Everyday Thankful

Here's some of the stuff that I'm grateful for RIGHT NOW:

  1. Coaching my son's basketball team. Practice starts in an hour, and after years of just "having fun," they're actually starting to actually hoop.
  2. The new Hank Williams Jr. playlist on my iPod. Bocephus rocks.
  3. Chilling out watching Life with Julie.
  4. People in the last month who've gone out of their way to tell me what God is doing in their lives through LHC.
  5. A technology roundtable meeting today with some of our staff to talk about how to communicate with different teams and families within our church.
  6. A frosty south Texas morning when the deer are moving and a post-hunt breakfast of coffee and Pop-Tarts with Mike McIntyre.
  7. The Family Stories that will be told this weekend at LHC as we continue Holiday Homecoming.
  8. Kissing Julie.
  9. The twang of a Telecaster.
  10. The sound of Emily and Joseph laughing, hollering, and making fun of each other while they clean the kitchen.


Billy Graham's Prayer for US

Below is Billy Graham's prayer for our nation:

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'


Top 5 All-time

Last night at La Zona Rosa, the LHC family experienced one of the top 5 moments in the history of our church. For the first time since becoming one church in two locations, we were one church in one location, and the Spirit of God was overwhelming. It was a blast to meet so many people who are a part of LHC Downtown and to see the difference God is making in their lives and the difference they are making in the LHC family.

First, I have to thank Mark Groutas, Chad Zunker, Lane Wood, Laura Parker, Chris Heerlein, Scott Leger, and so many others who made everything go last night. The theme for the night was We Will Sing. And sing we did. It was awesome in every sense of the word.

I'm especially grateful to Chris Sanders and Scott & Susan Dunaway who shared their stories of what God is doing in their lives so openly and selflessly.

Here's just a quick recap that John Fones and Kristopher Rutherford put together right after the event (If you'll push PLAY quickly you don't have to scare any small children with the preview pane on the Vimeo player):

We Will Sing Recap from Lake Hills Church on Vimeo.


Bottom Line (3)

Any healthy organism requires checkups from time to time. People go to the doctor and she measures weight, blood pressure, height, cholesterol, and any number of other indicators of overall health.

Church is an organism that has definite indicators of overall health: salvations, baptisms, worship attendance, group/service participation, financial strength.

But, as we've seen this week, the church's primary purpose is lifechange. And that defies easy quantification. Here are some of the challenges attached to this fact:

  1. We never arrive. If we don't enjoy the journey, we may not enjoy much, because a destination is elusive.
  2. The "finished product" we're called to work toward is out of our hands. It's ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit through us and in spite of us.
  3. No matter how focused, diligent, or committed you are, someone will be disappointed or angry.
  4. The stakes are overwhelming. The same thing (see yesterday's #1) that makes this worth investing your life can make it overwhelming when you realize the enormity of our task.
NONE of that is woe-is-me poor-mouthing. It's like everything else: The greatest strength is the greatest weakness. And the call of the church--the Bride of Christ holds some unique challenges. But, it's those challenges that remind us that we cannot do this in and of our own power/talent/vision/giftings. It is by his power and for his purposes. Only.



Bottom Line (2)

As we said yesterday, churches are similar to businesses ONLY in that we, too, have a bottom line. There, the similarities end. Our bottom line is lifechange: people stepping over the line of faith in Christ and becoming more like him in everything we want, think, say, and do.

With that said, there are some distinct blessings and advantages to engaging in furthering that kind of a bottom line vs. producing a profit:

1. What we do really matters. Eternally. There is no wasted movement or effort when a person's life/spirit/soul/marriage/future is on the line.
2. We see people's brokenness healed/redeemed/fulfilled. Nothing's more fueling than that.
3. We discover the genuine purpose/presence of God.
4. Friendship/Community is built and strengthened around a common purpose that never dies.
5. God is glorified.

What a God-honoring, eternity-impacting kick in the pants to get to be a part of!


Bottom Line (1)

Every business has a bottom line. It's the amount of money that they earn after accounting for all the costs, investments, and depreciation of assets.

Church is no different. Well, we are and we aren't. We are NOT different in that we have a bottom line. We ARE different in that it is not money. Our bottom line is lifechange. This past Sunday night, we got a front row seat to see our bottom line impacted greatly through the celebration of baptism.

Baptism in and of itself isn't our bottom line, but it is an indicator of how we're doing in fulfilling the mission of Christ's Church and the particular vision He's called us to realize. Every person who was baptized into the life of LHC is a living testimony to and expression of the power of Christ to change a life in eternity-shaking ways. And, THAT is our bottom line.

In the next few posts, I'm going to explore some of the unique blessings and challenges of bottom-lining lifechange.



President-elect Obama. What an election cycle this has been. Now that the pre-election polls have become results, here are a few thoughts:

1. Pray. Pray for our nation, for all those who serve in positions of leadership. That's easy if your candidate won. But, it's incumbent upon all Christ-followers to remember them regardless of politics. I know that a lot of people had a lot vested in both candidates, and when your candidate loses, it's disappointing. Remember John Wayne's answer to reporters when Kennedy defeated Nixon in 1960: "Well, I didn't vote for him. But he's my president and I hope he does a good job."
2. John McCain is a great public servant. Whatever you think of his politics, you cannot intelligently argue this. After enduring what he did in Viet Nam, the fact that he can get up in the morning and have a coherent conversation is a miracle. The fact that he chooses to get up in the morning and go to work for his nation tells you everything you need to know about his priorities.
3. John McCain ran a lousy campaign. I don't mean a dirty or immoral campaign. I mean a dog. Low-down, dirty, egg-sucking dog of a campaign. He never forged a coherent message or gave a compelling reason to vote for him. He botched the economic meltdown because he tried to politic it. At that point, game over.
4. Barack Obama is an honorable man. Whatever you think of his politics, you cannot intelligently argue this. Everything that we've seen indicates that he loves his wife and daughters and he genuinely wants to serve the nation.
5. Barack Obama ran a genius campaign. Look at the electoral map. Consistent in his message, few details, no leaks, no in-fighting...All he did was unseat Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee and trounce a bona fide war hero on his way to the White House.
6. Now, the hard part starts. Seriously, can you imagine what it would be like to wake up this morning and realize that you had to begin assembling a team and a plan for holding the most powerful job in the world?

That brings us full circle to #1: PRAY for those who lead us.