The stuff I am doing

We all have stuff we are doing. Our jobs are filled with stuff. Our weekends are filled with stuff. We get busy with all kinds of stuff.

Here is some of my stuff:

Today I spent time on the phone counseling with two people. I spent another hour counseling someone in person. I also coached two baptism video testimonies (We have 14 people getting baptized this summer, June 24th and July 8th).

I wrote a couple of thank you notes and signed some follow up letters to people that wanted information or made commitments over the weekend.

I spent a good hour on emails, following up with people and sending new ones.

I read several blogs from people much more famous than me. It inspired me to write this blog, very exciting , I know. Check out http://www.dwightmason.com/ and http://scotthodge.typepad.com/scott/2007/06/leonard_sweet_s.html

I have another video testimony to coach at 5:00 p.m. and I am meeting with some people about our Divorce care recovery groups at 5:30 and I close out the day with another counseling session with a couple at 6:30.

That’s my stuff for today, but it is really more than stuff, its all about people. People matter to God, and I work for God, therefore people matter to me. I hope that I was able to encourage someone today. I hope that I was able to point someone closer to Christ. Every day we have an opportunity to impact this world. God brings people into our lives, puts us in situations that can be uncomfortable and if we are paying attention we can make an eternal difference.

Here are a couple of quotes to ponder:

“Every significant relationship in your life has your fingerprints all over it-the fingerprints of your character. And those impressions on another person’s life are true indications of what your character is really like.” Steve Farrar

“A life isn’t significant except for the impact on other lives.” Jackie Robinson

Military Funeral

Today at NewPointe we hosted a memorial service for Corporal Keith Nepsa. This young man, 21 years old, was serving his country in Iraq. This was his second tour of duty. He was killed in action last week along with a close friend. This is the first time I experienced a military funeral. I was amazed at how well the Army cared for this family. They assigned an officer to be with the family through this entire ordeal. He will continue to be close to the family as all the details of paperwork and personal effects get taken care of. You could see and hear the concern they all had for this young man’s family.

I got to meet an incredible woman. Brigadier General Margrit Farmer was on hand to participate in the services. I got to meet her on Sunday night and found her to be down to earth, sincere and very approachable. I got to meet some other great officers in our Army as well. As I interacted with these “military” people I was encouraged by the integrity and level of leadership that I saw in these men and women. We have some great leaders that are behind the scenes working hard every day for our country. It was an honor to meet each one.

I also got to meet our Governor Ted Strickland and congressman Zack Space. Other elected officials were on hand as well. Again I found them all to be very sincere in their efforts to honor this brave young man and his family.

The service for Keith Nepsa went very well. Pastor Bill Sowers from Broadway United Methodist church gave the message and did a nice job of honoring Keith Nepsa and his family and presenting the Gospel. Scott Miller sang two songs and was truly amazing. He sang “The Lord’s Prayer” at the beginning and “God Bless the USA” at the end. Wow, with the American Flag on the big screen behind Scott as he sang that closing song it brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my skin. Great job Scott!

We also had a great group of people from Geib Funeral home led by Brian Hanner. They did a top notch job in covering all the details that went into this service. Thanks Brian.

We also had over 20 volunteers that came in to help make this service run smoothly. We had a host team in place to greet the people and help them find the auditorium and restrooms. They really helped set the tone as people arrived. We also had an usher team ready in the auditorium to help people find a seat and answer any questions people may have had. We had our sound and tech team in place as well to make sure the sound, lighting and video all worked seamlessly.

I want to personally thank each and every person that took time out of their schedules to come out and serve at this funeral. It humbles me to see people take vacation days and time off work to come and serve. These are special folks that have a heart for Jesus Christ. I really get excited when I see our Church BEING the church to our community. All the glory goes to Jesus Christ.

I am sure that many seeds were planted in the hearts of the people that attended this service. Each person that served and helped put this service together played a part in planting those seeds. What a great opportunity to serve the Lord.

Our prayers and sympathy go out to the Nepsa family.

Emotional Wounds

Most people have heard the saying that “time heals all wounds.” That simply is not true, especially for emotional wounds. As a pastor I often talk with people who are still carrying hurts from twenty to thirty years ago. The truth is, time usually makes the wound worse. When a wound is left untended it quickly becomes infected and can spread throughout the entire body. It is the same with an emotional wound. When that wound is buried and hidden the infection starts and it grows over time. This infection causes many other symptoms and problems.

Many times we try to fix the outward symptoms of anger, bitterness, guilt, jealousy, addictions, anxiety, depression and bad relationships. If you focus on these outward symptoms you never heal the wound. You may be able to mask them for a while, but they usually will return. Time only extends the pain if the original wound is not dealt with.

So, how do you deal with those wounds? On your own you cannot heal those wounds. Only Jesus Christ can heal those wounds. You will also need the help of other people as you work through the pain and open up the wound and pray for God’s healing touch. This may mean getting some professional help through counseling, spiritual help through a pastor or Christian counselor and relational help through a small group of friends to hold you accountable and encourage you.

I have helped numerous people work through steps to finding freedom from the pain of an old wound or wounds. Only the truth can set you free. Truth is the person of Jesus Christ, and only an encounter with Him can heal the deep wounds of your past.

Most of us have believed so many lies throughout our lives that we do not really know who God is or what He is like. These lies shape who we think we are, and what we think about God. With a wrong view of who God is, and who we are, it is easy to stay stuck in the feelings of hopelessness and feeling helpless.

I want to encourage you to take that first step toward freedom by facing your fears and asking Jesus to touch that wound. You may need to seek someone to help you along the way. Pray and ask God to give you direction for the help you need. God does not want you to live in bondage, but to be free and victorious.

King David was experiencing a great deal of opposition and rejection when, while hiding in a desert cave, he wrote Psalm 142. Start like David did and cry out to the Lord. God cares about you and wants you to be whole, not broken.

Adversity

We all face adversity in our lives, some more than others. Some of it we bring on ourselves by making bad decisions and others just happen to us because he live in an imperfect world. I have been slowly reading through a book called “Beyond the Summit” by Todd Skinner. It is about mountain climbing, but has many great principles for our lives.

Todd talks about adversity while on the side of a mountain. I can’t imagine trying to climb a vertical wall 2,000 feet high and having to watch for falling rocks and storms. That is real adversity! This is what Todd says; “You can’t dodge a rock until it falls… we are more often stopped by the fear that a rock might fall than by a rock actually falling. But we can’t cower under an overhang, seeking shelter from any rock that might fall, and climb the mountain.”

As I read that I had to think about the church, not just NewPointe, but the church in general. Has the church been cowering under a safe overhang hiding from rocks that might fall? Am I as a leader hiding in a safe spot because I am afraid a rock might hit me or I will get caught in a storm? The church cannot reach the summit (all people groups) if it doesn’t keep climbing. It starts with us as leaders, getting out on the mountain and start climbing.

It is through adversity that we are shaped and molded into the men and women that God can use. The storms of life draw us closer to God and build our faith. The adversity helps us to make the changes we need to make in our lives. With no adversity or storms in life, we would never change. God does not want us to remain the same. We cannot change and grow if we don’t face our fears and start climbing. When a rock falls you dodge it. When a storm comes you persevere through it.

We as individuals and a church need to remember that we have the greatest mountain climber in the universe along side us. God is with us through every storm, every step, every circumstance, every rock slide. With Him we can reach the summit and beyond. Adversity can be a blessing, because it helps us to grow our faith, character and leadership.

Back From Vacation

We made it back from a great trip to Cape Coral Florida. This is Emily and Allison, my wife Vikki’s nieces (Emily is in the middle).

This was a nice vacation because we didn’t have much planned. Sometimes vacations can be more stressful than work. We just hung out, read books, watched movies and went shopping.

Vikki’s brother-in-law John has his own pool business. He installs new pools and is doing quite well. His wife Sheila does much of the design work. He showed us some of the pools he recently completed, very nice!

This is Mason, trying to eat 5 sour balls. He is really into baseball, his team just won the championship (John is the coach). Mason is also on the All star team. Good job Mason!

This is me eating Sushi and Allison is not impressed! No one else likes Sushi, so I was on my own. I gained 5 pounds, so now I am eating oatmeal every day for breakfast.

This is Jack the cat. We wanted to take him home with us. They have 4 cats in the house which Vikki loved.

I read a great little book while in Florida. It is called “The Dip” by Seth Godin. This book talks about when to quit and when to stick. It is an easy short read that is packed with very good stuff. It helped me to renew my focus and sharpen my resolve. I also was reading a John Grisham novel called “The Testiment”.

Well, that was our vacation. It is time to get back to work and get caught up.