Tuesday, July 31, 2007

City Gates

The City Gates and the Fort in St. Augustine, Florida - The Nation's Oldest City

Dare Not Walk Alone

I just found this yesterday. Film maker Jeremy Dean made a movie called "Dare Not Walk Alone." This is about the Civil Rights struggle here in St. Augustine and it's history. But it is also about the struggle that still goes on here in St. Augustine after some 43 years. Here is a link to the movie website.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Here's Your Sign

This is a sign between San Antonio and Houston TX. Got this from Bishop Kenneth Myers website.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Best Friend and Supporter

I want to introduce to you my very best friend and supporter I have ever had. She is my wife Eileen. We have been through so much stuff together over the last 9 years. I can hardly believe that this October we will be married 10 years.
I want to publicly thank my wife for believing in me and standing by my side through everything. She is one who always sees the glass being half-full. She encourages me, kicks me in the butt when I need it, and loves me no matter what. Thanks babe!!!

Another Mark of Stupid on the Church!

My wife was talking to a friend of ours who lives in another part of the country. Our friends have a little girl who is about 8 years old and is autistic. They recently moved to this city because of a job transfer. They began to look for a church to attend and found one. After attending a service, which they really liked, the children’s director came to them and told them that they needed to attend the other Sunday service. They explained that it was impossible for them to get to that service. But it didn’t matter. If this little girl was to be a part of the children’s ministry, there was only one service they would allow her to attend. The worst part was that there was no explanation given for this decision on the part of the children’s director.
When I heard this it made my blood boil. I can understand that from time to time we may not have staff to deal with situations that may arise in our ministries. But you deal with it in a way that Jesus would deal with it. Thank God that these people are long time Christ-followers who did not walk away from the Church. What would have happened if they were young in their relationship with the Lord or a "not yet believer." I can say they have left "that" church and are looking for another.

In our places of service God so many times gives us opportunities for innovation and servant-hood and we miss it. God please help us to not miss it - but get it right!

Church Planter's iPhone

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Small Things Change the World

Recently a movie came out called Evan Almighty that has a message that I think every Christ-follower should examine. In this movie Evan wants to make a difference. I will not tell you everything that happens in case you haven’t seen the movie, but the gist of it is that God appears to Evan and upsets his world with a mission – to build an ark. In the process Evan says that he doesn’t know where to begin. God tells Evan that he hears that a lot and then he asks Evan if he wants to know where to begin. God tells him that it begins with one random act of kindness at a time.

What a concept! You would think that this would be something natural for Christ-followers. But unfortunately that is not the perception of most "not yet believers." I recently played a video during one of my messages that showed a ‘man on the street’ segment. In this video people were asked what they thought when they heard the word Christian and Jesus. Most everyone had very favorable things to say about Jesus but when it came to the Christians it was totally different.

Christians were seen as judgmental, unkind, unloving, and rude.

That is very sad when you think about it. The word Christian came about because people were acting like Christ.

Well, I believe that we as Christ-followers are called to change this image of the Church. We should be making it easier for "not yet believers" to come to faith, not harder. I’m not talking about changing the message of faith, but the way we as Christ-followers live our lives.

What would happen if we took the advice of God in Evan Almighty? What would happen if we took it to heart to commit one random act of kindness a day, if we truly began to live as the people of God and not self-righteous Pharisees looking down on people? Well I tell you what would happen. Our city would begin to see change. Paul said it is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance.

Where do you and I begin? With one random act of kindness. Why not buy the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble and let them know that God loves them - no stings attached. Why not help the single mom who is doing everything she can, but still needs some help with the kids or needs her oil changed. How about the person who cannot care for their lawn anymore? The list goes on and on.

These may not seem like spiritual things but they really are spiritual. You see, small things done with great love change the world.

If you would like to read more about this type of lifestyle, my friend Steve Sjogren has written a great book called Conspiracy of Kindness.

Also if you are tired of church as usual and want to be a part of a community of faith that is trying to live the Jesus lifestyle come visit Christ the Deliverer. We meet at St. John’s Academy at 1533 Wildwood Drive every Sunday at 10am. Also, you can learn more about this lifestyle at www.fr-joe.blogspot.com.

Monday, July 23, 2007

One of the Best Things About Being A Dad

This is one of the best things about being a dad. We had a great dinner at a place in Palm Valley called Barbara Jean's. The water in the background is the Intercoastal Waterway. Throughout dinner we could see boat and jet skis going up and down the Intercoastal. I was getting a little envious.

Girls at Klye Petty Charity Ride

Here is a picture of Elizabeth and Sarah with Kyle Petty behind them. This was the Klye Petty Charity Ride stop in St. Augustine, FL.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

You Want To Change The World?

Want to change the world - move your feet and cross the road. Watch this short video. Just clink on the link.


New Podcast

Here are the links to 2 podcast. They are messages that I gave at Christ the Deliverer in St. Augustine, FL

I Want My Name Back - Ways we misrepresent the name of Jesus.

The Church as a Field vs. The Church as a Force - 2 different philosophies of the Church

Theology of Laughter by Mark Batterson

I have posted this from Mark Batterson's blog evotional.com . This is something we all need to remember.

With our Variety Show coming up this weekend, I thought I'd post a theology of laughter.I believe that the happiest and healthiest people in the world are the people who laugh at themselves the most. You've got to take God seriously. But you can't take yourself seriously.We laugh during prayer all the time at NCC because I like joking and I think God enjoys it too! There are moments to intercede with tearful intensity. But can you imagine a relationship with someone you never laugh with? Can you imagine your conversation never being sprinkled with a little humor? How boring! I think it's ok to bust out in gut-wrenching laughter during prayer every once in a while! God loves laughing with His children!Honestly, I think we grossly underestimate God's sense of humor! Just look at the baboon's butt. Why did God create it that way? I have a theory: God never stops laughing. I have three kids and they crack me up all the time! What with six billion of us running around doing and saying funny and silly things, there must be something absolutely hilarious happening somewhere all the time!I'm not suggesting that God isn't crying as well. But I think we've missed the sacredness of humor. I think it's part of the image of God. It is one of the capacities that sets us apart from the rest of creation. Hyennas cackle. But humans have the unique ability to laugh. Certainly loving God with all of your mind includes the medial ventral prefrontal cortex--the seat of humor!I believe the chief end of man is to glorify God and ENJOY Him forever! We tend to ignore the second-half. Maybe we need to take fun more seriously? For what it's worth, when we're hiring staff, a sense of humor tops the list of what we're looking for! If we can't laugh together we can't work together!Honestly, if our church services were a little more fun and a little more enjoyable we might have a few more people come back! I know I might take it on the chin for saying that church ought to be fun. I'm certainly not saying that it shouldn't be convicting as well. But what is one of the primary reason people don't go to church? It's boring!I don't think we stoop to the level of having fun because it's fun. I'm simply challenging us as spiritual leaders to cultivate the God-given ability to laugh. And it starts with the ability to laugh at yourself.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Reflections From Ezra

I read the book of Ezra today and have compiled my reflections from this book.

  1. There is a phrase that stands out in Ezra - "Because the gracious hand of the Lord was upon him." God's favor rested upon Ezra to do the work that he was called to do. We must remember that God's favor will be with us if we are doing what He has called us to do.

  2. At every point in their faith journey, God met their needs. Even when things look really bad we need to remember that God will provide. Believe it - even when it is hard to.

  3. Your enemies will arise as the work of God gets under way. They will lie and do whatever it takes to stop the plans of God. Keep on doing what God said. Never stop until He says stop.

  4. God will have the final say not your enemies.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Raising Money

We are now in the process of raising money for the church plant here in St. Augustine. In this whole process of planting I am having to change my mindset. Thank God for all the guys who have gone before and done it. We are trying to raise $100,000 for the first years budget. This may not sound like a lot to some but it is something that I know is stretching me. This past Monday I had a veteran church planter encourage me that we could make it. To have Steve Sjogren speak into my life some very simple words was life to me. After all, we all know that small things done with great love changes the world. Thanks Steve - you will never know what your words did for me.

We already have in place our Worship Arts Director, our assistant music person, and myself. We are holding a weekly service for encouragement, laying the foundational DNA, and Holy Communion-Eucharist.

If you would like to invest in the "Nation's Oldest City" and help us see 'not yet believers' and Christ-followers change St. Augustine, then e-mail me at frjoe@ctdchurch.com or call us at 904-794-5808. We would love to talk with you about your investment opportunities.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Smoking Section

If you are going to reach the world, you have to sit in the smoking section.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Give Birth To It"

"Give birth to it and nourish it.
Produce it but don't posses it.
Act without expectation.
Excel, but don't take charge."
Lao Tzu

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th - Crazy Week

What a day and a week. Things have been really crazy. This past Monday my wife was admitted to the hospital. At about the same time, our new Bishop flew in from Texas. We were supposed to meet with him and his wife, but instead Bishop Ken and Shirley came to the hospital to pray for us. For dinner on Tuesday we had a great time of fellowship at a friends house with Bishop and his wife. Thank God for the friends who stepped up and helped with my 4 and 5 year old girls. Eileen was really bummed about not being able to be there but was thankful she was doing better.

We had planed to meet friends for the fireworks tonight but instead we went to the hospital and the girls, Eileen, and I were able to watch them from the 8th floor. They were great! St. Augustine always does a good job on their fireworks display. We were really happy we could still be together as a family and keep our tradition alive.

Tomorrow I'm planning to meet with Bishop Ken for a few hours before he and Shirley fly back to Texas. This trip was really crazy with everything that has happened because of Eileen being in the hospital. But I can tell you one thing. I was considering giving up and throwing in the towel. I had had enough of church work and all the junk that can go along with it. But when a true spiritual father comes upon the scene things can change. There is a renewed sense of destiny and purpose. I know what I am called to do and I will see the vision for our community -St. Augustine - fulfilled.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'll BePerfect...

Check out this bumper sticker. I think it says it all without any explanation.