Elle’s Baby Dedication Speech

Okay, Elle didn’t make the speech (it would have consisted of a series of ‘ooohs’ and fits of drooling). Last night we dedicated Elle at Mt Vernon’s Baby Dedication service. One of the things that makes these services unique is that the parents read a letter in front of everyone declaring their wishes and intent for their future child. Since she’s our fourth and since we’re Dafferns, Robin and I decided to go the humorous route with Elle’s speech. Here it is:



Your mother and I have waited twelve years for this moment. We thank God for you, especially that you’re a girl, because to be honest, if you were a boy, we wouldn’t be done yet. But praise God you are a beautiful girl! You are the cherry on our sundae, the ketchup on our French Fries, the sugar in our tea, the castle in our Disney World, the Who Dat to our football game, the caboose in our train.

We have already prophetically declared that you are going to be our easy child, which compared to your brothers is setting the bar pretty low. Zeke will inspire you with his energy, Shepherd will comfort you with his kind words, and Lincoln will do his best to use you as an MMA sparring partner. You are guaranteed lots of laughs, lots of tears, and probably a few good years worth of therapy. If nothing else you will be tough, ready for what the world will throw at you.

Your name is Emmanuelle, which means “God with us.” Your very presence on the earth is a constant reminder of God’s goodness and grace. As a girl, I know that your primary sense of self-worth will come from me as your father. It’s my job to pour worth into you, to tell you that you’re beautiful, you’re a princess, and if any boy tries to mess with you I’ll break his kneecaps. I promise to love you and set the bar so high that no stinky boy will ever come close to meeting your standards. Your mom and I will do more than just promise to love you. We promise to love each other, to fight for our marriage every step of the way, so that growing up you have a beautiful picture of how much God loves us and how much we’re supposed to love each other.

Elle, you have no idea of the wild ride you signed up for when God gave you to our family. We couldn’t be happier. Now please let us sleep through the night. Amen.


Five for Friday (8.10.14)

five red buttonHappy Friday everyone! Before you head out to the football games this weekend,  check out these great articles!


When Your Child’s Personality Annoys You – Don’t eradicate it, cultivate it!

3 Ways to Find Contentment – Great words!

Friendless Millennials in a Digital Age – Part 1 of a great article on reaching Millennials.

The Solution to Millennial Trust Issues – Anyone trying to reach Millennials needs to read this!

Why Dating is Great for Your Sex Life – This article is for married couples!

The World Needs More Love Letters

Hannah Brencher is an incredible young lady I met at the Catalyst Conference who’s made a dream a reality. A lonely young professional lost in the urban jungle of New York City, Hannah began writing letters and leaving them around the city as a way to lift herself out of the depression she was struggling with. She wrote one blog about it with the simple note at the end, If you’re discouraged and need someone to write you a letter, please let me know. Before she knew it she had over 400 requests from complete strangers and the rest is history.



More Love Letters is the movement that grew around her to use this simple medium of letter writing as a way to spread love and hope to others. Each week several people will be nominated to receive love letters, and then hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of strangers will write, pouring in love and affirmation when a person needs it most. If you go on the website, you’ll see that right now Janice is nominated. Here’s her story (nominated by her daughter):

“My dad is 62 and has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and my mom is the sole caregiver. She is a pillar of strength, courage, and love. Even through this disease they never stop laughing with one another. My parents celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary this past July. Losing her husband slowly has been very hard on her but she manages to put a smile on everyday and is still quite the optimist! Even with the best support system I sometimes think she feels very alone.”

If you’re interested in writing a letter and joining a movement, go to More Love Letters. (https://moreloveletters.squarespace.com)

Catalyst Conference: Day 2

Catalyst Day 2 was just as amazing as Day 1. Some incredible talks were given that challenged my way of thinking and expanded my vision of what God can and wants to do through Mt Vernon church in Columbus, MS. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Day 2:



Limited resources + willingness to fail + increasing passion = exponential innovation.” Craig Groeschel

Failure is an event, not a person. Don’t internalize it. You fail, but you’re not a failure.” Craig Groeschel

The church should be the safest place on the earth for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.” Andy Stanley

The church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders while insiders act like outsiders.” Andy Stanley

Catalyst Conference: Day 1

So much great content! Like years past, sitting at Catalyst is like drinking from a fire hydrant: there’s too much to take in at once. Thankfully, I’ll be able to go back, process, and unpack what I learned today in months to come (of course stealing the best ideas and turning them into future sermon series). Here are some of my favorite quotes from Catalyst Day 1:



You haven’t been called to change the world, but you’ve been called to change something.” Andy Stanley

Many years from now, what would you like people to line up to thank you for?” Sandra Stanley

We’ve got a bunch of Christians who want to change the world but not change themselves.” Christine Caine

Your sins will always present themselves as considerably smaller and less potent than they really are.” Tim Keller

There are things God wants to give you but won’t until you pray because you won’t know who they’re from.” John Calvin

I love science because it catches up with the Word of God.” Dr. Caroline Leaf

Comparison will constantly cloud the clarity of what God has called you to do.” Robert Madu

Your thoughts are public to the only one who really matters.” Matt Chandler

Quotes from Catalyst Pre-Labs

Yesterday I attended the Pre-Labs at Catalyst Conference Atlanta. As I’m waking up to attend day one of the conference, let me share some quotes from yesterday that struck me:


Unless we seek God in radically different ways, the only thing we’re going to do in the next 50 years is manage the decline of Christianity in the Western world.” Jon Tyson on the topic of raising up a culture of leaders

How can a church transform a community if it doesn’t reflect the community?” Mark DeMayz on building a multi-ethnic church

We worship a place called ‘elsewhere.’ Elsewhere is a defense mechanism to keep our fists clenched.” Hannah Brencher on staying hungry in the digital age.

We no longer have to chase the right situation. All we have to do is chase the shepherd.” Carl Lentz on Psalm 23

Don’t get caught missing the supernatural because you’re chasing the spectacular.” Carl Lentz speaking to pastors

Great words! Can’t wait for this morning!