Monday, December 15, 2008

Mary . . .

I wanted to tell you guys about Saturday night.  We had some great wins.  First, my wife joined me in our sermon about Mary.  We talked about how humble she was yet you never hear her say, "Are you sure it's me Lord?  Maybe you should have picked someone else."  We know so little about her, but it sounds to me like she walked the fence of being humble before men yet extremely confident in her savior.  She knew if He called her to do it, she could.  Tammi did a great job sharing her heart.  She always does.  I love teaching beside her.
Another great win is we had three new band members on stage with us this weekend.  One was just filling in from another church, but a couple more will be joining us again.  I've met all these guys on Craigslist.  It has become a huge win for us.  One of my prayers has been that we have a really energetic, young worship team and that's starting to happen.  The three guys that I met on CL average 20 years old. They are all very talented and we're blessed to have them with us.  I hope to get some video soon to share with the world.
  In our current series, we've been studying different characters from the Birth of Christ.  Two weekends ago we talked about Joseph, then Mary this last Saturday. For each sermon we've had one of our teens draw the character on our screen while we preach.  I've included the two pictures.  The third picture is one Zach did while we were setting up and practicing music.  It's much more detailed because we preach for about 20 minutes and practice for about 40.  Click on the pics for more detail.  He's super talented.  
Thanks for keeping up with this blog.  God continues to move!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just Keep Moving Forward

      A week ago we showed one of my favorite movie clips.  No, it's not from National Lampoons Christmas Vacationn ("Eddie, if I woke up in the morning with my head sewn to the carpet I would not be more surprised than I am right now"), it's from the latest Rocky Movie, "Rocky Balboa." Everyone should see the movie.  It's really good clean movie. And it's not about boxing. It's about a man who still has a hunger in his stomach for more of what he's supposed to be doing. We used the clip in a sermon called, Choose to Persevere.  We talked about the trials and tribulations we go through in life and how you have to keep getting yourself up and pushing forward.  Click HERE to watch the clip. Go ahead, watch it now. I'll wait.  
We see Paul in the 17th chapter of Acts doing the same thing.  It's a great read.  He goes to the first town, walks into a synagogue and begins preaching Jesus.  A riot breaks out in the whole city!  Their version of the police go to arrest Paul and can't find him, so they arrest the guy who housed him.  What's Paul to do?  He sneaks out of the village, goes to the next town, walks into the synagogue and starts preaching again.  Another riot breaks out.  The people who are with Paul tell him to go wait in the next town while they smooth things over.  Paul gets to the next town, without his posse, and discovers lots of idols.  This frustrates Paul, so he goes into the synagogue and begins preaching the famous passage about the "unknown god." Amazing! No matter what happens, Paul just keeps moving forward.  
Things at Connections have been absolutely great lately. Financially we've had some new givers step up to the plate and we've been able to start buying some much needed equipment. Our numbers rebounded very very well from the Holiday weekend.  I think we had our second highest attendance ever.  And even with everything working well, we have to keep pressing forward, never content with where we are.  The minute we start looking inward we loose the momentum and begin to complain and fight and argue with each other instead of focusing on the lost.  A former pastor of mine use to constantly say, "We need to be so busy fishing, that we don't have time to fight!"  Very wise!
Imagine a large army that comes to a fork in the road.  There are battles to be fought at the end of both paths.  One path leads to the top of a small hill and the other path leads to the valley below.  The general splits his troops and both go to war.  After a very short period of time, the soldiers at the top of the cliff have defeated their foes, so what do they do?  Do they walk to the edge of the cliff and watch their fellow soldiers fight their battle?  Do they stand there and cheer them on? Or, do they march back down the hill and help in the fight? Of course they do!!!  They don't stop fighting until the battle is won.
We at CX have to be careful we don't stop fighting.  Every week we have visitors.  This last week was no exception.  But we don't stop there.  We have to keep inviting, keep sharing Jesus and keep praying for God to do amaaaaazing things!  We can't spend all our time celebrating our victories.  There's still a battle raging on outside!
If your reading this from afar (not in Idaho).  Pray with me for more families to get locked in. Pray for us to cross paths with those who are lost and ready for Jesus.  And, pray that God instills the same fire in us that he instilled in Paul where he just couldn't keep quiet!  He had to the Good News out!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First the important stuff.  Oklahoma absolutely killed Texas Tech tonight.  Can we win big against #12 OK State?  Yes we can.  Can we pass Texas in the BCS rankings . . . not sure.  

Next, the answer to the balloon trivia.  I found some type of black tape, kinda like skinny duct tape and a stapler.  I put staples in the duct tape and wrapped it around a soft ball (not a softball mind you) from the teen room with the staples sticking out.  We took turns throwing it at the balloons.  When we hit one it popped 95% of the time.  Hitting them was the problem.  I handed off that solution and started working on another idea.  We took a long needle that's made to go in a blow gun and taped it to the top of another balloon.  With a very long string we let it drift up to the ceiling and we used it to pop the other balloons.  This idea didn't work all the time because the strings hanging on the other balloons played defense on us and tried to keep us from getting a good shot.  The two ideas together eventually cleared the sky of Joy balloons.

Church tonight went very well.  Jeremy and I broke open the passage where Jesus calms the storm.  We asked these questions . . . #1. Is Jesus in your boat.  #2. Have you woken him up yet to tell him your problems.  #3 Do we have more faith than the disciples.  It's funny that we trust God with our happily ever after (eternity), but we don't trust him for the here and now. 

We had 3 visitors tonight that we have never been before.  One guy is interested in helping us with worship.  He plays an absolutely incredible piano, I mean wow!  SO GOOD.  Another guy offered to help us get door hangers out for our launch.  God continues to orchestrate things.  Our numbers were down some, I think we had 39 or so.  Funny that two weeks ago this would have tied with our highest ever.  After two weeks in the forties it felt like we were down.  

One other quick story . . . we've been looking for a sound system, the one we have isn't really made for live sound, but it's gotten us by.  I found some speakers at a church in Phoenix Arizona and it was such a good deal I was thinking about driving down to pick them up.  They had 3k worth of speakers for 800 bucks.  Even after gas this was still a killer deal. I asked if they would ship them, but they didn't want to take them to the FedEx.  I begged and pleaded and the lady said she'd call me Monday after her ladies retreat.  I reinforced, "Please don't sell them without talking with me."  She agreed.  Well, Monday passed, Tuesday passed, Wednesday passed, Thursday she called and said they sold them.She robbed my joy (and made a great sermon illustration last week on my, "I choose joy" message). It was nice of her to call, but I don't understand where the miscommunication was.    I left 2 emails and 2 messages. I was going to pay full price and come pick them up and all she had to do was hold them for us.  BLAHHH!!!  That long unhappy story ends like this, my buddy Jeff offered me two speakers from his church plant in Cheyenne. Here's a church less than a year old, in the middle of a building project and they are the generous ones (BTW - they had 109 a year ago and 544 last weekend!  Zoom Zoom!).  All that's left for us is an audio snake and a mixing board and we have our complete set up ready to go! The board is the most expensive things we'll buy, but I just saved 800 bucks in speakers!

One last thing.  I've opened up comments to everyone.  You no longer need accounts to tell me what you really think!  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saturday Night

Now that we're settling in with 3 kids, I wanted to share some good news about connections. This last Saturday night John and I did a sermon called, "I choose joy." We talked about the difference between american happiness, which is usually based on entertainment or chocolate, and true Joy which is found only in Christ. We challenged people to figure out what steals their joy and try to find the antidote. 
As most of you know, we consider ourselves a creative church, so we try to do things outside the norm of sing 5 songs, preach for 40 minutes and go home.  We love all churches and realize we're all hitting different segments, but I just get bored too easily, so we have to mix it up.  This last Saturday I showed interviews with two of the most joy filled people I know.  I asked them both, "What are the keys to your joy?"  They gave us some great tips!
We also handed out balloons to all the adults for service. These were regular helium balloons.  At the beginning of service, John (this was his concept) encouraged them to release their balloons any time they felt joy.  Some did during the music, others during the sermon or videos.  It was cool to see.
There's a "B" side to this story.  The ceiling in the church where we meet is 25 feet in the air.  How do you get 25 balloons off a 25 foot ceiling?  We had thought about this prior to service, but our original ideas didn't work.  How would you get them down?  Add a comment with your ideas and on my next blog I'll tell you what we did. MacGyver would have been proud.  The good part was we got to hang out at the church for a couple extra hours.  It was good fellowship time.  Not as good as say, taco bell, but still good!
Last weekend we had 6 new people join us.  The neighbors to my East have been coming to connections since our house church days, this weekend, the neighbors to the west showed up! It was great to see them.  Also, we had a gentlemen who is considering doing some music with us. He's a BSU student and a really nice guy.  We also had one other really friendly family come hang out.  It's amazing at this stage how important every family is!  Our numbers stayed up after our cookout.  I expected them to drop after a big weekend the saturday before.  These last two weeks we've been in the 40's.  If we can see two more weeks of growth, I think we'll set an official launch date.  We'll see how it goes!
So, 25 balloons . . . 25 feet in the air . . . what'cha gonna do?

Monday, November 17, 2008

25% Growth

At least for the Taylor family.  We had kid number three yesterday morning.  Here's the dirty details.
Sunday morning at 6:05 my wife woke and let me know that she was having some pretty good contractions.  They were already only a few minutes apart.  We dressed and headed for the hospital.  We made really good time since there's not much of traffic at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. We were pre-registered and went right up to our room.  Tammi  donned the infamous hospital robe and the nurse checked to see how far along we were. 8-9 cm!  This was all happening very quickly.  They moved her down the hall and into a delivery room.  

Unfortunately, they couldn't do an epidural until the we got Tammi's blood work back. We had to wait through about 20 minutes of contractions before we got the go ahead. When we finally got it back, we decided the kid would be there before the epidural kicked in (it takes a half hour to start).  Instead they did an interthecal (sp?).  Basically they put a long needle in her back and numbed "everything that touches a saddle."  Good description doc.  In the past we've had trouble getting the meds to take on both sides.  We told the anesthesiologist this as he was putting in the needle.  We probably should have warned him ahead of time, but things were happening really quickly. After the shot, Tammi laid on her right side to see if it would trickle towards that direction.  "It's not taking on the right side," Tammi said.  I watched the doc shoot the nurse a look conveying, "that's all we can do." There was this short pause then Tammi said, "There it goes.  It's getting numb."  I think the three of us all sighed at the same time.  The meds they used on Tam only last 90 minutes, so we had to get a move on.  The doc came in, broke the water and Tam started pushing.  I think we pushed through about 5-6 contractions and he was here.  Born at 8:24.  That's a total of about two and half hours of labor!  How great is that!

They weighed him twice because they couldn't believe the first reading.  10lbs 11 oz. When we told Tammi's sister she said, "Go get that kid a happy meal."  You can see from the pics he a big kid.  I've been calling him Chunky-D, and will until the swelling goes away.  He was 23 inches long.  I went to visit him in the nursery and they were working on some "normal" sized babies.  I told them not to let him too close or he might try to eat the other baby.

Unlike our first two, this kid wasn't planned. Just a little bonus from the father.  Tammi wanted a name that meant destiny and we settled on Dezdin. It's our masculine form of Destiny.  Dezdin Nathaniel Taylor.  Nathaniel means "Gift from God."  That sums it up pretty well.  

Besides giving birth to a 12 month old, everything went as well as it could go.  Thank you Lord.  Here's some pics below and please forgive the typos above, I haven't slept much lately!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Concentrated Connections

This vid is a concentrated dose of Connections. Fifty-seven minutes of worship, drama, video and preaching crammed into 15 minutes of footage. Enjoy responsibly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If You Cook It, They Will Come

We had a cookout Saturday night and I encouraged our people to invite a few friends.  The funny thing was, they did!  We had about 50 people there Saturday night and we had a great time.  I got to meet some really cool people.  

We talked on Saturday about the Justice of God.  We started a new video segment that we are going to run once a month or so called, "In the Wild." We interviewed a few people at the local park asking them what the definition of justice is.  Most people answered this without a problem. We followed up with what is mercy.  That's a much tougher question.  The answers varied between deep and insightful to ridiculous.  

 We also did a drama to go along with the subject of Justice.  Brandi played the part of a defense attorney giving the closing arguments to the jury. She walked down to the front and addressed the congregation like they were the 12 in the jury box. She did a great job.  Toss in some great worship and I'd call it a killer service.  Sometime this week I'll be putting up some highlights of the weekend.  I'll put a link in this blog so everyone can find it.

This week we're starting a new series called Choices.  This week is, "I Choose Joy."  I think deep inside we all want to find joy and peace. Even more than that, most of us know what it takes to achieve it, but very few of us are there.  If you're in Boise, come join us.  We'd love to meet you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So Much . . .

We moved into a new place last week!  Since I haven't blogged for a while, I should bring you up to speed.  This is our second new place in 4 weeks.  We spent three weeks at a charter school here in Meridian.  While the location was great and the people incredibly friendly, it didn't have the room we needed for our kids ministries.  Now, we're meeting at a church on Cherry Lane called, "Church of the Holy Nativity."  They are letting us use their sound system, they have a fully furnished ready to go nursery, and a really sweet old gym that we all hang out in after service.  Last week our people hung around for about an hour and a half after service eating cookies, drinking coffee and sharing about life.  It's so great to have a place to fellowship!
This week I've encouraged our people to invite their friends and neighbors.  I'm hoping to see a major turnout.  This will be our first real preview service.  Our band is ready to go, we made a video called, "In the Wild," and we have a drama scheduled too.  Our theme is justice vs. mercy.  I'm convinced it will be a great win!
One other quick note, we've started our Connection Groups.  Jeremy, one of our transplants from Sacramento, is leading a group in Thursday nights.  It is such a privilege to be surrounded by great ministry partners!  Tam and I will be starting our group very soon, right now we're in a holding pattern waiting for kid number three to show up.  He's due pretty much any time now.
I'll get back into the swing of blogging more often.  Thanks for keeping tabs on us and please pray that God draws more meridians towards him!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Comes After Friday

Last night was our last Friday night group.  It was also are last time to meet as a house church. We had 39 people there, our largest group yet.  We did spiritual gifts tests and talked about how we are all part of the body of Christ.  Paul said it best, if we were all eyes, how could we hear.We all have a part to play in this new church plant!  

This coming Saturday we are starting to meet at a charter school just west of town.  I feel really good about the location.  It's on a busy street and there are many neighborhoods within walking distance.  I'm trying to figure out how to serve these neighborhoods.  I don't just want to advertise, I want to serve them. Maybe we'll just make hundreds of cookies and take them around to the neighbors. Maybe.

I want to mention a couple of major praises.  #1.  We've been really blessed to have a couple of great musicians join us at such an early stage in the game. Finding worship leaders can be tricky.  I feel like we're getting an unfair head start.  Thanks Lord.

Secondly, one of our major prayers from day one has been that the Lord would bring us Leaders. We were asking for leaders even before we moved out here.  When we took our gifts test last night, 75-80% of our people had the gifts of administration or leadership.  So amazing!  

Keep praying for us as we move into this next phase.  We are still a ways from launching, but I feel like things are moving right along!  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hot Dogs And Dew

Yesterday we tailgated the BSU game and planned on giving away free food to the other fans. I got there at 2:30 in the afternoon to set up our grill and stake claim to our territory. They don't actually let you park in the parking lot, unless you have a prestigious yellow pass. And, judging by the motor homes that had them, I'll probably never own one. There were tents and RV's EVERYWHERE! These fans are very dedicated. We found a great location on a corner just outside the parking lot and next to a major sidewalk.

I sat there for about an hour by myself. I know some people like to be alone for extended periods of time, but I'm not that guy. It feels awkward just sitting there while people walk by you. I began to doubt if this was going to work. I was talking with a pastor friend of mine yesterday and he said they tried it one time at a park and gave away six hotdogs. Six! I had 120 to give away. I seriously considered getting the van and going home. I'm usually the optimist in the group, but all I could think about was getting stuck with ten dozen hotdogs. I'd be eating leftover franks for a month.

At 4:00 I fired up the grill. The game started at 6 and more and more people were starting to walk by. I opened my first pack and put 15 or so pink dogs on the grill. Then I sat back down on my lonely chair. I rotated them a few minutes later and put the buns and condiments out on my table. "Please let this work!" With the first batch looking well roasted it was time to see if anyone wanted a hotdog. Three college guys were walking by, "Free hot dogs . . . yours is getting burned." I used that line alot. "Really? Free dogs? Cool." They each ate two. I had already given away 6 hotdogs! 1 more and I would break the record. Another group of guys coming by, "Free dogs!" They replied, "I'm starving, didn't have time to eat dinner" Once they were around the grill, dog in hand, I'd hit em with the surprise twist, "There's mountain dew in the cooler behind you, help yourself." If you were judging solely by there reaction, you would have thought they won some sort of prize.

It's so funny to me that a 30¢ (option + 4 on a mac) hotdog can make someone's day. Over and over again I heard people say, "I can't believe you're just giving away hotdogs. That's so nice." One student actually said, "This is the highlight of my day. Free hotdogs, that's the spirit!" A few people did push until I told them why I was giving away food. I let them know we were a church plant and this was a great way to serve our neighbors. We really want to bless our community, even if it's only with a hotdog and cold drink.

About half way through the grilling, some more Connections people showed up. We finished the last half faster than the first. We talked with people about their majors, the point spread of the game, and one person brought up the Fiesta bowl from 2 years ago (2 years people, get over it). All in all we gave away 116 hotdogs (1 accidently got left in the box and I fumbled some during the hand offs). It took about an hour and a half total. We were done before the game started.

In all a VERY successful outing. It cost us 37 bucks for the dogs and another 25 or so for drinks (we got the real stuff, no one really likes Mountain Thunder). This was a huge win for us. The next game is against Hawaii. It's the biggest conference game of the year. I'm guessing I'm going to have to be there a little earlier to get my corner lot again. And, I think I'll double the order.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Next Phase

We finally found a building where we can meet. We'll be moving to Saturday nights for the next phase of Connections. The building is in a great location and only about 7 minutes from where we live. We're hoping to be in by next weekend, but it's not up to us. There is also a possibility that we might have a place there to meet on Sunday mornings. We'll see how it all pans out.
Tomorrow night we're attempting to tail gate the BSU game. We'll see how that goes. We've never done it before, but thought it would be a great way to meet some people and give away some hotdogs. We'll get some pictures posted when it's all done.
Pray that the Lord continues to send us leaders and supporters. We're just getting started!
One last thing . . . OU is #1. Go Sooners. Didn't want to leave that out.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Now What . . .

Friday night at group we did a taste test on 5 different types of root beer. The cheapest one, Albertson's, tied for the top spot. The most expensive one, Thomas Kemper, scored worst. So . . . the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
We had 34 at group Friday night. We've officially started looking for a place to meet. Our time as a "house church" is coming to a close. Be in prayer for us as we try to find the perfect place to grow through our next phase!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Moving Forward

We had 26 people at our group on Friday night. This is the most we've had on a regular Friday night.  We also had another first this week, Isaac Rede started working with our youth. I asked him if he'd try it for a week or two and after thinking it through for a few days decided he'd try it for a month!  What a blessing!  I put a picture at the bottom of some of our kids on Friday.
This week we're having a root beer tasting test to see if we can tell the good stuff from the cheap stuff.  Along with that, we'll be talking about how Christ mixed up the values of Biblical times. "The last shall be first and the first shall be last."  Suddenly being a servant was what carried the greatest value. This perplexed a lot of people.  I wonder if Christ were here in the flesh today, would he not make the same statement?  These houses, cars, fancy clothes and expensive toys, these are not worth living for, or working 7o hours a week for, it's our relationships and families, that is where the greatest values are. 
Hope to see some of you on Friday!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Connections Group

We capped off a week of creative camps with our Friday night Connections Group.  We had two new families that showed up.  A family of 6 and a family of 3.  Both of these families are very musical.  I think we had a drummer, keyboardist, guitarist and I'm pretty sure they all sang.  We went from no band to potential full band in one setting.  God continues to prepare us for what's next.  
As I think I mentioned before, we hired a BSU student to work with our kids.  She is doing a great job!  Our next big challenge is someone to work with our preteens.  We have another new family moving in this week with 2 preteen guys.  Add to that 3 others that are "regulars" and one more from one of the new families and we have 6 kids between the age of 10 and 12.  So add Jr. High specialist to your prayer list.  I can't wait to see what God delivers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some Days Are Better Than Others

And this was a great one.  I started early this morning at, "The Griddle."  Two good friends of mine and I spent our morning together coming up with creative ways to reach more people in the Meridian area.  When it comes down to it, a church planters number one goal is to recruit people. We came up with lots of ways to do just that.  
My afternoon was spent at our Creative Camps. We had a new student in our guitar class, a 19 year old sophomore at BSU. We've been trying to figure out how to connect with some BSU students and this just fell in our laps. She will be joining us Friday night for Bible study.  That's a huge win!
At home after camp, I got an email from a gentleman.  It said this . . . 
Hello Dusty,
My name is (being kept secret) and my wife, daughter and I would like to come to group this Friday. I found your church in the musician section of craigslist. We both are seasoned musicians. We have been looking for a church or a group of followers of Jesus figuring out this journey. Is there a meeting this Friday. Let me know.

We sent a couple of emails back and forth and ended up on the phone for 20 minutes or so. I told him that we were a church plant and that every time a new family comes, it's like reeling in a big fish. It's not very often one just jumps in our boat! We both laughed.  He's been part of a church plant before (another huge bonus) so he knows what it is like.  
After all that Tam and I had a date night tonight. A famous Dave's just opened around the corner and we had enough food to last us throughout the week. Also while we were there, we bought someone's dinner, or at least most of it (all I had was a 20).  I gave the, "" card to the waiter and ask him to use the cash towards their meal and give them the card.  Let's hope he didn't just pocket it.  Who knows what will come of that, but I did what I was suppose to.  
All in all, a great day.  I wish everyday was this fruitful.  We'd have a church-full in no time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let the Creative Camps Commence

We started our creative camps today.  For those who have no idea what that is, we decided to do free camps for our community. We offered Guitar, drama and dance all for free at the local library.  
I had a great time today with our guitarists.  My students were between the ages of 7 and 11 so we started with the very basics. We learned how to hold a guitar, how to sit properly and how to pluck a guitar string. Two of the moms stayed and learned with their kids.  We encouraged that.  I think everyone had a good time.  
If you live in the Meridian area and want in on free lessons, I'll be back at the Ada Community Library tomorrow at 1.  It'd be great to see you there!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Day Off

I took last Thursday off and celebrated, "Super Dax Thursday."  My first offspring and I went out for a fun filled day with just the two of us. Our first stop was Boondocks.  Dax and I both got the unlimited ride tickets.  It's like an all-you-can-play-buffet.  We were some of the first ones there and got onto the go carts almost immediately.  Dax is about 2" too short to be a driver, so he had to ride shotgun with me. Since he's only 4 it's probably a good idea that he's not behind the wheel yet. 

After the carts, we spent some time on the water.  The first ones to be in the bumper boats that day, we raced around the lagoon and shot each other with the attached powered squirters. Dax does really well navigating these tubes. Better than his dad.  Soon, others began to see all the fun we were having  and joined us. Everything was great until one kid said, "Let's get this guy!" and proceeded to water down my vessel.  For some reason my shooter shot up over all their evil little heads, but theirs hit me straight in the noggin.  It was time to move on to something else.

 Since before Tam and I married, she has always been able to beat me at miniature golf. We've played many times and I've won exactly once. I attribute my embarrassing win loss record to Tammi's near professional putting skills.  After playing a round with Daxton, I realized one of two things.  Either he's been blessed with his momma's golf genes.  Or, more likely, I'm just a sub par miniature golfer. I was impressed at Daxton's patience, we played all 18 holes of two different courses, and he did very well at keeping his thumbs down. Mom would be proud!

 After a few games of skee ball and air hockey we ate a late lunch at Taco Del Mar. At 2:00 we saw the movie, "Journey to the center of the earth."  I let Dax order the snacks at the counter, "We want the biggest box of popcorn you have." The clerk looked at me and I concurred with Dax, "That's right, the biggest bucket of popcorn you have!" At the local cinema here you get to put on your own butter.  We put on just enough to make it completely unhealthy and then sprinkled on some cheddar powder.  The movie was in 3-D. If you haven't been to a 3D movie in a while, you should go. The movie was pretty good but the 3-D effects are amazing.  More than once Dax and I both jumped out of our seats. 
After the movie ended, we went back to the fun park.  Dax wanted some more golf and bumper boats. I'm not big on back tracking, but it was after all, "Super Dax Thursday."  Luckily we had purchased the unlimited passes.

I knew Daxton was having a great time all day, but the big compliment came late in the day.  Probably around 4:45 or so Dax said, "This is the best day EVER!" Can you guess what would lead him to say that?  After all the fun things we did that day, what would make him say, " . . . best day ever?" That super compliment came after we bought gas for the van and I let him have his own 1 liter of Mountain Dew. A liter for Dad, a liter for Dax. That made us both very happy.  

 All that was left to make the perfect day ever "perfecter" was some ice cream.  We'd been planning to have ice cream since when we designed this gaming, sugar-filled adventure.  We ended up at Cold Stone, a favorite of ours when we lived in Sacramento. Daxton ordered the largest mint ice cream and I talked him into adding chunks of Heath Bar so I could share too.  We Sat out on the fountain and talked about all the fun stuff we'd done that day.  After it was all said and done, we arrived safely at home and told mom all about it!  We even shared some of the candy we bought with all the fun tickets we won in skee ball. This is what a day off should be!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I've Been Served

This last week we gave away money to those that attended our Connection Group.  Along with those crisp green fun tickets we included preprinted cards that said, "" on them.  I challenged our people to pay for someone's meal or part of their gas and give them one of the cards.  I was thinking, if someone paid for my food and handed me one of those cards, I'd at least check out the website!

We're doing this for a number of reasons.  Part of it is to the get the name of the church out there. I think people will talk about this.  But, the second and main reason is to serve our community. Paying for a meal or someone's groceries is a minor thing, but the spirit of service rings loud and clear.  We're not here to take, we're here to give, to bless our community!

Take a moment to check out the website We bought this domain name and hope to use it a bunch!

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Leaders . . .

I met with Doug Armstrong today.  He's the president and general manager of KTVB7, the biggest news channel in Idaho. Needless to say he is a very busy individual.  It was nice of him to take a half hour and share with me what he sees as the most severe concerns in our area.  
We both agreed that one of the major issues, not only in Boise, but probably across our nation is the technical divide between parents and kids. Most moms have no idea how to check what their kids are looking at online or listening to on Satellite radio.  Most guardians do well at limiting the amount of time kids can play video games, but do they have any idea what games they're playing? What message is the publisher trying to get across?
Since Connections is going to be a fairly tech savvy place,  I figure this is an area where we can help out. I'm not sure what the end game looks like, but I'm hoping to find a way to connect with parents and put some tools in their hands to help patrol what their kids are listening to and looking at.  Things have definitely changed!
Bible study 8 is tonight.  Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Group Last Night

We had four new families at group last night.  One was visiting from out of town, but the other three are not only locals, but very cool families. I must admit I tried to kill one by undercooking her burger, but besides that we had a great time.
We are a few weeks away from our creative camps.  There is more information on our website. We just put up a new video too. Swing over to and look around.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Third and Final Taylor

I took Tam in for her ultra sound Monday.  We're proud to announce we're having a boy.  Everything appears healthy.  For those who are keeping track, this will be our third boy to be brought into the world. I've been reminded that the sex of the child is determined by the Father. What can I say . . . I make boys.
Speaking of three boys, we unloaded truck #4 into storage last week.  John, a pastor from southern  Florida, his wife and three sons are here to help take Connections to the next level. It is SO great having an experienced pastor on this journey with us. As I've blogged before, I have so much to learn! 
Also, we had 22 at our launch team meeting last week! God is blessing our efforts.  Our teams is constantly inviting people to group.  I probably average at least one invite a week. This Friday we're having a cook out. I'm excited to make new connections! :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Mayor

I met with our Mayor on Friday to find out what we as a church can do to help out Meridian. The Mayor's office has already started a huge campaign for the "faith based community" to partner with them to make a positive difference in our area, but they're having a hard time getting churches involved. The mayor was very appreciative (and slightly surprised) that we contacted them instead of the other way around. I think in the future it will be very very easy to do things with and for the city.
We had Bible study number 5 last night and our biggest attendance yet, 19.  I'm always hoping for more, but the graph is moving in the right direction. We finished up our study on the sermon on the mount.  I challenged us to pray for something big that only God can do. I'm excited to hear about what he does.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I had a great discussion with a new friend of mine yesterday at the local Chinese buffet. I laid out the Roman Road and shared about Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. It shouldn't surprise me that God shows up in those situations, but it still does.  It was like He was enjoying the greasy spring rolls right there beside us. 

After I finished, my friend said, "No one's ever really laid it out like that for me." On the way back from lunch I asked him if there was anything keeping him from starting a new life with Jesus and we decided there wasn't. 

They say church plants have more conversions than established churches, at least in percentage.  While that's great now, eventually we'll be the established church.  Lord, help us to always value the lost! We will never be an inward focused church.  There are far too many people out there that have never had it laid out for them!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Serving Meridian

One of the great temptations of a church planter is to use his/her city to bless the church. You take their people, resources, facilities etc, and use them to build a church. We really want Connections to be the opposite. I tell our launch team often that we are here to be a blessing to the area, not simply the other way around.

Today I met with Meridian's Chief of police to ask him his thoughts about the city. It was extremely generous of him to share his time with me. Before I even started asking questions, he was gushing about how great Meridian is (and I completely agree). The school systems, the crime rate, the small town feel (and small town traffic) are all things that initially drew us in this direction.

He said one of the greatest needs in the city is finding events for youth during the winter. Summer holds so many activities, but winter can get long and hold fewer engaging opportunities. Also, like most other cities, Meridian has a number of underprivileged families that need help and, probably, some financial mentoring.

This is our second interview within the circle of Meridian leaders and we're learning a great deal. Once we're finished, we hope to have a clear vision of how Connections can best serve the great area. If you're reading this in Meridian and you have ideas about how to help out, we'd love your feedback.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fourth O' July

Our launch team celebrated our independence at  our neighbors' house.  We had 36 men, women and children!  We probably had enough food for another 36.  We also shot off some fireworks and an airbag.  That's right, an airbag.  Darla's Brother, Paul, restores cars and had one that wasn't going to be used.  He attached a lengthy wire to it and after a countdown from 5 touched it to a 9 volt and POW! It shot up in the air 6 feet.  I can't imagine that thing hitting your face!  It is made to cushion the blow, not make it worse. 

Launch team meeting is back in action this Friday night.  If you're in the Meridian area please come and join us!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Truck #2 and counting...

We unloaded truck #2 this last weekend. It doesn't seem like it's been several weeks since the Redes arrived, but here we are and our second family, the Wights, have arrived safely. We are stoked to have them in the mix

This last Friday we had our biggest attendance yet at a Bible study. Including the kids there were 15 people! It amazes me how God is already moving in such amazing ways. This coming Friday we're having a 4th of July party at our neighbors' house and plan to have a ton of people show up to party with us. It's great having such cool neighbors :)

This weekend we heard a pastor speak on "now moments" - doing what we are called to do in the time and place to which God calls us. It's awesome to know we are a part of God's call to this place in this time. We must continue to listen and hear His purpose to connect people to Himself and one another. We have to stay in his momentum...

And another moving van arrives in 2 more weeks. . . 

Monday, June 23, 2008


(original posting 6.8.08)

When a teacher gives you and assignment, be it in grade school or graduate work, you know he or she will answer any questions you might have. When you get stuck on a math problem, you raise your hand, and Mrs. Expert walks you through the details. If you can't figure out how to dissect your frog, no worries, let Mr. Genius get you headed in the right direction. It just kinda goes with territory, if they tell you to do something, they will walk you through it, instruct you at the very least. 

Sometimes I wish God were more like that. I know I've followed the call of God. He's called me to pick up my family, move to another state and start a new contemporary church. "Um, check... check... and... I'm working on it." The thing is, I'm not sure how all the details are going to work out. We continue to meet people and have lunches and dinners with some really cool individuals, but I wish I could just raise my hand and say, "OK Mr. God, come show me the right answer. I need help with this one!"

I wonder if Abram felt the same way. This is a passage from Genesis 12, "The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation . . . So Abram left as the Lord told him; and Lot went with him.' "

It goes on to say that he took his wife, some of his family and all the people he'd acquired in Haran. He just packed them all up and left. I wonder what that process was like. I wonder if any of them ever said, "Are you sure this is your calling?" or at least once I'm sure someone commented, "Where exactly are we gong?" Abram handled all that pressure and did exactly what God had called him to do. Here's the point though, God leaves a lot of the details up to us. Granted there is some inner guidance, but much of the time we do what seems right. We're just doing the best we can with what we have.

And maybe there's a deeper lesson in that. There are tons of instances in the Bible when God gave people specific instructions, but there are just as many where some of those same people made their own choices. Abraham, for instance, (yah, same guy - God had just changed his name at this point) lied to the ruler of Egypt. He also took his wife Sarah's advice to have a kid with her maidservant - not the best of choices - even worse for the outcomes. So, did God simply not have an opinion on those calls? Or was it something else? Did Abraham just take matters into his own hands?

What if every new struggle came with all the answers? Would we grow much? What if each day's challenges arrived with a full-color, neatly bound instruction manual? Would we really NEED God? Would he get glory in our lives?

I'm confident in the outcome of Connections. I know God will continue to bless, and in the not-too-distant future we'll have a Godly community reaching the lost in Treasure Valley. Until then, while we figure out where we're going, I'll just keep raising my hand and asking God for a few more tips!

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). "Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' " (Isaiah 30:21.)

I have so much to learn!!!!!

(original post 5.31.08)

Preface . . . I grew up in the church, I have a degree in pastoral ministry, and have been doing some sort of church ministry since I started preaching at the age of 15. Now that you know all that, let me just say, I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN!!!

Last weekend I got to do my first baby/child dedication. Like many who "grew up in the church," I've seen this dozens of times, but have never been the one doing it. Luckily for me it was for an awesome family. I prayed for this beautiful, one-year-old angel, then had the dad pray for himself and his wife. It was so great to see and hear this father pray for his little girl. It was really cool to be a part of something like that.

It got me to thinking about Jesus growing up. Did he have moments when he thought, "I have so much to learn"? Did He get nervous the first time he spoke in front of large crowds? Did He ever walk off the mountain thinking, "I could have done better. If I'd only used that ONE parable"? Did he ever have to review the instructions for a special ceremony? Who knows, maybe he did everything right the first time, but the Bible does say he grew in wisdom, which means at one point he had room to grow.  Luke 2:52

This reminds me of the Rich Mullins song "Man Like You/Boy Like Me." You can read the lyrics here:  Man Like You lyrics

Whether Jesus had to learn as he went along or had it all figured out at the age of 12 in the temple, it feels good to know that someone has walked in these shoes. Whether Jesus as a pre-teen or other pastors out there who have survived the rigors of ministry. It's good to not be alone.

"God, grow our hearts to be like the one you put in your only Son! Help us to love like He did, sacrifice like He did and, probably toughest of all, forgive like He did. I know we all still have lots of learning to do but we're working on it, thanks for being patient."

Two Weeks in Meridian

(Original posting 5.17.08)

Now that we've unpacked most of our boxes and have internet working at the house I'm hoping to start blogging more. Here's an update of what's happened since we've been here:

Our real estate agent and Paul Hatfield, pastor of the Pursuit here in Boise, gathered over a dozen people to help us move in. When we arrived, about two weeks ago, it took us about 2 hours to move in. God is good!

During the unloading process, we experienced a 4-5 minute dust storm. The wind kicked up and everything beyond 10 feet away had an old school sepia tone to it. It stopped suddenly, cleared up, and then we had a couple of minutes of hall (that's frozen ice falling from the sky for those Californians reading this). It's noteworthy to add that it was probably in the 60's while this all happened. After that, it was back to the sunshine.

We've been meeting people and making connections since we got here. We've had dinner with one young couple, and have made plans for more encounters.

We also had dinner with some of our neighbors. While we were teaching them Settlers of Catan, it came out that she was a church secretary for awhile. How cool is that! They are really neat people and Tam and I look forward to getting to know them better.

I've also decided to get a job. I had originally planned on doing this for financial reasons, but the Lord is faithfully meeting our needs and those of Connections, so being bi-vocational is not my motivation. The main reason is to meet people and be part of the community. It really feels like the right decision. The job I'm looking into required a two-week class during which God allowed me to make some great connections.

I've had conversations with people about their hearts and how they view God. I really believe those discussions were ordained.

Tammi just flew home from one final job in California, during which she too was able to open doors of communication with people from the area and spark some interest - in Connections, but even more so, in Christ. I think we've met enough people to start a Bible study. We're hoping to kick that off next week.

I want to say one more time that the field is so ripe here. Everyone we talk to is so friendly and open to spiritual things. The lady who rang up my groceries the other day asked why I moved to town and told her I was starting a new church. We were finishing up the transaction and she made me wait until she could find a pen to write down Connection's web address. Again, people are hungry.

I know this entry is just a potpourri of random things God is dong, but the point is, He is moving and we are still on the ride of our life! We can't wait til next month when two more families join us!

God is Still on His Throne

(Original Posting 4.10.08)

Lately God has been reminding me that He is still on His throne. He is not moved by our economy. Global warming does not shake Him, nor is He nervous about who our new president is going to be. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. God himself says this a few different times in the O.T.

Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change."

1 Samuel 15:9 "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind."

God anchors our existence. he is a solid foundation. If a fickle God governed us, imagine the chaotic milieu (environment) we wold all live in! Is God interested in hearing from me? Is God listening today? Is He in a good mood? God does not change like a chameleon and He is not swayed by public opinion.

There's a great passage in Isaiah 6.
"1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.' 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."

Sounds like a God who has it under control, huh?

There's a story in the NT about the first guy to die for his faith in Christ. Most of us know the story of Stephen, but look again at this one verse...

Acts 7:56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

I think it's worth noting that Stephen sees Jesus standing, not God. God was still on his throne. He was not shaken or fearful. He wasn't the least bit concerned. His control never waned.

One of the great confusions in modern Christianity is the role that God plays in our lives. Because our churches have become so seeker sensitive (which I like BTW), we think God is too. The church caters to me, gives me donuts when I get there, sings the music I like and will help me when I'm in trouble. We begin to feel like the church is at our beckon call. Hear this . . . GOD IS NOT AT YOUR BECKON CALL! He is not a puppy in the next room waiting for you to be his friend, nor is He a waiter there to serve you when your glass is half empty. We have created a false God that exists for our pleasure! In fact, the exact opposite is true.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

We were made for Him. Not the other way around We are to be at His beckon call. We are the one's that should be waiting to hear the voice of God, eager to serve and do His will!

This has been on my heart for awhile now, so long that I wrote this song about it. Listen at our own risk! This is just me and a piano. No reverb, no fixes, no pitch correction (no talent?). God is still on his throne! No matter what you are going through, bankruptcy, cancer, divorce, pregnancy, getting a new job, losing an old job or planting a church, God has not moved. He is bigger than all that, and he is still in complete control!

The First

(original posting 3.19.08)

I chatted online with a dear friend yesterday. He's another one of those all-stars who wasn't afraid to step up to the plate and do something big for Jesus. He planted he church in October of '07 and they had over 2,000 people attend a recent outreach event. It's amazing to me that a year ago they had zero influence in an area and last weekend they touched over 2,000 lives! I'm so glad he was willing to go.

He talked about the early days when he, his wife and two other couples met in Bible studies. They were starting the church with just the 6 of them and their kids. After a few weeks of that, they had their first visitor join them. He put it this way, "We thought we were taking the city when she showed up..."

I can't wait to see our "first person" get connected. Maybe someone lonely in need of friends. I can't wait for the first addict to be a full week without substances because God is setting him/her free. And, when I think about the first person who will cross the line of faith, I almost cry.

That's what the battles are for! That's why we fight the spiritual warfare we do! For those of us on our prayer team, please pray that the Lord will bring the right people our direction. That He will open the right doors for us to connect with the right people!

God is in the Details

(Original posting 3.4.08)

God is in the details, the little, answered prayers that often forget.

This weekend the Taylor family traveled to Boise. This is my fourth trip and everyone else's sophomore adventure. I'm still in love with the people, the pace of life and the incredible view. I honestly didn't want to leave. There's a spiritual excitement when I'm there that I can hardly contain!

One of the reasons we went was to get our banking stuff set up for Connections. Because we don't have our non-profit status yet, this has been a bit of a hassle. But, on Friday, we met the right guy at a local bank. I don't know what he did, but I left with a Connections account and a handful of blank checks. I had wasted time worrying about it, but once I reached out and twisted the handle, the door was open! God is in the details. Contributions are beginning to come, and now we have a place for them!

We visited a young church out there called The Pursuit. They kicked off a few years ago and it is going like crazy. If you live in Boise and are reading this blog, GO CHECK OUT THEIR CHURCH!!! It's incredible. Krispy Kreme donuts were available in the atrium, the music was inspired and professional (a balance that's very rare), and Paul had a great message from Acts about holy discontent. I hope we can partner with them on some insane ministry ventures when we get off the ground.

Tam and I had lunch with Paul and Angela, the founders of The Pursuit. They told us about their first conversion, their first hire, some of the challenges they've had along the way, and how much God has blessed them. As we listened to their stories, I could hardly sit still (which is a challenge for me anyway). I'm ready to get started!

I also met a really nice guy at the mall and told him we were moving up to plant a church. He seemed receptive and open. I just didn't have a church to invite him to! It won't be long! Hopefully he'll still be there in a couple of months!

Tick off the Right Ones...

(Original posting 2.27.08)

Everyone told me planting a church would be hard. No one told me that planning to plant a church would be just as difficult. Lately it seems like we've been under attack. We found out that one of the families going with us has opted out. That's a bit frustrating. My wife and I have been having similar dreams about bad things happening to our children. That's not normal. And, as I've been spending more and more time in prayer, it seems past hurts and doubts have been sneaking into my head now and then.

People ask if I think we're being attacked. Sure feels that way. I'm no expert on demons and spiritual warfare, but if it's true that they're attacking me, I'm pretty stoked about it. I'd rather be ticking off satan than God. Have you heard about the wrath of God?

Look at this verse from 1 Corinthians 10.   21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

I don't have time to go into the context of this passage, but I like the way Paul ends this section... "Are we stronger than He?" Of course we're not! We're not even in the ballpark! So, be on God's side! As soon as you know what that is, get there and stay there! Seems easy enough.

I prayed today, with all that's going on, "Lord I need another nudge. Something that says you're looking down on me and proud that I'm following Your ways." He used some old friends to answer that prayer. We got our first financial support check in the mail today. RIGHT... ON... TIME.

Tam and I are in Boise this weekend. We're hoping to find a house to live in. Pray that everything works out to His glory. We get to be there on a Sunday, so we hope to attend a couple of church services too. It always encourages me to see what other churches are doing! Pray the Lord leads us to the right neighborhood so we can meet the right people to help Connections have the kingdom impact He desires!

If you're in Boise and you want to touch base with us while we're there, email me We'd love to meet you.

God's Agenda

(Original posting 2.6.08)

God has an agenda. It's not a political agenda, He's not making deals behind your back. It's not a hidden agenda, He's not keeping secrets from you. But He does have an agenda. he has a plan for your life that will help Him accomplish this massive agenda. What is it you ask? What's this all-consuming, over-arcing agenda?

I think Timothy sums it up well, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:3-4). There it is in plain sight; God wants all men to be saved. To save the world!

For me, that plan is to move to Meridian, ID and start telling people about Jesus. To start an artistic community of creatives, using their God given gifts to connect with and worship the Creative. I believe we will see hundreds of people come to know Jesus Christ in a personal and life-changing way. I'm also convinced that we'll see countless marriages saved and addicts freed. We'll see relationships restored and forgiveness found. That's a lot of stuff. That's a God-sized goal. A goal we can only attain with the help of God Almighty! Lucky for us, it fits perfectly with His agenda!


(Original posting 1.31.08)

Whenever you do something great or successful for God, there is temptation. Temptation to think somehow it's about you or your gifts and skills. "Hmmm... they really like your idea! Did you hear those accolades?" "Look at all the people who are following you. Look what you did!" It's tempting, when we've worked hard, and used our gifts faithfully, to take just a pinch of the credit. The greatest gift God can give us, sometimes, is to accomplish things completely outside our gift or skill set. This is the blessing He's giving us in Connections.

It's less than a month after going public and God has called 5 families, including our own, to this mission - 5 families, 8 children, dozens of reasons it can only be God.

1. We would never have considered Boise on our own - where's Idaho? Who lives there? Had it not been for some good friends planting the seed in our hearts, we might not have seen it.
2. The people we thought might go, don't feel called - Isn't it just like God to disappoint our tiny expectations, then blow our minds?
3. The people going don't make logical sense - these are families who are grounded where they are, born and raised, many in the same neighborhood where they now live, own businesses or are leaving behind great situations - extended family etc.
4. The stories are UNDENIABLE. Doors that should have been shut are open. Places where fear would normally be, there is only peace

We stand COMPLETELY aware that this is out of our hands, beyond our skills or gifts. This is God. And He has us exactly where he wants us.

"I am the Lord, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things that have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you" Isaiah 42:8-9.

It feels good to be standing on the edge of this adventure and know beyond all question that this is UNDENIABLY God.