Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Japanese Friends - the movement continues

A while back I shared about how my friend U was seeing God at work in Japan.
Here is a great photo of U and his friends (left to right - U, Arai, Moet & Ryota). Please pray for them all but especially Moet. Moet only recently became a Christian so our prayer is that God will provide an older Christian lady that will be able to speak into her life and teach the ways of Jesus.
Pray too for U and the other men, that they will grow in grace and strength of leadership.
It was and continues to be a privilege to be used by Jesus in U's life. And I am so proud to see him growing into a leader reaching his peers with the love and truth of Jesus.
This is fuel in my tank, it's what I live for!! Jesus is Awesome.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why are you doing that?

The "Why behind the What." It is a question leaders constantly ask.
It’s something that Shawn and David have been drilling (intentionally and unintentionally) into my head ever since I arrived at Mountain Lake Church. Simply because it's all to easy to just settle for doing something, anything, especially if it seems like it's getting the 'job' done. To combat this great leaders constantly take the time to drill down and ask themselves the “‘why’ behind the ‘what’” question.
The question is key because it eventually exposes the core values and DNA, both written and unwritten behind the "what" that is happeneing.
Asking this question also helps to make future decisions as although strategy changes are alwayw necessary and inevitable the mission never changes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Church Planting Set up Team

Mountain Lake West Forsyth Campus Sunday Set Up is where the real stuff is done. Is dark when we get there at 5.30am but we all have a blast and it's great to see a school turn into a state of the art Church Meeting Environment.
Here's a few photos of the crew who were knocking it out this morning!!

Next week...

Talking to Fergus this morning about the Dawgs loss to the Tide. After explaining to him the result he smailed and said as he jogged away, "Too bad. There's always next week." Right on. Can't wait to see what it brings.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good Times Saturday

Fergus' tip : Dawgs by 3 again.

Ned Kelly is tracked down living in Cumming GA

They've finally found out where we live (just kidding...)
It was all we could do to keep the 5 boys from running outside.
They desperately wanted to go for a ride in the Police Cars.
I'm sure they'll get their chance one day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Following Jesus is ALL about...

If following Jesus is all about relationships, why do we try to do everything BUT nurture and grow our relationships with Him and the people He places around us?

Discover, Encourage & Equip the 'Connectors.'

On Wednesday I attended a BBQ lunch Ben Arment put on to encourage church planters. He shared a bit of his story as a 'parachute planter' and one of my takeaways was this : Discover, Encourage & Equip the Connectors in your launch team. Make a chart. It's a simple exercise, and it makes it profound difference to where you will choose to spend your time as a leader.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greatest Day Ever - Part 2

Well September the 24th finished off 'tremendous-LY' as the people of Mountain Lake Church gathered together on the cement SLAB of the new worship auditorium.

The singing was fantastic & Ps. Shawn reminded us that what Jesus 'starts what He finishes.' AMEN to that. We're all works in progress, with a master builder committed to getting the job done.

The night was literally a ground-breaker, 515+ adults (plus kids). HUGE!!

Great Day - Ben Arment ( Catalyst ) Part 1

As far as days go yesteday takes the cake.

It all began with Sunrise and I got to take the boys to School - sweet times talking about 'The coming Georgian Blackout' and all that means to mankind as we floated along in the 'Red Rocket.'

Then off to work and from there I got to 'hang wit' James Rodder as we cruised over to the Catalyst offices for a BBQ lunch with Ben Arment and the 'Catalyst Crew.'

Here is a taste of the day. Ben talked about 'What it takes to plant a church' and 'How the gospel travels down relational networks.' It was really good to meet Ben. I honor and respect him for his willingness to share what he has with others. I have learnt alot from him over the past years.

The key 1 : make sure you are intentional about loving and caring for others. You never know when God is going to break in through you and change someone's life - forever!

The key 2 : share what you have, and you never know who it will impact.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Know the Scorecard


Important Question that must be answered : How does Jesus define ministry success?

In a world where us ‘pastors’ rate our success on the size of our congregations, buildings, staff, budgets (hey I’m just trying to be real here) it was good to be reminded again by my mate and pastor David Putman that what we see as ‘success’ may not necessarily line up with what Jesus see’s as ‘success.’ Everyone knows that if you don’t know what you’re aiming at you sure won’t hit it. This is the same with ‘following Jesus.’ Are you taking the time to stop and listen to what your Leader is telling you to do???

A Positive Example : Willow Creek and the REVEAL report.

Now before I go any further, I have to confess that it was Bill Hybels who God used to lay the foundational burden for leadership in my life. I remember the day well, my girlfriend was with me (Nerida) and we were transfixed as Billy preached from Luke 15 and ‘bleed’ about the desperate need for missional church leaders. It was a ‘catalyst’ moment in our lives and I really honor and look up to Hybels for his humble, committed, faithfulness to Jesus over his lifetime. God has certainly used him and I personally know many godly pastors and leaders who’ve been encouraged and influenced by Bill’s gifts and leadership. That’s what made his recent acknowledgement in REVEAL all the more ‘gutsy.’ Bill openly said that for all Willow Creek Church’s ‘success’ it was failing to really succeed when compared to what Jesus’ scorecard. Sure ‘Willow’ had fantastic facilities, staff second to none and one of the biggest growing evangelical congregations in the world, the only problem was ‘Willow’ just wasn’t cutting it when it came to growing “fully devoted followers of Jesus.”

Shorthand – they had a multitude of ‘stuff’ and people… great! One problem… the vast majority of the crowd wasn’t going on and becoming ‘mature’ followers of Jesus. Now admitting that is true leadership and it is took real guts. I love it when leaders man up and confront the brutal facts, cause it has to be done – regularly or you’re leading your team out the back door.

Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buildings, staff and big churches, in fact I believe there is much right about them (that’s another blog). But bottom line for me as I hear Jesus the win for his church and success for His followers, is found in two simple areas:
1. First He says, “You (yes you) – you, follow me.” Daily we need to ask ourselves am I? Really? I mean really?
2. Then He says, “As we go, your life is be used to lead others to follow me.”
Simple? Profound? Radical? Earth changing? Sure, that’s the Jesus way. It’s a mission Jesus is calling us all to get involved with. He is committed to us, we’re a ‘project’ that takes a lifetime, but following Him reaps uncalculated rewards both now and in eternity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

David Putman LIVE

Yesterday I had the privilege of hanging out in South Carolina and helping David Putman as he lead a day conference, “Transitioning your church to missional ministry.” It was a big crowd and the people were so kind and welcoming. It was really good to hear David’s heart again as he shared about his journey back from ‘Toxic Religion’ to again striving to enter the ‘rest and life’ Jesus offers. Honestly this is a battle we all have to fight. This battle against ‘religion’ is for life and peace is only found as daily choose to enter into Jesus' kingdom, grow in our relationship with Him and surrender our lives to His call to share the gospel.

I had two key takeaways from the day. The first was a simple reminder : In essence we’re all make disciples, that’s not the issue. The issue is what sort of disciple am I making? Religious ones? Selfish humanistic ones? The list goes on… OR am I keeping my eyes on Jesus, walking with Him and allowing Him to change me and change others through me?? It takes a true Jesus follower to make another Jesus follower. Jesus talked about this alot (Matthew 23:15).

Driving it home:
1. Am I focused on following Jesus and letting Him call the shots when it comes to this thing we like to call “life.”
2. Who am I seeking to introduce Jesus to?
3. Who am I seeking to live life with?
4. Am I prepared to give my life away, my time, my resources, my energy etc that others might know and grow as followers of Jesus too.

A real highlight was being able to meet David’s parents who’ve been serving Jesus in Pastoral Ministry together for 30 years!! Mrs. Putman made me laugh as I said goodbye. She smiled and said, “I’ve so enjoyed listening to David preach today, I had to preach to him for long enough!” I love it! Mum’s always tell the truth!!

Tomorrow I’ll share my second takeaway. Gotta run to a meeting.

NEXT Takeaway 2

Choose a target to aim at or ultimately hit nothing.

This is something 'overseas missionaries' have always understood. When you choose to leave home and go and take the truth of Jesus to the people of Japan you are actually choosing to not take the message to the people of Antarctica. It’s a decision prayerfully made to actually do something somewhere to reach someone instead of doing nothing nowhere and ultimately reaching no one!!

Choosing who you’re going to reach also means you’re also choosing who you’re not going to reach. And sadly it goes the other way, if you choose to try and reach everyone, you end up reaching no one effectively!
Let's put some handle bars on this:
Choosing to communicate with 20's and 30's means you're choosing stop and step out of your 'world' and enter theirs. You choose:
1. to talk a certain language
2. to enter a certain cuture with unique values that need to be understood
3. to engage with certain music and dress styles,
You either choose your target OR you ultimately choose to have none.
Sound simple? Just try to do it and email me what happens :)

Jesus drives this model. He did it - Philippians 2:1-8. And now He seeks to continue to take His message through us, as we walk with His Spirit empowering us to be His witnesses (Phil 2:12-13).

Our challenge as church planters is to be gutsy enough to praryerfully do this from day one and to stick with it, no matter how many people seek to remove or change the 'target.'

Friday, September 19, 2008

NEXT Planting Conference Takeaway 1

It seems as I watch and talk to fruitful church planters one of the repeating things I see is that they Know They've Got IT.
What I mean is they know their calling, they know their mission and they know their Commander in Chief is calling them to get out of the trench, follow Him and charge the line!
Now I'm not saying they don't doubt it from time to time, in fact they tell me they do from time to time, but when waves of doubt hit they get close to God, regroup and get refocused on the truth and their calling. And they definately aren't perfectly rounded leaders. In fact it seems they're often rough 'round the edges. But at the end of the day they know the price that they're called to pay, their families are 100% behind them, and they're willing to learn and grow in their leadership capacity.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dag Gum It!

Hey I'm trying to find out what you can and can't say in the 'South.'
A friend of mine says that if I'm at church and I need to cuss, I can say "Dag gum it!" My question is this - is this true or is he trying to get me in trouble? I'm trying to find suitable 'adjectives' to replace 'my Aussie tools' whilst living in Georgia. Help an Aussie boy out now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

NEXT Conference Download 1

Well for the past two fays I've had the privilege of attending the NEXT Church Planting Conference held at Harvest Church, Warner Robins GA.
Firstly it was excellent!!
It was totally worth the effort to get there.
I learnt heaps and was reminded of many things. I want to spend some more time over the next week or so sharing a few of the KEY things I've learnt but first I want to dump what I learnt from the Harvest Church Team just by watching them serve over the past 2 days.
1. The music style you use MUST relate to the people you want to reach. Harvest uses a Southern Modern Country Rock style and it really does define them as relevant and real for the people God has placed around them. They do it really well and have fun doing it!!
2. Leadership is crucial. I know, it's a no brainer but Jim and Jen Cowart are clear and focused when it comes to the vision God has given them. They are happy and welcoming and this is reflected in the wider church family. As the leader, so the team. Something that will continue to sober me up as I meditate on that truth.
3. There is nothing like a happy, smiling welcome to cheer you up and make your day!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off to NEXT Church Planting Conference

Today we're off to to the NEXT conference that's being held at Harvest United Methodist Church. Cause I want to be able to process it I will blog and share about it starting Thursday.
I can't wait to hear from the team of guys speaking. See you later this week.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You've Gotta have a Dream

One of the things that I'm learning as I take time to pray, plan and prepare for this new church plant is that you've gotta nurture the dreams God has placed in your heart.
To be committed to getting it clear, to know what it is that you're setting out for. Cause if I'm not clear on the destination it doesn't matter how great a communicator or pastor I am I won't be able to be ignite a movement. What I mean is a charismatic caring pastor might be able to grow a church, but it takes a clear compelling vision for a movement to begin and take over...

And by the way one day I'd love to drive a Holden Sandman to work... like this here:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

These are the men we need to reach

Since I've had time to pray, think and plan for this new church plant I believe that more than ever there is a need for a new church that will do what it takes to reach Aussie men aged in their 20's - 30's.
Now this will shape everything we do as a church plant, but without going into all that today...
I want to share with you an article which shows the challenge God is calling us to:

Police to restrict alcohol at Bathurst
12:47 AEST Sun Sep 7 2008
Petrol heads will have to survive on a slab of beer a day at next month's Bathurst 1000 car race. Police checkpoints will confiscate "excess alcohol" as motor racing fans descend on Mt Panorama, in NSW's central west, for the October 9-12 event.

For the second year running, NSW Police and V8 Supercars have agreed to limit the amount of beer, wine and spirits taken into the racing precinct. Adults can take one case (24 cans) of full-strength beer or one block (36 cans) of light beer each day. Restrictions also apply to one case (24 cans) of pre-mixed drinks or one cask of wine, up to four litres. Combinations are not allowed, and no glass containers are permitted in camping areas or within the race precinct.

Police said the limits were fair and would reduce the risk of alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour. "These restrictions are very generous," Chief Superintendent Steve Cullen said in a statement on Sunday. "Anyone who needs to drink more than 24 cans of beer in a day to have a good time is not welcome. "This is a sporting event unlike any other with 30,000 people living in campsites around the Mt Panorama circuit for up to a week prior to the actual race. "It's important we work hand in glove with event organisers to ensure the safety of racegoers."

The measures follow the success of last year's security operation, Supt Cullen said. Police and security personnel will set up checkpoints at every entrance area to the race circuit. Excess alcohol will be stored by event staff and be available for collection the following day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Revolution Church Take-aways. Part two.

On Tuesday I posted a blog with take-aways from visiting Revolution Church's Ridgestone Campus (cinema). Today I want to download and share what we saw and learnt at the Revolutions Holly Springs Campus Launch. Well we said before attending the 11am Launch Service we scoped out the Cinema Campus.
• The Holly Springs signage was excellent!! A week earlier we drove over to see the wharehouse under construction and we got a little lost. Not so this time, there was no missing the REVOLUTION signs all the way from the main road!!
• The parking team did a good job, clearly directing us to our park.
• The greeters outside were friendly faces we’d met earlier at the Cinema Campus and they showed us where to check our kids into kids church.
• Again Laney was running a tight ship, the boys were checked in and each one into a different room. Fergus the Fire-engine room, Archie the Green Room and Will in the Space-age room!! The loved it and there was no looking back. Again I am so proud of how Nerida and I have raised such balanced kids…
• We then walked back out an in through the front doors into the lobby to be greeted again, and asked to fill out a guest card.
• Nerida got into a chat with the ladies and I had a bit of a look around the resource area near the café.
• Now ‘Pebbles’ the café lady did an outstanding job, but the coffee was cold. It was Starbucks though, they had it in those 5 liter goon bags, like you buy cheap wine in Australia. And having said that it was understandable in a way cause the Café area was all makeshift and to be finished off in the week/s ahead.
• Once we made it inside we were both again impressed by the cool vibe, like going to a Jet concert in the “Valley”, if you know what I mean.
• There was rock music playing and the atmosphere was ripe for the band to rock, and ROCK they did. Now Nerida picked up little things like the drums were unbalanced with the guitars, but for me it was a unique worship experience. It was geared to men, but the women were getting into it too!!
• Now Preston must have downed 3 ‘Rockstars’ in the hour before he hit the staged cause he seemed WIRED compared to the relaxed bloke we meet a week earlier!! But he did a great job of the announcements, short, simple and got off and let the band go!
• When it transitioned into the message time it was a little weird cause the screen did make a fair bit of noise as it rolled down from the ceiling.
• And there were shrieks from the audience when Gary appeared on the screen - all 11 feet of him!! But he was right after a minute or so you did get used to having an grizzly giant holler at you. In fact it was only when the screen moved with the air conditioning breeze that you were reminded. (By the way it was warm, but Gary reckons the air issue is going to be sorted).
• Again Gary did a great job, it was the same message, and yet it didn’t have the same knockout delivery as the live version. Don’t get me wrong I reckon it was great and will only get better in the months ahead, but there wasn’t the same pauses for audience laughter with the jokes. But all in all a great first go!!
• The band finished strongly and it was good that Gary could actually be there at the end of the service to encourage the people and to drink in that sweet smell of victory. Of course there are things they’ll address like the Air, Café and image sizing, but all in all it was a great morning seeing God at work in Canton Georgia.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You don't want to miss this night!!

Tailgate Merge, September 24, 6.30pm KICK OFF!!
Hey Mountain Lake Team - you don't want to miss Mountain Lake's next MERGE night.
We're having a Tailgate Dinner, BBQ meat and Chicken and plenty of thirst quenching refreshments... What more could a Southern Guy or Gal want!!
And if that's not enought to make you drop everything and come, we're going to be able to walk through the new shell of the new auditorium and see where God is going to impact and change lives in the years to come.
SEPT 24, 6.30pm. Put it in your Diary, mark your calendar, bring the family!!!
This Aussie's really looking forward to experiencing some Southern Culture :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sometimes you have to FACE THE TRUTH!!

Cheese Burgers Here WE come!!

Tonight Nerida’s out cutting up with some of the ‘Lake Girls!!’
I’m so glad for tonight.
Again I’ve learnt that what she does in keeping three boys in line.
It all started with P90X.
I thought Shawn was going to kick me out the boys were fighting so much.
I guess I need to pull back on watching Ultimate Fighter with them… but it’s the only sport that we Aussies understand.
And the fact that she goes shopping with the boys is absolutely miraculous.
If I didn’t believe in God, now I do!!
How does she do it??
I mean when you’re at Krogers and Archie just decides to disappear?
I wouldn’t have noticed if Will Jr hadn’t pointed it out and looked for him!!
Man after tonight I have an ever deepening respect for my wife, she does THE work and never ever complains.
She consistently goes to the shops with the boys and there’s nothing…
By the time we’d bought the stuff we needed, went to Macca’s and got home I was ready to throw down. Spiritually of course 
Anyway I hope Nerida has a great night out tonight, she so deserves it!!
Love you babe!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Revolution Church Take-aways. Part one.

Last Sunday morning my family and I drove over to Canton to check out the launch of Revolution Church’s New Holly Springs Campus. To make the most of the morning we visited the 9am Riverstone Cinema Campus first before heading over to the 11am Holly Springs Launch. Here’s our takeaways of the morning.
Revolution Riverstone Campus.
• The road signage was bold, clear and eye-catching. The use of RED, BLACK and GREY as theme branding colors is certainly a key to the stand out road flags and signs etc everywhere. We even noticed the darn things driving home to Cumming!! Like dead squirrels they were.
• The entrance was clearly marked and the greeters welcomed us warmly. One thing they could have been done was after welcoming us they could have asked us if we needed any help, cause once inside we literally had to mainly work things out for ourselves. What I mean is we had to find the Café – it wasn’t that hard, but if you’re a first timer it’s great to know you’re welcome to jump in and help yourself, maybe there was signage or café staff, but we missed it/them. We figured we needed a coffee and no one was going to stop us! We got one!! It would have been good to have a lid for the coffee as a parent with kids and 5 bags of nappies, wipes etc it’s way to easy to spill things.
• On the other hand once we made it in a bit further, we were shown through by two people and that really helped. The children’s check in was smooth and we were escorted by a lovely lady to each of the boys separate rooms. The hall music was upbeat and lively and the boys started jumping and dancing on the way. The rooms were neat, clean and colorful. The kids jumped and didn’t look back!! Nerida had to ask about how it would work if the kids need to go to the bathroom, but once she asked her fears were quickly resolved. The kids all had a blast and the two oldest both could tell us what they had learnt (all we got out of our 2 year old was something about bubbles and stickers! Cool!). And to top it all off out of nowhere on the way home our eldest flat out asked us if we could come back to this church next week cause they’d be dressing up and doing spy work discovering more about God!! Now that’s a HUGE home run for the children’s ministry team!! Kids begging their parents to go back to the church next week – Awesome!!
• After dropping our kids into Kids Church Nerida and I bumped into Deanna, Gary’s wife, in the hallway. She is really nice!! Well done Gary.
• Walking into the Cinema there was Rock music blasting. The stage set up was simple but really did the job with the cage paneling setting up for the series “Ultimate Fighter.”
Thad Wood and the band were great and they have what I call an Aussie Pub Band feel. Reminded Nerida and I of JET, Rock loud and man focused. I guess it’s exactly the feel that the team at Revolution is aiming for, music that will appeal to ‘men.’ They brought it.
• No doubt Gary is a great communicator. He is comfortable in his style and obviously prepares well to deliver well. Enough said. My take away from the message - JESUS DIDN’T TAP OUT MAN!! And he's calling me, "you - come follow me!"
• Part 2 - Next time Revolution Holly Springs Campus, stay tuned, my wife is calling me…

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hot off the PRESS!

WOW, as of 2 minutes ago there are 31 couples signed up for the "Love Talk" Small Group/s that launch tonight!! We'll see you there tonight. Nerida and I are really looking forward to it, seriously.
AND 14 people have signed up for the "Divorce Care" group!
Awesome stuff.
IF you haven't signed up to either one and want to ring and book in!!

Marriage Project Recap!

Well yesterday concluded the Marriage Project Series at Mountain Lake Church. Here's my thoughts on the series:
• It was huge to see some of the 200+ couples renewing their love and commitment to one another and their marriage.
• God didn’t just work in marriages, yesterday I met a young divorcee who needed to hear the truth about Jesus again, there was tears. It reminded me again why I packed up my girl and 3 boys and moved to Georgia, I desperately want God to use my life to see people like her meet Jesus and have their lives healed and renewed as they follow Him. I pray God, keep putting me in a position to serve the ‘least of these,’ the ones you gave you life for.
• God used this marriage series to rescue a single bloke who picked up a invite card in Pickens County!! I love that God loves to do really crazy things every now and again just to remind and show us He is God!!
• Todd and the band did a great job of using the songs to get everyone ‘online’ with the Big Idea that Jesus is the CORE and FOUNDATION for relationship – full stop. Hey Todd - Keith Urban is an Aussie have I mentioned that??
• It was great to see my Pastor Shawn renew his vows with his wife Tricia, I love the way they don’t just talk the talk but lead by example.
• By the way - the marketing and communication for the series was spot on!! From the print stuff to the road signs to the article in the paper it flat out did the job and got the message out. Coleson Chase you are the man mate!! Well Done!!
• The Kids Ministry team blew Nerida and I away. I’ve marveled at the way Chad, Russ, Courtney and their teams not only stepped into the cage but smashed down. Our 3 boys are loving going to church. Archie calls it “his church” and he’s going in to see “his boys.” Fergus and Will always remember and tell us the Big Idea that they have leant. I guess it’s a prayer God has answered!!
• So much more – check out Pastor Shawn’s Blog for his perspective by clicking here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Revolution Church Holly Springs Campus Pics

Gary Lamb has a link with more pics here. Hey we're not photographers!! Try and spot Nerida!! She's the babe with the big brown bag!!

Revolution Church Ridgestone Campus Piccies

Off to Revolution Church Holly Springs Launch!!

Well it's Sunday morning in Georgia and as Australia gets ready for bed... the Henderson Family is on the road to Canton GA, an hour away to celebrate with the Revolution Crew as they launch their Holly Springs Campus. Awesome, stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Big Prayers!

Some memorable snapshots of the boys profound prayers tonight:

Will… “I pray that we will have a good time at church tomorrow.” What if we all prayed that?

Fergus… “God I thank you for the Sun and moon in the sky… I wish there was no moon… maybe not… but there is! Thanks God!” Now that’s a Joshua 10 Sun Stand Still kinda prayer if I’ve ever heard one, blame him if there’s no moon tonight!

Archie… “thank you God for the food… and I want that dinosaur, my longneck…” The one that was confiscated for the prayer time.

Hmmm, sometimes Nerida and I just laugh ourselves to sleep, and sometimes we just cry.

Saturday Shoutout - Mark Driscoll

In September Mark Driscoll spent a few weeks in Australia, based mainly in Sydney.
One of the great challenges we have in Australia is the fact that church increasingly feels weird and seems irrelevant to Aussie 'blokes'.
Well as an Aussie in the States I was curious to see what went on down under while we are UP OVER... so here's some links that I've gathered so far...
Sydney Anglican Website - It's good to keep up with what's happening in Sydney, sounds like they got a challenge, see here...
Driscoll: Sydney you have to change
Driscoll: 18 obstacles to 'effective evangelism'
Here's Rev Chengs comprehensive notes from the Sydney experience, thanks Gordon!!
Mark also spoke in Brisbane at the '300 men for Jesus' event. Check out the 300 men blog here, it has an mp3 talk, articles & resources

Anyway sounds like Mark BROUGHT it!! Good stuff. Anyway I hope, God willing to attend the Acts 29 Boot Camp in February at Rayleigh SC, and I guess I will learn some from Mark and his team there. If you're heading there, drop me a line I'd love to connect before hand. Till then you/we can keep up with Mark and the team via these links:
Acts 29 Network
The Resurgence
Mars Hill Church

Friday, September 5, 2008

LOVE is it!

'What comes first, the chicken or the egg?'
It's a classic mind bender for Zaxby's lovers. There's another like it only more profound, 'What comes first, God's love for me or my love for others.'
That's the question left ratling around in my mind after Pastor Shawn threw down on everyone with this post on his blog 'Loving People...'
Love, I’ll admit as a guy it eludes me!! However it was like finding a lost piece of a 5000 piece puzzle when I read and reread a number of times Romans 13 a few years back. It reads in the NIV;
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11And do this, understanding the present time…
Paul’s driving it home. Following Jesus each day is our spiritual act of worship. And when you boil it all down Paul says following Jesus can be summed up in ONE – “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Ultimately the litmus test we need to be applying to our hearts is, “Am I genuinely growing by God’s grace in practical love for others?” And for Paul, the ‘by God’s grace’ is no throw away line. It is core. It is only as we know, experience and receive God’s unconditional love for us in and through Jesus Christ that we can ever spiritually worship God and love others as ourselves. Earlier Paul wrote;
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Bottom Line : It is God’s love that reaches out and rescues us while we hate Him and others. It’s God’s love that floods into our hearts by His Holy Spirit when we place our trust in Jesus. And it’s God’s love present within me that will flood out in practical love for others as I daily walk by His Spirit. I hate to admit it, but I can pretty quickly assess how closely I’m walking with Jesus, it shows by the way either His love IS or ISN’T present in the way I interact with the people God places around me. I thank God that He is gracious to me, always forgiving and ready to smother me in His love and impact others through me.
By the Way - Whenever I need to understand the times I'm called to Pastor in, I need to be reminded of that little verse Romans 13:11. I'll never be able to speak with God's power into others lives if I do not have His love for them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Once when I was about 8 I dived into the deep end of Boomi Pool off the springboard and I actually lost by boardies. They weren’t on tight enough and I was exposed… at least until I dove down and put them back on. Talk about embarrassing.

Have you ever had one of those crazy experiences, where you’ve been exposed?? Well this Sunday we finish the Marriage Project Series. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been my favoritist series… cause it’s felt like God has been exposing my heart, and I don’t like it. I guess it’s easier to ignore those areas than deal with them sometimes. Anyway I do thank God that He is committed to shaping and changing my character to that of Jesus, especially in the area of my marriage to Nerida. But having said all that… I guess you can understand my nervousness with our next series, Exposing the Elephant! I’m cool with that – just so long as I’m not the ‘elephant!’ 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Church Planters LAUNCH Conference Atlanta Sept 30

WOW I'm excited to be able to plug the upcoming LAUNCH Conference to be held at Avalon Church, Atlanta on September 30th. Bob Franquiz will be leading the day, and he knows what he's talking about!
As an Aussie now living and learning in Cumming, Georgia I have a confession - it is guys like Bob Franquiz, Nelson Searcy, Shawn Lovejoy, David Putman, Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, Gary Lamb and Michael Lukaszewski (to name but just a few) that have literally changed the way I think about church leadership and church planting. It's the blogs of these men that are part of how God has me and my family in the States in a season of learning and preparing. So if there's any church planters out there reading this, get along to this!!
Anyway a few of the things we'll be breaking down on the day include...
- What the best launch dates are (and the worst!)
- The most critical factor to the success of your church (and it's not what you think!)
- The most effective ways to raise funds for your church plant
- The biggest mistakes on staffing and how to avoid them
- How your preview services can have the greatest impact in your community
- How to pick the best location for your launch (it's not as easy as it looks)
- How to maintain momentum between preview services
- How to launch large!
- Plus much, much more!
If you're there, make sure you walk up and say "Hi", I'd love to connect with you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The power of one life...

Jesus changing lives, one by one!!
Some may know of our dear Japanese friend Sato U. U is a young Japanese man who became a Christian during the time Nerida and I were living/working on the Sunshine Coast (2004). U's decision to follow Jesus was NOT an overnight decision, in fact at first he was clearly anti-Jesus. But over time as we lived and shared life with each other Jesus used our flawed family (and others) to show U that He is God and He was calling him to stop, turn around and follow Him. Well it's now three years later and U has returned to Japan, he is a leader in a church of small groups and is reaching his friends with the truth of Jesus! Just a couple of weeks he emailed me and he said I could share it with you…
“the good news that hit me with God's Love is that one of my very close friend here was saved 2 weeks ago. i cried so loud with her and sang praises till late night that day. i think her salvation is one of the greatest miracle that He makes in this world. i was like "does He do this much for us??" her name is Moet. now i and my family in Christ here is praying for her so God will give her a good church that she can join (she came to my church the day before yesterday, but it's a bit too far from where she lives). now i feel i have more responsibility to take. i pray that God will introduce her a female Japanese Christian girl to lead her. i can't write everything that God gave me and others this time, for it's not only about my friend's salvation. you know. Jesus is THE MAN. the coooolest guy, and the worst criminal in the world of darkness. i wanna be and gotta be like Jesus! well, i wanna write more, but i have to go now. take care Will, i hope i can visit you while you' in USA. God bless your everyday. U”
I thank God for the blessing that we have to love and lead others to the amazing life we have in Jesus! Don't give up on using your one life to touch others for Christ, it really does have eternal significance!!
Watch this - this man will be used by Jesus to ingite His movement in Japan!! Pray for him and his leadership.

Monday, September 1, 2008