Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First 100 Days

There has been much in the news for the last couple of days concerning President Obama's first 100 days in office. It seems to me that 100 days is a short amount of time to fix just about any problem, especially some of the issues in our country right now (economy, health care, Iraq, and now swine flu!).

As I kept hearing about the 100 day mark, I thought back to the first 100 days of Freedom Fellowship. On September 1, 2004 I officially began my new duties as pastor of this new church. My last official day on the job as Youth pastor at Fairview Baptist Church was the last day of August.

Here's some of the things I remember our team getting accomplished in the first 100 days:

- Got a new cell phone. That happened in the first week.

- Got a computer.

- Got really nervous and scared. There were several mornings I woke up and thought, "I don't know what to do next."

- Had weekly meetings to pray about the future. This helped a good bit with the fear and nervousness.

- Put together our first budget. I remember sitting with our team around the Wilson's dining room table trying to figure what we would need to spend money in the next 12-18 months. It was like throwing darts at a dart board on the side of a moving truck. We had no clue what was actually needed, so we just did the best we could and hoped we would hit the bulls eye.

- Secured the first place we would meet to begin having "practice" worship services.

- Began planning those first services.

- Borrowed and cleaned up our first sets of preschool and children's ministry equipment.

- Started putting together a band.

- Had lots of breakfast, lunch, dinner meetings with people who were interested in what we were doing.

- Met with lots of local pastors begging them for money.

- Asked lots of questions to people wiser than me. By the way, they weren't hard for me to find.

- Heard the question, "Where are y'all gonna build your church?" more times than I care to remember.

That's just a partial list of some of the more important things, and I know there are tons of things I have forgotten about. The lesson that I'm learning over and over is that at the end of the first 100 days Freedom Fellowship was far from a finished masterpiece, and it is still that way today. In fact, it will always be that way. I always want us to be changing, learning, growing, and becoming the church God wants us to be. 100 days isn't a lot of time, but my prayer is that 100 days from now we will be closer to God's plan for us than we are today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Important Meetings and Random Updates

Random bits of info from my life:

- I spent the first half of yesterday helping out with Grace's field day at our home school co-op. I was in charge of the softball throw. In the older boys(4th and 5th grade)group the second place finisher threw the softball 91 feet. The first place finisher threw it 130 feet! He needs to be careful because winning by 39 feet will get you accused of taking steroids.

- I saw a dude at Ingle's yesterday who was wearing a headband. It was the kind people wear to work out in. Seeing him there wouldn't have been that odd if he had been wearing a sweat suit or running shorts, but the rest of the ensemble he had on consisted of: khaki pants, penny loafers, white golf shirt, and a gold watch. Your guess is as good as mine as to what the headband was for.

- I've got two meetings tomorrow that are important for the next few months of Freedom. I'd appreciate your prayers as a small group looks at what it would take to move our office space to the land on Hwy. 290 we are in the process of acquiring. Then later in the day Sherry and I will be spending some time talking with someone about the future of the worship ministry. Ask God to give everyone involved wisdom.

- "No Hit Wonders" will be practicing tonight after a two week lay off. I'll publish the set list here before we actually play at Relay for Life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunday scripture

My friend and faithful reader of this blog Dr. Alan Waterfield reminded me last Sunday that he likes to know what scripture I'll be teaching from on Sunday, so he can read it before he arrives. I would encourage everyone who worships at Freedom to adopt that policy. Of course in order to do that you need to know what scripture to read, and to know that I have to remember to tell you. I think that's where the breakdown has been occurring in this process. Well here's the info you need for this week: Daniel 3. The whole chapter. It's a rather familiar story. This week we'll be answering the question, "What do you do when you are expected to compromise the principles of God on your job?" The story in Daniel 3 helps us know how we should react in those situations. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there.

Here are a few other things I'm looking forward to this weekend:

Going on a date with Sherry - Just about every Friday night Sherry and I get to go out to eat alone. We love our girls, but having some time with just the two of us to talk is wonderful. We haven't gotten to do that in three weeks, so we're a little overdue.

Not wearing a suit - Due to weddings and the home-school ball I had to don the official dark suit and tie the last three weekends. For a guy who normally preaches in blue jeans, crocs, and a t-shirt that can be quite a shock to the system.

Watching a Jerry Garcia concert DVD - My brother from another mother Mark Johnson let me borrow it last week, and I haven't had a chance to see any of it. Hopefully I'll get a little time in the Fortress of Solitude to check it out before Monday gets here.

That's all for now. See you at GHS on Sunday at 10:30! Bring someone with you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lesson from Joshua

I started reading through the book of Joshua yesterday and I read verses 13-15 in chapter 5 today. I love how the angel makes it very clear that God is not taking sides in the battles and arguments of this world. He doesn't have to choose who to support, He gives us the chance to choose His side. His side is the only one that will last anyway. Long after our arguments about Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, big government and limited government are over, the only side that it will matter if we chose to be on or not is the side of God. That was a nice reminder for me today.

Here's a few other things happening in my little world:

My exercise session on Tuesday was great. I walked / ran at the track behind the old high school. The breeze was blowing it was nice.

I get to sing with the praise band this week. I always enjoy that.

I can't wait to see the Office tonight. This whole new storyline about Michael leaving the company has been an awkward change. That's what makes that show so good, the awkwardness.

We've got a robin's nest with two baby birds in it on one of our gutters. We're enjoying watching the mama bird get worms from the yard and take them to the babies. Now we've just to hope Sugar (our hunting cat) doesn't figure out a way to get up there.

I was talking with Emily last night and I realized something that will come as no surprise to most of you. She is smarter than me. I always knew she would be eventually, but I was hoping it would take her longer than 14 years to pass me. Now the key is to trick her into believing she can't live without me for at least six or seven more years.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back On Track

Here's something pretty cool, I received an e-mail today from a friend who had a great experience with the same lady at Walgreen's I wrote about yesterday. That means she was working with all her heart during her whole shift! Speaking of working with all your heart, have any of you tried it this week at your jobs? I would love to hear the results if you have.

Well, I'm getting ready to leave the office and do something that I should do a lot more of, exercise. I don't know about you, but exercising regularly is a struggle. I know I need to do it, and there have been times in my life where I have done it consistently, but it seems that no matter how much I exercise it's too easy for me to quit. I'm attempting to get back on track this afternoon. Let's hope this time next week I will have exercised more than once.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Real Life Example

One of the cool things about what I do is when something I have taught about on a Sunday morning comes to life before my eyes. Sometimes it can be difficult, like when I teach something and then find myself struggling with that very thing the next week. That does happen from time to time.

In case you missed worship at Freedom yesterday (you can listen to the message on-line here) I taught from Colossians 3:23. Today I saw the theme of yesterday's message come to life at Walgreen's in a good way. This afternoon I had a funeral to attend, and on the way there I stopped in at Walgreen's to pick up some breath mints. This was so I wouldn't further ruin the grieving family's day by offending them with my bad breath from lunch. I walked in and having never purchased mints at Walgreen's before I asked the lady behind the counter where I could find them. Instead of giving the standard answer you normally get ("aisle 3"), she came out from behind the counter, led me to the exact spot, and then let me know that if I didn't find what I needed she could take me to another part of the store where they had bigger bags of mints. I chose my Icebreakers mints and headed back to the register where she rang up my purchase and said, "I hope you have a blessed day" all with a smile on her face.
I walked to my truck thinking, "Now there's a lady who is working at her job with all her heart."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Report and 80's Band Name

I am probably the only blogging pastor in America who waits until the Thursday after Easter to post anything new on his blog. No excuse will be offered for that, just a normal, busy week. Easter Sunday at Freedom was incredible. All of you who are regular attenders did a great job of inviting your friends, and the atmosphere in the room was definitely one of celebration. As usual, our band did an amazing job. I loved the new song (Jesus Messiah), and singing "How Marvelous" on Easter Sunday was perfect.

This Sunday, we'll begin a new series called "better Than Business as Usual" It will be about how we should live as followers of Jesus on the job everyday. Also, we'll be giving an update about how things are progressing with the land on Hwy. 290. Remember, just because Easter is over you can still invite your friends to join you!

Here are a few very random things from this week:

- I saw a grown man dribbling a basketball in the library parking lot today. He was not passing through, like he was on a walk and just took a basketball along, he was standing out in front of a Mini Cooper dribbling a basketball. I'm not sure what that was all about.

- Blake used the term "covalent bond" during a staff planning meeting yesterday. It has been a long time since I took physical science so I just had to trust that he used it correctly. I pretty sure it has something to do with shared electrons, but that might be an ionic bond.

- The 80's band has a name! After we retired Pink Smoke Ring many of you made some great suggestions for a new name. The one we settled on is not really an 80's reference, but it is an accurate description of the band. The name we chose is: No Hit Wonders

We came real close to going with "Members Only", but there is already a cheesy Christian hip hop group by that name. Also some very close contenders were, "Weesie Jefferson", and "Mr. Hand Band". When we get closer to the date of Relay for Life I'll post the songs we'll be ruining, I mean performing that night.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Worship Reminders

Sherry and I are getting prepared to head to scenic Beaufort, SC in the morning to do another wedding. We will be back on Sunday morning to celebrate Jesus' resurrection with all of you. Here are a few things that we talked about this past Sunday that we need to remember for this week:

-Where you sit is important.
We are expecting a full house this week, therefor I am asking all of you to sit as close to the front as possible. That way anyone who comes in late will not have a hard time finding a seat. Also, move all the way to the middle of the row before you sit. Again, this will leave the aisle seats for folks who are running late.

-Everyone is on the welcome team.
Scott Wolfe does a great job leading our Welcome Team every week. All of the folks who normally serve on that team play a huge role in what happens every Sunday morning at Freedom. Remember, you don't have to be an official member of the Welcome Team to greet guests. One of the things that folks who visit our church for the first time consistently say to me is that they were made to feel welcome. Be sure and keep that up this week. There will plenty of new folks for you to meet.

-Where you park is important.
If you are a regular Freedom attender I want to ask you to park in the large parking lot located at the far end of Greer High School. This will leave more of the spaces in the front parking lot for our guests. The weather is supposed to be nice, so this will give you a good chance to enjoy a short power walk before worship.

-Come prepared to celebrate.
The resurrection is certainly worth getting excited about. When we gather on Sunday it should be with an attitude of excitement, anticipation, and thankfulness.

Remember to invite your friends to come with you! I am looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Last week was very crazy in my life due to the fact that I had an appointment this morning at the federal courthouse in Anderson for jury selection. As a result, I tried to cram two weeks worth of work into one week, because I was anticipating being out of the office from today through Thursday. Well the good news is I was rejected! Normally being rejected would make me feel sad, but not in this case. There were three trials that jurors were selected for today. My name was drawn on one, and when I stood up the prosecuting attorney said they were striking me as a potential juror. Maybe it's because I'm a pastor. Maybe I looked too mean or too compassionate or too stupid. Whatever the reason, I am glad to have this week to get things done at the office.

Here are a few very random observations from my time in court this morning:

- The courtroom was colder than the milk aisle at Ingle's. I didn't take a jacket inside, and by the time they gave us a bathroom break at 11:00 it was taking all I had to keep my teeth from chattering. I guess since the judge has to wear those robes he wants the temp low.

- All judges are funny. Maybe it's a pre-requisite for the job, or maybe it's just that every one in the courtroom is on edge so no matter what they say people respond with nervous laughter, but every courtroom I've been in is presided over by a judge who is great at one-liners. This guy today was no exception.

- No on wants to serve on a jury, including me. Today there were probably 75 people in the juror pool, and all of them responded with huge smiles when they were rejected from service. If they were selected you could see the discomfort on their face. Does that make all of us who were in the Anderson courthouse today bad citizens? I hope not. I'd like to think I'm a responsible American, but the thought of spending all week in that courtroom was driving me nuts. I guess the moral of the story is, if you commit a crime your fate lies in the hands of twelve people who would rather be anywhere else than in the courtroom listening to what you did. If that's the case, your chances aren't real good. Remember kids, crime doesn't pay.