:-) Don't worry I'm not stealing...I told them I'd be pilfering their stashes.

Here's a shot of them from last night. Zach's a pirate, Abby a Zoo Keeper, Sara a cowgirl and Rachel an angel.

I also had a fun time connecting with various neighbors who were on their driveways handing candy out. I'd say halloween is one of the best times of the year to do this. When else do you have permission to walk onto every person in the nieghborhoods property, stand in their doorway and possibly have a conversation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"The Main Event II"

Here in Columbus, Ohio we don't have an NFL team to cheer for, BUT we do have The Ohio State football team. They are known as the Buckeyes and the fans here are absolutely nuts about them. Two years ago a player on the team named Joel Penton sat in our churches conference room telling our pastoral staff about an idea he and a few of the other players had for reaching Columbus for Christ. That was to rent out St. John Arena (the old basketball building beside the football stadium), bring in the band, some cheerleaders and have players talk about how they came to have a personal relationship with Christ. And to top it all off, have the nationally known, highly respected Head Coach Jim Tressel speak of his own relationship with God and respect for his players. That event two years ago had so many attend they were tuning people away at the doors. Hundreds of people came to Chirst and the area churches were given the names to follow-up on.
Tonight, two years later, was the Main Event II. Not as many people came this year but my son Zach and I got the chance to be part of the event staff and see up close and personal these soon to be pro athletes speak of Christ. We ended up being on the front row where the band marched inches from where we were standing. It was neat to see people we knew from church and school who had brought their neighbors and friends.

I was glad to spend the time doing some ministry with my son as many came to Christ tonight.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Visit to Vineyard

As I've mentioned before, our launch team has been visiting numerous Columbus area churches to see how others are "Seeking HIS Kingdom First". This morning we went to the Columbus Vineyard. They are very proactive with planting churches and may be Columbus' largest church. We enjoyed our time there and got some more great ideas on how to do Sunday morning services.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Incredible Story

Every other month I attend the North Central Ohio (NCO) pastor’s fellowship meeting. Today it was held at Grace Polaris, which is Grace Church’s mother church. That makes her my grand-mother churchJ. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with other pastor’s in our fellowship and hear updates of what God is doing from individual churches in our district and around the world. Today we heard a story from an African pastor named Francois Ngoumape about how he was kidnapped last November by rebels and how his life was miraculously spared. Tears fell from his eyes as he spoke of God’s protective hand actually inhibiting his captors from killing him with a machete and a machine gun. It was stunning to hear. Here is a picture of him telling his story.
When the meeting ended we all had a delicious lunch provided by our hosts. After that I attended the NCO District Missions meeting where I was asked to give an update on how things are going with Encounter Church. The last time I was at one of these meetings was five months ago and the minutes had down that I had said there were 7-8 families committed. Today I had the pleasure of reporting there are now 17 committed families and that we are having 19 people baptized on November 9 at the Powell YMCA. I also informed them that our Sunday morning launch team meetings will continue until mid-December and that we'll be onsite at Eli Pinney Elementary starting in January. Finally I told them that February and March '09 will be our eight weeks of practice/preview services leading up to April 2009 which will be our Grand Opening month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Opportunity to Speak

This morning I was given the opportunity by Chaz Freutel to speak to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) huddle at Sells MS in downtown Dublin, OH. I brought my son Zach along for the experience since he's a sixth grader.
I told the group of fifty 6-8 graders about two humorous athletic mishaps in my past. The one was receiving a soccer trophy for most goals scored...on my own net. Yep, I played defence and didn't know the strength of my own kick. The other you'll have to ask me about in person b/c it's a little messy.
I was asked to speak about politics so I compared the political world of Jesus and the Apostle Paul's day with our own. Back then an emperor demanding his people's worship sent followers of Christ to their deaths while today we in the USA rarely feel the sting of persecution for our faith. Three passages of Scripture I read from were Romans 13:1-7, I Timothy 2:1-4, and Titus 3:1,2. Though they were hated and terribly mistreated, the Word of God clearly instructed Christians two thousand years ago to obey and pray for those ruling over them.
Today we must also recognize that those in authority over us were put there by God to accomplish His sovereign will: from parents to police officers to presidents. One qualifier I brought up was that of a human authority telling us to do something that is contrary to God's Word.

i.e. you must have an abortion or you may not speak of Jesus Christ. In situations like these, God's Word trumps man's law.
I closed with my life verse, Proverbs 3:5,6, and encouraged the teens to know God by knowing His Word.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Love The Ones You SERVE

Meeting number six marks the halfway point of our Sunday AM planning and praying together as a launch team. We heard from Kyle & Kristi Mielke about how Christ worked in their lives to bring them into relationship with Him and eachother. Then we took a block of time to talk about what service opportunities we've been involved in in the past and what possible service niches in the Dublin community Encounter Church will do.

Next Sunday the launch team will be visiting the Columbus Vineyard as a field trip and then debrief our experience there. Then on November 2nd our discussion topics will be the core value MULTIPLY and church ordinances: baptism & communion. The reason for discussing baptism is that Sunday, Nov. 9th we'll be having a baptismal service in the Powell YMCA's pool. At this point there are 19 individuals getting baptized: 5 adults and 14 children. It should prove to be a very special
morning. Stay tuned for pictures and commentary.

Encounter Small Group Social

Yesterday a group of us from the Mielke small group met at a local fruit farm and had a fun time picking apples and pumpkins. Here are some pictures and a short video clip of our time. It was a cool Fall day but we still had fun making memories with our kids.