Tuesday, January 29, 2008

disturb us

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. When we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord.” – Sir Francis Drake

WOW! My heart resonates with the heart of this guy who spoke these words over 400 years ago. More than anything, I want to come to the end of my life and know that I didn't play it safe but went all out for the sake of Jesus' name. I never want to be pleased with where I'm at & I'm constantly asking God to give me bigger dreams for the sake of His glory. I'm gonna do my best to dream too big, but never too little.

I first read these words this past summer in the 1st chapter of Chazown by Craig Groeschel who is the pastor of Life Church in OKC with a ton of campus'. Outreach Magazine recently named Craig's church the #1 most innovative church in America. Chazown is one of my top 5 books of all time & I beg you to quit reading my blog right now, buy the book, & read it TODAY!!! You won't regret it... more on the book in another post.

I like what Craig wrote about this quote from Drake - “Are you willing to let God disturb you with dreams so big that you don’t know how they’ll be accomplished? A vision that can only come true if He pulls it off? That’s what you’ll get… I won’t promise the road will be smooth. But I do promise you can start today living with a vision for fulfillment. You will wake up every day with purpose and passion, motivated anew to fulfill your destiny. No more wandering. No more emptiness. No more searching. You will say, ‘This is why I was created. This is the meaning for my existence.’ And God will smile.”

That's awesome isn't it? I love it. It's so true. I'm begging God to use me in big, scary ways to change the world. But it won't happen if I'm "sailing too close to the shore." Now, what are you going to do? Settle for your tiny dreams coming true, or ask God for bigger ones?

so, for the past few months i've been asking God to disturb me. whatever it takes for Him to get maximum glory from my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

charlotte real estate & God's renown???

Check out this video from ABC news that is posted on the front page of my dad's website. Some pretty cool and crazy stuff.

The real estate market is declining all across the country... except in Charlotte, NC & a few other cities. The economy is booming in Charlotte & home prices are climbing while they are falling almost everywhere else in the country. In fact, homes are appreciating at a rate of twice the national average!!! It has always been a slow and steady growth though, unlike the markets in parts of Florida & California where eventually the "bubble popped." The market probably won't change anytime soon because of the steady growth. My dad has written more about this in the past over on his blog.

Why in the world are people moving to Charlotte? - it's an awesome place to live... why doesn't everyone want to move here? Ok, ok, if you want the facts here they are:

- Charlotte is the 2nd biggest banking city in the nation (home to BOA & Wachovia) after NYC

- 80,000 new people are moving to Charlotte every year!

- my wife works for CMC & she said the CEO told them a crazy stat when they built the new, flippin' sweet Children's hospital downtown = something about this being the top place where families with young children are moving... + the CMC website says that "half a million children live in the 28-county region surrounding Charlotte. An additional 100,000 children are projected to be born into or move into this area by the year 2015."

- I read in Mark Driscoll's book that from '95-2000 Charlotte was the #6 city in the nation that 25-34 year olds were massively migrating to from cities like LA, NYC, Miami, Boston (i HATE the red sox!!!), etc...

- and now Charlotte is the #2 destination in the country for 25-34 year olds!!! & this is the most coveted age range by cities for many reasons.

so, you're probably saying "patrick, what the heck does this have to do with God's renown?" I'm glad you asked! I was born in this city... right in the middle of downtown. Most people I meet say I'm the only native Charlottean living here. God has given me a passion for the nations, but He's also given me a passion for my hometown! In an earlier post I wrote about a movement of God in Charlotte that I am so stoked to be a part of called Ridge Church. When I watched this video from ABC news I was overwhelmed by what God is positioning us to do. It seems that Charlotte is becoming a very influential city and masses of people in their prime are moving here. I wonder if God's up to something? I'm pretty sure He is.

My heart is racing & I'm all jacked up about how God is going to advance His kingdom through Ridge and the many other rockin' churches in Charlotte who are working to spread His fame. So, I'm glad the real estate market is booming here because I'm a broker too & selling houses is cool and all... but WOW... maybe God's about to do something so much bigger than sell some property! That's what we're praying for at Ridge & I won't say anymore about it, but simply ask you to go read my pastor's blog! He recently wrote a pimp post about what we're praying for on Thursday mornings. You'll love it.

Crystal & I are heading to the mountains for the weekend with our community group. should be a lot of fun. I'll try to post some cool stuff while I'm there, but if there's no internet access then I'll bust out some pimp stuff for you guys when I get back. peace...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do Something Now - 1 year later

PASSION is one of my favorite movements of God in the entire world. At some point i will devote at least 1 entire blog to let you know all about it. God has used this movement to be the most influential thing in my life over the last 5 years. Louie Giglio launched this flippin' sweet movement to the nation back in january '97. Passion is a generation united for His renown... I'm all about it. It is all about the college generation spending their lives pursuing God and spreading His fame in their world. I was so behind the movement that I became a rep for the record label that Louie started - sixsteps records which includes David Crowder *Band, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, & Matt Redman. My 1st Passion gathering was Passion '05 & then I also went in '06 & '07. AMAZING experiences! Now Passion is going to the nations... right along with my heartbeat. Crystal & I are going to Passion D.C. in February and then from May-October '08 they're taking it to 17 of the largest cities in the world!!! Pretty pimp stuff.

Anyway, all I really wanted to share with you today was something pretty cool from Louie's blog. I'm an avid reader and you should be too! A few days ago I thought about simply posting a link and telling you all to go read it straight from his blog, but then I thought... "ya know, the peeps that read renown are probably too lazy to go to all the trouble of clicking on the link and going all the way over to Louie's blog to read it. I better copy & paste it for them." So, that's what I decided to do... you can thank me later. (I know you're not ALL that lazy). So, at Passion '07 we had the opportunity to partner with several organizations to make an impact in the world... and that's what we did. Crystal and I got to be a part of 6 of these initiatives in small ways... everybody did a little & it made a HUGE impact. Below, I have copied Louie's post which details what 22K "poor" college kids gathered in Atlanta were able to do in just a few days for Jesus' sake. Read it... you'll be blown away & blessed. (For all you homeys who were at Passion '07 let us know about it in the comments!)

"As a companion to the world's longest Podcast episode which is now playing at the Passion Podcast , we want to recap what has happened as a result of your efforts at Passion 07. For those just joining us, the Do Something Now Campaign was our way of wedding worship and justice, putting feet to our songs and giving God what He wants most--for us to go to the least of these and meet their needs in Jesus' name.

So, knowing that we were hosting 22,000 "poor" college students and their leaders for four days in January 2007, we did the unthinkable and put a $500,000 challenge on the table. Never counting out this generation's desire to change the world, we linked the momentum of our gathering with eight global causes and asked you to pray, give and go. The results stunned us all, and, I believe, made God really, really happy.

We posted the immediate results after Passion 07 and have told the story all through the year. And, in the spirit of fairness and accuracy, we went back to these organizations one year later to find out just what happened as a result of Passion 07. Did we follow up on what we said we would do? Did we give all we said we would give? Have people gone? And what can we still do to help these causes even though there wasn't a nationwide event this year?

Well, get, ready to be blown away...the results are in.

Cause 1.
Freedom for those trapped in slavery through Stop The Traffik.
Aim: for 1000 people to sign a declaration card to be sent along with hundreds of thousands of others to the UN in 2007 raising awareness of the global human trafficking dilemma.

Result: 3000 signatures were gathered!

Current Need: Stop The Traffik is gathering 1 million signatures for a February 14 meeting with the Secretary General of the UN. You can add your voice and find other ways to make a difference at

Cause 2.
Bibles sent to restricted nations through Bibles Unbound.
Aim: to package 3000 Bibles to be sent to people in East Asia, as well as a commitment made by the packager to pray for the recipient for one year.

Result: 4000 Bibles sent. 4000 people being prayed for for one year.

Need: In February, Bibles Unbound is approaching their 500,000th Bible sent. Visit
BiblesUnbound.com to get involved.

Cause 3.
Extending the Kingdom to the needy of Atlanta with towels and socks.
Aim: Partnering with 15 Atlanta-area shelters to provide 20,000 towels and 20,000 pairs of socks.

Result: 13,000 towels and 31,000 pairs of socks were collected. That was a pretty incredible sight!

Cause 4.
Clean water for Africa through BloodWaterMission.
Aim: Raise $33,000 to drill 11 wells providing clean water for 11 African villages for life.

Result: $156,000 was given to build 52 wells!

Need: A well can be built for $3,000 and many, many African villages are waiting.
(We will continue to support this cause at Passion Regional events in LA, Dallas, DC and Atlanta).

Cause 5.
University education for deserving students through Compassion International.
Aim: Support 20 students in Compassion's Leadership Development Program who have completed the child sponsorship program and are worthy candidates for higher education by paying $250 a month for four years.

Result: Pledged to sponsor 30 students, and 18 were actually sponsored. Once the LDP packets were taken, 40 additional children were sponsored in Compssion's regular child sponsorship program.

Need: To sponsor additional LDP candidates at

Cause 6.
Fund Bible translations with The Seed Company's OneVerse Campaign.
Aim: Give $150,000 to translate the New Testament for the Dela people of Indonesia by giving $20 per verse for each New Testament verse.

Result: $88,652.77 was given and $355,000 pledged. In the end, $159.914.18 of the amount pledged was received. The Dela translation is fully funded, and Mark, Genesis and Acts are completed. The project will continue for an additional five to six years. Total contribution was $248.566.95 toward six translations!

Need: There are 2000 people groups still waiting for the Scripture in their native language.

Cause 7.
Help build a Community Center in Iraq with partner Global Hope.
Aim: raise $55,000 toward the building of an educational/social center called Freedom Center in the middle of a university campus in Kurdistan, see 30 students willing to pray about spending a year there teaching English and have 500 people commit to pray for the Kurds for one year.

Result: $165,000 was given toward the construction of Freedom Center, 1200 plus people took packets to pray for the Kurds for a year and over 500 took applications to go. Of those 500, 50 completed the application process and 21 are now in Iraq teaching in the university as Freedom Center is being built.

Need: 25 more to go as Freedom Center opens in 2008 and an additional $400,000 to complete the 2 million dollar cost.

Cause 8
Life-saving operations for children in the DR with Cure International.
Aim: Provide 51 operations at a cost of $1,000 each. [A donor decided to match what was given at Passion 07 up to 200 operations].

Result: Money was given or pledged for 124 operations and $103,897.87 was actually given. With the matching gift of $103,897.87, which came in December 2007, the total given is $207,795.74, providing operations and hope to 207 children and their families.

Need: Save kids and alter their lives at

Total of money redirected to those in need:
Cure International
BloodWaterMission $156,000
Compassion (LDP) $216,000
Compassion (Children/1 year) $15,360
OneVerse $248,566.95
Freedom Center Iraq $165,000

Total $904,824.82

Additional Cure Intl. Matching Gift $103,897.87

Grand Total $1,008,722.60

Wow. That's over 1 million dollars in four days from college students, leaders and volunteers, as well as those who have physically gone, carrying hope in their hands. AMAZING! God really can change the world through this generation! Thank you for being a part of it with us. This is what true worship is all about.

Monday, January 21, 2008

hope you enjoyed the day off

It's nice to take a day off from work and relax. I hope you enjoyed it. Growing up I never had this day off from school or anything. I never knew much about Martin Luther King, Jr., but I am radically and passionately against any form of racism or prejudice... so, I thought I would take some time today to learn more about this man. After reading several of his speeches I have decided I want to continue learning more about him. You may not agree with everything he did, but you must agree that he loved God and wanted to advance His kingdom on the earth. I definitely was not planning on posting a blog about this today, but I want to leave you with some amazing quotes from this man... take them to heart and let them really sink in...

"I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
(WOW! That is awesome... just think about that one for a few minutes!)

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. ... Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

"On some positions, a Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right."

"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." (OUCH... ain't that the truth.)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." (we obviously still haven't shifted)

"Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. ... Now a lot of us are preachers, and all of us have our moral convictions and concerns, and so often have problems with power. There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."
"I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality."

"Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout "White Power!" — when nobody will shout "Black Power!" — but everybody will talk about God's power."

"When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory."

***pretty cool stuff. hope you enjoyed it... i know i did.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

lead like Jesus

andy is one of my favorite leaders, speakers, and authors in the world. as i mentioned in an earlier post, he is also extremely humble. He kicked off Catalyst this year with this pimp talk about leadership - Jesus style. EVERY leader needs to hear this... especially those of us who are "next generation leaders." It seems that many leaders today abuse their power and leverage it for their own gain. That's the opposite of what Jesus did. Weak leaders leverage power for their own sake... strong leaders leverage it for others in humility. Go check out John 13 & then watch this 2 minute clip of andy communicating to us all what Jesus wants us to do with the power that comes along with leadership!

so, when YOU have the power... follow Jesus' example. leverage that power for others to leave a mark on the world for generations after you're gone. that's reverb.

Friday, January 18, 2008

winter wonderland

we got our 1st snow in charlotte yesterday. i know some of you from Florida & Texas might be jealous... but others of you are like "you don't even know what snow is!" And it's you who would be infuriated to know that Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools & UNCC were cancelled yesterday. We cancel stuff when we see the 1st flake. Hey, don't blame us... it might be our only chance to close school because of snow this year. My wife loves snow! She was out playing in it yesterday morning with our puppy who was seeing snow for the 1st time. I hate the cold so i just watched from the porch and snapped a few pictures. Snow is pretty cool though... i say that if it drops below 70 degrees then it might as well be 30 degrees and snowing. there's no other reason for it to be cold!

1 other cool thing is that my junky car club car doesn't look as junky when it's covered in snow.

Speaking of the junky car club, i have heard that several people have joined after hearing about it at the renown blog. i've also heard that a few people have sponsored kids through compassion! that's awesome!!! if you know of stories like the make sure you let me know! that will keep me writing.

i've got a lot to write about coming up. Here's a small sampling of stuff I'll be writing about soon... feel free to give me your opinion on what you would like to hear about or NOT hear about.

- Unchristian is a book that was released last fall from Gabe Lyons & David Kinnaman that reveals some research about what 16-29 year old unbelievers think of Christians in general. I was shocked at the results and determined to do something about it. I also had the privilege to sit in on 2 discussions about the book led by the authors and others at the Catalyst conference. There is so much good stuff to unload that i may spread it out over a couple blog posts.
- a short video clip from a talk that Andy Stanley delivered about servant leadership that is off the chain!
- Some music "reviews" promoting some great CDs that you need to check out.
- my thoughts on Bono's stellar speech at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast.
- downloading more things I've learned recently from conferences like Catalyst, Origins (Mosaic), Acts 29, etc...
- my favorite store... my favorite restaurants...
- sharing some great stuff I've learned from books recently like Chazown, The Mission of God, The Tipping Point, The Total Money Makeover, A New Kind of Christian, Deadly Vipers: Character Assassins, etc...
- a church that Ridge is privileged to have a great friendship with and be on the same team with as we attempt to impact and influence this city. They're launching a new campus and doing some pretty cool & innovative stuff to promote it.
- more of what God says about helping the poor & highlighting some more social justice projects that we can easily be involved in like Compassion & the Junky Car Club.
- my political views (HA! LOL. just kidding.)
- highlighting some great articles i've read recently in some of my favorite magazines and journals.

so, anything sound interesting in there? let me know & if it's all a bust i can write about some funny stuff.

*(The title of this blog post was borrowed from a comment one of my friends made at community group last night that really cracked me up for some reason. Now i can't get it out of my head. Thanks AJ.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

chewing, spitting, & learning from EVERYBODY

I LOVE to learn! It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do. I want to say for the record that I can & will learn from everybody! I learned long ago to “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” I’m not influenced negatively by learning from such a broad spectrum of people; I’m simply challenged and stretched. There are a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say & I want to learn from them all.

My whole life people have warned me not to read or listen to certain people because they might “win me over” to their side. I want the truth. If that person is right and has the truth then maybe we should all be “won over” to their side. If they’re wrong then I’ll spit out the bones and walk away with whatever is good. In college every time a professor told us that a certain author or book was “dangerous” or that we should stay away from it, I immediately got the book and read it. I learned a lot of good stuff from those “bad” authors.

Also, in my humble opinion, people need to stop bashing authors, pastors, etc… for what they’re teaching until they read and/or hear it straight from them. Stop reading what their enemies say is wrong with them & read for yourself what they have to say! Don’t just take someone’s word for it. There are a lot of Christians bashing other Christians right now… but very few of them have taken the time to really hear what the other side is saying. Instead they take someone’s word for it – their teacher, pastor, or friend. I don’t think my generation as a whole will be satisfied with this approach. We want to know for ourselves. I think that’s part of why some circles will die off over the next few generations (fundamentalism for example).

I don’t have to agree with everything someone says to learn from them. So, when you see me quoting people or mentioning people on this blog it’s not necessarily because I agree with everything they say… in fact, I might disagree with half of what they say, but I’ve probably learned at least one good thing from that person. So, just because you think the person I quote is a heretic doesn’t mean I’m a heretic too—hopefully I’m not.

I want to learn from all cultures, all theological traditions, and people from all socioeconomic and denominational backgrounds. So, I really don’t care if someone is democrat/republican, charismatic/cessationist, dispensational/covenant, Calvinist/arminian, Presbyterian/non-denominational, mystic/scholastic, liberal/conservative, etc… That’s why I can learn from Rick Warren one day and then read a John Macarthur (doesn’t care for Rick all that much to put it nicely) commentary the next. This is why I’ve been able to learn a lot from both Piper & Mclaren, even though the two are obviously not best buds. This is why I like reading Calvin & Edwards, but also Wesley & C.S. Lewis. I like learning from a pretty broad spectrum of people. I feel that I learn more and can be more effective in spreading the fame of Jesus when I do this. I recommend that you do the same.

Here’s a quick list of some guys I’ve read a lot of and/or listen to a lot. If you’re familiar with them you’ll know that many of them have major disagreements with each other & I obviously can’t agree with everything all of them say. But, I sure do have a lot of teachers!

andy stanley, paul hiebert, craig groeschel, john piper, brian mclaren, c.j. mahaney, louie giglio, j.i. packer, marcus buckingham, rick warren, don richardson, james emery white, john maxwell, john stott, dan kimball, christopher wright, malcolm gladwell, rob bell, mike foster, donald miller, john eldredge, bill hybels, erwin mcmanus, dave ramsey, mark buchanan, richard foster, francis chan, shane claiborne, gabe lyons, chris seay, rick mckinley, karl barth, mark driscoll, matt chandler, francis schaeffer, jim collins, dave ferguson, tony morgan, mark batterson, tim sanders, phillip jenkins, patrick johnstone, tony campolo, len sweet, reggie joiner, millard erickson, bruce wilkinson, n.t. wright, ken ham, george barna, walter kaiser, elmer towns, david crowder, ralph winter, clark pinnock, john sanders, charles ryrie, lesslie newbigin, john Macarthur, jack deere, howard hendricks, robert coleman, r.c. sproul, r. kent hughes, kyle lake, george ladd, bruce demarest, soren kierkegaard, friedrich nietzche, gordon d. fee, john wimber, and on and on.

My old skool dead mentors: john wesley, john calvin, dietrich bonhoeffer, c.s. lewis, d.l. moody, athanasius, anslem of canterbury, augustine, jonathan edwards, ignatius, andrew murray, j.c. ryle, charles spurgeon, bernard of clairvaux, etc...

Monday, January 14, 2008

cliftones strike back!

I am a music lover. I listen to music constantly. I sing... a lot... & that's usually why people throw stuff at me (because I sing really bad for those of you who don't know me and are a little slow). So, on this blog I will be reviewing, hyping, and telling you all about a lot of artists and their new CDs that are coming out.

*It's my privilege that the very 1st CD I ever hype on this blog is a CD from one of my best friends - Scott Clifton. He & his two twin brothers - Blake and Mark - comprise this rockin' band dubbed the Cliftones. (occasionally they even let their dad jump in to rock the bass.)

Scott is probably the most gifted guitar player I have ever met or ever seen play. He's just one of those guys who can start fooling around on a guitar and you'll find yourself sitting and watching with your mouth open for the next hour.

Scott was one of the groomsmen in my wedding. Sometimes we call him "Scottie too Hottie" (& yes ladies, he's still single).We met at college before the first day of classes our freshman year. We played soccer together for 4 years & were even roommates for a year. We definitely had a lot of fun & I'm sure he got A LOT less work done because he was my roommate. Even back then I knew he was going places musically. God has blessed him with phenomenal musical talent and song writing ability. He loves God with his whole heart and wants to make His love known to more and more people through music. And He is a really humble guy! I don't know his brothers nearly as well, but they are great guys as well & obviously gifted as you can hear from the CD.

When Scott sent me the CD in the mail I popped it in and was really impressed from the beginning. I was expecting great things from this debut album, but this CD is even better than I imagined. Most of the songs from this East Texas band contain an acoustic-driven rock/folksy sound. You will immediately hear hints of bands such as Shane & Shane, Dave Matthews Band, Nickel Creek, & Dave Barnes. If you like any of those guys or are looking for some fresh, fun, and God-centered music then you need to check these guys out.

Immediately my favorite songs were track #2 - Chase & #4 Great is the Lord but now I've got a lot of favorites:
#3 - Get Over Yourself is such a fresh reminder from this God-centered band that we are not ultimate, God is = "This is not about you/ This has always been about Him and His name glorified."
#7 - Filthy Lie is an awesome song about the essence of grace that you'll be singing along with in no time = "I guess in the back of my mind/ I thought I was going to pay you back/ Live by this set of do's and don'ts/ Cause that is what I'm supposed to do/ I thank you Lord for reminding me/ That it's this law that you set me free from/ I could never even know the price you paid for me."
#2 - Chase is the one I always try to sing along with in the shower and harmonize along with the bros... my part only sounds good in my head though. When you hear this song once you'll be singing it all day long!
I Am, These Three Words, and Lover are all strong worshipful anthems.

(I'm not sure what we're doing here or why we're rocking a mullet, Afro, and big daddy Canada hat? Congrats to the mullet man on the left, Jim because he's gonna be a daddy soon... he is currently accepting donations.)

So do yourself a favor and check these guys out at cliftones.com. Then go buy their CD here or download it on iTunes... you won't regret it. You'll be refreshed, nourished, and have fun listening to this great CD from a great band of brothers. If you're in the Dallas/East Texas area bring them in to play a show or lead worship at your church or student ministry.

It's been in my CD player since I got it & I know you'll love it too. Oh and Scott... I need to remember to get my CD autographed by you guys before the Cliftones hit it really big so then I can sell it on eBay for like 100 Gs. And when you're a huge rock star just remember all the crazy good times with your good buddy patrick on Ballard 2nd floor & @ kooter browns.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite lines from the CD... it's brought tears to my eyes a few times. "Cause I, I've been running/ And still You chase me/ And I, I've got nowhere else to go/ And still You let me in." (Chase)

(Self-proclaimed "retro day" with Scott on the left and me 2nd from the right next to one of my best friends Ethan whose blog you should go read right now.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

top quotes from catalyst '07

Catalyst is probably the greatest leadership conference on the planet! You need to check it out here. I had the privilege to attend the conference this past October along with the Catalyst labs. It was an amazing 3 days that I'm sure I will write more about later. In fact I filled up an entire notebook with what I learned! This post will only be a quick download of the top quotes/one-liners from some of the greatest leaders and speakers in the world. Hope you enjoy!
(**Make sure you leave some comments on what you think of some of the quotes - which was your favorite? Which one inspires you to action?)

- "This is the best conference you have ever dragged me to." - Crystal, my wife (on the drive home)

- "The most dangerous prayer we you can pray is 'USE ME.'" - Rick Warren
- “it’s not so important that believers agree, but that we disagree well.” – Shane Claiborne
- “live your life in a way worth telling stories about.” – Mark Batterson
- “too often the right answers have produced the wrong actions.” – Chris Seay
- "A practical atheist is someone who ‘believes’ God exists, but does life as if He does not.” – Craig Groeschel
- “everyone who wins at anything has written goals.” – Dave Ramsey
- “most church people have the right answers, but they’re mean… so, who wants to talk to them?” - Shane Claiborne
- "The 1st Reformation was about our creeds. This reformation needs to be about our deeds. We believe the right stuff... we just don't do it." - Rick Warren
- “1 child dies every 15 seconds because of lack of clean water.” – Chris Seay
- “prosperity is having the freedom to do God’s will.” – Dave Ramsey
- “isn’t it worth my little discomfort to feed and clothe Jesus?!” – Francis Chan (reflecting on Matthew 25:31-46 & his decision to build an outdoor church)
- “There’s a gap between what we’re teaching kids and what’s really happening out there.” - Reggie Joiner (quoting Kevin Costner in The Guardian)
- Bumper sticker idea = “tithe if you love Jesus, anybody can honk.” – Rick Warren (someone will be stealing that idea soon)
- “I was trying to lead people to Christ and not letting Christ lead me.” – Craig Groeschel
- “stewardship is about managing God’s stuff for His glory.” – Dave Ramsey
- “we must manage God’s money the way He wants us to or we don’t get to manage it anymore!” – Dave Ramsey (reflecting on the parable of the talents)
- “If I want God to use me in Huge ways then get on board with His agenda. He’s already promised to bless His agenda… not mine.” – Rick Warren
- “The church is like Noah’s ark… it stinks sometimes, but if you get out you’ll drown.” – Shane Claiborne
- "When you create a context/system where leaders are free to lead... guess who flocks?" - Andy Stanley (um... leaders?)
- “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” – Mark Batterson
- "We're addicted to buying stuff." - Chris Seay (reflecting on the unhealthy consumerism dominant in America)
- “… if we don’t, I doubt our Christianity.” – Rick Warren (speaking about whether the church will truly act like the church in matters of social injustices - AIDS, poverty, water crisis, etc...)
- "God seems to act most largely through the people who act most courageously." - Erwin McManus
- "What are you gonna do when it dawns on you that you're the most powerful person in the room?" - Andy Stanley (answer was = do what Jesus did and be a servant!)
- “people need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” – Patrick Lencioni (quoting Samuel Johnson) [***SO true in preaching and other ministry contexts!]
- "People despise the church, but have you ever heard of an anti-clean water group?" - Chris Seay
- "Don't be like the guy in the gym who always does bench press and never does squats... he's got the massive chest but you can push him over with your pinky." - Matt Chandler (reflecting on balance in ministry)
- "Reality is always more complicated than we would like it to be." - Gabe Lyons
- "Jesus never talked to a homosexual or a prostitute... He just saw broken people that He loved." - Shane Claiborne
- “if the church didn’t have payments the kingdom might explode.” – Dave Ramsey
- Whenever God asks me a question, it’s never for His benefit.” - Rick Warren
- "to recover our heart for Jesus Christ we must recover our heart for outsiders." - Dave Kinnaman
- “Play offense with your life.” – Mark Batterson
- “I don’t know how anyone got saved in the 80s.” – Matt Chandler (reflecting on his own salvation in the '80s at a corny Michael W. Smith concert.)
- “We should be the ‘spittin’ image’ of Jesus” – Shane Claiborne (borrowing the "spittin' image" phrase from his east Tennessee grandma)
- “you have no idea how God might want to use you! – Andy Stanley
- “The term ‘Christian’ needs to be redeemed.” – Dave Kinnaman
- "I think God gets the most glory when the church takes on the biggest problems." - Rick Warren
- "The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in me." - Craig Groeschel (quoting Bill Hybels)
- "We trust God with our eternal salvation but not with our money!" - Rick Warren (whassup with that?!?)
- "because I care more about what people think than what God thinks.” - Craig Groeschel (the answer to why he would get so nervous before preaching)
- “most good things are easy to understand, but hard to do.” – Dave Ramsey

I'm sure Lanny Donoho had some really funny ones too as the host... I just didn't write them down. You should get his book God's Blogs - it's really funny. Based on the comment he left on my last blog post... I need to move about 10 of his books for him. So, if you need a laugh and some encouragement, go pick it up.
*Let me know how you liked this post chocked full of powerful quotes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

chillin' with andy

Have you ever had the privilege to hang out with your hero? If you're a baller maybe it would be Jordan. If you're a computer guy maybe it would be Bill Gates. Maybe Bono or a former president. Or maybe Donald Duck if you happen to be a cartoon character... or a duck. Michael Jackson if you're... never mind.

I got the flippin' sweet privilege of hanging out with Andy Stanley one evening this past summer. Along with maybe Louie & Piper, Andy has probably had the biggest influence on my life and ministry. I've read a ton of his stuff and can't get enough! Communicating for a Change has shaped the way I communicate. 7 Practices for Effective Ministry shaped my ministry philosophy. Next Generation Leader inspired me to maximize and pursue my leadership potential. Visioneering & The Best Question Ever have also influenced me in big ways. (Put down whatever you're doing and go read one of them right now!) I've been listening to his podcasts from Northpoint for forever... needless to say it feels like I've known Andy for a long time even though we had never met.

Ridge Church is a strategic partner with Northpoint Community Church where Andy is the Pastor. So, I got to have dinner with Andy along with the Ridge staff. I ended up sitting right beside him and talking for a couple hours at Bonefish Grill. I kind of expected him to have an entourage with body guards and a limo. I expected him to be larger than life and probably too good for us crazy risk takers. WOW! This man is one of the most humble guys I have ever met! For a guy who could easily be full of pride because of all he has accomplished - it was amazing to see him filled with humility! + he's genuinely a nice guy... we had him laughing most of the night. He gave us some great advice and encouragement before Ridge ever launched. As Chris (our lead Pastor) says - "Andy says more in 10 miutes than most guys say in their whole lifetime." (Check out this video of Andy talking about Ridge.)

God has definitely given this man an amazing amount of wisdom, vision, and influence. This evening in Daytona Beach was SO cool for me. As we were leaving Andy told me he would see me later at the place we were going next & I think I said "fo shizzle" - Chris made fun of me for that... Crystal probably did too. It's a cool thing to meet your "hero"... worthy of a fo shizzle. yaknowwhati'msayin'?
GROUP SHOT!!! Andy with the staff & wives.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ridge church - a movement of God in charlotte

Crystal and I are really stoked to be part of an amazing community called ridge church. We launched the church to the public just a few short months ago and God is already doing some amazing things! Ridge is made up of an incredible group of Jesus followers who want to see God's fame break out like an epidemic throughout Charlotte. God has also blessed Ridge with an amazing staff that I am privileged and humbled to be a small part of. The vision for ridge began years ago in the heart of our fearless leader and stellar lead pastor Chris Brown who also has a black belt in karate (just kidding about the karate part).

Maybe you're asking - "Why start a church in Charlotte of all places?" From the beginning Chris has made it clear that "Charlotte doesn't need another church. You probably drove by several today. Charlotte does need relevant environments where believers can feel confident and safe to bring their unbelieving friends." These relevant environments set us up to accomplish our mission which is to "lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ - through intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders."

(Check out this video of our 1st 2 gatherings.)

This is the healthiest church I have ever been a part of or seen and I'm so thankful to be part of the team. My heart was drawn to Ridge when I heard Chris say things like - "We don't want to raise a banner in Charlotte that says 'Ridge Church' but one that says 'Jesus'" & "We just want to build a platform for Jesus to be made famous in this city." Pimp stuff. That's what I'm all about, so it was a natural thing to jump in with Ridge. Now, I'm all in!
Ridge is a strategic partner of Northpoint Community Church led by Andy Stanley. Our DNA is identical to Northpoint's and we function like a home just like they do - you can read about our foyer, living room, and kitchen environments here. We also have the same 7 core values as Northpoint that I was so stoked about when I first came to Ridge = Authentic Community/ Relational Evangelism (Evangelism is NOT an event or something we do it's simply who we are)/ Intimacy with God/ Relevant Environments/ Biblical Authority (what else would the authority be... a deacon board?)/ Strategic Service/ & Intentional Apprenticing. (you can read more about these core values here.) I can't explain how refreshing it is to be a part of a church that is all about these 7. We also follow 7 practices that will absolutely rock your world when I write about them in depth in a later post.

(check out this video of our amped kid's environments)

Ridge is a church that is committed to life change. We are all about the stories... stories of people's lives being changed by God - & those stories keep rollin' in. There is SO MUCH more I would love to tell you about this movement that is about to rock Charlotte for God's glory... but this post would be WAY too long. But don't worry, I'll be writing A LOT more about Ridge church. For now, why don't you check it out for yourself if you live in the Charlotte area + everybody should definitely visit our website at ridgechurch.net. If you have any friends in Charlotte who are unbelievers or are burnt out on "church" then Ridge is the perfect place for them... in fact our worship gatherings are designed specifically and unashamedly for them.

You've also gotta read our lead pastor's blog - Ridge Behind the Scenes. He's an amazing leader and God has His hand and blessing on Him in a special way. His passion for God and this city is infectious. (+ I think he's giving away a free 52" plasma TV to the very next commenter... totally just kidding.) Click here to listen to all of our talks from the awesome communicators at ridge church. You'll love them!

Also, consider this your own personal invitation with the fancy calligraphy & everything to come join the Ridge Church facebook group! (of course without the calligraphy - I never learned how to do that.)

God gets all the glory for what He's doing in Charlotte & I am flippin' pumped to be a little part in the story!

Monday, January 7, 2008

feeding Jesus & orphans (+ the junky car club?)


This is Peter, our “adopted” orphan from Kenya. He’s the man! Well, he’s only 5, but he is pretty cool for a 5 year old.

We don’t know how his parents died, but he lives with his brother in a house with a dirt floor, mud walls, and a grass roof. His favorite game is soccer just like me.

Crystal and I send $40 a month to Compassion International and in our opinion the return is pretty high. For $32 a month Peter gets = food, clean water, strong education, and healthcare. + the church in his village gets to give all of this to him and when he asks why he all of the sudden gets this great stuff for free, they can tell him “there’s some people who love Jesus and Jesus says to love people, especially the ‘least of these’, so they want to love you and make sure you’re cared for in Jesus’ name.” And of course Peter is going to say “so, tell me about this Jesus guy.” Pretty cool, huh?

So, for those of you who may not be clear on what believers are supposed to do for the poor - God says a ton about it in Scripture! If you want to give me your email and I can send you my 7 page single-spaced study of just Scripture passages that are clear commands for believers to take care of the poor and orphans in the world. Because of space I'll just share just 1 passage here.
Mathew 25:31-46 => Jesus is telling everyone listening that when He returns in glory He is going to separate the "sheep" and the "goats". Maybe you've always wondered how this will go down... well, here you go. Jesus will tell the sheep to enter into his kingdom because HE was hungry, thirsty, needed clothes, homeless, and sick & they took care of Him. And they'll be like "when did we see YOU, Jesus & help you?" "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me."(v.40) WOW! Whenever we help feed, clothe, and give water to the poor, orphaned, and homeless it's like we're giving it directly to Jesus!
But what about the goats? Jesus will say "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Why would He condemn them like this? You might have a theological answer in your head, but Jesus says He condemns them to this because they didn't feed, give water to, clothe, & take care of the poor and homeless! He says whenever you see a poor person who needs something and you ignore it, it's basically like you are seeing Jesus on the side of the road with no food and you just ignore JESUS! (v.45) Can you imagine seeing Jesus hungry and thirsty and saying to Him - "I'm sorry Jesus, but I really need to pay my internet bill this month so I can read Patrick's blog, or else I would feed you." This is a passage we should all reflect on.

In light of the Bible being filled with passages like these Crystal and I feel like partnering with the Junky Car Club (see previous post) and sponsoring Peter is only a starting point. Peter also lives in an HIV/Aids affected area where the disease is probably something of an epidemic. We are not sure if his parents died from AIDS or if Peter might even have it… but for the extra $8 a month, Compassion is able to provide additional AIDS prevention and education along with extra medicines.

Peter started kindergarten this year. He gets to go to school for a portion of that $32 per month! That’s so awesome. He is beginning to learn how to read and he writes letters to Crystal and me. His favorite subject in school is counting. He proved that when he filled out a profile that he sent to us and the question was “what is your name” and he wrote “12345”. Maybe he’ll figure it out by the 1st grade? ☺

We’re stoked about getting to sponsor Peter and hope to go visit him one day. There’s no feeling in the world like knowing that we get to share the love of Jesus with this little boy in a tangible way. Really, Jesus says it's like we're sharing this directly with HIM. Way cool. $32 a month is basically a dollar a day. That’s not much. So, maybe you can skip Starbucks a few times a month or eat at Chic-fil-a instead of Outback this weekend? Or even sell your car, buy a hooptie & join the Junky Car Club. Get creative and go check out compassion.com

You have no idea the impact you could make in a kid’s life. I kind of think Peter will be the president of Kenya one day… maybe he’ll invite me to have dinner at the Kenyan version of the White House. ☺

Friday, January 4, 2008

junky car club

WHOOOOOO! I’m so excited about this blog today! For the past few years I’ve been on a journey through Scripture discovering what God has to say about helping the poor. In short, I have become passionate about caring for the poor and doing whatever I can to help them. (MUCH more on this in later blogs.) I’m committed to living with less so I can give more to help orphans, giving clean water to communities that don’t have it, the homeless, etc…

While reading Relevant magazine (which I highly recommend you subscribe to by the way) I came across one of the coolest organizations I’ve seen in a long time!!! The JUNKY CAR CLUB
It was founded by Mike Foster, the founder of XXXchurch (which is another pimp organization to be highlighted in another blog. It’s an online accountability plan to keep guys pure from porn – download the software for free at http://x3watch.com/) and co-author of the really fun and helpful book Deadly Vipers: Character Assassins (go buy it and read it today... I'll be writing another post on it in the future.)
I even talked to Rick warren about the junky car club at Catalyst and found out he is a member too. Well, he was speaking from the stage with 11,000 other people in the room and he couldn’t remember the name of the club. I shouted it out to him and we had a quick little “conversation.” So, yeah, I “talked” with him about it. ☺

This thing is the real deal. “The JCC is a community of happy drivers that are politely rebelling against consumerism. We think life is better when you spend your dough on others and not on some pimped out ride. We encourage all members to support social justice organizations and give to those who are in need. Happy Driving.” (from the back of my membership card.)
The JCC partners with one of my fav organizations, Compassion International. So, the idea is that if you don’t have a car payment you can use that money to sponsor a child through Compassion. Compassion is awesome and helps regular peeps sponsor kids in poverty in order to provide food, clean water, healthcare, education, etc… in the name of Jesus and for His sake.

This is SO awesome. I plan to never drive a new car or even make payments on any car, ever. I paid cash (not much) for my 1st car right before I turned 16 – a Honda Civic SI with cool rims, a sun roof, and purple fluorescent lights underneath the car. (I planned to have a picture, but can't find one.) A year later I traded it straight up for an SHO (supercharged Ford)… and th
en traded it for my current car. I drive a 1989 Cadillac Deville with 187,213 miles, no shocks, and chipping paint. It has affectionately (and maybe not so affectionately) been referred to as the “caddymobile”, “pimpmobile”, “hooptiemobile”, “grannymobile”, and “big ugly caddy”. It is 27 feet long and drives like a tank. I once gave a ride to 12 guys IN my caddy all at one time! Lots of good memories. I’m just praying that it will last another 10 years and 100K miles! That would be cool with me. and if it dies I just wanna find another hooptie for $500 and drive it til it kicks the bucket. If that’s all it takes to make sure a few kids get lunch tomorrow or a village has clean water so they don’t all die from disease… this seems like a no-brainer to me. Think about it… if the choice is between having some nice wheels and an orphan getting to live another month, what’s the logical choice? Do you think there's anyway you could do more for people in need if you didn't have the fat car payment? Please don't think I'm saying that you're a horrible person if you have a car payment... we have 1 ourselves. The bottom line is - what are you doing to help those in need like Jesus told us to? Don't have enough money to help? maybe it's time you sold the Hummer and join the Junky Car Club... Let me know what you guys think of this idea.

So, I’m an elite lemon member… 1 of the original 150 members too. They’ve even got a JCC calendar now. Make sure you check out my blog on Monday because I’m gonna intro you to our buddy Peter who gets to have a fair shot at life because of $40 a month we’re not spending on a dope ride.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

what were they thinking?

Ok, be honest… no matter how mature you are you chuckled a little bit when you saw it. I just wanted to give everyone a good laugh on this post! Hopefully West Virginia corrected the problem and is not letting these guys sit beside each other anymore! Or at least let Berry sit to the left of Dingle. This is not a doctored picture in anyway… I even went to the West Virginia Mountaineers website and copied this straight from their roster…

92 Johnny Dingle DE 6-3 270 Sr. Miami, FL
93 Scooter Berry DL 6-2 265 Fr. North Bablyon, NY

Can you believe these guys’ uniform numbers are right in a row too! But, hey, congrats to WVU for beating the #4 Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl last night. After I saw this picture earlier in the season, I actually predicted that these guys would lead West Virginia to the national championship… didn’t work out for the Dingle/Berry boys.

*A big reason I started this blog is because I am learning an inordinate and unbelievably HUGE amount of amazing stuff & I just can’t hold it all in anymore. I want to share it with all of you! So, in the coming weeks I’ll be trying to post an article 5-6 days a week in relation to something I’m learning from a book, a conference, a teacher/friend, an organization, a musician, a movie, my wife, or God Himself from His Word. So, I’ll be posting some CD, movie, and book reviews. I’ll be letting you know about stuff you’ve probably never heard of but you REALLY need to know about.

For example – I’m totally stoked about tomorrow’s post highlighting one of the coolest and most radical organizations I’ve ever heard of! You don’t want to miss it. + Be nice in your comments because I might even be able to talk the President and Founder of the organization into stopping by and commenting.

Let me know if you laughed at the pic…

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

my wife & life

There is at least 1 good thing they taught me in college that I still remember – “happy wife, happy life.” (because “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”) I grew up hearing Bill Wyman sing “if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife.” BUT that’s some horrible advice. God hooked me up with an amazingly beautiful wife (who’s the best cook I know) + I’m happy and have no doubt I will be for the rest of my life. Sorry, Bill, it’s just not true.

I am trying to honor God and spread His renown by my relationship with my smokin’ hot wife. God says that the way I love my wife is supposed to be a picture of the way Jesus loves the church. That’s a lot to live up to. She’s comes 2nd only to Jesus and before everything else including my job, ministry, wants, etc…
And that’s pretty easy because I’ve got the greatest wife in the world. She was designed specifically to be my wife and to be able to put up with me. I can pretty much be a pain to live with, but she does it gracefully and without complaining. She is the sweetest woman I know, but if you mess with me she will jack you up!

It’s pretty awesome that we get to have a date night every Friday night & Friday also doubles as our “rest in God day” (Sabbath). We usually just go out to dinner and see a movie or hit up a pumpkin patch or camp out by the fire and watch some old episodes of Friends.

My wife is definitely the coolest. I can be myself with her like with no one else. I’m free to just be me. I don’t need to put on a show or try to be someone I’m not. And she’s cool with that (except sometimes in public when my ADD kicks in). She is honestly my best friend in the whole world. It makes me happy to make her happy!

We’ve known each other since we were 12 when she moved here to Charlotte from NY. Here’s the romantic version: when she first moved here we each happened to be out shopping for Christmas trees with our families. I was carrying our tree and her dad was carrying their tree—and the two of them somehow got tied together! No joke. The rest is history. Well, sort of. We started dating like 5 years later in High School and through college and then were married 8/5/05.

She loves her new puppy Jack Bauer (that she begged me for a year to get and I finally caved in because… say it with me = “happy wife, happy life.”) She is a Nurse at Carolina’s Medical Center – University… after being downtown for over 2 years. (She’s actually received the Nurse of the Year award 2 years running… so what if I am the only judge? Did you guys know there’s actually such a thing as Nurse’s Day??! You learn fast when you’re married to one.) She loves to help people, give people gifts, and just love people… which I think is pretty cool. She’s a 24 fan like me, but also likes dumb shows like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, & Dr. Phil. (I don’t need hate mail from all the girls that love those shows… they’re just not for me.)
God has hooked us up in crazy ways. We’re blessed with a sweet house filled with free furniture. It’s like we should be on the ghetto poor version of MTV Cribs. We both have great families and God’s given us so much and we’re so thankful for it all. I feel like I could write a book on how good God has been to Crystal and me.

We’ve jumped in with a brand new church plant called Ridge Church (which I’ll write more about later). God birthed a passion in me to spread His fame a few years ago and I’ve never been able to shake it. I feel that He is leading us to eventually start a revolution among unreached people groups (probably in Sub-Saharan Africa). God can do whatever He wants but that’s where He's leading right now - hopefully to rock a region with a revolution for His renown! I know it probably sounds pretty audacious… but more on that another time too.

Basically, my wife and life are the best. I’m lovin’ it. I’ve found… SATISFACTION… God gets all the credit for that.

(P.S. – make sure you check tomorrow’s blog which is 100% guaranteed to make you chuckle or your money back.)