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.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Full Sunday

This past Sunday Melissa & I had a very full day. First we had the launch team meeting to lead together. It was a packed house with my parents visiting and our newest team members Larry & Carol Hall joining us for the first time. We had a shorter connecting time b/c there was so much to accomplish in the meeting. Like all other meetings, we started with a team member couple giving their testimony of recieving Christ as Savior. Luke & Beth Fields were this morning. The goal was to have each person assigned to a Sunday morning service position and also talk about how we will do membership.
My sister and her husband Trevor with their five children were in town with my parents for my ordination service which was at 3:00pm.
Pastor Jim Custer powerfully preached a short message from II Timothy 4:1-5 and Pastor Rick Nuzum led Melissa & I through serious vows. Five Grace Church elders laid hands and prayed over us as we knelt: Ed Jackson, Jeff Martin, Brad Fulton, Dale Dunn, and Rick Nuzum. All those in attenance were also invited to surround us as the men prayed. It was clearly a marked moment in my life and for the launch team as we move ahead with Encounter Church.
Once the service was over we had the opportunity to speak in the lobby to most of those who attended. I was truly honored by those who came out to support us.
Once we arrived back home we had only 20 mins. before heading out to the Taylor small group by 6:00pm. That was an enjoyable time as we spoke about what we had learned from our study of Matthew 4-6.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Family Fun Down On The Merrell Farm

A few months ago I met Pam Merrell hosting at a Jerome Township restaurant. I've frequented the spot more than a half dozen times since. I found out from her that she has a love for animals...stray, healthy or sick, she'll tak'em in. I told her about my kids love for animals and this weekend we have my sister Sara, her husband Trevor and their five children in town. So I arranged for the 13 of us to visit the farm. Here are just a few pics. of a delightfully fun Saturday morning. Pam and her husband Jim were very generous hosts to all of us, providing horse rides to all the kids who wanted them and candy too.

Monday, October 6, 2008


It was good to be back at the YMCA in Powell again. Fran, the lady who unlocks the building for us has been such a gracious host. Some of the team were out doing various other activities so our numbers were a little less than normal. As always, we started out with a time to connect and have a cup of coffee. The problem this week was the machine hadn't been turned on. So Rob, being "johnny on the spot" stepped in and helped. Notice the water streaming out of the machine with no pot under it:-)
The meeting started with Rob & Carolyn Dubois giving their testimony of receiving Christ as Savior. It was moving to hear all that God has done in their lives.
We spoke about the core value SERVE and why it is so important for the follower of Christ:

-to follow Christ’s example / to bring praise/glory to the Father / it is what we were created for / because our world values it and it helps us gain “favor”.

I also shared a few quotes about serving that I heard in a seminar while attending the church planters conference Exponential '08:

Good deeds, create good will, that allow you to share the Good News”.

Evangelism is the ultimate goal, not the ulterior goal”. (we will serve even if we aren't able to share Christ)
The last thing we spoke about was who we are to serve and in what order of priority: Our own family - Other followers of Christ - Our employers - Our neighbors