Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm thankful for a lot of things...
God, my amazing wife who is so hot & so perfect for me & my best friend, my parents who made sacrifices & were so awesome raising me, my grandmother who I got to spend Thanksgiving with, my Church that rocks, my job, my friends, the fact that God has kept me healthy and provided for me, the fact that I don't have to worry about having clean water to drink or food to eat, and tons of other stuff. I'm unbelievably blessed! Thanks, God.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(and check out yesterday's post about Advent Conspiracy)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Advent Conspiracy. It's something I've been excited about for 1 year. [Please watch the Video in YESTERDAY'S POST!] I'm so stoked to share it with all of you. Here's what it's about. 

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?... Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.(ADVENT begins next week, by the way, & maybe I'll explain that in tomorrow's post.)

2 guys I love to read & follow started this thing called Advent Conspiracy. They are Chris Seay (Ecclesia) and Rick McKinley (Imago Dei Community). I have crazy respect for these men. I have followed them for years and I really believe their hearts are extremely similar to Jesus' heart. Below is a quick video of Rick explaining what the idea of Advent Conspiracy (AC) is all about.
Rick just explained it better than I ever could. Being part of the AC is all about 4 things = worship fully, spend less, give more, love all. That's what I'm going to make this Advent all about in my life in every way I can think of.

It just so happens that my birthday also falls during advent... not just Christmas. I learned about Advent Conspiracy right around last Christmas and a passion was ignited in me that was SO strong! I told Crystal that next Christmas + on my birthday I didn't want any presents for me. What do I need anything for??? Are you kidding me? I'm pretty sure if I never got anything more for the rest of my life I'd be good. I'm always going to have clean water and food and clothes. I'm way ahead of the average. I told her I wanted to make a difference and use that money people would buy me gifts with for some type of LIFE SAVING project! And here it is...

People are dying simply because they don't have access to clean water. In fact, it's the leading cause of death in under resourced countries. 1.8 million people die every year from water born illnesses. That includes 3,900 children a day. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Just because they don't have the clean water that we take for granted!!! The solution to this problem is directly beneath our feet. Drilling a fresh water well is a relatively inexpensive, yet permanent solution to this epidemic. $10 will give a child clean water for life. So, $10 will save a child's life!!! That's not an estimate. It's a fact. And here's another fact: Solving this water problem once and for all will cost about $10 billion. Not bad considering Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas last year. WOW! just spend a little less & give a little more = we really worship Jesus fully & love all in a BIG way! Our hope is that, by celebrating Christ in a new way at Christmas, the church can serve as the leading movement behind ending the water crisis once and for all.

So, for all of you who would normally get me a birthday gift or a Christmas present... (not that many of you really... probably just the same handful of people who read this blog) ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (and my birthday on December 3rd) is for you to take the $ you would have spent on my gift and donate it to Living Water International. They will use 100% of the money (no administrative costs) to build wells in Liberia, Peru, India, and the Sudan so that dying people can have clean water & LIVE! I cannot POSSIBLY think of a gift you could ever get me that would be better than that. You can donate HERE.

much much more to come on this. I'll be sharing more tomorrow probably. Just wanted you to know early.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm all about it

Advent Conspiracy. It's something I've been ALL ABOUT for almost a year now. I've been waiting and so excited for this Advent since last Christmas. here's why...

that video was just to get you thinking. Much more to come later today and/or tomorrow. stay tuned.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

24 tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow is the day!!! Yes, it's part 3 of It's Personal at Ridge Church. You can read about that HERE.

& It's also the day we've all been waiting for for like 2 years!!! = Jack is BACK baby!!! Yep, Jack Bauer returns tomorrow @ 8pm for a 2 hour event that will be a prequel to season 7 of 24.

You can see a trailer and a BIG post with everything you could want to know 24 that I wrote earlier by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

stoked about the Heels

There is nothing quite like the start of the college basketball and college football seasons. I LOVE both these times of year!!! I always think that I would simply love to watch college basketball for 24 hours straight at the beginning of the year... it's just that exciting!

Well, ESPN just finished 23 hours of continuous coverage - 14 conferences, 5 time zones, and featuring 3 of the 4 Final Four teams from last season!

Of course there was mainly ONE team that I cared about = the mighty mighty Carolina Tarheels! They're #1 in all the land in every poll imaginable! Only people smoking crack while sniffing something else at the same time would be crazy enough to have someone else in that #1 spot.

The Heels have an insane lineup. They ran all over Kentucky last night WITHOUT the King of college basketball = Psycho T... Tyler Hansbrough! (unanimous preseason choice for National Player of the Year... again!) They were also without injured Senior starter Marcus Ginyard! Crystal and I got home just in time to watch the whole game and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! Some people thought they could have some trouble without Hansbrough, their heart and soul, but after a few minutes of high flying dunks and awesome defense Carolina was up 15-2 on Kentucky! I'd say that was a good start to the game.

The voice of college basketball and my favorite announcer of all time - Dicky V - was calling the game! (I may have contributed to making that happen. No time to go into it now, but let me know if you're curious.) That made it even better BABY!!!

Besides the 2 starters, Hansbrough and Ginyard, the Tarheels are loaded! Their 8-10 guys are probably better than the 3-5 on ANY OTHER TEAM IN THE NATION! Go ahead and find me a 3-5 better than Carolina's 8-10. Which means the guys riding the bench for Carolina would start on any other team in the nation.

3 guys were going to leave for the NBA after last season but all decided to stay. We're talking guys like Ty Lawson = best point guard in the country! no doubt. He's so quick and can break down a defense better than anyone I've seen since Iverson. Wayne Ellington is undoubtedly THE PUREST SHOOTER in college basketball. But he's not just a shooter - evidenced by his posterizing dunk in the 1st half last night. Danny Green also decided to stay in school - he didn't even start for us last year! 
Then you've got returning big man Deon Thompson who dominated last night with 20 points in Hansbrough's place. And the other big man - Freshman Tyler Zeller (#1 forward in High School last year) who dominated their 1st game against Penn last weekend with 18 points. What in the world is going to happen when Psycho T comes back??? Oh, and I almost forgot to mention - Ed Davis = the other Freshman big man who was a top 10 recruit this year. he's not too shabby either. (No wonder Junior Alex Stephenson transferred to USC... once he gets cleared to play he can start there, but at UNC he would have 4 bigs ahead of him!) 

If Lawson (best PG in the land) goes down with injury again this year I'm pretty sure we'll be OK again with Bobby Frasor and top Freshman recruit Larry Drew! = that's 3 DIAPER DANDIES BABY!!! (quoting Vitale about Zeller, Davis, & Drew)
[This Graves kid as our eleventh is not too shabby either... kid can shoot the lights out.]

So, that's basically our fearsome 10. No wonder practices are so intense. It's really not fair that they have this much talent! They should be required to have 2 teams instead of 1. Now, I know that playing in the ACC it's next to impossible to go undefeated... but really, who can touch the Heels this year? Does any self respecting human really think Duke's squad can hold a torch to this Carolina team??? Barring crazy injuries to key people I just can't imagine anyone beating this team!
Translation = crazy fun season for Carolina fans!!!

(on a side note it was fun to watch Stephen Curry again late last night too! He put up 44 against Blake Griffin & Oklahoma! He's no joke & has got Davidson ranked this year. The college is just a couple miles from our house so I think Crystal and I will go watch them play a game or 2 this season.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

1st ever junky car club RALLY (+ new website)

This is one of my favorite things ever! I wrote about the Junky Car Club as my 4th post ever here on renown!!! The Junky Car Club is the first organization I ever wrote about and it is still one of my favorites almost 1 year later. I am proud to say that I was one of the 150 original members of the club & I'm so proud of these guys for what they're doing.

So, to catch up on the Junky Car Club (JCC) just read my post on it HERE. & please, please, please go JOIN (do whatever you have to in order to make it happen!) I've been privileged to have small and big influences with several of my friends joining the JCC over the past year through talking with them and my previous posts. (My most recent friend who joined a few weeks ago is quickly selling his soul to this "Live with Less so we can give MORE" revolution & you should check out his new blog over @ Equal Sacrifice... I'm sure he'll share his story soon... now we've just gotta get my pastor to join because he certainly qualifies!)

Basically the JCC is a polite rebellion of revolutionaries who want to "live with less so they can give more." We drive junky cars so we don't have to have a car payment & we give the $ we would be spending on the car payment to kids in poverty (through Compassion) or other charitable causes to help people! Because in the end... do you really care if you drive to work in a Mercedes or my piece of crap Caddy? Especially if you could drive the Caddy and make sure a kid in Kenya gets clean water tomorrow? That's an easy decision... so seriously, join today!

We (JCC members) are all about JUNK PRIDE... they explain it better then I could =
"We practice the philosophy of JUNK PRIDE at this club. We are excited and enthusiastic about driving junky cars. While some may feel embarassed, ashamed or self concious about their beater, our club members drive with pride. It's cool to be uncool.
While consumeristic culture promotes the new and the shiny, we exalt the ugly and the dented. We could care less about the brands and the latest models. Our lives and self worth are defined by what we do, and not what we drive.
It's called JUNK PRIDE. We promote it and we live it."

Go to their brand new website HERE. You can join, check out the BLOG, watch some sweet JCC videos, read about smart consumerism, and buy a JCC calendar!

Anyway, I'm SUPER STOKED about the 1st ever Junky Car Club RALLY & if I didn't live on the flippin' East Coast I would be there! It's in LA of course... which is where the JCC founder lives. <Mike Foster (JCC founder) is one of my heroes. He also founded XXXChurch, Ethur, and Deadly Viper which I've written about HERE and HERE.>
The Rally is going to be PIMP and will focus on helping those families who are facing mobile homelessness (homeless but living in their cars). There's gonna be a weenie roast, beater car competitions, a festival of the clunkers, Junky makeovers, and free Junk Pride tees for everyone.

Of course one of my other heroes is Dave Ramsey. I've written about him before... I watch his TV show almost every day (yes I'm a nerd) & he had Mike Foster on his show a couple months ago! how cool is that!??? enjoy the clip from the show below... Mike tells you about the JCC way better than I ever could. Enjoy...

So, are you a JCC member? are you about to be? What awesome things could you do if you didn't have that stupid car payment? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Friday, November 14, 2008

rich in love

Sometimes I enjoy reading back through my journal... just looking at what I said to God and what He said to me. Reviewing the conversation we've had for the past months... years...

I came across a really cool day from about 1 year ago. I think I can actually remember the day - where I was, etc... Most of what I said is much too personal to share here, but I read something that day in the Psalms that still amazes me and I think it's one of those phrases we easily glaze over when reading...

Psalm 145:8 -> "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."

YES! That is SO COOL. I mean, it's really amazing that our God is gracious and compassionate and slow to anger. Without those parts of His character we would be screwed for sure. I love God for those things. I want to be just like God = full of grace, full of compassion for everyone, and patient (not get angry)! I really want to live that.

BUT, the big thing that astonishes me every time I read it is that last phrase about God!
Whoa. What do you think when you hear that. Where does your mind race too? What about just the word "rich"? Obviously someone "rich in money" is someone with so much money that they really don't have to worry about money anymore. You know? They don't give any thought to paying for stuff. Maybe the coolest thing about being "rich in money" would be to be able to
give huge heaps of money away and not even worry about it.

***Do you really want to know what image comes to my mind when I think of the word "rich"? I'm sure at least one of you wants to know... you might laugh. Ok, do you remember the cartoon back in the day... I think it was called Duck Tales? You remember what I'm talking about right? (no, not Darkwing Duck, although I did watch that one too.) Well, there was always a part of the show where the rich uncle (can't remember his name) would go to his safe/vault to check on all his money. (He was the richest duck in the world by the way). The thing was set up like a swimming pool! The rich uncle would go diving into all his money off a diving board. He was so rich he would just swim around in his money! In fact I just found a clip of the opening of the show... watch below and you can see some shots of all the money & him diving in like I'm talking about.

I just remember thinking as a kid that that is the height of "richness". If you have enough money to make it into a swimming pool then you're definitely rich.

I think sometimes we skip over phrases in the Scripture that are HUGE and have a lot of power. (read HERE for another post about that idea.)
SO, when I think of God being RICH IN LOVE... I'm in awe. First of all, of course He's rich in love!... He invented love. Not only that... He IS love! He is so rich in love that He gives it away like crazy and will never run out... not even close. He gives so much away but won't even ever make a dent in His love that's piled up in the safe.
The amazing part is that we're the ones who get to "swim in it" (like the duck uncle)... I get to enjoy that love. I rest in it, enjoy life in it, and "swim" in it.

Now, I WANT to live that way. I desperately want to be rich in love as well. I want to give it away like an endlessly rich man could give away money. I really want to be almost "careless" with love. Not just with the "lovable" people either... I want to be someone characterized by richly loving everyone! I wouldn't even mind if that's what they wrote on my tombstone or something.

I'll take being "rich in love" over being "rich in money" any day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

dave ramsey's talk @ catalyst

Dave Ramsey is definitely one of my heroes! He has completely revolutionized me & crystal's lives! He is a financial genius and we are following his philosophy of money. I'm pretty much a nerd because I Tivo his show on Fox Business Channel every day for the past 9 months and watch it constantly. I can pretty much quote everything he says. I'm a Dave Ramsey junkie. But I won't go too far down that road because I will write a BIG post within the next 2 months all about Dave & his total money makeover & what it's done for us.

All that to say that when I got to meet Dave briefly at Catalyst this year... It was pretty awesome! I briefly told him our story of getting out of debt. Pretty cool to meet someone who has completely changed your life. 
**When his team heard some of my story they grabbed me to be in a "Dave Ramsey commercial" that they actually played in the arena the 2nd morning of Catalyst! (I actually missed it because we decided to sleep in! But I saw it later. If I ever find it on Youtube I'll post it on here.)

Anyway, all I really wanted to do with this post is write about my takeaways from his talk which had everything to do with leadership and unity and nothing to do with $... (go figure)
(Catch up on my posting of Catalyst talks HERE)

The Enemies of Unity ("Unity is a spiritual happening.")
-  Few churches or organizations experience real Unity. Most organizations DO NOT work to their full potential because there is no unity!
*Unity creates the possibility for synergy!*

- The 5 Main Enemies of Unity -> **To the extent we fight back these enemies we will have success in our organizations!
1 Poor Communication = when this happens in any form, strife sets in!
2 Gossip (he fires peeps for this... pretty cool) = it is degrading & will DESTROY a church or organization. *"If you're talking to someone who CAN'T fix it, THAT'S GOSSIP!"
*"A successful leader MUST develop & maintain a culture where negatives are handed up and positives are handed down."
3 Unresolved Disagreements = these happen when the leader is clueless or when he avoids confrontation! a Leader by definition must have a BACKBONE! [awesome quote] = "Sometimes in the name of being 'Christian' we avoid confrontation. That's not nice it's WIMPY!" haha :) very true.
A little confrontation CLEANSES THE WOUND and allows everyone to go forward in a spirit of unity! (the Leader must lead in the confrontation.)
**"When you are aware there are hurt feelings and/or disagreements, act quickly and decisively!"
- 2 GREAT quotes coming up... remember them! = "An indecisive leader is not a leader. That's squirrel theology. Leaders make a CALL." [haha, get it?... "squirrel theology"!] + "Nobody ever killed anything by saying 'Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim...'"
4 Lack of shared Purpose = this happens when the leader doesn't restate the GOAL, VISION, and MISSION early & often.
5 Sanctioned Incompetence = remember we're ALL incompetent at something so that's not a bad thing. BUT, sanctioned incompetence demoralizes.
"Team members will eventually become demotivated when someone else on the team can't or won't do their job and a leader won't take action (because they all know they're working for a wimp)."  
***[we resonate so much with Dave's statements @ Ridge church. especially this one...] = "There's 1 way to penetrate the marketplace = extreme excellence!

*So, the leader must go to battle early & often with these enemies FOR THE SAKE of UNITY!
"When unity is valued in the culture, the whole team will also act to keep these enemies from the gate."

Wow. good stuff Dave. thanks for that. They made him talk about $ after that because it was the beginning of the "economic meltdown." 
***I am flipping proud to work on a staff team that embraces unity and puts the beatdown on these 5 enemies! I never want to work in a place that doesn't line up with that again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2 blogs I read that you should check out

I don't know if you ever check out the stuff I have linked to your right (all the way down the page) but you really should. I didn't just put that stuff there for fun. It's for you to see!
Eventually I'll probably write about all the orgs and people and books over to the right, but today I want to tell you about 2 blogs I recently added that you may have noticed. They're under my homeboys' blogs.

Ryan & Scott are 2 awesome guys. They were friends of mine in college, but (like many others) I feel like I know them better and interact more since we've been out of college. I really resonate with these guys. I feel we have a lot in common (although we're vastly different in many ways) as we've both made the journey to new places ("new places" in every way) since leaving our alma mater.

I recommend their blogs with this disclaimer: these guys are way smarter than me and both got their Th.M degrees - the biggest Master's degree that you can get and you have to be way smart for. It's like 120 credits! That's an insane 4 more years of full time school. So, you may read their blog and never return to mine. Just warnin' ya.

Their blogs are Smithers (Ryan) and the aging of a not so superhero (Scott).
***I LOVE reading their blogs (or "Christian expressions" as Scott refers to them) often. The main thing I love about these blogs is their RAW transparency. It's a beautiful thing! These authors let you into their lives in a real way. They don't hold back. They are honest in writing as if only they are reading it.
I thank them for their transparency. It moves me to do the same. It gives me permission to do the same. It makes me want to experience the freedom and amazing feeling these guys must feel every time they write one of those transparent posts.

They're both a "bit" (ha) cynical at times, which I love. I laugh often. I'm challenged to think. I am moved spiritually as well.

So, like I said before, I think we share a lot in common, but are very different. You may read their blogs and think we are miles apart. Whatever you think we are still friends with a common passion.

So, here's some good stuff I've read from both of them over the past couple months:

Keep writing guys! Your stuff makes me laugh and love God and love life & happy that you are my friends.

Monday, November 10, 2008

call & response

Call + Response is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while that I think everyone (especially believers) should know all about. It is a call to END slavery of all kinds... the RESPONSE is up to you and me.

Musician, Justin Dillonwas passionate about helping girls who were trapped in the sex slave trade, so he tried his hand for the first time at making a movie. Call + Response is that remarkable film. He described it as a "Rocumentary". 

What's the big deal about slavery? There are more slaves today than at any other time in human history! 

Justin describes Call + Response as “open source activism”… basically he doesn’t want to just leave it up to the celebrities to be activists – Call + Response is meant to inspire each of us to activism in response to the ugly INJUSTICE of SLAVERY.
HERE are some ways others have run with this open source activism... may their initiatives inspire you to activism of your own (and then you can share them on the website!)
HERE are 33 ways to be involved in ENDING slavery... you have NO excuse!

The Call + Response website is packed full of so much more awesome stuff. You could spend days (literally, I have) reading through all the awesome things that are being done to end this EVIL! please take your time & look through it all.

But if you don't have time for all that today... PLEASE check out some of these projects you can give to! I'll make it easy for you - You can click on each link below and get a full report, read stories of victims, + watch a video about the impact that project is making!!! The stuff these guys are doing is AWESOME! then... give!
Sex Slavery = rescuing girls from sex slavery in Cambodia and then helping them find jobs.
Child Slavery = this is a fund to RESCUE & then CARE FOR over 250 children (already targeted) who are currently in slavery! This link also includes stories of children rescued from a slave factory this year!
Child Soldiers = young children are commonly abducted, brainwashed, and forced to fight as soldiers for evil men and evil wars they know nothing about. When these children escape this is a project to help them get medical help, food, and education to help them get back on their feet.
Labor Slavery = There are thousands of children who are victims of forced labor slavery all over the world. International Justice Mission is partnering with Call + Response to do something about this injustice! Gary Haugen is an awesome Christian who heads up this amazing organization IJM (International Justice Mission).
+ There are 4 more projects coming very soon! & lots more stuff for you to check out on the website!

Since we as believers are called to LOVE, here is my favorite quote I remember from the short parts of the film Justin showed... "Never forget JUSTICE is what LOVE looks like in public."

*Over 2.2 million children are sold into slavery every year! That pisses me off! That has to infuriate you!!! The kingdom of God has to infiltrate every region where this is happening until there is freedom. You and I can have a part in that infiltration! I'm not sure how anyone can understand that these things are taking place (in this world that Jesus came to rescue!) and NOT be affected by it! I cannot understand that. These stats & stories MUST move us to respond.

The film is playing in theaters in over 20 cities now (not mine yet unfortunately)... you can send an email to bring it to your city. Check the trailer for the movie below and you'll see the tons of celebs who are in the movie standing up for justice -> from Natasha Bedingfield to Switchfoot to Matis Yahu...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a little preview for tomorrow

Today's post is just to get you ready for tomorrow. Seriously, be ready tomorrow because I'm going to let you know about something really cool. something that will really grab your heart.
I'm very passionate and excited to let you all know about what's going down... but for now I just want to whet your appetite with these 2 VERY short videos. check them out below.

I think this first one is so powerful. I edited it down to about 20 seconds... so no excuse!
That's what we (Jesus followers) are supposed to be about - love. I don't see it all that much though. maybe this next video can wake some of us up to what's going on in our world. and what we can/should do about it...

remember - check out tomorrow's post. I won't just leave you hangin' like that.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

it's personal

Got anything going on in the morning? Yeah? already have plans? oh, it's too short notice? what about next sunday morning? or the next? or even the one after that?

@ Ridge we're starting a new series tomorrow & it goes all the way through November - IT'S PERSONAL
Come check it out if you can... & I'll promise you one thing. You won't be bored! and if you are I'll take you out to lunch... how's that deal workin' out for ya?

Here's a snapshot It's Personal...
There are many things that keep people from putting their faith in Christ. Ask a random sample of people and you will likely receive a long list of objections (suffering in this world, the hypocrisy of Christians, miracles, and the exclusivity of Jesus—just to name a few). So what do you do when the obstacles are seemingly insurmountable? This series won't make those objections go away, but it will help put them in the right context so that the big picture becomes clearer.

Every Sunday morning at the Levine Center in Matthews - 11AM (but I'll be there @ 6:30am if you want to swing by... you know, just to say "HEY".)

(*Oh, and if you're there tomorrow you can swing by Upstreet to see 3 different people catch pies in the face during our production!  and yes to answer your question you just asked in your head... unfortunately one of them is me.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gratitude in Upstreet

Gratitude = Letting others know you see how they've helped you.

This is exactly what Upstreet is about this month. Gratitude. Thankfulness. & I am so thankful for all of you amazing peeps on the Upstreet Team! Production crew, Small Group Leaders, Actors, Hosts, Storytellers, Worship Leaders, Host Team, Coaches, and everyone! THANK YOU!

This is just a quick 5 minute video to give you a cohesive overview of November in Upstreet. It will help you see how these 4 weeks fit together. Thank you all for making an impact!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

my heart is jacked up for this city

A couple weeks ago driving back into Charlotte from ATL I was overwhelmed when I got into Charlotte. I just saw all the headlights. Headlights with people in those cars. Souls in those cars. Tens of thousands of people & souls in Charlotte and they don't know God. 

God wants them to know them. God wants their praise! I was worshipping and was overwhelmed as I was shouting along with the chorus = "Here is our KING, Here is our LOVE, Here is our GOD who's come to bring us back to Him... He is the ONE, He is JESUS!" (Crowder) I just want all those peeps to know that God came to rescue them! He came to be their King, their love... He came to bring them back to Him. I want them to know! I want them to know His name is Jesus.

I am going to spend these years of my life in Charlotte consumed with making sure they know. I'll do whatever I have to do. God wants their worship and they won't be satisfied until they're giving it to Him. I was still worshipping God and the next words of that soundtrack were so profound and my heart was beating out of my chest as I was singing the truth to God = "You should be the praise of every tongue! You should be the praise of every heart!" (Redman)

God should be the praise of every tongue in this city. There's a lot of worship He's not getting from peeps in Charlotte. There is a ton of praise that's going somewhere besides God.

I just want them to know that rescue is here... His name is Jesus and He wants their worship. I'm going to leverage my days to relevantly communicate that to the people and souls of Charlotte.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Yep, it's Billy Graham's birthday on Friday! That's November 7th. How old do you think he will be? 90 years old! That's a lot of years old. So, definitely a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Billy Graham.

So, why didn't I write this on Friday? Well, he has a birthday wish and I thought I would tell you all about it early in case you can contribute. His son Franklin has put together a website =
At Catalyst last month Franklin asked specifically for everyone who had been saved under Billy's ministry or called to ministry through his ministry or experienced some other life changing event directly or indirectly through the ministry of Billy Graham to go to this website and write Billy a message!

They are going to use all these messages at Billy's 90th birthday party (& I bet that will be a crazy cool paaartay!) Anyway, Franklin says that Billy will read them all & actually respond to each one personally. Don't give me that look - that's what he said. He said he may not be able to type them all because he's pretty old and all but he'll tell someone what to write & at least hit the "send" button.

Originally Billy Graham was slated to speak @ Catalyst this year. I was pumped. I've never heard him live and I wanted the chance to! looks like I never will have that chance now because he got too sick to come to Catalyst. Franklin spoke on his behalf and accepted the lifetime acheivement award for him.

I KNOW that you've all heard of Billy Graham... here's some cool stuff about him.
-  He has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history--215 million people!!! (in more than 185 countries).
-  Hundreds of millions more have been reached through TV, webcasts, etc...
-  He lives right here in NC! (and he even started the seminary I attend along with Harold J. Ockenga)

(I wanted to post the video on here they used when they gave Billy the lifetime acheivement award at Catalyst but I can't find it anywhere... it was pretty awesome. Especially the clips from when he preached in South Africa in '73... I guess I'll save those amazing quotes for another blog. For now you can check out the b-day video below.)

So, for real - if you've been affected by Billy Graham's ministry, click HERE and tell him about it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008's over!

...and I'm glad it's over. I just don't really care for politics. Never have really. Don't know if I ever will. I get pretty sick of hearing people talk about it CONSTANTLY. And honestly I guess it makes me sad that people get more jacked up over politics and a flippin' election than they do about JESUS. and it even makes me sad that people are more concerned about America than they are the Kingdom of God.

But anyway, didn't mean to get on a rabbit trail. I just wanted to say that I'm really glad it's over! and yes I voted... even though I don't like politics and don't like getting into it all I went to the middle school on the corner and pushed the buttons on the touch screen and voted for a few people. So, I did my duty and now the election is finally over - whoohoo (although I have to admit that it is kind of fun to see all the electoral votes coming in and the big map with the scores on the screen... it's kind of like a fun game.)

Oh, and it was pretty cool that Barack Obama and John McCain were on Monday Night Football last night talking about the BCS! Obama said something like he would enforce an 8 team playoff system in place of the current BCS system... huh, now that he will be president we'll see if he really does it (of course he was joking). And what in the world is Saturday Night Live going to fill their airtime with now? Do you think Tina Fey can imitate anyone else?

And let me just finally say that the blog post I wrote yesterday about Derek Jeter being in Charlotte last night brought about 200 hits to my blog today. That's not normal in case you were wondering. On a normal day there are not 200 people who read Renown. Not even close. I wonder if a ton of people will read this post since I mentioned Barack Obama and John McCain... or is Jeter a bigger story than Barack Obama being in Charlotte, NC yesterday speaking at UNCC? (Jeter's definitely bigger to me!)
And then I wonder how many people will read what I write on Thursday? = I think something about how Jesus loves the people of the city of Charlotte and wants to change their lives... probably not that many.

Monday, November 3, 2008

...just met Derek Jeter!!!

no, not me, but my friend Lopo did! I'm trying to figure out if I'm sinning by being so jealous of that encounter. 

If you're an avid reader of renown (which I know so many of you are) and you remember reading THIS POST (or if you know me AT ALL) then you know I am a die hard, 3rd generation, New York Yankees fan!!! If you read that post HERE you know that Don Mattingly was my favorite player from birth until about 13 when Mattingly retired and Jeter took over that coveted position of not only Captain of the Yankees, but also my favorite player.

Jeter was in town for the Bobcats game. Probably to chill with his boy Jordan who partially owns the Bobcats. Lopo (my friend) called me earlier tonight when he was valeting in downtown Charlotte and was like "I think I just saw Derek Jeter walk into a restaurant down here." We talked a few minutes trying to deduce like detectives if it was really him... If I had ANY sense about me I would have left my night security job (I could just put the tiny girl at the library desk in charge of the premises) and booked it for Blue restaurant downtown & tried to meet him when he came out.

Because about 30 minutes later Lopo called me back screaming something about how he just met Derek Jeter! Jeter spoke 2 words to him "W'sup man"... that's pretty cool. (I guess 3 words if you count the contracted word as 2 separate words, but if there are any English teachers on here I'm in trouble anyway...). I should have been there too!

[oh, and on a side note, Barack Obama was in Charlotte, NC today too. He spoke at UNCC. My friend Travis invited me to see him... even though Obama may be the next leader of our country... Jeter is way bigger to me!]