Friday, February 26, 2010

Twitter hackers are crackheads!

I got a Direct Message from a friend on Twitter earlier in the week who had been hacked. Someone broke into their account and sent out spam mesages with links to all of that person's followers.

I heard these hackers were spreading like wild fire all week long! That should have been my warning to change my password because... the crackheads hacked my Twitter account!
And they didn't just send a link but it was a message about the kind of sex I've been having lately. 
well, that's just awesome

They sent out almost 200 Direct Messages to all my followers!
*Below is just a sampling of all the peeps this message got sent to... these are just the peeps who i know of (other peeps following me i don't really know who they are.)

- Tons of women who I know from my current or former church. that's not good.
- Lots of other girls who are friends and married to my friends. again... not good.
- current volunteers from Ridge Church.
- my dad!
- around 20 pastors! including:
My Pastor, Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Ed Stetzer (who DM'd me back & told me to change my password), etc...
- Peeps like John Maxwell & Jon Acuff (from "Stuff Christians Like"... maybe he'll write a blog about Twitter hackers?)
- Some great Organizations like:
North Point, Compassion International, Orange & ReThink, and Relevant Magazine...

Oh well, I hope nobody took it personally. This kind of thing def. calls for the Twitter fail whale!

Of course I got like 100 text messages, voice mails, Tweets, and emails telling me my account got hacked! i changed my password ASAP.
& of course many people have stopped following me since the hacker strike.

Twitter hackers are crackheads.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

cut my hair off

There's a story in the Bible about a guy named Samson who has awesome power from God... as long as he doesn't cut his hair! When his hair was cut off he lost his strength.

I hope I'm not like Samson because I didn't have any power or strength to begin with! And now I got my hair cut short!
I think it's been a couple years since it was short.

Here's what I looked like when Amy started cutting:

& here we are after most of it was cut off!

I don't have a pic handy of the final product, but I think my wife does. I'm sure you'll see me soon enough.

I definitely look pretty different. Almost weird. it will just take some time to get used to. Right now I look like a little kid.

& while we're making changes, I took the piercing out of my eyebrow + I'm thinking about shaving off my chin!
(But whenever I take stuff away like that you know there has to be some additions, right!?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

some personal 2010 goals

I have a LOT of goals for my life. I have a lot of goals just for this year.
I even have a lot more goals for 2010 than what I list below, but I'll throw these out and that will REALLY keep me accountable, eh?

(These categories overlap big time!)

-  Never drive anywhere by myself when I'm not growing from listening to a book or podcast.
-  Read 50 books (You can see my 2010 reading list HERE) & complete notes on them.
-  publish at least 300 blog articles to renown. (Writing is an important way for me to process and grow...)
-  Actively participate in this Coaching Network & push myself to be the best leader I can be. -  read Relevant & Christianity Today issues when they come to the mail box instead of piling them up on the floor. (ultimatum I've given myself or of course I'll have to cancel my subscriptions!)
-  read the plethora of brilliant Catalyst articles from the many outlets that they come to me in (read at least 1-2 per week).
-  Watch at least 1 TED talk per week.
Continually strive to be the best I can be in my role at Ridge Church and go above and beyond to move the vision forward. Leverage all that I am for the sake of God's mission at Ridge. (Tons of more specific & passionate goals on my end at Ridge Church.) 

-  Give at least 3 loans to lift 3 families out of poverty through Hope International this year. (This will be a 1st time for us.)
-  Strictly continue to follow my "Total Money Makeover" and continually pour into steps 4,5, & 6 this year!
-  Give more to Ridge Church than we've ever given.
-  Give more to missions and social justice than we've ever given.
-  work and plan towards the goal of being able to give away more money than we spend on ourselves.

-  work out 4 days per week (strength & cardio)
-  play in at least 1 men's soccer league all the time (as long as my bum knees can handle it) = for fun, to stay in shape, and for some awesome missional engagement...
-  in addition, play soccer or basketball at least once a week.
-  don't eat like an idiot anymore.

-  a full on Sabbath 1 day per week where I worship all day by acknowledging that God is in control, not me. (No email, phone calls, or anything relating to my job. Usually Fridays.)
-  I'm going to commit to have a work "finish line" of 6pm every day! No matter if I'm finished or not...
-  a date night with Crystal every week, no matter what.
-  Work to become a better husband in many ways.
-  I need to get around water at least one day per month and experience God there! (hang out at Lake Norman, etc...)

-  Go to the beach and experience God there for a full day at least once per quarter. (I think I've written many times about my bent toward experiential worship in nature and how extremely powerful it is in my life.)
-  read the whole Bible via Bible Experience in the shower each morning. (went through the New Testament last summer & you can read about it HERE.)
-  Read Psalms everyday & dwell on something amazing about God. (have written about that HERE.)
-  Read Proverbs every day. (wrote about that HERE.)
-  Continue to journal my conversation with God every day.
-  I am going to intensely study through the 4 Gospels all year long. I want to "figure out" (as best I can) the gospel this year. I'm going to start by reading each gospel from start to finish in 1 sitting. and then diving back into it!
-  Continue to live by & prioritize my main "To-Do list" which I wrote about HERE.

*There you have it. These goals have been sitting on a piece of paper for a while, but now that they're out here on the World Wide Web for all to see I think it will cause me to be more intentional and all of you will keep me more accountable!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ridge opener from yesterday ("Things you don't say to your wife")

I love some Green Day. One of my fav bands since I was a teenager. I heard the opener through the halls yesterday @ Ridge & I was like "I didn't know we were rocking some Green Day today?"

Then I found out it was this... "Things you don't say to your wife"

Perfect opener to part 3 of "Staying In Love". We wrap up the series next Sunday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

shocking stats!

my Pastor is awesome. He's not only my pastor, but he's also my boss... & my mentor. I'm honored to stand behind him and serve with him & I've learned so much from him these past few years.
He is a great man. He loves God + is a brilliant and corageous leader.

But I still pray for him constantly. I pray that God puts His hand on him and makes him an even greater and godlier leader. I pray that God protects him from Satan's attacks. I pray for his wife and kids. I pray that he can stay strong for the whole marathon.

Because I know that great men fall all the time. The statistics are dramatically against my pastor (and me, and your pastor) over the long haul. 

These are 2 sets of stats below that are nothing short of SHOCKING.
[My thoughts and comments are in brackets]
-  Pastors who work less than 50 hours a week are 35% more likely to be fired
-  Church peeps expect their pastors to juggle an average of 16 major tasks
-  Pastor has greatest impact in years 5-14, but average only lasts 5 years
-  40% report a serious conflict with a person in their church at least once per month.
[hey church peeps, how bout get off your pastor's back!]
80% of pastors believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively
-  75% have had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
-  50% feel unable to meet needs of the job
40% of pastors say they’ve considered leaving their pastorates in last 3 months. [whoa! i wonder what % consider it once a week?]
-  33% confess inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in their church [that is crazy]
-  20% say they view porn at least once per month
-  51% say internet porn is possible temptation [I'm just curious here... what do the other 49% say? That it's NOT a temptation!? That's the half I'd be worried about. those pastors gotta sign up for XXXchurch ASAP!] & 37% say it’s a constant struggle
-  13% have been divorced
-  80% say they have insufficient time with their spouse
-  66% pastors & families feel pressure to model the ideal family to their         congregations & communities
-  70% don’t have a close friend! [that sucks]
-  90% feel they’re inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
45% say they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed  to take a leave of absence from ministry.

(I read these stats from Mike Erre who got them from H.B. London, Jr. & Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Greater Risk: Real Help for Pastors from Pastors Who’ve Been There)

(The stats below are from Mark Driscoll & are at The Resurgence)
-  1,500 pastors leave ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches
50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce [that is unbelievable!!! 50/50 chance you'll get divorced if you're a pastor. scary. that's messed up.]
-  80% & 84% of their spouses feel unqualified & discouraged in their role
-  50% are so discouraged they would quit if they could but have no other way of getting income
-  80% of seminary & Bible college grads who enter ministry will leave within 1st 5 years
70% constantly fight depression
-  almost 40% said they’ve had an affair since beginning their ministry
80% of wives wish their spouse would choose another profession
“The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.”
[wow! that hurts & is really scary. God, may that never be true in our lives!]

My heart just hurts after reading those! My heart is breaking.

I think there's only 1 thing to say after all that = PRAY for your Pastor!
Pray that God protects him from these attacks on his life and family! Pray that God renews and rejuvenates him so that he can be at the top of his game. Pray for his wife and kids. Pray that God will help you back him and be the kind of support he needs!

I know i need some peeps praying for me. Because i plan on being in this for the rest of my life. I want to be part of a revolution... But i am desperately dependent on God's grace to keep me and my wife from being any of these statistics!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

valentine's day (& my amazing wife!)

my wife is so amazing! She amazes me every day. She is so beautiful and loving. i'm so lucky & blessed!

She outdid herself for Valentine's Day. I was looking at some pics in my phone and remembered all the awesome stuff she did over the past 2 weeks during the "month of love"

On February 1st this is what was waiting for me on the front door of our home when i came home from work. In case you can't see it says "Welcome to Case de Amor" = Welcome to the House of Love.
That's a pretty cool welcome when you get home for the day!

And then it opened up into a menu that was equally exciting. She laid out the appetizer, main course & dessert + wrote me a little note since it was the 1st day of the "month of Love".

One day i walked into our bathroom and found this on my mirror! How cool is that!?

I can't believe she is so good to me!
One of my fav desserts are rice crispy treats. As you can see here she made me some rice crispy treats in heart shapes and they were red/pink like a heart. Pretty awesome.

& those are flowers I bought her too. Gerber Daisies = her favorite. (See, I can do nice stuff too.)

We had an awesome Valentine's Day weekend. Dinner at her fav restaurant (one of them at least) = Red Rocks in Birkdale Village. Amazing place. I also got VIP seats (comfy couches in the back) for the opening night of the movie Valentine's Day at the MEZ (the theater at the Epicentre)... but we ended up rescheduling because of the snow.

On Valentine's Day we went to Carrabba's for lunch. We actually went to the one on Independence which is the location of our 1 year anniversary... of dating! back when we were 17! I made her a mix CD called "Love Songs for My Babygirl". I was smooth.

Finally, check this pic out. She brought me this huge thing of balloons on V-day. now, i'm not really a balloons kinda guy, BUT... there was a card with them that said something like "I could never write all the reasons I love you in this card. So, pop each balloon to find out all the reasons I love you so much."
**So, each balloon I pop a little red paper falls out with a reason my wife loves me. How cool is that!? I've been popping like 1 each day since.

like Andy says - "To stay in love you've gotta make love... a verb."

My wife is so awesome and i'm so thankful for her!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


i think this is really weird, but you judge for yourself.  
This is the women's restroom at Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa here in Charlotte...
 (Let me clarify = Yes, this pic was taken with my phone, but no i did not take it nor have i ever set foot in this awkward women's restroom.)
This could definitely present an awkward situation for ladies... i'm guessing? Do you think these have ever been used simultaneously?

The men's restroom at Caribou Coffee is not quite as bad but still kinda weird...

I guess if you're having a meeting or discussion this is a way you can continue that conversation when nature calls? Pretty weird...
I have a pretty hard time imagining when these restrooms would be used to the full capacity of their seating potential.

Friday, February 12, 2010

snowing in charlotte...

that's right, it's snowing pretty fierce here right now.
We just drove from Birkdale Village down to our house in North Charlotte through what's considered a "snow storm" in our city.

We've got about 3 inches already. Our dog, Jack Bauer, has been running around in it for a while now. It's dangerous though because he's so white that we can only see him if he looks at us and smiles!

We had VIP seats at the MEZ in the Epicentre for tonight, but we're gonna save them for another night so we don't get stuck in uptown tonight.
I hear it's supposed to keep snowing tonight and the first part of tomorrow. ENJOY!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

is God "far away" from Haiti?

nope. it might seem like He's far away, but He's right in the middle of all that destruction and sadness.

i love Lecrae. He's definitely legit. He's doing a ton to raise money to help Haiti right now.
He made this video with some awesome images of people they've helped in Haiti. + footage from the benefit concert in Minneapolis last week where every dollar went to help the people in Haiti as well.
Every penny you spend on this song or music video goes to help people in Haiti!

Thanks, Lecrae. Great reminder of what's going down in Haiti + that God is not far away.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what we should learn from African theology

Earlier this year I finished reading my 1st book written by the late, great missiologist David J. Bosch. He is the guru, but I've never read an entire book he wrote. But I recently finished Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture and it was great stuff.

He applied much of his expertise in cross cultural mission to our mission here in the West [as it rightly should be applied the same!].

So, I know there are TONS of things we (in the West) should learn from African theology, but this is just one thought from Bosch on what we would do well to take from them

“African theology was to a significant extent missiological through and through.”
and along those lines...
“Third World theologies are missionary theologies, whereas First World theologies are not.” 

This is so true and points to the root of a lot of our problems here in the West. Many only think of being "on mission" in a foreign context, but not here in the West. 

Bosch wrote this back in the year of his death - 1992. Thankfully over these past 17-18 years the shift he wrote about has been happening here. We've still got a long way to go, but we're getting there, imho.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

a new kind of christianity

I have written several times on renown that Brian McLaren is one of my favorite authors. He is awesome. I've read about 6-7 of his books. A New Kind of Christian is in my top 10 list and A Generous Orthodoxy is right up there too!

I have been anticipating the release of his brand new book for about 6 months now. It released today!
A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith

I'm stoked about reading it! This guy knows what's up. He's 50 years ahead. Maybe only 20. I really think he has a great hold on what the world and the Christian faith is going to be for our kids and grandchildren.
Of course many peeps are already starting the shouts of "heretic". I'm waiting to read what he actually wrote instead of what everyone else writes about him.

Looking forward to maybe writing some about what McLaren says in this book which promises to be great.

I'll leave you with a quote from the book:
"You may feel it as a curiosity, a desire for better answers than you inherited so far. You may experience it as frustration, knowing that there must be more to faith than you currently know. You may know it as hope, hope that God is seeking humble people whose hearts and lives can be the womb of a better future. You may be carrying this pregnancy now, with symptoms beginning to show - increasing love, joy, and peace; growing patience, kindness, and goodness, strengthening faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In you, your family, your faith community, and circles of friends, among people of peace and faith everywhere, something is trying to be born, indeed, indeed." (259)

Monday, February 8, 2010

WOWed by these benefits

This is such an awesome song I read the lyrics to on Friday. I have been thinking about it ever since. I read it again today and still can't get away from it.

It was written by this songwriter guy named David. Maybe you've heard of him? It goes like this:

"Praise the LORD, my soul;
       all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
       and forget not all his benefits
who forgives all your sins
       and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
       and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
       so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness
       and justice for all the oppressed." -
Psalm 103:1-6

I am seriously WOWed by these benefits from God. Just look at that. I'm blown away and have been for 4 days in a row now. I can't move on from this song. I'm just reveling in awe of who this God is.

And if that weren't enough, the song goes on to say this about our God:

"The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
       slow to anger, abounding in love.
" (Psalm 103:8)

I really don't feel like there's a whole lot i need to say (or can say). Just dwell on this song with me. I'm still just basking in the awesomeness of it.

I wish I had some musical talent and I would write some music for it... Maybe David or Scottie or somebody will do that one day?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

staying in love

A new series kicks off tomorrow at Ridge Church = Staying in Love.
If you are close enough to make it you've gotta be there! 9 or 11.

Falling in love is easy... it only takes a pulse. Staying in love is a lot different.

(I'm personally stoked about "The Great Date Experience" that will be part of this series...)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Backfire" (Mute Math video)

I wanted to finally post my 2010 goals today, but still haven't had time to finalize them. I know, I know... It's February already, for crying out loud!
It's out of hand really. I'm already getting cranking on my 2010 goals, just haven't finalized them to where they're ready to post.

So for now enjoy this awesome music video from one of my favorite bands = Mute Math. I talked a little about this new album from them HERE.
This video is like Mute Math meets Jib Jab!

You can see the Ridge Church versions of Jib Jab videos HERE. probably not as cool as this one from Mute Math.

This song is awesome but also interests me because it reminds me of Proverbs 19:21, Psalm 94:11, and Proverbs 16:1.

I wish I knew how to make music videos...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

disturb us (still...)

(This is an article I posted on January 29th, 2008. You can read the original and a few comments HERE.)

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

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

(I first read these words this past summer [2007] in the 1st chapter of Chazown by Craig Groeschel who is the pastor of Life Church in OKC with a ton of campuses. Outreach Magazine recently named Craig's church the #1 most innovative church in America. Chazown is one of my top 5 books of all time & I beg you to quit reading my blog right now, buy the book, & read it TODAY!!! You won't regret it... more on the book in another post.)

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I'm so fascinated and intrigued by this show. LOST is possibly one of the greatest shows ever made and has definitely become one of my favorites.
I just caught up and now it's ending this season! **I can't wait for the season premiere tonight!

I love the characters, the story, the mystery... the whole thing is brilliant! Charlie and Hurley have been my favorite characters throughout. Jack is definitely my hero over Locke and Sawyer (although Sawyer really grew on me this past season).
And if he were alive, I would always stick with Faraday! that kid is a freaking pimp. he knows what's up and I would just take my chances with him. I'm so intrigued by him and his story.

But it's not just a great show for entertainment purposes! I am so fascinated by the ridiculous amounts of philosophy and theology permeating throughout show! These writers are beast! It seems as though every single episode could be a discussion starter for a community group (in my humble opinion... packed full of awesome theological and philosophical conversations.)

1st you've got the whole thing between reason vs. faith. Jack vs. Locke. I love Jack and don't like Locke, but I'm definitely a man of faith over reason myself. It's crazy watching that whole pendulum swing in Jack's mind and heart.

Season 5 really just blew the roof off a lot of stuff! now there's this whole "changing the future" stuff. Is it true that "whatever happened, happened."?? Or are people really a variable like Faraday said?
*Is the future determined in the mind of God and unchangeable?
Or do we have an uninhibited free will to "change" the future?
Or would you be one of the ones who say "yes. both." This show brings up all that stuff I read back in the day about determinism vs. libertarian free will... never figured it out!

Here's some questions I would love to have answered this final season!
Does Kate love Jack or Sawyer?
Did Juliette set off the bomb? If so did it kill them all and start everything over like they hoped? (Obviously not.)
How many different civilizations have lived on the island? When did peeps start living there?
Who are these good/bad guys who are against Widmore = Llana and Bram who have the pilot guy with them? Who do they work for?
Are we gonna see Desmond again? I hope so... he's one of my favs.

Who is Jacob? Is he like God or something? Is he really dead?
So I guess that guy who is using Locke's body that found the loophole to kill Jacob is the guy who was sitting out on the beach with Jacob eating the fish?
(It's like Jacob wants people to come to the island to prove that people can be "good" and not corrupt it... the other guy disagrees?)
Where in the world is Claire?
How did Jack's dad end up alive on the island? Is Jack ever gonna bump into him? Is he really even alive?
How will it end?
And there are so many other questions I can't wait to have answered... 

Charlie was my favorite character of all time and I wish he weren't dead. I hope they can somehow "reset" everything so he comes back.

I'm really interested in reading this book The Gospel According to Lost that Chris Seay just came out with a month ago. It's packed full of all this stuff running through our heads. It looks awesome!
(some really cool artwork from that book too similar to this pic of Charlie, although that one's not in the book.)

So, I'm gearing up to watch this premiere in a few hours. I can't wait! I think this season is going to be awesome!
What questions do YOU want answered?

Monday, February 1, 2010

growing as a leader...

One of my constant prayers is that God would grow me as a leader. I pray that He would make me a great leader.
And not make me a great leader for my sake, so that I can climb some "corporate ladder" or some even more messed up "church hierarchical ladder". But I desperately pray for God to make me a great leader for His Name's sake! I want Him to make me into a great leader so that He can use me in big ways for His glory... ultimately to change the world for His renown.

I'm also not one to just sit around and pray for God to make me a great leader. I'm doing everything I can to become a better leader. I feel like God is blessing me and giving me opportunities to become better and better.
I do everything I know of to get better = read books, articles, go to conferences, listen to podcasts, meet with leaders, watch leaders, pick their brains and ask questions, get coaching, and put myself in positions where I can be stretched as a leader and hopefully become better.

But sometimes (probably a lot of times) God uses these unexpected scenarios to grow us as leaders.
And by unexpected I mean that's not really what I was praying for when I asked God to grow me as a leader! (I feel free to tell Him that in the moment too.)

You know what I'm talking about right? Maybe you've prayed for patience and God puts you in this line at the grocery store that doesn't seem to move when you're already late to be at your next spot. You just wanted God to make you patient... you didn't really want the process He was going to use to make you patient.

I feel like that is the way God makes us better leaders. Through these processes that aren't always what we would choose.
I can see it happening over and over again in my life. God prepares me and grows me in my leadership through a situation or a scenario or this process that I go through to become stronger and better - but it's not necessarily pleasant or easy.

And I'm like - "You could have just hooked me up with a free ticket to a leadership conference or something..."

But that's not the way God always grows us as leaders. In fact, I'm confident that God is growing me more through these circumstances than any conference. I'm not in it for "comfort" in the now, but I want God to use me to rock the world for the next 50-60 years!

So, God, I know I'm praying a dangerous prayer, BUT...
Bring it on. Bring whatever it takes. Ultimately use my life for Your glory.