Friday, March 31, 2006

What a week...

This week has been a roller coaster for me. We started the week on a high. We had our baptism on Sunday (which we call dunk'd) and we also had our highest attendance. Over 1300 people witnessed 34 individuals proclaim Christ as their Lord and Savior. That's good stuff!

Then on Tuesday night, the coaster took a diving plunge. Laurie, Austin (our oldest son) and I all got the stomach virus full blown! I don't think I've ever had anything so bad. So today is Friday and I'm still trying to get my strength back.

Isn't that how the Christian life? We have highs and we have lows. The mountain top is an exciting place to be, but unfortunately the only place from there is down. Then the valley draws us in and sometimes sucks the life out of us. But the only place from there is up!

Paul said, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)." Sometimes we have to press on through the nastiness of life to reach those mountaintop times.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What it's all about...(Part 2)

I wanted to revisit my post from the other day. (If you haven't read it yet, scroll down and read "What's it's all about..." before you read this one!)

Tyler, the guy that I blogged about, prayed to receive Christ that day. Steve and Walt were also able to connect him to a local church that provided him a couple of boxes of food. How awesome is that!

Again, I reiterate that this is what it's all about. Let's take the Jesus to the people!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What it's all about...

Right now I'm sitting at Atlanta Bread Co in Greenville, SC on a staff retreat. We're planning things for the future. Exciting stuff.

But here's what's even more exciting. A young guy, maybe 20 years old, came over and asked if he could listen in on our conversation because we're talking about Jesus and he needs that. So, right now Steve and Walt are talking with him as he listens through tears. His life has been ruined through drugs and bad decisions. He needs Jesus.

As the rest of us sit here, I'm thinking to myself, "this is what it's all about". It doesn't matter how creative our series planning is. It doesn't matter what the event is that we're planning. It's about seeing people encounter a loving God who can change their life. THAT is what it is all about!

I hope that we as a church (and I'm not just talking about TrueNorth here) can remember this simple lesson. We need to talk about Jesus more in public. Because people are listening.

God is so good!

Friday, March 17, 2006

What a night!!!

WOW!!!! What an amazing night we shared at the Imperial Theatre Wednesday! The Spirit of God consumed that place as we joined our voices together in unison, singing the praises of Jesus Christ the Lord of all.

<------Check out this pictures. How awesome it was to look out from that stage and see all of you just pumped up for the glory of God!!!

I'd like to say thanks to everyone that helped put Facedown together. It would not have happened if it weren't for each of you!!! Thanks!!!

I'd like to open this up to any comments you have. Just click below to add one and share with us your impression of Facedown at the Imperial.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Facedown at the Imperial is here!

Today is the day!!! After much prayer, planning and preparation, we are just hours away from Facedown. I want to challenge you today to invite as many people as you can. Let's pack the Imperial out!!!

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey over the past week. I hope it has helped prepare you to encounter the living God tonight.

To close out this journey out, I'd like to talk about Facedown. We had our very first communion service at Hammond Hills two years ago. It was a very special, intimate time for our early church. But Facedown didn't come on the scene until around Christmas 2004. That night was a very special night and we saw the beginnings of a very exciting movement of God. This movement being the call of God's people to gather, not just to observe communion, but to celebrate communion. To celebrate the works of God in TrueNorth and in our lives. Each addition has had it's own flavor. We've had very solemn, meditative moments. We've had incredible moments of celebration. Either way, we (the body of TNC) have been able to connect with God intimately and passionately.

When you come tonight, leave your pride at home and enter into the presence of God humbly. Come with an expectation to meet with Him and to catch a glimpse of His glory. That's what we're after. It's not an emotional high, but a time to lift up our God, great and mighty.

I encourage you to check out Engage, our new prayer room. We'll have guides available to answer any questions you may have.

Holy God- we want to meet with You. You have built in us a longing for Your presence and Your Spirit inside us groans because of the intense desire to be with You. May You be blessed tonight through our worship. In Jesus holy name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Preparation (1 Day left!!!)

Today's post will be short. Lots to do to get ready for tomorrow night!

I am asking you to pray today and tomorrow for our gathering tomorrow night. When God's people pray, amazing things happen! So here are some things for you to think on and pray on:

First, pray in faith. Here's something I read from the prayer journey, Kneel, at Passion 06: It is not the length of our praying that moves the heart of God, but our faith (see Hebrews 11:1,6). Then pray with confidence in the grace of God (Hebrews 4:16). Lastly, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you (Romans 8:26).

Prayer requests for Facedown:
-Pray for the preparation of Facedown. Ask God to help those involved to stay focused and calm as all the elements of the service come together.
-Pray for the scripture readers, Engage (prayer room) guides, and anyone else involved in the service.
-Pray for the band and production team that they will stay focused on the cross and allow God to sing and play through them.
-Pray for the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. We want to see His glory. Let us ask Him for a revealing of His glory and splendor.
-Pray for our church that this will be a catalyst into the great plans God has for us as we move towards 3 services.

It is a blessing to be a part of this church and to serve you everyday! May God be all over your day today!!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Bless Your Name (2 Days left!)

Yesterday we had the special treat of having Nicol Sponberg (formerly of Selah) sing with us. She was incredible to work with!

To go off a theme from the service (as well as in our church community), the hardest worship is when you don't feel like it. I'm not talking about when you're tired and just don't want to do it. I'm talking about when life has thrown you a curve and you're reeling in the pain it left. We're all aware of the tragedies our community has suffered since the beginning of this school year. But what about those who are suffering the sting of a broken marriage, the loss of an unborn child, or the uncertainty of a loss of employment. These are the times that it is so hard to worship God. But I have watched so many people the past few months stare life in the face and proclaim that they are going to cling to God no matter what. They know that the key to surviving is to let Him carry them through the storm.

The bible talks about a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15). This at it's simplest form is worship with a price. John Piper, author and pastor, says this: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. That is the essence of worship with a price. It's saying, "God, I want more of You no matter what it costs me." Your sacrifice may be emotional or material. It may be following His leading to start a ministry or go on a mission trip...or talk to your neighbor about Christ. Sacrifices of praise in a corporate worship setting may be how you posture your body. When you are led to raise your hands or bow facedown no matter who is around you, you are telling God that He is more important than anything else in this world.

God- I pray for all who are going through tough times. Help them to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Let it be true in our lives that You are most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in You. Amen.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Wonder & Mystery (4 days til Facedown)

With Facedown right around the corner, I have to say a few words about all the exciting things happening at TNC. I spoke with Jenny Lou Jones (aka Mama Chick) this evening and she said the CHICKS Retreat was a smashing success! I think they had around 110 ladies there. And then we are having Nicol Sponberg sing with us in the morning. That is always a treat! That girl can SANG! Then next week we will start our third morning service. It is very exciting to see the seams busting out because God is changing lives in the CSRA!

So today's passage is from Nahum 1:2-7. If you don't know where Nahum is, go to Matthew and hang a left for about 5 or 6 books. It's right after Micah and right before Habakkuk. I'm not going to quote the whole passage, but it is definitely worth a read!

Nahum 1:3c | ...the clouds are the dust on His (God's) feet.

Worship can sometimes become a meaningless practice. We go through the routine of singing and listening to the message on Sunday, but any type of worship doesn't exist beyond that. One of the big reasons for this is because we lose our sense of wonder and mystery for God. He's just another compartment of our lives that we open up for a few hours and then put back on the shelf.

What we need is to put ourselves in views of God that make our brains hurt. We need to see Him for how big and powerful He is. I love the first part of verse 3: "The LORD is slow to anger and great in power." Imagine if God wasn't slow to anger. That "great in power" would be poured out on us unbearingly! But, alas, He is a merciful God, full of compassion and grace. His kindness endures forever.

So meditate a little while on these verses in Nahum. Picture the images described in these verses. The clouds are dust on God's feet. Look up in the sky sometime and see how numerous and how large the clouds are. What's dust on OUR feet? Dirt. Verse 5 says the mountains quake before Him and the hills melt. Are you feeling small yet?

This is where worship gets serious...when we realize we bow to a God that is amazingly huge. His power is phenomenal. But yet He knows each of us intimately and He loves us just the way we are. This is where facedown worship begins...

Host of Heaven- I stand in awe of You. Amen.

**For additional reading, check out Job 38-41.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Being still (Only 5 days left!)

I just finished meeting with some folks about Facedown details and it just makes me even more excited! I think it would be awesome if we packed the place out that night. A lofty goal, but a fun one!!!

Psalm 46:10 | Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (ESV)

Yesterday I talked about Engage, the new prayer room we’ve added to Facedown. And as I said, engaging with God is vital in our relationship with Him. But something else is equally important…but takes a lot more practice. That’s being still in His presence. It’s very unnatural for us as humans in today’s society to be quiet and still for more than half a second. We are busy creatures with busy schedules.

Practicing stillness is learning how to listen to God. So many times we go to God and talk His ear off, telling Him how we see life. How often do we ask Him how HE sees life? Believe me, I’m the worst on this! I’m ashamed at the number of times I go through the “drive-thru” with God. I place my order and then go on with my day. How I wish I would take the time to listen to Him.

The awesome thing is that when we start listening to Him, He does an extraordinary thing…He reveals Himself to us. The scripture says “Be still and know that I am God.” We begin to encounter the Creator of the universe as He gives us a peak at how great and phenomenal He is. And that is where worship starts…it starts with revelation from God. Then we can’t help but respond with all out praise and adoration.

God- teach us how to be still before You so that we can see You in all Your glory. Teach us how to listen to Your voice. Reveal Your glory to us so that we can respond with highest praise and honor! Amen.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Engaging with God (6 days til Facedown!)

As our countdown continues, I credit my buddy Jay for today's verse...

Jeremiah 29:12-13 | Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (ESV)

I think many of you know verse 11, so that's why I didn't quote. If you're not familiar with it, check it out. It is an incredible promise from God to each of us.

As Jay and I were talking last night, he brought up these two verses. We talked about how this is what it is all about. Our relationship with God should be more than rubbing the genie's lamp and asking for three wishes. It's about the relationship. Think about anyone you are close to. How did you get close to them? Was it through occasionally saying hi and letting them know what you want from them? Or has it been through constant sharing of life together? That's what God desires in each of our lives. He wants us to do life with Him. He wants us to spend time in prayer and reading His Word. He wants us to engage with intentionally draw near to Him!

I encourage you to seek God this week. You'll be amazed at how you find Him in everyday life. And as we gather together next Wednesday evening, we will be seeking Him a community of Christ-followers focused on one thing: lifting up the name of God, giving Him all glory and honor and praise!

I also would like to mention a new addition to Facedown this time. It is called Engage. Engage is a time to connect with God through prayer and scripture reading before the FD service starts. The Bible is clear that we should never approach the presence of God nonchalantly. We must prepare our hearts so we can be sensitive to His Spirit. We must prepare our minds so we can stay focused on the cross of Jesus Christ. And we must prepare our souls so we can join in the chorus of God's glory.

Father God- please place in us a desire to seek You. Let us engage our lives with You this week. Prepare us to meet with You on Wednesday. We are gathering for lift You sing Your praise. It is not about us. It is ALL ABOUT YOU!!! Amen.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

7 Days til Facedown!!!

I am so pumped about our communion service next week. As with so many other things, we have redefined the observation of the Lord's Supper. We've given it the name Facedown and have included other elements that make it a celebration you won't want to miss! We have some new things to throw at you this time that promise to be incredible additions! If you have never been to a Facedown service, you're in for a treat. God has anointed this quarterly service as a time for the family of TrueNorth to meet with the Almighty God in new fresh ways!

So in a way to countdown to next Wednesday night, I've decided to post a scripture every day and expound some thoughts on it. I hope you will join me in reading through these verses and meditating on them, all with the mindset that we are going to meet with God on that special evening. So here is today's:

Colossians 1:27 | To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (ESV)

There are two things that are absolutely mind blowing to me. First, if Christ had not come to this earth and been crucified on the cross, the Gentiles (that's me and you, unless you're Jewish!) would not be able to share in the rich inheritance and blessing of God upon His people. We would be cursed to a life and eternity of hopelessness. But, He did come and He did sacrifice His life for ours!

The second thing that jumps out to me is that Christ is in us. CHRIST IS IN US!!!!! That's exciting stuff. We have the Son of God, the Savior the world inside of us helping you and I live life to the full. But we must live in that...we must tap into that awesome power source.

So as you go this week, fix your eyes upon Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Jesus Christ, thank You for showing us how to live life. Thank You for the freedom we have through your death on the cross and conquering of death. Help us to live in the knowledge that You are in us and You want to live THROUGH us. Blessed be Your name in all the earth! Amen.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Today marked the 2-year anniversary of TrueNorth's very first Sunday service. On March 7, 2004, about 50 of us gathered together in the cafeteria of Hammond Hills Elementary School to start dreaming and formulating the vision of TrueNorth Church. Today we had 1,175 in attendance! All I can say is WOW!!!!

But you know, it is not about numbers. It's about lives being changed through Jesus Christ. The numbers do help us gauge how we're doing though. As a matter of fact, one of those 1,175 people is a friend that is dear to my heart. Robby prayed to receive Christ a year ago this month and his life has not been the same since. And his passion for life is unbelieveable! And I could name dozens more.

I'm so extremely thankful that God has allowed me the opportunity to be a part of this movement since the beginning. It's the lives that are changed that help keep me grounded in Christ. They make me realize that it's not about me and it's not anything I'm doing. It's all God...and He wants to partner with me and so many others to change our community and even the world.