Thursday, September 30, 2004

Just got done watching the debate and after coverage. Wow - I can't imagine being on live television and having questions flying at you and getting attacked and pushed and prodded, but both men went through the gauntlet. It was a lot of what we have been hearing over the course of the last few monthes. I just tried to picture myself in that situation and having to clearly articulate a position. I guess it wouldn't be hard if you know your position and you have been stumping with that position for weeks...

I need a complete overhaul of my message. This is a disappointment, but it will take us to where we need to go. We are talking about healing this week.

Here is a question for the blogsphere... Does God heal people? Do you believe that? If so, how do you reflect that belief? Have you seen it? Have you prayed for it?

I think that if we really truly believed that God was active and involved in our world today we would be breaking down the doors of prayer meetings and treating hang out times as miracle centers. But that is coming from a closet charismatic. :)

Stay cool,
I have been mad swamped yo!

I wanted to share one thing that happened that was pretty impacting for me on Tuesday. We as a staff team strolled through some neighborhoods in two's. We prayer walked. It was a heart opening experience to really take time and look at the homes and to be open to God to reveal different prayer needs in each home. It was impacting to think about where each family or individual may be if they never connect to a local church. Where else will they receive living hope? Where else will they learn about eternal life - right now? It was a compassion filled experience.

I encourage you to take a half hour and walk through your apartment complex, your neighborhood or dorm floor and ask God to help you see people through His eyes and to love them with His heart. Pray for needs God may have brought to mind. Pray that God would use you to impact the community and to love them.

Anyways - we have some big invites into our lives coming up. Pray that our neighbors will be open to connecting.

The Stone Roses were supposed to be the next Beatles,

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hey. Here is a rundown...

Sunday: Gathering - spoke on ABBA
Lunch - with Roach and Jude
Core Focus - taking in Hybel's and talking the "local church."

Monday: Studied for this weeks message.
Had a burger at Big Dogs
Programming time with the gang.
Great family time

Tomorrow: Staff meeting (got something unique planned)
Lunch with mentor (Dennis J)
Meeting with Roach
Evening with my folks

Something fun I'm working on (my new hobby for a while): I am contributing articles and ideas for the "emergent wesleyan" site. I am working on a few articles at the moment and the one I can't wait to write is "emerging arrogance." Get it? Wait and I'll let you know when it hits the site.

In the meantime - good night, or rather, good morning! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Say hello to Dan the Arizona Man. Dan is a great finder of golf balls and is connected to me through family marriage. Welcome Dan!
I will post more later, but for now I want to say a blogger goodbye to Nate Smith (N8 the Falcon). After over two monthes of no blogging he has decided to hang up the key board and enter real life. I will be removing his link and wish him well. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Quick idea: You pick the next discussion or topic for a post. Comment below and submit a subject matter to share on. I will give my two cents and hear what the rest have to say. Or if this idea bites you can just ignore me. :)

The message for this week is already in the bag! Wow - I haven't finished one by Wednesday in a long time! It is about the name: "ABBA." Not the stylish singing group, but rather the aramaic word for father. Hebrews used this word as a more intimate version of father - kind of like saying, "daddy." Anyways, it is cool to think of God as "Daddy."

Working today on the devotionals for 2 for 2. Big project! I may go to Holland to Western Theological Seminary to do it in their wonderful library.

Speaking of "2 for 2" how is it going for you? (If you are a Watermarker).
How are the prayer times during the day?
Who has God been laying on your heart to bring?

Last night we had the Konings over for dinner. It was really nice hanging out with them and we really value them. They are Watermark. Vicki made her broccoli potato soup and it was as usual awesome!

Crank the beast!

A few special hellos to: Dan the arizona man, Wade the ionia silver back, Dougie Fresh, Brandon the Bruce, the Jackson clan, and other friends outside the Watermark zone.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Finished reading Andy Stanley's book entitled, "Fields of Gold." It was about giving and recognizing God as owner of all and seeing ourselves as stewards. Basic stewardship and generosity book, but great logic and good examples to make it approachable for a lot of people.

I love to give and after reading this book I want to find more ways to up our generosity and maximize our stewardship.

Imagine if every person lived a life of generosity... Wow - would we need government programs? Would we need financial aid? Would we all need a lawn mower of our own? I am convinced that this life of generosity is just not possible in a long lasting, life altering and authentic way apart from Jesus and the power of the gospel.

Only Christ has the resource to have us live differently. Everything else is nice ideals based in other belief systems that I don't think have the power for the peculiar life of a Christ follower.

As Bill Hybels says, "Here I stand."

Monday, September 20, 2004

Went well sharing the "2 for 2" campaign at the gathering. Yesterday we had a great lunch with friends and then had an amazingly fun time at the Road Rally. There were quite a few people there and we had a great team. We did not do well, but we had fun!

One clue we missed was - "A cowboy, cop and construction worker stay here." What do you think? I can't believe we missed this and needed help! It is the YMCA! Duh! :) Great clues and great work by the Myers Life Group!

Had a breakfast meeting and now I am heading out to work on studying for the message this Sunday. Also have programming. Have a good day!


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Since you are a dedicated reader of "deurty," I want to share something with you before everyone else and it has nothing to do with having another child or anything like that. It has to do with Watermark.

As you may know we have been in the process of gearing up to add a second gathering on Sunday mornings. One is planned for 9:30 and the other for 11:00. The scheduled launch date for that is September 26th which is about a week away.

Anyways - our team has been phenominal in getting everything organized! People have been recruited and placed in service opportunities, timelines and systems have been established and structurally we are ready.

However, I have sensed uneasiness. The uneasiness I have felt has a few different sources, but one main foundational point. The sources are... There are still a lot of people who just don't know about adding a gathering. Also there is a lack of excitement surrounding the change. SOOOOOO - being that I am SUPPOSED to be leading I take these two things seriously and wonder where it comes from... hmmmm... maybe I am involved? :)

I recognize that I have been working hard at communicating about the systems and structures and the "little" whys to add a gathering and I have missed the HEART of the matter, which is reaching our lost friends and neighbors. As a result I have not been communicating the "BIG" why: which again comes back to making more room in our gatherings and in our lives to bring people not connected to Christ.

So - what do you do when you are leading and you realize this two weeks prior to launching a gathering? We have it all organized, but I see a passive spirit of why we are doing it in my own heart and in the people around me...

So - we have decided to push the date back to October 17th so that we will have more time to actively prepare our hearts for what God wants to do. That is the first Sunday following our one year anniversary. It is the start of year two! So we are launching a fun and vision oriented campaign called, "2 for 2." The idea is to play into the political campaign genre. We will have commercials, a fake candidate, flyers, posters, signs, etc... All to begin to get the purpose of why we are adding a gathering out to the team. "2 for 2" can be broken down into: 2 gatherings in year 2; 2 min. to pray at 2; and 2 people to bring to 2 gatherings. We also will be doing a devotional together that focusses on Christ's heart for the lost and our role in reaching our friends. We will have a week of prayer and fasting prior to starting the second gathering.

Anyways - please pray for God to move in our hearts! I wanted you to know - thanks!

Learning to be a follower,

Friday, September 17, 2004

Today is my honey's birthday! 31 today! Feel free to contact her and say hello... :)

My wife is an amazing partner in life and phenominal mother and wife. I thank God for her and pray she has an outstanding day today!

Also, on her birthday, a little baby is being born. Wade and Michelle are having Peyton today. Visit them today through Monday at NOCH. CONGRATS!

Going out for my honey's birthday tonight - should be great!

Lucky fella,

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Quick run down of today:
Morning: began working on a three week devotional for Watermark to do together.
Lunch hours: met with Pete Yoshonis for coaching and talking through upcoming stuff.
Afternoon: continued work on devotional; gathered some resources for message; read
Tonight: met with Life Group!

We finally got together with our life group tonight and it was soooo nice. I really love our group. Great people with a desire to connect and be real. I chatted with them about some leadership stuff and it was great getting their feedback.

Tonight Ed Hatt called me and we were trying to think through some names of men in their late 50's or 60's who are mature followers of Jesus and solid family guys and great investors in people. I thought of my dad and a few other guys, but otherwise it seems that older men are missing - or they don't invest in me - or I don't know them - or I don't think they have anything to offer me. hmmm. Anyways, it made me appreciate my dad who is 56 this year and growing with God, in family life, in understanding culture and trends and investing in the next generation. I DON'T SEE THAT ENOUGH and DOG GONE IT - THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST NEEDS IT! I need to be in the game in my 80's! Maybe I am blind.

God bring people into our lives who are mature and who can bring wisdom and investment to your Body.

Feeling young with a pair of old man knees,

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Recap of my week to date...

Monday: Went and saw President Bush in Holland and had some meetings.
Tuesday: Staff day working through two gathering stuff and then some meetings. Hung with the folks at night.
Today: Meetings, meetings and working on our two gathering communications.

Anyways - I feel like my leadership is heavy in personal vision casting right now. I am realizing more and more the importance of one on one vision casting to moving the church forward in God's power.

I'll lay out some cool stuff coming up in Watermark soon...


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Good morning this morning at the gathering. I enjoyed speaking and felt like it was fairly clear... :)

One thing I took away from the message this morning is that God and God alone is in control. No matter what comes on the news, no matter what people say, no matter how much power and control we think we have and no matter the odds or obstacles - God is the Most High God - El Elyon. Why then do I fight Him for control. He is wise and I am foolish. He is truth and He loves me. He knows what is best. SOOOOO why is it hard to release control to Him. But, is it possible to release control of something or someone to God if He is really in control in the first place? Is releasing control to God more for us than for Him?

I am looking forward to New Zealand and entering the kiwi paradise of Brett Jones. I can't believe I will be there over the election, but I think it will be good for me. I tend to get just slightly on edge and worked up over election day - so doing God's work will be a good perspective help! :)

Have a good night sleep-

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Today is the three year anniversary of 9/11. A lot has happened since then... In fact the world and the way we live has changed. We have learned first hand the face of terrorism in our nation. We remember the brave soldiers today. We remember those that gave of their lives to rescue people. We remember the almost 3,000 dead. We remember that united we stand. I pray that God would bring peace to the earth and to the hearts of those who hate - no matter who they are. I thank God for the opportunity to live in our country and worship Him in freedom. We don't have it all together, but we do have freedom and opportunity and this nation has shown itself to be generous. I pray that God would guide us in the years ahead... I pray that the church will be an 'unstopable force' for truth, justice and Christ centered action.

Tomorrow is a special gathering time. It is the first gathering of the school year. It is the gathering in which most people come back to after a summer of vacation, family time and being out of town. It is the beginning of our ministry season. I am filled with optimism and excitement as we approach our second season of ministry together.

Today we cleaned out the hot tub. We are getting it ready for the cool nights coming. I love being in the hot tub on a cool night - just relaxing - looking at the stars and chatting with Vicki.

Today was a good family day and now that the kids are in bed I need to crank some stuff out for tomorrow. :)

United we stand,

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Can you say 'modern day slaughter?' Wow - we had an awesome time at the Tiger's game (games in fact - yesterday's was rained out so we watched two instead of one!). BUT, they lost the first game to the Royals 26 to 5! That was not a typo. 26 runs on 26 hits. I have never seen such poor pitching or fielding! I have never seen so many lucky hits! Wow - it was horrible and painful to watch, but the Tigers roared back to a shutout in the next game thanks to a pitching gem from Jeremy Bonderman.

A few exciting details:
> We got the tickets and parking for free. (so everything is better)
> We saw two games instead of one.
> We had amazing seats only about 7 rows back from the visitors dug out.
> We saw George Brett only a few rows down from us and I spotted him before others.
He got up to get food or whatever and I said very non-challantly, "Hey George." Cool seeing a legend.
> I was able to spend great time with my grandfather, dad and sister.

An interesting fact:
Food is expensive! Wow! I don't drink beer and don't know prices, but they were selling cans for $7.25! I think that is high. Hot dogs: $3; Bottle of soda: $3.25; Nachos: $5 Man they give you heart attack meals to consume and make you pay heart attack prices. But there is nothing like a hot dog at the ball park!

Thanks to the fellas for recording their gift scores - looking forward to hearing others...

Tommy Brookens,

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Been working toward upgrades in our structures, leadership reproduction and gatherings. I spent a chunk of the day working through the book of Daniel and exploring God's name of "El Elyon" or in other words: "God Most High." This name speaks of God's ultimate sovreignty and control. This is something I wrestle with. I KNOW He is smarter, better, more just, more purposeful and perfect, but I still KNOW what should happen! :) What is it to let go of CONTROL to God? How do you let God take your life and let it be?

I added a spiritual gifts test that you can take online under the links heading. Take it and share your results with us if you'd like.

Tomorrow I am taking my day off and will work Friday all day instead. I am going to a Tigers game with my grandfather, my dad and my sister. Thanks to my father in law's connection we have incredible seats, free parking and all for the price of an email. That my friends is priceless! I can't wait to watch the game - I freaking love baseball! I may yell random things at the players... Maybe I'll preach Sunday's message to them... Huh?

Servant of the Most High God,

Monday, September 06, 2004

Went to the beach with the family today. Great time with the kids and body surfing! Oh man I love body surfing! Above is a pic of the lake... This is why I like to live here!

Big week gearing up for the launch of the fall ministry season. Lots to do and little time.

Have a great day.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

As a senior in high school I was a regular at a club called, "The Park." It received that name because it was the old "Park Theater." We would go every Saturday night until midnight and dance and hang out with friends and the ghouls of the city. It was filled with all kinds of people... From goths (before it was terribly cool), to "progressive" people, to european styled dance freaks and even skin heads. It was a great time that taught me to care for and accept people different than me.

Anyways - in that time - I was growing my hair out and looking as "progressive" as I could. Putting the molding mud in my hair and throwing some cologne on was a ritual. I loved to dance and would dance hard for hours. Rarely did I take a break and by the end of the night I would be smelling like smoke, cologne and sweat. I loved it.

In anycase - those days are gone, but I made a mix CD of some old music I have and I thought I;d post it here to give you a feel for the music that was played. This is a sample.

Debaser Pixies
Join in the Chant Nitzer Ebb
Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division
No New Tale to Tell Love and Rockets
I Want Your (Hands on Me) Sinead O'Connor
Lucretia my reflection Sisters of Mercy
How soon is now? The Smiths
I wanna be adored The Stone Roses
In between days The Cure
She sells sanctuary The Cult
Please, please, please… The Smiths
A strange kind of love Peter Murphy
Shine On The House of Love
Cuts you up Peter Murphy
Getting away with it Electronic
Living in Oblivion Anything Box
Boys don't cry The Cure

Turned the table, turned the tide, left Joe Keith, without a ride.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Just got back a while ago from my sister and brother in law's place in Indiana. He is a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. We left yesterday, on my day off, and came back today. It was a nice time of recharging.

I am currently taking votes and/or suggestions for hobbies. I don't really have any at the moment and I am trying to move beyond just work and sitting doing nothing. (Just know that I can't run or jump with my bum knee).

Here are some options:
> ART (I enjoy drawing and would maybe enjoy painting.)
> HIKING (I like walking trails and love the woods.)
> GOLF (I think it is too expensive and I am not good enough, but I'll put it on here.)
> MAKING FILMS (I desire to make a movie with Kevin Stinehart, but need to get cracking!)
> COOKING ETHNIC FOODS (Maybe I could find exotic dishes to cook.)
> ASTRONOMY (I have always wanted a telescope and a chart of the stars.)

What do you think? Do you have a hobby? Is it possible to have a hobby with two little kids?

Tomorrow we have a special family Labor Day gathering - should be enjoyable.

i be watermark,

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I just got done watching the President deliver his acceptance speach at the GOP convention. Great speach - no matter your political background. Anyways - I was thinking how much I would love to have a moment to address the nation like that. It would be amazing to speak to millions with 15,000 supporters cheering you on and being able to state a vision clearly and with conviction. Man I get goose bumps thinking about that.

Then I think about the opportunity I have to stand in front of Watermarkers and to equip and cast vision and be used by God to call us to be world changers. The only way we can be a world changer is to help people encounter the heart changer personally. So, even though I would love to someday speak in a situation like that... I still think the role of teaching and equiping and leading in my current God-given capacity is where the eternal action is at... It is the action that touches this life and the life to come. It changes lives and gives hope to hearts. Government is a good and needed thing, but Jesus is where the action and change is at.

So - I enter my role as teacher with renewed focus, passion, excitement and energy - believing that God desires to move and renew people through His guiding Word and abiding presence. And guess what? We all are instruct and declare the truth if we know Jesus!

Heaven is watching... The world is watching... Let's get on with it.

Servant of the life changer,

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I have been watching the Republican National Convention in NYC when I get a chance or reading the speaches online when possible. I did the same for the Democratic Convention. This is the first time I am trying to follow these conventions more fully. It is interesting to see people wear their beliefs on their sleeves - literally! At both conventions - you see signs - you see buttons - you see hats - you see passion - etc... Anyways - being someone who loves politics, I have enjoyed both conventions so far.

I am going to New Zealand (in case I forgot to mention that) in late October / early Novemeber with a friend and fellow Watermarker, Peter Newhouse. We will be going to the Kiwi national conference of the Wesleyan church. I think I may be doing a seminar as well - still laying out details. The reason for our trip is to strengthen and more clearly layout our partnership with the church in New Zealand. I look forward to seeing our friends, Brett and Kristin Jones as well. There is a very young movement of churches that became Wesleyan and some church plants as well. In any case we are hoping to encourage the leaders, set up future short and long term missions opportunities, speak, connect more deeply with our partner church (Shore Grace) and learn as much as we can as we observe churches launching in a clearly post-christian nation. I look forward to going - it will be the sort of growth that I have not had is some time. My most intense spiritual gift (according to the three colors test) is 'missionary.' This means I am effective at adapting to new cultures and enjoy the process and being able to share life and Christ in culturally relevant ways. So, my soul is fed in new ways by God when I enter different cultures. I see God much more clearly in different cultures... From the inner city to over seas... Planting a church in West Michigan has helped me utilize this gift as well, because we connect with people different than us and people who are far from God.

In any case - I am excited.

We have two days of planning and growth for staff and interns today and tomorrow. We are working on our roles and reproducing ourselves, the pathway of a new person into the life of Watermark and working through our gathering upgrades we need to make. I pray God would give us energy, wisdom and unity in that time.

Oh - Autumn did awesome at Kindergarten!

Duran Duran was not just for the ladies,