Saturday, May 19, 2007

Another reason to Google

Okay, I know you people are worried that I have sold my soul to Google. Here is why, They have high quality products for free. Free is one of my favorite words. In the past year...

1. I have switched from Bloglines to Google Reader for my aggregating

2. I have switched to the iGoogle personalized home page, for my news and turned the TV off

3. I have dropped my Microsoft Office & Outlook Express for Google tools including Calendar, Notes, and task lists.

4. I have stopped paying Clearsurf $20 a month for email and added Gmail

5. I have started collaborating on Google Docs with my staff and leaders

6. I have started blogging again on Blogger

7. I have started uploading old & new videos to Youtube or G00tube if you want o call it that.

and now they come out with something else that I can't wait to use! FREE 411 from your cell phone! You heard it right, now instead of calling Verizon for names and addresses, I can call Google anytime for free. Here is the Scoop.

Here is the 411

Google Voice Local Search is Google’s experimental service to make local-business search accessible over the phone.

To try this service, just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone.

Using this service, you can:
search for a local business by name or category.

You can say "Giovanni's Pizzeria" or just "pizza".
get connected to the business, free of charge.
get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone.Just say "text message".

And it's free. Google doesn’t charge you a thing for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Abby's Dance Recital

Here is the video of Abby's dance recital.

Sermon Series Structure Strategy

Some of us had a discussion the other night and out of it I realized that most people who are "regulars" of CBC and you church planters who read this blog might benefit from pulling back the curtain a bit as to how we strategically plan our messages. It is not by accident, and much planning and thought, go into when how and why a message series, or study is preached. For those of you who believe that pre-planning is the enemy of the Holy Spirit, I say that He knows this year what we need to preach next year. Don't use the Holy Spirit's leading as an excuse to procrastinate or fail to plan altogether. Enough ranting, here is the process....

1. Pray - "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable." Seek God's face and specifically ask him to burden you with a message that people desperately need to hear.

2. Plow - read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, rest, read, read, read, read, read.

3. Plan - "Look to the fields for they are white already to harvest." Why did Jesus say this? Because he had prayed, and plowed, planned and planted. The woman of Samaria was the reason. Now he drew the attention of the disciples to the harvest. It was no accident that the city was coming to hear Him. He planned it that way.

  • Know the season - Different seasons are more effective for different crops. The heat and rain storms of the summer combine to make some great watermelons. In message preparation, we see Four distinct harvest seasons in our community. By that I mean times that we can draw people from the community into Cornerstone for one service. Those times are: 1. Christmas 2. Easter 3. Back to School 4. Harvest (All Saints Day for those of you boycotting Halloween.) Knowing this, our message calendar revolves around these seasons. For instance prior to those seasons we teach evangelism and missions. We want to call attention to the fields as Jesus did. After that season, we teach a shallow end (seeker sensitive) message series. These are meant to serve as a easy first few steps for newcomers to get acclimated to church. Topics might include money, marriage, or parenting. Know the season!

  • Know your field - Different fields have different soil makeup. A good farmer will tailor his nutrients (fertilizer) and crops to the makeup to his field. For this analogy the field is the community. What are the specific needs facing the people of Four Corners. It is my experience that there is little soil differentiation between the community in the church and the community outside of the church. Thus a message for the un-churched is just as applicable to the un-un-churched. Take these things into consideration. What are their hurts, what are their temptations, what are their needs. Get out there and talk to people in your community and you will know what their needs are. Know your field!

  • Know your crop - Do you remember the line in Planes Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin yells at John Candy "when you tell a story, have a point!" What is the point (crop) that you are trying to get. When considering a message series, know your goals. Preaching is not teaching. Teaching conveys knowledge, preaching is designed to change beliefs or behaviors. What are the incorrect beliefs that I need to address? What behaviors are not being lived out in our church that I can speak to? What needs to happen as a result of this series.

For example, let me pull back the curtain a little more on the series structure for 2007....

Christmas 2006 - Harvest

January/February - Money Talks - 5 talks on money without asking for any. This was by design shallow end series, as a post harvest series for the Christmas newcomers. For those of you who may not know... we taught giving in our small groups during this time. But really addressed a need that people in our community identified with.

February/March - The WORLD series - A series on missions. This was designed to help our people prepare their hearts for the upcoming Easter harvest.

April/May - The 5 Love Languages - Another series designed to get people into the habit of attending church. This is a shameless attempt to let people test drive church attendance after coming from the first time on Easter. We usually will pass out invitations for this type series.

June/July - Building Life in Disney's World - This is a series through the book of Ephesians. It is specifically designed to address needs in the field. Ephesus was a city that is much like our own. Paul really addresses some of our same issues that we face here.

July/August - Conversations -To address questions and respond to the people of Cornerstone. To dialogue with them in a sporadic series that is disconnected on purpose. Many will be vacationing and it is a great time to address some issues.

August/September - Kidz Rule - This is a parenting series that is designed to help parents perform a hostile takeover and kick Jr. out of the corner office. Again this is a harvest series.

September/October - Disciple - To teach spiritual disciplines. I am still working on this, but it will most likely be a study through James, or one of the gospels. This will strengthen us for the upcoming Harvest.

I don't have the November & December planned out but I know that November will be about evangelism, and December is again Harvest. Also, we strategically will plan outreach events to go along with each harvest. All in all, for better or worse, this is how we do it. I am not saying that it is the only way, but how God has led our pastoral leadership team to plan for the harvest. Also, It is important to remember that our worship service is just the front door ministry of our church. It is designed to meet people where they are and walk alongside people into a small group.

Please feel free to email me if you have questions or comments.


Communication is vital to any relationship. Especially church. In leading a relatively new work things can change at the drop of a hat. But the communication I refer to is more vision casting. It is helping people to know where we are going, and how we will get there. I had the opportunity to sit down with some people this week and one on one, sharpen their vision for why we do, what we do. Every time I get this opportunity to explain and re-prove the vision of our church, fears are aleeved, and faith is increased. God is doing some amazing things at Cornerstone right now. Most of it is behind the scenes, and as a result, some are a little wary of where we are headed, they see change and are afraid. But once they see what God is doing, they will know that God is in this thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Save the Bunny

Have you done this yet? It took me three times to do the surgery in time. Click here to perform surgery on the bunny. For as silly as it is, you get to where you can't stop until you save the life of this poor bunny.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell by Larry Flint

The Reverend Jerry Falwell exemplifies the essence of what we should be as believers living in this increasingly darkened world. Here is a statement about him that I found to be quite interesting:

"The Reverend Jerry Falwell and I were arch enemies for fifteen years. We became involved in a lawsuit concerning First Amendment rights and Hustler magazine. Without question, this was my most important battle ? the l988 Hustler Magazine, Inc., v. Jerry Falwell case, where after millions of dollars and much deliberation, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in my favor. My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling. The most important result of our relationship was the landmark decision from the Supreme Court that made parody protected speech, and the fact that much of what we see on television and hear on the radio today is a direct result of my having won that now famous case which Falwell played such an important role in.” --Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler Magazine

The famous lawsuit came after the magazine used Jerry’s photo in an ad for a certain brand of liquor along with a parody (Fake interview) with him about his "first time." The story was particularly graphic and lewd, not to mention insulting. Falwell sued the magazine over character defamation, probably more in an attempt to stand against the whole of the porn industry than to save his own name. What I love about the quote from Larry Flint is that even though Jerry cost him millions in legal fees, and stood against everything he is, the Spirit of God still allowed Jerry to minister grace. We often talk about hating the sin and loving the sinner. This is what it looks like fleshed out. The difficulty that we face today is a growing trend towards either of two extremes. The fightin’ fundamentalist who spews venom on everyone or the bleeding heart liberal who approve those who practice the sin. I pray that I can always stay unspotted from the world and stand for right even when it is unpopular, but I also pray that on my passing, even my greatest enemy will write such a statement of me. That through my opposition to their sin, the grace and the love of God overcomes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Set Up Commercial

I just uploaded our set up commercial to YouTube. Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2007

God has my mind spinning

I am currently reading a number of books all at the same time. I don't know how it happened other than I was given two, one by a friend and another at a conference, one I had ordered finally arrived, one I loaned out came back, and the one I was already reading. All in all it is a bit confusing, but my mind is spinning. I am so aware that God is doing something exciting at Cornerstone. He is really at work in my heart in the area of church planting and Four Corners. Alan Hirsch gives this quote in The Forgotten Ways. "on one occasion some youth ministry specialists I work with identified in an hour 50 easily discernible youth subcultures." (jocks, nerds, grease heads, goths, skaters, surfers, preps, geeks, good Ol boys, punks, etc.)
Wow! As I look at our area of Four Corners, I see the same thing. This really is a metropolitan suburb. What normally exists in the inner city, we, because of Disney, have in our subdivision. What does a church look like that is made up of so many discernible subcultures. Can they co-exist in one church? What about blending them into one service, is it possible? If it is possible would it be effective or too schizophrenic? What then are our options, what must we do to reach each of these cultures? I know that if I started a church to the jocks, that the nerds would not come, and vice-versa. The goths and the preps are the same. In fact, I can't see effectively reaching them all corporately, unless we strive to reach them all individually. On their cultural playing field. Let me give you some of the subcultures that I see in Four Corners. 1. Young families 2. Retired Seniors from the North 3. Single Adults 4. Southern Gospelers 4. Spanish 5. Islanders 6. Black American 7. Haitian 8. Asian 9. Arabic 10. British. Now I don't know that they cannot co-exist, but I do know that for the most part they don't. If you take EPCOT as our consummate example. There is one park, centered around one lake. There are many countries, but each one has borders, They have their own food, their own architecture, their own music. Is it possible that this is what our church should look like, One church, one Savior, but various services to each subculture? It is my prayer that God will give me insight into how to reach His people here in Four Corners, no matter what side of the lake they are on.

In The Daily

Yesterday we launched a new study through the book of Ephesians on our devotional blog, "In the daily" You can find a link on the right sidebar. Our small group Bible Fellowship tables will be discussing a chapter each week on the topic of Building Life Together in Disney's World. We know that working in a vacation town is difficult and vastly different than either the big cities or the small town. In this study we will look at the bustling city of Ephesus and how the faithful there were challenged to live for God in a town built to house the great temple of the goddess Dianna. It is our goal that everyone in the church join one of these small group studies on Sunday, that they will read along in the prescribed reading plan, and take a few minutes to read the devotional blog. By doing this we know that our small group study will move from on Sunday to in the daily. And it will have a much greater impact in our lives.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day