Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday CRYSTAL!!!

Today is the birthday of my amazing wife, Crystal. 25 years ago today she came into this world and the earth became more beautiful than it had ever been before. 

We had a little party last night before her birthday. It was a surpirse. Today was a crazy fun day all for her. 
I love my wife... she's the BEST! Happy Birthday, Crystal!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"If I were president" = what would YOU do?

Rusty finds all the cool stuff on the internet. Especially videos... every day he's got something cool to show me. This is his latest find. There are tons of these "If I were president" videos at the website he showed me. A lot of pretty funny stuff.

This one was my favorite though = all of you won't like all the ideas, but it will make you laugh & smile. Might even make your day!

So, that was Mos Def & what he would do if he were president. He's a really good actor. Will possibly be a great actor one day. He's awesome in what I've seen him in. Would he be a good president? who knows... but you saw what he would do if he were.
(maybe I'll write what I would do soon... or make my own video.)

Now it's YOUR TURN

Monday, October 27, 2008

halloween in Upstreet

Sunday was Halloween in Upstreet. Below is a pic of Jack Sparrow, Joe Dirt, and Duct Tape Man all on stage during the production... what an unlikely (but amazing) cast! ["Zac Efron" also made a guest appearance...]

did I mention I love my job? All the kids were decked out in their full Halloween gear... pretty awesome day as we closed out a full month on Determination. So proud to be work with the amazing Upstreet team to create some irresistible environments, vital relationships & unforgettable moments in children's lives!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


FEAR. Everyone has experienced it at some point. Everyone has certain fears. There is A LOT of fear right now in our country because of the economy for sure! People are freaking out because of their jobs, 401Ks & investments! People are driven by fear. People make decisions based on fear.

FEAR is the hot topic at Ridge the next 2 weeks. this series is gonna be off the hizzie!!! You cannot miss it. If you live in the Charlotte area you need to be at the Levine Center in Matthews the next 2 Sundays at 11AM. You won't regret it. or are you afraid???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

family birthday celebration interviews (i love my job!)

A lot of people at work sit in a cubicle and crunch numbers, or serve food, or deliver babies like my wife. My job is the coolest of any job on earth!

You can catch up on what we did for our Family Birthday Celebration HERE and HERE. It was an amazing night and we got to throw a party and celebrate the spiritual birthdays of kids who we baptized that night! 

But for a week or 2 before our Family Birthday Celebration... I was in the office shooting these videos! You will have to laugh at this!

I love the kids that God allows us to influence at Ridge Church and I love being able to see God do amazing things in their lives. we obviously have A LOT of fun too. hope you enjoyed the video.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Have you ever worked so hard that you were just completely spent and exhausted? You know what I'm talking about right? TIRED (kind of a weird word if you think about it...)

Well, I am currently too tired to write a blog tonight! I have SO MUCH to write about but literally don't have the physical or mental energy to publish it here. I need a sabbath!

so, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to read something soul-stirring & brain wave-instigating. I'll be recharged soon & all this stuff built up inside of me is gonna flow...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

furtick's talk @ catalyst 08 (catalyst part 3)

[FSU just won again... I think we're on the rise finally. next year we'll definitely be back!]

[catch up on what I'm writing about HERE]
really the 2nd talk was jim collins, but it was probably the "pimpest" (yes it's a word... adjective in fact) of the whole conference & may take 2 blog posts, so I need more time to unpack it.

Pretty cool to have Steven Furtick on the main stage @ Catalyst... lead pastor of Elevation Church & representin' Charlotte, NC at THE premiere leadership conference! You can read my thoughts on Elevation HERE.

Steven REALLY brought it... he seriously brought the house down. tons of passion, a little yelling, and definitely lots of laughs. The guy is just an excellent communicator. At one point he used the phrase "Andy-freaking-Stanley" = everybody laughed.

His talk was meant to be extremely encouraging to everyone & he called it "From the Promise to the Payoff". 

-  he said "The space between the Promise and the Payoff is the [often painful] PROCESS."

some other good quotes from the talk:
-  "we must keep our VISION in sight when there's nothing to see."
-  "God is preparing you for what He's preparing for you." [you follow that?]
-  "We all know there's got to be more to life than 401Ks and buying a boat one day." 

= yeah, you're dang skippy, Steven. There's way more to life than that stuff! how in the WORLD did pastors & leaders ever start getting bogged down with that crap!?!? that pursuit of stuff is killing the mission while we're still in the process... before we get to the payoff.

*So, most of us are still in that PAINFUL PROCESS between the PROMISE [what God promised He would do] and the PAYOFF [the culmination of that promise]. So we've GOTTA stick with it. stay on mission. don't give up. 

Because it's so worth it in the end... 
beats a boat & a 401K any day... guaranteed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

andy's 1st talk @ catalyst

that's right, andy is the only guy who gets 2 talks at Catalyst! he's that big of a pimp. you can read more of my thoughts on him HERE. [if you're wondering what Catalyst is and why I'm writing about it read HERE.]

*also, this talk is adapted from the 2nd talk in the series we are doing currently at Ridge = Letters to the Next President. You can listen to the 1st 2 talks HERE. Also, come check out part 3 this Sunday @ Ridge in the Levine Center at 11AM.

OK, now for my takeaways. [remember, these are my unfiltered takeaways and thoughts on what he said.]

-  "Moral Authority is what we gain as a leader. It's when people see alignment between our creed and deeds... between what we say and do."
-  This enables the people to be able to say "I don't necessarily believe what you say but I believe you really believe it."

-  good reminder = "Everybody at the end of the day is really a volunteer." - because employees can quit.
*** If my words and actions don't align I CANNOT lead people!

3 specific areas in which we as leaders MUST have moral authority:

1 - Forgiveness = this is definitely the 1 area where we as the church should nail it! we MUST have moral authority here! [we of all people should "get" this & live it! Forgiveness IS our messsage.]

2 - Family = don't lose moral authority here! DON'T ever let my wife feel like the Church is my mistress! If she "feels" neglected then I'm part of the problem! Then I have no moral authority in that area anymore.
-  ***This was a crazy awesome quote that Andy said that is SUCH a great word for all of us to remember! = *** "1 day there will be another pastor of NPCC. I'm the only dad my kids will ever get."

3 - Finances = if you work in ministry "every dollar you ever get in your paycheck is what somebody GAVE." ***So, I can't fundraise with any moral authority unless I've got my financial junk in order.

People's question will always be = "Does he really believe/do what he's asking me to do?" If we have moral authority in that area then their answer will be yes.

*Honestly if I had to sum it up in one simple CLICHE it would be to "practice what you preach!" because who really wants to listen to us as leaders if they don't believe we REALLY believe it. Moral authority is something we must EARN... and like Andy said, we cannot lead with out it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

impromptu GOD meeting at the office

we, at Ridge Church, are all about God's fame exploding in this city and we get pretty ticked at the thought of anything standing in our way.

Today Chris (our lead pastor) walked into the office while we were all working away at our desks... it was like any other normal day. Chris said we needed to pray for God to move & do something in our Church & our city that only God can do. so we did...

...and God showed up. It was intense. it was powerful. there were tears. we were on our faces. We BEGGED God to do WHATEVER it takes to get glory from us & to use us to make HIS NAME famous in this city.

We were broken for the facesthe individuals, the souls in this city who have no satisfaction because they don't know God. Our hearts LONG for them to experience what we've experienced. We begged God to move in a way only He can move and to capture their hearts and capture their worship. They are missing out. We asked Him to continue to break our hearts for each individual person we see... we want our hearts to stay broken until this entire city is a worshipping frenzy of people whose lives have been radically changed by a Savior, a King who loves them with a radical love & WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO SEE HIS GLORY TAKE OVER THIS CITY!!!

We begged God to use us to do that. We begged God to ignite our passion even more & we are determined to let nothing stop us in our pursuit of His mission. not a suffering economy, not fear, not the enemy... nothing.

Today was an amazing day. 4 guys in an office begging, hoping, and believing God to do something through us that is extraordinary for His name's sake! so stoked to be part of seeing that happen!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

what is CATALYST anyway?

Ok, I'm back to blogging now... the Ridge team was at Catalyst last week and I had no time to write. Now that I'm back at it there has been a LOT of catching up to do as all of you know when returning from a trip!

Many of you I saw at Catalyst and gave you a big hug. We even broke some world records together! Many of you are jealous that you missed out on an amazing week. But there are still some of you who have no idea what Catalyst is. This is for you...

Catalyst is THE Premiere leadership conference in the country... hands down (whatever "hands down" means). It is about 10 years old and is touted as the conference for "NEXT GENERATION LEADERS". So, it started with mainly pastors in their 20s and 30s, but now has morphed into a huge gathering of ministry AND business leaders in their 20s AS WELL AS their 50s.

Last year was my 1st year and it blew me away. By far the best thing you could go to [besides probably a Passion gathering, but they're totally different things, so can't really be compared...] This year did not disappoint. every bit as great!

***I was overwhelmed and challenged and stretched and renewed during my time at Catalyst! I have SO many takeaways. Stuff I am still thinking through! So, I figured why not think through it and flesh it out right here with you guys at renown? Any good reasons why I shouldn't? no?well OK then... that's what I'll do. 
Be looking out over the next days and probably even weeks [like I said a TON of takeaways] as I will be writing and thinking out loud about the hundreds of takeaways I was challenged with at the Catalyst Conference = T08GETHER [took me like a day to figure that out... I also had way too much info flowing through my ADD-riddled brain.]

Now, I'm just going to give you a sneak peak of what you'll be reading in the coming week or so... An introduction of the lineup if you will. Who were the great minds who shaped my thinking last week? Drumroll please...

Andy Stanley - lead pastor, North Point Community Church. Pretty much the resident pimp of Catalyst. He leads off with a talk and ends Catalyst with a talk. The only guy who gets 2 talks. He seems to be the "Dad" figure a little bit. [Catalyst actually began on the campus of NPCC] [Andy also happens to be one of our teaching pastors at Ridge Church & the guy who's the pastor of the church we were planted by & are in strategic partnership with]

William Paul Young - author of the #1 best-selling book for 24 weeks in a row, The Shack.

Jim Collins - author of the great bestseller Good to Great and Built to Last. He is basically THE business GURU. The research King. This was the 1st time he had ever spoken to a Christian audience... His was probably my favorite talk of the week! Can't wait to unpack that one with you!
Steven Furtick - lead pastor, Elevation Church = right here in Charlotte, NC. actually it is the 2nd fastest growing church in the country! We have a great relationship with these guys, pray for them, and cheer for them. Steven is a very gifted communicator and tore it up with his 20 minute talk. Even got a standing O.

Brenda Salter McNeil - author, and leader for racial and ethnic reconciliation.

Seth Godin - Marketing Expert/Guru/King & best-selling author of Purple Cow & The Dip & 9 other best-sellers. He was also the VP of marketing at Yahoo! I'm pretty sure he has THE most popular marketing/business blog. To sum it up in 1 word, the guy is a GENIUS! Can't wait to unpack his talk.

Craig Groeschel - Lead Pastor, & Author of one of my all time fav books Chazown

Tim Sanders - Former CSO of Yahoo! & best-selling author of a whole ton of books. really smart guy, but unfortunately we decided to sleep in the morning of his talk... so nothing to share with you from Tim. just go check out his website though.

Dave Ramsey - Our HERO! best-selling author & Host of the #2 radio show in the nation! + Host of The Dave Ramsey Show on the Fox Business Channel. The Total Money Makeover has totally reshaped our financial lives in the last year!!! We LOVE this guy!

Franklin Graham - Billy's son, President & CEO, Samaritan's Purse. Speaking & accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award for Billy Graham who was to sick to be with us. That would have been crazy cool.

Andy Crouch - Director of the Christian Vision Project (of Christianity Today) and author of Culture Making. Great stuff on culture!

Matt Chandler - lead pastor, The Village Church in Dallas. Also 1 of the fastest growing churches in America & part of the Acts 29 network.

The peeps leading us in worship were basically the North Point band & worship leaders = Steve Fee, Kristian Stanfill, Chrystina Fincher, Candi Pearson Shelton, and Eddie Kirkland.
Jon Foreman (the lead singer of SWITCHFOOT) also stopped by for a couple mini concerts.

The incredibly funny Lanny Donoho & his "sidekick" Reggie Joiner were again our hosts along with an appearance from Jeff Foxworthy.

OK, so I'm going to try to post some takeaways EVERY DAY for the next several days... until I'm done posting them. But remember, I have severe ADD, so I may start writing about other stuff and then come back...

Friday, October 10, 2008

catalyst was pimp...

back on the road, headed home from catalyst. It was amazing, as expected. No time to post though, i just stopped for gas. But i have so so SO many takeaways that i will be posting here in the coming days and weeks. 
Be on the lookout for some KILLER good takeaways from some amazing talks. like i said... it was pimp.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

at catalyst...

we're at catalyst finally...
you'll be hearing A LOT more about it. no doubt.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crystal wins her 1st 5K!!!

My bad, I meant Crystal RAN her 1st 5K!

That's pretty huge though and I'm really excited and proud of my awesome wife!

She ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure which is a 5K that this organization takes across the country to high profile cities like NYC, etc... It's an organization that is fully committed to curing breast cancer.

Crystal was really excited about this because her grandmother ("Nana") has been free of breast cancer for the last couple years after her surgery. She's all about supporting breast cancer research, especially if she can do it in honor of her Nana.

So, that's exactly what she did. You could run "in celebration" of someone which I thought was pretty cool. They put that person's name you're running for right on the placard on your shirt as you run. I also saw some men who were running "in Memory my wife Julia" or something like that. That was pretty sad to see, but cool that they were out trying to raise money so that other families don't have to experience the same tragedy they did.

Now she wants to run another charity 5K this month! It's not really my favorite thing to do early on a Saturday morning - get up at 7AM and take my wife to a race and then wait for her to finish. BUT, I am SO proud of her for deciding to do something and then having the determination to train for it and finish it! + for a great cause. Awesome job, Crystal!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Determination in Upstreet

This is the video for all you amazing Upstreet volunteers at Ridge Church. You guys rock. Below is the video for you to check out to give you the info on what's goin' down in Upstreet this month. It's all about Determination. It's gonna be awesome - all because of you guys!

Thanks for your investment in the lives of these awesome kids! I can't wait to see what God does through you all this month.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

1 more funny quote (a political conversation)

I've got add this as a followup to my "Quotes of the Week" that I posted on Tuesday. I just thought this one deserved its very own post!

Ok, this should make you laugh. It made me laugh and made me feel better about my political ignorance... One of my best friends Ethan was here in Charlotte last weekend & we hung out & grabbed some lunch at The Fox and the Hound. We were watching some football & eating some wings & philly cheese steak when a commercial for either Obama or McCain (can't remember which) came on the massive screens...

Me:   "So, Ethan, who you gonna vote for? Or are you gonna vote?"
Ethan: "I'm not sure yet. I still want to find out what all the other candidates say about the issues."
Me: "What other candidates?"
Ethan: "You know, all the other guys besides the main 2, Obama & McCain. I want to learn what they're about before I vote."
Me: "Dude, there's only 2."
Ethan: "I know there's only 2 big name guys, but I want to give all those other guys who are running for president a fair shake."
Me: "There are no other guys. They're the only 2!"
Ethan: "So you're telling me that when I go to the polls to vote in November that there will only be 2 guys to vote for?"
Me: "YES."

Now I don't feel so bad about my lack of political knowledge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

haha... reason #5 driscoll loves piper (a funny video)

So, today is the 1st day of October... my wife's favorite month (because it's her birthday on the 30th... 1 day before halloween... 1 day from a witch. haha.)

you can read the previous post about this Driscoll loving Piper HERE.

if you know Piper you need to check this out... it will make you chuckle. Enjoy...