Sunday, August 31, 2008


rest. it's a beautiful thing. Many people think of Sunday as "sabbath". Mine is usually every Friday. So this past Friday was my day of rest for the week. I just enjoyed the day with God & with my wife. it's a beautiful thing. That rest empowers me to be able to work my tail off today (Sunday & the rest of the week).

So, if today is your "sabbath" - enjoy it. Sit back & rest in the fact that the work will get done tomorrow. God is in charge, not you. He won't let the world fall apart if you rest for a day. Try it. I promise - it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, August 29, 2008

the triple skinny

2 of my friends in Dallas, Texas are also bloggers. Ryan & Scott are great guys & you can read their blogs here & here. We met in college & have kept in touch better over the past year as they both finished insanely long (120 credit?) ThM. degrees at DTS. pretty crazy, but they're pretty crazy smart guys.

Anyway, earilier this month Scott posted a blog titled "3 questions" and "tagged" me & Ryan. & then Ryan wrote his response (called "MEMEs") & tagged me too (you can see their answers on their posts). So, finally, here is my posting of "the triple skinny".

Q1. If you were to be in ministry 10 years from now (whether you're in ministry now or not) what would you like to be doing and where? [I would just call it "professional" ministry because I think we're pretty much all in ministry...]

Q2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a degree and all the learning that would have gone with it from any seminary which one would you pick and why?

Q3. What's your poison: donuts, beer, wine, pizza, chocolate, twinkies, key-lime pie?

A1. wow... 10 years from now! Scott, you hit my hot button! I hope I don't sound too audacious, but I think I'll be neck deep in an unstoppable Jesus revolution in sub-saharan Africa. God's gonna do it, but I'd love him to use me to lead a movement to spread His fame to tons of unreached people groups. With a pimp team I'd love to be starting some amazing WORLD changing orphanages, planting culturally relevant/indigenous churches, starting clinics & schools and building tons of wells to completely change entire communities! I think this movement has the potential to rid the region of AIDS, poverty, unclean water, and people groups without the gospel. Might take 3-4 generations, but God is on mission and I'm just hopping on the badnwagon for this part of the ride. (that was a bad Q for me Scott, because I could be writing on that for days)

A2. well, I'm digging the seminary I'm at (Gordon-Conwell), but mainly because it's local. There's DEFINITELY not a seminary I would choose over it here in the Southeast. but you opened it up to ANY... i guess i would have to go with FULLER or PRINCETON. I mean those are the 2 pimps of all the seminaries. i guess i would have to pick Fuller because of being in Cali... but Princeton just sounds so much smarter, right? Maybe even Mars Hill Grad school... they would probably do a better job than any to prepare me for what's coming in 15 years.

A3. my poison? the reefer. haha, jk. None of that stuff is really my poison though. I guess I would maybe have to say pizza because we eat at kristopher's on monday's which we affectionately refer to as "Free Pizza Day!" (buy 1 get 1 free)... a couple months ago I ate a whole pizza by myself & it was not good. I started having hallucinations & stuff (not literally, but almost). So I emailed the guys and told them to never let me do that again.

OK, now it's YOUR turn! They can definitely be way shorter than mine - I'm just a long writer which I know many of you hate. But drop your answers to these 3 Qs = whether they're 1 line or 10 lines. ANSWER HERE!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the phenomenon of NOUNVERBS

[nounverbs are not to be confused with Knowdaverbs - which if you remember "The Syllabus" you are TRULY old school.]

Some might think that I have a brash disregard for the proper use of the English language & that is totally not true. I just enjoy creating new words & especially new variations of existing words. I don't care if they're in the dictionary or not... if it serves a purpose, then let's use the word.
There are a lot of current phenomenons in language that are very intriguing to me, but I just want to bring up 1 of these today. The phenomenon of turning nouns (especially Proper Nouns) into verbs... especially in the realm of social media!

Do you know what I'm talking about? Probably the most popular example is GOOGLE. Everybody uses Google to look up basically everything. Google is a proper noun but it's very common for most people to say stuff like "have you googled it yet?/ hey, the other day I googled silly string..." etc... So, the proper noun "Google" became a verb BECAUSE it's easier to say "google it" than to say "why don't you go to http// and type in what you want to know more about." Right?

Now, in regards to social media, I hear & say stuff like this all the time. "Yeah, I facebooked him yesterday." = in other words, "I wrote him a message/posted on his wall on his facebook page." Everyone knows what you mean because it's become part of our culture and language.

Or "Dude, you've got to youtube it!" = search for a youtube video of "it". Youtube is the proper noun but we use it as a verb ALL THE TIME in this way.

"The other day I was twittering & saw that one of my friends twittered something really funny." = Twitter being the proper noun/website where you write what you're currently doing. SOOO... really "writing what you are currently doing" can be known as "twittering." [see how much more efficient this stuff is? it's way shorter & saves time.] the other day I even used this one that I may have made up? "Hey, Crystal, check this that so&so twitpic'd." = I wanted her to see a picture someone linked on twitter/twitpic.

This is currently true = "This morning I am blogging." = technically I am writing on my weblog, but blogging is a more than acceptable verb these days in the social media world [and WAY shorter to say... like 3 words shorter].

I doubt I made this one up, but I am constantly telling my wife that I will "iTunes it" = she hears a song that she likes & wants to know the song title and/or maybe buy it on iTunes so I search for it/ iTunes it.

have you heard this one = "I'll friendquest you when I get home." = which basically means - "nice to meet you. You're on facebook right? well, when I get home I'll look you up on there and send you a friend request." It will be mainstream very soon.

And of course we could go ON & ON & ON & ON because I love this kind of stuff & I'll probably write more about this in the future... but, I want to hear from YOU! Ok, this should be fun.

[oh, and just out of curiousity, would ANYONE have any idea what I'm talking about if I said/sang "luv is a verb" ??? haha, tell me if you do. & if you don't, maybe you could youtube it! but don't judge all of us that remember it & thought it was cool.]

Monday, August 25, 2008

the kingdom in charlotte (#5) - elevation church

This is my 5th blog about the cool stuff God's doing at other churches here in Charlotte. Because for us at Ridge it's all about the Kingdom... not our kingdom. We regularly pray for other churches in our city, by name, to have God's favor in advancing His name. One church that we pray for a lot is Elevation Church.

Elevation is a church I've been to a lot too and am pretty familiar with. There's some great peeps there too. So, Crystal and I have gone to Elevation the past 2 sundays. We went to their Providence campus 2 sundays ago & yesterday we went to the launch of their uptown campus at the McGlohon theater in downtown Charlotte (but at the Belk Theater the next 2 weeks).

I could write a whole lot about the cool things God is doing at Elevation... because He's doing some crazy cool stuff there! but, you should just go HERE & read their lead pastor, steven
furtick's blog about all the stuff that God is doing.

Elevation launched back in February of '06 with 100 people & a passion to start a revolution in Charlotte. Their mission is "to see people far from God filled with life in Christ." I started tracking with them during their 1st year. After 1 year there were about 1,000 people attending Elevation! pretty crazy. They've got some really talented musicians & worship leaders (including steven furtick) so they produced a live worship album (The Sound) on their 1 year anniversary. [I was sitting in the back row, but some security guy took me to the front row right in front of the crowd mics so my singular screaming voice is clearly audible at several points during the album!] 

They also started their 2nd campus during year 2 on Easter. And a few weeks ago they released another worship album - We Are Alive
This Sunday they launched their 3rd campus in downtown Charlotte which I think is a really cool thing. Probably the coolest thing is that an insane amount of people have "found new life in Christ" through Elevation. Something crazy like 600 people accepted Christ this weekend alone at Elevation (including a weekend student event & at their 3 campuses on Sunday). Glory to God! This doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary for Elevation! I don't know all the #s but I know that a ton of people have come to Christ and lives have been changed there because there were like 4800 peeps at elevation this sunday. pretty insane for a church that's not even 3 years old yet! You can catch up on all this stuff at steven furtick's blog.

At Ridge, we've been praying for these guys since we began. We've been especially praying for them the past couple weeks because they just started a series called "THE GOSPEL." It started yesterday & goes for 2 more weeks. Furtick says it's their most important series of the year. just plain and simple gospel each Sunday. 

pretty phat when they rocked some Viva la Vida this Sunday too & tied it into "the gospel" theme. Oh, and Furtick is on the main stage @ Catalyst this year, so if you haven't heard about these guys yet... you will soon! Elevation - keep rockin' it for the glory of Jesus boys!

We're pretty excited to be in the same city with these awesome guys & will keep praying God does awesome things for His glory through them. We're on the same team & are both in this city to raise up a banner that says "JESUS"... not anything else.
I am so STOKED about God's kingdom advancing in Charlotte & His fame spreading - not just at Ridge or Elevation... everywhere! Because it's not about individual empires... it's about Jesus' KINGDOM!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

the bright sadness?

Read yesterday's post HERE. Charlie Hall's new CD is awesome & you can buy it HERE. Today I just wanted to post a quote from Charlie about his thoughts on these new songs birthed from his soul.

"Immediately our ears perked up as we dove into all the different meanings of these beautiful words stuck together so oddly, so oppositely. The phrase made me think and feel. It also slowly began to encompass something I had been starting to experience in my heart about my own life. Sadness, trial and the aching of this earth are not detached from the bright, resurrecting hope of God. These two ideas actually hold hands very easily and should walk together intertwined always, shamelessly. There are many awe striking moments on this broken beautiful planet but there are also moments that whether we create or are created around us make us feel out of control and weak. These 'out of control' moments do not detach us from God and in fact may in a deeper sense knit us to his heart and life. Christ is the brightness in every ounce of life. He is the power in this universe and will fill us to walk through every moment.

So this collection of songs is some of the spiritual journaling of my last few years. It comes from me understanding my ordinary human condition and my deep love for Jesus and the life he brings along in Him. I do not love and believe these things because of citizenship, my 
role or title in the church or because I am supposed to. I believe this 
because I have felt my own humanity and my need to be in touch again with my Creator. The Bright Sadness is the accepting of the brokenness 
in myself and in the world around me, but always intertwining the overarching thought of Christ's closeness, His free fellowship, His redemption, and compassion, His Brightness."

Pretty awesome and intimate thoughts from this awesome worship leader. If you live in Charlotte you should DEFINITELY come worship with Charlie Tuesday night @ Charlotte One in uptown - 7pm. more info here. see you there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

what's in my iPod? - charlie hall: the bright sadness

WHOOOHOOO! I get so excited when one of the sixsteps guys come out with new stuff... so, of course this has been and will be in my iPod for a while. Charlie Hall's brand new (as of Tuesday) - THE BRIGHT SADNESS

Charlie is a really amazing songwriter & worship leader. (+ at times he has a pimp 2 foot long goatee as seen in this 
pic to the left shot by my amazing wife a few months ago. I think I would try to rock that 2 footer if I could.) He's been with the Passion movement since the beginning & I've been loving his stuff for a long time. I remember Louie once called this guy "papa smurf". haha, that was a funny moment. I've noticed that Charlie's music hits 1 of 2 ways with peeps. They LOVE him & his stuff is their fav... or they don't like his stuff so much. Like, of the 4 sixsteps-ers (Charlie, Crowder, Chris, & Matt) Charlie is either their fav or least fav.
He's written some incredible stuff & with writers like that I always wonder what their new CD will be like. I wonder "will they have some amazing fresh stuff from God that will put words to the worship I want to give to God." The answer for Charlie's new CD = ABSOLUTELY!!

I usually have to listen to a CD several times before I completely connect with it. Usually I don't like the brand new as good as the old for at least a few weeks! BUT, I think this just might be Charlie's BEST CD EVER! & that is saying A LOT considering how amazing Flying Into Daybreak was with songs that have taken my heart & the Church by storm like All We Need (my personal fav), Center, Marvelous Light, and Songs of the Redeemed. Seriously I think these songs are quite possibly the best he has ever written. I'm so excited. You need to GO BUY IT right now!

Anyone who's been around some Passion gatherings in the last year & a half will be familiar with several of these songs on the album = Chainbreaker, Walk the World, You Are God, & Mystery. That stuff is awesome! but there's some new stuff that is crazy good too!

HOOKERS AND ROBBERS - whoa, of course this title caught my eye.
 the song is unbelievable! I love it. I'll post the lyrics at the bottom of this post.

THRILL - I LOVE what this song is about + it has a pretty phat beat (almost reminds me of some techno-ish Crowder). Somebody needs to be writing songs like this! Thanks, Charlie. "Glorious, You're glorious, who can thrill a heart like You"

MY BRIGHTNESS - So personal. Sounds like what David was singing in so many of the Psalms. Sounds like what I sing and journal on those crazy days. The music sounds like vintage Charlie too.
"Your love is like a ROCK when I'm spinning... You're the bright in sadness, You're my Brightness
I wish this thing could pass from me but I'm wanting what You want
So bring me high or bring me low just hold me in your love
[this is such a cool prayer that makes God so happy & look so glorious to everyone else!]

THE SECOND ALIVE - def. the rock anthem on the album. freakin' awesome. makes you jump. Makin' me move here in my booth @ starbucks right now. You will be singing this in no time... "Let go Let go and come to life, Take a walk in the burning heart of God."

I love the other new ones too - New Year, Scenes, Bloom Again, & def. Knit My Heart but there's just not room to write about them all. GO buy the CD!
As for the "old" stuff (but not formerly released on a Charlie CD) of course it's awesome & way diff. than when you heard it live or on the Passion CDs. Especially You Are God. For those of you who were annoyed by the really long live version of it (which I LOVED & thought was so powerful when he started naming all the peeps, etc...) should like this short piano driven version. Walk the World & Mystery have some different twists too.
But CHAINBREAKER is so my fav of the older ones! it's such an awesome powerful song to cry out!
"All stand applaud, Your Father God, the Maker King, who never tires
Who renovates the human heart and gives the broken brand new starts
Redemption flowing from His hand, we all can start at life again
Heaven stands to celebrate for the ones who come today
So come just as you are, Come just as you are..."
Chainbreaker, Heart Savior, Jesus the Great Redeemer
Life Changer, Liberator, Jesus, the Great Redeemer
And Jesus' cross split history, it lit the dark and set us free
Heaven stands to celebrate for the ones who come today
Drop your chains, sons and daughters, some and run in liberty
whoooooo!! that song's gonna be runnin' my iPod battery dead. & so will this next one that I mentioned earlier...

HOOKERS AND ROBBERS - such a great song. Like a 1st person story/ballad. Read it & that will end my post. I love hearing it as it unfolds...
"Crack kids, track kids, hookers and robbers, The naked and hungry, mothers and fathers
Abuses, excuses, and guns in your hands, And I even welcome the arrogant man
I welcome you all to the biggest of feasts, A night of no shame, to pause and to breathe
This is a night of love's renovation, A feast I am sure that could change a whole nation
Me, I'm not such an excellent host, I am one who forgives but needs it the most
I found the liar, the killer of hearts, And I ran away with a new way to start
I journeyed a road where a bright man appeared
He looked into me, and my eyes filled with tears
My breath fast and short and my heart burning deep
He gave me new eyes and a new way to see
So come as you are,, as you are, as you are...
I still defiled His great love ways, I felt such a famine when I ran away
I missed the presence, The voice like a song, I was nasty and dirty, I knew I was wrong
But He ran to me like a dream like a Father, This love is not earthly this love must be other
He carried me home and threw me a party, A party so loud like the greatest love story
Oh my dear friends applaud now please, I've invited you here to announce YOU ARE FREE!
He takes your chains, busting you out of prison
Just open your heart, Let your heart come and listen
Who could accept all your pounding and screaming
Your raging, your freaking, cussing, and beating
All while He holds you and always forgiving, This is the story of love and of living
Wipe off your tears and laugh just a little, Come break this bread, celebrate the Forgiver
Raise up a glass, a time to remember, Come break this bread, CELEBRATE THE FORGIVER!!!

You can buy The Bright Sadness HERE. you will love it. later this weekend I'm gonna post Charlie's thoughts on his latest album.

[Crowder's Remedy Club Tour live CD/DVD also came out Tuesday, so I'll be writing about it soon as well... maybe next weekend. stay tuned...]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

my wife is an olympics freak!

yes. it's true.
my wife is an olympics FREAK!
but, my wife doesn't seem to be the only female with this issue. I am a student of culture "by hobby" (as opposed to "by trade" - what a goofy phrase... maybe a discussion for another blog). & I have noticed TONS of females talk about how much they LOVE the olympics. they watch it all day long. they watched the WHOLE opening ceremony deal (which was pretty impressive, btw). they
 are freaks for michael phelps (who can blame them, right?) & misty may & all them. I see the facebook & twitter status' of females updated constantly with stuff like "so&so says phelps is my hero" or "so&so is watching USA kick butt in women's weight lifting" or "so&so loves watching U.S. men's handball" & all sorts of crazy stuff.

So, being the student of culture that I am - I have also noticed that guys aren't AS MUCH into the olympics. it's not like a wholesale guy thing. for girls it seems to be somewhat nostalgic. it's like being with the family on the 4th of July or Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner memories or something. It's like something big to them. Crystal cheers like crazy for the U.S. in every event. & I'm seeing that lots of women do too.

So, I watch them with her. I would say I'm an average fan of the olympics. but I enjoy seeing her enjoy something. I think most guys are like this. They would watch a little bit, but they're not freaks for the olympics. But, I'm glad she wouldn't let me miss a single Michael Phelps race this
olympics. I saw every single one. & of course the best by a meter (haha... olympic jargon for ya) was the Men's relay 4x200 freestyle where that Lezak guy made like the flippin' craziest comeback EVER! I'm pretty sure there's not a person in America who hasn't seen the end of that race, but in case you 
missed it you can watch it by clicking HERE. it is AMAZING. craziest comeback I've ever seen in swimming & the coolest celebration & sheer excitement from Michael and the other guys after they won!
& then Phelps breaks the all time gold medal record & now the 
most gold medals (8) in 1 olympics. hats off to that guy... he is pretty much the new epitome of PIMP. new vocab is constantly being developed like "phelpsian feat", etc...
& congrats to Misty May & Kerri Walsh for winning GOLD last night in beach volleyball!

[oh, & I just have to add that the nike commercial that's on a thousand times a day during the olympics has THE catchiest song I've heard lately. It's the bridge from that older song from theKillers... go ahead, sing it with me - "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier..."]

anyway, back to the female/male thing. I want to hear from YOU to see if my theory is correct. 
GIRLS - are you a big olympics fan? & WHY? (nostalgia? good childhood memories?)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

john mayer concert last night & some thoughts on the world changing

so, crystal is all about John Mayer. she listens to him a lot. I'm not all that into him. I can tell that he's a talented musician, but his stuff just isn't my style really. BUT, I am also a good husband (i try to be anyway). and THAT's the dilemma I faced when Crystal heard John Mayer was coming to town & tix were like $40. I def. didn't wanna pay that for a concert I didn't even care to go to.

So, THANKFULLY Crystal WON 2 tickets on the radio. can't beat free. Last night I went to see John Mayer because I love my wife. (ended up seeing several Ridge-ers & other peeps I knew too.) The really crazy & interesting part to me was who was opening for him = Paramore! That's pretty crazy. Their styles are nothing alike. I did enjoy Paramore last night. good show. There's something about those girl rockers that is pretty fun & brings a whole different vibe to the show & they've got a sweet sound. I tried to get a good pic for the blog but they all wouldn't quit headbanging, so they're all just blurry. haha.

John Mayer was pretty good last night. I mean, he's gotta be doing something right because he has dated the likes of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cameron Diaz, & most recently Jennifer Aniston. I'm not good at figuring this kind of thing out, but I'm guessing he must be pretty good looking. Crystal took less than a millisecond to confirm my guess when I asked her. (although I liked his old big hair better. with his head shaved now he looked like Rob Thomas.) He has like a million die hard fans... who all seemed to be in Charlotte last night at the show. He did do his increasingly popular version of Free Fallin'. It was pretty fun, but I still like Tom Petty's version better.

But obviously Mayer's most popular & most recognizable song is Waitin' On The World to Change. I like the song. It's catchy. I like his assessment that the world needs to change (because it DOES!)... but it stirs something in me every time I hear it. I wish I could talk with him about it. here's the lyrics for you to read yourself & actually, just go ahead and sing along... you know you want to:

Me and all my friends We're
 all misunderstood 
They say we stand for nothing and There's no
 way we ever could 
Now we see everything that's going wrong With the world and those who lead it 
We just feel like we don't have the means To rise above and beat it 

So we keep waiting (waitin') Waiting on the world to change 
We keep on waiting (waitin') Waiting on the world to change 

Now if we had the power To bring our neighbors home from war 
They would have never missed a Christmas No more ribbons on their door 
And when you trust your television What you get is what you got 
Cause when they own the information, oh They can bend it all they want 

It's not that we don't care, We just know that the fight ain't fair 
So we keep on waiting (waitin') Waiting on the world to change 

And we're still waiting (waitin') Waiting on the world to change 
We keep on waiting (waitin') waiting on the world to change 
One day our generation Is gonna rule the population 
So we keep on waiting (waitin') Waiting on the world to change... 

i'm with you John, that it needs to change, but i'm not waitin'... i'm gonna do something about it. & I think there's a whole generation who wants to do something about it too! We CANNOT sit around and wait - no matter how unfair the fight is. waiting just isn't an option. let's go change it. & I'm pretty sure Jesus has a revolution in mind for changing this world. & I'm on board with THAT. so, John, why don't you join us?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"THAT makes God look glorious"

Wow. I read a blog this morning that made me shed some tears. I was weeping in fact. Pain in my heart but also from emotion of seeing God as ridiculously glorious through pain.

You might remember a post I wrote about John Piper 1 month ago. (You can read it here but def. watch the video I posted!) That clip from his sermon has been on my mind a lot lately.

& then I read 2 blog posts this morning from some friends of ours. They are part of our family at Ridge Church & are awesome people. You can read the posts here & here. It breaks my heart every time I think about what happened. And then I got all jacked up when I read this today. BUT, I do know one thing to echo Melanie - He is good. He is good...
THAT makes God look glorious

(here's that video by the way...)

Monday, August 18, 2008

r u superstitious?

Ok, so I checked my facebook this morning right after staff meeting and saw that I have exactly 666 friends! whoa... pretty interesting.

Does that scare you like this little boy above?!
I've never been a superstitious person, so I just think it's funny... but what did you 1st think when you saw that I had 666 friends?

Go check out my facebook profile to see the 666 friends & if you're not my friend & you ARE superstitious, you can request me. OK, just thought I would share this interesting moment in history with you. (Oh, and I'm way less popular than my dad who I introduced to facebook! he's got like 1,400 friends = double me!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

phelps & warren on tv tonight

pretty cool night tonight on TV. I have NEVER watched a presidential debate or any kind of political stuff. But, tonight I watched Rick Warren interview both presidential hopefuls. Pretty cool. I think they're both great guys & I think I even have an idea who I'm going to vote for... & no I'm not telling you. Thanks Rick, for doing that. (You can read my thoughts about Warren a few days ago - HERE.)

Then me & Crystal just watched Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal this Olympics. WOW. pretty flippin' crazy. Then Morgan Freeman was right on cue with that voiceover in the Phelps commercial right after. Then Phelps' teammates coined the phrase "Phelpsian feat." I like it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

LIVE night of worship - 7:30 tonight

At 7:30pm tonight be here - that's
it's going to be pretty special. 

One of our partner churches, Buckhead Church, is webcasting a live night of worship & communion. They've done it before and now have invited all the  partner churches to participate. I thought I would let you all know about it as well. So many thoughts come to mind about what this may mean for the future of worship & community, but I'll save it for another time. For now, just make sure you are at your computer @ 7:30 TONIGHT to be a part of this. you can comment live & everything. Remember, to be a part of the night, click HERE.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

cover of TIME magazine - rick warren

sometimes I wish I had a subscription to TIME magazine, but then I remember that I would have no time to read it! But, I definitely read the cover article in this week's issue. You should read it too & you can by clicking here

I don't want to write long, because I want you to read the article. But I do want to say thanks to Rick Warren. He has done some amazing things. He's like the "elder statesman" of Christianity now. He's been a leader in the movement for a long time & has had some cool influence on me.

I remember sitting in a class like my sophomore year of college and a professor started bashing his book - The Purpose Driven Church... so of course, I did what I always did = READ IT IMMEDIATELY! I loved it. It freed me from the methodology I grew up in. Reading that book definitely marked a shift in my philosophy of ministry. I've since moved on from the purpose driven model, but I think those were very important days for all American churches. Then, while I was still in college, he wrote The Purpose Driven Life. And of course I read it right away along with every other American. Great stuff. I remember using it as a discipleship tool for teenagers at a Juvy prison during my senior year.

After college I was introduced to his PEACE plan and it blew me away! Every time I think about it I get all jacked up inside. I love it & I want to see it happen! Billy Graham called it "the greatest, most comprehensive vision for world missions I've ever heard or read about." (which is pretty impressive considering Graham's involvement with Lausanne, etc...) - After that quote from Billy, hopefully you can understand why it gets me all jacked up inside. It's basically the exact thing I want to spend my life doing. [In a nutshell - he's battling the 5 global giants = spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, hunger, sickness, and illiteracy. PEACE is an acronym
 for the way to do it = Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, Educate the next generation.] It really is a fascinating, intriguing, and a make-you-want-to-jump-up-and-down plan that I could write & write about... But, I'll try to write more on PEACE in a blog in the future.

Then last October I heard Rick speak at Catalyst. pretty awesome. You can read A LOT of
 quotes from that talk (and others) here. he said some crazy cool stuff. But by hearing him speak I was reminded of his amazing heart. He so wants to be a help to us - the next generation of Christian leaders. He prayed over all 11k of us & it was a pretty special moment! 1 of those times peeps will probably remember for years.
So, basically, I love this guy. I think he's doing some awesome stuff. Way to go, Rick... keep it up!

I guess the TIME article was sparked by his upcoming meeting with the 2 presidential
 candidates on August 16th. I guess he's going to drill them for an hour with questions or something? Connected to those 5 global giants he wants to battle. He didn't ask for this though - I'm pretty sure the 2 presidential hopefuls came to him. He's not going wacko religious politician/pastor on us though. he said in the article, "I don't have much faith in government solutions, given the track record. It's why I am a pastor, not a politician." It will be interesting.

Alex Perry did the TIME interview and asked him about the PEACE plan's progress. Rick said, "This is going to take 50 years." He adds, "My confidence is not that I've got it all figured out. My confidence is, Jesus said, 'Do these five things,' and we've got the people out there."

Keep using your amazing influence for the greatest cause in the world, Rick... Jesus' mission.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

francis chan bringin' it!

we were @ BigStuf 2 weeks ago in Daytona Beach, FL... I posted about it the whole week we were there (here, here, etc...) & I promised to share some takeaways from the week here on renown. I thought the best talk of the week was by Francis Chan on Thursday morning. He straight up knocked it out of the park. I don't know why no one ever did a talk on this when I was in high school. If you've never read Matthew 25:31-46 PLEASE go read it now.
below are just my thoughts & what jumped out at me from what Francis said...

- Please don't let these stats get old!!! = 29,000 kids under the age of 5 DIE every day in Africa from preventable diseases!!!!!!!
That's insane & I hope that it stirs something in your heart when you hear that. my heart is beating at an unhealthy rate right now just thinking about it & my throat is too choked up to even talk... But, some peeps would hear that stat & be arrogant & ignorant (those 2 seem to be brothers) enough to say to God, "That's not fair." (& here's what Francis said that I love) = "God didn't create us to judge HIM! He created us to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

- Great Question = "Do you think you are MORE valuable to God than those kids?" Then why do you spend tons of $ on YOUR comfort, retirement, savings, life insurance, cars, clothes, etc...?You spend $ on all this stuff to pad your future, but they are dying NOW! (Francis & his friend had a cool idea to go along with this = they gave all their shirts to the poor and only kept 7!!! just 1 shirt per day. never buy any more... just give the $ to the poor.)

- Here's what I haven't been able to get over for like the last 2 years... if you REALLY believe Matthew 25 then all those poor people are really JESUS! so, I think we should be saying more often "I don't need this, I don't need that... Jesus is over there dying right now!" Seriously, if that's Jesus (the little kid dying without clean water in Kenya) then how can I buy this car?

- over 1/2 the world lives on less than $2 a day. just an interesting thought next time we feel like complaining about our salary.

- Francis made a great analogy to what the church does when people talk about helping Jesus/the poor = "We act like a football team who went to the huddle & then the break and everyone cheers & then they run to the bench and sit down. What a sucky football team." - but that's us. we say the right stuff, but do nothing!

- I love so much that Francis challenged these high schoolers to do more & he painted a great picture for them of what it's like to help the poor. He said this - "Do you know what it's like to hand a bowl of rice to someone who would NOT normally eat? Do you know what it's like to put a pair of shoes on an orphans' feet? IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! way better. Doing that is WAY better than any car you could ever buy!!! I PROMISE." Thanks Francis for stepping up and showing the next generation that. someone needs to be telling it.

- The problem is that most peep hear this stuff and think "You're asking me to sacrifice my dreams and my future!" Francis responded by saying "I'm not saying to kill your dream [the American Dream, really], I'm just saying THERE'S A BETTER DREAM!" now that is off the hook & so true!!! most peeps are chasing the wrong dream.

- this cracks me up. you might ask the Q "What if I give away too much & have no retirement left, or no house, or even DIE from starvation because I was saving the lives of those kids in Africa?" haha - Francis: "It probably won't be all that bad to stand in front of God after starving to death and say 'OOOPS, I guess I gave away too much.' I PROMISE, IT'S A BETTER WAY TO LIVE." I like that promise, Francis... and I'm gonna do everything I can to live that better way & persuade others to join the movement & FEED JESUS!

what about you?

Monday, August 11, 2008

a super cool anniversary gift - TOMS

(I need YOU to vote at the end of this, so make sure you keep reading!)

have I ever mentioned that my wife is THE coolest? I think I have at least a few times here on renown (that's a little something called sarcasm, by the way). Well, she got me a really cool gift for our 3rd anniversary last week! = a pair of TOMS!!!
She knew I've been wanting a pair for 1 YEAR! That's a pretty long time to want a pair of shoes. I've worn my rainbows (those are sandals for those of you over 40) pretty much every day for the last year! Just trying to be like Jesus. So, I have REALLY wanted a pair of TOMS for about 1 year. But because of this total money makeover we've been doing the past 9 months or so, I haven't bought anything for myself... in order to pay off debt. Therefore, I haven't been able to buy the TOMS I've always wanted. Enter - my amazing wife...

If you don't know about TOMS already then PLEASE take like 45 seconds, click HERE, and read the blog I wrote on TOMS. They are the most PIMP shoes available, but the coolest thing about them is that for every pair you buy, TOMS gives a pair to a child in poverty! So, when you buy a pair you're also buying a pair of TOMS for a child who does not even have shoes! Pretty awesome.

**So, I can't think of a better gift than this! I get an awesome pair of shoes PLUS (& even better) a child who does not currently have shoes will get some! Just when I think my wife couldn't get any cooler... she goes and does something like this. She knew I wouldn't spend the $ on myself so I get this gift card in my email inbox...
Your friend 
Crystal Mitchell has given you the gift of TOMS
, and has also 
donated a pair to a child on 
your behalf. 

haha... I can't wait to see the next Shoe Drop pics and know that THAT was my wife's gift to me. Pretty cool. So, if you happen to see me around sporting some sweet new kicks... just think about the little guy in Argentina who will be sporting some too. Go buy yourself a pair... I'm pretty sure they're cooler than the shoes your wearing right now + some kid won't be bare foot anymore.

Now, for something fun for all of you = help me choose which pair of TOMS to get!!! I get to order whatever pair I want with my gift card. here are my top 5 pairs & I want you all to vote on which pair I should get! Cast your vote in the comments section. I am going to order them this week!

OK, those political ones are a joke. You guys know I hate politics.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Here are the awesome families of the children who were baptized at our Family Birthday Celebration this past Sunday. You guys are awesome! Thanks for letting us partner with you & celebrate with you!

Friday, August 8, 2008

i love vacation!!!

WOW! i love vacation. i love my wife & i love spending every waking second of the day with her. it's been awesome! a lot of relaxing and a lot of fun. pretty amazing view from the deck of our house of the mountains and the lake. i love it! Such a God-thing. definitely experiential spirituality for me. i can't get enough of it. cool times with God here. Basically time with my wife & with Jesus all day every day. pretty cool week.

So, thanks to my former pastor/boss/mentor for hooking us up with this pimp vacation home here in Lake Lure, NC. I think if we had a place like this we'd be up here every other weekend... I guess that's why you had to move to Miami? a permanent vacation home? haha

Sorry the blogging has been scarce. well, maybe not really so sorry. i'm on vacation. but don't worry, I'll be hitting it back up pretty much everyday when we get back home. I've got so many thoughts to share. For now, check out my pastor's blog who is posting some cool thoughts and videos from our Family Birthday Celebration.

we haven't really watched tv all week but crystal LOVES the olympics, so i'm sure that we'll be watching the torch opener thing tonight. peace everybody.
[PS - oh, and sorry for the pictureless blog! i'm using the somewhat crappy computer at the resort headquarters that won't allow pics + we have like a 30 minute time limit...]

OH & PS #2 = it's 8/8/08... haha. i told Crystal we should have waited until today to get married because of the cool date. she didn't think it was funny.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

happy anniversary to us (3 years)

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years!!! We seriously still feel like newlyweds. But, today is our 3 year wedding anniversary! 8/5/05 was the day Crystal Pagels & Patrick Mitchell tied the knot. Pretty crazy… a lot has changed since that day. I’ve definitely fallen even more in love with this amazing woman. I didn’t think that was even possible back then. I’m so excited to be married to Crystal. She’s the greatest woman in the world. The perfect wife. I made her a video/card/song/poem this morning with all the sappy stuff so I will spare the world wide web all of that. I’ll just say that I can’t imagine my life without her.

She’s so smokin’ hot + an unbelievable cook. She’s the exception to that rule in the song about marrying an ugly girl to be happy because she will be a good cook. My wife has NEVER made something that wasn’t good in 3 years of marriage. I was even geared up for some bad meals, but she surprised me. She should have a show on Food Network or something. 

So we’re on vacation all week to celebrate our anniversary. + She says she’s got some surprise for me or something… guess I’ll find out soon.

Happy Anniversary, Crystal. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. You were a beautiful bride & you are beautiful today, 3 years later. And I know you’ll be beautiful after 53 years. I’m gonna spend the rest of my life making you happy. I love you, babygirl.

(& thanks, God for hooking us up!)