Sunday, March 30, 2008

yankees & more prophecy

So, I'm excercising my gift of prophecy again & I'm gonna say that Carolina will win the National Championship on Monday night. I picked them to win it at the beginning of the year, but this is my official prophecy. Click here to see my earlier Carolina prophecy. (Hopefully you guys know I'm joking... God didn't really give me a prophetic word about a basketball game. But I AM confident the Heels will win it all!)

And that brings me to my next prophecy about the greatest team ever in the whole entire world - The New York Yankees

I am a die hard 3rd generation Yankees fanatic. My grandpa was a Yankees fan. My dad is a die hard Yankees fan. The Yankees are in my blood. When I was a baby I was decked out in Yankees gear. I LOVE the Yankees. I watch almost every Yankees game (thanks to & ESPN). I've got a drawer full of Yankees shirts. I am all about the Yankees.

When I was a kid it was rough being a Yankees fan. Through late 80s & early 90s we weren't too good to say the least (yeah, i was in elementary school during the early 90s). We were in the cellar of the AL East. My dad used to always be upset at Steinbrenner because he said "every time we get somebody good, he trades them away." We didn't have too many good players back then, but Don Mattingly was my hero. He was pretty much our only stud who stayed for more than a year or two. So, Donnie Baseball was my boy, Stache & all.

I suffered with the Yanks for the 1st 13 years of my life, so don't give me any of that "bandwagon fan" crap. It's in my genes. I deserved the dynasty that took place when i was in high school & we won 4 world series in 5 years! We swept like 3 of them in a row. Each of those years after we swept the series I wore my Yankees hat to school the next day and carried a broom. a couple years I even painted the big NY logo on my chest. The 1st year I did it in the mirror & it was backwards... I learned my lesson.

I remember my dad taking my on the pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium when I was 15 and splurging on 2nd row tickets behind the Yanks on-deck circle. that was pimp! we won that game 21-1 & I'll never forget it. The next day me, my mom, & my dad got to watch Roger Clemens pitch like a 3 hitter as we won the game in the bottom of the 9th 2-1. We won the series that year.

I remember being a freshman in college watching the '01 series in the bottom of my nasty old dorm with about 150 Yankee haters. 2 different games in that series the game was basically over Tino hit a 2-out homer to win it! I remember dancing on a table and shouting with everyone else hating the Yankees even more. Game 7 was the 1st time I broke curfew as I was watching the game at Ci-Ci's and was for dang sure not gonna miss the end of that game (we lost).

We haven't won a world series since I graduated high school. Maybe I'm the curse? Probably not, because I am making a prophecy that THIS YEAR the Yankees will Strike Back. Yanks will win the series this season for their 27th world championship. Go ahead and mark it down.

I'm willing to make bets on that too... just call me up. And I especially love making bets with Red Sox fans. At some point I'll post a video and some pics on here of the outcome of a bet I won with my friend Frank who is a die hard Red Sox fan. He got to wear Crystal's pink Yankees visor, my Yankees shirt that DOGS the red sox really bad (and is also much too tight), + some really snug high school baseball pants. Oh, he wore this at the office all day and in front of a whole bunch of high schoolers. Good day. Last year I lost the same bet and he painted my office red with a big red sox logo on the wall. pretty sickening. I think Satan was happy about it. Anyway, bring on the wagers about the Yankees... bring 'em on.
needless to say, I'm stoked about the Yanks starting another season this week. We had a few rehearsals for Upstreet last night, but I found some time to see parts of the Yankees season opener on in between. As I write this I'm watching the game tonight (that i TiVo'd) against the Blue Jays. A-rod just jacked a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 7th to get us back in the game. We're still down 3 with only 2 innings to go, but we score like crazy fools, so it's never over.

So, we'll see if my teams can run the table this year - Carolina in basketball, Yankees win the series, & hopefully Florida State can turn it around this Fall in college football. OK, 8th inning now, I gotta go put my rally cap on.

ridge went kinetic (video & pics)

If you haven't read this post about Ridge uniting with Kinetic Church on Easter then read it now to catch up. You can also read it from the perspective of our lead pastor Chris or their lead pastor Dave.

Here is a very short, 3 minute video that Rusty made from the day. Click below and check it out!

Also, Christian Church Today somehow picked up the story (and currently there's a picture of my ugly mug on the front page of their website). Anyway, you can read the short article they wrote here.

Not only did Rusty (our SPD) make that sweet video above, but he & Adam (our administrative pastor) jumped into Upstreet & worked the production! To me that is freakin' awesome! To see the Big Whigs on a church staff jumping into a children's environment to make it rock. Just another small reason that made the day all around feel like Jesus had a BIG smile on His face.

I definitely learned from this experience that it's time for the Church to stop messing around and talking about doing something... but actually DO SOMETHING.

(My friend Matt was running the LED lights in Upstreet and sent me some of these pics I'll post below from the day. Enjoy.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ridge went kinetic

"By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." - Jesus (John 13:35)

This weekend I got to be involved with one of the coolest things I've seen in a really long time! I'm still stoked!!!

Here's the short story:
Kinetic is a rockin' church that started not too long ago and currently gathers in the movie theaters at Concord Mills here in Charlotte. A couple weeks ago they showed up on a Sunday & somebody had stolen 2 of their trailers with most of their "stuff" in them. Now, if you've never been a part of a church plant or "load in" church then that might not sound like a big deal. But, when you're renting a facility to worship in you store ALL your stuff in trailers or cases, etc... So, when Kinetic's gear got stolen, you know their 1st thought had to be "oh crap."

Their lead pastor, Dave Milam, posted a video about the robbery here on his blog.

So our lead pastor, Chris, talked to us about uniting with Kinetic for Easter Sunday morning & taking Upstreet on the road. We were all about it. My 1st thought was "THIS is what the Church is supposed to be all about." Honestly, we (the Church) should be doing stuff like this all the time. Chris told us that his overwhelming thought was about the verse above... John 13:35. It seems like the Church talks A LOT about loving our brothers & UNITY, but I don't see much of it. I was immediately SO flippin' STOKED to be a part of a church that had a chance to genuinely show LOVE, bless, and unify with another church in our own community.

So, @ 7:30am Sunday morning a ton of Ridge volunteers were unloading our gear at Concord Mills to gather with Kinetic. We took Upstreet on the road & it was pimp. We did a full production with the awesome kids at Kinetic. Chris said the vibe in the adult worship was really cool. The Kinetic peeps were great to serve with. Dave thanked us about a hundred times for coming. & the whole time I thought that God must be going "THAT'S what I'm talking about. That's what I want My people to be about... love, unity..."

Check out Dave's post about Ridge going Kinetic here & then his thoughts after our united worship gathering & LOTS of pics of Upstreet here.

Read Chris' recap of the day here & his thoughts before Sunday here.

It was a really exciting & electric day. Most of all it felt awesome to be doing the 1 thing that Jesus said we needed to do for the world to know we are Jesus followers = the church loving the church.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

march madness BABY!

this is one of the craziest, most exciting times of the whole year! ncaa tournament time baby! (insert Dick Vitale's voice here)

so, join the madness & fill out your bracket on Monday for a chance to win $10 Gs. come & join our "office bracket" for the readers of renown.

Go to ESPN and click at the top left on the Tournament Challenge or simply click here. Then sign up for a free ESPN account if you don't already have one. Fill out the registration and then submit it. click the big button in the middle that says Create Entry. Name your entry and click on Create or Join a Group.

Ok, now's the fun part - in the Search box type MULLETS ANONYMOUS - that's our group name. you should see a pic of a midget with a mullet playing bball. Then you need to type in the group password = renown

Then you're all ready to go. After the brackets are announced Sunday night, simply fill out your picks for each game. Make sure you go into Group Messages too & talk some smack to everyone about your picks. ESPN keeps track of all our points for us, so at the end of the NCAA tourney we'll know who won our tourney. Feel free to invite anyone you know. I think you just need to fill them out by Wednesday. We'll have some fun over the next few weeks. (Go Heels!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

God is for the poor & orphans

i've been journeying through the Psalms over and over for the past 3-4 years. i absolutely love it! it's one of my favorite parts of Scripture.
As i've shared before, i'm also keenly aware of one of the dominant themes throughout Scripture = the high importance that God puts on the poor, orphans, etc... So, i can't help but post a few pieces of my journey from the last few days.

"But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish." (9:18)
God is ultimately compassionate to the poor & that just fires me up. It fires me up because in my opinion much of the American church has forgotten the poor all over the world. Thankfully, we've got such an amazing God that no matter how long the Church forgets, God will not forget the poor across the world that He loves. i'm also stoked to take this promise to the poor because it will give them ultimate hope. That will be hope that they will ALWAYS have because they can ALWAYS count on God to remember them!

"But You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand... You are the helper of the fatherless." (10:14)
i can't help but think about Peter when i read stuff like this, and all the millions of orphans across Sub-Saharan Africa. i desperately want to build places for them to live, eat, and learn, tell them about Jesus & tell them that God is their helper!

"You Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror." (10:17-18)
Man, i'm so pumped that God is an encourager to the afflicted... and He defends the fatherless so that they won't be afraid of anyone.

*Our God loves the poor & orphans! Throughout the Bible it is obvious that they are VERY close to His heart & He puts a high priority on them. He fights for them and provides for them and loves them. i'm thinking we probably should too!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tarheels & prophecy

i'm not really sure if i have the spiritual gift of prophecy... but after tonight we may all be 1 step closer to finding out for sure.

Carolina plays Duke again tonight. In an earlier post I firmly stated that this is probably the #2 rivalry in all of sports (behind the best team in the world NY Yankees & Satan's team... the Red Sox). You can read it here. The 2 sqare off tonight at Duke tied for #1 in the ACC. Tonight's game decides the regular season conference champion.

I don't think it's a coincidence that I was born the same year that Michael Jordan hit "the shot" as a Freshman to give Carolina the national championship. Maybe that adds something to the prophecy I'm about to make? Ever since, I've been a Tarheel fan bleeding Carolina blue.

The odds are against us tonight. Playing in the house of the Cameron Crazies. Lawson's probably not full strength. all the College Gameday guys (except Hubert Davis, of course a Carolina Alum) picked Duke to win it. But remember, the Gameday guys don't have the gift of prophecy.

Here at Renown, for the whole world to read... (or at least the 37 of you who read it) I'm predicting a Carolina victory tonight AT Duke to secure the ACC regular season championship. (Oh, & I almost forgot... we're #1 in the nation all you Blue Devils!)

What do you guys think? All the Carolina fans are hoping that somehow I have the gift of prophecy. I'll talk with all you Duke fans tomorrow... as you are mourning - REVENGE IS SWEET!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

God of charlotte

So there's some guys in Northern Ireland (Belfast) who got invited to lead worship in Thailand. After crazy events they ended up in a town called Pattaya. I read an interview with them and most of the stuff they say about Pattaya I really can't even say on here. It's probably one of the most evil cities in the world. 10s of thousands of prostitutes in this town alone. Many are child prostitutes. The sex industry is 90-95% of Thailand's income. So, if there's anywhere God is not... it's probably this city, right?

Somehow these guys ended up playing in a brothel. These places aren't where you'll find your local Bible study. They're wicked places where men come in & pick out 2-3 prostitutes to "rent"... some of them only 10 or 11 years old! They were worshipping God in this place with a handful of believers attempting to spread God's fame. They looked out over this wicked city and somehow God gives them the faith to spontaneously sing these words...

You're the God of this city
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the light in this darkness
You're the hope to the hopeless
You're the peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For Greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done
in this city

For greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done here

My eyes swell with tears even thinking about this story. Tears of hope as my heart almost bursts with faith in an amazing God who is not done in Pattaya. Even though it looks like He is nowhere to be found... He is there & there's greater things to be done in that city!

*As I sang this song for the 1st time in worship a few weeks ago I was also overwhelmed with emotion & faith that God is the God of this city - Charlotte. I started thinking of the thousands of people in this city that are far from God and are without satisfaction. God has been stirring a greater passion in me over the last several months for my hometown. My heart breaks for this city and for the faces of the people who aren't experiencing crazy satisfaction in a glorious God. God loves this city & He's doing some great things here as we speak. But, I am confident that greater things are still to be done here. It is no accident that Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country... I believe God is behind this for His purposes. God's got some amazing plans for His fame in this city. He's the God of Charlotte and He is not done here yet... nope, not even close.

**And He is NOT done in your city either. Maybe you have thought He is... but I promise you He is not. I believe that greater things are still to be done in your city.

Pretty cool to think that God loves all the "hard to love people" in your city & He wants their worship. What does this ignite inside your heart for your city? I'd love to hear about what city you're in, what God is doing there currently, and/or what greater things you believe God is going to do there... Drop a comment and let us all know what's goin' down in your city.

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For Greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done
in this city

For greater things have yet to come
and greater things are still to be done here

(God of this City - Bluetree , Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

the legend of joe jacobson

We just started a sweet new series at Ridge - The Legend of Joe Jacobson. It's going to be a lot of fun & I think provoke a lot of life change... you can listen to the talks each week here. If you're a little slow like me & haven't figured it out yet, The Legend of Joe Jacobson is the story of Joseph, Jacob's son from Genesis 37, etc...

Last night was an awesome start to the series. Rusty designed a simple, yet pimp stage set as you can see here. We were rockin' it out in Upstreet too! I'm so excited about the incredibly amazing team I get to work together with in Upstreet... You guys ROCK!

So, the big question with this series is "What would you do if you KNEW God was with you?" Seriously... what would someone in your shoes, your exact circumstances do if they were absolutely confident that God was with them? Whatever you are facing right now... how would it change your decision/plan of action if you knew God was with you? Think on that for a while.
Ok, had enough time to think about it? Now, I just want to invite you to go here. Check out the site and write your story. This will be powerful. I'm stoked.
(you can also read about this on Chris' blog & Rusty's blog.)

I think if we all knew God was really with us we would flippin' change the world!