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!