Saturday, August 30, 2003

My daughter turned 4 today! The statement that "time flies" is overstated, but never fully understood until you have a moment of clarity and reflection.
Today was such a day... My little princess who identifies herself with Disney Princesses is growing older. She dreams of princes. She is still at an age where she wants me to be the prince. Some day she will call me the court jester and ask me to give her more space. Now she calls out for one more Bible story, one more hug, one more kiss, one more moment together.... I just want to get back to my book, computer, television show, conversation, etc... BUT BUT BUT!!!!!! There will never be this moment again! The times of her asking for me - wanting me - hoping to be with me are numbered as she grows older. Independence shows up and slaps a parent in the face. Anyways - I say this all to make me think about how I am spending my time with my family... I say this to shake my self to wake myself - to be in the moment and catch the awe and very spiritual moments I share with my growing daughter.

She may want to be called "arial" but she will always be my little "goo."

Our celebration of her started last night with pony rides and fun at Teusinks Pony Farm ( My dad grew up going there, I grew up going there and now my little lady got to go. Today we went down on the farm (Bob Evans) for breakfast and then hung out with my folks in the evening. Great day. Thanks God for the gifts of eachother.

Chatting at a Wesleyan church tomorrow about Watermark. Catching a Detroit Tiger game on Labor Day! SCARY! I just want to say that I am calling for the selling of the Tigers by Mike Illich to an owner who would like to do something to win. Thanks Mike for running the team into the ground while building the Red Wings. I better quit now - I am getting frustrated. God bless Mike I. (pray for those who persecute you) :)

bless you boys,

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Last night we had a core meeting. We had a powerful time of worship even though it was brief. We sang: "I could sing of your love forever" and the spirit of what was happening went deep quickly. In this whole church planting process it seems like there is a heightened sense of the presence of God and a feeling of surrender to Him.

Dennis S. led us through a turbo version of SHAPE (a spiritual gifts assesment tool).
He did a great job getting a ton of info out to us in a short amount of time.
I love seeing people who find their niche in the church. Dennis is a great example of this.

Anyways - we can't move into the high school until late sept./early oct. We will have to meet at the YMCA until then. This is kinda a bummer, because we wanted a few weeks in the school before public launch and now we will have a shorter learning curve there. But everything will work great! This is God's gig.

Quick shout out to Dennis Jackson (since he told me he read this blog). You rock dude!

Had a great Day alone with God today - I'll chat more about that later.

Be the ball,

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

We had a double header in softball tonight and got spanked twice. I typically don't get overly frustrated and worked up over losing, but I played terrible. Some how the fun gets lost in the anger. Especially when the other team is cocky. Sports tends to give you an opportunity to be real. Anyways - I did have fun and hanging with the fellas is always great. We'll get em next time.

After all it is only SOFTBALL! :)

We have a follow up vision chat tomorrow night. Finishing up looking at spiritual gifts. Hopefully we will be able to line people up in areas of service.

Had an awesome meeting with Nate and a guy named Jay - chatting about kids ministry. Great ideas and investing into our lives. We really want to make the kids a huge priority for Watermark.

** Just a quick note to say that we had an amazing send off at Spring Lake Wesleyan Church this past Sunday. Very meaningful! I again praise God for this awesome church with remarkable leadership! **

Have a great one wayne gretsky,

Friday, August 22, 2003

Wow - I had a day off today and actually took it! :) Anyways - I went golfing with a bunch of friends and did not do too shabby. I am not an epic golfer. We played best ball in pairs and actually used some of my shots. Before I sign up for the PGA tour I need to be reminded that I still haven't shot better than a 50 for nine holes! Some how along the way I self destruct. Maybe it is the fact I play the other fair ways... Maybe it is the fact I've played twice a year leading up to this year... Maybe it is the fact that I am not good. Oh well - the cool thing about golf is... (wait! an obvious statement is about to be shared!) in golf you always feel like your best shots are the norm and the continual stream of bad shots are the anomaly. When I have a good shot I think, "it is about time I start playing normal," instead of saying, "that was lucky."

I wonder if in life we do the same thing... Just kidding - I am not going to spiritualize this little lesson into 3 points. :) I'll save that for another day. Just good old fashioned fun with some fellas.

Sunday we hang out with Spring Lake Wesleyan ( and have a commissioning service there. Spring Lake Weso has been a fantastic mothering church! Why?
1) They value the Kingdom of God more than self.
2) They have a "giving and sending" atmoshere and a vision to develop people and churches.
3) They have been encouraging and loving to me and the team.
4) They have given resources, people and prayer unselfishly.
5) They want to have a relationship.

Anyways - I love the team and church at Spring Lake Wesleyan and praise God for our relationship with them. I just pray they will be blessed big time through their sacrifice.

Switching gears... I spent the lunch hour with a buddy named Josh. We chat about life and God and stuff and had a great time. I was again reminded by him that following Jesus and doing life with God is ahead of the world's creative curve. He talks a bit about the church and followers of Jesus being ahead of the world and culture in terms of what is real and valuable and relevant. When you think this way - you begin to see following Jesus as something you openly embrace and live out rather that apologizing for. Anyways - it was a good time and again getting back to the basics.

We were in Taco Bell and a woman heard us talking about helping others encounter Jesus. She came up to us and asked if we wanted to "win souls" and we said yes - we wanted people to follow Christ. Anyways - she explained that we could work at the local Christian station and see great results from that! OH BOY! It was cool to chat with her and hear her passion for helping others, but if you ever see me on religious TV - please smack me. Pretty funny.


Thursday, August 21, 2003

We had a great night of worship and prayer last night! We do a thing called a "Hungry Service." This is a stolen title from a church in Australia, but they are a giving people... :) Anyways - we gathered with a small group of people to worship, pray and share. It was a time to experience God and go to God.

The coolest part for me was when my cousin from out of town shared how he has been clean from substance abuse for the past 100 days and gives praise to God for it. I have spent time trying to see my cousin "change," but only God could do it. What a great example that God can change a life! Only God can change a life! Anyways - it renewed my desire to help others encounter the life changing God. It is so easy to give up hope and release people, but I have got to go after people far from God with my prayers, my love and above all - my God.

Praise God!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

YIKES! It has been a while since I posted something on this thing... Way too much to talk about - so I will not even try to bring you up to speed. I will however mention two times that were significant in the past week - relating to Watermark (the new church).

On Wednesday, last week, we had a core team meeting and focussed on learning our Spiritual Gifts and talked about the fact that everyone who follows Jesus is a minister and God is calling them to follow His lead and serve. (sorry about the run on sentence) Anyways - Dennis S. (a core member) led us through that time. It was awesome to see this guy, who is not a "professional" pastor, take us through the teaching time. What followed after this teaching time was significant for me. We have been in a decision making time regarding where we should locate our Sunday morning gatherings. There has been great discussion and varying points of view on the subject, but all in a great spirit. In this meeting we opened up the subject and people shared different thoughts, ideas, concerns and their desire to follow Christ.

As a pastor of a very very very young church I was extremely excited about the unity of spirit and purpose I saw and experienced during this meeting. I've seen meetings like this before - where people get run over - or people get bitter - or the pastor gets shredded - or the place explodes... Anyways - God knit us together in unity and there is a growing sense of the next step.

One thing I have realized in this - is that - if you do not value and listen to others opinions - you will not learn what God may want to share with you. Also, those who have not been heard will not experience ownership of the final decision. In any case - God is the center of what is happening and I praise God for His movement and the unity He brings.

It is totally and utterly amazing to me how issues like location, colors, style and the like can derail the greatest mission ever mandated. How is it that we so easily slide into pettiness - while the world is crying out for help? I am not innocent from this. But I pray - that His purpose and His presence would be my all and all. Our core team has been walking with God in unity - and for that I give credit to God.

SWITCHING gears... Sunday morning we had a gathering. We were blessed to have 12 adults from a partnering church (Central Wesleyan: come and give us a hand with our children's ministry. Their hearts of service were appreciated! Also the whole morning was able to happen because more and more people are stepping forward to serve up front and behind the scenes. I have met soooo many new people. Some looking for a church - some looking for a way out of church - and some who don't know what church is. We spoke about "being the church" - which is the Body of Jesus Christ. We dealt with the areas of being in community or connection together and serving the world and one another.

Anyways it was an incredible morning and we have out grown the room we have been meeting in. Where are these people coming from? In any case - God gets the credit. We pray and desire that people disconnected from God would do life with us and we are beginning to see that happen.

Well - we have got a TON of details to cover.

i am watermark,

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Finished the Leadership Summit today - great time of refreshing and team.

Went and hung out at Tim and Julie's cottage in the evening - went on a Sea Doo with Autumn. "Not too fast daddy..." Don't worry - I am a wuss.

On our way we got on the subject of children. Autumn was interested in us having another baby - especially a girl. Her reason, I think, is because she could share a room and have a bunk bed. I think she would change her tune if she was older than 3.

We told her that we would have to check with God to see what he thinks on adding another baby some day.
She immediately declared that she would ask - right then. So she - in Autumn fashion - lifts the top of her shirt over her nose and mumbles a prayer into her shirt. (For those who wonder - I explained this earlier in the blog - the idea is that she is talking to Jesus in her heart), So after some mumbling we hear a deeper voice coming from inside her shirt saying, "Yes have another baby!" Autumn was speaking for God and even trying to do a God styled voice! It was funny.

I hate bugs! I am typing this in bed and got bit by a mosquito! AAAHHH! DIE MOSSY DIE!

The Deurs are doing well - so thanks for checking in. Hope you are well.

I will write more about what God is teaching me in the future. (I know you are bubbling with excitement!)

Bug killer,

Friday, August 08, 2003

The last two days I have been at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit - Grand Rapids site. There are 10 other Watermarkers. It has been a fantastic growing and retooling time. I have been challenged in a lot of areas, but one the most. That area is our focus. Watermark is just getting off the starting blocks and already it can be easy to slide into a comfortable trot, follow every opportunity that jumps in our path and compromise what we are all about. I sense a renewed sense of motivation and urgency in what we are about in our community and how we MUST see God's vision for Watermark fulfilled or this area and the world will not be changed.

Anyways - we finish up tomorrow. I am looking forward to putting this stuff in motion in advancing our mission and vision.

By the way, our mission is as follows (forgive me if I've repeated this):

Being the Church.
Making Disciples.

I am pumped to be going public with this! The vision statement is in draft stage and will hopefully be completed very soon, but it answers the problems in our community:
1) 60% of the people don't go to church. (There are lost people all around us!)
2) The community does not have a Biblical understanding of what it means to follow

- out


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Coast Guard festival service project went amazing!
We handed out 3,000 bottles of water to the thirsty (sometimes grabby) crowd.
It was a memorable moment when we turned the corner to enter the parade and the lines of people. I said to Nate Smith as he walked beside me - "this is really happening!" I was in awe. Awe that God has taken this dream of Watermark (a dream that started with Him) and put it in motion. It was one of those moments where you realize that dreams are becoming reality. Anyways - our hope and prayer is that people sensed that they were loved and served and that God would receive the glory... Awesome team headed up by Mike Takas made it happen! Thanks team!

Vicki and I followed up the high with a trip to Chicago with my sister Jody and her husband Brian (who I will from now on refer to as Bif). We went to tour a Frank Llyod Wright home and church. It was very inspirational and fun. Vicki (my wife) is an interior designer and loves stuff like that - so it was great! Hanging out with Bif and Jody is always a great time as well. Special thanks to my folks for watching our daughter and niece so we could go. Harrison came with and did well.

Now we just finished a two day staff retreat / planning time (our first ever)! We sought God in prayer, worshipped, shared together and laid out the mission, vision and values of Watermark. We also worked on our roles and discovered our strengths and best fit.

Tomorrow it is the Willow Creek Leadership Summit - always a highlight!

Anyways - sorry this lacks personal feeling - just bringing you up to speed!

Remember to floss, (yeah right)

Friday, August 01, 2003

We are back from a vacation in northern michigan. It was at a cottage I grew up going to as a kid. It looks a lot smaller than I remember it... Maybe because it is shrinking. Anyways - it was an awesome time with the family!
Turtle hunting, row boats, fishing, swimming, snorkeling the weeds, reading and eating. It was the recipe for fun. I burned badly at the beginning of the week and now find myself peeling...

Anyways - just wanted to say hello - more to come in the days ahead!

Tomorrow Watermark is in the Coast Guard Parade - act of kindness - passing out water! Should be fun! We have an awesome group of people! The thompsons are finally living here - which rocks!

See ya - thanks for checking back,
Refreshed - sd