Sat. a.m.

It's early Sat. a.m. and the house is quiet. Emily left this morning at 6:30 for an all-day school event and Joseph's football game is later this afternoon. I've spent the last hour working on and planning for the next month and a half of church leadership and there is a lot coming up.

I get incredibly amped and fired up when I look at where God is leading us. Just off the top:
1. MOMENTUM Oct. 14, we kickstart a new season of ministry in our church called Momentum. In the weeks that follow, we'll celebrate baptism, we'll mark our 10-Year Anniversary as a church, and we'll welcome a very special guest teacher who knows a little something about Momentum. (More on that later.)
2. STAFF RETREAT Two or three times a year, we get away as a staff to dream, pray, plan, work, and play. It's one of my favorite things to do as a leader because of what it produces in me, in our staff, and throughout our church.
3. LHC LEADERSHIP SUMMIT On Oct. 18, we're gathering every single person who leads, serves, or volunteers in our church to an incredible night of worship, leading, challenge and equipping.
4. AUSTIN WOMEN'S CONFERENCE, OCT. 26 This is one of the flagship ministries of our church and I'm so excited that we get to do this. This year, I'm grateful to be a part of it as I'll be teaching one of the sessions.

And, before we even get to any of that, I'm really keyed up about tomorrow's message, "How to Pray". God has given me something to teach (and do!) so far beyond just the mechanics of prayer--although we'll touch on those also.

So, you can see why I'm a little fired up. And, at the same time, I'm incredibly peaceful about the fact that these ministries are exactly what we should be doing at this season in our church's life.

As you continue on our 21-day Prayerway journey, remember to pray for your church, your pastor, and your ministry through the church.

See you tomorrow.



I love my job. Matter of fact, job doesn't even come close to how I feel about what I get to do every day. Like everyone, there are parts of what I do that play more to my weaknesses than my strengths, but even those things feel like just a small price to pay to get to do what I get to do.

Earlier this week, I got to sit down with a wide range of leaders from multiple fields in Houston. I was there to shoot video and pick their brains and steal ideas from them for a new message series and ministry that we're launching in a few weeks.

One of those leaders is Dr. Ed Young who pastors the church where I grew up, 2nd Baptist Church. Among all the things God has given me through Dr. Young and 2nd Baptist, his passion might just be the greatest. At a time when most people are angling toward retirement--or just plain angling--Dr. Young is still driven by his passion for the Lord, for people far from God, and for the Church.

I think God-honoring passion is one of the key elements that God uses to shape us and direct us. You can't fake genuine passion. It's either there or it's not. If it's not, then often it's because I'm not pursuing God's purpose and will for me. Over the next few posts, I'm going to bring some wood to the passion fire.


Good Monday a.m.

What an incredible day yesterday was at LHC. This morning as I was praying through the Prayerway to Heaven prayer guide, it was great to be reminded just how much God really cares for and about us. For and about me. For me, especially as we're coming out of a weekend and cranking up the new week, remembering that the love of God, my relationship with God, is the fuel for everything I do. Or, at least it should be.

I can get really hung up in the weeds of "ought-a" and "gotta" and lose sight of the "get-to" factor. That I get to interact with the God of the universe anytime I choose to because he chose to make himself accessible in prayer because of Christ. That I get to invest myself and my stuff in his church and the mission and vision he's called us to realize.

Yesterday, I was shaking hands at the door and a guy walked out and said this: "I just want to let you know that I've been to church about 4 times in the last 10 years, and my wife and I have been here for the last few weeks, and we are really excited to be finding out more about God and all that."

I hope that fires you up like it does me. To know that God is doing that in his life and at the same time leading and growing long-time Christ-followers to grow and feed ourselves spiritually is why we get up and go one more round on a Monday morning.

Have a great week, and let us know what God is doing through the Prayerway to Heaven prayer guide in the comments section.


Magic 21

Prayer is the most critical component of the Christian life.

Prayer is the least understood component of the Christian life.

The reality of both of those statements fuels my excitement for the new message series that we're kicking off this weekend, Prayerway to Heaven. God is moving in some huge ways in and through LHC, and the lifechange that He's going to effect over the next few weeks is going to strengthen and build on what He's already been doing.

Not only are we going to be focusing on prayer on the weekends, our Pastor of Spiritual Development Chris Larsen is putting the finishing touches on a 21-day online prayer guide that will guide us all through a season of prayer together.

The purpose of the prayer guide is simple: Create a healthy habit. Do something for 21 days and it is ingrained in your mind, your heart, and your lifestyle.

So, this weekend, make it a point to join us for the beginning of what's next in your life and the life of your church. Come a few minutes early. Get the kids situated in their areas of ministry. Be on time to join Mark and everyone else for corporate worship. And be a part of Prayerway to Heaven~Taking the Next Step With God.


Great 48

First, there was ViP Orientation Sunday night. Chad Zunker did a phenomenal job organizing and kicking off a great event that saw so many people plug in to the life and ministries of LHC that make every weekend worship service happen.

Then, Jon Jennings, John Fones, and I piled in the truck and headed for the Dallas area for a video shoot on Monday. It was one of the greatest days I've ever had in ministry. We were shooting video for a message series that will launch a new ministry in early November. Only an hour and a half into a 6-hour shoot, I had enough illustrations and material for 5 different sermons. It's going to be incredible.

Then, I left Jon & John and did some reconnaissance behind what could be considered enemy lines: I went to Norman, OK--home of the OU Sooners--to interview and steal ideas from one of the greatest pastors and churches in the country, Clark Mitchell of Journey Church.

It was one of the greatest blessings I've ever had to spend time with Clark, meet his wife Robin, and share war stories, things that work, and things that don't. And to think God even moves in Norman, OK! When we parted ways, we did throw out the idea of some kind of a friendly, God-honoring...wager (?)... on a little set-to in the Cotton Bowl that's slated for the first weekend in October.

I was only there for about 16 hours, but there was so much openness, laughter, encouragement, and challenge that it could only have been a God-thing. But the biggest God-thing of all was coming home. Every time I travel--which thankfully isn't much--I'm reminded how glad I am for Julie and our home and the haven that she is.


Happy Birthday(s)

This morning represents an incredible confluence of time in our lives. Yesterday, our kids turned 13 and 11 years old respectively. Usually, when people find out they share the same birthday, the first question is, "Did y'all plan that?!"--to which I reply, "Yes. That's just how organized Julie and I are."

It's an incredible time to be a dad. Emily and Joseph are both becoming more and more who God created them to be, and we are really enjoying the process of parenting. We certainly have our moments just like every family, but we're finding that a relentless commitment to honesty and love, coupled with a non-negotiable respect for God-honoring authority in our home helps everything else.

And, it was 10 years ago this morning that Julie and I were getting up and getting ready for the very first service at Lake Hill Church. Under the watchful gaze of a papier mache Chinese New Year Dragon that was hanging in the Forest Trail Elementary School cafetorium, 15 of us set up chairs, sound system, and a coffee station and waited with baited breath to see who would show up.

We're going to celebrate God's goodness throughout these 10 years and where that's propelling us in an incredible service on Oct. 21. But, I'll be posting thoughts and ideas about it here between now and then (and probably beyond 10.21).

Just like with Emily & Joseph, it's an incredible time to be a pastor. LHC is becoming more and more who God is calling us to be. We're doing more and more of what he wants us to do. And, just like in a family, a relentless commitment to honesty and love and flowing in God's authority throughout the church helps everything else.

It's almost like God knew that when he set up the world.