Archive for November, 2009

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  We all are facing different hurdles in life, but we all have much to be thankful for.  This Sunday we’ll be welcoming some of our friends back in town from Thanksgiving break, and moving forward in our desire to be a church radically bent around the gospel. 

We’ll be journeying through 2 Samuel this week, seeing how humanity’s longing for the perfect king has finally been met – in Jesus.  Join us as we worship this king and look to follow him whever he leads.

Don’t forget – Advent Conspiracy is still going on!  Join with us how to move resources towards meeting real kingdom needs.  We’ll be wrapping up on the 6th, so be planning and praying between now and then.

Looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday!


Therefore you are great, O Lord God.  For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.  2 Samuel 7:22





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Jeff Vanderstelt is one of the leaders of Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington – one of the more intentional missional communities I’ve been exposed to. Recently Jeff did some training for church leaders in Phoenix who passed along some of the lessons they learned from Jeff.

Here are a few:

20. Is the church really equipped? Every church would say, ‘Everyone is a minister’. Few actually structure and live that out. Will we do that?

21. People you disciple need to see you living the gospel out in your real life.

22. Every Missional Community sees themselves as the core of a potential church plant.

23. If you teach people the Word but do not train and equip them to obey it, you have not made a disciple.

24.. The power is not in your status or stature, but in your life. Jeff’s church is around a 1000. Not a megachurch by any means. He is 5 foot nothing. And he does not have a great preaching voice. But I’d listen to him all day because he says what is true, and his life backs it up. Did you hear how he told stories from “last week”. And they were names of people on his street? This isn’t “once upon a time I led this random guy to Christ.”

Read the rest here – would love to hear which of these encourage and challenge you.

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Two weeks away from Advent Conspiracy – can’t wait to see what God does in us and through us as we take the resources that he’s provided us and invest $10K in the Kingdom. Don’t forget how you can help:

  • Pray. Pray through Malachi 3:10 as you consider how you and your family can personally invest in the Advent Conspiracy. Ask the Holy Spirit to ignite radical, passionate generosity in our church.
  • Plan. Budget your Christmas expenses and move the money God leads you to invest from spending on each other to investing in local, state-wide, national and global needs. Look for posts this week and next week on the particular projects we’re investing in.
  • Pitch In. Be ready to show up on December 6 and celebrate God’s gifts to us and through us. We’re planning out how we want to mark this day in the life of our church – it’s gonna be a great day!

Other thoughts from Sunday:

  • Climate controlling a gym is not easy. Thanks to those of you who let us know whether you’re too hot or too cold on a Sunday. We’re finalizing a plan to make the room comfortable for everyone. If you get cold easily, I’d encourage you to bring a sweater or light jacket, thank Jesus for the gift of said sweater or jacket and make much of him with the rest of us.
  • I had a good time with the message from I Samuel. I’m amazed at how often God takes the stupid stuff I do, uses it to humble me and turn it into something beautiful.
  • Good turnout on what has become one of the lower-attended Sundays of the year for us with UGA students getting an entire week off for Thanksgiving. We love it that so many students have embraced us as their church – and I’m personally blown away when they choose to stay in town like they did on Sunday or make plans to bring their entire family to our Christmas Eve gathering.
  • We remain financially bipolar – $11,000 two weeks ago and less than $1,000 last Sunday. It makes us laugh a bit in the office – which we can do because God continues to provide and we continue to learn how to be generous.
  • Had a great conversation after the gathering with a man who comes every 6-8 weeks and usually leaves during the sermon because he disagrees with something I say. He came up to let me know that he didn’t have anything to argue with this week and said God was working on him. Let’s continue to pray for all of us to be converted and renewed to Jesus, his community called the church, and the mission he has for us.

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Looking over the set list and my notes for Sunday’s message from 1 Samuel – I’m a bit stunned by how our God can be ruthlessly passionate about justice while bending over backwards to put grace into our hands.

  • Only two weeks until Advent Conspiracy on December 6th. Look for more information on the blog early next week on how your investment will be used in Oconee County, across the state of Georgia and around the world. $10K for the Kingdom! All we want is for you to do your part – pray, plan, pitch in!
  • To help you nail down your financial investment in the church in 2010, we’ll be providing cards that allow you to indicate the percentage or dollar amount you’re asking God to provide through you to the church from January-March.
  • We’ll have a good number of people on the road because of the Thanksgiving holidays. If you’re gone this weekend, please know that we love you and will miss you.
  • Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas present some wrinkles to our lives as we travel and uproot our natural rhythms of daily activity. Don’t let off the gas pedal in your pursuit of God – this season of the year should draw us deeply to God’s pursuit of us through the life and death of Jesus.
  • Let me say this a different way – regardless of where we are and what we’re doing for the holidays, there are people around us who are dying and going to hell. Please, please, please – let’s never get that off the radar screen and lose our God-given sense of urgency. We might dress casually but there is absolutely nothing casual about what we do.

Quick Hits

  • As we grow in our understanding and practice of missional community, posts like this one by Jonathan Dodson on how NOT to be missional are critical. If you’ve equated mission with social action, evangelism or events – this one’s for you.
  • The audio from last week’s Acts 29 bootcamp in Louisville is up. If you’re on the road for Thanksgiving, download these sessions on your iPod or a CD and soak this in.


  • If I had to choose only one book to help me prepare for Christmas during Advent, I’d go with Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, a series of meditations from John Piper, Tim Keller, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, etc. You can pick up a copy for less than $10 here.


“I pray, O God, that I may know thee, that I may love thee, so that I may rejoice in thee. And if I cannot do this to the full in this life, at least let me go forward from day to day until that joy comes to fullness.”

Anselm, Proslogion, LCC edition, page 92. (via Ray Ortlund)

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Great list of resources by Jonathan Dodson:



  • Sacred Marriage (Gary Thomas) – argues that marriage is for holiness as much as it is for happiness. Love this quote: “We don’t fall out of love as much as we fall out of repentance.”
  • When Sinners Say I Do (Harvey) – heavy on the gospel-centered dynamic between husband and wife
  • God, Marriage, & Family (Kostenberger) – uber-biblical, with a twist of practical. Great for reference and finer concerns.
  • The Momentary Marriage/free ebook (Piper) – God-centered, biblical, and practical. I really enjoyed this new book by Piper that sets your marriage in the larger context of the glory of God and the mission of the church.
  • The Mystery of Marriage (Mason) – more philosophical reflections on marriage. Our copy of this book is legendary. We read it in 2000 and keep bumping into people who have read our copy, and say they love the book. Weird.
  • Love that Lasts Riccucis – marital wisdom for a lifetime. The Riccucis are transparent and helpful.

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Here are 20 books you should read if you’re in your 20s.

Driscoll talks about three books you should read if you’re a younger adult or care about younger adults – particularly young men.

If you’re Christmas shopping for a man who likes books, this list by CJ Mahaney will help you figure out what to buy him.

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Thanks for the prayers, emails, tweets and questions about last week’s Acts 29 Boot Camp in Louisville. This was the most encouraging and helpful boot camp I’ve been a part of – really thankful to be part of such a great network and encouraged particularly by what God’s up to in Georgia.

Let’s talk about Sunday:

  • I’m still stunned by the generosity God expressed to us as a church through you. We had some unique expenses that created a need far greater than our normal weekly budget expectations and you went above and beyond those needs! In a two-week period where we needed to bring in $12,000 you invested $14,000 in our church. Thank you.
  • We continued our Journey through the Old Testament by walking through the story of Judges – a brutal story that got us to the beauty of a brutalized Jesus. We’ll talk more about this as we get into 1 Samuel this Sunday but these stories remind us that the heroes and kings we lean on in this world can’t hold a candle to our real Hero and King.
  • Really fun bluegrass set at the end of the gathering – I’m wondering if there’s a musical genre our band can’t pull off!
  • Huge turnout for our community lunch. Great time meeting some new people and watching so many of you meet new people and make some connections we hope will continue in the future.
  • I love coaching our community group leaders – stunned by the phenomenal job they’re doing in following the lead of the Holy Spirit as he creates families of missionaries empowered by the gospel.

Couple of quick hits:

  • Advent Conspiracy is going down on December 6th. We’re asking you to pray, plan and pitch in as we invest $10K in the Kingdom. More information is coming this week about the specific ways we’re looking to express the generous heart of God to our friends in the community, around the state, across the country and throughout the world. You can start by budgeting for Christmas and investing 50% of what you plan to spend on the needs we’re tackling together through Advent Conspiracy.
  • The Christmas Eve gathering is on the books for 5:00pm at WCA. We’ve started working on it and seriously, you don’t want to miss this!

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