Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Perseverance...Worship Him With Your Tenacity

Sitting here getting ready for our life group tonight and my mind can not get off of the subject of perseverance.  The definition of perseverance is:

"...steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state,etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement..."

In John 13, Peter tells Jesus that he would die for Him and Jesus tells him before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.  Then in John chapter 18 is the account of Peter's three denials.  I am not sure about you but if I had told Jesus to His face I was willing to die for Him and then could not even own up to hanging out with Him I think proceeding to go on as a disciple would be really hard.  This would mainly be because overcoming the reality of the situation would be extremely difficult.

But what I love about this story is what I love about the story of ALL of history!  Jesus does not give up on those who do not give up on Him!  In John 21 Jesus reinstates a Peter by asking him three times if he loves Him to which Peter says, "yes."  Jesus then tells Peter "..feed My sheep.."  THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!  Peter denies Jesus three times and Jesus three times gives peter encouragement.....Jesus basically tells him get back in the game!  

But my hat goes off to Peter, a man who could have thrown in the towel but chose to be persistent in what he knew was right.  Today there seems to be a lack of commitment to perseverance, most people do not want to fight for anything, but my Jesus fought through a miserable death for me, I am going to go ahead and choose to persevere for Him, I would challenge you to do the same.  Let Jesus be your treasure, your pursuit even if it costs you EVERYTHING!  HE IS WORTH IT!

Over and over in Revelation it says in regards to rewards and salvation, "Now to him who overcomes."  You might as well say, "Now to those who persevere."

Do not give up.  Do not quit.  Do not get tired of doing good and do not fear!  Because Jesus, our Lord, has overcome the world and has given you everything you need for life and godliness.....TO HIM BE THE GLORY

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Truth Behind Freemasonry

This four part video series you can watch here is the most

concise I have found on the issue of Freemasonry, even

though they are older.  Very well put together.  Enjoy.






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Once you lose "it" what is there?

As I was reading this morning in the book of Matthew this is what Jesus says in chapter 5 starting in verse 13:
"You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt should loose its taste, how can it be made salty?   
Salt when it is good has an affect on that which it has proximity to.  People of influence have a say into the lives of people when they have maintained and guarded their ability to influence them.  My mind goes to all of those leaders who have unfortunately had a place of influence then through a decision made in a moment or living a life not dealing with a personal stronghold they are dealing with end up succumbing to it and loose the platform God had put them on, was putting them on, or was preparing for them.  If you think of the leaders who have fallen where is the potency of their influence now? They might have a slight bit of residue, but they will ever get back to the level of influence they once had. 

As you can tell Im comparing "salt" to "influence".  I have heard it said that the only way for salt to loose its saltiness is for there to be a chemical reaction, such as what happens when it is diluted in water.  If we desire to have or maintain influence and make a difference in this world we MUST guard our influence/life/reputation from being diluted.

What are some simple common things that can dilute our influence?  

  • Inconsistency between our words and our actions-hypocrisy
  • Not living I life focused on others.  If we want to be great Jesus said we must be the least.  What to have influence?  Get ready to serve and put others ahead of yourself.
  • Flaunting our personal freedoms, such as:
    • Drinking alcohol-NOT biblically a sin but at some point in the growth of our platform it may diminish our ability to lead more people if we flaunt it
    • Abrasive or questionable entertainment
    • Abrasive jokes or humor

What are some things that will add to our influence?

  • Integrity
  • Living a life focused on purity
  • Truly loving and serving others more than ourselves
  • Putting others feelings and perceptions ahead of our actions.  Think of others.  
  • Being passionate about guarding what God is entrusting to us and wanting to do through us and not doing anything that would put that in jeopardy

It is not that we can not do certain things, it's that if we live life not thinking of how what we do affects others we will slowly and quietly loose our ability to lead and have influence.  Because ultimately we are not living a life of love towards others. If we live a lifestyle which flaunts our personal freedoms we will diminish the number of those we can reach because of perception. That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23, "All things are permissible but not all things beneficial."

Let's above all else not become diluted by the things in this life.  Let's commit to a life on integrity, love and service putting others first.  We will then maintain our "saltiness", our "influence", our ability to lead.  We do that and God will use us as a platform to make His Name and Kingdom great!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Longevity In Life/Ministry

I have been studying the book of Isaiah this month and I was stirred with hope this morning when read I Isaiah 40:28-31 which says,

 "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth.  He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.  Youths may grow faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint."

This portion of scripture really speaks to me because our family is about to launch full force into a church plant in the Hampton Roads area in September of 2012.  Understanding how to navigate large undertakings I believe is essential.  Here is what I took from the above passage:

  • God is sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, everything began with Him and ALL IS HIS, He has always been and always will be, He is the one that has NO LIMITS
  • He loves giving, it is part of His says, "...He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless"
  • Everything else may and WILL fail without Him
  • TRUST is the key:
    • I see trust as a massive ingredient to accessing what God has for us.  When you are constantly fearful or anxious it can be traced back to a lack of trust.
    • Stress is also another side effect of a lack of trust
    • Making a decision to trust puts God in His rightful place, a place where He can be who He is...GOD
    • Making a decision to trust puts us in our rightful place to receive from God, a place of genuine is a place that is out of our control or selfish manipulation
  • The Promise:
    • If we can make the decision to trust we get the reward of that decision!  We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary; we will walk and not faint.
      • Ever seen an eagle soar?  It is effortless.  The ability to soar does not come from them, they are accessing something they have found.  God also promises the ability to run and not get tired, the ability to walk out everything He has for us and not faint (not burn out)  in the process

If we can learn to be intentional and make the decision daily to truly trust, we will access the promise to do things with a Sovereign God involved.  That means not just this vague faith that we have help but you have A WRITTEN PROMISE from the One who spoke the earth into existence.  He is not a liar and if He said we will get these things if we trust, you can bet IT WILL HAPPEN.  He will give you the ability to do things that others may not be able to do and to do them in an effortless way.  The ability to soar instead of constantly flapping your wings trying to stay in flight.  He will give you the gift of longevity!  The ability to run and NOT GET TIRED.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, "My yoke is EASY and My burden is LIGHT".  If we are feeling anything other than that we have carried too much of God's responsibilities.  Let Him be God, and let us remain submitted and sold out to one of the greatest keys to victory ever, TRUST.


Friday, November 11, 2011


So I just finished reading a few chapters in Proverbs this morning and I came across Proverbs 27:18 which says, 

"...Whoever looks after his Master will be honored.."  

I love the simplicity of this picture!  It is when we place priority on God's desires and God's agenda that we truly begin to see His favor come to rest on everything that we do.   It is not realistic to expect God to elevate our influence or position if we are still stuck in our own selfish ambitions and are not bought into what He wants to do through us, it does not work that way.  The first part of the verse has to come first.  We will see God's favor if we can serve God and honestly be looking to what He desires, what He wants. If we can be the type of people who are consumed with a passion to please our Heavenly Father then we will see His mighty right hand move on our behalf at EVERY TURN!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

LSU vs ALABAMA 2011 - What People Believe In They Clothe Themselves In

So Sarah and I are staying at the Hampton Inn in Birmingham AL in order to attend the ARC (Association of Related Churches) 2.0 Training for church planters at Church of the Highlands and I go down to get breakfast and there having breakfast is a sea of red (Alabama fans)  then a sea of purple and Gold (LSU fans).

The thought quickly comes to me that, "What people believe in is what they clothe themselves in."  The Alabama fans believe in Alabama.  The LSU fans believe in LSU.  I can tell this because the evidence is ALL OVER THEM.  You can tell a lot about a person and what drives them by what they are wearing.  This does not always mean physically. Everyone clothes themselves everyday in other ways.  

For example:

  •  We get up in the morning and decide whether or not we are going to be gracious or be inpatient. 
  • Whether we will show love to people or distain.  
  • Whether we will honor others ahead of ourselves or promote our agenda with ruthlessness.  

When people come into contact with you what are they IMMEDIATELY perceiving what you might be or not be clothed with?  Because from that they will make a very quick and most times correct assumption as to what you believe.  People are not as ignorant as we sometimes make them out to be, they can see right through you.

Today, I challenge you to clothe yourself with Christ.  If He is what you have said you believe in then you need to clothe yourself in love, which is among other things:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • selflessness
  • forgiveness
  • love for the truth
  • humility

Clothe yourself with what you say you believe in.  Make it exude from every part of your life and people WILL see it and glorify the Name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I could not have finished this documentation of our 2011 year without the help of my precious, amazing and wonderful wife who was SO patient with me in the writing process!  Sarah Brown, I LOVE YOU!  Thank you for being you and for being so much more than I deserve!



This story begins in January of 2011, on day 19 of the 21 day fast that Keypoint Church does every year, I was kneeling praying during corporate prayer and God gave me a very vivid picture which at first did not make much sense.  More specifically I saw a caterpillar, then I saw it undergo its process of change into a butterfly.  I sensed God was saying there was a change happening and another level coming but the confusing part for me was whether this process had just begun, or if we were in the middle of it, or if it had finished and we were about to see the next level.  At the time I thought it meant a new level as it pertained to the worship team and for the vision I was helping develop at Keypoint Church. Another oddity was that during this fasting time as well, Sarah had a very strange desire to move.  It only lasted a week and she only told her friend Nickie about it and after about a week the thought and desire completely disappeared. From the end of the fast until May 18th no other stirrings were felt.

On May 18th we started working out at the gym for the first time since Sarah's surgery.  We were both side by side on ellipticals when Sarah started talking about how she was feeling like she may need to step down from being a children's pastor to pastor alongside of me and be more focused while at home with the kids helping them homeschool.  She was asking me questions like, "Would we be more effective pastoring a group of people together verses each of us being over separate ministries?",  "Should she stay at home and not work at all since Hannah was starting High School this year?"  I said that those questions seem valid, so we both committed to pray and see if we received a peace about her stepping down.

The next day while at the gym again we were again on ellipticals and I heard the word "move" as clear as day.  I turned to Sarah and said "I just heard the word move." She said, "Ok, what does that mean?"  We weren't sure if this meant move on what Sarah was feeling about not working or if it meant geographically.  I had a sense that it was ultimately geographically though deep down inside.  At this point I told Sarah we need to start a journal, because if God was speaking it would be confirmed over a long period of time and through many sources.  The journal would help us visually see over time what God might be trying to tell us. 

A couple of weeks later, we were walking out of the gym, we were talking about the current stirring and I said to pray that God would speak clearly.  I told Sarah I had a faith and was believeing God would speak like He spoke to Moses, no riddles, no rhymes but clearly face to face.  When we got in the car Sarah was reminded of Psalm 1:3 and that she felt like God was saying whatever we do will prosper.  I then smiled because that was what I had read the day before.  I also shared that God had reminded me of Lot and Abraham standing over the land and that either choice they made was blessed, it was as if a green light was given, although we were still unsure of the direction.  Two VERY specific scriptures came to my mind at this point:

Phillipians 2:3, "Do NOTHING from selfish ambition."

Phillipians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing."

I knew God in that moment gave me those two verses in order keep me on the right path throughout this uncertain time of change.

Knowing God would need to confirm any direction through our children so that we would all be in unity, I sat our kids down and asked them how their prayer life was and if they were spending time with God on a daily basis.  We encouraged them that they were not too young to hear God's voice.  However, I did not tell them about what Sarah and I had begun feeling and I left it at that.  The next day Sarah was sitting eating breakfast with the kids and she asked them if they were hearing God say anything.  This is when Hannah spoke up and said to Sarah, "While daddy was asking us to be sensitive to what God might want to speak I felt at that point we are going to move."  WHAT??  What an incredible confirmation!

We are now in June and Sarah and I set up a meeting with Pastor Spencer to talk over what Sarah had been sensing in regards to her stepping down from the children's ministry.  She cried through a lot of the meeting because she really didn't understand why she was feeling so strongly about stepping down, she has been a part of or leading children's ministry since she was 12 years old and it was always something she had done. She still felt very strongly about spending more "focused" time with our kids and pastoring alongside of me.  Spencer said "let's pray about it for a few weeks, you guys go on vacation and we will talk about it again when you get back."  While we were in this meeting we both almost mentioned the deeper stirring we were feeling in regards to moving but didn't because we didn't feel that had been confirmed enough yet.  


Vacation was originally planned for July 6th-9th to visit our friends Mark and Nickie Freeburg  in Omaha NE but when Pastor Spencer came back from his three week vacation he had mentioned that they do not do these three to four day vacations, he takes weeks so that he can truly unwind and relax.  This made Sarah ask if we should take at least a week off and we decided to extend our vacation.  After couple of weeks went by we were at the pool and I mentioned what about taking more days and making the trip to Colorado Springs to see our friends Steve and Renai Herron.  I called Steve to see if they would be home in order for us to come see them and he said yes, he said that we should try to stay the whole week because that was the week of the Desperation Conference (we had NO idea of this when making these particular plans!) and they could get us a free wristband for our daughter Hannah if she would like to go.  This was totally a "God thing" because earlier in the year Hannah in passing had asked about going to the Desperation Conference but we had said it would not work this year since our church was already taking the youth to the Motion Conference.  So, we changed our vacation request a third time.  Vacation was now set for July 4th-11th in Omaha and the 11th- 15th in Colorado Springs.

The week leading up to vacation Sarah could not shake the feeling that she needed to talk to Pastor Spencer again and officially give her resignation from the children's ministry and that she wanted to do it before vacation so that she wouldn't be thinking of it while on vacation.  On July 1st she officially resigned in a meeting with Pastor Spencer.  He was very supportive and encouraging.  She told him that she would continue in this position as long as necessary to make it as easy of a transition as possible.  

During the days between July 1st and July 4th three different people at different times when hearing of our vacation plans asked us if we were looking for a job there.  This was extremely puzzling to us.


Sarah Brown and Nickie Freeburg
July 5th I was running around the lake in the Freeburg's subdivision and the picture from the fast in January which was of the caterpillar process came flooding vividly back to my mind.  At this point I asked God for more clarity.  The 2nd lap around the lake I saw what appeared to be of a foot depressing a clutch, as in a manual transmission.  This was a bit odd to me at first but in my mind this came to represent a disengaging process.  After this, I asked God for one more picture since I still had one more lap to go and He obviously had my full attention.  The 3rd lap around the lake I saw what appeared to be a young boy on his bedroom floor playing with a large toy truck.  I had the sense this was his favorite toy.  In the doorway was the boy's father holding something in his right hand.  The look on the father's face told me that the father really wanted his son to have what he was holding but in order to have it the boy would have to put down what he currently had.  Can you say the picture was becoming clearer!  At this point I sensed with certainty that the season at Keypoint was coming to an end.

Joel lighting bottle rockets, Mark laughing
July 8th, I received an email from my friend Robert Quintana at Gateway Church saying, "he was praying for me and if he were ever in Dallas playing golf to let him know."  This was really weird and funny because I DO NOT play golf.  I responded saying, "Hey ok!!, Also, pray for us!  We are feeling like God may be getting us ready for a move but we are unsure as to what or where......" Robert responded saying, "Yes, I felt that this morning, I felt that you were in transition. Remember that He ordains our steps. I will be praying for you in whatever decision you make."  I was blown away!  This was the first random outside confirmation Sarah and I received, a third party hours away from us knowing we were in transition and we had not spoken for months and he definitely had no prior knowledge of anything that was going on.  Crazy.


July 11th we get to the Herron's house and they told us that the main person organizing the conference had just dropped off four more wristbands so that all of our family could attend the Desperation Conference instead of just Hannah.  Sarah, Bethany, Josiah and I are definitely excited about that new development!

July 13th.  The first night of the conference rolls around and Renai Herron introduces us to one of the children's pastors at New Life as worship was starting.  During the worship Jon Egan spontaneously begins to sing, "It's time to fly, it's time to fly, it's time to fly so spread your wings and soar."  We both felt like this pertained to us and the specific original picture I had gotten back in January.  At the end of service the children's pastor Renai had previously introduced us to came up to Sarah and I and handed us the papers you see below: 

The Brown's and the Herron's
Can you say WOW!  The word I received made total sense and backed up everything I had felt up to that point.  However, we were unsure of Sarah's because as far as we knew she was quitting her job to stay home with the kids and pastor along side of me.  I then asked Renai if she had mentioned anything to her about us and she said, "no."  At this point I now know it is time to meet with Pastor Casey, I have had enough confirmation to warrant a meeting with our leadership for their take on the situation.

July 15th, while Sarah and our daughter Bethany were standing in line for coffee, Sarah asked Bethany if she had God saying anything and she said, "Yes, that there was a change happening." This amazes me because we have still not talked to our kids about ANYTHING!  Sarah asked her if she knew what kind of change and she said, "no."  


July 19th, we meet with Pastor Casey and Pastor Spencer and tell them everything up to this day.  We are both crying too much to read the prophetic words to them that we had received at the Desperation Conference so Pastor Casey read them out loud for us.  When we are done Pastor Casey says that this is a good thing, God is moving and stirring, this is not a time to be afraid or worry, this is exciting.  He asked what we were thinking.  The only thing that came to my mind logically was that since I love writing worship music and leading worship it is very possible that God would be moving us to a larger church with an established writing culture where I could be a student rather than the main leader.  Sarah did not feel at peace about this because to her it did not make much sense.  Pastor Casey and Spencer both committed to support us through whatever the transition would end up being.  Pastor Spencer admitted that he almost asked me what God was saying to me when we met in June about Sarah's transition out of the children's ministry because he already knew I was sensing something.  This gave me added peace that God was already speaking to our leadership before I said a word.  This meeting was incredibly words I can say could describe the feeling of peace in that room.  I then went on to tell how I feel that whatever the transition is, it is going to be like the sending of Nehemiah.  That when Nehemiah came into alignment with what God was wanting to ultimately do through him he went with provision and favor on all sides.


Now that we understood we were in the middle of a major transition Sarah had felt that we should call and talk to Ed Funderburk to get some guidance.  Ed is on staff at Gateway Church in Dallas, he is an overseer for Keypoint Church and helps churches all over the country in varies ways, one of which being transitions.  On August 4th, we had a conference call with Ed where we spelled out everything God had been saying to us.  He said that from what we told him that he feels that we are in fact in a season of transition and that God was definitely about to move us.  He asked me if I had ever thought about preaching because of the way I had just finished communicating to him about what God had been doing leading up to this point, he seemed to think I would be good at it.  I very quickly said that I do enjoy teaching and speaking and that I had taught here at Keypoint but that I for sure wanted to be in an established worship writing culture.  I told him again about my passion and love for writing worship music and that I wanted to pursue being under the mentor ship of those who are doing that on a larger scale.  Sarah still did not have a peace about this.  Ed gave us some homework to do on transitions, listing things that we were adamant on and things that were not that important to us, in addition to reading his story of transition to Gateway and his teaching on a healthy transition.  He did say one line that stuck with me, he said, "God is not teasing you."  When he said those words I felt a depth of peace I do not know that I have ever felt before.  Sarah and I both clung in faith to the thought that the God that spoke the world into existence was not teasing us.  What a thought!  


Immediately following our conference call with Ed we went into corporate prayer.  As soon as Sarah entered the auditorium and began to worship and pray she started to cry uncontrollably, the realization that we were really in transition had hit her.  She tried to leave the room to compose herself but was unable to so she just sat in the back of the auditorium and just wept.  She was feeling like how could we leave Keypoint, we love Keypoint!  As the prayer time was ending she felt like she needed to talk to Ellen (Pastor Spencer's wife) she thought she would just ask her if she had a moment.  As she was walking towards Ellen, Ellen was walking towards her and before Sarah could get out "Do you have a minute?" Ellen said it.  They both just hugged and cried for a minute.  Ellen said that she felt like God was telling her to be a friend to Sarah during this time.  She began to tell Sarah about her transition and a story of when she was a first grade teacher.  She said that every year a company would send her caterpillars in a cage to watch them turn into butterflies.  One year there was one butterfly left and the whole class gathered around to watch the butterfly trying to breakout of its chrysalis.  It seemed to be stuck and the class was telling her to help it so not knowing that there was a special oil that was released during this time of struggle that helps the butterfly be able to fly she helped it out.  When she did this it fell to the bottom of the cage and she realized that it was crippled.  Sarah communicated to me and we both agreed that we felt that this was confirming to us that everything had to be done in God's timing.  Helping or hurrying the process would be disastrous.  We later confirmed that Ellen had no idea of the pictures God had given to me twice now of the caterpillar to butterfly process.  


Sarah and I at this time had been following Pastor Spencer's advice during our transition by naming things that we knew were not an option.  What he called "closing circles".  We went over the things and closed the circles on all that we would NOT be doing.  The list included but was not limited to:

  • Missionary work
  • Planting a church/Senior Pastor
  • Getting out of vocational ministry to do secular work while writing music
  • Moving to Nashville for the sole purpose of the music scene

Keep in mind we had said "no" to these things more than once.  Notice the one in bold:-)


After realizing that securing a place at a larger church that had an established worship writing culture was probably not what God was directing us to we knew it was time to call Pastor Ed Funderburk back.  

August 23rd, We talked to Pastor Ed and at this point I was still committed to staying in worship ministry since it is what I know and have done for so long.  Ed then said, if it is a job you are looking for I can connect you to pastors who are in need of a worship pastor?  Pastor Ed then connected us to a worship pastor opening and after looking at this opportunity we both knew this was not the step for us.  All the while I was working on my resume and was starting to feel very uncomfortable having the sense this was not the direction we would be heading.  I could not understand or get a peace about why God would move us from one worship pastor position to another.  It never did add up.

September 13th, I emailed Pastor Ed and informed him that the opening he had connected us to was not going to be the next step for our family, it just did not feel right.  Pastor Ed responded by saying, "Thanks for the update, I am not aware of any other churches looking for a worship pastor at this time."  After that response from Pastor Ed I knew I HAD to hear from God and soon!


I immediately began a water fast.  I was pleading with God that He would honor my prayer that was from the beginning that He would speak clearly and not in riddles and rhymes.  

September 14th, the next day I am driving home from work when a familiar conversation begins to play in my head.  It was a conversation from two years prior Sarah and I had with a couple who had moved to the Hampton Roads area in VA, Troy and Katherine Canalichio.  As soon as this conversation started flowing through my mind I began to have this sinking feeling in my gut.  The topic of that conversation was about how frustrating it had been for Troy and Katherine for whatever reason, to get plugged into a church.  And this weird compassion began to stir in my stomach for them and for that area.  God, could you really be putting planting a church in Virginia in my heart?


So still in the car headed home I begin to ask God to reconcile how this could be.  I reminded God (hahahahah) that at age twenty He had specifically called me into worship.  I then feel God ask the question, what have you been teaching your worship team about what worship is?  I then respond with reluctance and with a sneaking impression of where this conversation is headed, "I have been teaching them that worship has nothing to do with music, but that it is submission and obedience."  God then said, "Right, so how can you worship me best then?"  Then it got strangely quiet as it sunk in (LOL).  I said, "I can be obedient."  

The promise and picture of Nehemiah, that he went with favor and provision as he aligned himself with God's purposes at this point came back to me.  I then specifically ask for two things that I knew would be needed: money and people.  These were the main two things Nehemiah went with and were the two things I was going to need to accomplish what I knew I was being asked to do.

Right before getting home I was comforted because I knew that confirmation would come from all sides if this was what God was specifically asking of me and our family.  I knew that God would confirm it this through my children, through my wife and through my present leadership.  


As I walked into our bedroom where Sarah was I was trying to find a way to ask the question for the third time about planting a church, which we had already said we were NOT doing several times now.  I then asked very slowly, "So, can we truly rule out that God is not asking us to plant a church?"  Sarah looked at me and paused, after a few seconds had passed she said, "Well, if we do it, it would need to be in Virginia."  Imagine that!

At that point I told her of what had just happened on the way home.  At this point I knew the next level of confirmation would have to come from my kids.

Actual table we sat at..yes it's Taco Bell:)

We gathered Hannah, Bethany and Josiah and went to dinner.  I asked our kids what they thought about planting a church.  They begin to talk about how they loved the time back when Keypoint was in the original  elementary school and how fun it was loading and unloading.  Sarah then asked, "If we were to plant a church where do you think it would be?"  Josiah's eyes got wide and with his right index finger raised high in the air he says, "....Virginia, because Troy and Katherine are there."  Ok, so the confirmations are getting a bit ridiculous but I love it because God is answering my prayer a hundred times over that He would speak clearly.  


September 15th, that next day I set up a meeting with Pastor Casey because of this new direction we were feeling.  As I was about to walk into the meeting Sarah called me and said, "If this is God, he (Pastor Casey) needs to tell you this, "I already knew it, I was just waiting for you to figure it out."  I agreed and went into the meeting.  I begin to tell Pastor Casey all that has recently happened, what took place yesterday while I was driving home, what took place last night with our family and that we now feel that God is possibly calling us to plant a church.  Pastor Casey went on to say that I was definitely gifted in worship and music, but then he proceeded to say, "But if you ask me your calling is in pastoring people.  I've always seen it, I was just waiting for you to catch up to it."  Now we have the last major confirmation that this is truly a God thing.  I felt relief, a sense of awe and a feeling of joy that at least now we know.  Pastor Casey then spells out what Keypoint is going to do to get behind the vision that God is stirring and it is above and beyond anything I could have ever asked for.  If you would have given me a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to write down what I felt our churches response should be to us I would not have even scratched the surface of what they are doing!  Can I just say at this point that I KNOW Keypoint Church is a Kingdom minded church! That my pastor, Pastor Casey Henegan and the whole staff are truly concerned about seeing God's agenda released in the earth and I love it.  That is what it is all about.


Sarah is now feeling reality sink in but this is when everything begins to become clear.  She is battling the "who am I" syndrome.  This is when I ask her to read her prophetic word again as I am heading out the door for work.  She does read it again and senses the words jump off the page as if God Himself was in the room speaking them to her, the prophetic word that was given to her at the conference now makes ALL the sense in the world.  For me, all of the pictures God put in my heart now confirm that all of this was God's doing.  The caterpillar ceased to be in order to be changed, the clutch that represented the disengaging process and the boy that had to put down his familiar toy in order to get what the Father had in his hand, Whoooaa!  God, you definitely in the end spoke without riddle or rhyme and you confirmed everything the way it needed to be in order to get my attention.  God you are amazing.


After announcing the plan to: the Keypoint Church staff, the children's ministry which Sarah oversees, the worship team which I pastor and to our closest core of friends something amazing began to happen.  Four couples came to us and specifically told us that God was telling them to go with us from Keypoint.  WHAT?  Uproot your family and move twenty one hours away?  Again God confirms the Nehemiah picture!  Provision and people!


I have heard it said lately that, "God's will is God's bill."  I am coming to find out that this is for sure the truth.  I am also coming to find out that what I have been preaching for the last six years about how God's favor and trust truly rests on those who understand obedience and submission is also truth.

The road ahead will call for uncompromising diligence,perseverance, hard work, sacrifice, serving on all levels when convenient and when not convenient, there will be mountain tops and there will be valleys but the Bible says to those who endure until the end, to them belong a crown of righteousness.  There is nothing on this earth as precious to God as people.  It is what has His heart.  Let's allow it to have ours!  Above all I would encourage and challenge you to stop asking God what you can do "for" Him and start asking Him what you can do that is "from" him.  Get aligned with what His heart is aligned with and you WILL find the provision and the power to accomplish GREAT THINGS!

Joel and family

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Avoiding Burnout - "The Why" Behind "The What"

Over the years I have been trying to reconcile why people burnout. They lose their passion, vision, stamina, their drive for life and their joy. I believe and have seen that it ALL goes back to understanding "The Why" behind "The What" and not about how many hours you may or may not work any given week.  I have seen people who work a LOT of hours and are filled with fulfillment and motivation, but I have also seen those who do nothing on unemployment totally lifeless, without any ambition at all.

The common denominator I have noticed in those who are burned out seems to be they have totally been consumed with focusing on "The What". Things like: "I need to go to work now", "I have to take the kids to the park", "It is Sunday, time to go to church", etc. That my friends, is a life that will eventually be void of all passion.

The common denominator in those who are filled with life and not burning out is a focus on "The Why". This lifestyle is lived in a manner that says, "I may have 100 things to do today but I totally understand the reasons why I do them." They are statements that go along with your To Do List like: "I am spending time with my kids so that I can invest into them and train them so that I can effect people I will never meet through their lives." Not just, "It's 2:00 pm I have to take the kids to Chuck E Cheese." It's, "I am being patient and serving my wife (or husband) in ALL things because it's right, and because I am modeling how to be a godly spouse to my kids and because I know that we as parents do not reproduce what we teach, we reproduce what we are. And I want my children to live in a healthy environment and be successful in their marriages, so IT IS WORTH IT."

If you ever lose why you are doing something you will lose your passion. I challenge you to think about this the next time you are dreading doing something. I guarantee you you are merely thinking about what you are about to have to do and you have no grasp on why you should do it. Find the "why" behind the "what" and you will find your joy and desire to do it.

Truly my motivation, my "why", is that I understand that I am not "entitled" to anything, nor do I "own" anything.  And that God has called me to simply be a "manager" of ALL that He allows me to do and touch.  Psalm 24 says, "The earth is the Lord's and EVERYTHING in it." So that means that EVERYTHING you see, touch, taste and smell is God's and He, according to Matthew 24:45-51 will require an accounting for how we have handled His "stuff".  But the promise to those who manage well is, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much....." (Luke 16:10 NIV)

I ultimately massively desire God's trust, so, in EVERYTHING I do I commit to do it with excellence, passion, intensity, integrity and obedience to what I know.  This is my "why", because it is right and because it is my worship to the One who is the Creator of all and the One to whom I will give account.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Loving People

After my second meeting today where the common theme is frustration with people I am realizing that we need a bit of perspective on how to truly love people in a practical way on a daily basis, even as christians, we are most of the times the worst at this.  We also need a way to tell whether or not we are truly acting in love, Jesus said in John 13:35:

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you LOVE one another..."

Jesus did not say the world will know you are my disciples because you are busy doing good, or at church every week, or you know a lot about the Bible.....can I just say none of that matters to the world.  What they need to see is love.  The question now becomes how do I know if I am loving people?

These are the things that love is according to 1 Corinthians chapter 13:

It is:  patient, kind, it is not jealous, it does not brag, it is not prideful, it does not dishonor others, it is not selfish, it is not easily angered, it does not keep a record of wrongs, love does not take joy in evil but rejoices in the truth, it ALWAYS protects, always hopes, never let's go.

We who say we know Christ need to be intentional I think with at least the first one.  Love is patient.  You want to honor God?  Don't focus this week on trying to look good to others, be patient with them, then you know you are drawing closer to Jesus.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Counting the Cost

Met with my family this morning about what we feel God is asking from us in this next season and we went over Luke 14:28-33 which reads:

  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
   31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."

I wanted my children to hear me say, "I am willing to lose everything for the cause of Christ."  And to let them know I have counted the cost at age 36, and that they need to also.  Our world and our society is quickly becoming hostile to the Gospel of Christ and we need to be willing to think about what that might look like over the next decades and be willing to suffer jail time, ridicule or death in order that some may know the love of their Creator, the God of heaven and Earth and their Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.

So I would ask you, have you counted the cost of following Jesus?  If you have and you have surrendered everything to Him you know the joy and hope from which I am speaking.  If you have not I would challenge you with all the love that is in my heart because I care for you to sit down today and count everything but the knowledge of Jesus Christ as nothing.  He IS our treasure,  He IS our reward, He is our focus and He IS COMING for those who have made Him their refuge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God made you for the Secret Place not the Platform

In my morning Bible/prayer time a few days ago I was reading in Psalms and I came to the realization that God had made me for the sole purpose of what I was currently doing at that very moment.  Simply sitting on the couch, holding my Bible and learning about who He is and merely spending time with Him.  That is when I felt deep down in my gut that God did not create me for the Platform (public life), He created me for the secret place.  the place where no one sees me or hears me but Him, a place of intimacy.  I believe when we realize that we were made for the sole purpose of knowing Him and being known by Him we begin to see the truth about who we are and who he really is and what life is all about....everything else (cares of this life) will diminish out of sight......

Thursday, October 20, 2011


So the 18th I decided to go run and break my distance record.  Which was previously the 5 mile mark.  I set off on a route through Bella Vista Arkansas that totaled 7.4 miles.  I left at 5:50 pm and around 7:10 pm my wife Sarah calls and asks my if i need her to pick me up because it is totally dark at this point.  I thought I was about 10 to 12 minutes out so I said "no".  I then arrived at my house at 7:30 pm....needless to say 7.4 miles and 1 hr and 40 minutes of running and I did break my record.  But nothing says "I love you" more than you wife laughing at you on day two of the recovery.  Her words this morning after composing herself at the way I walked out of the bedroom were, "You look like you went from 36 to 89 over night"....thanks baby!  No really, I do love you and I am glad we can laugh about the small things in life...

Family Pictures 2011 - Thank you Rebecca Kenny!!!!!

These are some of the pictures that Rebecca Kenny took of our family in September of 2011.  How time flies!