God and Paint

I love it when God makes things happen. God brings people across our paths for a reason. It is our job to pay attention.

Butch & Juliene Price are leading a group of people down to the Eight Days of Hope mission trip to Louisiana. They stopped by my office to give me an update on how some things were going. As we talked they mentioned that a guy from Canton that owns a paint store (Harrison Paint) wanted to donate a truck load of paint for the relief effort. They gladly accepted this generous gift, but were unsure how to get it down their.

I remembered that at the last Group Link here at NewPointe, I met a guy named Jerry Weaver. Jerry owns a trucking and he mentioned that if I ever needed anything shipped down south for the relief efforts to let him know. So, I called Jerry and within a day he made arrangements to ship 26,000 pounds of paint to two locations in Mississippi and Louisiana. God is Good all the Time.

A big thanks to Jerry Weaver, Butch & Juliene Price and Harrison Paint. If we each do our part amazing things can happen. Yeah God.

Leadership Simulcast

On Friday we hosted approximately 160 business & Church leaders at the Maximum Impact Leadership Simulcast. This live event from Atalanta GA was a great event. The speakers were top notch. John Maxwell is a legend in leadership teaching and he kicked the day off talking about talent. The title of his new book is “Talent is Never Enough”. Tim Sanders followed him and hit a home run. He talked about balance in your life and how important relationships are in our lives. I have read two books by Tim Sanders.

The speaker that really got my attention was Bill Strickland. This guy is amazing. He started an art institute in Pittsburgh for poor kids and welfare mothers. He has branched into all kinds of training and outreach to help the less fortunate. Now he is building similar institutes across the country. He has a great ability to get things done. I would love to meet this guy and talk about changing the world. That is what he is trying to do.

Anyway, Terry Bradshaw was a hoot. Very high energy and very funny. I don’t know if he made a point other than be passionate about what you do and have fun. The theme of the day seemed to be to find what you are passionate about and gifted in and pursue that with all your heart. Malcolm Gladwell spoke about his book “Blink”. How we make quick judgements based on our experience and knowledge. It is also a great book. Can you tell I like to read.

I should be getting these speakers on DVD in a month or so if anyone wants to borrow them. Also be thinking about next year and how you can be involved on this day. Either as a volunteer or participant

A couple of cool stories from Friday include 7 students from Dover High School. The teacher that brought them told me he really thought this was great for students. He wants to bring more next year. More students need to be exposed to leadership and how to develop as a leader. I also heard a couple of people say they planned on coming to church this weekend.

It was a full day, but very rewarding to see and hear how people enjoyed the teaching and atmosphere. I have to give a huge thank you to the 17 or so volunteers that came out and helped all day long. Some of them took vacation days to come. Without them this event would not have been as successful. To Bryan German who stayed after the event and helped me clean up and tear down the tables and chairs I say thank you brother.

A huge thank you to these folks:
Franscene Davis, Diane Painter, Mary Low Crowe, Dana & Heather Foster, Tom Troyer, Ken Engstrom, Cherri West, Carol Miller, Peggy Peoples, Terry Royer, Brent & Jess Davis, Tom Miller, Mike Finley, Michael Harrow, Gene & Vina Hensel, Max Weaver, Dave Beachy, Wilma Mast. I hope I didn’t forget someone.

Mountain Climbing

I have been reading an interesting book written by a great mountain climber. His name is Todd Skinner and the name of the book is “Beyond the Summit”. I have never gone mountain climbing, I have hiked on some big hills and decided I like being on the ground below. This guy is incredible. He talks about the principles he has learned from climbing and how that can apply to our work and personal lives. His first major point is this “You are the product of your mountains”, wow how true is that. All of us face mountains in our lives and those mountain define who we are. Some mountains eat our lunch, other we conquer; regardless we must face the mountains and climb them if we want to become the person God intended us to be.

He goes on to say this ” Each mountain you climb will change you, and the more challenging the mountain, the more you have to gain from the ascent. Your mountains include not only those you have climbed, but the mountains that others have climbed whose lessons you internalize; and the mountains you dream about climbing, which make you better before you ever set foot on them, and inspire you even if you never set foot on them.”

As I think about that quote I can’t help but think about the challenges our church has faced. The many mountains we have had to climb and the many others we learned from. Too often we stand at the foot of a mountain and are content to just make camp and stay there. It is comfortable at the foot of the mountain, it is safe, it is familiar, but it is not good. God made us for adventure, to lead and grow, to learn and climb. I also believe that each mountain we do climb prepares us for the next one. Even if we don’t make it all the way to the top we learn along the way and are more prepared for the next one. I am thankful for the leaders in our church that have continued to climb and not stay safly in the base camp.

Later in the book he makes another profound statement that hit me between the eyes. He said “If you are not afraid, you have probably chosen too easy a mountain.” Whoa, hold on a minute, I like easy mountains. The first time I went snow skiing I went to the Kiddy hill and fell all over the place. I guess I was a little scared of even that small hill until I learned how to ski properly. Skinner says “To be worth the expedition, to field a team to climb this mountain, it had better be intimidating. If you don’t stand at the base uncertain how to reach the summit, then you have wasted the effort to get there. A mountain well within your ability is not only a misspending of resources, it is a loss of opportunity across a lifetime of potential achievement.”

Again, if we as a church are looking for easy mountains to climb we won’t make much of an impact. But if that vision is so big that we are standing at the base without a clue how we will reach the summit then I am in. I am tired of living it safe and staying at the camp. I want to start climbing and learn on the way. The church should be looking for the biggest mountain in the world to climb. We should be leading the way on impacting the world and making a difference. I love it when Dwight says he wants to change the world; I can be a part of that.

Skinner goes on to say “Being afraid shows that you are crossing the frontier edge of your comfort zone, and right where it starts to get uncomfortable is where you begin to grow.” The only time you grow is when you take a risk and get out on the edge of your comfort zone. It may be to pray put loud with someone, it may be to lead a small group, it may be to volunteer to serve at the church, it may be to go get help for your marriage, it may be to reach out to your neighbor, it may be to reconcile a broken relationship, it may be to change the way you spend your money, it may be getting baptized, it may be sharing your testimony, it may be finding another job, or staying right where you are, it may be getting help for an addiction to alcohol or drugs or pornography. I don’t know what you are afraid of, but if you are not afraid you are not even close to growing. God helps you to face the fear, walk through the fear and begin to change the world. It starts with you and me, together we are the church and we can change the world.

I feel like I am standing at the base of the biggest mountain I have ever seen. I have been practicing and getting ready for this climb, but the time has come to start climbing. Opportunity always arrives with a little uncertainty and that uncertainly is paving the way to a huge reward. God has a plan for me and for you, but we must start climbing. He won’t lift our feet and force us to climb but He will clear a path and give a a foothold and give the gifts and ability we need at the right time. There will be setbacks and obstacles along the way because we have an enemy that does not want us to climb. When those obstacles come keep your eyes on Jesus to provide the right way and keep right on climbing. See you at the SUMMIT!

Unique Worship experience

On Saturday night Scott Bell and I went to a local Hispanic Church in Dover. It was really an interesting time. At first it was a bit awkward as we got there and the pastor and our interpreter were not there. Scott was attempting to tell a few of the people why we were there, but I don’t think they understood. It was supposed to start at 5:00 p.m., but they are much more laid back than we are. At about 20 after most everyone had arrived including the pastor and we began to sing. There were about 40 people there. They love music and they played with passion. They had a full band; two keyboards, bass player, lead guitar, drums and singer. It was a little rough but they were giving it their best. Three women and two men took turns leading the singing. I didn’t have a clue what was being sung, but I did know they were sincere. The music was loud which created a sense of energy and excitement, it also allowed me to clap even out of rhythm and hum along. They would intermix some Scripture readings and prayer. When they prayed, most everyone in the room would pray out from their seats. The Pastor finally got up about an hour later and introduced us. At that point Scott went up and the pastor tried to interpret for him. Scott explained that we would like to partner with their church to reach the community for Christ. We left at that point because we couldn’t understand the preaching and we each needed to get home. I hope to go back again sometime with more people.
The reason I wanted to go was because this is a great mission opportunity in our back yard. I also love new experiences and learning about people groups. There are over 2,000 Hispanics in this general area (Or so I’ve heard). Those are 2,000 souls that God cares very deeply about. The reality is that they are here in our neighborhoods and God wants to use this as an opportunity to show them the Good News. I plan on beginning to study their culture, most are from Guatemala. This could be the beginning of something special. A few other people from NewPointe have been to this Church and to the Latin American center in Dover. Our own Jim Mason has reached out the them and built some friendships as has Jr & Ruthanne Yoder. Are you looking for mission opportunities. This may be it. Call Scott Bell or me if you are intrigued.

New Family Story

You may have heard Dwight say this before; “People haven’t given up on God, but they have given up on the church.” I met with a woman today that is planning on coming to church with her four children this weekend. She visited us when we were at Sugarcreek about 4 years ago, and they occasionally go to a catholic church because their children go to the school there. Her husband will not come with her this weekend, but she is so excited about coming after the short tour I gave her. She talked about wanting to improve her marriage, finances, parenting and build some lasting relationships. I wonder if she will find any of that here? She said that church for her and her husband was so irrelevant that she would much rather let the kids sleep in on a Sunday rather than pack them up and go to church. The rituals and stuff have zero meaning to this family. After getting a brief tour she said “now this is my kind of church, with the band and the cafe” she hasn’t even heard a message yet.
This is only one sample of the stories that are being written every week here at NewPointe. It is so cool to see God bringing the people here. He does it in so many ways. Our job is to help remove any distractions and make sure they have an incredible experience and want to come back. I can’t wait to see how God will work in this family. The transformation started today. Every week someone is walking through our doors for the first time looking for something. Why do they do it? Usually because someone invested in them and invited them or they are going through a very difficult time and are looking for help. Once again today I was reminded why we do what we do.