Five for Friday (1.22.15)

5Happy Friday! Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing.

In a TV World, NFL is King – a strong commentary on our devotion to the NFL and how Christians can redeem it.

“Dad, Look!” When Your Kids Invite You Into Their World – so true! Must read for all parents with young kids.

Fisherman That Don’t Fish – a stirring parable for those who claim to follow Jesus.

5 Things Minecraft Teaches Kids – A good article about the video game that has taken over our world.

10 Things You Can Do to Experience Financial Freedom in 2015 – great advice here!

The First and Most Important Thing We Talk About at Every Staff Meeting

No, it’s not Bible or prayer. Although those are two very spiritual answers, the primary goal of Mt Vernon’s staff meeting* is not to have a Bible study, but to plan and maintain the health and growth of the church. As a guy that’s worked at a local church for thirteen years now, I’ve been to a myriad of staff meetings. There are basics you need to cover: the upcoming calendar, events, allocation of resources, any conflicts between staff members or programs, and of course, depending on the week, you deal with membership complaints.


But the first thing we talk about every week at Mt Vernon is incredibly intentional. It’s long. Sometimes it’s over the top. Yesterday it took up half of our time. The first and most important thing we talk about at every staff meeting* is people. Plain and simple. We talk about first-time guests. We figure out who they came with, who they’re related to, who else knows them. We share stories and victories (big and small) that we’ve seen in our church over the past week. We talk about needs and pray for them.

This past Sunday there were over a dozen new families that we identified as first-time guests. It took us an hour to finish our “people” portion of our meeting. But the reason we always start with people is because at the end of the day the church is not made up of programs, resources or buildings. The church is made up of people. People are always primary in importance.



*I use the term “staff meeting” because it’s common and familiar to most reading this post. For years that’s what we called it. About three months ago we went uber-hip and changed the name from “staff meeting” to “team collective” (stealing the idea from a conference we went to). Sounds much cooler, doesn’t it?

A Simple Prayer That Will Revolutionize Your Week

If you’re looking to revolutionize the rest of a week, here’s a simple prayer you can pray.


35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38

Matthew 9:38 is a famous verse calling on us to pray that God would send workers into the harvest field of the world. Here’s the prayer, with a twist: before you leave your house today, tell God that you’re the answer to Matthew 9:38. Don’t just pray for someone else. Tell God you’re the answer, “I’m ready to be used today. I’m ready to work in the harvest field. Use me today.”

Pray that prayer everyday this week, and watch for the opportunities that God will place in front of you. Warning! If your prayer reflects your heart in this, your week will never be the same!

Five for Friday (1.16.15)

5Happy Friday everyone!

Public Schools Aren’t the Enemy – As a kid who grew up going to public schools, I love this!

A Caution for Believers in 2015 – Good words of advice as we start 2015.

Discretion, Free Speech, and ‘Charlie Hebdo’ – a needed perspective on this volatile subject

3 Signs Your Ego is Making Your Decisions – good word!

Yosemite Fee Climbers Reach the Top of El Capitan – I shared this link in an earlier post, but it’s worth reading again. Human achievement worth celebrating!

The Most Impressive Thing About the Yosemite Climbers

El Capitan stands as a granite monolith that dominates the beautiful Yosemite Valley. As a kid growing up in California, a trip to Yosemite and El Capitan was a regular occurrence. I remember sitting in the lush green grass of the valley, staring up at the overwhelming edifice of El Capitan, watching climbers scurry back and forth like ants on an oak tree.


This morning we all woke with the news that two climbers scaled the face of the imposing El Capitan over the course of nineteen arduous days. The fact that they did the entire thing in a ‘free-climb,’ meaning they didn’t use ropes or climbing aids that are considered essential to make it to the top is what has lit up the climbing world. The congratulatory tweet from President Obama is well deserved.

But when I read the article this morning, here was the most impressive thing: the determination. One of the climbers, Kevin Jorgeson, came to a particularly difficult stretch of the granite wall. Without climbing aids, getting past it is practically impossible. He tried it. And failed. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And then he got it. He failed (and fell) eleven times over seven days. He came close to quitting, but he didn’t. His friend who chose a different route and could have finished six days ahead, waited a week for his friend to conquer his giant. That’s what was most impressive to me.

The free-climbing success of Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell isn’t just a story of skill. It’s a story of determination, the power of friendship, and what happens when you don’t give up. Come on now, that will preach! That’s what we need more of in our world today.