Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Speaks to Your Heart?

I'm just got curious about something after reading this guy's post asking for response to the question "What worship song could you be fine NOT SINGING again for 5 years?" Well, I'd like to put a spin on it...what song is speaking into your life right now?

So go ahead, click on that mysterious "comments" link and let me know what yours is. And let's say for purposes right now that I'm not just talking about worship could be anything. Make sure you post the singer's name with the song. It's all you...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reflecting on Sunday

Wow! What a weekend! You can't get much better than that. To start it off, we saw 38 people dunk'd for Jesus. To put that in perspective, not many churches out there baptize 38 people in an entire year. It's just another testimony to what God is up to at TrueNorth! And the video testimonies were incredible. (In case you missed Sunday, be sure to check out the video link on our webpage!)

One absolutely amazing thing about Sunday morning is a particular way God worked amongst the band. I came in Sunday knowing my voice was pretty much shot due to allergies and a sinus infection---nasty stuff! So I had TJ on standby in case I woke up that morning without a voice. And you can guess what happened when I woke up...not much of a voice. (Actually, I sounded like a middle schooler going through puberty!) Anyway, we run through our set that morning, and TJ starts to lose his voice! (Thankfully the rest of the band was on with everything else.) When we prayed before the service, we just surrendered it all to God. It's not like anything we do or don't do can stop God from doing what He wants to do!!! And what happened in the service, God took over. I remember a few months back when Zak, one of our guitarists, prayed "God, make us more unsure of ourselves so that we can be more relient on You!" I've discovered through the years the most powerful times of worship are the times when I'm unassure of myself, but totally assured in Him.

So that was Sunday morning. Sunday night was Starfield, and they ROCKED IT OUT! Those guys from Canada have a unique ability to draw you into the presence of God through celebration and reflection. Very gifted fellows. And I was especially impressed and refreshed by their humility. If you ever get a chance to see these guys again, don't miss it!

Check out these two pics from Sunday night courtesy of my buddy Mike Adams:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spiritual Transformation: To feed or not to feed

As I've said before, I love reading blogs. I track close to 70 blogs through bloglines, which is a very helpful resource because it allows you to see what's updated out there in blog-world without having to click on, in my case, 70 something websites. That can get quite time-consuming!

Anyway, one guy that I track is Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections at Granger Community Church in South Bend, Indiana. He posted this today about spiritual transformation and what that means for people at different stages of their spiritual journey. Very, very good stuff!

I would have to agree with him here. We need to teach new believers how to feed themselves, but once they learn, they need to stop being dependent on the church and learn to do it for themselves! It's almost like a newborn child. Once they are born, they are heavily dependent on the parents to feed them and give them what they need. But as the child grows, they are gradually weaned from the parents toward a more independent life. That's exactly what needs to happen in the life of a believer.

Unfortunately, that's not what happens. I'm hearing more and more from church leaders around the country that the "we want to be fed" group of church attenders is growing. Whether its more indepth bible study or church history courses, the cry is the same. "Feed me!" But when does the burden of growth become lifted off the church's shoulders and placed on the mature believers? Please hear me here because I'm not saying that indepth bible studies are bad, nor is going deeper. What matters is how and why. "How" meaning is the expectation placed on the church, and "why" meaning what is the purpose for wanting to go deeper. If the "how" is that the church needs to be provide, well, I don't believe that's the church's responsibility. I applaud the initiative of three friends of mine who meet on their own every Thursday night to go through an indepth study. That's taking the spoon and feeding yourself! If the "why" is strictly for knowledge, then you run the danger of becoming a consumer of spiritual knowledge and then it becomes all about what you know and what you want. But if it's to help you grow in light of a circumstance, by all means, dig in!

I have to go out on a limb here and say that American Christians can be spoiled brats. We want more and more without giving anything. Sometimes I just want to tell people that, if you want to grow and go deeper, step out in faith and mentor a few new Christians in their journey. Lead a Journey Team. Share what God has done in your life and the lessons you've learned with those who haven't "been there and done that." I'm of the belief that Christians can grow without bible studies. After all, what did we do before the printing press started churning out the first bibles? Steve has said many times, and I'm a firm believer in this, that spirituality is more caught than taught. That's why we have Journey Teams (small groups) that meet weekly to build relationships that will last. These relationships are being created so that each of us have help along the journey of becoming passionate followers of Christ.

I think the reason I've got such a strong opinion on this is because I've observed several people (including myself) through the years who have gone on the journey of "going deeper" only to become more inward focused. For me, those times found me desiring more knowledge than seeing lives changed. But one experience changed me forever on this. It was through being a Journey Team leader in 2005. Our group was filled with new Christians, eager to grow and learn how to live the Christian life. It was at that time I realized the joy and excitement of being a part of another's spiritual journey. I think I grew more in that year than all the years of bible study combined. Why is that? I believe it's because I was in a place that I had to rely more upon God because I realized others were looking to me for guidance in their new found faith. Also, for some reason, the longer I am a Christ-follower, the harder it is for me to stay passionate about Jesus. But being around new believers is contagious. Their passion, their energy, their excitement over the changes occuring in their lives can't help but transform yourself.

And that's all I got to say about that...


It's coming. April 22, 2007. One incredible night of meeting with God as a body of Christ. Our Facedown team met yesterday to brainstorm and plan and I can assure you this edition will be like none other.

Something we read through that I would encourage everyone to read through to fully understand the Facedown concept is Matt Redman's book Facedown. Amazing, amazing book. So there's my sales pitch.

So, mark the date on your calendar. You won't want to miss it!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Anderson, SC, today with a few other TNCers. The conference was called Unleash and it was put on by our friends at NewSpring Church. What a great day! There were a lot of things said today that I needed to hear. For a rundown of today, check out this blog.

The really cool thing for me was to run into some friends in the church planting world that I've gotten to know over the past few years. I thought it would be cool to share what God is doing in some other churches out there...

1. NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC This is the church that put Unleash on today. Amazing, amazing job! Their volunteers provided an incredible experience for the 900+ visitors. NewSpring is around 7 years old. They started with 15 people in the living room of their pastor Perry Noble right around the time of Y2K. For many years, they met on the campus of Anderson University, growing to the size of 4,000+ by the end of 2005. At this time, they moved to their first building in February 2006 to accomodate their growth (they were doing 5 services at the University!). Most recently, they celebrated their one year anniversary in the building with over 9,200 people! They also had a service a few weeks ago where 250 people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior!!!! God is doing some amazing things through NewSpring Church!

2. Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC I ran into Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick, who spoke at TNC in the summer of 2005. Elevation launched in Charlotte, NC, in February 2006 with around 300 in attendance. The past year has literally been indescribable as they have seen growth every single month bringing them most recently to over 1700 in attendance and the announcement of a second campus in Charlotte. Two weeks ago the church saw 50 people accept Christ! Another example of God on the move...

3. Mill Creek Community Church, Buford, GA Back in September, before our move to the gym, we had the pleasure of a visit from pastor Tony McCollum and his wife, Amy, from Mill Creek Community Church outside Atlanta. He told me today that they are having to look for a new place to meet because they are outgrowing their current facitliy, which is a movie theater. Awesome, awesome stuff!

These are just three examples of God majorly moving in people's lives. Talking to these guys and seeing what God is doing there and here makes me so pumped to keep pursuing the vision He's given us at TrueNorth, which is to transform spiritual seekers into passionate followers of Christ. That's what it's all about!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blocked Out

I have been suffering from MAJOR writer's block lately. I think it's because life has had my head swimming. Sometimes I come home at the end of the day and my brain is just dead. I'm worth nothing for about an hour or two until I can unwind.

That's where it's good sometimes for me to play hide-and-seek like we did tonight with our kids. Now, I'm at a slight disadvantage because I'm what you'd call a "big guy". Hiding a 6'4", 200 lb frame is not the easiest thing in the world! And then you have Laurie who can lay on the bed and throw a blanket over her and the kids can't find her for a good 20 minutes. What's up with that? So how do you unwind?

I read this post the other day and it really got me thinking about how I would respond. I mean, the idea of faking worship? But there is something there. If I were to really be honest (which I'm going to be, so watch out!), I would have to say I'm going through a worship funk right now. What??? The worship leader is going through a worship funk? What's that all about? But it's true. I'm human and sometimes it happens. It's hard to keep things fresh and real. Reading the above mentioned post was good for me because it made me realize it's okay not to be "super worship guy". In fact, I don't want to be that. I just want to come unashamedly just as i am.

Friday, March 09, 2007

New TNC Blog!

I wanted to let you know that we've started a new blog specifically for life at TrueNorth Church. Steve, as well as other staff, will be posting every week about the happenings at TNC, as well as sharing transformation (T-Life) stories and casting the vision. Check it out fact, we're encouraging everyone to set the blog as your home page!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Videos

We posted some new videos on our YouTube site. You can now see Steve tackle an alligator and a flying squirrel! Also, the interview with Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber is up. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nehemiah 1

On Sunday, Steve started a journey through Nehemiah and challenged us to join him over the next few weeks. So, I started reading yesterday in Nehemiah 1. I love verse 4 because it shows a brokenness, a dependence, and a real faith that I so long for.

First, when Nehemiah heard of the news of his people in Jerusalem, he became broken. "As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days..." I heard the news of a friend who is battling cancer the other day and what the outlook is for them, and my heart broke. Yesterday, I read the news of Britney Spears trying to hang herself. Now, Britney is not a friend, just a celebrity from afar, but my heart still broke for her because she desperately needs to know that there is a God who loves her and wants her to run to Him. These are just two examples of brokenness that I have experienced lately, one for a fellow Chist-follower and one for someone who is in a downward spiral and as lost as can be. I want to have a sensitive heart more often toward my brother or sister and toward the lost!

Second, I see a dependance and a faith in Nehemiah. He goes on to fast and pray "before the God of heaven." I so long for this in my life! If you read through Nehemiah, you'll notice that as his journey unfolds, his consistent response to anything is to pray first. WOW! How much different would things be if I only would respond in this way? Don't get me wrong, things will always go wrong because we live in a fallen and imperfect world. But, my attitude will change. I've been reading through Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover and in it he says that dealing with finances is 20% head knowledge and 80% attitude. I would go a step further and apply this to everything in life. Our attitude is HUGE!

I had a good friend, Dan, who battled cancer a few years ago. I'm convinced that his attitude and his faith are what made his recovery go so well. I've even heard of doctors say that they notice patients with positive outlooks respond to treatments a lot better than those that don't. My point? Attitude can make or break a situation.

God, for my friend that is battling cancer, please wrap Your arms around them. Let them know that you're there to take care of them and their family. I also pray for a miracle of healing. Regardless the outcome, let You be glorified! I also pray for Britney Spears and the countless multitudes out there that feel alone and abandoned. I pray that they will come to know that You love them and that You want to pour out Your love upon them.

Let my friend and Britney hear the words of the old hymn:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Monday, March 05, 2007

March Madness Takes Off!

If you missed yesterday, you missed the start of what is going to be an awesome series. Steve kicked off yesterday with The Road to the Final Four, a message on leadership and vision. I thought he did a great job tying leadership to everyone. As he said, whether you know it or not, you're leading someone.

I've been reading a book called Compassionate Leadership by Ted Engstrom and Paul Cedar. Excellent, excellent book. The whole premise of the book is that leadership must start with service. You cannot be a leader without first being a servant. That was Jesus' model. He even said that He came not to be served, but to serve. Powerful example from the Son of God!

Leadership is a lifelong process. I was talking to a friend yesterday who is an emerging leader about the struggles he's facing as a leader, and I told him it's something you're always learning in. I know I am. Just when I think I'm doing good, God shows me an area that I need to work on. And that's cool with me...cause I just want to keep growing and learning.

On a side note, I want to piggyback off an announcement from yesterday. Starfield is coming March 25!!! If you don't know anything about these guys, start learning! They are amazing musicians, songwriters and worship leaders. You can check out some of their music by clicking here or here, or you can even purchase their CDs by clicking here. Tickets are $10 at the door and the doors will open at 6:00P. Also, the TrueNorth|Band will be opening that night. It's a night you won't want to miss!!!