LHC Downtown This Sunday

Downtown Membership Class Invite from Lake Hills Church on Vimeo.

To all LHC DOWNTOWNERS: This Sunday, we're holding our first-ever LHC Membership Class after the morning worship service. If you're already a member of LHC from the main campus, you don't need to stick around. But, if you're new to LHC, I want to meet you and let you know who we are and what makes us tick. Our vision and our values are the primary message of the Membership Class I'll be teaching, so come on and check it out.

As soon as the service ends, we'll have a box lunch available for you, childcare is provided and then we'll start the class at 1:00. It'll last right at an hour or so (depending on how much coffee I've had!). This first couple of months has been a great start for Downtown. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us as HE builds on this beginning.


South Texas and the Call of God

A good friend recently invited me to hunt with him in south Texas. It's a part of the world that really recharges and refreshes me every time I'm there. It is rough country, but it has a beauty that is raw and rugged. They say that down there if it doesn't bite you or have thorns, it's a rock. And that's pretty accurate.

I've wondered a couple of times what it would be like to earn a living as a writer living on a ranch in south Texas. It wouldn't be any easier than what I get to do now, but it would certainly be less complicated. Get up early, write until mid-morning or noon, and then spend the rest of the day managing the ranch for maximum deer growth, quail habitat and whatever else came to mind.

Whenever I have those thoughts, God reminds me that I'm right in the middle of what I was created for. To be Julie's husband, Emily & Joseph's dad, and pastor of LHC is as full a life as I can even imagine. I would so miss the communities that our family gets to be a part of, that we're strengthened by. I'd miss the beauty of Christ's Bride as she lives out through the people of LHC. I would miss the leadership opportunities to see and sometimes facilitate an intersection between people's gifts and passions and the needs and opportunities of the church.

Author Seth Godin relates a telling story that I think captures this idea:

It's four a.m. and I can't sleep. So I'm sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Jamaica, checking my e-mail.

A couple walks by, obviously on their way to bed, having pushed the idea of vacation a little too hard. The woman looks over to me and, in a harsh whisper a little quieter than a yell, says to her friend, "Isn't that sad? That guy comes here on vacation and he's stuck checking his e-mail. He can't even enjoy his two weeks off."

I think the real question--the one they probably wouldn't want to answer--was, "Isn't it sad that we have a job where we spend two weeks avoiding the stuff we have to do fifty weeks a year?"

Hit the COMMENTS button below and let me know what you love about what you get to do every day.


Who's at Vault?

This coming Sunday, I’m continuing the sermon series UNCERTAINTY. Below is a quick video preview of what we’ll be talking about on Sunday. After you check it out, I want to ask you to forward it to someone you know who doesn’t go to church, someone who is looking for the peace and the hope that God offers them.

We get to share that with the people around us regardless of what the economy is doing or who wins the election or any other circumstance. Thanks for being the church and sharing God with the folks in your sphere of influence.

Uncertainty // Week Three from Lake Hills Church on Vimeo.


Uncertainty on the Decline

It's been an amazing roller coaster ride for the last few weeks, and the world's uncertainty doesn't show any signs of slacking up any time soon. BUT, we are getting to see some clear evidence of God's grace and protection through the uncertainty.

In Sunday's community worship, one wife came to one of the morning services even though her husband couldn't come with her. Her takeaway from the service was all about the priorities they pursue as a family. After experiencing God and hearing clearly from Him, she encouraged her husband to come to the evening service. His takeaway focused almost exclusively on the consistency quotient that we explored. Together, they got it!

They are just one example of the people and homes that God is touching, teaching, encouraging, and shoring up through this sermon series. Another man and his wife shared how they have never really shared the faith part of their life together until they started worshiping with LHC recently. Together, they're getting it!

Thank you for being the kind of church where long-time Christ-followers and tire-kickers alike are encouraged, challenged, and--above all--welcomed. Thank you for inviting people to encounter and experience the hope and peace of Christ in the midst of so much uncertainty. Keep it up.


The Buddy System

When I was a kid on Beach Retreat with my church, whenever we went in the ocean we had to have someone go with us. Between undertow, sharks, and other oceanic hazards, it was good to have someone who was looking out for you. When the LOD (Lifeguard on Duty) blew the airhorn, we had to go find our buddy and raise our hands together until they sounded the airhorn a second time. That was the program for helping to make sure everyone stayed safe and accounted for in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, a phenomenal friend of mine flew in from Upper State New York to attend the Spur L'ship Conference with one of his staff members (I know it's Upstate, but we have another mutual friend that we like to harass for calling it Upper State). Buddy Cremeans is the Pastor of Northway Church. They have multiple locations throughout the Clifton Park-Colonie region of New York (and their Malta location is in process as we speak), and they are absolutely crushing it for the Kingdom in an area not noted for church growth fertility. (NOTE: If Upstate NY is accessible to you, next week on Monday, Oct. 13, Buddy is hosting a C3 Regional Conference with Ed Young. These one-day events are packed with hard-won principles that will promote mission-critical practices for a monster payoff in your church. You can get more info and register by hitting this link for CreativePastors.com.)

Since he left Austin last Friday morning, he has called or texted me four other times to encourage me, say thank you, and ask an opinion or two. Buddy is one of those people that fill my tanks. Every time I talk to him, or Julie and I get to be around him and his bride Debbie, we are fueled, in-couraged, and strengthened to go fight another day.

No airhorns, no literal sharks in the water or actual undertow. But, the Buddy System works. It's great to have people who are looking out for you and make the time to check on you.

Who's your "Buddy System" partner?


Monday Morning

Monday a.m. after three weekend services, a conference on Thurs. and the LHC Dntn taping on Wed.--I love what I get to do. And I'm tired.

So, this a.m.'s post is a Mark Cuban blog post from last week: How to Get Rich. Now, Cuban's borderline crazy but that doesn't mean he's wrong. You could also call this post "How to be Financially Smart."

Read Cuban's post and comment here with your thoughts about what he says and what's going on in our economy right now.


Preschool Pavarotti

Never been a big opera fan. Don't hate it. Don't love it. I've got a few pieces on my iPod so I'm not a complete Philistine, but it's just not my bag.

But, I do appreciate the talent required to pull it off well. The few times that I got to see Luciano Pavarotti perform on TV, he absolutely blew me away. There's just something about watching anyone who's the best do what they do. It's inspiring. Challenging. Fun. Contagious.

That's exactly how I felt this morning when I happened to walk past a classroom full of preschool kids whose moms were otherwise engaged in our Mom to Mom ministry. And, there in front of those kids was a woman so gifted, so engaging, so passionately teaching them the story of God's creation that I just sat there and giggled watching her.

She had those kids in the palm of her hand, waiting with baited breath for her next sentence or song or shimmy. It was literally a work of art to behold her teaching and inspiring those kids, giving them a desire and a hunger for the love of God and the Word of God.

I was blown away. Grateful for a church that cares that much about children. And their moms. And dads. Grateful for a volunteer who is so gifted, passionate, joyful, and willing to serve. That volunteer was an HD picture of what can be and what should be for all of us as we serve and lead.

(And I really believe that I would feel that way even if I weren't married to her.)