Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Wade shares a cool story at the Watermark Stories blog (link to the left).

Tonight we pick up my parents from the airport. They were in Europe for about 3 weeks! We missed them a ton.
Anyways we look forward to seeing them.

I have been marching through my huge TO DO list and find it oh so exciting. Not... but it has got to get done.
Today I was able to make some headway on chairs for our gatherings and signage.

Well - have a good one... I turn 32 on Friday and find myself watching the Johnny Cash video "hurt" everyday as a reminder of how short, sweet and powerful living life is... I need to get in shape for my health - I'd like to live to at least 90. That would be cool. I am not really interested in a heart attack at 40 or something along those lines. :)

This week we are at Grand Haven High school for the first time! I'll let you know how it goes. Going to have a worship time and a look back and look ahead. Gearing up for October 12 public launch.

Our web site got a basic landing page organized and the real deal is in development. Thanks to Ked for the design help! He is the graphic guru - it is not a myth or lie.

high fives,

Sunday, September 28, 2003

This morning for our time of gathering we spent time experiencing our children's ministry: surf city.
We had everyone go through some of the things that our kids do. For example we all did a craft, we moved to a story/teaching time and we had a game/activity. It was a lot of fun and very different for people, but I think that it was a great way to move kids away from being just a ministry of the church to the kids being seen as the church.

Anyways - our kids team did great and I pray that through this time people will value the next generation more and even pursue serving in that extremely important way.

We then hung out with the staff families for lunch at our place - good time to just hang and connect.

By the way - I went golfing on Saturday with 3 guys from our small group. I shot a 48 - which for me is good. It was a lot of fun.

Lots of work to do this week!
Figure out and organize:
>> Signage
>> Chairs
>> Rental facility for storage/office/small meeting space
>> Newspaper and other advertising
>> Series stuff finalized
>> Big mailing coming up

Lots to do! I wanted to type some of it in so that I'll be reminded to do it by all who read this - or so you can help with it! :)


Friday, September 26, 2003

We had small group last night and had a great time. I have been thinking alot about what a small group is and what it does. I think for a long time I felt like a small group had to be a very intimate, deep experience for it to be effective. I think that is amazing when and if that happens, but the problem for me is that I want to go to that place now. So - instead of dragging people to a place they do not want to go - I have decided to lead my group to the place they do want to go. Yes, they want to grow in their marriage and they want to grow with Jesus, but not through the methods and experience I so often deliver. Now I am trying to find ways to grow a step closer to Jesus in the context of enjoying each other and at the pace that is natural for people. We will get there, but it takes the pressure off when you don't treat the group like a project and start treating it as people.

The question is: would I want to come and belong to my group if I wasn't leading it? Wow.

Anyways - it was great and I am beginning to care more and more for those in our group. I pray that we will continue to grow and develop.

edie chiao baby

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Sending out a letter today to area pastors and churches about Watermark... Basically letting them know who we are and what we are about. I made it clear in the letter that we are not interesting in seeing people come from other churches, but our prayer is that unchurched folks would get connected. I also shared how to contact us if they wanted to chat. I hope that the letter will be a bridge building tool for Christian unity in this area.

Anyways - gotta jet,

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

We lost in softball.
I was bad.
It is over...
But it was a great opportunity to connect with the fellas.

Good night sweet softball - until next time...

I had lunch with my grandpa Deur today. It was a great time of playing pool and feasting on a pork chop.
He beat me in the few games we played. He also showed me photos of his dad and mom and my great great grandfather and mother, etc... In a document, I read how our family came from the Netherlands for religous freedom and how they were very active in the faith. What a great heritage.

Anyways - it was a year ago today that my grandma Deur passed away. I miss her. She was such a fire cracker of fun!
LIVA! is what she'd call her grand kids. Anyways - thanks God for my family.


Monday, September 22, 2003

On a recreational level:
Tomorrow night is our final soft ball game. It is at 7:10 pm.
I am asking all of you who read this to pray that our team will win!
I know God doesn't really care, but it makes me feel better.
If we are mercied again - I fear for our safety and salvation.

So please pray - even if you read this the day after... Why? Because I reckon God is not bound by time and knows you are going to pray and therefor applies the extra prayers even before you pray them. Does that mean we can pray against the evils of history and God will act in the past? Why not! God isn't bound by time and he can change things - but you'll never know if it worked because history would have been changed and you would never know! WHAT! Just having a little fun. Wierd thought though. (If you are new to the Christianity thing - ignore this and chalk it up to bad humor.)

Swinging for the fences on Tues. the 23rd!

Wow! What an amazing gathering we had on Sunday!
I think the key word is "gathering." My morning was turned upside down by God when I got that.
Over the past few "gatherings" I have seen these Sunday times more as a service or even a program.
This idea goes against the very ideas I even have shared - that is the frustrating part!

My belief is that our Sunday morning times are "gatherings" of people who are living life with God and others and where we together celebrate, grow, connect and follow God corportately. However - I can get so caught up in trying to make it into an entertainment environment that impresses people. This is not my desire, but my instinct. So this week I just again sensed God reminding me that Watermark is Jesus' church - not mine. Man this leadership stuff is hard. It is so little about me and so much about Him. Leadership is so not about me advancing, but rather God advancing. SIDE NOTE...

Well, anyways - I was reminded that Jesus said that he would build his church... I am the branch - he is the vine - apart from him there is NO FRUIT! NO CHURCH! NO NOTHING! So when I caught the vision fresh for myself that we are celebrating Jesus and acknowledging him as leader - the whole burrito changed!

This made sense to me on the morning and my heart was different. My experience was genuine. My trust was unwavering. My relationships joyous and pure.

Anyways - all that to say - life naturally pulls you to be the center and the only person who deserves to be there is Jesus.

"Tho none go with me - I still will follow."


Saturday, September 20, 2003

Hey -my buddy Kory is starting to write a book and is posting it online along the way.
Check in and give a read from time to time.

I know I'll enjoy it because it will be set in the 80's - my favorite decade.

The link is on the page under: Kory's Book

Had a great time in Detroit with family this weekend and looking forward to our gathering tomorrow.
We have to load in and set up tomorrow at 7 am! AHHHHH! Here we go! :)

Go Tigers! Fire Mike Illich!


Thursday, September 18, 2003

We are starting a new blog for watermarkers to write in... This may or may not fly.

If you want to write in the Watermark Stories blog follow the instructions below:
Go to: www.blogger.com
User name: Sign in as: watermarkstories
Password: iam
On the right hand side of the screen click on "Watermark stories"
Type in the "post" windom.
Click "preview your post"
Then hit publish your post.

Have fun sharing God stories of being the church and making disciples.

I had a great day of wrestling with the talk for this Sunday... We are looking at the vision of the church.
The key phrase is: See it to see it. The idea being - you have got to have a vision and picture of where you are going and what you are becoming before you can see it happen.

I look forward to laying the vision out.

I will put our vision statement down here in case you are even remotely interested... if not tough. :)

Because Jesus is the center of our lives and we are devoted to Him, there is a contagious sense of awe, joy and generosity. As a result...

> people are constantly living life together in unity
> the wider community is being served and transformed
> the community's understanding of what it is to follow Jesus is being redeemed
> the lost are becoming followers of Jesus
> the next generation is a catalyst for the movement and an example to all believers
> God's Spirit of creation inspires innovation throughout the body
> new churches are being planted from Watermark throughout the world

The entire time the church is giving praise, credit and recognition to God.

And the Lord is rapidly expanding His Kingdom...

Anyways - I really enjoyed my afternoon of planning and study and sense the passion and purpose of where we are going more now than ever.

In a dissappointing turn - the high school is taking FOREVER to clear everything for us to be there. We may need to push the "public launch" back one week so that we can be ready and it the school. God is in control and we are trusting Him. We can use the school, but we may not get in by the time we needed. Praying that God would build a strong relationship with us and the school...

See it to see it,

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

I went to Autumn's first "cheerleading class." This is a time for kids aged 4-12 to learn how to cheer. Does that really require a class? Do we need classes in how to encourage with style? Apparently, because there were quite a few kids and the bill made me shudder. Anyways - I think Vicki and I need this class more than Autumn. She loves it and we find ourselves struggling to let this little lady go. I see her not catching on as quick and I want to jump in and grab her and protect her... AHHH! How am I ever going to survive! Gotta keep giving her to God.

Anyways - while we were there I hung out with "the cool one" Wade. (I just gave him that nickname.) We met another guy there who has quite a tough life story. He seems to be desiring to make some changes in his life. It was cool to chat with he and Wade. I think that over time Wade and I will be a good connection for him and hopefully help him connect with God. But, I have to say - meeting people who are in need of God is a VERY good thing for me. It reminds me that I need God. It reminds me of my purpose in life. It adds to my life. I never want sharing God to be a conquest or a "let's get em" mentality. I want it to be about loving God and loving others.

Well enough said.

If loving the Lord is wrong... I don't wanna be right! :) WHAT!?

Today is my honey's 30th birthday! Welcome to the club sweetie! :)
She rocks as a wife and mom and I am so grateful for her.

Thankful for my wife,

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I am utterly humbled. I struck out looking in softball.

Wondering why I play,

I had a great conversation with some pastors of another church in town. We discussed how to be active partcipants within the community. I was excited to hear another church talking about breaking apart the mentality of "come and see." I hope this leads to a partnership of learning and service between our churches.

I am trying to get my self back on a set schedule. I met with my awesome coach - Pete Yoshonis - and again realized that I often spend too much time in areas that do not require my attention at this stage in my life. I have got to prioritize and be focussed in my efforts.

Another thought. I have been realizing how I lack brilliant intelligence. This may be obvious to you, but we all have self bias. I believe that great leadership is born out of an accurate understanding of who we are and who we are not. The vital understanding is the answer to : "where are we going?" Simple - but often missed and easy to forget. If I can be like my dumb dog and stay focussed on something with prayer and action - things will happen and will be aligned. Anyways - I am seeing how simple leadership is, but at the same time - incredibly profound!

Well - gotta go and play softball. I choose to have a great attitude and be like Jesus (minus the homeruns and no errors).

Softball guy,

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Today we had our second pre-view gathering. The whole morning was a journey through the core values of Watermark.
Our core values are: intimacy with God, everyone a minister, seeking the lost, reproduction, innovation, life together and community influence. It was a good morning as we continue to establish alignment and unity in what Watermark is called to be about.

I saw a little bit of the planet of the apes on tv today - the old one. I absolutely love planet of the apes. I have a self declared sci-fi geek. Star Wars, Star Trek, the outer limits, the sci-fi channel and all things space and time travel... I just disclosed a piece of my soul.

One thing regarding our pre-view services - I feel like we need to do a better job at following up people who visit and building momentum for people plugging into small groups and coming to gatherings... Anyways - we'll work through some of this tomorrow... :) We are improving each week.

I have been feeling sad over the death of Johnny Cash. His song, "hurt" - a cover of a nine inch nails song is pretty moving and the video is powerful. I have been thinking a bit about life and how short it is and how we influence others. Our lives are a story... When I see Johnny Cash I think of my grandfather - I miss him and wish he could see what is going on in my life...

Anyways - see ya,


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Well......hmmmm..... oh! I know - I murdered 2 bees today with my bare hands. Those evil stinging creatures that strike fear in the hearts of my family succumbed under the pressure of my palm. Smack! Your dead! Then guilt.... Thou shalt not kill Steve!

Today I worked on some ideas on how to get the word out regarding this new church we are living. We are looking at everything from newspapers, television, door to door, posters, cards, movie screen slides etc... I am always torn on the whole advertising thing. I want people to know we are here, but I would rather have them find out through experiencing life alongside a "watermarker." I feel uncomfortable promoting stuff - it feels kind of fake, but I guess it is needed to inform people. It can be done in a way that is fun and informative... I just need to get over the whole over thinking thing. It seems like there is a whole sub-culture out there that slams anything remotely resembling church growth strategies and ideas to help people connect with the church. I have to admit - I am probably in that sub-culture - but not everyone in our community aligns with that sort of thinking. Different methods are needed to reach different types of people. All people are valuable and deserve to hear the good news about Jesus in a way that they can understand and experience.

Sorry about that mind meld there.... got off the subject - I'll hop on the whole "post modern" thing sometime in the future. I am smack dab in the middle of it - I breath it and live much of it - however I hate what it is becoming with all its celebrities, blogs, rantings, sites, conferences, etc... I read em, go to em, love em, but hate that I am sucked in. Huh... I'll save it for another day.

Back to real life - we had an awesome night tonight as a family going down town and having a meal together. We then ran into Brett and Kristin (Brett is from New Zeeland and interning at Spring Lake Weso and Watermark). We had ice cream and hung around. It was a nice time of sharing life together and learning each others stories. Brett and the other staff fellas have done an amazing job in laying out this next weeks gathering! It will be innovative, experiential and fun. Above all - God will be the center!

Well - I gotta go.
Shout outs:
Greg S. - Pinyatas are life
Wade - keep eggs out of your harmonica
Marci - the blog is with you
President Bush - keep it real - yo.
Bees - you can buzz but you can't hide.
Kevin - the beard is a terrible thing to taste. what?
Rev. Thompson - thanks for keeping up with Watermark! :) We are better because of your kids.


Monday, September 08, 2003

We had our first pre-view gathering yesterday. We talked about the mission of the church. Over the next few weeks we will go through the basics of Watermark. Today we are going to meet and debrief the gathering. Our kids program went awesome!

Anyways - we had our first small group meeting last night! It was a great time of connecting with people. I think that we are going to really enjoy living life alongside these people. Every single person senses they need to go deeper with God and are looking forward to pursuing that.

Well - I don't feel like writing anything - so I'll download later...


Thursday, September 04, 2003

A young man in our area was presumed drowned yesterday. He was a buddy of a young man I know. It is pretty sad. Another Grand Haven high school kid... Praying for the family and the community...

That has brought up an issue for me... How do we as a people who follow Jesus - respond to this situation and others like it. Of course there are always the prayers, listening, flowers and cards, but what else can a group of Christ followers do or BE to the community and those impacted at times like this?

I think we need to put together a task force of people from Watermark to work on possible plans for a variety of situations. So that we can be ready to respond - know how we can serve - and be able to be Christ to someone in pain.

Anyways - just some thoughts... This dove tails into what I am talking about this Sunday as we talk about the mission of the church... Being the Church and Making Disciples. How can we move beyond WWJD (What would Jesus Do?) to allowing the very person of Jesus to live through me? Being Jesus to the community! Also we are talking about imprinting others with Christ and have a little suprise for everyone to see... I can't give it away. :)

We start our first pre-view gathering this week and then we are in the weekly schedule! HERE WE GO!

Had a great time yesterday with Pete Yo. helping us with some structure ideas for ministry. Got to hear about the kids ministry a ton - which I am super excited about! Then we hung out at Steve and Jessica's home with the staff families. Great group of people! It is a joy and honor to work along side them!

Well gotta finish up my message for sunday...