Category Archives: Uncategorized

Church Planting Models and Sweaty Hugs

Have you heard the statement that every person needs 8 hugs every day to stay psychologically healthy? People have researched this. The impact of a hug on a healthy person’s emotional state is immediate.

The pressure against our skin in multiple places sets off a series of physical reactions which result in a reduction of our heart rate and blood pressure. That same process releases dopamine in our brains which cause us to feel satisfaction.

Chemical reactions aside, hugs also speak to our souls and tell us we are accepted by another person, which is one of the most important feelings we can experience as individuals swimming in the sea of humanity.

But what about sweaty hugs?

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Church Planting: Build a Yes-leaning Team

Imagine you are driving on the highway, picking up speed as fast as you can. Gas pedal depressed all the way to the floor, you hit 60, 70, 80 miles per hour, still climbing. Then imagine, while still pushing that gas pedal as hard as your quad can manage, you stomp on the brakes with your other foot.

Do you know what happens? Fred Flinstone Continue reading

The Reality of Oppression

In the past month, God has awakened me to my failure as Christian in issues of race and oppression. White people, hear me out. I think we have reached a point where we have to open ourselves to some very uncomfortable conversations. I am totally unqualified to speak well on this topic, so listen to the voices of wiser and more articulate men than me.

My only suggestion is that you take these voices seriously. Listen with ears willing to hear hard truths. In the safety of your home, at your computer, hear these voices crying out for justice, but listen more intently to the still small voice in your spirit. Ask God to search you, and show you any evil ways in you. I did. And I am still reeling from the violent shift I have experienced in my perception of my world.

What follows is probably the most eye opening thing I have ever heard or seen on the issue of power structure, systemic oppression, and the role of Christ in those issues.

You can download the audio here if you want to listen to it on the go.

These are posts from Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. The first provides some rejoinders to the most common reactions of the white community to issues like Ferguson.

Four Common But Misleading Themes in Ferguson-Like Times

The second clarifies what justice really looks like, and begs the question of whether habitual police violence serves as an intensional definition.

One Man’s Justice Another Man’s Nightmare: It Really Could Have Been Me

Voddie Baucham does an excellent job of speaking as a black man, to the black community, which is to say that white people should be very cautious to repeat his arguments. You can laugh at your dad, but when someone else does, we come in swinging. So hear the voices of the black community without repeating their words.

Thoughts On Ferguson

Read this post from Russel Moore about Garner in New York. No matter what issues are brought up, a man holding up his hands and asking for mercy should never die over selling a pack of cigarettes. Watching the video of his death made one thing undeniable to me; race relations cannot be written off any longer.

Eric Garner and the Call for Justice

Lastly, I want to leave you with a personal story.

When Barack Obama was running for President in ’08, I was attending a Bible college in Louisville, Kentucky. I had a conversation with an African American student in my class, a man in his mid 40’s who told me he was voting for Obama, because being black meant more than voting for Christian values. When I challenged that idea, his response rocked my world.

He told me that I could never understand what it was like to see a man with dark skin leading our country. I pretty much ignored that statement, having heard it a thousand times before, but what he said next was a first for me. He told me that I could never understand him, because I never had a grandfather who was lynched on the Valhalla Golf Course, about thirty minutes away from where we stood.

He was right. I could not understand that. I had gone to that golf course for recreation, watching a Major tournament not long before.

My recreation spot was his grandfather’s instrument of torture and death.

The majority cannot understand the minority, but frequently the minority knows all too well the workings of the majority. And it hurts to hear the truth.

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The Restorative Power of Relationships

imageI am an introvert. This means that being around people feels like performing, and performances are draining. I am also a pastor, which means people are also my job/passion/calling. Therefore, I do a lot of draining things involving people.

And make no mistake, people drain my energy.

But there are some times where people are my restoration. And I think introverts everywhere need to hear this truth. Sometimes, when you have spent yourself in the daily pursuits of life – work relationships, family interactions, other parents at after school activities, your talkative cashier when the self checkout lanes are closed, that annoying neighbor who waits to pounce on you as soon as you open the door – you still need people.

You just need the right people.

You need intentional relationships, not just circumstantial relationships.

One of the worst decisions introverts can make is to sequester themselves from intentional relationships because circumstantial relationships drain them.

Last night I was reminded of the restorative power of people when my wife and I entertained 8 adults and 6 children in our little house. 14 people in a small space for three hours – an introvert’s worst nightmare! Especially when the previous two days were filled with phone calls and conversations with a lot of people. But the people coming over were not circumstantial relationships; they are my intentional circle. And God used them to restore my energy, not drain it.

Introverts, hear me, the right relationships have the ability to recharge you more than any amount of alone time could. Just make sure they are the right relationships.

We’re Planting a Church

plantFor the past 9 months, my wife and I have been exploring what we believed to be a call from God to plant a church. For the past four months, we have known where and a general when. But it is only since yesterday that we can speak openly and confidently about it. That is because yesterday, we went public. Yesterday, my sermon, to the church I have known and loved for the last half decade, was a testimony of God’s plan for my family to leave our church family.

It is a strange thing to look at a group of people you have prayed for, served, and loved for 5 years and tell them God has called you elsewhere. It feels almost like abandonment. I feel like a bad parent. I am telling my kids I have loved them, but God has given me a greater love somewhere else. It just feels like I should feel bad, but I don’t.

I know that God has called us forward. I also know that God will call others forward in our absence. This is how God’s kingdom works. God is the only irreplaceable person in any church.

SO in our movement forward, God is already moving behind us. He is good.

Suffering and the Weight of Glory

cs-lewisI have been reflecting for the last few days on the issue of suffering. This is due in large part to a tragic, viral article about a young woman named Brittany Maynard. She is a beautiful young woman dying of cancer. In response to Brittany’s story, another young woman, Kara Tippetts, wrote a letter explaining her similarly tragic story of an impossible fight against a cancer that she will not win.

Both stories are heartbreaking. In reading both, I see the power of worldview at play. Both women see the battle with death looming in their future, but their responses could scarcely be more different.

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6 Thoughts on Successful Church Events: encouragement for other leaders

successThis past weekend, I led a family conference at my church, The Bridge Community Church of Northern Kentucky. It was really successful. It was successful in attendance, execution, and accomplishment of stated goals. We put on an in house conference which served 142 adults and 100 kids. We had 60+ volunteers and 15 speakers who made this night possible. All told, almost half of our Sunday morning attendance was on campus for this event.

That is amazing. And I am proud of my leadership team, those who stepped up to serve, and those came out on a rough winter night to grow as the primary faith influencer of their children.

A few days past this event I want to offer 6 quick tips for successful church events. Continue reading

Good Thinking 4/12/2013

thinkingIf you know nothing about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, check out this video at The Veritas Network.

Here are a mild article stating the facts about Gosnell, his practice, and his trial without gory details.

Check out this brief article by Trevin Wax if you wonder why you have not heard of this monster of a human being.

Here is a short article about a 15 year old who helped Dr. Gosnell kill the babies born in their clinic.

Here is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist’s take on the media black-out concerning Gosnell.

Please share these links in your social media circles. It is time to start a conversation about the morality and legality of abortion even if the powers that be want to ignore it.

Compliments of my friend, Greg Gibson, at The Veritas Network, I leave you with a quote from William Wilberforce:

“Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way, but you will never again be able to say you did not know.”

Living Stone Community Church

All of Christ. For all of life.

Kingdom 1st

a blog by Greg Gibson

Denny Burk

A commentary on theology, politics, and culture

The Gospel Coalition

Tid-bits and Trifles on Faith, Culture, and Church from Whitney Clayton

The Gospel Coalition

Tid-bits and Trifles on Faith, Culture, and Church from Whitney Clayton

The Gospel Coalition

Tid-bits and Trifles on Faith, Culture, and Church from Whitney Clayton