Monthly Archives: April 2009

Leader’s Leading

This week I got the privilege of sitting in a room with business leader’s from our community. We are talking about the idea of a leadership development program at NewPointe. We identified a problem, a lack of leader’s, and are working on changing that. Right now we are talking about the vision statement and mission statement.

This was a very interesting evening and I got a chance to see some quality leaders in action. We shared thoughts, ideas and even had some disagreement. I believe that for great things to happen you need to go through meetings like this. It can seem tedious and mundane at times, but until you can identify the problem and articulate the vision, which is a preferred future, you can’t make progress.

I am very excited about the potential of this leadership development program. This will not only help our local church, but also our community. Each leader that grows will have more influence in their families, communities, workplaces and schools.

Leadership is so important. Without great leadership things don’t happen. Things don’t change and people don’t grow. Leadership is about influence and relationships. It is about motivating people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do and like it. I know that I need to continue to grow as a leader, and my desire is to help other leaders continue to grow as well. When you stop growing you won’t be leading very long.

I hope to be able to share some more soon about the NewPointe Leadership Academy.

Sunday Rewind



What a great day at NewPointe. Three services, eleven baptism’s, six families dedicating their children to Christ. The entire reason we do what we do is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Today you got a chance to see people growing in that relationship. If you missed the stories checkout our website for baptism videos, coming soon.

Every month we are hearing stories about how God is moving and working in peoples lives. My prayer is that we stay focused on giving God the glory and making Jesus known in all the communities around us. We are getting some incredible opportunities to share the Good News and reach more and more people with the truth from God’s word.

One lady that was visiting today because of the baptism’s mentioned that someone was talking about NewPointe at a Curves location in Cambridge. We have a group of 70-80 people meeting every other Sunday night in Louisville. There are new small groups forming in Sugarcreek, Dover, Louisville and Strasburg. NewPointe Community Church has “it” right now. We need to make sure we don’t lose “it” by getting distracted and thinking we are better than we really are. As leader’s at NewPointe we need to stay Humble and Persistent; Focusing and Determined; Bold and Compassionate.

I love the idea that people are talking and excited about their church. That is good and I want to encourage everyone that calls NewPointe their home to invest in the people you know and invite them to church. We promise to do everything we can to make it an incredible experience and connect with them in a practical real way.

Introducing people to Jesus and then helping them grow in that relationship is what we are all about. NewPointe is outward focused and on mission to change the world.

I Do

I had the privilege of officiating a private wedding today for Ron & Melinda. It was just them and their four children. They each have two children. It was so neat to see the excitement on every ones face as we gathered together outside at NewPointe in the gazebo. It was a beautiful evening and they all looked great. I had the opportunity to mentor this couple as they prepared for marriage. They wanted to do it right and put some work in on the front end to make sure they where ready for this step. We met several times and worked through the FOCCUS inventory they did online. They also did some homework and talked a lot about their future life together.

It is so refreshing to see a couple that is willing to be open, honest and real. They both bring unique life experiences to this relationship and they understand that this is a life-long commitment and process. Bringing children to the marriage also creates some potential conflict, but this couple has worked very hard to include the children and to be a great example to them.

I shared three things with them tonight. The first is to watch your words, they can bring healing or hurt. Second, settle your disagreements. Don’t allow conflict to carry over day after day and not deal with it. Third, practice forgiveness. I know of no relationship that lasts, that doesn’t have to give and receive forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. We choose to forgive or hold a grudge. Forgiveness is key to any marriage. I told them as Christians, we are forgiven by Jesus Christ, and so that should help us to forgive those who hurt us.

More weddings are coming up this Spring and Summer. I love meeting the families and interacting with them on their special days. This is the fun part of being a pastor.

Mixed Messages

Why do we send mixed messages? I mean in our relationships, at work, in our marriages, with our children and yes even at church. Saying one thing and then doing another. Talking one way and then living or behaving another. Asking to have it one way and then you doing it the opposite. How about saying you love someone and then showing you don’t.

This is an area that has really been jumping out at me lately. People not walking the talk. I really think this is a problem in many relationships today. In our minds we know what is right and good, but somehow it doesn’t reach our heart. It is the heart that dictates our behaviors and our actions.

You see this in the church as well. We say we love all people and want everyone to come to know Jesus Christ. Then our behaviors, our words and our actions don’t line up with that. We speak a language of insiders, we expect everyone to look, dress, talk and act like we do. We put on a friendly outward appearance and then go out and do whatever we want to do. Every church struggles with this problem. The reason I know this, is because the church is made up of people. Imperfect people that send mixed messages. Outsiders see these messages and ask why they should become a part of all that. They don’t get a real good look at Jesus.

I don’t think Jesus ever sent any mixed messages. He spoke the truth and loved people. He attacked the religious people and reached out to the outsiders. He was authentic and real to everyone all the time. He did not pretend everything was great when it wasn’t. He faced temptations and overcame them every time, because of his heart. His heart was pure and full of truth.

A friend of mine told this story about a guy he has gotten to know. His friend was at a restaurant meeting with another friend. This friend was trying to share Jesus with him. He was trying to convince him that he needed Jesus in his life. When the waitress came up this guy ripped her because the last time he was in they got his eggs wrong. When he was done ripping her he turned to his friend and continued to talk about him needing Jesus. That is a mixed message and that small action turned off whatever light had begun to shine.

How about in your marriage or special relationships? Do you disrespect your husband and then expect him to show love to you? Do you demand respect from your wife and then do or say unloving things to her? Do you discipline your children for certain behaviors and then do them yourself? Do you ever catch yourself saying or thinking, “Do as I say, not as I do”?

Do your actions and behaviors line up with your words? Do you ever try to manipulate to get your own way? These are heart questions, is everything OK in your heart? Ask God to help change your heart and stop sending mixed messages.

Faith

Faith is a mindset that expects God to act. When we can act on this expectation we can overcome our greatest fears. How is your faith these days? Are you expecting God to act in your life? When we face each day with the power and strength of Jesus our fears can’t hold us back.

When our focus and mindset is on Christ we can be bold, courageous and take risks. When our focus and mindset is on our situation, problems or even other people we become fearful, anxious and cautious. It is so easy to allow the things of this world to creep into our lives and edge God out. Small everyday things begin to consume us and take more and more of our attention. Soon we find ourselves not having spent any real quality time with God. As a result our faith has wavered and our outlook on life has shifted.

For me it is a constant struggle to stay mindful of Jesus instead of the world. Things like work, sports, television, Internet, family activities and even church activities can take over. Today I have been thinking about the things that are distracting me. Where has my focus been? Where has your focus been today? What things are distracting you from deepening your faith and believing God is going to act in your life?

iPod in the hospital

I often meet with people that are facing difficult circumstances. Maybe they are going through a divorce, facing surgery, lost a job, struggling in a relationship, dealing with a rebellious child or facing an illness. My goal when I meet with people facing hard stuff, is to give them some hope. Listening and letting them know you care is a big part of that. Encouraging them to turn to God and draw close to him is also extremely important. After that I always try to give them some tools to use to help them work through whatever they are facing.

Often I will give them a book or a message CD or even a few Scriptures to focus on. As I think about this I may have been missing an important tool – music. I realized this when I was in the hospital last week. After everyone had left and I was in the room alone, I got my iPod out and started listening to some music and some pod casts from popular pastors. The music was soothing and helped me to relax. Listening to worship music helped me to focus on God and worship Him, even though I was uncomfortable and sore. I realized that when we worship God in the storms of life it builds our strength, our faith and our hope.

From now on I plan to incorporate worship music into the tools I give to people to help them reconnect and refocus on Jesus Christ. No matter what hardship you are facing, God knows all about it and wants to walk through it with you. It can be hard to have that perspective when you are in the midst of a struggle. To have someone listen to you, encourage you and help you worship the Almighty helps to gain a new perspective on your current reality. Are you feeling down? Are you in the midst of a hard struggle? If so get out a good worship CD or go to iTunes and download some good worship music and then crank it up.

Some of my favs on my pod include: David Crowder Band, Jeremy Camp, Plumb, RED, Decyfer Down, Steve Fee, Switchfoot, Tim Hughes, TobyMac, North Point Live, MercyMe and Casting Crowns. I am actually listening to Todd Fields from North Point “You Are” and “Everlasting God”right now.

Monday Life Lessons

Here are some life lessons from Proverbs to start your week:

Proverbs 3:5-6: Depending on your own wisdom obstructs God’s better plans for your life.

Proverbs 4:23: Your hearts affections determine your life’s direction. God’s Word keeps your heart pure and safe.

Proverbs 5:1-23: Beware of pursuing a cheap alternative to the blessings a faithful marriage can bring. Evil always tempts us to settle for less than God’s best.

Proverbs13:7: Live by godly priorities. What seems worthless to fools is often valuable to the righteous; what fools pursue is often meaningless in God’s eyes.

Proverbs 16:16 – “How much better to get wisdom than gold!”

Wild Week

This week was highly unusual for me. I crammed a bunch of hours in at work on Monday and Tuesday. Got a lot done in those two days, as I prepared to be off work for a while. Two great meetings on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday I had Cervical Disk Replacement surgery on my neck.

The day started very early, I was the first surgery of the day. Lot’s of waiting and then it was go time. It almost felt like I was on the assembly line as they transported me to the prep area.

The worst part for me is always the IV. My veins seem to disappear.

After surgery I woke in the same spot I had been waiting and was soon back in my room. My recovery has gone well, and each day I am feeling better. All the old symptoms are gone. I am amazed at what doctors are able to do with the human body. God is amazing in His design for the human body.

I must say I had three great nurses up at Aultman Hospital. They were kind, patient and very helpful. It really made it much easier. We actually knew my third nurse, her husband was in a wedding I did last year. Thanks for your help Emily.

Listened to several Podcasts from Andy Stanley in my room. In one he said that he has a one sentence job description for each of his direct reports. I plan on writing my one sentence job description soon.

Well that’s all for today. I hope to share some insights from some of the new books I am reading soon.

Questions

One of the things I do is coach and mentor people toward change. One way I try to do that is by asking good questions. Questions that get people thinking. Questions that challenge people or bring reality to a situation.

I just read this quote from a book I finished tonight called Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy. “Powerful questioning enables you to go from head to heart. Habits change only when convictions change or are clarified. Most people will not change their habits simply because they have the necessary knowledge. They won’t make a change until they have hurt enough, heard enough, or had enough – all heart-level experiences.”

When you help people reach that point where they are ready for heart change, incredible things can happen. I can usually tell fairly early in a session with someone if they are really ready to make changes. Asking the right questions can help them take a step closer to a decision to make a real lasting change. Most people tend to hang onto bad habits, prolong bad decisions and ignor destructive behavior until the pain becomes too great to ignor..

This book has been an incredible tool for me to grow as a leader. I am trying to implement some of the things I have learned. I am working on a Life Plan, a Ministry/Business Vision and Plan and Priority Management. I want to be able to coach other people in doing these same things to become more effective in life and work.

Here are a few questions for you to think about:

  • What are the top three regrets you have today with regard to your personal and professional life?
  • If you could go back to school to learn a new skill or trade, what would it be?
  • What would you say are the top two or three greatest limiting factors in your career or your life?
  • What is the one thing you would most like to see improve in the year ahead?
  • Rate your personal life on a scale of one to ten
  • Rate your physical life on a scale of one to ten.
  • Rate you spiritual life on a scale of one to ten.

Keep Growing and changing. Don’t wait for the pain to intensify before you start to make changes in your life, your habts and your behaviors. Start with little things and build on that. If you need help making those changes, find a coach or a mentor to help you.

StarLight School

Last week I had the honor of hearing and seeing the vision for Starlight School in New Philadelphia Ohio. Last year NewPointe Community Church donated funds to all the area schools systems including Starlight. Starlight used the funds we gave them to purchase a “Smart Board” or white board. They use this as an interactive learning tool for the kids. I was able to meet some of the staff and got a tour of the facility. I left very impressed with the staff and leadership at Starlight. They are dedicated and passionate about helping children with learning disabilities. What a tremendous asset they are to our community. I hope we can continue to work with them in impacting families and children in Tuscarawas County.