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ALL ACCESS RECAP

This year at ALL ACCESS was probably the best I’ve attended.

The facility was amazing at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Fl.
The app sessions were amazing. The guest speakers were amazing. It was a wonderful investment of time, finances, and energy.
I was also honored to be part of the first group of pastors to hear from Rick Warren since the tragic death of his son. What a true man of God!
His legacy grows with each year.
Truly a modern apostle fathering a generation of pastors.

There was really so many good things it’s hard to pick one take-away. Instead I’ve listed some of my favorite quotes from the sessions below.

One of the main prevailing themes for the conference was “LIVING WELL” physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. That really speaks to me.
I’m a workaholic by nature and it’s so valuable to be reminded to keep the first things first.

Thank you so much to the ARC Staff, Lead Team, and army of volunteers/interns for making this year’s ALL ACCESS something I’ll glean from for quite a while.

Tweet-able quotes I caught this year:

“Unless the church is WELL LEAD and WELL FED it will never reach its potential.” Bill Hybels

“God doesn’t start with details. He starts with obedience.” Herbert Cooper

“Your only a healthy pastor if you have a healthy marriage.” Matt Fry

“Don’t be afraid to be who you are. God made you the way you are for a reason.” -Matt Fry

“Right where you are afraid is usually where you have the most anointing.” Rick Bezet

“God will help you with a lot if things but he cannot stand hypocrisy.” Rob Ketterling

“It’s not your love for that city that’s caused God to send you there. It’s your assignment.”Jo Champion

“Need to make sure you are living in order, living well.” -Jo Champion

“The enemy will send problems in church to see who owns the church.” Jo Champion

“When you make an investment in the kids of your church it pays you back.” Willie George

“You define how you are treated.  If people are not treating you right. Guess who’s fault that is? You define how you can serve people.” -Willie George

“God has sent you to a city to reach people who are tuned to the same pitch as you.  If people leave that’s okay. They’re not your people. They’re someone else’s people.

Your people won’t leave you.” -Willie George

“Building the church isn’t about a building but its about building people and growing their relationships.” Christine Caine

“Just because it doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean it’s time to quit.” Greg Surratt

“Three things your called to steward: 1. Your time, 2. Your energy, 3. Your money” Stovall Weems

“USE WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU AND HE WILL GIVE YOU MORE.” -Stovall Weems

“Our churches should be a leadership factory.” -Mike Murphy

 

The Recap Video below is actually from last year but the same excitement and impartation was around this year as well.

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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to RLC>>>

Hello. Hello.

#1- Celebration. It never gets old seeing people connect with God and seeing their lives changed forever.  Thank you RLC teams for always being so awesome and providing an atmosphere where both God and those far from Him are welcome.

#2- You are God’s Ambassador. The beginning of our new series was simply awesome. Don’t forget this week, “When you know who you are you will know what to do”. Never doubt you are a special possession of God. He thinks about you constantly and His thoughts toward you are great, to give you a hope and a future.

#3- Pray for me this week. Over the next few days I’ll be traveling to Jacksonville, Florida for the ARC’s Annual Conference called ALL ACCESS.  This is an exciting and refreshing time. Thank you for partnering in prayer with me for God’s protection as I fly to Florida and back.

#4- Memorial Day Cookout Coming Up. That’s all for now…. Make plans to be there. Trust me.

#5- Summer of Fun.  I’m already getting really exciting about Summer for Real Life Church. There’s so many awesome things coming up. We’ll be unveiling a lot of great things soon. Just know this is promising to be one of the best we’ve ever had. Can’t wait to get started.

 

Thank You Jesus for your grace, love, and kindness in our lives.
Thank You RLC teams for your passion toward those who are far from God.

I Love Real Life Church!

Hope you have a great week. See you Sunday!

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All Access

On Sunday evening I’ll be joining ARC pastors, church planters, and partners for our yearly conference  entitled ALL ACCESS.

Here’s the promo clip.

This is going to be great.

All Access 2013 Conference – Sign-up Today! from ARC on Vimeo.

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A Letter to RLC, All
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A Letter to Real Life Church>>>

Hello. Hello.

What another amazing weekend at Real Life Church! Things are simply awesome and only getting better.
Here are a few things I wanted to share with you this week…

1. Celebrating changed lives never gets old! Jesus Christ is so amazing! Five people made a decision for Christ this Sunday! Thank You Jesus.
So much of that begins before the response time on Sunday. It begins throughout the week when people are praying for the worship experience. It continues when people serve and give their time and resources. We’re all on this amazing journey together and it’s only getting better.  Thank you for partnering with me to connect people with our awesome God.

2. I can’t wait to share with you a brand new series this weekend entitled, “I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I”.  This series is about how God sees us and therefore how we should see ourselves. You’ll be surprised, challenged, and encouraged to reach for more of God. It’s going to be life changing for all of us. Part 1 is entitled “AMBASSADORS”.

series.graphic

3. LIFEGROUPS- Life groups are a vital part of what happens at RLC. If you currently don’t attend an RLC Life Group you should give it a try. Check out the Real Life Church website for details on where you can get connected today.

4.  Please say a prayer for me! Sunday afternoon following church I will be boarding a plan headed for Jacksonville, Fl. This is for the annual ARC ALL ACCESS Conference. It’s an amazing opportunity to glean ideas, be around other pastors, and gather fresh perspective. It’s also a wonderful time for reflection. I’d be honored for you to pray with me for God to speak something special and specific into my life during this trip. Also for safe travel. (I don’t really like flying.)

That’s all for this week. I look forward to seeing you soon either at Wednesday night AWANA, a life group, or church again Sunday. Hope you have a great week.

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Must Read List for Church Planters

One of the first things I learned about being a church planter was just how much I didn’t know about church planting. There are so many things unique to this particular type of endeavor it can seem overwhelming. The great thing though is there are mounting resources for planters.

I once read that early in his leadership journey,  John Maxwell would pay an executive $1oo for one hour of his time.  During that one hour, John would ask as many questions as he could.  Through this he gradually learned what it was to be a leader. This is a great idea. However, it simply wasn’t possible for me. So, I discovered the next best thing… books. There are scores and scores of great books about church planting. Here are a few that we really benefited from during our church planting journey and still do.   (These are NOT in order.)

Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers    
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird 

 

Exponential
Dave & Jon Ferguson

 

The Purpose Driven Church
Rick Warren

This book has pretty much become the gold standard of church planting and church growth books.  The paradigm shift Rick talks about is just where we need to be as pastors and church leaders. His idea is profound yet simple. Church isn’t about keeping the sheep happy anymore. It’s about being a resource center for those far from God. Everyone has a purpose in life and that purpose is not to simply breath air. Life is meant to be lived.

 

Launch
Nelson Searcy

Nelson has a growing library not just for the church planter but for post-launch-life as well. This book is the jumping off point. He talks not only about the theory and theology of church planting but also dives head-long into budgeting ideas, scheduling, etc. Great stuff.

 

Simple Church
Thom Rainer

This book is something for helping you set up the idea of what your church needs to be before it’s even born. He basically talks about established churches being a mile wide and an inch deep. We’re too complicated so in the end there’s a lot of smoke but no fire. Thom encourages us to trim the fat and get back to church as it was in the beginning, simple and effective.

 

Up the Middle Church
Matt Keller

When our team was in the planting process we went through this book then did it again in post-launch-life. It continues to be a yearly read and study. Matt Keller does a great job at combining the principles of vision with the realities of marketing strategies and a life-giving way of life. Definitely worth reading… then reading again.

 

The Circle Maker
Mark Batterson

Not as much a how-to book as it is a faith inspiring book. Mark dares you to believe in the impossible which is pretty much the name of the game when it comes to church planting. It’s also great to read his true life church planting success story.

 

Sun Stand Still
Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven has become a rather polarizing character in the modern church world.  I love him and what God is doing through His life.  When God first spoke to me about planting a church, I was like a fish out of water. I had no idea what to do, where to start, or what to say. I didn’t even know how to articulate what God was doing on the inside of me. People would ask what was going on and I would say, “I don’t know. It’s just different.”
Reading Sun Stand Still changed all that. It gave me a vocabulary for the revolution happening inside my heart. It taught me how to have faith for impossible dreams. I learned this phrase, “If your prayers aren’t intimidating to you chances are their insulting to God.”  Using the lessons from Pastor Steven, my wife and I began to believe for big things and God has not disappointed.

 

Other honorable mentions are:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership- John Maxwell
Good to Great- Jim Collins
Courageous Leadership- Billy Hybels
The Seven Characteristics of Highly Effective People- Steven Covey
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team- Patrick Lencioni

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A Letter to RLC
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A Letter to RLC>>>

Howdy RLC!

Happy Spring Break to everyone. What an amazing Easter celebration we had yesterday. Below is the the “Cardboard Testimonies” video featured in yesterday’s worship experience.

 

Also want to send a huge shout out to everyone who made the 2nd annual Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt such a huge success.

 
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Hope everyone has a great week.
Look forward to seeing everyone this coming weekend.

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Good Friday

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A Letter to RLC>>>

Hello RLC! What an amazing weekend! You guys are simply awesome. I’m continually humbled and blessed to see so many of you each weekend connecting with Christ and each other. It’s truly a blessing. This is a special week at RLC. As it kicks off, here are a few things to celebrate and prepare for:

#1- Notifications for this week:

Wednesday

Friday

  • Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt (Beginning at 6:30pm at Preston Miller Park)

Sunday

  • Easter Celebration 2013

#2- 3 people committing their lives to Christ this Sunday is always worth a celebration!!! RLC has recently partnered with godlife.com to bring to every new believer a guide to help them get a great start on their new life of faith. Click here to visit this resource. Also, let’s remember to pray for these new believers every day this week.

#3- I Decided to Stay. This past week’s message is by far my favorite of this series. This lesson is something that has been a huge catalyst in my life and continues to be something I learn fresh all the time. There are definitely times to leave but there are also times to STAY. We talked about asking God if there is an area in your life where you need to stay rather than go. Maybe it’s a dream you think is too hard, a relationship that’s in a difficult place, or maybe a job that seems to be going nowhere. The easy thing is to go, quit, or say goodbye. Is God speaking to you to Stay?
Here were the tweet-able moments:

  • “Sometimes the greatest act of faith is faithfulness.”
  • “Of course it’s hard. Welcome to the world of doing something awesome.”
  • “If you knew it the hard part were almost over, would you stay.”
  • “What story does God want you to tell? Where is He speaking to you to STAY?”

#4- Passion Week. This past Sunday was the kick-off of Passion Week. It’s called this because this was the last week Jesus spent before being crucified.  There are many great devotions and  Bible reading plans on YouVersion or other various places. I would encourage you to do a special devotion focusing on this special week. This is also a great week to take time out every day simply to say thank You to Jesus Christ for the cross, for forgiveness, and His acceptance in our lives.

#5- Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt Friday night beginning at 6:30pm. In the words of Toby Mac, “Ain’t no need to say what’s already been said.” This is going to be awesome. Check the RLC website for details.

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#6- Easter Celebration 2013. At RLC, every weekend is a celebration of what Christ has done for us. This particular weekend though we want to take it to a whole new level. We want to celebrate the fact that Jesus isn’t in the grave, He truly is Alive. Be sure to arrive early to get a good seat and celebrate the Risen Savior at RLC March 31st at 9:30am and 11am.

 

This week is going to be awesome. We’re also in the middle of planning an exciting Summer as well. Great things are happening at RLC and the best is still yet to come. I look forward to seeing everyone at LifeGroup, AWANA, Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt, or Easter Celebration Sunday morning!

Blessings.

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Book Review: Good to Great

good-to-great-book-reviewBook 17 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Good to Great (by: Jim Collins)

Link to this book

This book is a huge eye opener. So many times we wonder why we hit this glass ceiling. So many leadership books talk about not hitting the ceiling. About pressing boundaries and never accepting the status quo. There’s only one problem. Most of them do not tell you how to overcome being really good.

Jim Collins says, “Good is the enemy of great. Too many companies and organizations aren’t great because they are really good.” This has been the story of so many things I’ve been a part of. We were never truly great simply because we were really good…. and satisfied.

This book is for everyone who is not satisfied with being good. It might hurt but it’s worth the stretch.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

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Book 18 of 5o in my quest to read 50 books in 52 weeks. (2013)

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (by: Stephen Covey)

Link to this book

This is just one of those books. You read it and immediately begin re-reading it. So much good, applicable information. I love Stephen’s honesty as well as his process in teaching hisreaders to become the best they can be.

I love how it’s also not a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle of habits which have to be learned. The best things in life may be free but they’re not always easy.

Every leader should read this at least seven times.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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Will it be Worth it?

One day, when you “go the way of the DoDo” what story will you leave behind? Will it matter that you had so much money, invested so wisely, or worked so much? Or, will it matter that you loved so deeply, you shined so brightly, and impacted so many? This statement (the last part not the ‘dodo’ part) is something I felt God speak into my life a long time ago. The idea is no matter what you choose to do with your life you only have a short time to do it. The truth is all of us want to be successful in our respective fields of study.

We all want the house on the hill, nice cars, trophy spouses, genius kids, and retire when we’re 50. However, you’re life will not be measured in dollars and cents. It won’t be measured in how many hours you worked or the gold rolex you get for 25 years of service. Think about the great people of the past. We don’t remember how much money they made or even how much education they had. We remember what they did. We remember how they changed the lives of others.

We remember Abraham Lincoln for setting the slaves free.
We remember Martin Luther King for giving his life to make everyone equal.
We remember George Washington for giving the best years of his life to fight for our legacy of freedom.

Do you know how much any of these guys were worth numerically? Can any of us put a price how much they were worth historically? So instead of living your life to make a momentary difference, why not live your life to make a lasting difference?

“You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

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A Letter to RLC
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A Letter to RLC>>>

Hello RLC!!!

It was another amazing weekend and it’s only getting better! It was also a joy to see everyone connecting with each other. It’s a special thing for a pastor to hear people making dinner plans together after church. It means we’re coming together. I was listening to a pastor one time who said his church was put into a study and out of everyone they were deemed to be most likely to invite a first time guest out to eat after church. What a great sign as to the connectivity and friendliness of their church community.  Let the same be said of us. During church we experience the life-giving power of God. Before and after church we experience the life-giving power of community.

The next couple of weeks for Real Life Church is going to be very eventful. Therefore here are a few things to tell you about…

#1- I Decided to STOP. This week’s message was the lastest installment in our series “MY STORY”. We talked about how stopping something we already know is unhealthy for us seems so much easier than it is. The truth is if we could stop everything we started there would be virtually no broken hearts, hard times, or devastation.  Stopping something can be a life long pursuit. However, when we make Christ the Author and Perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) we can tell the story God wants us to tell.
Below is the video we used to have fun with the idea of just “stopping it”.

#2- Palm Sunday is this Sunday.  If you are a new Christian you may be wondering what this is. Below is a great video explaining the origins. Palm Sunday is a kick off time to Passion week. Passion week is a term for the last week Jesus spent before being crucified for us. Join me in making this year count for Christ. Let’s step out of our comfort zones and invite someone to church, to life group, and to simply join in with our lives as we pursue God together.

#3- The Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt.  One of the most talked about events of last year is almost here again.
Out of everything we did in 2012 almost nothing compares to the very first RLC: Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt.

It was so much fun. We are going for it again.  This event is open for the entire community so be sure and bring your friends and neighbors. Here are the details.

WHERE: Preston Miller Park
WHEN: March 29th
TIME: Games begin at 6:30pm | Egg Hunt begins at Dusk

If you would like to serve with us for this great event, email us here.

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#4- Easter Celebration. Easter is always a huge time for RLC because we love celebrating our Risen Savior. It’s also a great time because we consider ourselves to be a church on a mission. Our mission is to fulfill the Great Commission which is to see our friends experience the love of God in their lives the way we have.
Easter is one of those times when people who usually would not attend church are more interested. So take the chance. Invite someone to join our Easter Celebration.

Here’s a fun example of how NOT to invite your friends to church.

 

That does it for this week. Can’t wait to see everyone this week at an RLC LifeGroup or this weekend.

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