Saturday, June 30, 2007

Out of the Silent Planet

Last night, a friend of mine, Greg Poole, whom I had not seen in two years, was in town playing a show at the Warehouse down in Kennesaw with his band Out of the Silent Planet (derived from a C.S. Lewis book). It was a great show! Greg asked me if I would be willing to take some shots of the show, to which, of course I agreed! Y'all had a great show Greg! Good to see you brother!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Buckhead church

I can't wait till we get internet at the offices, it will give me somewhere I know that I can get reliable internet. You never realize how dependent you are on things like that until you don't have it. It is the ultimate source of information! I guess I should be grateful that every coffee shop in Atlanta, minus one or two, other than Starbucks, has free internet.

So, with that being said, I have found a quaint little place in Marietta, Emerson Coffee Co, that will do fine for today, except they only take cash. WHO ONLY EXCEPTS CASH in today's world, hardly anyone uses cash anymore! Anyways they were nice enough to give me a free coffee since I didn't have cash.

The days have been slow lately, we were only in the office one day this week! After going to Memphis everyone is just trying to get some of there personal things done. Things should pick up again on Sunday.

Last Sunday, however, we were able to visit Buckhead Church, a satellite church from Andy Stanley's church North Point Community Church. It was definitely a new experience because instead of having there own pastor they have video screens of Andy preaching. I am not sure what I think about this yet but I will say this, I was extremely surprised how well it worked and how the crowd responded. They repeated scripture and interacted with Andy like he was right there. Remember this is a video, I think of the last week's sermon at Northpoint, not a direct feed from Northpoint. I will say, if you're going to do this, do it like them, cause they did it well. While listening you completely forget that he was not there! I am still working through the issue in my head, I guess, because I just wonder if this is the best and healthiest way to have church. The only way you know the pastor is by video screen. Of course this could go back to the age old question of how big should a church get before it separates into separate congregations? There are plenty of arguments on each side of course, but it is worthy of thought.

The Music was amazing as well! Again, I am constantly challenged by the excellence with which everything is done at most of the churches I've been to lately. This band was GOOD and you could tell how much time they put into preparing. We entered the sanctuary to the sound of Sweet Home Alabama, Where The Streets Have No Name, and, Life is a Highway. All the songs tied into the message, however, I am still a little uneasy about this. I am still chewing on it! I will say, though, that the worship during the service was good!

I do have some beef, however! The message was good, inspirational, and came from a verse in Proverbs but I don't remember the Gospel being mentioned. Now, I am not bent on a come forward invitation to say the least but I do think that the Gospel should be proclaimed in every service. Not that you have to preach John 3:16 every week for sure but lives will never change by an inspirational pep talk! I try and be level headed about things and I have heard that it is not this way every week, there are weeks that the gospel is proclaimed very strongly and that Andy recently did a message series which included the gospel. I have also been to other ministries from Norhpoint, 722, where, Louis Giglio, faithfully proclaimed the gospel! I say that to say that I am not bashing Northpoint, or Andy Stanley, but that this issue is something that I am thinking through and passionate about!

All in all, another great experience! I learned a lot and have much more chewing to do!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Memphis Escapades

I hope to write some about our trip to Memphis a little later, for now here is some of the highlights!

Meet the Crew,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Well...Todd, J.R., Mark, and myself are currently in Memphis for a total of about 19 hours just to help J.R. with some remaining stuff at his house. We should be back Tomorrow evening. Tonight, however, J.R. and Todd are going to take Mark and I to the best of downtown Memphis! Should be interesting! Hopefully I will get some cool shots I can post later. Plus I have several other posts to make about our church visit Sunday morning and some other things. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Life has many "firsts'," You never really stop having them, I think they just get a little more weird the older you get. I had another first last night. I went to FBC Woodstock to catch the evening service and a couple rows ahead of me in walked a girl with a kitten! She thought nothing about it, just another Sunday night service, or at least until security asked her to leave. Who brings a kitten to church?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Slow Going

Things have been pretty quiet the last couple of days. Trying to get some reading and other projects completed! Spent some time in Acworth this morning taking some pics possibly for Freedom's website. Acworth is a nice place!

Potential site for our Services

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Finally, yet not.

We were finally able to move into our offices that we will be using on a semi-temporary basis. We ended up getting a really good deal on some offices in Town Lake, thanks to Steve Cannon, a friend of a friend of J.R's. It will be a blessing but not yet. We moved all our the office furniture, which was also all donated BTW, but the A.C is out and there is still no internet. So...guess where I am again?? ...the coffee shop! Gotta love it!


In the last couple of days Todd and I have had the opportunity to meet with some cool and or interesting people. Yesterday for lunch we went up to Cartersville and met with the connections pastor of Oak Leaf Church, Tim Samples. Again, this was very educational for me. They have only been around for about nine months or so and are already doing well in attendance. It was very helpful to here some of the ideas of how they do things.

Let me take a second to say how amazed I am at how friendly and helpful the "church planting community" is. There are so many people around here that have planted churches and now are doing anything and everything they can to help other church planters. They will meet with you, help with recourses, let you sit in on there meetings, basically open up the back door on everything they do so that you can learn how to do things and not to do things. These people believe in church planting and are willing to do whatever it takes to help you in your journey. Amazing!

We also got the interesting opportunity to meet with the Mayor of Acworth with about 25 others from local churches in the area. There was a whole mix of people that came. We thought it was going to be awkward because when we showed up, most everyone else around us had on suits. We had jeans and polos and as Todd said earlier to J.R. "I dressed up today...I wore shoes." The Georgia heat demands that you ware flops if you have any hopes of staying cool! It ended up being ok, however, not everyone wore suits. It was a great time to make some good contacts with other churches of Acworth as well as with the Chief of police and, of course, the Mayor.

Networking is everything! Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, but pretty close!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Adventures

Over the weekend I got a great opportunity to visit some very cool church plants. There is something extremely valuable about visiting new places, with different styles that challenge your thinking. Let me tell you, I was challenged. Let me also say that these were some awesome churches that are great at reaching lost people and preaching the gospel! We were able to visit two churches, one on Saturday night and another on Sunday. On Saturday we visited Mountain Lake Church in Cumming Georgia and on Sunday we went to Ridge Stone Church (where they affectionately call there members Stoners!).

As I said before, if you want to really understand what you believe about church, try and start one! Every facet of the service, church life, church government needs to be thought about! I was warned that I may not like these churches at first because they were very different. Well, they were, but I didn't see anything that I was offended by. I know some people where I go to school that would be, however! I am having to go through a time of discernment of my own ideas and beliefs. I am having to think about whether these issues that I am faced with are right, wrong, better, worse, or just different. I have so many thoughts about the weekend going through my head and it will take me some time to process them all.

Some of the challenging issues that I have been confronted with and am having to thoroughly think through are:
  1. Music- lyrics(hymns, redone hymns, modern worship songs etc.), style, singing secular songs during the service, focus and purpose, etc.
  2. Atmosphere- how much emphasis and effort should be given to this, lights, banners, loud speakers and music, focus and purpose etc.
  3. Preaching- stlye, technique, focus and purpose etc.
  4. Membership
  5. Invitations
Again...are these things that I have experienced right, wrong, good, bad, better, worse, or just different?

One thing is for sure, however. This is healthy for me. To think through these issues is something that is extremely valuable! I would recommend that everyone take some time and visit other churches that are doing things differently than what you're use to for the sake of thinking through these issues biblically!


For the summer, I am staying with one of my best friends, Jessee. We've been friends forever and have gone through a mountain of different things together: laughed, cried, gotten in a lot of trouble! It's been great! He's got a place down in Marietta and is nice enough to let me stay with him over the summer rent free, a blessing for sure!

I love 24! I have only seen seasons 1-3 and a little of season 5 and 6. Most people I talk to didn't like season 6 but i'll have to wait and see. Jessee and I have started season 4 and are about half way through. It's so addicting! We come home from whatever and usually unwind with an episode or two. It's a great way to end the day all except for the fact that it always leaves you wanting more!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

When will I learn?

It never ceases to amaze me how faithful the Lord is. He always provides for me. And yet, day after day, trial after trial, I doubt him. Even moments after experiencing God's hand of provision, I still wonder "well, what about the future?" When will I learn?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Square.

Last evening myself and two of my closest friends Dan Audia and Jared Eubanks met in Marietta square to catch up and just talk. It was a great time! I am constantly encouraged by them. I love to know that I have friends that will stand by me no matter what and are always there to pray for me and encourage me. Rarely do I ever spend time with these guys and not leave feeling extremely encouraged. Thanks, guys, for your constant encouragement and friendship! It is much appreciated!

Before we met, I was able to sit in the Square and begin reading Jonathan Edwards: Personal Narrative. It was recommended to me by a friend this past spring and so far, it has been a blessing. I am only about half way through but I have already been encouraged by his description of his relationship with Christ. He makes Statements like:

"And my mind was greatly engaged, to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ; and the beauty and excellence of his person, and the lovely way of salvation, by free grace in him. I found no books so delightful to me, as those that treated of these subjects."

"Spent most of my time in walking alone in the woods, and solitary places, for meditation, soliloquy and prayer, and converse with God...Prayer seemed to be natural to me; as the breath, by which the inward burnings of my heart had vent."

This man had a vibrant relationship with the father; a relationship that truly encompassed his whole life, as it should ours. This is something that I have been desiring for my own life and one that I am also reading about in The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I would long that my prayers would be as "natural to me; as the breath, by which the inward burnings of my heart had vent."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

SBC Meeting

Having some friends that went to the SBC in San Antonio I heard that Ed Stetzer, author of the book that I am reading, preached a great message last night. I was able to hear and excerpt on a friends blog , check it out here. It's definitely worth listening to! I can't wait to hear the whole message!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Day

Todd and I spent some good time this morning at Atlanta Bread Company (no link because I was displeased! We couldn't connect to the internet and they didn't have any outlets!). Anyways we did get some things accomplished. I was able to listen as Todd walked step by step through the process of the beginnings of Freedom Church until now. This was very educational for me! There is soooo much to think about, and it hasn't even launched yet! When J.R. asked me what I wanted to get out of this internship I told him that if I could walk away with the knowledge of where to start if one day I desired to plant a church I would be happy. Today was a big step in that process!

PGA Tour Superstore

Last night my friend Dan and I, as well as Dan's Brother Kent, met to play some tennis but when dark clouds rolled we decided to head over to the PGA Tour Superstore. It truly is a superstore, this place was huge! They had an indoor court where you could play and try out almost any racket they sell! I played with the racket used by Andre Agassi, I like it!
They also had those really big tennis balls that say "U.S. Open" on them, I've always wanted one of those but thought it would be more appropriate to get one if I were to ever actually go to the U.S. Open.
We had a good time!!

Dan's Monster Serve

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Good Word - Cont...

J.R. had a great quote/thought/challenge similar to what I was talking about in my last post...check it out here.

Recent Chewing

Although I am just now beginning to dabble my feet in church planting there have already been some challenges to my thinking. Mostly, these challenges are things that I have not thought much about and therefore do not have many preconceived ideas. (I just want to note: this is why I love reading, I love being challenged and love to learn. I must say, I am truly enjoying this summer and all the reading I get to do.)

I mentioned before, I am reading Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer, a leading author on church planting, so I’m told. I have only read the first two chapters but I am really enjoying it so far. I just finished the second chapter entitled: Redeveloping a Missional Mind-set for North America. The chapter basically tackles the subject of tradition vs. technique, both are pitfalls. I was challenged to begin thinking biblically and practically (should be one in the same) about how the church should look in today’s world. I grew up in mostly traditional Baptist churches in the bible belt and now, working with Freedom Church, which will be much more contemporary in style, I am having to think through all the biblical implications of church life.

I have only been in Georgia working with the beginnings of Freedom Church for a week and already I am learning and being stretched to think about things that I haven’t really thought much about…I love it! You want to become real familiar with what you actually think and believe about theology, try and plant a church! Or just think about it! Think about ALLLL the implications of how you’re going to conduct the services, and church life, and music. It’s a lot to think about and a lot to try and organize in your head, but it’s so good for me.

Anyways, the challenge of this chapter has to do with breaking out of the traditional mold in efforts to reaching a changing culture. Stetzer is not saying that tradition is necessarily wrong but that it becomes very difficult to reach new generations with the old traditions of the past. He states: “Every culture is imperfect, and thus, at times hostile towards the gospel. But cultures remain the context in which Jesus Christ meets persons by grace. We must pay attention to the culture if we are to be truly missional(pg 24).” Stetzer is neither appealing to technique but saying: “The missional church rejects the false hopes of tradition and technique, repositioning itself as a body of people sent on mission(pg 17).”

Should all churches look the same? Should they all sing the same songs and have the same style of preaching? These are some of the questions that have been posed to be by this chapter. Stetzer says: “The church always struggles with the need to enculturate while guarding against syncretism(pg 25).” Let me say that Stetzer has prefaced these issues with a strong appeal to biblical fidelity. First making sure that your church is biblically sound, then looking at some of the outlining issues. I enjoyed this paragraph:

Indigenous churches look different from culture to culture. Thus, one would expect that a biblically faithful church would look different in Senegal from an indigenous church in Singapore. One must also expect an indigenous church in Seattle to look different from one in Sellersburg, Indiana. Indigenous churches look different from location to location. Further, they look different from generation to generation. Faithful indigenous churches take their teaching from the unchanging biblical text and apply it to the ever-changing cultural Milieu(pg 25).”

I nearly dried up my highlighters on this chapter marking good statements. Here are some other good statements, some more food for thought:

-Stetzer quoted C. Peter Wagner “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” –Pg 28

-“Church planting is always on the cutting edge of North American Missiology because it has no emotional investment in the patterns of tradition.”-pg 29

-“We risk Condemnation of those who are comfortable within the crumbling walls of Christendom. They may never understand the necessity of taking these risks because they choose to equate contextualization with compromise. They cannot understand because they love their church culture too much.” -pg 29

-“Church planting can reach those untouched by the established church. New churches approach evangelism in a way that tends to be more culturally indigenous than established churches. If new churches can avoid the trap of technique, they can engage the changing culture effectively with the unchanging gospel of Jesus.” -pg 30

Monday, June 11, 2007


I've realized that I could spend way too much time reading different blogs! the community of bloggers is truly booming! Not all of them are always worth reading but I have learned quite a bit even in the last couple of weeks since beginning blogging and reading more blogs. Any ways I was reading earlier Jay Hardwicks blog and he had some resources posted that made my mouth water. He is partnering with North Point Community Church and Andy Stanley has written some material that looks intriguing. One is named Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication. As an aspiring preacher, this book looks like it might make the fall reading list!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Good Word

I have often struggled with saying no. With that, I have also struggled with seeking to please people more than Christ. Gary Lamb had a good word to say about it; check it out! It was June 8'th's post, titled, Quit Feeling Guilty!

A Pause.

Things have been pretty quiet concerning Freedom Church the last few days. Most everyone is out of town tying up loose and such. The weekend has been good, however. I was able to experience something new that I must say I enjoyed thoroughly! What was this new thrill? Road bikes!
My Uncle allowed me the privilege of accompanying him through the hills of North Georgia on one of his bikes. We went all over, it was great. I got to ride both and they both are a thrill in there own way. Perhaps in the future I may do more of this!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Ponderings Lite

  1. Seems like I spend a ridiculous amount time in Coffee shops lately.
  2. I wish I had the internet where I'm staying.
  3. I wish the media would report about things that actually matter.
  4. Who the heck cares about Paris Hilton?!
  5. It stinks living with your heart in two locations.
  6. I miss my church in Louisville.
  7. I can't wait till everyone from Freedom Church gets back in town and things really get rolling.
  8. I hope I get a lot done this afternoon!
  9. Emotions are a blessing and a curse!
  10. Bob Marley can be very relaxing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Great Books I

Title: Manly Dominion: In a Passive-purple Four-ball World
Author: Mark Chanski
Publisher: Calvary Press
Publish Date: 2004
Pages: 244
Amazon Price: New- $8.99 + 3.99 Shipping

It is obvious to anyone who looks around in todays world that any sort of manly assertion, initiative, or leadership is frowned upon. Men in todays world are taught to sit back in passivity while women are taught to stand up and lead. This is not the picture of a godly man we are given in Scripture. It is difficult for men, seeking after godliness, to be the men that God has called them to be when everyone else in the world is screaming at them to sit down and shut up.
In Manly Dominion, Mark Chanski does a remarkable job defining what a biblical man aught to look like. One thing I love about this book is that it not only defines what a biblical, godly man ought to look like, but it is extremely practical in explaining, with Scripture, how this can be attained. The book is broken down into seven sections containing a number of chapters in each. The sections contained are as follows:
  1. Manly Dominion in Scriptural Perspective
  2. Manly Dominion in Vocational Laboring
  3. Manly Dominion in Decision Making
  4. Manly Dominion in Spiritual Living
  5. Manly Dominion in Husbanding
  6. Manly Dominion in Child Rearing
  7. Manly Dominion in Romance Managing
Whether you are a single person (like myself) or married, this book gives great insight and practical advice, from a pastor, on how men in today's world can stand up, lead and shun passivity in our everyday lives. This is something that I feel is sorely needed in our world today. Let us be the men of God we are called to be!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Meet The Chillins

Last night, everybody who will be involved in Freedom Church and are in town got together last night to spend some time together. This was great for me to get to know everyone. There are some great people involved in Freedom! I plan to post some family profiles at some point but for now, here's a look at some darn cute chillins!

This is London: One of J.R's Little girls
Truly a Precious Moments Child

London with Brayden, Todd Lollis' little Boy

London and Lexi: J.R.'s little girls

Brayden Lollis
London loved this slide!

This is Anniston: Todd's little girl.

Noah Ayers, Mark and Heather's little boy.

There was quite a bond between these two.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

May I Introduce You To

The Pastor of Freedom Church, J.R. Lee. Always a good time, for sure! My history with J.R goes back quite a ways. I first met J.R. when I was in Middle school. He and a good friend of his Mark Ayers were my camp counselors. Some of my favorite memories were at camp in Panama City at a Coffee Kettle at 3 o'clock in the morning while J.R. tried to eat a whole plate of pancakes drenched in a pitcher of syrup. There was never a dull moment let me assure you!
On a more serious note, J.R. and Mark were both extremely influential in my spiritual growth as a young person. We had some crazy times but also some serious spiritual growth times as well. His heart and passion makes him a great fit for the pastor of Freedom Church!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Today's Goings on!

Well, so far today has been a good day! Spent some good time in the word earlier, finished Esther, spent some time in the Gym, meet with the Pastor and another staff member of Freedom Church and now get to spend some time in the Coffee Shop reading.
I don't know if you've ever read Esther, but it is an amazing book and yet it never mentions God in the whole book. His presence and sovereignty are all over it however. Accompanying my reading of Scripture has been Mark Dever's book The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made. It has been great walking through the book with this helping along the way. Dever mentions a few quotes by Charles Spurgeon that were truly inspiring, I thought I would note them here!

"We frequently hear persons say of a pleasant or a great event, "what providence!" while they are silent as to anything which appears less important, or has an unpleasant savour. But, my brethren, the place of the gorse upon the heath is as fixed as the station of a king and the dust which is raised by a chariot-wheel is as surely steered by the providence as the planet in it's orbit. THere is as much providence in the creeping of an aphid upon a rose leaf as in the marching of an army to ravage a continent. Everything, the most minute as well as the most magnificent, is ordered by the Lord who has prepared his thrown in the heavens, whose kingdom ruleth over all!"

"It seems a very small matter wheather you or I shall sleep tonight or toss restlessly on our beds, but God will be in our rest or in our wakefulness; we know not what his purpose may be, but his hand will be in it, neither doth any man sleep or wake but according to the decree of the Lord."

That, friend, is comforting. For all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose! Rom 8:28.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Will be traveling back to the ATL today. Should get in around 6:00 pm. Can't wait to jump in!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Climb Every Mountain

Mountain climbing is something that I've done little of. When I did do it, however, I wanted to die...until I reached the top. My first Mountain climbing experience was in Southern Argentina climbing a Mountain in the Andes that I think was named Mt. Faulkner. No one knew for sure exactly how high it was but it had to be close to 14,000 ft. because it was well above the tree line and that's at 11,000 ft. I was with a bunch of Gringos (North Americans) which is the reason for the glorious flag; we were proud!

Well, my sister and I have a new goal...Pikes Peak! Located in Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is exactly 14,110 feet in elevation. After reading about it, it doesn't seem like it will be that difficult. The website I was reading said thousands do it every year. I've seen pictures of the trail and it seems pretty smooth. What I will need, however, it stamina! I like to run and all but this is about 13 miles long and takes 6-10 hours at a moderate pace. The climb will be a beast but the pay off worth it I'm sure. There is something great about an accomplishment like that. My sister and I hope to make the climb in August, virtually the only time the summit is free of slow. Until then, I guess I should spend some time in preparation.
My mom and I drove up Pikes today so that I could see and get a feel of what I was getting into. Sadly though, from the summit, you could see nothing because it was surrounded in the clouds. Good time anyways though.
Well, we'll see what happens in August.

Fox 'n Friends

Today will be a good day. I spent some very profitable time with the Lord this morning and hope to get some good reading done. I return to GA on Sunday and am ready to jump into Freedom Church . Until then, I hope to soak up as much of the Mountains as I can.
Just thought I would share with you all some to the critters that are known to wander about the backyard from time to time. Some seem to be permanent residence due to the fact that my mom runs a wildlife food kitchen out back; or close enough! You're probably not suppose to feed them, but we like it!

Originally named: Foxy. Every now and then you'll see the babies running around; cute little guys. She normally has about 3-5 little ones.

She even lets you feed her; she loves hot dogs!

Regrettably, I have never seen the Bear. My dad was able to capture these photos on our back deck. I hope she'll come back around soon!