Friday, December 04, 2009

Evian Roller Babies US

Sure. You've seen it, but watch it again, just because today is Friday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What you don't See

What you don't see is Tania Heier taking the shoes off of her son Pablito and giving them to a boy in Nicaragua.  I am so proud of our team in Teco and all the hard work that they do and the sacrifice that they make.  As I stumbled upon this picture on a Facebook profile of a recent missions trip, I was moved to bring it to your attention.  THIS is the reason that we support Paul and Tania, and THIS is why we are building Hope Centers and THIS is why these people are accepting Christ.  Putting shoes to our faith!  How beautiful are the feet of them who bring the gospel!  I can't wait until we go again in February 2010, and want to invite everyone from Cornerstone to get involved in what God is doing in Tecolostote.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Steve Harvey Introduces Jesus

Steve Harvey, secular comedian, in front of a secular audience. He poses the question "How would you introduce God?" His response is amazing. Takes 3 minutes to watch. Well worth it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Josh Harris has a great link over at his blog for a new "filtered" version of Youtube for kids.  My kids 11 & 8 love to get online and see all the funny videos, but it is a full time job for me to keep them from seeing the junk that is somehow related to the other "tame" videos.  that said, there are two or three sites that may help....

1. -  This site was set up as a Christian site, but anyone can post to it.
2. - These are mostly imported & filtered from Youtube by registered parents.
3. - This site requires a membership, and may provide a greater security for what they might see.

Though the web is a dangerous place, and you should never let kids roam freely online, these sites provide a less risky place for kids to enjoy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You can't provoke me!

It seems that church people who don't get involved fall into three categories... the uninformed, the uninspired, and the unprovokable.  Now, my spell checker is telling me that there is no such thing as "unprovokable", but I know because I have seen them with my very own eyes.  Over the last few weeks we have been promoting our small groups with a great amount of success, and as it stands right now we have more sign-ups than we presently average in attendance.  A feat that should not go uncelebrated, but along the way, I have kept a list of people who have not signed up yet.  I realize that some people have busy work schedules, and others are just so disconnected from church that they are not aware of the amazing thing that God is doing in our midst, but forgive me for wondering what in heaven's name is going on with those few who come every week, see what God is doing, hear the testimonies, and still stay unprovoked.  Now I need to be honest that there are only 2-3% of our people that I would categorize this way, but I am praying that God helps me to provoke them either in or out because the work is too great for mere observers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What you don't know...

This week, between the TV camera and the repetition of a 24 hour news media, we have been privy to some amazing feats of immaturity.  Mark Twain once wrote "It's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know for sure that ain't true."    What Kanye, Serena, and Joe did not know [or realize at the time] was that they were all acting like 3 year olds in the line at Wal-mart.  Unfortunately there has been ample opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes, albeit the hard way.   

Ephesians 4:11-15
11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ...

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that God gave the church to help Christians equip themselves for the work, and for their maturity to manhood.  Now some might think that manhood is achieved at some certain age level, or by the number of hairs on one's chest, but  as we saw this week immaturity still likes to sneak out of the house. (sometimes for a national audience)  What we don't know as Christians is that most of us are woefully immature.  We act like spiritual children screaming for the candy, and demanding our way. 

So God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us the church, and in the church he gave us pastors.  Now as pastor is simply a shepherd who leads the sheep to where the good grass is growing.  See sheep tend to wander and need a shepherd to lead them.  God also gave them teachers.  Teachers help us get from a place of ignorance by graduating us one level at a time.  We need teachers so that we do not remain in immaturity.  The old proverb says "What you don't know can't hurt you." but in reality what we don't know, hurts us deeply.  Our own acts of selfishness and immaturity keep us from experiencing the life that God has for us.  Our tantrums hurt other people and embarrass us.  Our selfish ways cause us to always want the toys that the other kid is playing with and we are never satisfied.  

This weekend we start a new message series entitled DEEP.  Deep is a word that scares a lot of people because they fear the unknown, they fear what lurks beneath the surface, they fear getting in over their head.  In reality, these same fears keep them from getting in all the way.  Many Christians are drowning in an inch of water, claiming that they are experiencing the Christian life, but are never fully immersed in it.  Sure once in a while they sit on the edge dangling their feet over the side, but never really get immersed.

It is my goal that everyone at Cornerstone, and all Christians everywhere would realize the joy that comes when you stop splashing around in the shallow end, and dive into the deep.  Maybe for you that means getting in a small group, or perhaps reading a book without Fabio on the cover.  Whatever form it takes, it is my prayer that we will all, as Paul wrote, "grow up in every way."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rifqa Bary's Testimony Before the summer of 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tithe Rap

Thanks to Cornerstone founding member Gabe Hernandez for sending me this link. I thought it appropriate after last weekend's message on Stewardship.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Dangerous Faults

Yesterday I started reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" which is from the 6th century BC.  I have wanted to read it for some time, but it is not my typical genre.  I am half way through and it has given me some insight as a leader of "spiritual warriors" but mostly caused me to look at how I am trying to go about starting a church.  I am aware that our enemy is not of this world, but have gained some personal insight that I am just going to share and hopefully it will cause you to think as well.  About half way through, he relates the 5 major dangerous faults of a General.  I have taken these each individually and applied them to the areas of ministry that I deal in.  I have not edited for spelling or content, so take these random thoughts as Joel's personal application and make your own.

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1)   Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
Recklessness as a pastor would look like what?
                  Not preparing adequately
                  Not praying
                  Not planning a comprehensive preaching calendar
      Pastoral Care
                  Not watching what you say
                  Not saying thanks
                  Not keeping your word
                  Not feeling their hurts
                  Over extending with time, ministry or money
                  Letting anybody start whatever ministry
                  Not screening leaders
                  Not sticking to procedure
                  Not guarding your heart from sin
                  Being alone with a woman who is not your wife
                  Drifting from your time in Prayer and Bible Study
(2)   Cowardice, which leads to capture;
Cowardice as a pastor would look like what?
Not standing up for truth, and solid doctrine, and against sin
Pastoral Care
Not telling someone what you know they need to hear, but don’t want to hear.
Not stepping out in faith to obey God
Not leading your people to personally step out in faith
Not leading in your own home, with your wife and kids
(3)   A hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
A hasty temper as a pastor would look like what?
            It is easier to preach against sin than for holiness
            Don’t allow your pulpit to become a bully
            Never defend yourself when you should be preaching Christ
Pastoral Care
            Hurt people hurt people, don’t take insults personally
            Never add insult to injury
Do not allow the insults of your enemies to cause you to come down from your wall to fight on their turf.
Never make rash vows
Be motivated by love, not hate
                        The king of the mountain makes for an easy target
                        Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
(4)   A delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
(Those who seek after victory should be careless of public opinion.)
            Tell it like it is, do not scratch ears
            Be Transparent, Nobody listens to an inexperienced expert
Pastoral Care
            Compliments, like perfume smells nice but don’t swallow it.
            Don’t drink from “The World’s Best Pastor” Coffee mug.
Pastoring is about the help of the sheep, not the honor of the shepherd
            Don’t be tempted to put on Saul’s shiny new armor
            Pride is what caused Satan to fall and Eve to bite
            Remember you serve an Audience of one
At the judgment you will stand before God alone, not the board, or the crowd, or your peers.
(5)   Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.
(The danger of sacrificing any important military advantage to the immediate comfort of his men.)
            Do not be afraid of their faces
            Too much milk causes one to vomit.  They need meat too.
            Be careful preaching that causes people to think that they are holy.
            Be careful of setting goals that are too easily attained.
Pastoral Care
            Do not break up every fight and band-aid every scratch
            Do not pamper your people, provoke to love and good works
            Someone has to be on the front lines
            Don’t care so much for your troops that you forget the war
We are not here to build shelters in which to hide from the world, but bases from which to go into all the world
Never let church become about the church
            Be careful of the undisciplined life.
            Never ask more from your staff or people than you ask of yourself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prime Timer's Pot Luck and Bean Bag Baseball


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Small Groups Begin June 6

We are so excited to announce the new small group line up for our summer session.  For the first time there are multiple topics on multiple days.  Pastor Ward has been working for months training our small group leaders and we are taking the month of May to get everyone signed up for a group.  Our Summer Session goal is 200 sign-ups in 11 classes!  If you still like Sunday School, no problem, we have groups for you.  If you like home groups, no problem, half of our groups meet in homes.  If you want a ladies group, we got that.   Childcare? Many of our groups have kids and youth group times built-in.  Our goal is to help everyone related to our church know and follow the Word of God.  You can check out the online catalog here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's Your Big Problem?

Everyone has problems, in fact everyone has a list of problems, and the point of a job, the point of leadership is to solve problems.  In churches there are all kinds of problems, there is the problem of who gets first dibs on classroom A, and who will we get to work in the nursery during the concert etc.  There are all kinds of problems and the good news is that some of those problems are phantom problems, they don't really exist except in our paranoia, some of the problems are self correcting, and some are even insignificant.  So the question remains, what is your BIG Problem.  What is the problem, that is keeping you from moving forward as a leader, or as a church?  What is the problem, that if left undone will keep you from accomplishing the Great Commission.  If you are still saying, I have lots of problems, then your lack of ability to identify the one from the crowd may be your problem.  Identify the problem, the BIG problem.  Kill your Goliath first, then chase down the rest of your Philistines.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rise - Easter Services

First, I want to thank God for His abundant grace as we made the move over to the middle school.  Of all the things that could have gone wrong, only minor hiccupps occured.  Thanks to all those who gave and worked, you are too numerous to list.

Easter weekend began with 81 coming to the Saturday night service, and two people accepted Christ as their personal Savior.  Then at 9:00 on Sunday we had 133 in service and at 10:30 we had 286 with 4 more decisions for Christ.  27 others indicated a rededication to Christ and 7 signed up for baptism. In addition, over $7,000 was given in our Easter Offering towards the building of our next Hope Center in San Lorenzo.


Story 1 begins a long time ago in a land far away.... well kind of.  Early on in the life of our church we had a couple nammed Jim and Celeste, they came to church, came to Christ and then moved away to Baharain.  Last year for a few months they returned to this area and thought they might settle back here.  Needless to say we were thrilled.  Their son now in Jr. High attends the youth group and on one occasion invites a friend to an activity at church.  Long story short, a few months pass and employment demands that they move back to Baharain.  The friend of their son forgets the name of the church but tells the parents that he wants to come, but because he cant remember, they do not.  Then, our Easter Ad shows up in the mailbox and he sees it and tells them that this is the church he was telling them about.  Yesterday morning, both parents accepted Christ as their Savior.

Story 2 also begins far away, with a familiy getting ready to go to FL on Holiday.  Being Easter, they decide to attend services at a local church, Cornerstone.  Coming in late the only seats left are on the front row, and if you are a baptist you know how bad that can be!  After church, while people are snapping up pictures and children are snatching up Easter Eggs the dad comes over to thank me for the service.  I apologize that he had to sit on the front row and he said it was the best thing that could have happened.  He goes on to tell me that his wife is the church goer, and that he was too embarrassed to raise his hand, but that today he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior.  He said, for the first time in my life, I actually understood it!

Story 3... got an Easter at Cornerstone story? Send it to me and I will post it here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Prayer Walk Tonight

Tonight we will have a very special prayer walk at church as we prepare our hearts and minds for this coming Easter Sunday.  We will be praying at each location where our guests and those who come will be met and ministered to by our volunteers and staff.  It will be a special time of asking God for His grace and blessing on this weekend and I hope everyone can come and join in.  It will begin at 7:00 p.m. and the teens and children will have their regularly scheduled programs.  I hope to see you there! - Pastor Joel

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Easter Offering for San Lorenzo

On February third I got in the back of an Isuzu pickup truck and drove from the Nicaraguan town of Tecolostote to the neighboring town of San Lorenzo.  The Hope Center in Teco was almost done and the next week the surgeons would arrive to perform operations for the people of this rural impoverished town.  The Mayor of San Lorenzo had just donated land on the town square for the construction of a second Hope Center that would bring not only medical, education, and feeding programs, but the good news of salvation through Jesus to this town.  In fact, the entire countryside is covered with small neglected towns in need of the gospel.  Driving through cobble stone narrow streets at speeds a little fast for comfort, dodging animals and oncoming traffic, we finally arrived in San Lorenzo.  The lot was directly across from the local school, and in between the library (which is never open) and the basketball court, a staple of each of these small towns, a courtesy of the communist party.  In reality, it could not be in a better location and as I stood there with pastor Ward and our missionary Paul Heier, I was convinced that we as a church could do something to get this project going.  That day we made the decision to raise $7,000 for the foundation to be built.  Upon returning we immediately announced that we wanted to raise this as an Easter offering.  Over the past few months, the people of Cornerstone gave sacrificially and on Sunday, we reached our goal of $7,000. This coming Sunday Paul will be here at Cornerstone to be presented a check during the Easter Worship Services.  I wanted to tell everyone who had a part in the offering how much I appreciate your giving and I thank God that we are able to do this together.  Keep praying for Paul and the team down in Nicaragua as they begin construction and begin reaching this town for Christ.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Methods of Personal Evangelism

I mentioned in the service that I would post some how to methods for leading a person to faith in Christ.

ABC’s / Romans Road

a.      Admit
Romans 3:23 (ESV)
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
b.      Believe
Romans 10:9 - 10 (ESV)
9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 
c.       Call
Romans 10:13 (ESV)
13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Way of the Master
1.      Do you consider yourself to be a pretty good person?
2.      Do you mind if I ask you a few questions as a test?
3.      Do you think you have kept the ten commandments?
4.      Have you ever coveted or been jealous of something that did not belong to you? #10
5.      Have you ever told a lie? # 9
6.      Have you ever stolen anything? # 8
7.      Have you ever committed Adultery? #7
8.      Have you ever murdered anyone? #6
9.   If God judged you according to these laws, would you be guilty or innocent?

Four Spiritual Laws

* Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God.
1)      God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life
John 3:16 (ESV)
16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 10:10b (ESV)
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 
2)      Man is sinful and separated from God, therefore he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
Romans 3:23 (ESV)
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 6:23 (ESV)
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3)      Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.  Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
John 14:6 (ESV)
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
4)      We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
John 1:12 (ESV)
12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 
Ephesians 2:8 - 9 (ESV)
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anticipating Easter

Okay here's the story....  We were supposed to move to the larger space on January 22nd, but due to some complications with getting the CO, Community of Faith is still in the middle school auditorium, and we are making two plans for Easter.  Plan A is that we will be in the middle school, and have three services, Saturday at 6:30 p.m, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.  With the additional space we should be able to let everyone attend the service that best suits them and their schedules.  All services will be identical and include extended worship etc.  Plan B is that we will be in the elementary school and due to extra crowds we will add an additional service Sunday morning.  We will also need to have everyone request which service they will attend.  The last thing that we want to see happen is that our guests not have a seat! We are also exploring options to do an overflow room for those willing to make space.  Please keep this in your prayers that we will be able to cover every detail of every service so that we are ready either way.  I am so excited that God has allowed our church to grow to meet the needs of more people and these are definitely good problems.  I also want to thank everyone who has sacrificed and crammed in.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. God is in control and He knows our space needs.  Let's keep putting the needs of others before our own.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Discovery Launch 3,15,09

here is the launch via my cell phone. we had a great time playing catch with the football, and eating overpriced festival food. Unfortunately, I did not have a very good exit strategy and ended up on the same road as all the tourists going back to Orlando. I would have been wiser to drive south to Miami on I-95 and then take 27 north home :-). Great experience, everyone should do it at least once.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random thoughts for Friday

1. Keep praying for Chuck Stephens, he had abdominal reconstruction surgery yesterday and is in ICU recovering.  They expect him to be in thehospital for 5 days to a week.

2. Last Sunday was slammed!  We had people sitting in the hallway and the heat from the crowd was not cool.  (Get it, not cool....)  SO.....
     A. I called the school about turning the AC down a few degrees so that will help.
     B. We are re-orienting the room to be able to seat 20 more chairs.
     C. We are more than ready for the BIG Move to take place, keep praying that Community of Faith gets their certificate of occupancy.

3. This weekend we kick off the "Whatever it Takes!" campaign.  I am so pumped about this message series and I cannot wait to see how God is going to use this motivation to bring people to Himself.

4. I am blown away by some of you people who are already doing whatever it takes.  One guy in our church is paying out of his own pocket to put invitations to our church in his monthly community newsletter.  Someone else, never comes to church without a friend or neighbor in the car.  I love this stuff!

5. Easter is coming.  Some have asked about Easter and all we know is that if we are able to be in the other building by then we will have one service at Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and one at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.   IF it looks like we will not be in then we see about 3 services on Sunday where we are at now... (Yikes)

6. Small Groups are Rockin.  Pastor Ward is doing an amazing job with our small groups ministry and we are excited to see people every week get involved in this, the most important ministry of our church.

7. Time Changes coming.  Once we move to the other building, we will be shifting our early service to begin at 9:00 a.m. and those who attend that service will go to small group at 8:00. This is because of limited classroom space available for small groups to meet in, but I hope that it will make it easier for more people to get to the early service.  The Contemporary service will move to 10:30 a.m.

8.  Between now and Easter we are raising money for the new Hope Center in San Lorenzo Nicaragua.  the land was donated by the Mayor on the town square and we are raising money for the foundation.  What is amazing is that we already have $1,500 raised for the project so we are well on the way.  We will be flying Paul Heier in for Easter so that we can present him with a check.  Keep up the good giving!

9. BIG SURPRISE - We are working on a Big Surprise for May 3rd.  I am not at liberty to say what just yet, but you will absolutely love it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Bible Reading Program

Many of you have expressed a desire to continue your Bible reading program.  You can find the chart that I took the readings from HERE.  I am so excited that we read through the Bible twice last week.  I pray it will continue.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday March 1st Decisions

This weekend at Cornerstone, we made decisions to serve God with all our heart in the day to day menial tasks.  below are some of the decisions that were publicized.  I hope that you will make your own decision to serve God in the little things of life with all your heart, to the glory of God.
  • I will schedule, schedule, schedule with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will study sign language with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will pray with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will work hard during a busy season and not complain of being short staffed, but praise God for a job I enjoy.
  • I will work in the hardware/paint department with all my heart to God’s glory.
  • I will let people see Jesus in me with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will correct errors with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will be the best student with all my heart.
  • I will be the best financial services specialist with all my heart
  • I will transcribe doctor’s dictations with all my heart and care for my family.
  • I will go to school with all my heart.
  • I will do the stuff I need to do with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will teach and train my children with all my heart.
  • I will not let cancer beat me today.
  • I will love my neighbor with all my heart.
  • I will teach 3rd grade with all my heart.
  • I will serve and clean with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will clean my room with all my heart.
  • I will serve food to the demanding and rude people and nice people with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will manage cottages with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will listen to my family with all my heart.
  • I will wake up earlier to eat breakfast with my family to start a great day and be at work on time and present each day to the Lord in prayer.
  • I will greet others with all my heart.
  • I will drive boats with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will do workouts faithfully every day with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will drive the monorail with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will clean bathrooms with all my heart to the glory of God.
  • I will serve God while working at HCC with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will do produce cutting with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will do pizza delivery with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will make music and write stories.
  • I will teach my students with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will configure and test HRIS systems with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will do inventory maintenance with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will serve coffee with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will trim trees with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will do whatever God requires of me to do this week.
  • I will paint and watch children with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will apply for jobs with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will make kids happy with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will teach kindergarten with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will do whatever it takes to get the job done with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will teach middle school with all my heart.
  • I will be an example of a Christian with all my heart.
  • I will witness to non-believers and encourage during these difficult times with all my heart.
  • I will do my job with all my heart.
  • I will serve the Lord every day at work with all my heart.
  • I will go to the gym, help my sister and husband and deliver pizzas with all my heart.
  • I will sit at a desk and email directors and bug them about getting me information with all my heart.
  • I will drive a bus for God’s glory.
  • I will deal with angry clients with all my heart.
  • Protecting the magic with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will keep the home, pass out bulletins, and keep the books with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will work hard at my business and deal with problems with all my heart for the glory of God.
  • I will try and eat lunch in the lunchroom instead of at my desk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tim Hawkins - A Homeschool Family

This goes out to all my homies with a big "home school high five!"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Come, Worship with Us!

This week I changed my sermon topic in our Kaleo series to talk about the need for daily worship in our lives.  I feel that the need that we all have is to have daily, meaningful time with God, however, I know that for most Christians, time with God is set aside as 1 hour on Sunday.  Sadly, many Christians will not even worship God in church.  To our church family, I want to beg you to come to worship service tonight or tomorrow.  Without worship, we will be anemic as Christians and ineffective in our calling.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Best Man Fail

tomorrow I will preside over two weddings.... one of them at the beach. So here's to you Jeff, Angie, Doug and Adel.... May your best man truly be the best.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hope Center Tecolostote

Video presentation of our team's week in Teco.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Let's Get Ready to Ramble!!!!

No offense to Boxing Announcer Michael Buffer but there is so much going on that this blog is going to be a bit of a ramble.  keep up if you can....

1. God is doing some amazing things at Cornerstone.  Last weekend we had a record Sunday attendance, save Easter and Christmas.  Somebody asked what we did to get everyone there.  I said, nothing it was a God thing.  It is His church and He has decided that it is time for us to grow to the next level.  Now we just have to make some adjustments...
2. Speaking of Adjustments, I cannot wait to move over to the other building.  We have brand spanking new chairs and 3 times as much space to fill up in all three services.  No kidding, our church could run 1,000 in the space we will have....Let's fill it up!
3.  Today I have to go to the store for some toiletry items.... this is not usually news, but it is for our Missions trip to Nicaragua.  We have 8 people from our church leaving this Sunday afternoon and will spend a week doing construction on the Hope Center in Teco!  You can see the progress made by previous groups, and we will be doing all kinds of stuff.  I will be taking part in a baptism, I am guessing my part will be to distract the crocodiles, a la Steve Erwin, and then preaching via translator on Wednesday night.  Seriously pray for me to not screw that up!  I plan on telling my buddy Paul to let me speak in English, and for him to just preach in Spanish.
4. Speaking of World Hope, tonight we are going to a celebration dinner at First Baptist Orlando, celebrating all that God has done this past year through World Hope.  I am so glad that we have a strategic Missions Partner like Hope.  I don't know any missionaries who balance Evangelism and Ministry like them.  Jesus served people AND preached the gospel.  To do one and not the other is inadequate.
5. I will be meeting today with Gabe to work on some stuff for our upcoming message series Kaleo.  It is going to be awesome, and I want to kick this one up a notch.
6. It has been 1 month since Ward came along side and started working with us in our small groups.  God has given him a vision to make our church the most biblically literate church in the world, and I believe that Ward believes God will do it!  We are working with our small group leaders on Wednesday nights and are looking forward to getting everybody excited and engaged.
7.  This Sunday will be my last message from Gideon.  I am going to miss that dude! He has taught me a lot about myself and how God wants to use me and how to find His plan for me.  This weekend we will see that God want's us to do MORE with less.  Prolly a good message for 2009!
8. Let's put the recess back in recession!  I am tired of all the complaining!  Let's enjoy the downturn seriously!  I remember when the lights went out as a kid and we "GOT' to use candles!  That was a blast.  Just cause we have less, does not mean we have to pout!  Let's kick up the creativity and put recess back in recession!
9. Just got word from Paul in Nicaragua, that as soon as our team leaves, a surgical team will arrive from Canada.  I am not a Dr. but I can do my part by building an examination room.  That is teamwork!
10.  BTW for any of you who skip church when I skip town, I will not miss a weekend service, and I will know if you are not there!  More so, you will miss out our presentation on the 7th and 8th if you are not there, and I may not post pictures here simply out of spite!  Don't miss!
11. Giving was great in January!  We took a step forward this year, and set an aggressive budget.  Each week we need $5,000 to come in so that we can continue growing forward.  I told someone the other day that February will be the test for the rest of the year.  Moving into the larger room requires that everybody get on board and share the load.
12.  I don't know a time when I have been more hopeful about what God is doing in our church.  We do not have another "growth barrier" until we hit 400 in attendance and I can't wait to get to the foot of that mountain. Let's enjoy the journey!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sarcastics Anonymous

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

T-Minus 18 Days to Nicaragua

2009 is off to a hot start, and it is hard to believe that our team will be leaving for Nicaragua in just 18 days.  We will be working with World Hope to construct some pavilions to be used by Missionary Paul Heier and National Pastors who will rotate Discipleship and Medical teams based out of  the city of Teco.  Another exciting announcement is that God has brought Ward Hodges to base his World Hope ministry out of Cornerstone.  Ward's ministry with us was announced last Sunday during our Annual Vision Meeting, and his position will be to strengthen the small groups and missions ministries of our church.  This trip will no doubt be the first of many trips that our church will take with World Hope around the world.  Ward and His wife Amy have a wonderful baby boy named Ethan.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Reflections

  • I believe our set up team rocks, except that Michael Brown parked the trailer crooked.
  • We had a bunch of people come to the Saturday version of the Vision Meeting
  • The band rocked, and something about a kazoo 
  • The band named themselves 23B after an illustration in Ward's sermon a few week's ago.
  • It was cool to see Saturday nights turn 1 year old...
  • I knew it was a great start when I got to church a few minutes early to see volunteers already at work.
  • I got to spend a few extra minutes in prayer in the truck.
  • People were early for worship, which is rare in FL, I guess they were excited.
  • We had to put out extra seats out in the early service, welcome back snowbirds!
  • Enjoyed preaching about Jonathan and his armor bearer.  Let's go pick a fight!
  • Had a blast in the Vision Meeting sharing what God has done in our midst during 2008.
  • We saw 40% growth last year, and are desperate to do it all over again.
  • We introduced Ward Hodges joining the team to help us kick Small Groups up a notch.
  • We challenged everyone to join the TEAM, and they responded.
  • The last service was literally packed to the wall, we again ran out of chairs.
  • I can't wait to break out the new chairs on February 21st
  • 3 of our people ran in the Disney marathon.... but did not miss church, I love Saturdays!
  • There was a ton of teenagers at church, Seth and Christy are knocking it out of the park!
  • First time guests came up after the service asking where they can get involved, I love that!
  • Crashed on the couch after services with a holy hangover!  Watched football...and Jack Bauer!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Big Vision

This Sunday we will be sharing a BIG vision that God has laid on our hearts for 2009.  I am so excited to be able to share some things that have been in the works for several months and to announce some goals that our leadership feels God has set before us.  The size of our vision still pales in comparison to the greatness of our God and we will enjoy the process as much as we enjoy the results.  We will spend some time reflecting on 2008 where God brought us the most dramatic growth that our church has ever seen and we anticipate the same for 2009!   I cannot reveal anything to you yet, so make plans to be in your place this Sunday at 9:30 as we have our annual vision meeting.

Together in Christ,