Monday, June 28, 2010

Five Take Aways From The Weekend

Had a great day @ HV yesterday. Here are five things I learned from the day.

1. I was created by God to reflect His image. Image is everything. My life is all about His image. The moment that I start reflecting something else is the moment I start robbing God of His glory.

2. Mirrors are harder to break than you think. The mirror I tried breaking in the service took longer than I expected. But isn't that really how it is in our lives? We have an extremely hard time seeing past who we think we are and seeing ourselves for who God knows we are.

3. New creation does not mean refurbished. I am a new creation and the old is gone, dead and gone (Think T.I. and Timberlake)

4. I am thankful for a group of volunteers who serve Jesus wholeheartedly on Sunday mornings. The cool thing is - it is not just a Sunday morning thing. They reflect Jesus where ever they serve.

5. If you reflect Jesus they way He truly is to be reflected, He attracts people to Himself. No gimmicks, no smoke and mirrors (no pun intended), no bait and switch.

6. Check out the lyrics to Ten Avenue North's song "House of Mirrors".

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have no idea why I like this word. Quite honestly, I heard the word used one time, loved it, looked it up and decided that I was going to consciously start using it. Then we started reworking our website and I knew what I was going to call the new blog.

The word means to place things together for the sole purpose to compare and contrast. When you add the 'al' to the word it becomes an adjective and is now a word that describes me. I like options. I like to compare and contrast. So the purpose of the blog is going to be to compare and contrast various things. We may examine cultural trends, belief systems, thought patterns, restaurants, books, etc. Some thoughts will be deep and heavy and some thoughts will just make you laugh out loud. Whatever there occasion, I look forward to conversing with you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Letterman Effect

I watched in stunned silence David Letterman’s confession to his live audience about his inappropriate relationships with his staffers. I was not stunned because of his admission of guilt. I was more stunned by the flippant approach to apologize to the staffers and worldwide fans than I was in his futile attempt at remorse. The remorse that was sparingly there, was due to the fact that he had been caught and was being blackmailed. There was nothing too contrite about his confession.

In fact, as I watched, it was very clear that Letterman was playing the victim card. I know that he was a victim of a serious crime in regards to the blackmail. However, is the best way to deal with failure or sin to deflect responsibility and compare it to someone else’s? So in effect, Letterman’s confession had more to do with that fact that he had been ratted out rather than being sorry for the situation he had created. By they way, there wasn’t a public acknowledgement to his wife until the following Monday. I am not saying there had to be, however, it would have come across a lot better if he’d profusely apologized to her more than point his finger at his accused assailant.

Why would or should we expect more from those whose sin catches up with them? Would any of us have reacted differently? Probably not. We too would have entertained those around us with jokes or shift the blame in order to feel better about the situation. We are long past the days of calling a spade a spade. Sin is sin regardless if we want to confess it as such or not. As I stated before, I am not surprised by Letterman’s indiscretions, however, I was disgusted by his insincerity and the live audience’s light-hearted approach. This really isn’t a laughing matter. Letterman did what he does best though. I know that we expect this sort of behavior from the rich and famous. In fact, we’ve become pretty numb to sin and its effects regardless of whom it is. Regardless if Letterman’s staffer relationships were pre or post marriage, it was still a sin. Who cares if it is considered the norm in our society. We’ve become numb.

That is why I think we NEED to have a healthy understanding of sin, its consequences, and its ability to numb us to the Word of God. We cannot continue down the road of justifying our inability to live up to the standards God expects from us. This is coming from a Christian nation that has a surplus of “we can do all things through Christ” coffee mugs, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. We can’t have it both ways. He is either a conqueror of all things or nothing...not both.

So what does a healthy view of sin look like? First, let’s call sin out in our own lives. If you want a church word, it is called confession. The word confess really means to agree with God that what you did or are doing is wrong and goes against His character and will. I do not believe that daily confession is necessary for forgiveness because sin was paid for once by Jesus. However, if we are going to get beyond sin, we need to agree with God that it is sin so that we can yield to His Spirit within us to remove it from our lives. The process that God uses to remove that sin from our lives is called repentance. Repent literally means to turn away from, to do a 180 degree turn. Sin is directly opposite of who God is. Death vs. Life. Darkness vs. Light. Chaos vs. Peace. Lost vs. Found. False vs. Truth. Denial vs. Confession. To repent is to acknowledge God’s way is not just the best way, but the only way. To repent is to turn from a self-centered view of doing life to a God centered way of doing life.

We also need to understand that there may be consequences from our sin. It may result in the loss of a job, loved one, friendship, respect, and in certain situations our own lives. However, these consequences do not define who we are OR seal our final destination. What do I mean? God isn’t going to love us less because of our sin or our behavior. The presence of the Holy Spirit in my life serves as my deposit, my guarantee that He will see me through to the end because He finishes what He starts! God is not going to yank eternal life from me because I sinned. A consequence of my sin is not going to be the loss of eternal life!

Let’s call sin what it is. Let’s identify it, turn from it, learn from it, and continue to pursue the One who is pursuing us.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sound Beliefs

I love music. I have always enjoyed singing it and listening to it. I loved it so much that I sang in choir all four years and even made our high school musical all four years! I enjoyed singing at church in the choir as well as solos while serving as “special music.” Music also helps me quite a bit in memorizing and studying. In fact, I’m listening to The Long Fall Back to Earth by Jars of Clay right now. Music is powerful. Why is it so powerful? Why does it speak so deeply within us? It may be the melody of a love song. It may be the lyrics that tug at our hearts. It may be the subtleness of the instrumentation and how it is used and/or played. For most us it is the message, the meaning, or even our own personal interpretation of it defines us or our situation.

For example, there is a song by Areosmith that reminds me of a high school breakup! My dad’s favorite hymn was The Old Rugged Cross and whenever I hear it, it reminds me of his baptism. If You Could See What I See is a song that I had the honor of singing to Kelly at our wedding. A couple of weeks ago a song on David Crowder’s new album rocked my world. Shane and Shane sing my personal anthem When I Think About the Lord.

Sound Beliefs was an idea that God put on my heart as a series to examine the messages of the songs that we listen to. (Dave came up with the title and artwork.) The messages resonate deep within us as album sales and digital downloads tells us. The purpose of the series is not to condemn the song, artist, or genre, but to help us understand what God has to say about the topic. What does God say about our words? What does He think about sin? Does He care about our integrity and/or decision making process? Where do we find our identity? How is He the bond in all our relationships? Is He pursuing me or am I pursuing Him?

Over the next few weeks, walk with us as we get a better understanding of what our music says about us but more importantly what does God say about us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week One

Sunday was a big day for Hamilton Village. We were surrounded by a lot of friends and family as we kicked off our first service. The past forty weeks have been an adventure and we are excited about what the future holds. The cool thing is that we only have a six day turnaround before our next one. The soft launch services were nice for us to evaluate, regroup, and pace ourselves over four weeks but four weeks has dissolved to six days!

The blog is going to change over the course of the next few weeks. First, the address will eventually change and will go through our website. We are in the process of adding some elements to our site that will allow members and guests to maneuver throughout the site without leaving the site. Second, the blog will take on more of a teaching flavor that will compliment the sermon series. The blog will become a running commentary and ongoing discussion of what God is teaching us and how we apply it. Looking forward to the discussions, thoughts, and insights.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Final Countdown

After forty weeks of praying and planning our first service has finally arrived. Where did time go? It seems like it was just yesterday that we were finalizing the time line and putting together our leadership team. Now we are hours away from realizing the vision that God has placed in our hearts.

We have met a lot of people that God has allowed to cross our paths. People who are hurting, people who are looking for a church home, and people who are looking to fill a void in their lives. Regardless of their condition, we believe that we know what they need and hope how we deliver it resonates with them.

Lessons are ready, songs have been chosen, sermon is prepared, and the donuts have been ordered! However, if we DO everything we need to do to be prepared and fail to yield to the Spirit, Sunday will be disastrous. A win for us on Sunday is to allow the Spirit to move freely in and through us and to acknowledge that it was all Him.

Pray that those who need to be there will be there. Pray that we would continue to surrender to our Leader. Thank you for walking with us these past forty weeks. I look forward to the next forty years.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I was overwhelmed. Not by the amount of painting I needed to finish for my wife. I’m not even overwhelmed by the amount of tasks that need to be completed by our first service on September 20. No, I was overwhelmed by the love my God has for me and shows me.

It all started about 12:30 am on Monday night/Tuesday morning. I had just finished 14 hours of painting and trimming in our master bedroom and installing a ceiling fan. I was tired and drained from a long day of smelling paint fumes. My arms were tired from the strokes of the brush and lifting a fan above my head while balancing on my ladder. (Side note, I now own my own ladder. Kelly bought it for me as a “gift”. It is one of those cool 5 in 1 ladders that can be a step ladder or a 13 foot extension.) Sorry, a little excited about owning my own ladder!

After cleaning up from the day's activities, I retreated to the man cave to catch up with the day in sports and fall asleep. Our bedroom furniture was still pushed into the middle of the room as we continue to work on the “labor” day project, so sleeping in the man cave was a great option. However, as I sat down to unwind and doze off, I was intrigued by the lyrics of a song that I had been listening too and singing along with all day.

David Crowder covers a song on his upcoming album entitled “How He Loves”. As I started thinking through the lyrics, God began to press deep into my soul the necessity of understanding who He is and the purpose of my life. I have a great gig! I have a beautiful wife, two unbelievable sons, a career that I enjoy, friends that make life fun, and a God who sees beyond my past and future and still loves me. God is not waiting on some future me to show up to love, He loves me now! Yet, we spend most of our time trying to impress those around us with our spirituality, regardless if we really have it all together or not. And we just don’t stop with those around us. We try to impress God too. Our checklist relationship is often so stale and stagnate because we fail to live up to the standards we think God wants from us. Don’t get me wrong, we need Bible study, we need prayer, we need fasting, we need fellowship with other believers, but what we need more than anything is to remember that God loves us regardless. Living in that love draws me to the Bible, draws me to intimate conversations with Him, draws me to fasting for spiritual breakthroughs, draws me to other believers to share what He is doing in my life.

God is more than a priority, He is my life. Paul reminds us of that when he writes, “When Christ who is your life appears...”(Colossians 3:4). Think about these phrases from the song, “We are his portion, He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes”, “I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections for me.” The chorus serves as a simple reminder, “Oh, how He loves us.” Seems pretty basic, yet we have complicated it.

So when God’s love overwhelms you at 12:30 in the morning, it is hard to sleep. When you are acutely aware of His presence, there isn’t room for anything else. So what do you do? You read, your pray, you sing, you listen, and you rest! Being overwhelmed by His presence was the rest I needed and something we all should crave and desire.