Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey Team,
I trust everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day! Tam and I had a great time entertaining some family and some fellow Connectors. Toss in some pecan pie (my favorite) and it as a great day!

Two quick things I wanted to toss your way. First of all, things at Connections have been really good. We had four people raise their hands to ask Jesus in their lives this last Saturday. To be honest (which means not being deceptive) I know at least one of them well enough to know that they have had a relationship with Jesus in the past, but I'm stoked their getting their life right. God is good and He is still moving. We have such a great team at Connections, our band is INCREDIBLE, our children's ministry is awesome (thanks to a 5-1 teacher ratio, one of the great advantages of a new church plant), we have two other established, successful pastors that attend and speak and almost every person at Connections has a small group they attend at least monthly. Amazing! Still, there's more to do. Here's what we could use prayer for:

1. MORE PEOPLE! I have this visual image of Connections being a small house built on a huge foundation. We've got everything in order to build a big house, now it's just inviting and loving people. Pray that our people have the courage to invite and that the invites are accepted. 2. Pray for our finances. We've had some unexpected support checks lately that have come right on time. God continues to be faithful. Another note of praise, I sold a house this week (I have a real estate license here) and it allowed the Taylor's to get caught up on some bills. He's always right on time!!!

The second thing I wanted to tell you about is a new promotion we're doing called, "I'm Not A Number." This is some of the stories from people who've gotten involved with Connections. We opened the door to anyone who wanted to share their stories. We're hoping to take over CraigsList with written testimonies and links to a bunch more on youtube and our own website. The goal is for more people to notice and check out Connections. We're launching this later this week or early next week. It's going to be a huge win. I'm including one of the stories. It's from the Emerson's. They are my neighbors from down the street and joined us when we were still meeting in our home. They've been a huge asset to Connections. They volunteer for just about everything. I can say without hesitation, CX wouldn't be the same without them!

Thanks for your prayers and support. I truly believe the cement is drying on this massive foundation and we're ready for the next level! To God be the glory.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Full Confidence . . .

Do you have full confidence in God? I mean, do you believe with every fiber of your being that he's going to do what he promises? A couple of days ago in Bible time I read the, "Do not worry" passage in Matthew. As I was reading it, I asked myself if I really believed it. Do I believe whole heartedly that God is going to take care of me and my family the same way he takes care of the flowers in the field. And my answer . . . YES!!!
I do believe it. I believe it for two reasons. The first one is He said he would. That should be enough, but there's more. The second reason I believe it is because of God's history. Not His global history, but His history in the Taylor Family and in my life. God has always showed up, always right on time. I want to tell you about how faithful God has been over the summer. I think you'll be amazed!
For those of you not familiar with Connections, let me give you a couple of quick facts. We're a new church, less than a year old, reaching prechristians and young families. We're still under 100 people (but growing). I have a couple of side jobs that I do now and then when I can get the work, but mostly I put all my time in making Connections go. Financially things have been a challenge, as they are with any non-profit in this economy. But the fact that most of our people are college aged or unsaved makes it even a bit more challenging. Still God has been faithful. Here are the last few months and what God has done to save the day.
At the beginning of the summer, we needed money to pay all our bills at the beginning of the month. We prayed and God showed up in the mail. We got a 600 dollar check from our escrow account. We're still not sure if they miscalculated something (we bought this house when we moved here about a year ago), or if it has to do with a change on our mortgage insurance, but either way, we needed it.
Fast forward 30 days, same situation, just a little worse. Tammi came in and sat down with me to talk finances. "Here are our options. We can take a partial paycheck and pay the mortgage or we can take no paycheck and pay the rent for the church. What do you want to do? Oh and we need to pay our worship leader and children's worker too." As a man, that's tough, I mean, that's my main gig, providing for my family. Even more than starting a church and loving on people, I'm commanded to take care of the Taylor clan. Tam and I prayed together and the next day, in the mail box we got a support check for 1200 bucks. How amazing is that!!! We didn't ask for it, we didn't even make the need known, it just showed up.
Thirty days later, same song, third verse. This time it was a check for 1000 dollars for some work I hadn't even done yet. The original agreement was that I'd get paid after all the editing was finished. We were still a month out from even doing the shooting, much less all the editing, but I was holding in my hand a 1000 dollar check. The guy who sent it had no idea he answered our prayers.
Number 4. Probably my favorite story (that's happened so far). I'm sitting in a parking lot waiting for a lady 4 spaces up to back out so I could park as close as possible to the front door. While I was waiting, I noticed the car directly to my left was also backing out towards me. "Surely she'll see me!" I thought. I tapped on the horn a couple of times then laid on the horn as hard as I could (as if that would make it louder). I actually broke the plastic piece that activates the horn. My horn didn't stop her, but my driver side door did. She apologized and admitted it was completely her fault. My car left an imprint in her plastic bumper, "Reatta" (only backwards of course). Lucky for her it was a loaner car, hers was being fixed. The Reatta took a good sized dent up by the front wheel well. When the insurance company called me to talk about a fix they said I could just keep the money if I wanted or I could have it fixed, either way it was up to me. I still have the dent, and my house. Another mortgage miracle. I love my car (it turns 20 in January), I'm bummed it's got a dent in it, but I'm thinking about keeping it just as a great story of God's faithfulness. He always shows up.
Last month I felt God calling me to sell some things to make things go and I was faithful to that. I understand completely that God calls us to do our part too. We have to be men and woman willing to give it all up for him. We can't just stand there with our hands out all the time.
All in all the last 4-5 months have been amazing. To me it's just more proof that God is behind the ministry we're doing here. And I know he'll continue to be faithful because he has always been faithful, he has always provided.
Let me close with another verse I ran into recently. It's in the book of 1 John, chapter 3 starting in verse 21, "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him." IF our hearts do not condemn us . . . in other words, if we are clean before God, no unconfessed sin, no baggage that we're carrying around, then we have full confidence in God! He will do what we ask, He will help us accomplish His will on this earth, He will help grow Connections and continue to provide for the Taylor family. I believe this with every fiber of my being! I have FULL CONFIDENCE!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Opening Sequence

We've posted an opening sequence of the short we're producing. It's about all the junk we carry around in our lives. It's two minutes long. Then hit comment and help me come up with a good name for the video. We don't have on yet!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick Update

Things at Connections are incredible. We've aimed for and envisioned this community of young believers where we can gather together to Connect with God and with each other. Also, and this is key to our energy, we want a place where everyone enjoys themselves on Saturday night. We want to see smiles and hear laughs.

I believe we have it.

We had a ton of visitors this last week. I sent emails out to most of them and I got this response back . . .

"Dude, I think I'm hooked! You have a very infectious group. (I've tried other churches but) you guys have a much different energy. It probably has to do with the younger ages of people with Connections, and that helped me "connect" with the others. Nothing against the other group, but you need to find the right fit." -The parenthesis are my paraphrase.

So good! I'm proud of our teams and our families for creating an encouraging atmosphere. All we need now is a few hundred more people!

This Saturday night we're talking about our callings. Next Saturday is our fall kick off. Complete with music, videos, some preaching and a BBQ. It will be a great time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

God is in the Calories

Which tastes better, broccoli or cheesecake? Easy right? How about this, if you were hungry, how would you rank these five foods in order from worst to best tasting; lettuce, bacon cheeseburger, bowl of fruity pebbles, 1 chocolate chip cookie and a cup of grapes. Go ahead . . . make your list. I'm guessing most of us would do something like this, starting with the worst . . . lettuce, grapes, fruity pebbles, cookies and bacon cheeseburger. I know, I know, someone is saying, I don't like cereal or maybe you just ate dinner and cookies sound the best, especially if my mom or wife made them (same recipe), but overall we'd all head the same direction. Now, if I made a list of which foods are best for you health wise, the list would be reversed. I once heard that lettuce actually takes more calories to eat than it has in it.
I think this is another proof of God. Everything, including calories, has order to it. If Mountain Dew and burritos were healthy, we'd have a skinny nation. If chocolate, in it's various forms, were part of a weight loss plan, I'd be the first to sign up. On the other hand, if strawberries were full of fat, carbs and sugar, we'd kill them like a weed and probably consider them poisonous.
We see this organized God in other areas too. Running and exercise are great for you. Sitting in front of the TV is not. You run a little, you get a little healthier. You run alot you get alot healthier. It's like the harder you work, the more willpower you exert, the greater you can become.
Is this true in our spiritual walks? Definitely is. These last three weeks I've been ramping up my Bible time. Everyday, usually before lunch, I spend a half hour studying God's word and praying. I have a good pastor friend who spends twice that every morning. I'm not sure God created me with 60 straight minutes worth of focus, but we'll see. I have found that for me, it helps to set a minimum amount of time. That way I can marinade in the Word and not rush through it (which I do sometimes). It forces me to slow down and listen. I'm loving it!
In what other ways do you see God's divine order? Maybe you disagree completely and think that there is no real order. Hit the reply. I'd love your opinion!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sleeping and Eating

I've turned some corners this last year on my views of creation. I have always BELIEVED that God created us, but it was all faith, not facts. I am now completely convinced, on a scientific level, that we were, without any doubt, wonderfully designed. Now, if you don't believe in God, you can think that aliens designed us or a group of gods or a former advanced race or you can even believe that we live in a matrix, either is fine. For this particular blog, it really doesn't matter. The point we have to agree on is that we were indeed designed. If you want some of my personal proofs, just make a comment to the blog and we can chat.

Once I decided that, I began asking questions about why we were created like we are. Some things make total sense. My hand is at the end of my arm. That's perfect. I can reach things. My eyes and ears are at the top of my being. That's another win, I can see and hear farther. I even think it's cool that our eye lids are about 90% opaque. Even when they are closed, I can tell whether there is light on in a room. If they were completely opaque, people could just close their eyes and go to sleep in the middle of the day. I know, I know, you and I would never do that, but the the world in general?

But what about food. Do you find it odd that we have to eat 3 times a day? Why do we have to do that? Wouldn't it make more sense to feed yourself once, early in the day and be done with it? Or you could fill up, like a car, once a week or so. Better yet, why not breath in the energy like we do oxygen. Anyone smart enough to create the human nervous system surely could figure that out!

Here's the other thing that has always bothered me. I have to sleep 1/3 of my life. They say 8 hours a day is optimal and that we get alot more than that when we're in the nursery and in nursing homes. If live to be the typical heterosexual, white, male age of 75.7, that means I will literally sleep for 25 years of my life! WHAT? 25 YEARS? That really inhales.

Well, here are my personal opinions on getting tired and hungry. We won't know for sure until we get to heaven and ask (if we even care then), but I think it's fun to speculate now. The reason we get hungry is to keep some of us from being lazy. Food's a pretty good motivator. I remember as a kid playing video games on the weekend until I was hungry. Then I'd take a break and get some grub. Some of us need that motivator to go get a job or work the field. We're pretty spoiled here in the US. I can eat as many times a day as I want, but in some, if not most nations, you want food you have to work the field.

I think sleep is for the exact opposite reasons. Some of us would work non stop without that 8 hour break once a day. I'm more of a night person. It's not uncommon for me to stay up to 2 or 3 in the morning working on a sermon or a major video project. It frustrates me that I get tired. The kids are all in bed. The house is quiet, I feel like I'm conquering the world and then . . . the Dew starts wearing off and my eyes start getting a bit blurry. I try to fight it, but eventually I have to surrender to the laws of nature and realize that I can try it again tomorrow night. If I didn't need sleep, I'm pretty sure I'd just keep on working and working and working. But, that wouldn't be healthy for me or my family.

So that's my thoughts. Hunger and exhaustion keep us balanced between laziness and workaholism. It makes sure was all have some down time and some work time. God, being all knowing, would have thought about this when he created Adam and Eve. He would have seen the big picture of a world with over 6 billion people (and growing) and made the right adjustments for us to succeed. Apparently sleeping 5 hours a day wasn't enough, and eating once a week wouldn't cut it either. He knew.

So what kind of things puzzle you about the way we're made? What would you change? Do you think 70 is a good amount of years to live on the earth? Do you think it's good that it takes two humans to make a new one? What about wrinkles and grey hair? So many things that don't make sense, but I believe there is a reason for every single one of them!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Bit of Leadership (especially for pastors)

Let's say we're about to speak at a church in front of a 1000 people or so. You and I have prepped well, practiced much and we even have a couple of sure fire jokes between the two of us to keep the people engaged. Right before we walk out on the stage, a magical genie appears (hang with me here . . .) and gives you these three choices. You can walk out on stage and be the 1. Most intelectual guy in the room. 2. The most spiritual person in the room or 3. The most emotional guy in the room. The choice is yours. Which would it be?
Do you want to know more than any other person in the room about your subject? This would make total sense, right? Why would you tell people stuff they already know? And, everyone says they want more depth. They want the original greek and the tense and historical significance and the cultural norms surrounding it all. You could give them all that if you were the smartest guy in the room. And, you could share it in a way that really connects with every one. We'd bring it "down" to their level so they could grasp these great Biblical concepts.
Or maybe we should be the most spiritual. I mean we are preaching, right? We've spent hours in prayer every day just like Billy Graham! The Holy Spirit just oozes out of us. People can see it and sense it. We have all our text memorized and look right at them while we quote the very words of God. We sense the leading of the Holy Spirit and have zero problems adding a few points that God downloads into us as we're preaching. At the end, we open the altars and loads of people come down and get right with God.
Or should we opt to be the most emotional person there? We preach with the greatest passion any stage has seen. With the smile of Joel O. and the conviction of MLK we raise our fist to the air and shout with all our might the great attributes of God. Then, in the same moment, with tears in our eyes, we tell our people how unworthy we are to know such a great God. We end our sermon with a call to action that is truly challenging. We know most of these people could never accomplish such a feat, but everyone leaves the building with boldness and courage. Ready to take on the world!
When we look at the life of Jesus, we see evidence of all three of these. Jesus the brilliant shows up when He was only 12 years old. I've heard this story so many times, it becomes a little ho hum. But, go spend some time with a 12-year-old and then read it again. Imagine this preteen, probably skinny as a rail and a little fidgety, explaining things about your ancestors. At first, it's a bit of a side show, it's just cool that someone has taught this kid all this information. Maybe you ask a question or two to see where his knowledge ends. Then, he starts making applications and piecing stuff together that you've never thought of. Maybe for a small moment you forget you're listening to just a kid and you're engaged in this brilliant message.
Jesus the spiritual giant . . . do we even need to address this? He was God! I love the stories where people approached Jesus and they just knew who He was. It wasn't like he was up on some huge stage with lights and a killer sound system. He wasn't being announced at the Staple's Center in front of 60,000 fans. He didn't even have a name tag on. Still, His very presence was convicting, or moving, or comforting. It was . . . spiritual. Matthew 8:28, "When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 'What do you want with us, Son of God?" No one said, "Here comes Jesus! He's a prayer warrior." No one had handed out invites to the landing of this great leader. These two guys just knew. There was something great, something deep about this guy.
Jesus the passionate? Do we see that? I think we see it in two ways. We do see a Jesus who is so passionate, he turns over the tables in the temple. That's some serious passion. But I think just as important is the times Jesus stayed level headed, like when the fight was breaking out between the disciples and guards (why was peter carrying a sword anyway?) and Jesus reaches out heals the man's ear. I'm guessing Jesus' heart rate wasn't even escalated, kinda like when he slept through the storm out at sea.

So Jesus was the perfect example of the intellectual, spiritual, emotional giant. Is it possible for us to be all of those things? Can we be a smart, righteous, passionate preacher? Well, the short answer is probably. Some of us have certain limitations that we can never get past. No matter how hard we try, we'll never be the smartest guy in the room. I'm a great example of that. No matter how hard I try, or how many people try to help me, I still just don't get certain things. I miss social cues, say awkward things, and I'm great at stepping on other leaders toes. I think I'm above average at problem solving and creative solutions, but ask me to name the capital of your favorite state and you'll realize fairly quickly that my hard drive doesn't hold much. I took a semester of Greek in college with the vision of reading God's word in it's original form. How great would that be? I got a D-. I'm pretty sure I didn't deserve it. Thank you Dr. Weeter for being gracious! I tried to memorize all the words, but they just wouldn't stick. So frustrating. The good news is, I now have google and it is amazing! If you give me any subject and about 10 minutes and I'll find more information than you care to know. This is true in our sermons too. There's no excuse for lack of material. It's all out there and waiting for you. Instead of preparing a sermon, you can just spend your week listening to a dozen sermons about your topic and you'll have enough material for an entire series. Obviously you still need to listen to the Holy Spirit and see what he says.
When it comes to passion, this is easy for me. Partly because CX is so new that I'm still preaching sermons that I've been dying to preach for a while. New churches are all about reaching the lost and dechurched. I'm naturally pretty passionate about that. But what if you have to preach on something that you know God has called you to preach on, but you're just not feeling it? What works well for me is imagining someone who desperately needs to hear that exact message. How will this change their life? Will this help get them over the a major hump in their spiritual journey? Although I might not get fired up on certain subjects, I definitely get fired up about seeing lives changed. That's really encouraging. Also, and this may be a little too honest for some people, but if I'm preaching to guests (first time attenders) to CX, something in me just lights up. I feel like my messages come alive. New people energize me. The usual people still make me smile, but something about a new face walking in the door that is just exciting. If we had a room full of guests, I could get fired up about Easter Eggs (I actually did one time, listen to "Focus" on our media page).
The last question is can we be a spiritual giant. Of course we can! The challenge is that there are no shortcuts. You can't dial it up on your iPhone or order it off the internet. It can be faked, but not for very long. It takes time in the word and on your knees. A pastor I greatly respect said something in a meeting the other day that grabbed me. He said, "Do you really pray to your God? Do you get on your knees and pray?" I know, I know, we're all thinking, "We'll duh." But it's a bit of a challenge for me. The stillness the quietness, the lack of task or goal, that gets me. I need a goal, a finish line, something like . . . "Ok Dusty, you have exactly 4 minutes to pray for all 100 people that are connected with Connections, you have to mention them by name and at least one thing they need help with, on your mark, get set . . ." Then the music would come on and a big timer would appear in the corner of my room. That would be my kind of prayer time! I have a great friend who spends a half hour in prayer and a half hour reading his Bible every work day at the crack of dawn. I'm blown away by his commitment and consistency, and it gives me something to strive towards. Again, there's no way around the time, you just have to put it in!
I want to conclude with a tip on preaching. These three concepts, emotional, spiritual and intellectual, represent the people sitting in our pews and chairs. Some need proof there's a God, some need encouragement and motivation and some are just hungry for Scripture. How do we hit all three of these people every week? Honestly, it is a challenge. The intellectual loves the talk on evolution vs. creation. The spiritual want you to preach exegetically, and the emotional just want the pastor to cry. Although you'll rarely hit home runs for everyone every week, when I prepare a major sermon (Easter, Christmas, camps etc.) I use the 3 S's, stories, stats and Scripture.
Stories break down walls and if told correctly, puts everyone on the same ship. If it's a story we can all relate to, like the financial crises, it gives credibility to the speaker. "He's in the same boat we are." I love stories for two reasons. One, Jesus told a bunch of them. We call them parables, but they were really just great stories. Sometimes, he didn't even tell them what it meant. He just told stories and walked away. We should stop explaining everything to our people. Let 'em figure it out once in a while. Two, stories are engaging, even bad, stupid stories. I can be preaching about something incredible, the glory of God or the final judgement day when Satan is finally banished, and still, eventually people start to drift. Now remember, at CX, we only meet for 59 minutes, so it's not like I'm preaching for 40 minutes. Even in my 25 minute talk, I see a yawn or two, but if I say something like, "The other day I walked into the Sprint store . . ." Everyone reengages. Here comes a story, I better listen. Use more stories. Luckily the clouds are full of sermon illustrations, google it up!
Statistics are great because they prove a point outside of our opinions. I've been studying more lately about the homosexual movement so that I can defend my view points without Scripture. I read recently that more men have AIDS than women. Here's the interesting part, if you take all the way men can get HIV/AIDS besides being with other homosexuals, sharing needles, blood transfusions, heterosexual partners, and you put them all together, it only equals around 39% of the infected men. The rest is from homosexual encounters. Without the gay lifestyle, AIDS is cut by more than half in our nation. Not just because it is no longer being passed from man to man, but it's no longer being passed from man to woman. Now, I don't have time to go into the fact we do love homosexuals and we heterosexuals have temptations too etc.etc. But the point is, no one can argue with these facts. They are facts. The homosexual lifestyle kills people and in some cases babies are born with it because of homosexuality. One word of caution about statistics from the internet is that anyone can put together a website, anyone can make up a survey and get the answers they want, don't just find someone who says what you're looking for, seek the truth.
The last and most important is Scripture. I've been recommending an audio Bible lately called, "The Bible Experience." It's a very (very) well produced audio recording of the entire Bible being read by famous African American actors, actresses and pastors. I often use it at CX for our main Bible passage. It really brings things to life. I'll never understand why there is so much power in the words that make up the Bible. It's one of those mysteries. I was chatting with a friend of mine about the double edged sword passage that we all use and he made the comment that sometimes you read or hear the Word and it's more like a paper cut, you don't even realize you have it for a couple of days and then something happens and it stings you! Very well said. I have had an instance or two where I use a secondary passage of scripture to support the first someone comes up to me afterwards and tells me how much it spoke to them. Funny thing is my whole sermon was about something else, but that one passage grabbed them so much, they thought that it was the main topic. Amazing.

I hope there was something useful here. Since I don't get to preach this week, this is my release! Continue praying for CX. We're growing one family at a time. Even through the summer. God is so, so good. And, forgive the typos, my wife is out of town : )

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IN n OUT and a BBQ

This weekend we had a BBQ at a local park. One of our newest CX members has a facebook group that's all about bringing in n out to Boise. He has over 2400 members and invited them all to the party. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain and some serious wind. Even still, we had a great time and quite a few guests showed up from the in and out group.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Social Networking

I've been connecting to our Connectors in other ways lately and not been blogging so much. For those of you that are not from the Treasure Valley, I wanted to let you in on the secrets.

We do a weekly devo and announcements on youtube

Also, I twitter (who doesn't)

I'll still try to get an update here once in a while, but isn't video so much better!!!

Party at Tully Park tonight. Free food, loud, live music and lots of fun. See you at 5!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Latest

Hey Team, lots of new stuff to share.

For the last three weeks we've been doing a devotional and announcement online. You can see them all here. Over time we'd like to see these happen a little more often with someone different almost every time. We keep these to 3 or 4 minutes so people can squeeze a little devotional time in their day.

We're doing a BBQ next week. We reserved the park close to us and we're giving out Hotdogs and drinks. The park is filled on Friday nights because the city does a movie at dusk. Hopefully we'll get to meet a ton of those people and invite them to CX.

We've been playing with and have decided to do our first set of discipleship classes live on line. We'll have people on location to ask questions, but I'm thinking most of us will connect online. We did some tests the other night and twittered to everyone that we were live on line. I got to connect with some old friends I haven't heard from in a long time. Technology is amazing! They say at the end times, everyone will know about the gospel, maybe it's talking about the internet :)

We have more stuff happening, but what I love about all these ideas is that we're getting outside the four walls of the church. You have to think a bit differently, but it's worth the effort!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here's a quick list of what's new with Connections.

For mother's day (eve) we're having a cook out and inviting everyone. Thus far, everytime we've had a cook out, we've spiked in attendance. It excites me to meet new people this weekend!

Tomorrow I'm meeting with some other church planters in the area. I can't wait to connect with them and hear some more of their stories. God is moving in this treasure valley. The harvest is ready!

I had lunch with a true creative today. He has all these great ideas that most churches would never consider. I think he's going to fit in well with us!!! We love crazy ideas.

We had a great leadership team meeting this week and had an extended prayer time that was really, really good. I felt like that was "church" in it's purest form. Everyone at the table has a relationship with Christ. I trust them all. We need more prayer times like that!

This is the last week for Jordan. She's been working with our kids since we were a house church. Daxton, my 5 year old, prays for dinner using prayer's that Jordan has taught him. She's had a great influence on all our kids!!! We will miss her greatly.

We put an add on Craigslist for another children's worker and I think we found one. We'll be doing an interview soon.

If you're in the Treasure Valley, we'll be BBQ'ing Saturday at 5. Come join us!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter and Our New Series

I want to start by saying thanks to Reflections Church. They opened up their church to us on Saturday night. Not only that, they didn't charge us a single penny! I love their kingdom mindset.

We had a great turn out for Easter. It was our biggest attendance since our launch a few weeks ago. Jeremy and Luke did a sweet drama and as always our worship team did an awesome job!!!

This next week we're starting a new Series called Nuclear Family. John Rott, Tammi Taylor and Jeremy Wight will all be speaking during this series. They helped put together the promotional video below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Website, Easter and A Tough Sermon

We just finished updating our website. We still have a few kinks to get out, but for the most part it's up and running. You'll notice two new links. One at the top talking about our Easter service this week and another link that takes you to our media page.
This last week I nixed an incredible drama that Brandi had already memorized and dumped a video that was absolutely top rate to share some thoughts the Lord has been putting on my heart. That was tough to do, because so much time has already been invested, but the bottom line was that we as a Community have lost our focus and we needed to get back on track before Easter. As they say, we need to keep the main thing the main thing, which for us is reaching the lost and growing a church. Recently I've felt like we've started putting our attention on things that don't matter. We had 10+ visitors this last week, I hope they understood the spirit of what was being said. The sermon is on our media page if you want to hear it.
Easter is right around the corner! We're using a different facility than we normally do for Easter. It will allow us to do some things we normally don't get to do. They have some stage lighting and table and chairs and a few other things that will allow us more engaging ways to share the good news of the Gospel. If you are in the Treasure Valley, I hope you'll join us. We have a drama, some video work and killer music planned. Service starts at 6:00. At 5:30 there is a free Easter egg hunt for the kids. Make sure and bring your Easter egg basket. I hope to see you all there!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is Evil Real?

For those that were at CX Saturday night, we talked about the reality of hell. I challenged us to see our world with that in mind. Do you weep for your neighbors and friends? Do you pray for those in your family who are lost? I hope this is a life changing week for you.

I promised you a link to the debate on whether Satan exists. You can watch it here. It is very interesting.

Also, start inviting for Easter! Here are the details, one more time. 5:30 is an Easter Egg hunt for all kids. At 6 we kick of our service which we're calling, "The Bridge," and then afterwards we'll have snacks and coffee like normal. Easter is a huge opportunity to invite others. Make the ask! We'll be meeting at Reflections church. It's on the southwest corner of Ustick and Meridian. You can't miss it!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This is what's new.

Sunday night we held our behind the scenes look at Connections called, "The Tour." We invited all our new families to join us. We fed everyone dinner and spent a couple of hours talking about what makes Connections tick. It was a fun to see all the new people getting involved. We had over 20 people at our house, including the kids. Also from that meeting, we started two more Connection Groups. This doubles our small groups to four. What I'm most excited about is not the number of small groups, but the percentage of our people who are connected to one. After these two launch, we'll be in the 90% range for people being in a small groups. That's incredible. Kudo's to Jeremy who oversees our small groups. He is doing a great job!!!
Another great thing is finally happening. We've launched a new section of our website we call CXbration. It is where you can find our sermons and videos. Right now we have all the sermons since launch and a video of launch service. You can see it here. This is a great place for people who are considering checking out Connections to actually see it in person before they visit.
This weekend we're doing a big drama that will take up a big chunk of the service. I'm really excited about doing more things like this in the future. I say this often, but I think dramas and videos hit people harder than preaching does and it lingers in the brain longer too. I'm excited to have some people around me who can write, direct and act in our dramas. We're recording with two cameras this week and hoping to get a video on the website or on this blog early next week.
Lastly, don't forget that tomorrow is a big day. The beginning of March Madness! At my last church we all took our powerbooks to the back room and worked while we watched the games. I'll miss that this year.
Thanks for keeping up with us. Pray for our Easter celebration. We've hit a couple of snags on our facility for that Saturday night, but I believe it's an opportunity to do something great! I can't wait to see what God has planned. He's always up to something!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What He Opens . . .

Saturday night we talked about the verse in Revelation, "What He opens, no one can shut and what he shuts, no one can open." We talked briefly about what happens when God closes a door and we go busting through it anyways and then we showed this video. Brandi and Amy did an AWESOME job acting in this video. My challenge was putting in the special effects. Let's just say spielburg won't be hiring me for the long awaited ET sequel! We ended up with a 70's sci fi show but I think the point still comes across!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This last Saturday night was a dream come true for me. Since I was in college I talked about starting a creative community. I could picture this incredible movement with dramas, videos, loud music and Jesus. That day finally came!
I think there were more people I didn't know Saturday night than those I did. We had a couple of families from out of state drive or fly in to celebrate with us. Our band did AWESOME!!! I'm so stoked to have them lead me in worship every week. John and I did a drama about Edgar Allan Poe (any poetry buffs in the house?). We had a few videos throughout service. We had over 100 in attendance. We had a couple of people get their hearts right with Jesus, and to top it all off we had a Huge cake after service was over. I can't tell you how great it is to be part of this!!! The ride has finally begun!
I've included some pictures below (click to see full size)and here's a link to the actual service. The link gives you the WHOLE service, not just the highlights, so settle in if you plan on watching it.
So, where do we go from here? Great question. I feel like all our wheels are all turning. Our children's ministry continues to grow every week. Our greeter team is fully functioning and caffeinated (lots of energy). We put together these incredible visitor packets with a DVD about CX (connections), a CX coffee mug and some freshly roasted coffee (we roast a new batch every Saturday). The big thing that's left is just inviting and inviting! I'm putting together my own list of 10 people that HAVE to come to CX. Whatever it takes, I'll get em there. I'm telling them too, "You're on my list!"
Also, we are kicking off our assimilation track. For a while it's mostly been just theoretical, a list of discipleship opportunities to help people grow in their relationship with Jesus. Starting March 15 we start putting it in motion. On that Sunday night we're doing, "The Tour." It's a 3 hour Sunday night meeting where we share the heart of CX with new families and answer all their questions. If you're reading this and you are a part of CX, you are invited. We'll be talking about things like, why we don't advertise, what our core values are and the next steps in our assimilation track (which we call, "The Circuit.")
Thanks to all those who made Saturday night a reality. It's in my top 10 favorite days. I am truly blessed, God continues to move! God continues to move!! God continues to move!!! - - !! - !!! Whahooo!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is the way we Launch a Church, Launch a church . . .

We'll, it's almost go time. in a little less than three days we'll be an official community.  It amazes me that not long ago we were a Bible study with 12 people.  Here's a shot from our very first meeting.
This weekend we hope to top 150 people.  Granted, alot of these people will be from out of state.  They're just here to celebrate the start of something major, but we're hoping to meet some new "Connectors" too.  This is what we've been doing for out reach . . .
1.  We gave out hundreds of postcards to out regulars. Some were already stamped.  We encouraged them to mail them to their friends and family in the area. 
2.  We gave all our regulars cookie mix.  We encouraged them to make cookies and send them to neighbors and such.  It's amazing how many walls cookies break down.
3.  Tomorrow night we're making even more cookies and taking them around to houses close to the church where we meet. We're just knocking on doors and telling them about launch.
4.  We did this . . .

I have to send some pics to a newspaper tomorrow.  Hopefully they'll run a story on Friday.  I've already got an email from a guy who saw the news coverage.  We're really hoping the story leads to some new people checking out a weekend service.

Thanks for all your prayers, I've encouraged our Connectors to fast and pray on Friday.  I'll be spending that day as quietly as possible (with three kids around the house). I'm really excited about the sermon this weekend, and the drama and the videos that we have planned.  It's going to be really great!  We'll be recording the service.  If you've been keeping up from the outskirts of Idaho, I'll do my best to get a version of it up so everyone can see it.  


Monday, February 2, 2009


Congrats on your 21 days!  What a journey for so many of us.  Was it challenging? I know mine was on certain days, but it was worth it!  It feels good be who you want to be. 

So much has happened in the last 21 days that some of the non-idahoans don't know about. I haven't been reporting all the good things because we've been running our 21 vids in this blog.  Here's a bullet point update.

We've picked up a worship leader to help us get to the next level.  He's an incredible musician and even a more incredible man of God. Add that to fact that he loves basketball and video games and you realize it was meant to be.

Our numbers continue to run in the 50's.  

We're officially launching on February 21!!!  That's a big one.  More on that later this week.

The last two weeks, we've had guest speakers.  Susan Carter spoke two weeks ago about eating right.  She did an awesome job.  She came to my house and raided my closet and fridge and told me what kind of eating choices I should make.  We put together a video of that experience. I'll toss it up at the bottom of this video.  

Jeremy Higgins from Sacramento came up to share two nights ago.  He did an awesome job talking about keeping our finances in line and making the most of the money we have.  He also recommended a movie that I watched called Maxed Out.  It's an incredible documentary that everyone should watch (it has a dirty mouthed comedian in the middle and thus the PG-13 rating. Not sure why they had to ruin a perfectly good movie like that!).  

Every week, great things are happening here.  Every week.  I'm amazed at what God is doing! For those who pray for us often, would you begin praying for our launch. It's a big deal.  We have a few families flying in to be a part of it.  I want it to be impactful and fun. I want our visitors walking away thinking . . . "THAT'S a church I can get into!"  

Thanks for your prayers.  It's working!

And now . . . the Susan Carter Experience.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Then there was two!

Does Raboni rhyme with zamboni?


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day Nineteen!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day Eighteen -

Day 18 was shot in Miami Florida!  You'll notice it's a bit prettier than the back of my office.  

Monday, January 26, 2009


Can you believe it?  We're almost there.  Begin preparing for what day 22 looks like.  Do we take a day off and dive back in?  Do we change a few things and start all over?  It's up to you, but be purposeful.  Don't just let things happen, make things happen!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day One Four

Keep up the good work!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lucky Number 13

Dozen Days

For some reason, I did one more day in John 11.  You have to give me a break though, it was new year's eve when I recorded this one!  Tomorrow is John 13, so you are on your own for the triumphal entry (john 12).  Keep up the good work.  It's down hill from here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 11

You are half way there!  End even stronger than you started!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day Nine

All I know is I was blind . . . and now I see.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today starts week two!!! One down two to go.  You can do it!  
Ignore the skewed ratio of this video. Quicktimes not really a full video editor. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Say Deven

Congrats!  We've made it a week being the person we want to be.  How's that feel? I'm proud of you!  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day Six

Week One, almost done!  Amazing team, keep up the good work!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I've heard from a number of people that they are doing the 21 with us!  Just know you're not alone, we're walking across this bridge together!!!

Day Four

This vid had some technical difficulties.  Sorry about that.  Most of it works, it just stops a little early.  Keep up the good work!

Monday, January 12, 2009


You can do it, we can help.


You can do it!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This is the first video in our series called 21. I showed this at church last night. We invite you to join with us for 21 days being the person you want to be. This video was shot 23 days ago when I started my 21 days. Also, and not in the video, let me encourage you to join me in a chapter a day in the book of John. Each day I'll post a video blog and talk about my day and make a few comments on that day's John Chapter. This vid is a few minutes long (I can get kinda preachy), but it should clear everything up! Today is DAY ONE! Here we go.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Almost Go Time.

First some good news.  We had our highest attendance ever this weekend.  We had two first time families that some of our core team members invited.  Fresh faces recharge me.  I'm proud of our regulars for reaching out and inviting others.  We keep track of where everyone came from in a family tree type format, and some of our regulars are starting to have their own tree!  

Secondly, some good news.  This week one of my neighbors, Josh, asked how he could get more involved, so he's taking over all of set up and lock up. What a blessing! We have 3 teams of 2 guys that rotate every week for set up and with Josh at the helm, I no longer have to worry about it. 

Thirdly, more good news.  We bought a couple more pieces of equipment this week.  That doesn't seem like a big deal to most of us, but it really is.  We want things to be excellent when our guests show up for our launch.  First impressions are very important.  With the type of creative, young ministry that we're doing, we want our sound and video and lighting to be great. 

Fourth(ly), next weekend we're starting a new series called, "21."  I'm convinced this will be a life changing series for many of our people. The goal is to live the life you want to live for a full 21 days.  Do you wish you prayed more?  Do you wish you exercised more? Do you wish you lived on a budget? We all have our list of things we wish we did more.  My wife is practicing piano for 20 minutes a day for her 21.  Everyone's list is different, but we're challenging people to be who they want to be, not who their spouse wants them to be or their kids or friends, not even the church.  Who does your spirit (meaning opposite of flesh) want you to be?  
I'm going through my 21 days first before I ask the church to join me.  I'm on day 16 today. For the past 15 days, I have prayed on my knees everyday.  I have read a chapter in John every day.  I've limited caffeinated beverages to once a week.  We are living on a budget, which means no CC's and rarely eating out (unless the grandparents are paying!).  So far it's been incredible. Everyday I do a video blog talking about the journey and making some comments on that days chapter of John.  When we start 21 with the church, I'll be posting one video everyday so that people feel like someone is going through it with them.  Let me challenge you, wherever you may be to dive in with me.  They say 21 days makes a habit, let's make some great new habits for the new year!

Lastly, the good news.  We're having a cook out this coming weekend.  We have a goal of having at least 65 people there.  IF we do, we're setting a date to launch connections publicly.  Yesterday I handed out cards promoting our 21 series, some "" cards and cash to our people to bless someone with.  Pray that people are responsive to the invites.  I'm excited about what God is going to do!!!